Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Just want to draw your attention to the new set of links on the sidebar: great places to buy your heirloom seeds or seedlings! Many of them I have purchased seeds from myself, other just have a great selection, or great prices, or were recommended by other gardening blogs that I read.

Also, I've added to links to several website that I consult frequently:
kellymom.com-- A WONDERFUL resource for new moms, particularly about breastfeeding.
AskDrSears.com-- The famous pediatrician, his famous pediatrician sons, and his famous RN wife. Great resource. I've read lots of his books. The Baby Sleep Book was particularly helpful!
Breastfeeding Basics-- A new site I recently found with great info on breastfeeding. There are a few typos here and there in the articles, but the info is rock solid.
Dr. Jay Gordon-- Another pediatrician website I go to with great articles.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Here's What's Cookin': March 21st-28th

I'm trying to get back into the habit of a weekly menu. I'd forgotten how much work it is! I think the key to being frugal with food is simply to eat your leftovers and not be wasteful. If you plan out what you are going to cook and then stick to it, you will probably end up saving money, even if you spend more on the ingredients, because you won't throw out wasted food. I used a menu last week and it worked out pretty well. Here is the menu for this week:

banana pancakes, stewed plum with walnuts, grapefruit
Out to eat (will be out for haircut)
hummus with carrots, olives
Pita pockets with roasted red peppers and avocado, salad

yogurt, clementines, blueberries, and almonds
 Out to eat (more appointments!)
avocado salad with feta, olives, and lemon
chicken salad over greens

steel-cut oatmeal with raisins, grapefruit, grapes
Chinese rice with peas, eggplant, and mushrooms; roasted carrots
roasted eggplant and red pepper spread; pita crisps
Homemade pizza, salad

scrambled eggs, English muffin, grits, strawberries
Bell peppers stuffed with Chinese rice, salad
hummus and pita crisps

yogurt with granola, frozen berries, grapefruit
veggie fajitas of zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions; guacamole
cottage cheese and grapes
black beans, veggies, seasoned rice

oatmeal with walnuts and dates   
creamy chicken and vegetable soup, salad, French Bread

fried eggs, biscuits and jelly, grapefruit
If you can find it, you can eat it!
olives and cheese
cottage cheese and fruit 

As you can see, I try to do the largest meal at lunchtime. It is healthier to eat a large lunch and light supper: you burn more calories that way! It is much better to not consume your largest meal before you go to sleep!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Favorite....Easter Baskets!

 How cute are these Easter baskets? I ordered these from PotterBarnKids.com and had them personalized. I actually purchased the green/yellow basket on the far left for my oldest daughter her first Easter. I tried to go back and buy another one in 2009 for my second daughter, but Pottery Barn Kids didn't offer these soft baskets! Needless to say, I was thrilled when I looked this year and they had brought them back. I went ahead and ordered the blue one for my little baby boy. He'll only be 4 months at Easter this year, but I didn't want to take a chance that Pottery Barn Kids wouldn't offer them next year.

These soft basket are my favorites for a couple of reasons. First, they are sooooo cute! Second, I feel that they are much better for toddlers than the traditional woven basket. For one thing, they are easier to hold and carry. For another, they can take way more damage. If you step on a woven basket or bang it around, that's it! It's ruined. If you chew on a woven basket, it is forever imprinted with bite marks, not to mention the danger of splinters! R actually trudged her basket through the mud, and while I don't know if these baskets are technically machine washable, I washed the green one and it came out with minimal wear, still holds its shape, and still looks fine.

Another reason I love these particular baskets, is that while they are more appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, they will grow up with the kids and not be "baby-ish" the way that the chick- or bunny-shaped ones will be. Especially for a little boy. A ten-year-old boy will probably still want to hunt Easter eggs (for candy and money!), but he'd probably rather not have a basket shaped like a bunny. Unless it's a bunny with sharp, pointy teeth. But I'm not letting him watch Monty Python until he's 13, and besides, it would scare the small children.

I'm very excited about Easter this year. It was never a big holiday in my family (we were more into the true meaning than the pagan rituals), but I always did love a good egg hunt, and I think this will be the year for M to really get the concept. Should be lots of fun!

UPDATE: I just looked at the Pottery Barn Kids website, and it says the pink basket is no longer available! I just ordered mine last Tuesday. Whew! I'm glad I got it when I did!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Healthier" Cookies

Here's a find that I love: The Target brand 'Archer Farms" break and bake cookie dough (in the frozen section of the "pantry" items) has no hydrogenated oils, and no high fructose corn syrup! Makes me feel a tad better about splurging!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Learning the Hard Way

This afternoon, I walked into the kitchen to find my 3 1/2 year old and my 2 year old on the kitchen floor with bowls of granola, which the eldest had taken upon herself to pour. Needless to say, there was granola all over the floor. I proceeded to show them where the small hand-broom and dust pan were, then I showed them how to sweep properly so that the granola actually goes into the bin instead of just spreading it around and creating a bigger mess, how to dump the contents of said dust pan into the trash, and how to return the hand-broom and dust pan to its proper place. Here are my my thoughts on this event:
Amount of time it took to teach one pre-schooler and one toddler how to clean up after themselves: 45 minutes.
Amount of time (approx.) it would have taken for me to just clean it up myself: 3 minutes
Amount of time (approx.) I would spend in my lifetime cleaning up after them if I never taught them how to do it themselves: 10 years
Lifetime value of the lesson learned: priceless

Friday, March 5, 2010

Revive Your Greens

Here's a trick if your greens are wilting: cut an inch or two off the bottom stem and then submerge the stems in water. They'll perk right back up and stay crisp and crunchy for much longer (they're darn pretty, too).

A Series of Fortunate Ingredients: Lemony Orzo with Roasted Broccoli and Feta Cheese

It continues to be a challenge to get more veggies into my diet, but it's easy with a lunch like this one: Lemony orzo with Roasted Broccoli and Feta Cheese. This is a recipe I came up with on the fly to use up a crown of broccoli before it went bad. The result was light but filling. What I really liked about this dish was all the possibilities. It makes a great side dish or lunch, but would be delicious with strips of grilled chicken mixed in for a simple entree. And you could go beyond broccoli and add your favorite roasted veggies, too. This dish was delicious both hot and cold. The possibilities are endless!

Lemony Orzo with Roasted Broccoli and Feta Cheese

1/2 box orzo pasta, prepared according to package instructions
juice and zest of one lemon
1 crown broccoli, chopped into small pieces androasted in olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 F for 20 minutes. Turn halfway through cooking time.
1 package Athenos Feta Cheese with Garlic and Herbs
Grated pecorino romano cheese, for garnish

While waiting for pasta water to boil, roast the broccoli. Combine hot, prepared pasta, roasted broccoli, and feta in a bowl. Add lemon zest and squeeze in lemon juice. Garnish with pecorino romano. Mix well and enjoy!