Menu Plan Monday: Purple

December 29, 2015
Yup, this week we are going to taste colors. I was inspired to make a color-themed meal plan whilst I was cutting up heirloom carrots in all sorts of colors, including purple for Christmas dinner, which I forgot to take pictures of before it was devoured, but it looked good and tasted even better.

Monday:  Eggplant Lasagna - a mashup of multiple recipes, so I guess I should post my own version.
Eggplant Lasagna
Homemade Eggplant Lasagna fresh out of the oven.

Tuesday:  Sweet Potato Bisque

Wednesday: Road trip!
Thursday: NYE - I hope someone else is cooking
Friday: I need to decide between Purple Carrot Cake (it's savory!) or Purple Carrot and Ginger Soup.
Photo from Kelly Siew Cooks

Menu Plan Monday: Christmas Week

December 20, 2015
Feeling slightly unprepared
Monday: Spicy Lime Beef Salad
Tuesday: Second viewing of The Force Awakens at Alamo Draft House!!!!! No cooking for me.

Wednesday: Salmon and Spud Salad
Thursday: Curried Cauliflower Soup 
Friday (Christmas):
  • Crown Roast of Lamb (or maybe Mereneese, I have't decided yet or maybe I'll do a Mereneese Crown)
  • Maple buttered roasted carrots
  • Mashed butternut squash
  • Rolls
  • Steamed veggies
  • Lemon pound cake (family recipe) for dessert.

Saturday: Leftovers

Wordless Wednesday: Mission Control

December 9, 2015

Mission Control - Space Center Houston

Nerdvember Recap

December 1, 2015
All my goofy glory and amazing t-shirt collection recapped in one post. I managed every day except one and I still have plenty of t-shirts left. There was no DisneyBounding or much subtle cosplay compared to last year. And I am very happy to return to behind the camera until next year.

Menu Plan Monday: Gobble Up Those Leftovers

November 28, 2015

Josh carving the turkey.
Even though it was only 13lbs, there was A LOT of meat left over.
Friday: Make stock
Saturday: Finish making stock and eating some of the leftovers. I have missed King's Hawaiian rolls so much. Like, crack. Good thing I don't plan on moving much the rest of the weekend.
So much stock. I wonder if I should try Phở?
Sunday: Turkey Shepherd's Pie with sweet potatoes - modified from Paleo Shepherd's Pie.

Monday: Turkey (Noodle) Soup
Tuesday: Turkey Pot Pie

Wednesday: Turkey Waldorf Salad
Turkey Waldorf Salad from

Thursday - Saturday - someone else is doing the cooking.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes?

Holidays in Houston

November 24, 2015
I'm new to town and had no idea how we were going to spend the holidays, other than my son coming down from the Dallas area to eat. Luckily, there are a few things coming up. I just need to remember to take my camera.

Menu Plan Monday: Uninspired by Fall

November 8, 2015

It's getting towards the end of the year, holidays, stress, and everything else that makes me just want to crawl under a rock until the beginning of March. I have no motivation. Time to get out of the house,  so I went for a walk. It's only supposed to be 70 today (hallelujah!) By the time I got to my destination, less than a mile away, I was sweating. I hate Houston. Why do I even bother taking a shower?
Gorgeous weather, right? Then why am I sweating?!?
Speaking of showers, I was trying to plan this week's menu during mine. The only thing I could think of was spaghetti (squash) and meatballs. I'm also quite uninspired, the focus in the household since November 1 has been to get the menu together for Thanksgiving, which requires clearing out the apartment-sized refrigerator to make room for all of the extra food. Which makes me feel like "Why bother feeding anyone for the next two weeks?"
But, here goes. The hungry teen has been complaining that there's not enough food in the house. The pantry is full and I finally had to breakdown and buy new Tupperware for the leftovers. Why won't anyone eat leftovers?

Sunday: Orange Chicken
Gluten Free Orange Chicken Tenders
Gluten Free Orange Chicken Tenders
Monday: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Spaghetti squash and meat sauce

Tuesday: Acorn (or Butternut) Squash and Apple Soup
Wednesday: Beef and Bean Chili Verde
Thursday: Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples (new recipe to try)
Friday: Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots
Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots
Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots

Menu Plan Monday: The Zombies Ate My Brains

October 11, 2015
I have no idea what to cook this week, but soup seems like a good idea. Easy too, I have a feeling this week is going to be insane.

