Menus of a Mom

Just trying to get the family fed!

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Recap Week of 10/29/12

Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!  We did, my little garden gnome has been all candy-crazed since Halloween for sure.  Now I remember why she doesn’t get sweets a whole lot…

Other than all of the candy, we had a great food week:

Monday, 10/29: Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash

It was tasty and pretty easy.  I told Boog we were having “Spaghetti Boats” for dinner and she ate it right up.

Tuesday, 10/30: Buffalo Chicken Chili

This was pretty easy made in the crock pot.  LOVED it!  Husband raved and had to take leftovers to his buddy at the shop.  Boog asked, “What’s this?  Is it a carrot?  Mmm, I like carrots.”  She asked for more carrots and more beans.  What?!?  This is a definite winner in my house, and the only prep was to chop some veggies the night before.

Wednesday, 10/31: HALLOWEEN! Creamy Chipotle Chicken

Husband was wound up about this one too.  While it was pretty tasty, I might keep some of this on hand in a bind, but probably won’t keep the Campbell’s skillet sauces in a normal rotation.  It’s a prepackaged sauce so the stats (read: SODIUM!) are a bit horrendous.

Thursday, 11/1: Crowd Pleasing Vegetable Casserole

Ok, I get that this is definitely not a “virtuous” recipe, but anything that gets my two-year old to hork down an entire bowl of vegetables can’t be all bad, right?  Seriously, this was delicious…with no prep…and less than an hour of bake time.  Yeah.  Winner Winner Vegetable Dinner.

Friday, 11/2: Chili Mac (made with our leftover Doc’s Chili)

I know, I took super healthy chili and dumped it over carbs and added cheese on top.  But it was good.  And at least I started with healthy chili…?  Again, a hit with the Boog, but it’s “skyettee” so how could it not be.  My favorite thing about this is that the preparation was already done.

In other news, the fever is gone, but I’m still feeling a little wiped out.  So, this will be the new format for the foreseeable future, unless I get struck by some extra energy and amazing words come to me…but probably not 🙂



Fall is Here!

Fall is here!  At least it seemed that way with the Poppy Seed Pork with Apples and Rice we had for dinner tonight.  It was all around a success.  I think I make this once a year during the fall and it’s just so hearty and warm and delicious.

The  slow cooker recipe does say to put the apples in late and says to cook it for less than 10 hours <insert mood-setting doom music here>, but this recipe still works leaving it on warm for longer than it suggests.  The apples turn to complete mush, but it’s a good thing, combining with the juices and dressing to create a delicious sauce for the pork and rice.

When we got home, it was of course, very hot.  Since time was limited on swim class night, I wanted to cool Boog’s down so she could eat it and used the colorful ice cube trick to do so.

While I was stirring the orangey-red ice cube into her bowl, she told me, very emphatically:

That’s my bowl.  Don’t eat it.  Don’t eat my stuff, Mommy.

I guess she knew she was going to like it and want to eat it, and she did 🙂

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A Brief Moment and Mini Pot-Pies

Today was kind of a crappy day.  It started off with a neighbor knocking on the door a bit before 6 this morning.  Hey, your trunk is open and it’s raining.  Haha – Thanks… Yeah, I think Husband has a lot on his mind lately.

Boog seemed to wake up in a good place, but quickly spiraled downward.  By that I mean, she threw a fit and threw her entire bowl of cereal onto the floor after she changed her mind on what she wanted for breakfast.  Getting her dressed this morning involved what I like to call the toddler scissor hold.  I haven’t had to use that in awhile since we’ve been instituting the timer to help our morning routine.

When we got to school, she wanted to crawl over into the front seat (?) to get out of the car this morning, and when I told her no, she threw a fit.  I guess I should have picked my battle.  So, I carried her into school kicking and screaming.  But then, of course, when I tried to do the hand-off to the teacher, she clung to me and yelled, “Mommy, mommy!” as I peeled her off my leg.

Work was… hmm.  Imagine me frolicking through a lovely field of wildflowers and pirouetting directly onto every land mine hidden beneath the pretty surface.  That was my day at work. And if you thought I looked…maybe not the smartest with my off-topic post about my keys the other day, geesh.  I could write another off-topic post about my adventures on the shuttle between locations today that would have most of you wondering if I have the mental capacity to dress myself in the morning.  No, really.

