Thoughtful Thursday: Consideration of Others

Thoughtful Thursday

And the lesson for today in the Pinteresting Blogosphere:  Consideration of Others.  Sadly, recent events have proven that many people either 1) don’t see consideration as a polite necessity or 2) go out of their way to be inconsiderate.

Yes, this is a ranting blog post.  I’m warning you in advance.

Recently, Muffin and I went to the $1 movie day.  It was a Tuesday (because that’s the day of the half price popcorn), and we were really looking forward to it.

Now, one of my (the only, in fact) only issues with the $1 movie is that several day cares and day camps bring their hordes of minions to the movie, clogging the theaters for families that are visiting.

On this particular day, the day we went to see Iron Giant, a local church-based day care was there.  Now, traditionally, people buy there tickets and then go to the concessions.  As there were five adults, one stood in line (behind all of us who purposefully arrived half an hour early to avoid the day care rush), and the other four went to the concession line!

They held up the line for 45 minutes (having basically cut us in line who had arrived before them), ordering 32 kids packs of popcorn, fruit snacks, and a drink.  They then turned around and ordered their own personal orders.

Finally, a parent in line in front of me (as it neared 10 o’clock and the movie was due to begin…and we were going to miss it because of the inconsiderate-ness of the church-based day care workers), shouted (she was angry, too), asking if one of the concessions workers was the manager.

When the manager replied in the affirmative, the mother expressed how it wasn’t fair or right for those of us who arrived early to have to miss the movie while those who arrived after us and cut in line were allowed to enjoy the full movie.

The manager agreed and showed consideration to all of us, holding the movies by 30 minutes so we could get our concession orders taken care of.

What bothers me most about this situation is that these INCONSIDERATE adults were teaching little kids to be inconsiderate, thus perpetuating the decline in good manners.

Yes, I realize that sounds melodramatic, but they certainly weren’t teaching the reverse!

Sound off!  What is your biggest pet peeve with modern behavior?

We Plan Wednesday: When the Best Laid Plans…

We Plan Wednesday

Well, normally at this time of year, I would be in a tizzy gathering the needed components for the dual-fests at our house of Canada Day and the Fourth of July, only three days apart.

Then, Josh received his work schedule for July.

Starting Monday (if you remember the Meal Plan Monday post), he is on call through next Monday (in other words, the Fourth of July).  He works both days.

So…that is why Friday (Canada Day), Muffin and I will be dining on something I chickened out of trying last week:  the slow cooker pizza.  I figure if it fails there’s always delivery or Rotolo’s or Little Caesar’s.

On Monday, we are going to my parents’ (Muffin and I) to enjoy the hot dog bar traditional to Canada Day, baked beans (made my way), a veggie tray, and a fruit tray for dessert.

We are all looking forward to it.  A nice lazy Fourth (and then a return to home to watch the neighbor’s fireworks outside.

What’s on your agenda this holiday weekend?


Tip Tuesday: Sometimes You Must Break the Rules…

Tip Tuesday

I’m a believer in following the rules.  I think I was a hall monitor in a former life.  Personal responsibility is a BIG thing with me.  Once I learned how to color within the lines, I tried never coloring outside of them.

For those of you who have read my (nearly countless) posts of how I altered recipes, therefore NOT following the rules, you are (justifiably) howling maniacally.

But my need to bend recipes to my will aside, sometimes there are times you need to BREAK THE RULES!

Even though I haven’t written an updated post (yah, yah) for the Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge, I am trying to make sure that I don’t heat up the kitchen this summer of insane heat.

Repeat after me:  In.  Sane.

So, why would I make a recipe that not only heats up the stove coils for an extended period of time but also runs the oven for close to half an hour (plus pre-heat time)?

Because it is totally worth it.

Because it makes you think you are literally tasting summer.

The fresh and crisp and clean summer, not the insane (see above) summer.

