Friday, August 30, 2013

Muffins of Meat and other Goings On

It has been a pretty good week. Landon is doing great in Kindergarten. Or at least I assume he's doing great. Getting the details of his day involves using of all my trial advocacy workshop skills, but he is very clear that "green means GREAT mom!" and he's had all greens and he brings home adorable work sheets with penciled letters on big ruled lines, with stickers on the top, and excellent coloring-in-the-lines skills displayed throughout, so all appears to be going well. He particularly loves PE and recess (shocking), and he's pretty sure he won the game they played in PE on Wednesday, though after a complicated explanation of the rules that made absolutely NO sense on redirect, I'm not so sure he's right. Regardless, he's up on time every morning dressed in his uniform navy polo and khaki shorts and marches off to school with Claire and JP with a smile on his face. He wasn't clear on his teacher's name for the first three days and every time we pop quizzed him on it, he'd look at us baffled and Claire would yell out her name from wherever she was in the house. JP is off lessons this week and next so he's been picking up Claire absurdly early because he misses her (I think she was only at her school for 2 hours today) and then they hang out and walk to pick Landon up together. It is definitely the highlight of her day.

On the me front, baby girl continues to grow and move and generally make her presence known (as if the giant belly wasn't doing it for her). Her nursery is now complete, she has a first name (though no middle yet), and she is beginning to amass a first year wardrobe. I went through all of Claire's 0-18 month clothes last weekend and found a few things that were off-season for Claire that I'd forgotten about that will work well for #3. But mostly Claire's newborn stuff is all way too summery for our fall/winter baby 3, which means I don't have to feel guilty when I succumb to the adorable and tiny and cheap newborn clothes that shove themselves in my faces at Target and Carters.

(far right has a turkey on the butt! turkey on the butt!)

And speaking of tiny clothes, I accidentally wandered into the Carter's 50% off store-wide Labor Day sale and came out with some bibs (it has been fascinating to see which baby items I saved in the move- like we got rid of the play gym mat and arms, but somehow kept the play gym toys, and we gave away all the baby gear, but kept the co-sleeper, and I kept both kids' baby clothes but gave away all bibs, bottles, blankets, and towels. I can't explain any of it) and the kids' Christmas pj's. The pj's are their first present to open on Christmas Eve (at Papa and Gigi's house, before we head to church, so they can wear them on the drive back to the lake) and as long-time readers now, I get twitchy if all my Christmas shopping isn't done by October, so it felt good to check that off.

(bibs, which really are a necessary item and not an indulgence at all, and teeny tiny pants!)

I never posted our menu for the week. Menu planning remains the worst part of my Saturday, I can just never think of anything that sounds good and I always want to stop people on the store and ask what they're having for dinner so I can add it to my list, but I persevered and ended up with a good plan:

Sunday: grilled Italian chicken breasts, caprese pasta salad (cold pasta, the tiniest balls of fresh mozzerella I've ever seen, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, homemade balsamic vinaigrette- very tasty!), sauteed squash

Monday: meatball stroganoff over rice noodles, green beans, rolls (Landon's favorite meal in honor of the first day of school)

Tuesday: bbq quinoa salad (quinoa + grilled chicken, diced tomato, corn, black beans, diced avocado, shredded cheese with bbq (yes) and/or ranch (ew; I hate it, but we go through buckets of it because JP and the kids are pretty sure it goes on everything) drizzled on top- it's a family favorite), chips and salsa

Wednesday: pizza (my grandparents stopped by for a quick overnight stay on their drive home from Wisconsin and treated us to delivery! it was wonderful to see them and I definitely enjoyed the midweek takeout)


Thursday: muffins of meat (explanation below), mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, rolls

Friday: TBD, hopefully sometime soon

Saturday: chicken stew (I have been CRAVING chicken stew and I'm not even sure what chicken stew is; I've never made it and have no recipes, but google has steered me to a few good looking ones and I'm going to make something up tomorrow. When it's 105 degrees out. I don't know, pregnancy.)

