Thursday, October 30, 2008

Menu for next week.

I love to cook, but I really love to cook when the weather is cool. Here is my menu for next week, I think its pretty low key and user friendly. This week I have included a shopping list to make it easier to plan ahead. Enjoy! Evie
Pork Ribs and Sauerkraut
mashed potatoes
1 lb. sauerkraut well drained
3/4 onion diced
1-1/4 cups canned stewed tomatoes
3-1/2 Tbs. brown sugar packed
1-2 lbs. country style pork ribs

Layer ingredients into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes.

Peas and Pasta with Cheese
2 ounces Gorgonzola or blue cheese mashed
2 tsp. unsalted butter softened
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Swiss cheese
1 Tbs. virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. sun dried tomatoes chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 lb. small shell pasta
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped

Combine Gorgonzola cheese and butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring until cheese and butter are melted. Combine next 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Place peas in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Drain. Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Pork and pepper quesadillas
Leftover pork
green, red or yellow peppers(1-1 1/2 depending on pepper size)
grilled onions made from one sliced onion(make two and save one for later)
mexican blend cheese
6 inch flour tortillas
Olive oil

Slice onion and grill in sauce pan with some olive oil until soft and caramelized.
Slice peppers and saute for 2 minutes. Shred leftover pork. Heat pan to medium, lightly oil pan with olive oil. Place one tortilla in pan, sprinkle lightly with cheese then layer with pork, peppers and onions. Sprinkle with more cheese and cover with another tortilla. Flip over after the cheese has began to melt, and tortilla is browned. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa for dipping. Heat up canned refried beans for a yummy side.

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Parmesan
leftover mashed potatoes
steamed carrots

1 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/4 cup plain breadcumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Zest of one lemon
Course salt and pepper
4-5 bone-in chicken breast halves(3 lbs)Reserving one for later
Olive oil

Line a baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment. Mix parsley, zest, breadcrumbs, cheese and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Loosen the skin of the chicken, tuck some of the mixture under the skin of each breast piece. Drizzle olive oil over all the pieces Bake at 450 degrees until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked, 30 minutes or so. Sevrve with leftover mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.

Ravioli Baked with spinach
5 cups canned or homemade spaghetti sauce
2 pounds frozen ravioli
2 cups mozzarella
1/2 grated parmesan
1 bunch spinach or one box frozen(deftosted and drained)
green salad

Cook ravioli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain. Toss with sauce, place in large casserole dish, layering with spinach and cheese, reserving lots of cheese for the top. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden. Serve with a green salad.

White Chicken Chili
½ Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic
leftover cooked cubed chicken
1 can Northern white beans
1 c chicken broth
½ c salsa
Heat thoroughly. Serve with grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, onion and crushed tortilla chips.

Greek Style turkey burgers

Prepared tzatziki sauce
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 small onion minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta
coarse salt and pepper
4 pita pocket bread rounds
2 medium tomatoes(sliced)
grilled onions(from earlier in the week)
cucumber peeled and sliced
Oven baked fries

Heat oven and cook fries according to package directions.
Combine turkey, onion, parsley, oregano, feta and salt and pepper. Make about 16 small patties, no more than 3/4 inch thick. Cook 3-5 minutes each side over medium heat.
Heat grilled onions. Serve burgers in pita bread with tzatziki sauce, cukes, onions and tomatoes. Round out your plate with fries.

Shopping list:
1-2lbs country style pork ribs
4-5 bone-in chicken breasts
1 1/2lbs ground turkey
1 bag of potatoes
4 onions
sun dried tomatoes
frozen peas
1-2 peppers(green red or yellow, your choice)
2 bunches parsley
3 tomatoes(one for salad)
1 cucumber (1/2 for salad and 1/2 for sat.)
1 lemon
1 bunch spinach(or one box frozen)
salad mix
1 lb sauerkraut
2 cans stewed tomatoes
brown sugar
1 lb shell pasta
6-inch flour tortillas
2 jars spaghetti sauce
2 lbs frozen ravioli
1 can Northern beans
chicken broth
1 jar salsa
sour cream tortilla chips
pita bread
1 can refried beans
1 package frozen fries
2 oz gorgonzola or blue cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup swiss cheese
8 oz Mexican blend cheese
8 oz feta cheese
1 cup of real shredded Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baking galore