The recipe comes from Debbiedoo’s (I just love that name), the blog that gave Muffin his favorite pork chop dish (Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pork Chops).  I figured that any recipe from that website would be totally Muffin Approved (and it was)!

What dish, to me, epitomizes summer?  Drumroll….Wait for it….

Quick and Easy Chicken Piccata.  Lemony.  With a crisp note of white wine.  And the one ingredient that makes me love chicken piccata:  capers!  Of course I forgot to add them until after the chicken was in the oven for a bit, but half a jar still went in there.

We served it with broccoli that was “stir fried” in the pan that had browned the chicken and made the sauce, cantaloupe, blackberries, and strawberries.  Eating the rainbow again.  My one regret is that I didn’t serve it with pasta.  It totally needed pasta.

And, as I was saying, with the exception of the capers (oh, well, more for me), Muffin LOVED it!!!  Of course this was a Muffin Approved meal all the way around:  two of his favorite fruits and one of his favorite veg.  For some reason, Muffin wasn’t that fond of the blackberries.  I loved them!

Anyway, here’s what I did:

Quick and Easy Chicken Piccata

(Followed almost exactly from Debbiedoo’s–see the hyperlink above)


3 large chicken breasts (the thin end cut off as one piece then the thicker in divided into two pieces–halved horizontally–you will have 9 smallish pieces)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup (ish) all-purpose flour

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (You are going to buy a fresh lemon anyway to slice and boil in the sauce, so 1/4 cup of juice isn’t that much of a hardship.  P.S. If you have a Muffin, he or she loves doing this part of the work.)

1 fresh lemon, sliced

1/2 jar nonpareil capers (the tiny bits of goodness)

2 tablespoons butter (The recipe calls for four tablespoons, but I was trying to finish off a stick of butter before it went rancid.)

vegetable oil

2 cups of white wine (I used Flip Flop Pinot Grigio.  No, I don’t get compensated by their parent company, but I wanted to let you know so you could produce consistent results.  And, I chose this one because I’m not fond of pinot grigio, and this one had a screw top–so that it could be easily saved for another cooking use.)

*Debbiedoo’s also uses parsley, but I didn’t use any.  If you want to find out how, check out the link above.

I started out by preparing the sauce ingredients (to avoid cross-contamination with the chicken):  sliced the lemon, juiced the lemons, measured out the wine, plopped in the butter, and forgot the capers.  Then, I prepped the chicken, dividing each into three pieces (see above) and mixing the flour with salt and pepper.  While prepping the chicken, I coated the bottom of a large pan in oil and started warming it on medium.

I then cooked the chicken (3-4 minutes each side) in two batches, evacuating the chicken to a 13×9 glass pan as it finished.  Once I started cooking the chicken, I preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Once the chicken was browned, I poured in the sauce ingredients, starting with the wine, which deglazed the pan close to immediately.  I stirred them together and brought them to a “bubble,” then reduced the heat and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

I poured the sauce over the chicken and plopped the 13×9 in the oven.  Sprinkle capers over the top (if you forgot to add them to the sauce as I did).  Bake 25-35 minutes.  I baked mine 25 minutes and it was perfection, very tender and flavorful.

Muffin Approved

What is your favorite dish that reminds you of summer?

Meal Plan Monday: After a Busy Weekend

Meal Plan Monday

This weekend was SUPER busy.  Muffin attended two birthday parties Saturday (a morning party of one of his best school friends and then, in the afternoon, the birthday party of one of this blog’s longtime readers as well as his visiting grandsons who are also friends of Muffin).  He had the best time at both and was EXHAUSTED when we arrived home.  Sunday was busily spent cleaning (Josh and Muffin) and meal-planning and shopping for the week.

This week presents a wrinkle in the plans.  Josh is working on-call for the next several days, so I am packing him lunch and supper every day through the Fourth.