Sunday: something on the grill, probably burgers

Monday: Sushi at a fancy restaurant with a ridiculously cheap happy hour for our 8th wedding anniversary; kids will eat something not nearly as awesome at home with the sitter

Tuesday: tacos (because it's easy and just goes with Tuesday)

Wednesday: pasta with tomato cream sauce (because JP will be making it and it's his favorite meal in the whole world)

Thursday: TJ frozen chicken skewers, rice mix, frozen veggies (because we're usually out of fresh things by Thurs.)

Friday: off to the lake house for my mom's birthday weekend!

On Thuesday, I attempted to make Meatloaf Muffins. A friend had posted about them on her facebook feed, noting that everyone in her family had enjoyed them. I'm always up for something new and I like individual entree items and all things that go with mashed potatoes, so I thought we should try them. My family was... skeptical. I had many conversations like this;

Landon: What are we having for dinner tomorrow again?
Me: Meatloaf muffins.
Landon: Muffins! Awesome!
Me: Well, no, different muffins than you're thinking of... they're muffins... of meat.
Landon: Ew.
Me: [the look] (he's not allowed to say "ew" about things we prepare him)
Landon: Um... I'm just, I'm not sure that sounds very good mom. Maybe we can have regular muffins?


Claire: Mommy, what are we having for dinner? (part of our morning discussion in which we go through the plan for the whole day)
Me: Meatloaf muffins.
Claire: Meat muffins??
JP: Yeah, I know Claire, muffins of meat. It's unnatural.
Claire: [confused]
JP: I think we should should just call them "baby meatloaves"
Claire: Meat babies?!
Me: Yeah, cause that's better.


JP: Is tonight Muffins of Meat night?
Landon: Muffins! Like with blueberries?
Me: No, not those muffins, these are muffins with... meat.
Landon: [face]




As it turns out, I burned the BBQ topping so they looked even more suspicious than they needed to, but the kids did ultimately eat ever bite on their plate and JP had five (all the while suggesting that next time we just make them in a regular loaf pan like god intended for meatloaf). And we all enjoyed a week using the phrase "muffins of meat" multiple times a day.

On a totally separate note, this is one of my favorite pictures from Landon's first day of school. We'd already dropped him off at Kindergarten and I was on my way to work when Claire ran down the driveway to give me one last "tiss." I'd just handed off my nice camera to JP, so for once, he was able to snap an impromptu photo with me in it


The tippy toes are my favorite. That and the fact that, from this angle, you can't see the $3,000 of damage I did to the back of my car.


  1. LL! I love that last photo. That is worth framing.

    Also, I love how you so much resemble your grandparents (in a much younger way, of course).

    I don't comment very much anymore, but I'm still reading and always love your posts. So glad everything is going so well, and I just keep thinking how lucky baby 3 is to be joining your amazing family.

    Best, MJS

  2. I hate ranch dressing also, but (yes, this is a non sequitur) where did you get the tiniest balls of fresh mozzarella you had even seen? Trader Joe's?

  3. Hi LL! I love your blog and I thought I would share a favorite recipe - it's for mini turkey meatloaves but I am sure beef would work just as well. I have tried it in a muffin pan but I think it's best just shaped by hand and baked on a cookie sheet in the oven.

    Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

    1 onion chopped

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    ½ tsp of kosher salt

    Black pepper

    ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves (I usually substitute dried oregano)

    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    ¼ cup chicken stock

    1 tablespoon tomato paste

    2 pounds ground turkey – the 96% breast is more flavorful than all white meat

    2/3 cup breadcrumbs

    1 large egg


    Chop the onion and sauté on medium heat for about 10 mins in the olive oil. Add the salt, pepper, worcesthire sauce, thyme, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Let cool for 5 mins.

    Mix with turkey meat, breadcrumbs, and egg.

    Shape into little meat loaves (this recipe makes 8) and cover the top with ketchup and bake for 40-50 mins at 325 (they are done when a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees). I typically get impatient and raise the temperature to 375.


    Adapted from this recipe that is huge (my dad makes it for a crowd)