Well typically Monday is my fall/winter baking day. So I made some hamburger buns for last night and future use(froze those).
And since I had a bunch of chopped Kalamata olives leftover from bread baking on Sunday, I made some Kalamata olive bagels.
These are a big hit with the guys, and since I make bagels every couple of weeks, I have a feeling these are going to be requested again and again. They are so good toasted with cream cheese...YUM.
Today was our first frost, we lovingly covered our remaining plants with tarps and are hoping for the best. (yellow beans, spinach, braising greens,carrots, and turnips)
Plans for the hoop house are still in the works and I will probably have to nag to keep it on track....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween party pics

We went to a Halloween pumpkin carving party last night. It was a super hero party. I went as Fat Momma, and Zach as the Hulk. Gene declined the occasion to don a costume. I had a friend take my pic, but it was not super flattering, but hey I am a fat momma...
There were some really great costumes there, like Captain Underpants, Zena the warrior princess, the Champion, Iron girl, two other hulks,and Guitar Hero to name a few.
Here is Zena:
Zena helping the kids:
The champion:
Iron girl:
And I am nt really sure about this one:
But this guys had like two rolls of socks in his
There were lots of goodies, and I made mini mummy dogs..aka pigs in a blanket.
We have a busy week ahead of us. I have three meetings in the evenings, two more parties, and some serious trick or treating to do. I will get some pics of Zach in his Hulk costume...and Gene has a Hulk costume too, but he is not sure if he wants to wear it. I will be using my witch costume from last year for Halloween. Its warmer and easier to get around in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

bulk is good

Well I finally got my bulk stuff. I did not cost that much and its all Organic!
I got flour, sugar, rice and peanut butter.
Now I just have to figure out how to store it. I think I am going to buy some gallon containers. I am getting my "prepared for a year" shelf together. Because you never know when the shit is going to hit the fan.
I think I am really like buying in bulk. It seems cheaper, and now that I have room to store things it makes sense.
Here is a bonus race car driver..
Just another pic in the Zach loves to dress up series.
And if you are reading this Carrie..your box goes out today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The best way to be prepared for your shopping is to know what you want and don't stray from your list. MAKE A MENU. Here is mine for next week:

Crock pot rotisserie chicken
mashed potatoes
steamed carrots

Rotisserie Chicken:
1 chicken at least 4 lbs
Olive oil spray
Seasoned salt

Clean chicken inside and out. Spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle season salt. Spray inside of crock. Do not put any water in the crock.

Roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2"-3" balls and put them in the
bottom of the crock. The chicken is going to lie on these. Put chicken breast side down in crock on top of aluminum balls. Cook on High (will not come out the same on Low), 4-6 hours. (A 3-lb chicken takes about 4 hours). Serve with hot mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.

Veggie Lo-Mein
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup snow peas, halved on a diagonal
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into match stick size pieces
1/2 pound assorted mushrooms coarsely chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 cups fresh bean spouts
2 inches fresh ginger root, minced or grated with hand grater
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lo mein noodles or thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente and drained well
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When pan is very hot, add oil, (it will smoke a bit) then, immediately add the snow peas, pepper, mushrooms, scallions, and bean sprouts. Stir fry for 1 minute to flavor the oil, then add the ginger and garlic, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles and toss with to combine. Add the soy sauce and toss the ingredients to coat noodles evenly with sauce. Transfer the lo mein to a serving platter and garnish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Marinated Pork chops
steamed green beans
mac and cheese

1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh if possible
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 Pork chops

Mix together all the ingredients, except the pork chops.

In a plastic bag, such as a ziplock, put in the pork chops and cover with the marinade. Try to get as much air out of it as possible, and then smush it around, turning it a few times to get all the pork covered and the marinade distributed as evenly as possible. Stick it in the refrigerator for about 30 or so minutes, but no more than 4 hours. Don’t do this over night or the pork will be inedible.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to cook the chops, take out of the refrigerator and bring up to room temp.
If using a broiler, turn it to highest setting. Put the oven rack at the second place down (not the top place just under the broiler), about 6-8 inches below the heating element. Turn the broiler heat to low-medium and cook for about 6-7 minutes, and then turn. Cook for about 4 more minutes, or until the pork chops are no longer pink inside, yet still juicy.

