Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 6/27/11

Menu Plan Monday - 6/27/11

This is the post-party, pooped-out edition.  The party this weekend for Miss D's birthday was a success, I believe.  It was hot, oh, so hot, but I don't know that the kids really noticed.  The Barbie cake turned out well, although not exactly as I had planned.  I ended up making two separate cakes (we didn't even cut into the second, oh well).  I decided that making the cake three tiers was just a bit too ambitious and feared an avalanche given the extreme heat and humidity of the day.  The two tiers worked out better anyway.  Here are a couple of pictures of the cakes:

The "Plan-B" cake

Anyway - back to the Menu Plan -

Monday - no cooking, going to a party, yeah!

Tuesday - Beef Tacos with fresh guacamole

Wednesday - Grilled chicken breasts

Thursday - Homemade Pizza - maybe on the grill?

Friday - Avocado Chicken Salad (with leftover grilled chicken)

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM  at

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 6/20/11

Menu Plan Monday -

Family coming the end of the week and more high 90's predicted for the weather.  Trying to keep it simple for meals, since I'll be baking and preparing things for the party next weekend.  I'll try to post some more pictures and recipes for the party.  The cake, of course, is going to be the star.  The doll cake (you know the one?)  will be made of vanilla cake.  Underneath will be cakes with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate cake (or at least that's the plan).  Vanilla buttercream and MMF covering each section of cake (in lilac and hot pink, of course).  And finally, Royal icing drop flowers to decorate the "dress".  Of course, saying all this only makes me a bit nervous that it could go horribly wrong.  I guess there is always Publix, huh?  At least this year I have learned to go back to my standard buttercream recipe.  Last year I tried to make a Swiss meringue buttercream.  Not a good idea.  Let's see Swiss meringue buttercream + 90 degree heat = broken buttercream mess and weeping Mommy.  BTW, I did learn how to fix it (quick chill in freezer and re-whip), but after breaking three times, I promised never again in summer.  Here's a picture from last year:

So, on with the menu for the week:

Sunday - chili-braised brisket, German potato salad (by request from Big Daddy), and watermelon

Monday - leftovers

Tuesday - Chicken (?) with sweet potato oven fries

Wednesday - Veggie chili with cheese-topped potatoes

Thurday - Grilled fish, mac and cheese, broccoli

Friday - not sure, family will be here

To look for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Friday, June 17, 2011

Candy Dots

Candy Dots

Miss D's birthday is getting closer and the RSVP's are coming in, so I wanted to share with you today's project.  A little something sweet for the table.  I am so in love with the new meringue powder I ordered (Americolor premium).  Who knew there would be such a difference in taste from the standard stuff I've been buying at the craft store?  This was a very quick and easy project.  I think it made a nice ombre color of hot pink to purple.  Please don't mind the uneven lines.  Next time I need to sit at the table rather than hover over sheet pans with children at my side :).    Anyway, for the Royal icing:

2 tsp. meringue powder
3+ Tbs. water
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
gel paste color (2 colors)

Cut sheets of paper (2" x 11") and lay out on cookie sheets.  Add meringue powder, water and sugar in a bowl.  Using a mixer to blend for about five minutes, adding water to make smooth consistency.  Divide into two bowls. Add color(s) and transfer to two piping bags.  Start with one color, clip off tip of piping bag and begin piping dots.  After a few rows add a bit of the second color to the first piping bag.  Continue piping and adding more of the second color to the first color until all the icing is complete.  This will gradually blend the color to create that ombre look.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 6/13/11

Menu Plan Monday - 6/13/11

Another week of heat predicted here.  Still no rain.  My poor garden is starting to burn up.  I was able to pick a few snap peas last week and put them in the pasta, pesto and peas, but I'm not sure I will get any more if we don't get a bit of rain.  I started making the marshmallow fondant for Miss D's BD.  I tried both the double-boiler method and the microwave method for melting the marshmallows.  The microwave is clearly the faster method, but involves cleaning another bowl.  My solution was to use the 1/2 cup of shortening to "grease" the bowl for melting and then the remaining for the bowl and paddle of the mixer.  MUCH easier!  Why didn't I think of that the first time??  Anyway, now they are nicely tucked away in the fridge until I decorate the cake. 

Monday - Turkey Burgers, grilled potato wedges, broccoli

Tuesday- Baked Ziti, salad, French bread

Wednesday - Grilled Honey BBQ Chicken

Thursday - Pierogi (frozen) with sauteed onions

Friday - Spaghetti  and Meatballs

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Tried a new recipe from Parents magazine.  Yummy blueberries picked on campus.  Wish I could say the zucchini was from the garden...not yet!  Just thought I'd share a quick post.

Monday, June 6, 2011

MPM- 6/6/11

Menu Plan Monday - 6/6/11

I'm feeling pretty pampered right now.  Yesterday was my birthday and we went out to eat all.weekend.long.  It was pretty cool, I have to admit.  I LOVE to cook, but in a way, eating out every now and then really makes me appreciate it more...does that make sense?  Anyway, another hot weather week predicted here.  Starting to make a "to do" list for Miss D's big day.  This weekend tried my hand at royal icing drop flowers.  No pictures, sorry.  But I have to say it was successful.  There was even enough icing left over to allow the kids to try their hand at piping, too!

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Manicotti  I love this recipe (I will make double the crepes and freeze for another time :), cheese toast, strawberry salad and for dessert  - coeur a la creme (first time trying this recipe)

Wednesday -Pasta, pesto and peas

Thursday - Hamburger steaks with mushroom gravy and sweet potato oven fries

Friday - Grilled rosemary lemon chicken, grilled veggies, challah

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mu Shu Chicken

Mu Shu Chicken
This is less of a recipe and more of a leftover put-together.  I know the tortillas are not exactly like the traditional pancakes, but work great for a quick meal.

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 - 1 pound cabbage, shredded or bagged cole-slaw mix
1 cup carrots, cut up (diced, julienne, anyway you prefer)
1-2 cups green veg (like broccoli, snow peas, etc), 
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of sugar
4 Tbs. Hoisin sauce, plus extra for serving
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2-3 Tbs. cooking oil
8-10 small wheat tortillas
Heat wok on medium-high without oil.  Add tortillas one at a time and heat on both sides.  Pile tortillas on a plate and continue with remaining.  Cover tortillas with foil to keep warm.  Add about 2 Tbs. of cooking oil to the wok.  Add garlic and ginger stirring constantly.  Add vegetables and continue to stir-fry.  When the vegetables appear to be somewhat, but not thoroughly cooked, push them to the side of the pan.  You may need to add a touch more oil before adding the beaten eggs.  Allow them to cook for about a minute until they begin to set, then scramble and mix into the vegetables.  Add chicken and sauces and continue to cook until heated through.  Serve with warm tortillas and extra hoisin sauce.