Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend activities

I haven't been feeling well all week, and finally went to the doctor yesterday, only to discover I had a sinus infection! Apparently they are common when you first move out to the Seattle area because of the climate. However, now that I have some antibiotics in my system and a husband at home, I am ready to get out of the house! Even when I get out at least once every day, I still find myself running into a little cabin fever. Unfortunately Geoff, who spends most of his days outside the house working, doesn't feel the same way.
This morning, while he went to a men's breakfast, I lay around in bed then got dressed and ready to go. After rolling $48 worth of change (yay for almost $50 more towards our couch!) I am ready to get out of here! Unfortunately I don't know the area well enough to know what exactly to do.
Since we're between pay periods we are stretching money at the moment and I'm looking for something, well, free! There are a lot of nice walking trails around that we could take advantage of, but today it is rainy and not a good day for that. That also rules out the zoo, which isn't free, but still might be fun (it would only be $19 for the two of us.) This week Geoff did get two free movie tickets, so we could see a movie. Since I haven't been feeling well I don't feel like cooking, so dinner will most likely be out...luckily we have a gift card to Applebee's and also one to Chili's, so it will just depend on our mood. For dinner I had originally planned on going to Pike Place Market, but since we're low on cash, fresh fish isn't exactly in the budget when something in the house or free is! In the meantime, I'm still looking for something to do this afternoon while Geoff plays video games...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pasta with Shrimp...for two!

Just before I graduated from undergrad in 2004, my mom gave me several cookbooks which were, most likely, in anticipation of me moving out and cooking on my own. Unfortunately for her, it was several years before that happened! But now that I am, I'm really coming to appreciate my Cooking for Two cookbook.

I should note that together, Geoff and I have at least a dozen (maybe 20) cookbooks. While they are all different (Cooking for Two, grilling, baking...) we do have some similar ones. My new plan is to take one cookbook a week and cook at least 3 recipes from it, at least until I know what I have and what we like! Last night we cooked pasta with shrimp and it was delicious! I would definitely recommend it.

Though it was a simple recipe, it was helpful to have another person there because there were a few different things that needed to be done at once.
While Geoff chopped tomatoes, I peeled the (thawed) shrimp from his freezer.

Side note, shrimp really are ugly (if delicious) creatures.
Next, Geoff started the pasta boiling, I cut up the asparagus, and then Geoff heated oil and garlic in preparation for cooking the tomatoes and asparagus. (White asparagus was on sale for $2 cheaper than green, that's the only reason we ended up with that).

After a couple minutes of cooking the tomatoes, add the shrimp and white wine. Having glass of your own is optional!

I cut up a cucumber because we needed to eat it before it went bad. A glass of wine and a couple candles (from our unity candle at our wedding!) and we had a very nice meal together.

8 oz. fresh or frozen shrimp in shells
8 thin stalks of asparagus
1/2 of a 9-oz. package refrigerated angel hair pasta (or your own pasta, just cook it yourself)
1 t olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 T dry white wine
1/8 t salt and pepper
2 t butter or margarine
2 t finely chopped fresh basil (dried OK)

1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Rinse shrimp, pat dry and set aside.
2. Trim woody ends off asparagus. Remove tips and set aside. Bias-slice the stalks into 1 or 1 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside. Cook pasta, drain. Return to saucepan and cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir for 15 seconds. Add tomatoes; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
4. Add the asparagus stalks, wine, salt and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque. Stir in butter until melted.
5. To serve, add the shrimp mixture and basil to pasta; toss gently to coat.

I'm thinking next week we're going to have to break this new appliance in! It just arrived yesterday.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu plan Monday and what I learned this week!

This week's menu planning is brought to you by a combination of my crock pot cookbook and Cooking for Two, which I love! Leftovers aren't going to be an issue this week even with two-serving meals because we're already a little behind on eating the food we have leftover.
Anyway, onto the menu!

Sunday: Cheesy chicken and macaroni (this was very disappointing. If I do it again, I'll have to edit the recipe a bit.)
Monday: Breakfast for dinner OR Progresso soup and sandwiches (depending on my/Geoff's mood!)
Tuesday: Pasta with shrimp
Wednesday: Beer can chicken, homemade rolls, apples. (We're having a guest this night so I planned the larger meal accordingly)
Thursday: Skillet macaroni and cheese (Weight Watchers and delicious), cucumber
Friday: Pasta, leftover chicken and zucchini.
Saturday: Some kind of fish from Pike Place Market.

Menu plan Monday brought to you by Organizing Junkie!

This week I learned the difference between a pizza stone and a regular pan.

The cheese pizza was baked on my brand new pizza stone, and the feta and hamburger pizza was baked on a regular (old) pan. Though they were both good (I got a lot of compliments on them from Geoff and Matt!), I think the cheese pizza came out much better.
What I learned: The recipe I was using is too big! For just two of us I need to cut it in half and only make one pizza. The recipe obviously produced enough dough to make two pizzas. This way we won't have as much left over and I won't have to worry about sharing the pizza stone!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This is my first food waste Friday and I'm very happy to report that I have NONE! Now, don't get too excited, because I'm quite sure this isn't going to be a regular occurrence. Since this is my first week trying to be more careful with food, however, I think I was extra excited and conscious, haha.

Thanks to The Frugal Girl for inspiring this post!