(Note:  I apologize for the picture snafu in Thursday’s and Friday’s posts.  I am slowly learning how to finesse Google Photos–now that Picasa is all but defunct.  If you haven’t had a chance to see Friday’s entry in all its Muffin-glory, please check out below!)

Today, I hearken back to a previous entry, by-the-numbers my most popular post…the one that dealt with theme nights.  If you haven’t checked it out, you might like it.

So, what’s the plan?  Away we go!

Saturday:  party eats

Sunday:  grilled pork chops, grilled corn, golden honeydew (Josh made two suppers from the leftovers)

Monday:  (Mediterranean Monday) Quick and Easy Chicken Piccata (Debbiedoo’s), steamed broccoli, and fruit (probably cantaloupe and strawberries and blueberries)

Tuesday:  (Taco Tuesday) Beef Nacho Pie (Taste of Home), fruit

Wednesday:  (Waffle Wednesday meaning breakfast) Ham and Cheese Hashbrown Casserole (Mom on Timeout), fruit

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs (tradition)

Friday:  (Pizza Friday) Slow Cooker Pizza (Crockin Girls), corn

Saturday:  (Shezuan Saturday Asian Eats) Crock Pot Cashew Chicken (Favorite Family Recipes), rice, veg and fruit tray

Sunday:  (Sunday dinner) 20-40 Clove Slow Cooker Chicken (A Year of Slow Cooking), stuffing, peas

What’s on your plan this week?

Thoughtful Thursday: Not a Rant, I Promise!

Thoughtful Thursday

Truly…I promise.

Today’s Thoughtful Thursday post deals with another way to create a East coast favorite:  the Philly Cheesesteak.  I have eaten a cheesesteak in Philadelphia several years ago.  I’m going to upset some people (I’m sure) when I say I was…not impressed.

It was an okay sandwich.  But I’ve definitely tasted better.

And, in terms of making them, have you priced Steak-umms in the South?

Uh, that isn’t going to happen.

So, that’s why I was so jazzed when I was going through the recipes on Six Sisters’ Stuff and found the Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.  Ground beef can be obtained much more cheaply (or even ground from a roast purchased for $2/pound) than the traditional meat.

And ground beef is easier to chew than meat that could be tough.

Prior to trying this recipe, cheesesteaks were one of those food items that I wished I liked.  I mean, they had one of my favorite ingredients of all times:  Worcestershire sauce.  I may have daydreamed about guzzling a bottle or two once during my childhood.

Yes, I know that saltlick would not have been a great idea, but I was like five, people!  I also swallowed (and instantly repented and regretted) the salt at the bottom of a bag of pretzels.

This recipe is a keeper and it is totally Muffin Approved.  But, then, he loves all things sloppy joe related.

Here’s what I did:

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

1 pound ground beef (I’m pretty sure we used beef ground in the meat grinder attachment)

1 T Worcestershire sauce plus enough low sodium beef broth to make a cup

1 onion and 1 green pepper, both chopped

1/4 cup steak sauce

8 ounces mushrooms, diced

sliced provolone cheese

salt and pepper, as needed


Brown meat over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.  Drain.  Add vegetation and cook 3-4 more minutes or until tender.  Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and let perk away happily for 2 minutes.

Place a slice of cheese on the bottom half of each roll.  Top with a scoop of meat.  Wrap in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

What’s your favorite type of sloppy joe?

We Plan Wednesday: A Possible Summer Holiday Dessert?

We Plan Wednesday

Yes, those summer holidays are right around the corner.  For those celebrating both Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4), the time to plan is upon us.

This year, because of Josh’s wonky work schedule, we will be celebrating in between the two.  Last year, if memory serves me, we had a homemade Strawn’s strawberry pie as our dessert.  Yes, it is red and white (symbolic of both Canada and the United States–well, with blue), but we are gobbling up strawberries so quickly that there is no way we will be able to spare the two pounds for a pie.

