Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Monday Meal Plan} Edition The Inces are under the weather

I realize it's Wednesday - sorry if you were relying on my post to help you plan.  I didn't get any  frantic emails, so I think it's safe to say you didn't miss it.  And that maybe MMP has run it's course...?

Seth was sick last week, so we pretty much ate Chicken Soup all week - that is all of us but Seth because he apparently doesn't like it.  And that is allowed when you're sick.

I caught this fun little bug from him on Sunday in the form of chills and hacking cough, so Taylor took over cooking dinner this week, and two of my best friends at Blacket brought me Chicken Soup and yummy muffins - they and a few others are how we cope living far away from our moms.  Thank you dear friends.

So for now, I leave you with a very pressing question:

What the heck is this?

It came in our organic produce box I was telling y'all about last week, and I haven't the slightest idea what it is or what to do with it.  Help!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

{Monday Meal Plan} Edition our new favorite meal and some other food

Apparently Tuesday is the new Monday...

My friend, Heather, is the local community garden guru and is always out tirelessly tending the garden at our flat complex.  I love going in there while Seth is running around outside because she explains which vegetable is where and gives me fresh peas to snack on.

Y'all.  I don't like peas.

At least I thought I didn't because I grew up thinking they came frozen in a bag from the grocery store (thawed and cooked of course, but it's not the same!) and not from an actual garden.  When the peas come out is about the time Seth wanders over - I can't get him to eat sugar snap peas from the grocery store, but he'll eat them out in the garden by the handfuls which emphasizes my earlier point.  Home grown vegetables are the best.  And I know I sound like I immediately signed up for a plot of our own in our little community garden, but then you remembered I have a 27 month old and 6 month old (and that I don't care much for dirt) and realized of course that didn't happen.  So we resorted to the next best thing.  Heather recently let me in on a local organic farm that delivers boxes of veggies to your door if you make an order online.  I was excited to try it out and support a local farm, and they did not disappoint.  Baffle, yes. Disappoint, no.  Here is our box:

Since we're pretending it's still Monday, we can also pretend that I took a photo, right? (Please refer back to the part where I said I have a 27 month old and a 6 month old not to mention I had another baking session with my Chilean girlfriends and hosted tea in my flat for my N. American girlfriends.  And Avery just started eating solids, and Seth just started potty training.  It's a revolving door over here at the Inces -  glorious pandemonium.)

(Taylor says I am queen of disclaimers.  I have no idea what he's talking about.)

I really wish I had remembered to take a photo though because it was so colorful with the apples, pears, lettuce, broccoli, kale and green beans. (Now you may be thinking to yourself that sounds like a little bit of red (apples) and a lot of green (everything else) which really isn't that colorful, but you'd be wrong.  The kale and green beans were purple.  I was intrigued by the purple kale which I had not seen before, but the purple green beans  really stuck out because, you know, they're called green beans.  Both were excellent and the green beans actually turned green when I cooked them.  I will post Taylor's recipe for green beans next week - they are amazing!

Enough rambling; here's the plan:

Monday: Shredded Chicken Chalupas - this was definitely our favorite meal of the week (possibly our favorite meal of the past few months).

It is easy and delicious.  Seth inhaled his.  Taylor asked me to make it once a week. (This has become my new goal, to make meals that Taylor requests for me to make weekly though I guess that would put an end to my {Monday Meal Plan} (maybe not a bad idea??)).

The recipe comes from Susannah:

1. Place boneless chicken breasts in the bottom of your crock pot (mine holds about 5)
2. Sprinkle a packet of taco seasoning all over them (I used my homemade taco seasoning and probably used more that typical taco seasoning packet - use to your taste.)
3. Dump a can of diced tomatoes on top.
4.  Cook on low 4-6 hours or till chicken is cooked through.
5.  Shred chicken with forks and serve on whatever you want!

I fried tortillas to make chalupas and we ate the shredded chicken in the chalupa with guacamole, shredded cheddar, sour cream, salsa, and pickled jalapenos.  You could also use hard taco shells, or eat it on a salad - versatile for leftovers which is a plus for crock pot meals since they typically make a lot.