Later, I will post my homemade pizza from last night and discuss what I learned about the difference between using a pizza stone and not!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stuffed chicken

Last night Geoff went out, so it was just a friend and I (who has been visiting for the past week-ish) for dinner. I prepared the chicken stuffed with bacon and feta, set the crock pot on high and left. Two hours later I went to check on it and discovered, much to my annoyance, that I had never plugged the crock pot in!! Since it was still early (about 5 p.m.) I turned it on high and left it for 2 more hours. The recipe said to cook it for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, so after I checked on it at 7 and the chicken was still not done! Frustrated, Matt and I went to Fat Burger for their Tuesday night special.
I put the chicken in the fridge, and pulled it out at about 3 and put it on low. We ate at about 7 tonight and though both Geoff and Matt seemed to really enjoy the chicken, I wasn't thrilled with it. It was a little dry and maybe I was still a little annoyed at it from the other night! So it may be a while before I cook this (easy) recipe again.
So, I've shifted everything on my menu plan and we will have pizza tomorrow night instead of tonight.

This weekend Geoff and I are going furniture shopping. We're having a disagreement on when to buy furniture. I would like to get it as soon as possible since the couch Geoff has now is really not that comfortable and it's only a love seat, and since that and our beanbag are the only things to sit on in the living room, it doesn't really lend itself to entertaining. (Not that we're planning on doing that any time soon either). Geoff, on the other hand, would like to pay cash for it. Which I am also in favor of, but I don't have the patience to wait until the end of the year. I think our compromise will be that we will get furniture now, but try to get a credit card with no interest for a year, and then pay it off before the interest accumulates. There! Almost like cash, right? So, that's the next big step. And, hopefully we will get a good tax return that will help with that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When they say Easy Potato Soup they mean it!

My new friend this week is this cookbook. I got 4 of the 6 recipes I'm using from it. (Well, one of those 6 was pancakes and omelets, so I guess that doesn't count.)

Last night I made Easy Potato Soup for dinner and man was it easy! The recipe is basically: Pour 2 cans of chicken broth and a 1 pound package of frozen hash browns in the crock pot. Leave it for several hours. About an hour before you're ready to eat, pour in 3 cups of shredded cheese and 3 cups of milk. (I added some spices for taste, but it would also work to use spicy cheese, though I don't like that myself). Let it get hot, serve. Simple!

The only problem I found with this is that it's, well, a little boring. And while there's some protein in there (cheese) I thought we needed a little something else with dinner. So I made a salad.

I am especially excited about this because of the bowl and salad hands. The bowl was a wedding gift from Crate and Barrel, and the hands were purchased with wedding gift cards at Target. I love them both!
Anyway, that salad contained lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, all things I would have used up eventually, and also avocado (on sale for .88, I couldn't resist getting two) and leftover bacon bits and cheese from the previously mentioned omelets. Score, I used stuff up! Even better, we finished off the salad and I sent The Husband to work with soup and a small piece of leftover chicken for lunch. Cooking for two is MUCH easier than cooking for one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu plan Monday!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner, bran muffins from scratch
Monday: Easy potato soup, salad
Tuesday: Bacon-feta stuffed chicken, green beans
Wednesday: Homemade pizza with feta, onion and crumbled leftover meatloaf
Thursday: Slow cooked pork chops, apples and caramel dip
Friday: Cheesy chicken and macaroni

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu planning

When I was living alone, it was very difficult to menu plan. Often I ended up cooking several dishes on Sunday, freezing them, and grabbing them as needed throughout the week. But I slowly got too busy for that, and bored of the meals I did plan, so I just stopped. Now that I'm living with one other person, suddenly a meal with 4-6 servings isn't nearly as much leftovers! So last night I planned our dinner, from Sunday through Friday.
Here is what I have planned. This week is crock pot week, and I'm rediscovering the crock pot that I got bored of almost a year ago!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner, bran muffins from scratch
Monday: Easy potato soup, salad
Tuesday: Bacon-feta stuffed chicken, green beans
Wednesday: Homemade pizza with feta, onion and crumbled leftover meatloaf
Thursday: Slow cooked pork chops, apples and caramel dip
Friday: Cheesy chicken and macaroni

The other thing I'm trying to do, is live more frugally. Since I don't have a job yet, but Geoff does, we'd do best not to spend a lot every week on groceries etc. Plus, I'm trying very hard to eliminate my food waste. As a result, all these recipes (except the pizza) come from my Fix it and Forget it 5 ingredient Favorites cookbook, and our grocery list for this week is very small, and, I'm hoping, should be relatively inexpensive. Every day we'll also have leftovers for lunch, and I'm even using a lot of ingredients that are already in the house, like onions and the leftover meatloaf (there really isn't enough left for even one serving, but it'll be perfect on pizza!)

I'll post pictures of dinner as I remember.

Friday, January 15, 2010

News flash

I have no idea what I'm doing.
I've been married two weeks from tomorrow. They've been a very fun two weeks, but to be honest, I don't know what I'm doing. Granted, our first week we were on our honeymoon, so that's not a usual week. This week we've had Geoff's friend living here, who drove my car cross country to Washington for me. So it hasn't been a usual week either, really. I've spent most of it unpacking and organizing and cleaning the townhouse since it was being inhabited by a boy. We've gone shopping almost every night, but we needed a bookcase and I needed a dresser. I also discovered small things that we needed in the house, like more sheets and towels.
But overall, I have no idea what I'm doing as a wife. I don't know what is expected of me, or how to act. I don't want to nag, but I also don't want dishes set next to the sink instead of 3 inches closer, inside the sink.  But how to I live as a wife? How do I take on this role in a way that will please my husband and also God? I have no idea.
So this blog, like life, will just be a journey.

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