Saturday, January 12, 2013

Food and Cuddles

The view from my parking spot on the roof of the garage at work. I snapped it with my iPhone the evening after this post, it's lovely isn't it?


We ate out on Friday, a delicious foray into a Chuy's happy hour. It was a spontaneous special treat that felt necessary enough to be worth the expense. And it was. We love restaurants, all of us- Landon has been asking for weeks when we can eat out again, and the kids are well-behaved enough that JP and I can go entire minutes pretending we're alone on a date. It's been a long time since we've gone out for Tex Mex and the free happy hour queso and $3.95 margaritas (two things I don't make at home) were all like a balm to the soul. Everything is brighter after 1.5 margaritas and a large bowl of queso.

Speaking of food, this week's menu is as follows:

Saturday: Mom's delicious spaghetti sauce with rigatoni pasta, salad, and extra buttery extra garlic-salty Italian bread.

Sunday: Buffalo Chicken Casserole, as recommended by CP, with a few modifications to make it way less spicey (1 Tbl of Buffalo sauce instead of 6), more creamy (adding sour cream to the sauce) and less bacony (no bacon; JP hates it). CP also recommended slicing the potatoes thin, which I plan to do as well. That'll be served with sliced veggies, blue cheese dressing (and Ranch, as my crazy blue-cheese hating, but Ranch loving husband prefers), and rolls.

Monday: PW's Beef with Snow Peas stirfry. A family favorite and one of JP's specialties. We use a mix of veggies and serve it over brown rice.

Tuesday: Leftover spaghetti sauce over a different shape of pasta. Because different shapes make a different meal!

Wednesday: Greek pizzas. Big fat pita breads from Sprouts, topped with olive oil, herbs, feta, kalamatas, tomatoes, and a bit of mozzerella. Baked and then topped with a cold Greek salad with a homemade dressing (just olive oil, wine vinegar, and oregano; as I learned in Greece, those three simple ingredients are all feta cheese needs to be fabulous).

Thursday: Tamales (with shredded beef filling; steamed), Spanish rice, and a baked zucchini, corn, and tomato side dish that I ate at a restaurant once and plan to attempt to recreate.

Friday: Homemade pizza!

So that's the week! I just discovered Sprouts Farmer's Market and now I have a big dilemma each weekend of trying to decide how many grocery stores I'm willing to stop at to get the most produce, meat, and other foods at the cheapest prices. The current routine is Costco once a month, alternating TJ's or Sprout's every Saturday, and adding Kroger as a second stop to gather up the few remaining items. Our grocery costs have gone down and our quantity, quality, and variety of produce is way up. It's a great wealth of options we have.

And finally, because I like pictures and didn't post these over Christmas, I present our snuggle Bear. It's always hard to describe Claire- she's so many things, but while we joke about her feistiness, the truth is, the girl's barely ever even thrown a tantrum and is generally a cheerful ball of happiness. She's independent and she's smart and oh my goodness does she TALK, but above all, she's incredibly sweet and snuggly. If she sees you in any sort of horizontal position, she will drape herself across you immediately. Even my brother, who is afraid of babies and very small children, was not immune.


Landon is no longer quite so small and can be played with properly. They were building legos (a present from Uncle Eric, who was quite the legomaniac himself as a child), and next thing you know, the snuggler appears.


He might not admit it, but I think he liked it. I noticed he was careful not to move his legs until she got up.


Later that day, Bear spotted her Papa sleeping happily on the couch. She moved in immediately.


Which resulted in quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole holiday weekend.


Weekends are wonderful things. The not having a job seems to matter so much less, and the fun with the kids and the watching of Downton Abbey are marvelous distractions. The worry is always below the surface, but it doesn't seem to bubble up so much on our "home days" as the kids call them. Happy weekend everyone!


  1. I LOVE the picture of Claire with your dad. Absolutely love it.

    1. Me too, I have it on my desk at work :).

  2. That last picture is frame worthy!!

    I'm trying the cinnamon rolls you linked on New Years. We (Seattleites) are all in a frenzy over the Seahawks making it to a play-off and I'm going to bring cinnamon rolls to our game-day brunch! They're rising in my fridge as we speak. They look fantastic so far! Although when I put them in the pan, they only really fit into one small 9X pan so I'm concerned I messed up somewhere.

  3. And I can't believe JP doesn't like bacon or blue cheese!

    1. I know, it's crazy, though if I ever wrote out the long list of foods I don't like, I suppose that might seem even crazier. But seriously, blue cheese is one of life's great joys. (I'm not a big fan of bacon either, it's fine alone with breakfast, but I find it overpowers any dish, sandwich, or salad you add it to, so I never do.)

    2. Check out PW's Chicken Sandwich recipe. The bacon doesn't overpower the flavor too much. I don't baste the chicken with the bacon drippings as she suggests though. I marinate the chicken in the A.M to cook later on in the day. Don't use as much honey as she does though...way too sweet. I don't use a grill or indoor grill but the same frying pan used for the bacon (drippings removed so as not to cause blocked arteries, of course). I haven't experienced any "chicken sticking to the pan" as some reviewers have complained but perhaps it's due to cutting the amount of honey. The sandwich is delicious and with sweet potato or regular fries, the kids LOVE it. Sometimes, I'll throw on a fresh tomato slice and cold lettuce and it turns it into something different. Here's the link... I thought the sandwich needed a bit of a sauce so I'll put a touch of mayo or ketchup for the kids and something spicier for the adults like sriracha or another chili sauce that's hanging around. Just a suggestion.

  4. I love Sprouts! Its a little far for me on the weekends, and like you I don't want to go to too many stores on the I go on my lunch hour or my way home on Wednesdays. You get both the previous weeks deals and the current weeks deals on Wednesdays too...bonus!

    1. Oh, awesome, maybe I'll start doing that! I wrote a whole other paragraph about the pros and cons of the various stores before deciding it was too much information. I'll throw it in here in case anyone is wondering why maybe they should add a stop to their list :).

      Costco (excellent for fresh produce in large quantity and boxes of organic staples; our pantry floor always has 4 boxes with cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and black beans. I would be lost without them, though our smaller home of no closets and tiny pantry does not allow us to get the full value of the warehouse as we used to.); Trader Joe's (adored for their prepared frozen and refrigerated foods, beloved for their pre-chopped produce, and enjoyed for pretty much everything else they offer, particularly their prices. And wine!); Sprouts (best selection of fresh foods for the best prices; amazing organic and grass-fed meats for very reasonable prices, though not a deep selection; and the best priced gallon of organic milk I've found anywhere. However, the variety of pantry items is nowhere near as good as Kroger or even TJ's); and finally, Kroger (where we get the few remaining things on our list we can't get at any of the above).

  5. I just noticed that you mentioned adding sour crema to the chicken casserole. I actually used whipping cream. if you use sour cream, let me know how it goes!

  6. Great post, LL! ... I was so glad to see your dad looking so happy and healthy after his accident a while back (I guess it was a pretty long time ago now, but nonetheless, priceless to have him safe and sound!).

    And on a totally different note, it's cool to see that you try to shop organic/grass fed! I've been trying to do that too. You guys must have great local grassfed beef in Texas, no? We have some in CA, but not the selection I'd imagine you might have.

    Oh, and since I rarely comment (8 month old baby!), but always enjoy your posts, I also want to wish you and your sweet family a very happy new year (including, hopefully, a job for JP!). : )

  7. Those snuggle pictures are so sweet! I'm glad your dad is doing well!