Sunday: We made blueberry pancakes with the blueberries from Fresh. I spent much of the day updating the blog, reading blog posts, researching a future Tip Tuesday about picky eaters, reading to Muffin, snuggling with Muffin, cooking Muffin’s lunch, cooking chicken spaghetti, chicken noodle soup, and shredded chicken for tacos. For lunch, I made Muffin a P lunch (all items were supposed to start with the letter P): pizza, popcorn, pretties (fruit snacks–I was stumped, okay?), and pepperoni (actually some of the salami that we bought yesterday–and Muffin pointed out that it was salami).
I had something he wouldn’t eat (and Josh definitely wouldn’t): some of the blue cheese crostini that I mentioned recently that my sister used to make. I didn’t have red bell pepper, but I had tomato that I put with the green bell pepper and chunks of blue cheese. P.S. I found out that Muffin does not like blue cheese (like his dad). I will post the recipe soon. I served it with a few shaved slices of the salami. I may have eaten that entire plate. (guilty shifting of eyes)
I laid down with Muffin for a nap after lunch (which was a struggle). After sleeping for an hour or so (sometimes the best way to get Muffin to nap is to fall asleep yourself), I returned to the kitchen to work on my prep for meals this week. Muffin came out while I was chopping carrots to add to the soup (impromptu surprise decision after boiling the noodles for the chicken spaghetti in the broth from the chicken and still scratching my head about Monday’s dinner since Saturday’s didn’t go as planned, and we were supposed to have Saturday’s leftovers on Monday). I had pulled out an extra carrot knowing that if he woke up in time he would want some and he did. In the midst of all of this, we did laundry. After Josh got home, we ate dinner (chicken spaghetti, salad, baguette slices with special dipping blend, and grapes for Muffin) and then relaxed for a bit.
I also made Josh’s lunch (ham and swiss sub sandwich with honey mustard, lettuce, and tomato; bbq potato chips; a few small pieces of chocolate; broccoli and cauliflower pieces with ranch dressing to dip; an apple; and a granola bar) and my lunch (chicken spaghetti, a blood orange, a lollipop, a can of pop, and a fork). Muffin took a bubble bath in my tub, brushed his teeth, and went to bed.
Monday: Today threatened inclement weather. Muffin fell asleep on the way home, so he missed the promised chicken noodle soup (with carrots, his fave!). Josh and I ate the soup with cheese and crackers rather than sandwiches. I worked on some work for the blog as well as some work for work. I had brought home extra work for work because I figured that we would be out tomorrow because of bad weather (we were under winter weather advisory, after all).
Tuesday: Well, the bad weather didn’t happen. The students were actually pretty decent, though. The weather that had been threatening for three weeks finally hit as we were getting out of school that day and continued the rest of the day (causing me to skid onto our street and then into the driveway). We ate leftover chicken spaghetti and chicken noodle soup (Rene finally got to eat the soup, and he loved it). This was actually a very “organic” meal in the sense that the planning was very fluid (we kept adding things)…grapes…chips…other stuff. Shortly after arriving home, I found out school was canceled for tomorrow, so that was very much a plus.
Wednesday: I awoke at 5:30 (thank you Muffin) on the day school was canceled. I enjoyed most the fact that we were off today because I had planned tacos for today, so I could really focus on making a nifty taco seasoning based off of Alton Brown’s Taco Potion #19 recipe. Josh hung out a bit this morning as the roads were icy and he was unable to leave the house for work. He did some work on his van, did some online courses and training for work until the roads had melted a bit (and reopened). Muffin played trains a lot and was very particular in requesting certain Thomas movies. I went outside to record the ice for posterity and discovered that Angel had sneaked out while Josh was throwing things away in the trash can.