Another option is a recipe I made (but did not blog) for Cinco de Mayo.  It’s greenish, so it would also work for St. Patrick’s Day.  But, what I really like about it for the two summer holidays, is that you don’t heat up the kitchen (other than the ten minutes for the crust) in all of the craziness.

What recipe am I talking about?  Kraft Recipe’s Margarita Cheesecake Pie.

Here’s what I did:

34 Ritz crackers, crushed (a great job for Muffin! or a mama with a need to whack and crush things!)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large limes, divided

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (Resist the urge to eat this can with a spoon.  You might want to change the amount to 2 cans so you can have a can to enjoy with a spoon.  Cooks perogative!)

1/4 cup FRESH lemon juice (not Real Lemon–resist the urge)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine cracker crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate.  Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, zest 1 lime and set zest aside.  Cut zested lime in half.  Squeeze juice from lime halves.  Beat cream cheese and milk with mixer until blended.  Add lime and lemon juice; mix well.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust.  Smooth top.  Cut remaining lime into four lengthwise quarters, then cut each quarter crosswise into thin slices.  Arrange around edge of pie.  Sprinkle with zest.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

What is your dessert plan for these summer holidays?

Tip Tuesday: Sides that Won’t Heat Up the Kitchen (and a Dessert Idea, Too!)

Tip Tuesday

It’s extremely necessary to not heat up the kitchen in the summer.  Even assuming that your a.c. works perfectly (and that isn’t always the case), if you live in an area that tends to get the 9,000 degree heat with 500% humidity, heating up the kitchen defeats the purpose.

There are tons of recipes for the slow cooker, the grill, or that are not-to-be-cooked for main dishes (and even some desserts or sides), but a visit to my sister’s recently reminded me of other options that are cooling (and healthy to boot!).

Yes, I said healthy.  It’s not a topic often covered by this blog, but the summer is the time of year when I tend to reduce–a bit.  It’s too hot to eat for one thing.

For another, and the focus of this entry, there are so many yummy fresh fruits and vegetables available during this time.

While at my sister’s last week, for each meal eaten at home (and a particularly memorable snack time), she served a veggie tray and a fruit tray.

Let’s examine the complexity of the veggie tray.  At Christmas and Thanksgiving (with pickles and olives), we call such a thing relishes.  If you are attending a pinkie-extended cocktail party, you may speak in an upper-crust accent and call them cruditees.  If you purchase such a thing pre-made at the grocery store, you will see it called a vegetable tray.

In the summer, it should only be called a veggie tray, bringing to mind the idea of lazy summer days cooled by the crisp fresh veggies and dip (which could be sour cream-based, yogurt-based, or salad dressing).

Really, any raw vegetable is awesome.  Grape tomatoes, carrots, celery sticks, radishes, green onions, pepper strips (or mini bell peppers), broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber…the possibilities are endless.

I have been guilty (in the past) of purchasing veggie trays.  That’s okay (especially if they are marked down as reduced produce).  But there is something so satisfying about arranging them in a colorful melange of flavors and textures.

On Sunday, for the Father’s Day celebration, I created the one below.  I also made one to serve with the leftovers yesterday.  But Muffin started scarfing the tray before I could snap a pic.  Muffin loves the veggie trays a lot.  My mom even mentioned that, when he visited them on Saturday for lunch, he did a good job of decimating the veggie tray.

Note:  We’ve enjoyed the veggie tray for two days in a row.  I can definitely see this as becoming a regular side at our table (for supper or lunch…it would make a great addition to a ploughman’s lunch!).

They can also be as simple or elaborate as you wish.  The sky’s the limit!

And what, may you ask, is Muffin’s new favorite dessert?  One that would make the federal lunch guidelines happy, that’s for sure.

Muffin is very much fruit-obsessed.  I have seen him offered a choice of cake or fruit, and he will choose fruit almost every time.