Sigh.  Ok, I’m on my way home.  I decide not to listen to my usual NPR for the commute.  Instead, I turn on some Amy Steinberg to decompress.  <Seriously – Check. Her. Out.  She’s amazing.  And if you love her music like I do, support her efforts on her new CD here.  Yay independent music!>

The “chicken mixture” made on Tuesday night

I wanted to be in a good place and not be frustrated picking up my two year old.  I was so excited because I came up with a plan – I had the chicken mixture for the Mini Chicken Pot Pies ready to go.  And Boog could help me with the “baking mix” part and help me put them together.  Then, we could go to the playground and splash in the puddles on the way there since it rained most of the day.

I’m going to just release it all, it’s okay if she gets muddy.  Embrace the moment. We’re going to have a great night in spite of a bad day.  Leave that at the office.  This is the mom I want to be.

I go into Boog’s school to pick her up, she sees me and screams, “Nooooooo!!!!!” and throws herself onto the floor.  Spirit crushed.  I try to play it off cool to the teachers like my two year old didn’t just hurt my feelings, silly toddler.  I have to carry her kicking and screaming out to the car, fold her in half to get her into the car seat.

She screamed the whole ride home.  She wasn’t just crying.  That’s what I was doing.  She shrieked like I had buckled her into a carseat of nails.  Ugh.  But I had a plan…

We got home and slowly she came out of her fit.  I started to make dinner and eventually she said she wanted to help.  It wasn’t the best cooking experience we’ve had together.  She kept dipping her hands into the raw egg and eating it, which caused me to have take away the bowl, but fine, at least she’s not screaming or talking back.  We went to the playground and had fun, even if it was a little hard to get her to leave when the time came.  On the walk home, Husband drove by, so he picked us up and we got to eat dinner as a family.

The pot pies were pretty tasty and pretty simple. Sadly, Boog fought me on eating them, but…I’m not blaming the recipe.  Clearly we had an off day.  I think she’ll really like these and she was excited to eat them when we were making them.  During dinner and afterwards, we had some more fits and tantrums, so it’s possible I could have served her chocolate icing and she would have said no.

All in all, it was a pretty crappy day.  But, despite that, at least for a few brief moments tonight, I was the mom I want to be, the mom I strive to be, but the mom I all too often fall short of being.  So, even if Boog went to bed a little hungry and I’m enjoying a hard earned glass of wine, I’m putting this day in the win column.


Bugs, Boogs, MILs, and Some Me/Us Time

This week’s been a little off schedule.  I knew making swim class on Tuesday was going to be tough as I had a late meeting at work.  But, I thought I might still make it…until.  Yeah, I was sick on the way home.  I’ll leave it at that.

I barely made it pick the Boog up from school.  My dinner consisted of some bread and Sierra Mist (thanks Husband for picking those up).  He had a sandwich.  Boog had a super appetite – she ate 2 yogurts and two bowls of cereal, Life, to be exact.

Someone remind me again why I cook for her every night??  Sigh.

Yesterday, my wonderful mother-in-law came for a visit with Boog and made dinner so I could catch up on some things at work and rest up a bit after my little bug.    She made the butternut squash tostadas, so good.  I forgot to take a picture, but here’s what these delicious little guys look like from the last time we had them.


I also promised the recipe, so here goes!

Butternut Squash Tostadas


1 small onion, chopped coarsely

1 bag frozen diced butternut squash (you can, of course, use fresh, but what an easy shortcut!)

1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilies

cilantro (or cilantro paste as a short cut)

lime juice

chipotle pepper seasoning

tostada shells (we used baked)

crumbled goat cheese


Saute onion with the butternut squash until onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and chipotle.

Heat through.

Put squash mixture on tostada shells and top with goat cheese.


Seriously, the most simple meal, but it tastes gourmet.

Anyway, so last night, my mother-in-law asked if she could take Boog home with her for a visit for a few days.  Huh?

What mixed emotions!  Now, I have to point out that my daughter is more than two and a half years old and she has never been away from me over night since the day she was born.  Let’s be clear, I’m not saying that like it’s a badge of honor – the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself.

So, even though Husband and I looked through pictures of the Boog tonight, and we of course miss her, it’s nice to have a breather.  Husband and I can have some “us” time this weekend without shelling out major bucks on a babysitter.

I was able to make dinner without any arguments or whining in the background, though I missed my little helper.  And I think she would have liked the Foil-Pack Chicken & Broccoli Dinner I made tonight.  It was super easy and pretty tasty.

It was rather nice to not have to be a role model for a night.

What’s that? Why yes, I would like to eat my dinner in front of the television.  And I can watch some trash TV with absolutely no redeeming qualities and not Fresh Beat Band?  Don’t mind if I do.

Love you Boog, but much thanks to my mother-in-law for a few days off!