Yes, that is a real picture of the real Angel. Gotta love her! She spent some time mouse hunting in the garage. After a bit, Muffin had gotten kinda cranky, so we both took a bit of a nap. 🙂
I spent much of the afternoon listening to the KPod on the KiddNation website. Then, I cruised YouTube for a bit looking at old Kidd Kraddick in the Morning vids. And sobbing. His death is one of those that just seems so surreal, as if it couldn’t possibly happen. You know, when you have a nightmare and wake up and a few days later you can’t remember if what you dreamed was a dream or reality (I’ve stopped for the most part asking the people involved in the dream if events actually happened. I just kinda wait it out and see if they mention stuff. Is that normal?). And I cracked up laughing as I listened to J-Si’s segment on the show today discussing “The Reality of Parenting.” (July 12, 2014). I was one of “those people,” and Muffin has pretty much cured me of it. We are also oh-for-ten. (You’ll understand if you listen to it)
While I was slicing and dicing for the toppings for tacos for supper, Muffin became the official sniffer and taster of olives. Lately, he’s had a marked preference for black olives. He “taste-tested” at least five black olives and four green olives. We had chicken tacos, and just as Alton Brown makes the beef tacos, I diced up an onion and sauteed it before adding the chicken and then the seasoning. (I will be posting the seasoning recipe in an upcoming post–my adaptation of it, at least.) Taco seasoning is another thing (like the chicken spaghetti) that I can’t make the same way twice.
Thursday: Muffin got in truh-bull this afternoon. Mom and Dad said he had been good all day, but he had gotten into the dry erase markers shortly before I arrived there and had colored on the carpet and a blanket (that he folded to keep from anyone finding it). Graffiti seems to be his M.O., and it’s the one thing that makes me see red (even when he’s used green…or yellow…or brown). I’m stuck as to a solution. I’ve even thought of canceling my plans for the evening (Josh and Muffin were going to have a “man’s night,” while I played bunco–something I’ve never done–with my besties from college) to try to make sure that he does behave. I arrived home late but happy because I got to spend time with my two besties from college (whom I hardly ever get to see).
Answers to Corner Gas Trivia Questions: 1.1 1) the Ruby 2) Lacey takes the hot dogs off the menu. 3) Jaws
1.2 1) in a cabinet in the garage 2) Marvin Dray (the tax man) tells her to write Karen and Davis’s coffee off as a business expense 3) television
1.3 1) they think he (Pilate) killed Jesus 2) they are told that they are wearing girls’ shirts 3) because Wanda already started a Pilates class (mat class)
1.4 1) Tanner rigged it so that a bird pooped on Hank and it looked a lot like squeeze mayo 2) die-cast metal cars 3) Lacey says that she likes it when men take care of kids
1.5 1) it was supposed to be Grad ’86 and it was one of Brent’s goals to do so 2) he stopped traffic near the tower 3) she held his legs so he could spray the paint
1.6 1) Fitzy’s grandma, Helen Jensen 2) headcheese 3) Quincy
1.7 1) bowling 2) lawyer 3) broken taillight
1.8 1) a watch 2) Stubby Heidelberg 3) Sheckle and Jekyl (and Hyde)
1.9 1) Lacey–insulting the size of Brent’s and Davis’s phones 2) to play with the claw machine 3) mistype of the question: It should have read “What did Lacey find out caused the rats and what did she do about it?” answer: the old barn–she had it declared a historical landmark
1.10 1) Life of Pi 2) the comic makes fun of Dog River and cheers Wullerton 3) Wullerton
1.11 1) Karen slept with Hank 2) Oscar 3) Brent
1.12 1) Xanadu 2) goalie 3) hammer
1.13 1) cow 2) bracelet 3) belt
Friday: Today was Valentine’s Day, and, as the work day progressed, I struggled to keep on my “happy face” for the fun events ahead. Friday was really not a good day at work, ’nuff said. So, I arrived home with Muffin (more than) a bit grumpy. He had received a new “Charlie” (by the Pioneer Woman about her basset hound Charlie) book, candy, and a card from Granny and Granddaddy. Muffin loves the Charlie books, as he calls them. This one was about Charlie starting a school for the other animals on the ranch. Did I mention Muffin also didn’t have a nap and that we have another new front coming through? Although today was beautiful and the mercury kissed 70 degrees, one has to remember Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday when ice was falling/on the ground. Gotta love Louisiana weather! So mix cranky and crabby Mama and no-nap Muffin with a front coming in (which my dad says is a lot of reason for some of his misbehavior) and you have a near apocalypse in the making.
