Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Trying to get back into the groove again.  Schedules have been crazy lately.  LD turned four last weekend.  I hope to post more about the party later in the week.  My mom planned on coming for the party weekend and ended up staying the whole week because of "Sandy".  Kids got sick and were home from school most of the week.  Oh, and then the time change happened.  Why does that one hour make such a disruption?  I am very happy to be getting back to schedules again this week.  Hopefully the dog and the children will adjust to the time soon, too!


Monday - Tofu Taco salad with baked tortilla bowls

Tuesday - Pasta night

Wednesday - Asian Chicken Salad with option of peanut or sesame dressing.  I'll make one recipe of the dressing with peanut and one version with sunbutter and sesame.

Thursday-  Homemade pizza

Friday - (DH's Birthday!) Asian Roasted Salmon, sushi, baked veggie spring rolls and a mystery dessert (pretty much a copy from last year, I realize)
Looking for more recipe and menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mr. Scarecrow

Last weekend I made this cute Mr. Scarecrow cupcake display for the birthday party of a friend of my daughter.  The friend's mom asked if I would make this for the dessert table at the party.  I was thrilled to do it.  It was a lot of fun to make and decorate.  The idea comes from the What's New, Cupcake? book which is the second book of cupcake novelty creations.  I actually have both the books, although I had never fully used the recipes before.  I love looking through them and have been inspired by a few to make my own variation.  Some of the decorations for Miss D's sand-castle cake were adapted from the cupcake version in the book.

The recipe was straight-forward using all store bought ingredients.  I made the cupcakes from scratch, rather than a mix just because I prefer it.  The frosting was the canned variety, as they don't recommend using homemade for these types of creations.  I really believe that the hardest part is finding all of the candies, cookies, etc. for decorating. One shredded wheat biscuit, one graham cracker, 2 red chewy candies, and on and on.  I ended up making the breadsticks myself.  Who knew that breadsticks would be hard to find?   Anyway, as with any endeavors, I end up learning along the way.  Some lessons learned:

-Make and frost the cupcakes ahead of time.

-Candy decorations, especially the caramel and chewy candy, can't be refrigerated.  They will be fine when they are ice cold, but will melt and bleed as they warm up.  I learned this making candy sushi.

-For above reason, I didn't refrigerate the cupcakes.  Warm cupcakes are harder to transfer from the cupcake carrier to the cake board.

-Certain elements do not hold up well over time, so leave off the candy and cookie decorations until right before the party.  The moisture in the frosting will also melt the candies a bit and soften the cookies/crackers.  I think they held up okay, but they definitely looked neater when I made them the night before.

All in all, I think it came out pretty cute.    Happy Birthday Fayth!
Pretty cute, huh?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - October 15, 2012

I'm posting this menu and keeping it short today.  Busy weeks ahead. Need to keep the menu simple.  We have activities every day this week.

Monday -Black bean chili ever baked potatoes

Tuesday - Pasta (probably ravioli)

Wednesday - Polish Noodles (with turkey sausage and cabbage from our garden)

Thursday - Homemade Pizza

Friday - Comfort Meatballs (adapted from the Pioneer Woman), brown rice, broccoli, challah

Looking for more menu ideas and recipes, please visit MPM at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - October 8, 2012

October is flying by so fast.  Every week there seems to be more and more to do, I have to remind myself each day what needs to get done.  The kids had off from school last week, but now we are back to school and back to schedules again.  The temperatures dropped this weekend and it is truly looking and feeling like Fall around here.


Monday - Fish tacos, avocado, etc.

Tuesday -  Pasta night - Broccoli and Bowties

Wednesday - Leftover night, and soup - maybe potato and leek?

Thursday - Homemade pizza

Friday - Ranch chicken, veggies, Challah

Looking for more menus and recipe ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - September 24, 2012

Well, the weather has definitely shifted here to Fall.  As usual, it's been crazy busy here.  Just popping in for a quick menu post, since I didn't get a chance last week.