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Breakfast Feels Left Out

I’m always focused on dinner on here, so you probably all wonder if that’s all we eat.  Nope!  We can’t forget the most important meal of the day – BREAKFAST!

Breakfast is tough.  The mornings are hectic enough as is, trying to all get out out the door to our respective places of responsibility (school, work, shop) on time.  I try to start my work day out at 7:30, so I can leave and have more time in the evenings to spend time with the Boog (and cook!)  Pair that with the fact that I’m not a morning person, and you have a recipe for driving through Dunkin’ Donuts every day.

For awhile, Husband and I were splitting responsibilities – I got the Boog ready for school (dressed, vitamin, breakfast, hair, etc.) and he got the dogs fed and me ready (coffee, breakfast).

Boog’s breakfast mainly consisted of frozen waffles, French toast, or pancakes.  On the weekends, I could do whole what English muffins with peanut butter or oatmeal, but during the week, all of the “better” breakfasts were messy and slowed us down.

Husband’s and my breakfast consisted of oatmeal that I could take to work with me, or an egg/egg white/eggbeater sandwich I could eat on the way.

Fast forward to the terrible twos.

I would say, about 80% of the time, my daughter has some terrible aversion to me in the morning.  Literally, she will get up and I walk/look in her general direction and she will tell me to go away, stay away, go back to bed, that she doesn’t want Mommy ANY MORE, etc.  I’m not sure why, she loves me any other time of the day, but if I mess with her before 6:30, the horned beast comes out.

Getting her dressed in the morning had become quite the challenge.  If I did it, there was screaming, crying, frustration and no one started the day out right.  If my husband did it, it threw off our whole delicate balance resulting in a run through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru.

So, we’ve been slowly working out better options for breakfast.  Every few weeks we stock up the freezer with heat-and-eat items for the whole family.  We have three main stand-bys:

1) Homemade waffles!  On a Saturday or Sunday morning, Husband will whip out the waffle maker and make a huge batch, freezing what we don’t eat.  These work great, except we like to have blueberries or other fruit in them and those can be messy weekday breakfasts for the Boog.

2) Breakfast burritos!  These are our new favorites.  You can put whatever you want in them.  We usually get a big package of tortillas and fill them with egg beaters, onions, peppers, salsa, turkey sausage crumbles, and cheese.  Roll those bad boys up and store them in the tortilla bag in the freezer.   Awesome protein boost in the morning.

3) Zucchini Muffins – My favorite!  I follow this recipe pretty closely, with a couple of exceptions.  I do cut the oil in half and substitute applesauce.  I also use all whole wheat flour, but substitute 1/4 – 1/2 cup of it with flax seed meal.  They end up super moist and the Boog loves them.  Sometimes I’ll put some berries in here as well, but then it’s messy for a weekday morning again.

Zucchini Muffins

The best part about the zucchini muffins is that Boog can help me bake them now!  We have matching aprons and made some last weekend.  She got to put all of the ingredients into the bowl and helped with some stirring.  When she saw the aprons on Monday, she said she wanted to make muffins again.  So sweet!  See, I’m okay in her book after 6:30 am!

My Little Baking Boog


Shhhh…It’s Green Popcorn

These are my new favorite find.

Shhhh…don’t tell!

I recently found these little gems at Target.  I’ve had all of the Just Tomatoes brand snacks and love them, but I don’t seem them often.  And these freeze-dried corn and peas are in little individual packages that travel easily.

The Boog loves them!  Score!  Of course, I may have described them as “yellow popcorn” and “green popcorn”.  I guess it’s all about the marketing! It certainly helps that they are tasty too.  I have to buy more so that we can share. 🙂

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Shake, Salad, and Roll

My plan for the salad worked out great.  I just pre-made the salad in containers and added the avocado tonight.  It was quite cute, with a Daddy-size, Mommy-size, and Boog-size container.  It was a pretty tasty salad.

I put a bit of dressing on my salad, put the lid back on, and shook it up.  The Boog loved this idea and wanted to shake her salad up.  In fact, I think we had to stop to put her lid on for her to re-shake her salad about 4 times while we were eating dinner.

I’m not sure if the fun factor is what got her to try things tonight, but she did great!  She ate the turkey, ham, cheese, egg, carrots, and tomatoes.  She tried the bell pepper twice, once on its own and once dipped in some dressing, but just was not a fan.

She asked what every item was – it was pretty cute.  I think I said “egg” about 40 times during dinner.  And she ate with her hand, despite holding her fork in the other hand.  But hey, on a night that she’s not being picky, why should I?