Monthly Archives: November 2011

What’s in a meal plan

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to get a crock-pot heavy meal plan together for this, our last week with the glass-top stove.  I’m not that great at meal planning.  Most recipes are geared for a much larger crowd than our family of 2, especially crock pot recipes.  I can usually scale them down a bit, but I d0n’t like it when they call for a whole can of something, or a whole vegetable of some kind, and then if I half the recipe I’m stuck with a half can of something, or half a vegetable (usually I just add the whole vegetable anyway).

I usually try to plan about four meals for a work week.  Something always comes up one night or another, and we end up eating leftovers, or going to dinner with friends, or something.  Planning five meals was always too much, so now I try for four.

This week I’m breaking out my Cooking Light cookbook and making a few of the recipes from it.

– Chunky Minestrone with Beef (pg 347).  I like how it says “A slow cooker makes this a versatile hands-off recipe” because for a crock pot meal, this one is surprisingly hands-on.  The directions call for you to combine the first ingredients and cook on high for one hour, then reduce to low and cook for 5 hours.  At that point you’re supposed to add more ingredients and cook on high again for another 45 minutes and THEN you stir in the cooked pasta.  Geez.  I can tell you right now that’s not happening.  Mine will probably cook for 8 hours on low, then my crock automatically goes to “warm”.  I’ll put it on high when I get home and add the other veggies, pasta might happen.

– Slow-Cooker Sausage and Vegetable Chili (pg 346). I’m making this one with frozen corn instead of canned, because canned corn is one thing (of like 3 things) that Andrew will not eat.  He’ll eat other canned veggies, just not those.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get the right chicken sausage (it calls for chicken sausages with habanero chiles and tequila) but I’ll find something.  Our grocery store has in-house-made sausage, so I’ll probably go with some of that.  This one has the straightforward “combine all ingredients and cook on low 8 hours” instructions that make me love crock pot cooking.

Chicken Stew (this one’s from a website).  The reviews on this one are mixed.  So I’m just going to take the basic idea and run with it.  Hopefully I’ll get good results.

Egg Brunch Casserole.  I found this one on Pinterest, it’s from a blog.  I have to take a breakfast item to work this Friday, and I’m thinking of bringing this.  So I’m going to make it one other day this week as a test-run.  Mine will be made without onions, as one of my co-workers is allergic.  Fingers crossed the eggs don’t get rubbery.

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I’m going to be able to cook without making a fool of myself

Y’all.  I’m so excited.  I can hardly wait until Thursday.  On Thursday, wonderful things will happen.  Life changing, wonderful things.  On Thursday, this is coming to my house:

I can’t wait to have a gas stove!  When we were buying a house, a gas stove or the ability to put one in was one of my requirements.  The house we bought was piped for gas, but has this lovely new stove in its kitchen:

Eew, glass flat top.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this stove, except that I hate it.  It takes for-freakin’-ever to boil water and I burn pretty much everything I try to cook on it.  Unacceptable.

So, this one is going to its new home in Andrew’s mom’s house (her current stove is only half-functional, but she doesn’t cook much) and our new beauty will be delivered Thursday.

I’m not counting my chickens or anything.  So this week’s meal plan involves lots of crock pot and oven recipes, pretty typical of what we’ve been eating since I discovered my hatred for the flat top.  But I’m excited to be able to cook with more control.

(photos from Sears.com)

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Keeping the USPS in business

One of my Day Zero project goals is to send 101 postcards via Postcrossing.   Actually, I’d much rather receive cool postcards from around the world than send them.  But since sending them is the way to get them, that’s what I’m going to do.

You’d think that this would be a pretty simple goal to start.  But just think about this for a second – if you needed to go buy a post card right now, where would you go?  It’s harder to find a postcard than you would think.  And I know that most anything can be made into a post card, but I wanted to purchase North Carolina themed cards, since these are going all over the world and all.  I kept my eye out for them at the State Fair, and at the Farmers’ Market, and even at Cracker Barrel, with no luck.  Yesterday I realized that I work within walking distance to a couple museums.  Museums should have postcards!  So on my lunch break yesterday I stopped by the NC Natural Science museum and picked up a dozen cards so I could get started.

Check these out!  (sorry for the terrible lighting on the cell phone pic)  My first five cards are going to Russia, Belarus, German, Finland and the Netherlands.  I discovered something else unexpected.  It’s hard to figure out what to write on a post card to someone you won’t ever meet and who cares nothing about your life.

And also, I should have looked this up before adding the Postcrossing goal to my list, but international post card stamps are expensive!  Oh well, I can’t wait to see what kinds of cards I get from other parts of the world, I’m thinking of making something out of them, I’m not sure what yet.

 

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