Menu Plan Monday

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We are home from a wonderful week of vacation on Tybee Island, Georgia. It is just a gorgeous place, and I’m so glad we got to return this year!

I did a lot of reading, pretty much no writing, and a lot of talking with friends and family. I also did no menu planning for our return, so 30 seconds after we got home and David asked me when dinner was, I drew a blank.

My hastily planned-and-shopped-for menu plan sounds pretty good, though. Here it is!

Monday: Thai Peanut Beef, rice, sauteed green beans in sesame oil
Tuesday: Italian Sloppy Joes, roasted broccoli, apples slices
Wednesday: Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes and Green Beans
Thursday: out with visiting family
Friday: Braised Pork Ribs with Hoisin & Ginger Ale Sauce, fried rice, stir-fry veggies
Saturday: going to a 4th party, bringing Dijon Potato Salad and Red, White, and Blue Yogurt Pie
Sunday: Bacon & Feta Pasta with Peas

Are you making anything fun for the 4th?

Links as of Late

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I really intended to keep dong some link post every week. But this summer has been swallowing me whole, leaving little time for reading. Also, I recently took on a role of doing curation for the site For Every Mom, headed by my friend Jenny of Mommin’ It Up.

So in all honesty, most of good links are going to Jenny. Here are a couple posts that ran there lately from my curating:

But I’ve also run across some other stuff that won’t quite work there. So here are some other great links I want to share with you.

I’m at the beach this week, so definitely sparse online, as it should be. Reading away and spending time with my family. Have a great week!

Menu Plan Monday | Simple for Summer

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Well, I didn’t totally bomb out on VBS week. We ate most of what I had planned, except instead of Tomato Basil Burgers I made homemade pizza for a Saturday night movie-night. (I use Amy’s No-Rise Crust and the Weelicious Veggie-heavy Pizza Sauce, which I make and freeze in portions.)

This week should be pretty chill as we prepare for vacation and the rest of the summer! I’m hoping to get the apartment cleaned up and maybe cleared out to the thrift store a little. I’m hoping this menu will keep my time working on dinner pretty low so I can focus on the kids and packing and the apartment.

June 15
B: Leftover Blueberry Muffins, grapes
D: Honey-Glazed Chicken Thighs, pasta, grilled zucchini

June 16
B: Toast with peanut butter, apple slices
D: Beef and Pork Burgers on Whole Wheat Buns, Potato Cubes, Peas

June 17
B: Date Scones
D: Italian Sloppy Joes, veggie saute

June 18
B: Pumpkin Molasses French Toast Sticks, fruit, cheese cubes
D: Balsamic Chicken and Tortellini, spinach salad

June 19
B: Eat what you can find!
D: Clean out the fridge night

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

 

Two smoothie posts in one week? Yes, I know. But I don’t think my recipe index reflects my great love for smoothies.

This is my very favorite smoothie, one I downed a lot when I was nursing for the extra calories that were mostly healthy. With the strawberries and peanut butter, it makes me think of a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I like some banana in there, too, for balance, but you can leave it out if you want more of a strawberry flavor.

This recipe makes one giant smoothie or two more normal-sized ones. And now I want one right now. Even though I had dinner already. Cause it’s so good it’s pretty much a milkshake ….

PBJ Smoothie

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 giant or 2 smaller smoothies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen or not)
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • about 2/3 cup milk, enough to make the mixture blend

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and process until smooth. If desired, you can add some ice cubes.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2015/06/peanut-butter-jelly-smoothie/

Do you have a favorite go-to smoothie?

Bacon & Egg Pie

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Bacon and Cheese Egg Pie

Here is something small children and high-school boys have in common: if you say the word “quiche,” they immediately think “that sounds disgusting.” From experience, I can send the exact same quiche to Mr. V’s small group of advisee boys two Wednesday mornings. If he calls it egg pie, they will eat it. If he slips and calls it quiche, they pass.

GAHHHHH.

So around our house, we call this, which is obviously QUICHE, egg pie. It’s a very basic one, because you know my children could not possibly ingest a vegetable during breakfast. Occasionally I’ll throw a few spinach leaves on top, but they will pick them off.

But for us, it’s a good dish that pleases everyone in the family. I’m happy because they kids are getting protein from the eggs; Libbie is happy because BACON. And everyone else eats it, too. (At 6, Libbie apparently joined in the bacon trend unknowingly. Girl loves bacon more than anyone I’ve ever met.)

First, you fry up a package of bacon and cut it into small pieces. It can still be a little chewy. I like to chop mine with kitchen shears into the pan and cook it like that. It takes a while, but I don’t have to mess with flipping whole pieces or anything. Then move the pieces to a paper towel to drain and cool off a little.

Next, mix your eggs, half-and-half, dried minced onion, and some pepper together. I don’t add salt because I think all the cheese and bacon makes it plenty salty.

IMG_0088

Now shred about 6 ounces of block cheese – you want about a cup and a half. Shredding the cheese yourself makes it melt so much better, because it doesn’t have stabilizers and the cornstarchy stuff on it. I used Colby Jack for this pie but any version of cheddar or a nice, sharp cheese will work. Then stir the cheese and the bacon into the egg mixture.

Spray your pie pan with cooking spray or grease it, then fit the pie crust to the plate. I like to pretend like I will make my own, but I almost always buy the boxes of refrigerated crusts.