For this week:

Monday - Pan-seared Tilapia, corn on the cob

Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs has been requested, but it may just be a meat sauce this week  :)

Wednesday (Breaking the Fast) -

  • Bagels, cream cheese, lox
  • Souffled Egg casserole
  • Noodle Kugel
  • Fruit
  • Babka Pull-apart Rolls
Thursday -  Chicken Piccata (sub EVOO for the butter)

Friday - Pumpkin Risotto, Challah

Oh, and if you are wondering about our Rosh Hashana Menu last week:
  • Matzo Ball Soup
  • Gefilte Fish with Horseradish
  • Mock Chopped Liver
  • Honey Vanilla Spiral Challah
  • Aunt Babe's Brisket (Sunday)
  • Roasted Chicken (Monday)
  • Potato Knishes
  • Apple Noodle Kugel (parve)
  • Honey Glazed Carrots
  • Apples/Honey
  • Chocolate Honey Bee Cake
  • Date-Nut Loaf
  • Apple Cake
Chocolate Honey Bee Cake

For more menus and recipe ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - September 10, 2012

Chugging along.  Nutcracker auditions were this weekend and the weather suddenly turned to Fall (at least temporarily).  I'm trying to quickly post this menu so that I can get back to planning out the menu for Rosh Hashana next week.  It has snuck up on me quickly and I feel like I need to map out some things that I can do this week, so that next Sunday doesn't become the crazy cooking day.  Yesterday I was able to get a big batch of chicken broth made and in the freezer - 5 quarts.  I'll use some for soup this week, but mostly for matzo ball soup next week.

 I also experimented with my challah dough this week.  I substituted pomegranate juice (warmed in the microwave) for the water in the dough.  I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures.  The dough had a slight pink-y purple hue and after letting it rise in the fridge overnight, by Friday morning it had a sweet/almost sourdough smell to it.  The dough was a bit soft to work with and after the first braid, it was already "blowing out" the sides a bit.  The remaining dough I put in baking pans.  Actually, the pans were those tortilla bakers.  Have you seen the infomercial?  Well, I have had them for over 10 years (most likely when they actually manufactured them).  Anyway, those loaves came out really nice.  The taste was subtle, yet definitely sweet.  I think I will be trying it again with the pans.  And next time, I will take a picture :)

Menu for this week -

Monday - Tofu tacos.  After the success of the Mexi-chop salad, I thought this may work with some seasoned pan-fried tofu cubes in place of meat.  And then we can have real sour cream with it, yum!

Tuesday - Pasta primavera or ravioli.  Ravioli was requested, but alas, none in the freezer.  Perhaps I can get out to the store before Tuesday.

Wednesday - Italian Wedding soup (with homemade chicken broth), using Ina Garten's recipe, minus the milk and cheese and using just ground turkey for the meatballs.

Thursday - Homemade Pizza

Friday - Spaghetti and meatballs- another request for the week.

Looking for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - September 3, 2012

Labor Day weekend!  The kids have been in school a month already and in another month will be Fall break.  Boy, this summer went by really fast this year.

Well, we didn't get much here from Isaac, just a little rain.  LD had his first ever soccer practice last week.  He was so excited.  He can't wait for another practice.  Wait until he gets his uniform.  I think he may live in it!  Another rainy day expected here.  No real plans, just hanging around the house and watching the US Open, I imagine.

 Oh, but the big news of the weekend is that we bought a new microwave - Yeah!  I know, not really breaking news, but I have been hemming and hawing on getting a new one for a while (like two years).  We actually did buy one a couple of years ago, which we had to return, but that is a whole other story.  The old one was making pretty loud, disturbing sounds.  I think it was time.  I look forward to melting chocolate and popping unscorched popcorn very soon!

The other project for this weekend was starting to prepare for LD's 4th birthday.  Another round of marshmallow fondant making and here are the results:

Ready for a superhero cake!

Ok - to the menu:

Monday - Shredded BBQ Beef sandwiches (leftovers from the pot roast on Friday), corn on the cob, baked beans

Tuesday - Pasta - maybe with some sliced turkey sausage. Salad.

Wednesday - Chicken Continental, Broccoli, Rice or Quinoa

Thursday - Homemade Pizza night - a must

Friday - Hoisin Grilled Chicken with Peking pancakes, Stir fry veggies, challah

Looking for more menu plans and ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - August 27, 2012

Waiting. We keep waiting to find out which way Isaac will turn in the Gulf.  Still days away from us here.  Will we get any rain, or remain dry?  Will we have soccer start this week or will we get rained out?  I have an almost-4 year old who will be very disappointed if he can't use his new cleats.  These things I can't control.  The menu plan I can.