Bean and cheese burritos

Either purchase or make your own bean and cheese burritos, serve with feash or store bought salsa.

Chicken pot pie:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp salad oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp tarragon
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth or homemade
1 c. frozen peas
1 1/4 c. milk
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. Crisco shortening (I used the spectrum stuff)
1 pinch salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp vinegar
Cold water

All you do:
Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. In skillet, heat oil and cook chicken until tender. Remove from pan when done.
In drippings, cook onion until tender.
Add potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, tarragon and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in frozen peas.
In small bowl, mix milk and 2 T. flour until smooth. Stir into vegetable mixture.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in chicken.
Pour into unbaked pie crust (recipe follows) and cover with second crust.
Vent and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden-brown and liquid bubbles.
CRUST: Mix together 2-1/2 c. flour, shortening and salt in mixing bowl.
In measuring cup, mix egg and vinegar. Fill with water to make 1 cup.
Add half the liquid to the dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened. Discard remaining liquid. Divide dough in half and roll out crusts. Line pie pan with one crust. Reserve the second crust for the top.

Homemade pizza

Either make or use a sore bought crust. Make and bake pizza, serve with salad.

leftovers or take out! Hey its the weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Midnight talk

DH and I had a good long talk last night. He managed to smooth things over for the time being. We talked a whole lot, and no screaming or shouting either.
I am going to accept that he really does want to try and work it out.

We made plans for builing a hoop house, and talked about extending the garden next year. I plan on looking for a baby swing for the new swing set, so Gwyn will have something to play on too, as there is no slide with our set.

And Carrie if you are reading this: I burned the carrot cake jam, so I did not get your box in the mail yet. I am going to make another batch today and then get it out ASAP. Carrot cake jam is too good to not get.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recovery from Sunday Drama

(this guy is the reason I got up today)
Today was a lot more calm than yesterday. Apparently someone..(not me) wants to pretend nothing happened yesterday, and everything is fine. Well its not. I am still hurting and feeling angry. At least Zach had school and G took a nap while I took a drive out in the country to return some things to a few friends who live out of the way. It was very calming for me, and I enjoyed it very much. This evening after dinner a friend came over and brought us a used swingset, its old but solid. Sitting here I am listening to Zach talk back to his Dad outside, and slam the door to make his point. I thought this kind of behavior was more for teens?? I know he can feel the tension too, and it is not good.

In other happier news, the sausage and bean soup was amazing and even Zach ate it greens and all. And that is a blessing in itself!

because I do..

Well this weekend was a trying one. We had a great Friday night, having been invited to a bonfire and potluck, we had a glowing evening..haha. Then Saturday came and everything went to crap. Zach must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. He whined, yelled, complained all day. He hit me,threw things and called me names. Each time out or priviledge lost just seemed to make things worse. He called me a bad mom, a poopy head, and told me he wanted to kill me. His anger was totally out of control and seemed to come from no where. It scares me, what happens when he gets older??? Gene was gone all day working ad did not return until after 5pm, by that time I was worn and exhausted. He was his usual cheerful self. We had a few nice fights and ended the evening quietly..him passed out me at the computer, Zach finally also fell asleep. Sunday we made plans to go to a few yard sales and a small convention on how to make your house more energy efficient and green. We attended that and everyone did well. But by the time we got home, everything went to shit. Gene wanted to mow the lawn, and Zach wanted to help him. Gene did not want help and thus this set the scene for the rest of the afternoon. Gene mowed and Zach lingered around wherever Daddy was. By the time Gene got to the back lawn it seemed he was okay with Zach hanging out. I told him I ws going to see the neighbors for a few, and did so. When I came back into the house and returned to doing chores, Gene came roaring into the house and told me he is sick of this shit..this is bullshit and how he can't watch Zach he is busy...blah blah. He was yelling at me, of course I was on the phone for the first time all day, and it never fails that he always freaks when I am on the phone. I got off the phone proceeded to share my thoughts with Gene, which included a lot of shouting and swearing and I punched him on the arm, he hates this. He takes off ignores me and returns to mowing...meanwhile I now have to keep Zach in the house. Zach runs away from me and tries to hide in the shed. I get him bring him inside for a time out for running away, and he hits me calls me names. HMMMM ANYBODY SEE A PATTERN HERE???? God I am so frustrated. I finish making dinner. Zach and I eat, he throws a fit. I send him to his room for time out..he runs away again. Gene comes into eat. Gene tells me he needs a break and goes to a bar. I finally get Zach settled and almost asleep when Gene comes home. We than proceed to have one of the Biggest fights we have ever had, and now I think I am going to look for somewhere else to live. I am really sad and afraid, and I don't know what to do. We have been through counseling, but I am sick and tired of this. When I ask him if he wants me to leave he says no, I asked him what are we going to do he says, nothing we can do.
Financially I can do nothing. My meesley $600 bucks a month from watching Gwyn is hardly enough to support 2 of us. But I want to do something, something has got to give.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Menu for next week

