Thursday, September 19, 2013

Menu Plan Thursday

Wheee! I have been working so hard the last 2 days, I am seriously worn out.

Menu plans are ready on schedule though! I even wrote the grocery list and sent my family off shopping.

Thursday: Flounder Chowder, Coleslaw, Homemade Bread

Friday: Buttery Sausage & Rice, Oven-roasted Root Vegetables, Sweet Potato Pie

Saturday: Dinner Out (Pagan Pride Fest!)

Sunday: Sauteed Chicken Breasts, Oven-roasted Brussels Sprouts, Homemade Pear & Applesauce

Monday: Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Sauteed Green Beans & Onions

Tuesday: Tacos, Sauteed Spinach, Buttery Baby-cut Carrots

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Wing-style Mac & Cheese, Buttery Peas, Grape Tomatoes

Friday, September 13, 2013

Menu Plan Thursday (The Late Version)

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - hot dogs, french fries, brussel sprouts

Saturday - pizza, cottage cheese, crudités

Sunday - pot roast, beets, salad

Monday - hamburgers, spinach, sliced avocados

Tuesday - baked flounder, sautéed green beans, sliced avocados

Wednesday - spaghetti sauce soup, roasted cauliflower, coleslaw

This weeks special item is plenty of avocados. The prices are so low lately!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sweet Wheat Dinner Rolls

So, I have been learning to bake bread from scratch without the assistance of a bread machine since our super old budget bread machine broke! We have decided as a family that we are not going to get another bread machine. Instead, we hope some day to be able to afford a heavy-duty stand mixer.

Anyways, I use to make the absolute most delicious buns in the world in with the assistance of our bread machine, and until today, I had not been able to get anything even close in my opinion. Today I think I achieved success! Here is my recipe!

Sweet Wheat Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons bread machine or quick yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
all purpose flour as necessary

Pour 1 cup of warm water into a bowl. (I simply used room temperature water, but it was 86 in the kitchen.) Add the brown sugar and yeast and stir to mix. It is not necessary to completely dissolve the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Stir vigorously until the mixture sheets to form a sponge.

Add about 1 cup of white flour. Stir in to form a loose dough. Dump onto a smooth surface. Knead briefly adding more white flour as necessary to keep it from being too sticky. At the same time do not add too much! The dough should still be slightly sticky, but smooth when you stop kneading. I probably kneaded for about 4 minutes and maybe added 3/4 cup extra flour, but it was very humid here! I imagine I'll add less to future batches on drier days.

Grease the dough ball with soft butter, and place it in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at least 2 hours. (It was very hot here. In the winter, I may wait 3.)

Shape the dough into round buns. Place them on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Cover with a towel, and let rise for another hour. (Longer in cold weather.)

Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Under the Weather & Future Plans

Today is my day off, and I feel just a bit under the weather. I do not know if it is the pollen, which is high, or if it is a virus or part of my normal health fluctuations. I am hoping it is not the virus option.

Last night, the kids headed off for their once-a-year overnight with their dad. Diana and I had the house to ourselves from 8 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. today. The kids had fun at the ARC race. They brought home chips. I got to see Esme.

I have started trying to get my social life in order (or create it perhaps) because I was getting to the point where all I was doing was working which is no fun, at least not when you do work you pretty much don't like. Joseph has an open invite for dinner on Friday nights. I am going off with Joseph, Lia and JoAnn to the Pagan Pride festival in Syracuse in a couple of weeks. This year it is on Mabon so it feels like a double festival for me. In October, we are hosting a Halloween gathering, in November we are having a Chanukah gathering at the end of the month, then in December, we are having a general gathering early in the month and a solstice party later. I do love Yule time festivities!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Total Randomness on Curiousity

I am a curious person. I always want to know the whys. I am pretty good at figuring them out when they exist. I search and search for patterns. I usually find them because that is what humans do.

I am sure I sometimes find patterns that don't really exist. I try to watch out for that too.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Menu Plan Thursday

I use to participate in an internet meme: Menu Plan Monday. Unfortunately, it was rather inconvenient because we make our menu plan on Thursday when we do our grocery shopping. I do enjoy reading other people's menu plans though so I thought I'd go back to sharing mine, on Thursdays, when it is convenient for me.

For a long time, about 3 years total, I didn't make dinner for the family as a whole on a regular basis, and we forewent our meal plans. Recently, our grocery budget plummeted, and I decided that a return to menus was the way to go.

With no further ado, here is the plan for this week:

Thursday: leftover soup, coleslaw, honey-apple bread

Friday: tuna mac & cheese, steamed baby-cut carrots, cornbread

Saturday: pancakes, bacon, pears

Sunday: chicken salad subs, steamed broccoli, chocolate-chip brownies

Monday: Polish sausage stir-fry, sauerkraut, Swedish limpa

Tuesday: roast chicken, roast sweet potatoes, pumpernickel

Wednesday: salmon bake, tomato-avocado salad, whole wheat buns

The highlight of this week is that I have a 5 pound bag of rye flour I am going to start experimenting with. I am going to try for a Swedish limpa and a loaf of pumpernickel. I have perfected bread with wheat flour. I can make all different kinds without a recipe. Now, I want to move on to something new!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Life Update as I Head Into Fall

It has been up and down between busy and not busy around here. Lia spent a week visiting: a night with my sister, two nights with her older sisters, another night with my sister, and three nights with her friend Shamara. Josie and Lia went to the fair and saw Austin Mahone. Lia went back to the fair with Sadie and rode rides and with Shamara mostly to browse and shop.

Ant has been super active riding his bike, mowing the lawn, talking a mile a minute and thinking up projects. I don't hear from Esme much, but she is off for an adventure in Oregon soon!!! Emma is healing still and taking care of the babies and putting in many hours at work. One of her good friends just moved back to the area from Florida. That gives her extra on the social front.

I have been working hard. I usually work 5 and 3/5 days a week for pay, and a lot not for pay in the times between. I also study French and math on a regular basis to relax my mind. I'd like to study something more challenging, but by the end of the work day, I am so tired! I have read a lot of books. The one that stands out is "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. Really, it was a book with the theme: "Everythings ends so everything matters;" very similar to "Everything Matters" by Ron Currie, Jr. That theme runs around my head a lot because I think there is a lot of truth to it.

This past weekend we sent the summer off with a corn roast here on Saturday night and a picnic at my mother's on Monday. Both were fun. The picnic was the most fun because I have not seen my family in so long. I wish I could have stayed for a few days! I did stay a long time, but it was a full day because I had to work a couple hours in the morning before I left and a few more when I go home. The time pressure was definitely on and that is never fun for me.

Soon church starts back up for us. Diana and I are teaching RE in the fall this year. I think we have to be there for 9 or 10 classes. More than previously, but maybe it will help us bond with the students better. Diana is definitely the winner at that, but I know how to get to the heart of the lesson plan and make sure the kids understand as best as they can at that moment. On the other hand, Diana rocks the crafts 100%.