This Sunday morning is off to a fine start. As soon as I got out of bed, only half-awake, I started prepping short-rib beef stew for the Crock-Pot. I had been pushing this off for days, and didn’t want to wait any longer. Been cooking a few hours now and it smells wonderfully oniony.
After that I went out and bought really good fresh bagels and apple-cinnamon cream cheese and coffee, and it was one of those rare times when you crave something and you fulfill it and it is as good as you wanted it to be.
After I finish this post, I’m not doing much else today. Taking a break. Yesterday, I took the kids to this place called the Big Event. I felt guilty that we had just had a whole week of half days and we hadn’t done anything interesting with them, mainly because of snow and me not feeling well. So I decided to go check out this place with them. It ended up being fun if a little expensive. Arcade games, a rock climbing wall, a game where you go in this big booth and dodge lasers. Also a cool game in which you lay down and the screen and the thing you’re laying in simulate a roller coaster. We also ate lunch there — they have a big bowling alley with a cafe (and a bar). So a good time was had by all and my guilt was assuaged. (Overall I’m not sure I’d recommend — website oversells the attractions and the place seemed understaffed — but not bad if you just want to get out of the house and play some games.)
Then last night, hubs and I had a nice grown-up dinner with some fun grown-ups while my parents took the kids to the diner to eat and then back to their house.
Last week as I said was all half-days, and a snow day on Tuesday (a little snow and a lot of sleet). All week I was operating off of a meal plan that I dreamed up over the weekend, supported by a trip to Wegmans the Friday before and a trip to Shop Rite on Monday, ahead of the storm. Since I missed the window for ordering meat from Hillacres Pride, I bought chicken, short ribs, and ground beef from Wegmans — I believe the chicken and ground beef were organic/local/possibly humane too, but not the short ribs.
I had been looking through my recipe collection and getting ambitious. Of course, the week did not go exactly according to plan.
Monday, we had baked macaroni and cheese (with extra sharp cheddar and Gruyere) and green beans sauteed in garlic and oil. These (from the U.S., but not organic) green beans were delicious and perfectly cooked if I do say so myself. This didn’t stop the kids from turning in Oscar-worthy performances as they heaved, sighed and choked them down. The mac n cheese, the way I make it (mom’s recipe on a piece of notebook paper), ends up with these clots of cheese, which taste good to me but are apparently reprehensible to them, so I need to try to make it saucier next time.
Tuesday, snow day: I focused on making cookies. Chewy sugar cookies. I thought they came out great, but the kids were kind of ehhh on them. I ended up freezing a bunch of them. Aidan did help me make them and he seemed to enjoy it.
Then we just had regular, out-of-a box (but organic!) mac n cheese and chicken nuggets for dinner.
The kids went out in the slush a lot. It made for some pretty pictures, or it would for someone who knows how to take pictures.
Wednesday was another chapter in my ongoing saga, Disasters with Polenta. Why do you befuddle me, polenta? Are you really that difficult? I was trying to make Crispy Polenta Cakes with Mushroom Ragout. Instead I had Mushy Gritty Corn Soupiness Soaked in Mushroom Soupiness. And showers of grease everywhere. Hubs brought home a pizza.
OK, so actually it didn’t taste that bad — I ate it — but it was definitely not right. The next night, I did everything I could think of to cook it up right (baking, broiling) but the texture was just not right. (Hint: if they tell you to use coarse grind cornmeal, don’t sub medium grind cause that’s all you have.) I did eat it again though. Everyone else had stuffed shells from the freezer.
Friday, I felt defeated, and I had stuff to do for the talent show and then we had to go to the show, so we ate dinner at Wendy’s.
I did, on Wednesday, manage to grate the cauliflower I had bought into cauliflower rice and freeze it . So I will probably do one of the cauliflower meals from that meal plan this week.
Two other noteworthy events from last week: I finally sewed the front pocket on Aidan’s favorite sweatshirt, which had ripped open. As usual, not a beautiful sewing job but seems to be holding together. Also, on Thursday morning, I broke a rule I’ve had forever and took scissors to my own hair. I just never seemed to have time to get a haircut, and it was only the crappy ends that were bothering me. So, with apologies to S.K., I Googled it. Google said to put my hair in a ponytail in the top/center of my head and go ahead and lop off however much I wanted. I ended up asking hubs to do it (“Are you crazy?”). Then I went back and did a little more myself (I had to flop the ponytail over in front of my eyes to really get at it). As with the sewing job, I wouldn’t look too closely at my hair, but it feels better and generally looks better. The ends had gotten really atrocious. I have a lot of shorter layers and I don’t dare try to mess with them, so I will need a real haircut, but this bought some time.
Last week I also worked on my new eBay lots (12-month clothes). All my posted lots have sold and been sent. I’m up to $393.97 sold on eBay (before subtracting shipping costs).
I guess I’ll work on a new meal plan now. I did pretty well last week with trying to use up things we had (half blocks of cheese, the cornmeal, etc.) Need to go through the fridge again. Full school days all week. Soccer practice Thursday night, and I think I have a meeting then as well. Also would like to plant more seeds today. Onions, broccoli, tomatoes and basil have sprouted. Waiting on peppers, parsley and cilantro. I want to order some other types of herbs online. Come on spring!