Okay, a few people have made it clear to me that thy really liked the weekly menu, and are missing without any hesitation here it comes. Now I make my menu based on what is on sale at the store I am going to, and based on what I have in my house already, make your own changes and substitutions accordingly.

Baked chicken pieces(thighs and legs)
Butternut squash
Butter noodles

Baked chicken:
2-3 lbs of chicken skin on(use whatever parts you like)
fresh rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
minced garlic

Place chicken in baking pan, pour over olive oil to coat, sprinkle with salt an pepper, about 2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary, and about 2 cloves of minced garlic. Bake for about 45 minutes or until done. (breasts make cook quicker)

Peel and cut up squash into 2-3 inch pieces, boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes or so. Mash and add 1/2 cup brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Butter Noodles:
one package egg noodles
parmesan cheese
garlic powder
salt and pepper
parsley (dried or fresh)

Boil noodles for 7-8 minutes or until done. Drain. Place 3 tablespoons butter into pan. It will melt but do not place on heated burner. Add to the butter, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablspoon parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each.
Add noodles and 2 tablspoons parmesan cheese, mix well with spoon.

Sausage and Bean stew
1 cup diced onion
1 lb diced smoked sausage
2 peeled and diced potatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 handful fresh spinach
Saute onion and sausage until onions are soft, add reamining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with favorite bread.

Turkey Wraps
steamed carrots

Turkey wraps:
8 inch tortillas
sun dried tomato pesto
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 jar roasted red peppers
16 slices oven roasted turkey or chicken breast sandwich meat
sliced, pitted olives (we like kalamata)
fresh mushrooms
Spread tortillas with pesto and then layer ingredients, roll up, and cut in half.
steam carrots and serve.

Pan fried chicken tenders
baked potatoes
steamed broccoli
Season chicken tenders with dry ranch seasoning, pan fry on stove until done.
Serve with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Roasted pepper pasta
12 oz spinach fettuccine
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
rest of fresh mushrooms from Tues.
rest of roasted red peppers from Tues.
1/2 cup prepared pesto
Cook pasta. Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil. Drain pasta, and toss with chopped roasted red peppers, pesto, onion and mushroom.

Reheat and layout leftovers, let everyone choose what they want.

Crockpot BBQ ribs
Baked beans

BBQ ribs:
2 lbs boneless country style pork loin ribs
1 onion sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
6 oz can pineapple juice
2/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup plum jam or marmalade

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Place ribs, onion and garlic into crock. Cook on low for 6 hours. Take out ribs and drain juices. Mix up sauces and cover ribs, put back into crock and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Serve with canned baked beans and prepared coleslaw. Serve plenty of bread to sop up juices form ribs and coleslaw. YUMMMMMM

Enjoy, sorry it took me so lnog to get back on the menu track. Hearts..Evie

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Well its Tuesday already. I am still trying to recover from our camping weekend. I have no pics! No one wanted to have thier pics taken in thier Medevil garb...including me. We had a good time though. Gene thouroughly enjoyed his meat slaughter class. They killed and cut up three goats..then cooked them for our evening feast. He said he learned a few tips that he can use when butchering deer and other beasts. Zach got pretty bored during the day, but did like watching the fighting. We took some nature which included a javelin throw, Gene really liked this one. Just before Zach fell asleep he told me he really liked falling asleep to the sound of the drums. I have to admit that was one of my favorite parts too. Eating the evening feast was pretty cool too, the table was piled high with meat (goat and chicken), breads, cheeses, roasted veggies, and an amazing barley stew. Zach ate his fair share of bread and apple butter, but really only wanted cake. A red velvet cake shaped like a piggie.
I actually felt very pretty in my purple dress that I sewed, and Gene and Zach looked pretty cute in thier tunic and pants outfits. Zach kept telling us how stupid it was to dress in the "olden days" clothes. Gene's only complaint is that there was not enough cleavage in my he saw his fair share of barely covered breasts.. Not my style.
I am now playing catchup with laundry and sleep, and trying to wrap my brain around the flavors of that barley stew, wondering if I can re-create it. I need to wash my dress, and then I will post some pics of it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Jam is on!