I paired this with roasted bell pepper as our veg (Taylor put his on his chalupa), and also made Cilantro Lime Rice which I've been chomping at the bit to try.  I am in love with cilantro, lime, and rice, so I knew I would like it - the only problem was I am unable to cooke brown rice correctly.  It is one of my Achilles Heels in the kitchen.  So it was a bit chewy, but the flavor was great.  Next time I will try it with white rice.

Tuesday: Tilapia (sprinkled herbs on top and put a dollop of herb (pronounced with the "h" in the UK) butter on each fillet (pronounced fill-et in the UK - I am still trying to get used to these things...), quinoa with lemon juice, and purple kale - wash and dry, cut leafy part  from stalk, put on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle olive oil and sea salt, roast on 375 for 10 minutes or till it looks crispy and eat dipped in balsamic vinegar - yum!  This was a delicious and fairly healthy meal, but Taylor was still hungry after we finished...

Friday: Made the most decadent dessert from Elizabeth's website for a women's tea I attended.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bite

They may be the best thing I've ever put in my mouth (dessert-wise - if you know me well, you know I'd pick a steak over dessert any day).  I made my into bites instead of bars because they are so rich (and to make them stretch for the tea).  They were pretty easy to make.  Scotland dwellers sub plain digestives for the graham crackers.  Crushing the digestives was the most labor intensive part.  My friend Doreen is a genius and reminded me I could use a food processor instead of my hand.

I'm looking for some more easy crock pot recipes to try - send some my way if you have any you love!

Have a great week!  

Avery's first meal

She still prefers her thumb

Story time with Daddy

Monday, September 10, 2012

{Monday Meal Plan} Edition September Soup Night

Last Monday I started reading through the whole Bible.

In 4 months.

While I've done this in a year (before I had children), this is going to be super speed. Taylor challenged a couple of his guy friends to do it and didn't ask me to join them so I wouldn't feel pressured since I'm so busy.  I told him I don't have time to read for an hour each day, but then it dawned on me if I'm following the Word made flesh, why not spend a big chunk of my day reading the Word? It should be my priority - my house will get cleaned eventually and my kids can listen along with me for some of it. I listen to the dramatized version when I am nursing and when I clean up my kitchen after meals.

Even though this is a huge time commitment and I have a really busy schedule (you know, changin' diapers and all), I found that somehow the Lord seemed to create more space in my days last week.  I've felt less hurried and harried and still have been able to stay on top of all of my responsibilities.  Soup Night (explained more in detail below) resumed this month after a summer hiatus and Taylor was amazed to find when he got home 30 min before it started that the house was calm and peaceful, kitchen was clean, soup was made, and I wasn't frantically scurrying around our flat doing last minute cleaning.  And that, my friends, is a miracle.

So, if you want to join us, you are not too far behind to jump in because they accidentally included the Apocrypha on the original plan, so it will be shortened once they take it out, and it won't really feel like you're a week behind.  Email me if you want the plan!

And for the other plan:

Meal Plan:

Monday: Chicken Piccata - I am in love with chicken piccata though this is my first attempt at making it.  It's a healthier version than you can find on because it doesn't call for butter, but it was still delicious.  Taylor asked me if I would make this once a week.  And we all know with my raw chicken phobia that that is unlikely, but he loved it so much, I just may.

We even had dessert because my friend, Tamara asked me to teach her how to make cookies.  She is from Chile and isn't familiar with this type of baking, so we made these together.  She wants to make cupcakes next week because her daughter's b-day is coming up, so if you have any good cupcake recipes, please send them my way!

Tuesday: leftovers - we took the leftover BBQ chicken, shredded it, and ate it on baked potatoes with cheese and sour cream - yum!  I love being able to change up my leftovers enough to make it feel like a different meal without having to do a lot of work because if you have to do a lot of work, it kind of negates the point of leftovers in the first place...right?

Wednesday: Every first Monday of the month during the school year we host "Soup Night" in our flat for our community.  Our friend Andrej says, " you know that song, Everybody's Working for the Weekend? That's how I feel about Soup Night." So getting back into the swing of cooking for possibly 30+ people was a bit intimidating especially since this was my first attempt to do it as a mother of 2, but the Lord blessed this flat with rest and both kids took 3 hour naps that overlapped almost the whole time.  And I've learned a few things over the past two years of hosting this:

Chop everything the night before.