It didn’t quite help that I wasn’t able to get the strawberries on Wednesday (the weather), wash them Wednesday evening, lay them out for Thursday morning, and dip Thursday night. Josh had washed the strawberries Friday morning, and I gotten home on time with no time glitches, I might have had them dipped in chocolate for dessert with the pizzas tonight. That didn’t happen. Due to a circumstance that happened during the day at work, I was late leaving work. Then, it was a struggle to get Muffin to leave Granny’s and Granddaddy’s. Then, nothing went right from that moment on (or at least it seemed so…I’m sure you know how that happens). All of my “perfect” Valentine’s Day plans started to slide into oblivion.
I know I should have prepared the cards and the gifts before yesterday afternoon. Muffin had received a card (with Spongebob stickers…I hear my sister laughing hysterically as she reads this…yes, I’ve given up), a Spongebob marshmallow pop (You can stop laughing now, you know–although it was fun to watch Spongebob disappear into Muffin’s tummy), candy that I bought on clearance at CVS (Starburst, Hershey’s drops, Simply Caramel Milky Way, and Orbit gum), some of the candy bars (World’s Finest Chocolate) that we are selling as a fundraiser at school (I made a special order with one of my former students), his safety scissors, a glue stick, and an Octonauts toy. (I got Josh some Canadian beer that I purchased at Fresh by Brookshires that he liked when he had tried some from Central Market and some of the same candies as Muffin, as well). Josh got me flowers and an all-milk Whitman’s sampler assortment. (This is in addition to the fire pit that we bought each other. If you read about the date night where we called 911, I’m sure you realized what a necessity this is.)
After prepping the presents and cards, I figured that we would make dinner next because otherwise Muffin wouldn’t eat. I had Josh mix up the biscuit dough using Jiffy biscuit mix while I prepped the presents. Even using parchment and flouring the parchment and the surface, it stuck to the parchment so that it could not be used as pizza dough to cut out the heart-shaped pizzas. So, there was another setback while Josh and Muffin went to Brookshire’s and bought canned pizza dough (which I detest, but I couldn’t think of another option to make heart-shaped pizza at this point). While they were gone, I used my new canape cutter that Mom got me at Christmas to cut out heart-shaped pepperpronies (as Muffin says it) and ham slices to top the pizzas (so there would be red and pink on the pizzas), so the time wasn’t totally lost while they were gone. I also discovered that, once they came home, canned pizza dough doesn’t reroll well and tears easily (and it really doesn’t respond well to a heart-shaped cookie cutter). Some of the heart shapes looked kind of mutant-y.
While the pizzas were cooking, we decided to open the cards and gifts (BIG mistake). Muffin wanted to eat his Spongebob pop right away, and wanted to cut and glue stuff right away. That didn’t go so well because we refused to let him until after dinner. The pizzas tasted okay, by the way.
Instead of the strawberries for dessert, Josh and I had ice cream sundaes while Muffin had his Spongebob marshmallow pop (and announced the parts of Spongebob that he had eaten). I should note that this pop was one of the few things he specifically requested for Valentine’s Day (the other being the scissors–safety, of course). He kept remembering it and re-mentioning it. I managed to buy the last one Wal-Mart had the other day.
After dessert, Muffin took a bath, and Josh helped me dip the strawberries. I’ve decided that I probably shouldn’t use Target Market Pantry chocolate chips for dipping the strawberries because they don’t work so well (I’m not sure they are completely real chocolate). I think they are chocolate frosting hardened into chips because that’s what happened when they melted. I decided to decorate some of them with red sprinkles. I usually just straight-up dip them. Halfway cost comparison: 2 pounds of strawberries ($4 at Albertson’s) and chocolate chips (milk chocolate, bought on sale for $2 and purchased at Target–never again–for just under $2), roughly $8 total. There really isn’t that much labor involved. By comparison, 6 strawberries at Kroger were $8, and at Albertson’s they were $10 for 6. Yes, the Albertson’s ones were decorated, but still $10 for 6? Even if you bought higher quality chocolate, you are looking at $9-$10 for the whole batch of 30-40 or so. And, if you had purchased just one strawberry from Godiva (yes, I’ve indulged), each berry is $6-10. I’ll let you contemplate that one for a minute. And dipping strawberries is fun…messy, but fun. And, I like the smaller strawberries because the chocolate coating tends to stay on the strawberry after a bite (with larger strawberries, the chocolate tends to come off). I think it’s time for a recipe!