Monday: Acorn (Butternut) Squash and Apple Soup. I'll be using pre-chopped butternut squash.
Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli - this has become a weekly request.
Wednesday: Zuppa Toscana (modified to be dairy free) - I haven't made this in ages.

Thursday: Blackened Chicken with Zoodles and avocado sauce
Friday: Chile Verde

Menu Plan Monday: It's Fall

September 27, 2015
It's officially Fall and I am craving carbs, like potato soup, but Houston doesn't understand that it's Fall. It's still acting like Summer. Like SoCal, but worse. Much worse with the humidity. Well, except for today, today it's cool and rainy and finally a day I can wear jeans!

This week's fall inspired menu will include seasonal vegetables and warm comfort food.

Monday: Beef Pot Roast/Brisket with roasted vegetables (The Whole30 pg 214)
Tuesday: Ratatouille (pg 288) and Meatballs (pg 226)
Wednesday: Chicken with grilled asparagus

Thursday: Salmon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Dairy Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Friday: Surf'N'Turf Salad
Surf'N'Turf Salad
Breakfast will be these wonderful Blueberry Muffins and/or Eggs and Bacon. Lunch will be leftovers (if I'm lucky), or tuna and avocado.

Menu Plan Monday: My Brain Is Stuffed!

September 20, 2015
Now that I am back to cooking for 4-6 people (ok, there are only three of us, but teenage girls on growth spurts might as well be footballers in training) I have to plan larger meals. And I had just gotten used to planning perfect portion control for two people. My brain is over-full with all of the things that I need to get done, but top of mind is:
What's your trick for feeding the Always Hungry?

Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Tuesday: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday: Pineapple Burgers

Thursday: B.L.A.S.T.

Friday: Chile Verde - No one is tired of this yet.

Saturday: Jambalaya

Menu Plan Monday: Currying Favor

September 7, 2015
This week I just asked what everyone wanted to eat. I'm still not sure I remember everything correctly, but two different kinds of curry were asked for. That works for me. Curry is easily and naturally Whole30 (especially now that I have switched to using coconut cream), and free of everything Joy can't eat without massive modification. Actually, everything she asked for this week I can cook without modification.

Monday: Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots
Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots
Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots

Pasta Primavera

Wednesday: Curried Chicken - Indian Style
Chicken Curry

Thursday: Beef Broccoli  - I really need to pick up some coconut aminos, but the last few times I have made it with just the spices and seasoning have gone over fairly well.
Beef Broccoli

Friday: Chili Verde
Chili Verde

Saturday: Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad
Strawberry Chicken Avocado Salad
Menu Plan Monday hosted by:

Cabin Fever

September 6, 2015

... In the summertime. Not the dead of winter when it would make sense. Nope. In the middle of summer.

I hate you, Gulf Coast. I hate your humidity that keeps me trapped indoors. It's entirely too hot and humid to do anything enjoyable outside. Too hot and humid to even make the run to the car to drive to someplace else where the AC is set at freezing temperatures. What is it with establishments here? The AC seems to be set at 65 everywhere I go! Why should I leave home just to go someplace else indoors where I can't get comfortable and just chill out?

I hate how inactive I have become. The bugs, they eat me. I look like a horned melon in places. Allegra can only do so much. I hate going outside. But that can't be right because I love the outdoors. At least I did before I started becoming dinner and dessert for the mosquitoes and biting flies.

This is the first Labor Day Weekend in memory where I am not doing something active, social,  or outdoors. I should be camping, BBQ'ing, sun-worshiping at the beach (what the heck! 100F in Galveston!), or otherwise enjoying the last 3-day weekend before Thanksgiving and shopping hell. The cabin fever is affecting everyone in the house. Angsty teen, angry Hulk Hunk, bored pets, and stabby Mom. Not a good combination. If I was by myself, I would marathon all the shows I missed over the last few months while sipping on some Firefly Vodka Sweet Tea, but alas, that's not the case.

Everyone wants to do something. I mean, it's the last gasp of summer, right? We need something to do before we kill each other.


How Do They Do It?

