Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You must try Keftethes!

Greek meatballs, that is. So delicious...flavorful meatballs in a delightfully light tomato sauce. Make it. Just do as I say and quit asking questions! (Oh, I've been hanging out with Homey a lot apparently!)
For the meatballs proper, you'll need 2 lbs of ground beef, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of cumin (generous pinch here...I love cumin!), 2 pinches of oregano, and salt and pepper.

Just take your rings off and mix all that together in a bowl. Per Greek tradition, form elongated meatballs...
Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and throw those meatballs in. Don't burn 'em! This is where I get rammy...I'm not great at dealing with meat in general. I think I had my pan a little too hot.

But it all turned out okay. Just cook them in batches until they're all done (it makes a lot of meatballs, dude.)

Now let's make the sauce. I'd never made a sauce like this before. I texted Tracy earlier in the day to ask "Have you ever grated a tomato?" The reply I got back was "You've gone insane." So I guess she's not used to grating tomatoes either. But that's what we're going to do!

First, find a charming husband that's willing to play sous chef. Have him grate said tomato.
Excuse the pre-meal adult beverage next to the sous chef. That's just how we roll...

According to Mr. B, you're going to want to grate the tomato from top to bottom. If you do it from the side it'll all fall apart...a sad and messy story. But this is what you're going to end up with:

Dump that in the skillet you used for the meatballs, and season the tomato with salt, pepper and just a bit of sugar.

Once it's warmed through, add the meatballs to the sauce. Let them simmer for 5-10 minutes.

This. Is. Making. Me. HUNGRY! My mercy, can you see that pan of spanakopita behind it? I can't even stand how good this meal is.

Keftethes, served with homemade spanakopita and homemade tzatziki sauce. And Homey's head trying to pose with the meal...

I think this has to be the most perfect meal ever. Especially since Homey loved it and declared that Mommy is the "best cooker ever. Daddy is the best driver, and Mommy is the best cooker" (Insert big broad Homey's good to know she's proud of our strengths, heehee!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Treat Week!

Well, at least, per me, it is! I've deemed it Official Summer Treat Week. It's really just because I wanted ice cream while we were out and about heading to the library. And since I approved the necessary legislation right there in the car, I didn't have my camera on me to document Day 1 of our weekly celebration. Oh well...I'll be on top of it going forward.

It just occurred to me that we're doing a lot of great summertime stuff, but we really haven't enjoyed all the delicious treats that make summer great.

Today was Baskin Robbins day. Homey chose the Wild n Reckless (heh, fitting) Sherbet. I had to have Pralines and Cream, but had a very hard time deciding.

Tomorrow we'll be making our treat here at home...stay tuned. It's too die for! And I'll show ya how to make it.

If you have any favorite summer sweets...let me know because I'm not sure I have 5 ideas!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

On some Sundays, I love to pick up an 8 piece fried chicken from Publix. Their fried chicken is amazing! Then I'll go home and make all the traditional sides from scratch. Delicious meal! But it never fails that the 3 of us can't really eat more than half of the chicken, leaving a ton of meat to use up somehow.

There was a time when I wasn't huge on leftovers. I must have been living in the lap of luxury back then, thinking I didn't have to use every bit of what was in my fridge!

Now I have to use up everything...stretch it into! It's tricky sometimes, but I was pretty pleased how this next idea turned out. It was a huge hit with Homey and Mr. B also! It's not gourmet, it's not even an actual "recipe". It's just an idea. And actually, it took away a craving for a restaurant buffalo chicken sandwich! (Another part of when I was living in the lap of luxury...I would just run around the corner and spend $8.99 for a chicken sandwich from a restaurant. Lunacy! Now we just figure out to make make it ourselves!) Here we go...make's delicious.

Get out your Publix fried chicken, and take it off the bone.

Add bleu cheese dressing.

(For those of you repulsed, disillusioned, or confused by bleu cheese, just use ranch. But don't be hatin' the bleu cheese, people!)

Add hot sauce:
(Homey's not a fan of spice, so I left it off of hers).

Put the chicken mixture on your bread of choice. Use whatever bread you have on hand...This is a really handy way to get rid of the extra hot dog buns before they go bad, though.

Top with provolone cheese.

Throw those bad boys in the oven (either on broil or just preheated to 350...we're just looking to melt the cheese and warm up the chicken a little).

Mmm, delicious and melty!

Add some lettuce and tomato, serve with tater tots! Or whatever else you need to use up. It's all about using whatcha got!

More than coupons and tracking sales, I find I can keep my grocery bill manageable by meal planning and getting creative with leftovers. I have more ways to turn leftovers into one more exciting meal! I'll try to share one idea each week!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall

but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who

holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,

shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail...

Happy Father's Day to Our Hero!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back tracking a little...

Ok, so apparently I have an issue. I cannot blog when I'm overwhelmed.

I had grand plans of photo-blogging my trip to IKEA. Yeah, that so didn't happen.