While at my sister’s, he tried to decimate her fruit tray, gobbling handfuls of red grapes and wedges of watermelon interspersed with copious amounts of strawberries.

On Sunday, throughout dinner, he kept wheedling (there is no other word for it) to have some of the fruit tray that I made below.  I specifically kept it in the fridge so that he would eat some of the main part of his meal (other than the vegetable tray above).

Fruit trays can always be the most beautiful, decorative element on the table.  You can have the green of honeydew or kiwi, various berries in shades of red or blue (or purple), the many hues of grapes, the orange of cantaloupe, the red of watermelon, the oranges of various tropical fruits.  As you can see, I compiled chunks of honeydew (that I cut down some because I couldn’t find a whole on in the store, blueberries (Muffin ate the rest of the pint for breakfast), cherries, strawberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon (I had purchased a personal watermelon, sliced off the ends, and peeled the rind off the rest before cutting it in disks, and then fingers.).

There wasn’t much left of the tray (and the rest was gone the following morning after Muffin hit it).  The honeydew disappeared before we returned home with the tray.

The next day, I decided that would be the ideal dessert with the leftovers, so I replenished the tray.  I even bought strawberries and had leftover cherries that never made it on last night’s tray.  I purchased some organic blackberries that were 99 cents a 6 ounce package (that I didn’t realize were on sale).  I ended up buying two of them.  They were perfect.  Tight little berries.  If you were to paint a still life of blackberries, these would be your muse to recreate.

So, last night, for dessert with the leftovers (as well as a lovely chilled bedtime snack), this is what we feasted upon:

What are your favorite warm weather sides and desserts?

Meal Plan Monday: Wk 2 of the As-Yet-Unwritten Challenge

Meal Plan Monday

Happy belated Father’s Day to all of you wonderful dads out there!

Josh had to work yesterday, but we did get to have a nice Father’s Day dinner with my parents.  As I mentioned in last week’s MPM post, we had the Asian-Style Ribs, fried rice, a fruit tray, and a veggie tray.  All went perfectly.

(The chef’s sample.  I couldn’t resist!)

So, what else is on the plan for this week?

Well, let’s see…

Saturday:  hamburgers (grilled) and beans

Sunday:  Asian Style Barbecue Ribs, fried rice, fruit tray, veggie tray

Monday: leftovers from Sunday

Tuesday:  Taco Tuesday!

Wednesday: wedge salad with bacon and cheese, fruit

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  Slow Cooker Pizza (Crockin’ Girls), corn

Saturday:  Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken (The Recipe Critic), green veg

Sunday:  Quick and Easy Chicken Piccata (Debbiedoo’s), steamed broccoli, fruit

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Meal Plan Monday: Week 1 of a Returning Challenge

Meal Plan Monday


Please Don't Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge

It’s that time of year again.  We need a respite from the summer’s heat.  So, I bring you Week 1 of the returning Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge (more to come on the challenge Wednesday for We Plan Wednesday).

This week, my focus is two sources.  The first is another one of the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications (abbreviated below as BH&G SIP) Make and Take.  The other is a wonderful website that does the cost breakdown for recipes, Budget Bytes.

So, what’s up for this week?  Why, this, of course!

Saturday:  cookout with hot dogs and s’mores in the fire pit (Muffin has been dying to try s’mores)

Sunday:  grilled smoked sausage with peppers and onions

Monday:  Finger Lickin’ Barbecue Chicken (BH&G SIP Make and Take), beans, coleslaw

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew (Budget Bytes), bread

Wednesday:  at my sister’s

Thursday:  at my sister’s

Friday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Saturday:  Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken (The Recipe Critic), rice, peas/beans

Sunday:  Asian-Style Barbecue Ribs (BH&G SIP Make and Take), fried rice, green veg (Father’s Day eats!)

What’s on your meal plan this week?  Oh, and if you have any recipes that need to make the list for the challenge, please let me know by dropping me a comment or two!  Thanks!  🙂