Week in review.

Live around this Dakota home is so much better when I take the 20-60 minutes a week to plan meals and do my best to stick to my meal plan.  Even with some busy work days in the mix we didn’t have takeout or fast food once.

simple supper

Tuesday’s pizzas from homemade frozen dough were better than store bought frozen dough.  I bought a pizza peel this week, so I think next time I’ll try a whole pizza on a stone.

Wednesday’s grilled burgers with homemade buns might have to become a weekly part of summer fare.  Perhaps not always with burger, but always the buns.  Dakota Guy took the first bite of his and wept openly.  OK, not really, but he does love these bread machine buns.  I don’t think there is any going back.  I cut up some strawberries and we had leftover quinoa and called it a meal.  Dakota Boy ate at least 4 pickles and his whole burger.

Thursday was a late night at the hospital so the guys had cold sandwiches on hamburger buns and greek yogurt and I had the same once I finally got home.

Friday we had the lentils that had been scheduled for Thursday.  Find all the reasons you can to cook with lentils.  They are fabulous.

Banana bread in the oven this morning.  I prefer to not use a mixer and have combined a few recipes.  I love eating bananas so don’t always have three or four over ripe ones on the counter on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  So, I throw them in the freezer when they get over ripe and thaw for when I want to bake.  My microwave has a melt butter setting and I thaw the banana with the peel off while I melt my butter.

Banana Bread
3-4 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
Slightly less than 3/4 C sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 C flour
Preheat oven to 350.  With a fork or wooden spoon mash bananas together with melted butter in a mixing bowl.  Mix in sugar, egg, vanilla and salt.  Sprinkle soda on top.  Add flour 1/2 C at a time mixing in.  Pour into 4×8 pan sprayed with cooking spray or oiled. Bake 1 hour.  Cool on a rack and eat with butter while standing over the kitchen sink.

We’re having visitors this week, so the menu may look a bit like last week.  Dakota Guy wants bagels again.  And hamburger buns.  I think Dakota Boy and I are going to the parade today.  Then hopefully some meal planning and “garden” pictures.

mommy’s composter


Best laid plans

Feeding my family real food is something I love and something that is very important to me.  I also love my job.  Without a meal schedule and considerable forethought with food prep I couldn’t do both.  And even with planning sometimes a meal that sounds good on paper ends up looking less than blog photo worthy.  And ends up being eaten quickly by Dakota Boy and I before bedtime while Dakota Guy spends spends some much needed time with adults.  It’ll heat up well though.

no garnish, but still real food

Dakota Guy does the grilling.  We used a cheater Lawry’s marinade for the chicken.  Dakota Boy asked to “ride on mommy’s back and watch cooking” for the first time in 4 months or so.  He was really excited about the quinoa.  Mostly I think because it is a fun word to say.  When it came time to actually eat it he had no interest.  I, on the other hand, thought it was fabulous and have no idea why I haven’t made it before.

The other things on my list today were homemade hummus and blocking a couple of knitting projects.  I decided last night I couldn’t resist the hummus so I ran back to the store to get the garbanzo beans aka chickpeas.

I soak 1 1/3 cups of the garbanzo beans overnight and then this morning drained them and threw them in my mini slow cooker with a couple cloves of garlic, a little olive oil and some baking soda.

Soak overnight or at least 8 hours

Slow cooker 8 hours on low or 4-6 on high.

By naptime they were the perfect consistency – just soft enough to mush between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

I don’t have a big food processor and rarely regret not having one.  I used my mini-prep.  The recipe I was roughly following suggested it would take two batches with a mini prep.  My 1 1/3 cups of dry beans yielded 4 1/2 cups of freshly cooked chickpeas.  I basically followed the recipe with more chickpeas and like how it turned out.  It made nearly three full mini prep food processors.  I think I’ll try some roasted red peppers in it next time too.

Homemade Hummus

3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
4 1/2 cups freshly cooked Chickpeas (original recipe called for 3 1/2)
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon cumin
about 1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup liquid from chickpeas
Place the garlic, salt and lemon juice in food processor.  Process until pureed.
Add chickpeas and a small amount of their cooking liquid.  (I did this in thirds with 1/3 of the garlic mixture in each and didn’t measure  for any of it, just roughly a third of what I had in my prep bowls for each item).  Add the tahini, cumin, and about 1/2 cup olive oil.  Pulse to create a smooth mixture.  Drizzle in more olive oil, salt to taste and a bit more cooking liquid if needed. 
Serve with pita, crackers, vegetables or however you like.  If you are more organized than me save a few chickpeas to garnish.

I’m planning to use it for tuna and hummus sandwiches later this week and to snack on all week.

I got this done in time to run to work, be reminded why I love my job, come home and rush through supper

The other thing I hoped to get done during naptime today was blocking baby sweaters for two friends of mine, had to wait until after bedtime.  One sweater was waiting for the baby before it gets buttons – blue or pink.  Turns out it’s PINK!!! Happy birthday baby!!!  (But sadly I can’t find my baby buttons anywhere in this house, so I’ll have to shop)

Meal planning: June 25- July1

a little bit of everything

My weeks always go better when I have meals planned out ahead of time. My goal is grocery shopping once a week according to a menu and sticking to it. This results in less junk food and less stress.

This week I planned meals Sunday morning while the homemade everything bagels Dakota Guy requested were in the bread machine. Since we moved here we have had really missed everything bagels. My brother has given them to us for a few holidays. I decided I’d take the plunge and try them myself this weekend.


Both Dakota Guy and Dakota Boy approve of the finished product.  We are already planning the next batch – some with cheddar, some with cinnamon and sugar, and more everything.

Monday – Grilled chicken, quinoa pilaf, and a veggie

Tuesday – Calzones with some of the pizza dough I froze last weekend.  Need to thaw dough and hamburger in the morning.

Wednesday – Grilled blue cheese burgers (from Better Homes and Garden’s Cookbook), homemade buns (from the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine cookbook), salad.

Thursday – Warm French Lentil’s from barefoot contessa how easy is that.

Friday – leftovers or Mexican

Saturday -Tuna and Hummus on homemade toast from barefoot contessa how easy is that.  I was going to make my own hummus and even had the sesame paste in my shopping cart.  But the two recipes I looked at called for either canned or dry chick peas.  Which I didn’t think I could find.  Apparently though, chick peas and garbanzo beans are the same thing.  While I was learning that I found this great recipe for roasted chickpeas.  Yum!  I want to make them but from dry not canned.  I’m really trying to buy fewer things in cans.

Sunday – Salmon with panko (barefoot contessa how easy is that), jasmine rice, broccoli

Bonus or substitute meal or next week – herb-roasted turkey breast (barefoot contessa how easy is that)

I find meal planning less overwhelming if I sit down with one or two cookbooks rather than my whole collection.  This week it was one I hadn’t had out for a while.  Ina Garten’s barefoot contessa how easy is that.  Lots of good stuff in it.

My new blog

Dakota guy keeps encouraging me to get a blog now that we live in this new place and are doing all sorts of fun things.  So, here goes.  I suspect he and I will be the only readers.