So literally all I had to do this morning was pour everything in the pots and let them simmer.  It was so easy, a 2 year old could do it.

So I enlisted one:

Beyond excited to help Mommy cook -
don't worry Tutu and Mia, my stove isn't on!:)

Proud Little Chef

We made Pasta e Fagioli (above) - I omitted the beef and pasta (wasn't sure what to call it when people asked me what soup it was :))


Potato Chowder - I omitted the corn.
That's a lot of soup y'all.
This is before the yummy cheesy goodness was added.  I only had one serving left of this soup - I think it was a hit!

After tripling each recipe, we had one and a half recipes worth of Pasta e Fagioli left and one serving of the chowder left.  Since we typically have  soup leftover, I added the beef and pasta to the Pasta e Fagioli for Thursday's dinner, so we'd feel like we were eating a different meal.  I froze the rest.

Saturday: Spaghetti - I make a ton of sauce and then use what's left to make Lasagne the next day.

Sunday: Lasagne, duh.
My mom has the best ever spaghetti and lasagne recipe she gleaned from an Italian neighbor way back when. I'm waiting on a text to see if I can divulge these recipes. :)  I make them often, so they'll show up eventually if she says yes!

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sock it to me

I was reading my friend Melanie's  Fashion Friday post today. Taylor's laughing right now because emailing back and forth about the pros and cons of the white denim jacket vs the classic denim jacket doesn't quite merit friendship in his eyes.  But in the blog world it totally does...right?

Anyway, today she posted these socks.  And while they are adorable (especially the ones with the ruffle) and I would totally get great wear out of them living in Scotland, they cost $26.95.


For a pair of socks.

Which is more than I am willing to spend on a shirt (that everyone can actually see) let alone a pair of socks that are hidden under my cute boots that I could apparently only afford because Santa Claus provides my socks each year in my stocking.  This may explain why I am out of touch with typical sock prices??  I am also cracking up at the description: "designed by Texas artist Stephanie Nance." While I'm sure she is a lovely person, since when are we interested in who designed our socks?

When they cost $26.95, that's when.

I just want to know what else they will do for me besides keep my feet dry and toasty (and let's not forget cute) because to get me to buy them at $26.95, they better do my laundry too.  Just sayin'.

Maybe it's $26.95 for all 3 pair?  I'm still incredulous. Did I miss the part where this company is like Toms and by purchasing these socks, I'm providing socks for a sock-less child somewhere cold for the rest of their life?

If so, Santa...need any stocking stuffer ideas...?

Check out Melanie's blog if you like clothes and being up on current trends but dislike braving the mall.  And more importantly because she's really funny.

Happy Friday Y'all!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part II

For my original Kids Say the Darndest Things post click here.

Now that Seth can talk never stops talking, we are starting to accumulate these for ourselves.

The latest installment:

Picture us, on holiday in the Highlands.

It's a quiet morning and the four of us are sitting around the breakfast table.  Taylor and I are lingering over our coffee, Seth is in the high chair between us, and Avery is on the floor in her car seat (the bouncy wouldn't fit in our packed-to-the-gills car).

Seth has started to talk a lot, and it cracks us up to ask him questions - I love seeing how his brain works.

I leaned over to him and asked, "Seppy what is Mommy's job?" curious to see if he even knew what I meant.

Oh, he did.

He turned to look at me and without any irony in his two year old voice and twanged,

Changin' diapers.

Taylor and I about died right then and there but before we could, had to ask the next obvious question.

"Seth, what is Daddy's job?" he looked carefully back and forth at each of us and said,

Reading the Bible.

Yes, Seth.  You are exactly right.

Embracing the Camera with Emily today...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

{Monday Meal Planning} Edition my favorite summer meal

Here is last week's meal plan for borrowing:

It's upside down; I'm not sure why. Maybe it's rebelling since I didn't actually follow it.