August 31, 2015
At the beginning of the month, I determined that I was going to start blogging daily again. I had just finished a few of Darren's podcasts and was feeling energized about completing a 31 Day Blogging project. I even picked out a new theme and was ready to install it when I got derailed.
derailed by waqasmallick on DeviantArt
A little bit of travel, nearly 1000 photos to sort through and edit (just from that trip, that I am still working on so that I can eventually do the write-up), learning Photoshop and Lightroom all over again

Plex server issues, and then just some days where I wasn't feeling creative or motivated in the least. At the end of the work day, the last thing I wanted to do was get on another computer. Most of the month falls into that last category.

So, for all the other working single mothers who also happen to be bloggers, how the heck do you do it? I know some of you have blogged about it, but it doesn't seem sustainable, at least not if you want to get at least some sleep before you go stabby on your family and co-workers. There isn't enough coffee in the world to keep me from that, even with stellar time management.

Another Change

August 7, 2015
I do not like aging. I don't like the aches AND pains and changes in metabolism and weight gain and now, I think my eyes are changing. Again.

The Right Tool Matters

August 4, 2015

Talk about being behind on writing...
This was dinner - It was supposed to be the Chicken Hash from the Whole30 Cookbook. It looked NOTHING like the picture in the book. I was worried that the taste would be off as well (more than with my substitutions). The photo has sweet potato noodles, not the type of shredded hash I got that would have been better turned into sweet potato hash browns. Now there's an idea.

Chicken Hash
Sweet Potato Chicken Hash:
1lb chicken thighs, diced; 1/4 cup pecans, chopped; 1 large sweet potato, grated;
1 pink lady apple, diced; 1/4 cup apple cider; 1 -2 cups spinach; 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms; salt and pepper to taste
I think it probably had a lot to do with not having the right tool for the job. I found my cheese grater, but it wasn't a box grater with variable grating sizes, it was a handheld fine grater. Very fine. The cookbook suggested using a spiralizer, but the one I have was not up to the task. It gave me funky 1/2-inch noodles that kept trying to fall out of the bowl.

The final result tasted fine, it just looked ... off. And the texture ... well, that was different. Mushier than expected. No one wanted the leftovers except me. The texture was still weird, but the flavors blended extremely well. It was more than palatable two days later. I don't think I will attempt this recipe again without a coarse grater, or investing in a better spiralizer, especially since no one else seemed to like it. Cooking healthy should not involve buying more kitchen gadgets.

Maybe I'll  just make hash browns.

Menu Plan Monday: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

August 2, 2015
I might have stocked up on chicken parts last week (or maybe two weeks ago), and the items on that menu plan made lots of leftovers, plus a trip to NOLA, and I haven't had to go grocery shopping in a while. After taking stock of what meat was still in the freezer, this trip will mainly be veggies and side dishes.

Sunday: Pineapple Ceviche - inspired by the yellowfin tuna cones at SoBou. So good! I still need to write up that trip. Maybe I will while noshing on ceviche.
Yellowfin Tuna Cones
Yellowfin Tuna Cones

Monday: Jerk Chicken and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Caribbean Jerk Chicken and Stuffed Sweet Potato
Caribbean Jerk Chicken and Stuffed Sweet Potato
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore (Whole30)
Wednesday: Pecan Crusted Chicken (no breadcrumbs)
Casablanca Chutney Chicken

Friday: Early birthday trip, I better not have to cook dinner.
Saturday: Still celebrating. I'll probably post all my delicious eats on Foodspotting.

Breaking Things Again

August 1, 2015
Allrighty then. Here we go. After watching this:

and this:

I've decided to refocus certain things in my life, starting with paying attention to my creative outlets. Especially my blog. It's my main creative outlet and I need to core dump more often. Are y'all ready for that? Of course, I don't expect any of you new readers to be, but there are some of you who have been with me since the beginning. Ideally, I'll get back to more me, less fluff.

Last night I spent hours moving things over to Squarespace and playing around with templates and customizing things and well, in the end it looked like crap. Largely due to my inconsistent photography and boring content and just ... well, I was horrified. And then I thought "I could just close this down and start over", but I have had this blog for over a decade. It's just going to have to keep growing and changing with me. So maybe I am not truly ready to move out of my comfort zone, but I am ready to change a few things.

This is your warning. The look around here will probably go through a few changes as I find something that fits who I am now, instead of trying to fit into something I'm not. Hope you keep coming back for the content. If you don't want to deal with all of the construction mess, you can always subscribe.
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