Menus of a Mom

Just trying to get the family fed!


I Heart Fruit Roll-ups

…but I discovered I don’t especially heart making them!

I took Monday off work.  The plan was to treat myself to a massage that I’ve had a voucher for since March, May?  Something like that.  But with Isaac spinning around trying to figure out what he wanted to do in the Gulf, I was afraid the daycare would be closed and cancelled the massage.

But, daycare was open, so I just had the day to myself.  After catching up on various things around the house, what to do, what to do…

Make homemade fruit leathers!  It’s been on my to-do list to try for months, and while it could be a fun project to do with the Boog, I wanted to try it out on my own first.

Back when I was first looking for recipes to do this, I swore I found one that didn’t require simmering the fruit puree on the stove top.  But, on Monday, I couldn’t find it and pretty much thought I made it up in my head.  Google “fruit leather recipe” and you’ll get tons of hits.  Just not the one that says, eh, skip the simmering of the puree.

[For the record, here’s the blog/recipe that I was thinking of.  Too bad I didn’t find it until Monday night.]

Anyhoo, the concept is a simple one.   Puree some fruit, add sweetener, lemon juice, spices, etc. to your taste.  Simmer.  Pour onto a lined baking sheet and wait.

I used frozen berries – a gorgeous mix of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, with some lemon juice and agave nectar.

So, here are the reasons I’m not fond of this process:

1. I simmered the fruit puree.  I wasn’t very focused and at some point smelled burning, which led me to frantically scrape the bottom of the pan trying to get the burnt stuff out of the pan, lest it taint my precious fruit roll-ups.

2. I wasn’t very focused and didn’t put the oven on the convect cycle.  I have an awesome oven that HAS the convect cycle.  But I failed to use it.  Again, note that I remembered this late Monday night.

3. I’m not very patient, especially when it comes to something as delicious as fruit leather.  So dehydrating the fruit puree in the oven was sort of like slow torture.  That led me to constantly pulling it out and messing with it, thus delaying even further my ability to enjoy the fruit leather.  Vicious cycle.

4. Spreading the puree out evenly was really difficult.  It’s hard to describe the consistency of the puree (though, maybe it was due to bullet #1 and it wasn’t the consistency it was supposed to be).  Because of that, parts of my delicious fruit leather were, shall we say, tough, a little like jerky…

5. I’m a fruit roll-up piggy.  I think I could sit down and eat an entire box of the pre-made ones.  So, when I got my final product, it was hard to save any for Boog or Husband to try.  Which was disappointing.  I felt like after baking for 6 hours, I should have a LOT of fruit roll-ups.   Hmmm.  Maybe I’m just greedy.

6. I tried to get “cute”.  I don’t do “cute” very well.  This is a known issue, as demonstrated here.  My good friend got me these awesome letter silicone baking sheets.  There were tons of ideas on the box, one of which is for ice cubes, which would work great for things like Purple Oatmeal.  But I thought, wow, I’m going to be so cool, I’m going to make thick fruit leather LETTERS!  I probably should have gotten the basics down before trying to get “cute”.  And see bullet #3, which also provided complications.  Well, here’s how that went.

^^ Not meant as a threat 🙂

Sorry Erin – don’t freak out, I wasn’t spelling your name out in blood or creepy letters on purposes.  🙂 Maybe I have an idea for Halloween!

7. Cutting them into roll-ups is not a strong suit of mine either, but here were my best attempts.

Pretend the scotch tape is pretty ribbon or something.

By the end of the day, I was swearing off making these ever again, because, fruit roll-ups are cheap.  But never say never.  I’m sure someday Boog and I can make them together (she LOVED eating them) and we’ll have a great time.

I just don’t make things fancy, like most of the Google results I found.  But, I’m okay with that.  We all enjoyed some fruit leathers, and they were just as delicious in their imperfection.


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Here Comes Egg

We had a lot of leftovers to clear out of the fridge before we leave for the weekend, so it was kind of a scrounge/in your own night for dinner. Boog and I used the extra time to bake some cookies and muffins to take with us. Nothing fancy or healthy, just a couple of Krusteaz mixes we got on sale-chocolate chunk cookies and cranberry orange muffins. Some highlights from our adventures:

When I picked Boog up from school, I told her we were going to make muffins and cookies. She was so excited. She kept declaring, I make muffins…and cookies…BIG ONES!! <you have to imagine jazz hands here>

EVERYTHING we do currently begins with a declaration from Boog, “I do it by myself.”

When I was cracking the egg open, she excitedly announced, “Here comes Egg!”