That place is my happy thought. Sprinkle some fairy dust on me, then just try to get me down. Going there with JMom and Homey was so much fun, but I was so overwhelmed and in "let's get down to business" mode that I didn't snap one photo. I did find some great things, and stayed under budget! That's great news for a once a year IKEA trip. I got everything I needed, plus some stuff that I didn't realize I needed, like a giant kangaroo. But I will strive to do better in my documentation of such events.

Now let's talk Memorial Day. I asked about 30 of my favorite people to come over to celebrate with us. A TON of meat was then purchased for smoking. This was going to be picture-taker's dream...all my great ideas from Better Homes and Southern Living. If you weren't there, or don't live here, can I tell you how that day went? It rained. It rained a lot. And then it rained.

The men were troopers! Tarp up over the cooker, then said men stood in the rain all day. Homey put on her boots and raincoat to check in on them from time to time. That TON of meat was on there, so people had to come and eat it regardless of weather. Except my house reaches capacity at about 6.5 what would I do with 21 adults and 9 children. Yes, I have 2 covered porches, but still. Big. Fat. ACK!

I said lots of little, yet specific prayers. I made sure that it was understood that I am sooo thankful for this rain after years of drought. But please clear off by 4 so that all my favorite people could comfortably enjoy their evening. And ya know what? The rain stopped. At 3. Everyone that had been in it for the long haul agreed that the grass had easily grown an inch that very afternoon. So when the rain stopped, my wonderful Mr. B who had been up with the cows quickly cut the grass that had been rained on all day! (Now promoted from trooper to super trooper!).

Things were looking up. But most of my BHG and Southern Living type ideas were out the window. I didn't know if another storm would pop up and ruin everything, so I didn't want to set everything up inside. And at this point (um, 3:47, 13 minutes and counting...), nothing at all was set up because I didn't know what was going to happen with the weather! Anyway, it was a GREAT party with all my favorite people. Seriously, new and old friends was a lot of people that I like alot. Here's a short run down of the happenings...not the gorgeous pictures I was hoping to take.

Oh, and did I mention that I was just plain freaked out the first half of the party? Still due to the weather, and then due to all my social worlds colliding. Freaked out. With camera on wrist. But this is all I managed to take. And I promise to try to do better in such circumstances going forward.

They sat in the rain alllll day....

Keeping the cooker going...

Can't you smell it??


My mercy look at all the food!

Obligatory Thing 1 and Thing 2 shot

The man cave has temporarily been relocated to the tarp/cooker area...

Brisket. Good heavens...

Pulled pork...oh dear!

There will be more summer shenanigans with the cooker! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What blog?!

I'm going to let you in on a shocking secret...something that nobody knows about me. I don't adjust to changes in schedule very well.

Okay, so maybe that's overly apparent.


But I didn't mean to ignore this hugely popular blog...I have just been flying around here trying to keep the Beast educated and entertained. It's going remarkably well!

After a week of establishing a routine with her and learning about birds, I think I am ready to get this blog show on the road.

So somewhere between Circle Time, learning about fish (this week's Mommy Preschool theme) and playing in our neighbor's pool, I'll be here to relay the most savvy tricks of domesticity that I know. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ok...What Now?

Let me start by saying that my sweet and surly child has been in daycare/school since she was 3 months old. My inner domestic goddess has always yearned to be home with this child, it just never worked out before.

Then I got the big L/O a few months ago allowing me to be home! HOME. My favorite word! I looked at the pre-school schedule, and thought, "Ok, they're on letter R...10 more weeks, then I can pull her to stay home with me." I cut her hours at school to save money, but let her stay in to finish the alphabet. They had a big party when they got to the end. Such fun for doing such hard work! So then I cut her to 3 days a week. I thought to myself, "I really shouldn't be spending this money to keep her in school when I'm here. But she loves it, and thrives there. She'll be extra super mad if I pull her away from her friends and her teacher just to hang out with me!"
I couldn't figure out how to let her go less than 3 days a week because for the first time since Homey started going to any child development center, she has a teacher that genuinely loves her kids, loves teaching and playing, and is totally willing and available to talk to parents whenever we can touch base. Add that to the fact that Homey has never known anything different than the helpful schedule and routine that school gives you!

But sometimes circumstances change, and it's important to be willing to bend and flex (I am not good at bending nor flexing, though I continue to work on this character flaw). Our favorite teacher has had to move on to better things a little earlier than expected, so now my reason for keeping her in school for the summer is gone, and Homey is going to be here with me. Ha! And Ack! And Pray for us both!

Nah, we'll be fine, so long as I continue some good ol' routine and structure. Both my middle name, right? But I have a lot to live up to when I continue Homey's summer learning fun at home...Tafaleen (for those that don't know that's "Kathleen" in Homey) really set a standard that I'm not sure I can compete with. But as I'm learning to fill her days with enriching, fun, and crafty things, stay tuned for the blooper pics to go with it!

And from Homey and me, here's a big giant shout out to our favorite teacher ever: Thanks for the best year we've ever had in school, and we absolutely love you. In the meantime, check on us, please. To make sure Homey and I are still on speaking terms. We're a lot alike, Homey and me. So I hear, anyway. But I think we can do this! As long as we can still call Tafaleen sometimes for pointers!