Sunday - Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs

Monday - Fish Tacos, avocado, salsa

Tuesday - Pasta night - not exactly sure yet

Wednesday - Teriyaki Chicken (maybe on the grill or not), broccoli, rice

Thursday - Homemade Pizza night

Friday - Onion Pot Roast, Potatoes, carrots, challah

For more recipes and menu ideas, please check out MPM at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - August 20, 2012

The weeks are rolling right along now.  Not too many changes in the menu from last week.  As the menu stands now, we have a pasta night and a pizza night alternating on our "busy" nights.  So far this seems to be working, although I know that in another week or two the schedule will get even busier with soccer and then later Nutcracker.  The good thing about a weekly plan is that you can see what works and change it the next week.  The past few weeks I have been trying a new recipe on Monday (see Recipe Update).  I decided to try another new recipe tonight Korean BBQ using tofu.  I've made this marinade before, but have used beef in the recipe.  I am excited to try it with the tofu and see how it works out.

Sunday - Comfort meatballs (Pioneer Woman, but I use my baked meatballs instead), homemade dinner rolls, roasted zucchini

Monday - Korean BBQ - I plan on using a pureed kiwi in place of the pear juice to make a thicker sauce, rice, broccoli

Tuesday - Pasta Primavera

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken fajitas with avocado, salsa, etc.

Thursday - Homemade Pizza, veggies

Friday (Field Trip day) - Spaghetti and Meatballs (the kids have been begging for weeks), challah, salad.  Meatballs already made and in the freezer.  Just have to pop them in the Crock-pot with some sauce and boil some pasta. 

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Friday, August 17, 2012

Recipe update

Just a quick post for an update.  The past two weeks I have tried new recipe each week.  Last week it was the Mexi-chop salad, with real dairy additions to it and this week was the vegetarian moussaka.  Well, one recipe was a big success and the other I had to promise never to make again.  And the clear winner was:

Mexi-Chop Salad
Never know until you try, right?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - August 13, 2012

Well, I survived my first week with both kids in school.  (*sniff*)  I think we are finally getting into a routine with school mornings.  So far, the packed lunches have been working out, but that really is a whole other post.  I'm sticking mostly with my plan from last year.  There are a few changes to the plan.  In my son's class, he needs to bring/have milk with his lunch everyday.  While we've pretty much have stuck with dairy lunches anyway for my daughter over the past years, this really solidifies it.  I'm trying out a few new things this year.  Now that I have two lunches (well, really three) to prepare, I feel I need some new inspirations.  I love the idea of the bento box lunch with all of the cutie faces and animals, but I wonder how does all of that stuff stay put?  Lunch boxes get tossed in the car and dropped on the ground and who knows what else before they make it to school.  I imagine everything as a jumbled mess by lunch-time.  I have a few things I'm trying out and hope to post about.  Anyway, another post for another time.


Monday - Vegetarian Moussaka (new recipe)with Caprese salad (tomatoes and basil from the garden, yum!) and corn

Tuesday - Broccoli and Bowtie pasta  - a Barefoot Contessa favorite.  I'll omit the pine nuts though, due to allergies.

Wednesday - Mango Chicken, zucchini and corn

Thursday - Homemade Pizza, veggie and dip.

Friday - Orange Chicken and Broccoli, rice, maybe sushi salad?  challah

If you are looking for more menu ideas and plans, please visit MPM at

Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - August 6, 2012

Yes, it has been almost a month since I last posted.  We were definitely on a Summer schedule around here.  Not too much planned, a bit of visiting family and relaxing.  Now it's back to schedules again.  school has started.  Today is the first day both kids are in school full-day.  Sigh.  So time to do my plan for the week.

Monday - Mexi-chop salad.  Trying a new recipe.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I probably will use romaine for the kale and real sour cream.  Baby steps.  Also, some homemade baked tortilla chips and salsa.