Monday: BBQ chicken, potato salad, corn casserole, watermelon - this is one of my favorite summer meals.  You will thank me for every single dish.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken - recipe from sister in law, Sus

1. Place 4-6 chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker
2. Squirt BBQ sauce on top of it until it's thoroughly covered (Scotland peeps - that is about one container of HP's; I used woodsmoked flavour)
3. Sprinkle brown sugar on top
4. Shake some worchestershire on top of that
5. Turn slow cooker on low and leave for 5 or 6 hours or till chicken is thoroughly cooked
I omitted steps 3 and 4 because I was lazy curious to see if I could make this a 3 step process, and really didn't want the extra sugar.  Efficiency and healthy eating are key in this household obviously.  

And it tasted just as good to me this way.

I HATE potato salad.  And I try to use the word "hate" sparingly - it is saved for sin, and Satan, and potato salad.  That is how much I hate it.  I don't really care for potatoes, and I will not eat mayonnaise, but when my friend, Rachael, made this potato salad for her daughter's b-day party last year, I felt like it was calling my name which is weird because I HATE potato salad and potatoes can't talk.  Rachael is a foodie and loves to cook, so I figured I needed to try it even though I would probably gag on the mayo once I tasted it.  I didn't. 


This is the best potato salad I have ever eaten. And my friends always beg me for the recipe whenever I make it.

Dockside Potato Salad - recipe from my friend Rachael which she got from someone else
5-6 medium red potatoes
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/4 c finely chopped celery
1 dill pickle, chopped
2 T dried parsley (I didn't have this much left in my parsely spice jar, but it still tasted fine)
6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I have never made it with bacon because I never plan ahead enough when I make this - Rachael made hers with bacon I think, and let's be serious, bacon makes everything taste better)
1/2-1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 T vinegar (I used white wine)
4 T veg oil
1-1 1/4 c mayo ( I sub sour cream because even though I liked Rachael's with mayo, I can't actually eat something I've made that has mayo in it. I know, I've got issues.)

Cook potatoes in salted water till tender. Cool in fridge.  Cut into bite sized pieces. Mix in next 5 ingredients. Add salt and pepper, vinegar and oil and mix gently with a wooden spoon - does it actually have to be wooden?  Not sure.  Add mayo sour cream till well mixed. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Corn casserole.  Definitely the best and unhealthiest (is this a word?) way to eat corn.  A staple at the Thanksgiving table and all BBQs.

My friend, Kristen, immediately emailed me after my first meal plan Monday accusing me of recipe blasphemy for not including this. Please forgive me for holding out on you.  

Corn Casserole - from my mom
stick of butter (1/2 a cup people)
box of Jiffy cornbread mix (Lupe Pintos carries it - it will cost you an arm and a leg fellow Scotland dwellers, but it is worth it)
1 can corn, undrained
1 can cream style corn
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).    
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  
3. Pour into greased 10X13 baking dish.
4. Bake for 25 min uncovered - this is a lie; it always takes at least 30 even as much as 40 minutes - till toothpick comes out clean.

Watermelon  - if Seth Ince is in the vicinity, hide this or it will all be singlehandedly consumed by his 2 year old watermelon loving self.

Wow.  I've only gotten through Monday and I feel as though I've divulged so many of my culinary secrets.  I may not have anything more to offer for subsequent MMP posts.

Tuesday: Scratched today's meal because the sun, the glorious sun was out, so we had to BBQ instead.  I did make Ree's grilled zucchini and it was so good.  On another note, I faced my raw meat fears and formed hamburgers with my bare hands.  They were good, but I never want to do that again.

Wednesday: take out

Thursday: leftovers (this post is starting to feel like that line in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days when someone says, "you should call him and tell him everything you had to eat today."I do realize that I am doing that, but I just can't stop.)

Friday: Our French friend, JP, who is a chef at a Michelin star restaurant came to dinner.  No I wasn't intimidated at all to cook for him, why do you ask?  

That's because I had Taylor do it.

Contrary to my plan we had pesto chicken - I omit the prosciutto because that would mean I actually have to touch the raw chicken  
pasta - heat up sliced garlic and red pepper flakes in a couple of Tbsp of olive oil for a minute or two then toss it with pasta - easy and delish

Brussel sprouts - JP jumped in while Taylor was making this and added salt and pepper and chicken stock - it was amazing!)

Sunday: leftovers

Have a great week y'all!