(good for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, New Year’s, Guy Fawke’s Day, Canada Day, etc.)
(Really, it’s the universal-occasion dessert)
2 pounds strawberries (washed, dried thoroughly, and room temperature), preferably strawberries that are “red” all the way through
2 bags chocolate chips (milk, white, dark, or semi-sweet, whichever you prefer)–don’t skimp on high-quality chips here–I learned my lesson Friday night!
sprinkles or other decorations (or, if you want to get really fancy, different chocolate chips or candy melts, melted and placed in a plastic bag with one corner removed, for drizzling on the finished berries–I’ve never done this because I prefer mine au naturel) (optional)
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for one minute in a pyrex measuring cup. Stir with a wooden skewer after one minute. Heat in ten-second increments, stirring with a wooden skewer each time, until the mixture is melted (Do not overcook the chips! Bad, lumpy things will happen).
Once the chocolate is melted, remove and reserve the skewer. Fluff up the strawberry leaves, and hold by the leaves to dunk and dip the strawberry in the chocolate. In the beginning when the level of chocolate is high, I use an up and down method. Once the level of the chocolate drops, I tend to almost roll it in the chocolate on its side. I try to cover about 3/4 of the berry so that some of the red is still visible. Place on a parchment or wax-paper-lined sheet pan or lipped cookie sheet (small enough to fit in your refrigerator). This recipe took a sheet pan and a lipped cookie sheet (both) to hold all of the berries. Repeat. Once one sheet is full, decorate the berries (totally optional), and place the pan in the fridge for the chocolate to set. Repeat as needed.
Note: It is very important to make sure that the berries are completely dry (and room temperature) before dipping. Any moisture (whether water from washing them or condensation from them being cold in a room-temperature kitchen) will cause the chocolate to seize and get lumpy and grainy. That is definitely not yummy.
After dipping and refrigerating the strawberries, Josh decided to have an impromptu date night by watching the second Bourne movie (Bourne Supremacy). It helped to laugh at the big noses again (seriously, stop using the profile camera angle) as well as the indestructability (is that a word?) of a cab car. Great movie, though. I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. And, watching it seemed to make the stress of the day fade away.
Saturday: After Muffin woke us up this morning, I went shopping to Kroger and Wal-Mart. I picked up a few post-Valentine’s freebies that I put to use (cupcake liners to line the egg carton I put the chocolate-covered strawberries in for Mom and Daddy), Valentine’s sprinkles (wish I had those last night when I was making the strawberries), another Spongebob marshmallow pop (for Muffin’s Easter basket), and plates for tonight. When I returned home, we got ready to take the strawberries to Mom and Daddy (and Muffin had made them valentines!) and to go to Brookshire’s and the library. At Brookshire’s Muffin again got his Customer-in-Training cart and helped us pick out apples and bananas. Then, we went to the library where Muffin picked out the movie Planes and several other books. I picked out a few cookbooks and cozy mysteries. After we ate a lunch of mac-n-cheese-and-hot dogs and Muffin watched the movie, Muffin and I took a nap.
Then, came the preparation for date night. Toward the end of Muffin’s nap, I set up the cheese and stuff tray on our wooden cutting board that our builder gave us at signing for building with them. I still don’t know how I managed to get it all on the tray. (Actually, I didn’t. I had originally intended to include the strawberries and SweetTarts conversation hearts with it to decorate. That so didn’t happen.
This was more a Muffin-and-us date (so it’s a good thing that Josh had decided to do an impromptu date night. Verdict: We all ate until stuffed and drowsy. Then, we sent Muffin to bed with his strawberries and tried to watch the movie. I must have been drowsier than I thought because I didn’t last halfway through Bourne Ultimatum. It was a good movie, but I was zonked! Needless to say, I didn’t finish this post until just now because I was asleep! 😉
How did your week go? Drop me a line below to let me know!
By the way, the cheese board and the strawberries were DEFINITELY Muffin Approved!