Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Foodie Penpal Exchange - February Reveal

I participated in the Foodie Penpal Exchange, organized by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean, again in February, and once again it was a lot of fun! I had a great time picking out the goodies for my penpal, who was a reader, but not a blogger. I sent her some peach butter I made last summer, some local granola, a Reese's egg (my favorite treat this time of year), some Faygo, and dried cherries (which I had to mail later, because it didn't make it in to the first box). There may have been something else, but I can't remember. It's been quite the month.

Speaking of quite the month, this post is unfortunately photo-lite, because most of the pictures I took disappeared from my camera's memory card. (There may have been some little fingers playing with my camera this past weekend, but I'm not going to assign blame when I'm not completely sure what happened.)

Here's the picture of the one thing I have left, because we ate absolutely everything else already:

My Foodie Penpal was Parita, from My Inner Shakti, and she sent a box full of deliciousness. In addition to my favorite flavor of Clif Mojo bars (see above), she sent a peanut butter pretzel Mojo bar, a can of mixed nuts with a little chocolate mixed in (Aaron ate that in about 3 days, and loved it), a dark chocolate bar (delicious), some dark chocolate sauce (which we have loved on our ice cream!), and two bags of home-baked goodies that I'm still going to have to bug Parita about so she'll send me the recipes - zuchini brownie bites and chickpea blondies.

It was so much fun to receive a box of goodies again this month! I'm taking March off of the Foodie Penpal fun, both because I need to recover from this month and the related craziness at home, as well as it being a busy month work-wise for me. But I can't wait to sign up again, because it is way too much fun!

If you might like to participate, here are the details:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

If you’re interested in participating for March, please send  an email to me at and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
-WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so you get on the right list!
You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!
***PLEASE NOTE: if you send an email, you WILL GET A RESPONSE within 48 hours. If you don”t….please re-send your email or contact me via Twitter (@LeanGrnBeanBlog). Last month we had a few emails get lost as spam so we’re trying to avoid that!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 2.27.12

Well, that was an unexpected absence. Things were CRAZY last week, and meal planning just didn't happen. I don't know why I do that - meal plans tend to make my life easier than flying by the seat of my pants and having to decide on meals last minute.

Well, wait, I do know a little of the reason I didn't do a plan. I have lost my will to cook a little bit. My kids, as adorable as they are, absolutely kill my will to cook by not eating anything. Seriously, anything. Sophie will eat cheese and carbs, and Gabbie will eat fruit and sugar. Not only do these two things not overlap, but they're not exactly what I want them to be eating all the time. I mean, the fruit isn't bad, but some vegetables and meat would be good too.

I'm hoping to win them over tonight with a pot roast. Who doesn't love pot roast? (Don't answer that.) I'm also making room in my freezer this week by making many of our meals out of things I've frozen (meat, pre-formed chicken pillows, bolognese, chicken, pizza dough). I'm hoping that makes this week much easier in terms of the time it takes to make the meals my kids refuse to eat. Ahem.

On to the plan!

Monday: Three packet pot roast, with carrots, potatoes, and celery

Tuesday: Chicken pillows, broccoli, rice pilaf

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli with bolognese, salad, garlic bread

Thursday: Chicken spaghetti, broccoli, fruit

Friday: Homemade pizza (like usual), salad, fruit

Saturday: Tomato, basil, parmesan soup, 7 layer salad

Sunday: (brunch) Most likely quiche of some sort, and fruit salad

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 2.13.12

Here we are, at the beginning of another crazy-busy week! This week we have ballet class, Valentine's Day and its related parties, two nights of 10K training for my husband, and I swear that this will be the week that I finally get my butt into the company provided gym that is loaded and which I get to use for free. I really have no excuse not to go!

Anyway, I was thinking this weekend that we have gotten in the rut of eating too much meat again. For a while we were only eating meat once or twice a week and I liked that, but now we're back to having meat almost every night. I'm hoping to work on that starting this week.

On to the meal plan!

Monday: Brisket, 7-layer salad, potato salad, macaroni and cheese (for the kiddos)

We actually had almost this exact same dinner last night, and since I made enough for two families, we're having it again tonight. It doesn't hurt that this is one of our favorite meals. I hadn't planned on cooking a big meal last night, but then we went to the butcher shop on Friday and brisket was on sale, and, well, I love a good brisket. I'll share the recipe for this and the salad tomorrow, probably. (I LOVE 7 LAYER SALAD, and I don't care who knows it.)

Tuesday: Valentine's Day Dinner! Heart-shaped Pasta with Four Cheese Sauce, Salad, Foccacia

On Saturday I hit my limit of togetherness with my toddler, and abruptly decided to leave the house for a little breathing space. With no plan in mind on where to go, I ended up at my favorite Italian grocer/bakery and purchased heart-shaped pasta, some pink pasta sauce, and a beautiful foccacia (not to mention some cannoli and eclairs, but those are long gone). I think pink sauce on heart pasta will be perfect for Valentine's day dinner.

Wednesday: Schweine-Schnitzel, Saurkraut Pierogi, Broccoli

Another of our favorite dinners, and another butcher shop impulse buy. We all love this dinner. Last time I made it I had a visiting toddler in the house and both she and Gabbie asked for seconds, which NEVER, EVER happens. It's that good! I'll have to share this recipe, too.

Thursday: Vegetarian Chili in the slow cooker, Corn Bread

I haven't settled on a chili recipe, yet. The cornbread is my mom's recipe, and is the perfect companion for any kind of chili.

Friday: As usual, Homemade Pizza, Salad

I love traditions, especially this one!

Saturday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

I know I said this would be a meat-lite week, and meatloaf is pretty much the opposite of that, but it's a request from the husband, so I put it on the plan.

Sunday: (Breakfast) Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs and Toast

This is one of Aaron's specialties, and I actually don't know what all he puts in it, because he usually makes as a treat for me and gives me a chance to relax with a cup of coffee while he cooks. He's pretty awesome sometimes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Meal Planning 1.6.12

I don't know what it is about 2012, but both my husband and I have started out this new year with renewed motivation. However, this has led to schedules that are way more crazy-busy than normal. This is also conference abstract season, which means I'm doing a heck of a lot more writing than normal, and, due to a very sad and unfortunate situation at work I'm possibly taking on a little heavier workload than normal for a couple of months. (Oh, and my favorite member of my team is taking on another, well-deserved role in our program, but that means I have to hire another person, and that takes months too, so even more work.)

So, what this all means is that I am having to find meals to make that are even quicker than usual. There are a couple repeats on this menu from last week, because I made last minute substitutions a couple of times when I wasn't in the mood for what we were planning on eating that night. (We had cheeseburger salad instead of squash, and spaghetti and turkey meatballs instead of tomato soup.)

On to the plan!

Monday: Broccoli Cheese Soup (half recipe), and fruit
Tuesday: Salsa Verde Chicken tacos (using my Foodie Penpals salsa from Elizabeth) and refried beans
Wednesday: Tomato Parmesan Soup, salad, fruit
Thursday: Butternut Squash Coconut Curry, Naan
Friday: Homemade Pizza (I'm thinking of doing something different this time using some fun ingredients from my pantry)
Saturday: Pappardelle Bolognese, Salad, No-Knead Bread
Sunday (brunch): Piggy Pudding (an old favorite that I haven't made in a long while - Aaron will be super excited!), smoothies


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