Tuesday - Pasta night.  Pasta primavera

Wednesday - Chicken piccata, sub in some EVOO for the butter

Thursday - Homemade pizza night

Friday - Onion Pot roast, carrots, potatoes, challah

Looking for more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, July 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - July 9, 2012

Ants!  Yes, you heard it right, ants.  Blah!  What a weekend it has been.  Buckets full of candy from the July 4th parade led to the ants marching into my house and invading my pantry.    It's my fault, I know.  I should have taken the candy and put it directly into baggies and washed the buckets.  Sigh.  The good news is that the pantry has been completely cleaned, organized, purged of candy, and most items (besides the canned goods) bagged and double bagged.  Seven years in this house and barely an ant, and now, days of them - yuck!  I am hoping for an ant-free day today.

Now, doesn't that make you want to hear about my menu??  I'm keeping it simple this week.  Hope to post some more during the week of more projects going on. 

Monday - Veggie Chili in tortilla bowls

Tuesday -  Pasta night, maybe ravioli?

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken and grilled veg. quinoa

Thursday - Pizza

Friday - Spaghetti and Meatballs (kids' request)

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Monday, July 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - July 2, 2012

Hot, hot, hot!  After a weekend of scorching 100+ degree heat, this week is all about grilling and chilling.  Although the temperatures are supposed to ease back down into the 90's, my goal is to turn on the oven as little as possible this week.

smashed potato and corn salad

Sunday - Hamburger sliders, smashed potato and corn salad, watermelon

Monday - Grilled portobello mushroom burgers, Boca burgers for the kids, salad

Tuesday - Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, corn on the cob

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Wednesday - To bring along for the parade:  Corn dog muffins, fruit, granola bars and maybe stained glass jello (in jars).  I have read that you can use sweetened coconut milk in place of the condensed milk...I'll have to investigate further.    Later, tequila lime chicken, plaintains, watermelon.  What I really want to make though is a red velvet sheet cake.  I have a bottle of Lorann Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion that I feel compelled to crack open.  Red velvet cake seems so perfect for the Fourth, too!

I need to give a special thanks to Jennifer at Adventures in Breadland (and Mamaland) for introducing me to these Bakery Emulsions way back in December in this post.  I ordered the Red Velvet and the Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion.  I used the Princess one in just about all of my baking for my daughter's birthday.  The cake, the icing, the cookies and all I can say is "WOW!"  Really great stuff.  I substituted about half of the vanilla extract called for in each recipe with the bakery emulsion.  I can't wait to try the red velvet cake...yum!  I think I may have to try the sweet dough one the next time I make an order to KAF.    

Anyway, back to the menu:

Thursday - Grilled Pizza, veggies

Friday - Shredded Chicken egg rolls (baked), cold sesame noodles, broccoli, challah

For more menu ideas, please visit MPM at

Friday, June 29, 2012

Octopus Pops and Sweet Candy Sushi

The other day I wrote a bit about my daughter's birthday party, but I didn't get a chance to give many details.  These octopus pops I saw several places on  I thought they were really cute little novelty.  Easy - a bag of marshmallows, a bag of melting chocolate (color of your choice), pop sticks, and candy eyes.  Of course, you can buy those googly eyes in the baking supply aisle OR you can be an overachiever and make them like me :).  All you need to do is melt the chocolate either in the microwave or over a double boiler.  Place a bit of the melted chocolate into a small plastic baggie or disposable piping bag.  Cut a small hole in the plastic and pipe 8 "tentacles" onto wax paper sheet.  With the remaining chocolate, dip the marshmallows on a pop stick and place the pop on the "tentacles" and add the eyes.  I used plain white candy dots and added the details for eyes with food coloring pen.  I have to admit, doing the white candy dots was much easier than trying to make a batch of black royal icing and keep it from bleeding in to the white.  I finished them with a sprinkle of colored sugar, but certainly not a necessary step.  In the end, I think I rushed though the project a bit so the chocolate coating looked a little bumpy. While they were really cute and looked nice on the food table, but I don't think anybody actually ate them entirely.  Clearly a novelty item, but still worth the effort.  

Sweet candy sushi (from the Hello Kitty party a couple of years ago)
The sweet candy sushi, on the other hand was truly a hit.  I made it a couple of years ago for my daughter's  Hello Kitty birthday party.  She asked for it again this year when we were planning a mermaid swim party. I found this recipe in Family Fun magazine as well as the inspiration for the Sand Castle cake.  Another very easy recipe and pretty tasty too.  This year I also made "real" veggie sushi  to help balance out the sweets a bit.  This recipe, besides the cake, was definitely the hit.
This year's leftovers