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Crimp the edges of your crust so they’re not hanging down low, and then put the pie plate on a jelly roll pan in case of overflow. Pour the egg mixture into the pie. You may need to move around the bacon and cheese to make sure it’s all over the pie.

Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil (just lay the sheet on top of it) and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, until it’s not very jiggly. Wait a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Scrumptious!

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Quiche

 

This is great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 slices

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pie

This is adapted from the Pioneer Woman's Cowboy Quiche. There is no way I could get my people to eat caramelized onions, and I scaled it down for a regular-sized 9-inch pie pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust, storebought or homemade
  • 12 to 16 ounces bacon, fried and chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
  • pepper
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and roll out the pie crust onto it, crimping edges.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, dried minced onion, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in bacon pieces and cheese. Pour into prepared crust, spreading out the bacon and cheese so it is evenly distributed.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, until center is no longer jiggly. Cool for a few minutes before cutting into slices and serving.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2015/06/bacon-egg-pie/

What I Read in May 2015: Grown-Up Books

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I kind of want to say “adult books,” but that sounds risque or something. What I mean is, these are books written for adults. As opposed to the Young Adult ones I read in May.

offtherecord

Off the Record by Elizabeth White – I must have read about this book somewhere, because it’s been on my Amazon wishlist a long time. Who knows? When it went on sale for Kindle, I decided it was worth the $2. And I really, really liked it. As I’ve mentioned a million times, when my brain is tired, I turn to Christian fiction. This is the story of Lauren, a young woman running for chief state justice in Alabama. Surrounded by family and with a reputation of being highly conservative and big on family values, Lauren’s world is shaken up when former love interest Cole comes to report on her campaign.

It sounds cheesier than it is. I really enjoyed watching the story between Lauren and Cole unfold, and White is a wonderful writer.

shosha

Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer – This is the book I decided to read to fill the “book originally published in another language” category of the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge. It’s a very peculiar novel about a Jewish writer living in Warsaw, Poland as World War II closes in. I think I was hoping for more of a moral work, but Aaron is a little sleazy and sort of unlikeable. And yet the author shows him with great soul as he is basically offered a free ticket to America to leave behind everything and almost everyone he knows – including Shosha, a childhood friend he rediscovers.

Really, the story is kind of bizarre, and I wondered if something was lost in the translation. But it was also something enlightening to the Jewish mindframe as they knew the Nazis were coming. (The book was published in Yiddish, not Polish, if you are interested.)

onthenoodleroad

On the Noodle Road by Jen Lin-Liu – A nonfiction trip on the Noodle Road – from Beijing to Rome – with author Jen Lin-Liu and occasionally her (much-talked-about) husband, Craig. Married just a short time, Lin-Liu talks about her journey to wifehood alongside her journey through China, Central Asia, and into Turkey and Italy. While there is a lot of navel-gazing going on, I found the actual food writing to be tantalizing and very interesting. Prepare yourself to want to make pasta from scratch. Although I don’t relate a whole lot to Len-Liu’s struggle to understand herself as both a wife and an independent woman, I think it resonates with our culture today.

Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Liane Moriarty has an incredible talent for making books with really tough topics (in this case, a murder) read like chicklit. She is witty and funny and turns what could be a labored read about an old murder and a marriage breaking down into something pretty extraordinary. I just love her writing and character development.

atlasgirl

Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga – It might be weird to say this about a memoir, but I absolutely devoured this book by blogger Emily T. Wierenga. Emily shares about growing up, meeting her husband, marrying, her mother’s sickness, traveling, and battling anorexia – all in nonlinear format. Which might sound confusing, but it worked perfectly, Emily’s poetic words flowing between timelines.

When you are an overthinker (which I am), faith can sometimes be difficult. I think it is for Emily, and it can be for me. But coming through it with the Spirit feels so good. I felt like she understood me and was willing to admit that faith isn’t easy. Something she said about letting God take care of her has really stuck with me. Truly loved this book and look forward to reading the sequel, Making It Home.

delancey

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – Confession time. One, until I opened this book I had no idea that Molly Wizenberg wrote Orangette, one of the original food blogs. I just knew I had heard many people rave about her books. Two, I couldn’t remember which book was supposed to come first (this or A Homemade Life), but my name came up at the library so I read it anyway. (It’s not this one, BTW.)

I think my aunt and several others were appalled when I only gave it three stars on GoodReads, and my aunt says it’s because I didn’t read A Homemade Life first. Maybe that’s it? I liked it, it was interesting, but it just didn’t strike me as something I love. And that’s OK, right?

newlyweds

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger – I am going to go with this book as my one I picked because of the cover on the 2015 Reading Challenge. I was searching through audiobooks on our library’s Overdrive system, and this one jumped out at me. It sounded like something I’d like, so I loaded it onto my iPod and listened to it over the course of a month.

At first, I really enjoyed the tale of Amina, a young woman from Bangladesh who finds a husband through a dating site and moves to Rochester, New York to marry George. Amina’s first years in the U.S. are rocky as she adjusts to the many cultural differences, not to mention being a wife to a man she barely knows. But as Amina endeavors to bring her parents to the US from Bangladesh, the story kind of fell apart for me. I felt very unsatisfied with the ending and thought there were some loose threads, too.

________

Shew. That’s a lot of words about books! And these are my “short reviews.” Haha.

Are you reading anything good right now? I’m starting to get into We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. It reminds me a little of Maeve Binchy’s arching storylines and characters. But we’ll see how it goes.

This post will be added to Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy