Meal Plan Monday: You’re Kidding, Right?

Meal Plan Monday

This week is all about leftovers.  Well…mostly.  This is the last week of the much-bustling holiday season.  I refuse to cook anything this week other than for New Year’s Eve (which is enough in itself) or my contribution for the New Year’s Day meal, hot water cornbread.

So, when my mom mentioned Saturday night that she was DONE with Christmas leftovers, I was shocked.  As in, do you really want to cook Monday and Tuesday?

She said that we could take a plate, however.

What happened to my five-days-of-holiday-leftovers mother?

So, I put together two plates to tide us over to Wednesday (where I will force leftovers on my mom).  Turnabout is fair play, after all.

And there is a limit to how much fajita meat a person can consume over a week.

Here’s the plan:

Saturday:  leftover Christmas dinner

Sunday:  spaghetti and meatballs at my mom’s (My contributions are a replenished treat tray and artisan bread.)

Monday:  leftovers that I took from my mom’s

Tuesday:  ditto

Wednesday:  fajitas, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, treat tray, ice cream sundae bar, Cranberry Punch, tea, etc.

Thursday:  pork loin, cole slaw, hot water cornbread

Friday:  leftovers

Saturday, Sunday (and hopefully all of next week): leftovers in some form

I hope to link up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday:

Is your meal plan as generic this week?

25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 24: A New Year’s Feast

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Merry (Happy?) Christmas Eve!  Today’s post is about another Eve–New Year’s Eve.  Josh, Muffin, and I celebrate New Year’s Eve with family, friends, and sometimes neighbors–fiesta-style, complete with fireworks (and, hopefully, this year a pinata).

Josh is responsible for the fireworks and makes it a true extravaganza.  Mortars all the way down to sparklers are on his shopping list.  Sometimes, we have a bit of a misfire and sometimes it’s a bit cold, but it’s always fun and exciting.

Our menu never deviates by guest request.  Early in our marriage, Josh and I tried a fajita recipe that uses both chicken and steak, a Spanish rice recipe, and a pico de gallo recipe–all from the site-formerly-known-as-Recipezaar (  Well, I adapted a pico recipe from that site.  Today, I will share with you a recipe for guacamole and pico.  The Spanish rice recipe was shared earlier in this series.

I will begin with the pico because I add a few spoonfuls of the pico to the guacamole.


Pico de Gallo

Adapted from

8 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

12 stems’ worth of cilantro leaves, minced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients.  Chill several hours until ready to serve to allow for flavors to blend.

Pico de Gallo

(Click on the above recipe page image to access the printable.)

Now, for the guacamole, I would complete the final prep pretty much tableside at serving time.  I would, however, prepare the pico several hours before the guacamole so that the favors have melded and some juice has released (as you are going to be adding pico chunks and juice to the guacamole).

This batch of guacamole (pictured below) was prepared in the following manner:



3 ripe Haas avocados (one can be slightly less ripe than the others)

2-3 tablespoons pre-prepared pico de gallo

1 tablespoon pico de gallo liquid

additional lime juice for flavoring, if desired

1-2 tablespoons sour cream, optional

salt and pepper to taste

Begin by dicing one avocado (after dividing the avocado in half and removing the seed, of course).  (I recommend using a spoon to remove the flesh from the skin.)  Place the diced avocado in a medium-sized bowl.  Mash the remaining two (the two ripest avocados of the three) avocados to a paste consistency.  Add to the diced avocado.  Add in pico de gallo and liquid.  Stir ingredients together.  Add sour cream, if desired.  Taste.  Add additional lime juice, salt, and pepper, if needed.  Serve immediately to enjoy before oxidation.


As for the fajitas?  That recipe will have to wait until New Year’s Day!  🙂

Merry Christmas, everyone!

25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 6: Kiddie Champagne

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I know this post will seem like a repeat of Wednesday’s post or even the one from the sparkling Concord grape juice from the Please Don’t Heat Up the Kitchen New Recipe Challenge.

It is different, however.  This one could be called Kiddie Champagne or Temperance Champagne.  It could even work as a great mocktail starter (Virgin Peach Bellini anyone?  Or a Temperance Mimosa?).

The crystalline results:

This, just as with the sparkling cider, makes a great toasting sip–for New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, or anything celebratory.  My cousin recently renewed her vows, and Muffin, my parents, and I were privileged to be present for the ceremony and the reception.  Muffin especially enjoyed the reception–particularly the “sweet beans” (baked beans) and the toasting sipper.  He drank several plastic champagne glasses’ worth of Welch’s sparkling white grape juice.  Guzzled may be a better term, in fact.  I am including this recipe with him in mind.

Kiddie Champagne

(Sparkling White Grape Juice)

1 can (12 ounces) white grape juice concentrate

36 ounces (3 12-ounce cans) sparkling water (by any name:  carbonated water, sparkling water, seltzer, club soda)

Carefully combine juice concentrate with sparkling water in a half-gallon pitcher.  Stir gently so as to keep the soda from going flat.  Serve in a pretty glass.  Note:  You can substitute the kiddie champagne for its alcoholic cousin in cocktails to make them “mocktails.”

And…the lovely printable for the binder:

How do you plan to use this recipe?

Muffin Approved

25 Days of Holiday Goodies Day 5: Spanish Rice

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Okay, now I imagine if you have been following the posts you think I have lost my marbles.  In fact, this post is a tease of a post to come on Christmas Eve.

Each New Year’s Eve since Josh and I have been married, we have celebrated the occasion with fajitas (chicken and steak), beans, Spanish rice, and the rest of the fixins.  This Spanish rice is a particular favorite of mine because it actually is easier than some of the “convenience” Spanish rice mixes I could name…and it tastes fresher.

So, no, I haven’t lost my mind.  I first found this recipe (as I did with most of our New Year’s Eve inspiration) on the-site-formerly-known-as-Recipezaar (now called

Isn’t it purdy?

Here is the recipe:

Spanish Rice

(Adapted from

1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups water

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 1/2 cup rice

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons chili powder

3/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

In a medium nonstick saucepan, mash the tomatoes with a potato masher until the consistency of salsa.  Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer until rice is done (about 25 minutes).  Serve topped with cheese and sliced green onion, if desired.

And the printable for the binder:

Muffin does like this recipe (although he likes some of the other New Year’s Eve eats better).  This recipe would also make a great side dish for a Christmas Eve celebration, too.

Muffin Approved

How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Funny Muffin Friday: A Blast Back to New Year’s Eve Past

Funny Muffin Friday

Did I mention that every New Year’s Eve we have a fiesta?  Usually the fiesta ends well before midnight (and Muffin is most definitely asleep well before midnight–as are the rest of us), but this past New Year’s Eve my two peeps and I were determined to stay up to midnight.  We managed to do it, but, as you can see in the picture below, Muffin and his dad…didn’t.

This was shortly before midnight.  They almost made it!

How do you like to ring in the New Year?  (Yes, I know it’s April, but I figured this shot was so share-able that I needed to share it)