She’s a great baking helper! Enjoy Labor Day weekend everyone! Be safe!


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Shawarma City

I love Chicken Shawarma.  Byblos Pitas is my favorite place in town to get Shawarma and it’s just one of my favorite places in general.  So, as much as I love Modern Family, I couldn’t help but be slightly offended by Cam and Mitchell’s dissatisfaction with Shawarma City in this episode.

I made our own version of Chicken Shawarma tonight for dinner, and while not as good as what I get at Byblos, it’s super simple and pretty darn good.

First up, I found these great pitas at Publix that are pretty close to Byblos, thin and not too stiff!

I smeared some tzatziki on the inside and stuffed with romaine, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  My trick to chop up vegetables like cucumbers is to cut a cross in them length-wise and then slice them to your desired thickness – you end up with little cucumber triangles that work great in a pita or a salad.

It really works!

The chicken itself is cooked with onion, bell pepper, and sofrito.  Super simple.  Pop that in the pita and top with a little feta if you so desire.

Note the mini-deconstructed version for Boog

Roll her up and serve with pita chips or veggies with hummus or babaganoush. Yum!  And the Boog ate her deconstructed version, even trying a bit of cucumber after dangling the promise of a honeydew melon dessert.

We like Shawarma City!

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Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Today, the Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna was up to bat.  This was super easy to prepare.  It didn’t take very long last night to get everything ready and no time this morning to layer the ingredients into the crock pot.  Voilà!  Dinner was waiting for us when we got home.

Unfortunately, the Boog was not a fan.  She ate the sour cream off of the top and then declared that she didn’t like it, but she did try a bite.  Maybe the cauliflower threw her off? Eh, she ended up eating leftover polenta from last night.

I liked it. My husband said it was “different”, but he made it seem like that was a good thing.  This wasn’t one of those WOWZA! recipes, but it was pretty tasty, especially with a little sour cream and sweet chili sauce.  Next time, I would add onions and bell peppers to bring it around a little more.  But it’s a keeper for swim class nights and meatless nights, for sure!


Polenta and the Menu Change

For starters, sliiight change to the menu.  Sometimes I’m in a hurry on Thursdays when I’m setting the menu.  And here lately it seems I can’t keep track of anything more than a day out.  Sooo, I should have probably realized I didn’t need a Friday meal, since I’ll be out of town – oops!  Chicken burgers will be for next week.

Now that I have that off my chest – who’s ready for Sausage Ragu over Creamy Polenta?  It was fine, a nice alternative to pasta when you want to mix it up.  The Boog cleaned her plate and the Husband enjoyed it.  And it was fun to hear Boog say Ragu?

Trying to show the polenta hiding underneath!


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Menu – Week of 8/27/12

Went to the Thai Temple today, so it was like an all Thai food weekend!  So much leftover for tonight’s dinner.  But on to the week’s menu (Thai-free), which is the plan pending any major upheaval from Isaac!  The rain has just started.


Monday: Sausage Ragu over Creamy Polenta (carry-over from last week, because we had leftovers on Friday)

Tuesday: Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Wednesday: Chicken Schwarma with pita chips and hummus

Thursday: Layered Bruschetta Salad

Friday: Sweet Caramelized Onion Chicken Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries (you can always tell a trip to Costco has happened because I undoubtedly end up with some pre-made dinner items.  Darn you tasty samples!)



  • Organize the RR cabinet
  • Dice onions (3 meals) and bell pepper (only the Schwarma)
  • Dice chicken (3 meals)

MondayAfter work: Prep the Sausage Ragu over the premade polenta.

Late night: Chop everything for the Mexican lasagna and mix for Tuesday.

Tuesday: Morning:  Put the ingredients in the crock pot.

After work: Top with some cheese – it doesn’t have to be all fancy and “melted” 🙂

WednesdayAfter work: Cook chicken, onion, and bell pepper in sofrito sauce.  Serve on a pita with tzatziki, romaine, and cucumber.

Late night: Marinate chicken breast in some Italian dressing.

ThursdayAfter work:  Cook chicken breast and assemble the salad.

Friday: After work: Throw the fries in the oven and pan sear the burgers.

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Mom’s Night Out – Thai Style

I went to an amazing sushi/Thai place last night with some friends.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the sushi as well – everything was so pretty!  Here are the main dishes:

Amazing Bangkok Chicken (peanut sauce)

Volcano Chicken and Jasmine Rice

Tornado Tofu (green curry sauce)

We’ll see if I’m ever brave enough to try something like these at home 🙂