Well I spent a good amount of time making some Peach Almond jam, it my favorite, and my recipe yielded 15 jars today. I am getting excited about having a booth at the fall festival, even though it a month away. I am hoping to make a bundle, even though some of my procedes will go back to the pre-school.
I was propositioned to make 15 cheesecakes for a friends company for the holiday season. That will pick up the slack where the babysitting falls way I guess.
In other news, I have been published!
here is the link:
My recipe for Jalapeno Relish is posted on page #7. I am so proud! Of course now my recipe has been shared with the whole world..and it no secret anymore, but who cares. :)

And that's the news in the Normandin house today

Monday, October 6, 2008

Farming is Zach's game

Well as many of you know farming is my son's passion. He has been obsessed with tractors and farms for quite awhile now. (at least three years of his young life)
We took the Kaw Valley Farm Tour yesterday. For those of you who don't know, the tour is a tour of local or semi-local farms that produce and sell local goods...well locally..hehe. Anyways there are lots of farms that participate in this annual two day event. We were able to spend most of Sunday visiting farms, we got to see 5 of them, which is about a 1/4 of the farms open for visitors. was a blast and Zach got to share some of his vast farming knowledge with others and do fun things like: jump in a whole tub of dried shucked corn, visit a butterfly pavillion, milk a goat(he's an old pro at this), pet numerous animals, chase kittens, pump water, shuck corn, run through a maze, paint pumpkins, pull the release on a pumkin cannon, climb a mountain of mulch, ride on two different hay rides;one horse driven, one tractor, climb a hay loft, and the list goes! We ended the day by attending a friends birthday party at a gymnastics studio, and we came home, made dinner and I sat on the couch and did not move for the rest of the evening.
Here are some pics:
And a bonus pirate:
Jars of raspberry jam I made to sell at the pre-school Fall Festival:
More jam to come yum yum!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ho hum humpday...

Well its already wednesday. I am so sad that Gene is working on Fridays again...NOT!
Although I was planning on having him do one more school workday for me...bummer. All good things must come to an end.
I am making some super delish spaghetti for supper. One jar of my red wine spag sauce, one jar of my diced tomatoes and one pound of local organic hamburger, all in the crockpot for a few hours. I am serving some homemade garlic bread and a salad YUM! The house smells so good.
I was lucky enough to have found an old costume that Zach can wear for garb yay! He is hellbent on dressing as a pirate for the camping event, which will be very acceptable..he looks so cute too. :)
I found some soft lavender flannel in my stash and have been working on my tunic. Its going to be so soft and comfy, and warm since the nights have been so cool lately. It might serve as a winter nightgown for me too.
I am trying out this local co-op this month and will be ordering many items in bulk. Things like: flour, sugar, rice, beans and granola. It will be more cost efficient and we will be able to afford these things organically if I purchase them this way.

Oh and I just wanted to mention what an awful rest of the day Monday turned out to be.I had to pay someone to watch my babysitting kiddo so I could work at the preschool(mandatory workday). Then the woman who I was participating with never showed up, so I had to do all activites by myself, like cleaning and preparing snack for 20 other persons. And to add it off one of the little people had a major poop blowout in one of the bathrooms..guess who cleaned it up?? Some people said they were coming back to the school to help me clean, but then one of the kids broke a teacher's car window and everyone forgot about me in all the excitement. SHITTY day, and when I got home Gene was all like what's for dinner?? SO I made dinner, then I had to go pick raspberries, and when I finished all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV and not move for a month. Then aformentioned husband said you need to watch your son so I can work on my van...WAHHHHH. Okay I think I got it all out, and if you are still reading this, thanks for letting me vent.