Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Menu Planning

Life got just a little crazy the beginning of this week, with school starting back up for the Spring term and some other life happenings.  Our routine was just a little out of whack.  I am ready to go to bed tonight and wake up feeling fresh and ready for the rest of the week.  One of my favorite motto's, "Be positive and positive things will happen to you."  I had to remind myself this a few times the past couple of days.  It helps when my husband and son are just absolutely amazing to me! I have found that my attitude towards life and this world is just getting better and better.

Last week I made a couple new recipes that were SO amazing.  The Stromboli was so very delicious.  I felt like my homemade marinara sauce was just a little bit to runny but that is the only thing I would change.  The other new recipe I made was the Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil.  I was a little nervous about making this, thinking that it would be too bland.  That was not the case at all.  All the different flavors mixed together were perfect.  I was amazed when I took the first bite.  I will definitely be repeating this recipe over and over again.  On Sunday we were invited to dinner at a good friend's house.  She made a delicious baked spaghetti.  Thanks, Jess & Mike!  So, I will be moving what I originally planned to cook on Sunday to this week.

This weekend we will be celebrating Easter with Easter Egg Hunts and lots of family time.  I am also trying my first shot at making souffle on Saturday.  I am excited to try something new!  

This week's menu:
MONDAY- Sushi with one of my best friends and our kiddos

TUESDAY-  Whole wheat pasta with homemade tomato sauce (Drew's night to cook.  I work late.)

WEDNESDAY-  Split Pea Soup (slow cooker) with a fresh salad.  (I will omit the ham and substitute the chicken broth for veggie broth.)

THURSDAY-  Salmon Salad with Crispy Potatoes  (I will poach fresh salmon instead of using canned salmon.)

FRIDAY-  Black Bean Soup and Vegetarian Taco Salad

SATURDAY-  Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle, Roasted Aspargus, and fresh salad (We are also decorating eggs and baking bread this night)

SUNDAY-  Easter BBQ @ my Aunt & Uncle's home.  We are bringing homemade bread and my famous Spinach Dip.  I will post the recipe later this week.

Happy cooking & eating,


"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."-Michael Pollan

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

What a great time we had in New Mexico.  It was a much needed vacation with some great friends.  We got to celebrate our friend's 30th birthday, spend some quality time with her beautiful family, and see the rich culture of New Mexico.  It's always so nice to be around good friends who share the same values as you.  The kids had a great time playing together as the parents caught up!  We also did a little bit of work while in New Mexico and met some future clients.  They booked us and we can't wait to come back to New Mexico in June to shoot their wedding!

Traveling always throws you off just a little when you return home.  I was able to do a menu plan last week with Jess in New Mexico but I never found time to sit down and blog about it.  So sorry for the lack of a menu plan blog last week.  I am finally caught up with things that needed to be done and this Monday has been a relaxing, productive one!  We are still having a great time with menu plans and continue to try new healthy meals.

Spring is here and that makes me so ecstatic for the variety of fresh food that is coming our way.  We were able to go to the Portland Farmer's Market opening day this Saturday (the first day of Spring).  It was so great to see so many people out on such a nice beautiful day supporting local farmers and businesses.  It gave me such a teaser for this growing season.  Our growing season this year is going to be bigger than we have ever done it.  We have our small little garden in our backyard and some pots that will be full of herbs.  Then we will be walking down to my father's house to help in his huge garden.  AND the biggest step we are taking this season is leasing a 1/2 acre of organic land for our little organic farm that we are starting with another family.  This is a huge commitment for us but we are so excited and ready to be a part of the food revolution.  This year is going to be our "testing" year and hopefully next year we will be selling to CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Farmers Markets, or Co-ops.  For this season, if everything goes well, we will be putting together boxes/baskets of a mix of organic vegetable and fruits to sell (at a discounted rate) to people we know.  We are beyond excited for this opportunity!  Keep checking my blog for more details and musings about our farm! 

Here is our menu plan for this week:

MONDAY-  Broccoli, tomato, and mozzarella Stromboli with a fresh salad. (My friend, Jess, gave me this recipe.  It was delicious!  We used homemade pizza dough and homemade tomato sauce.  We also substituted mushrooms instead of salami and fresh broccoli instead of frozen broccoli.)

TUESDAY-  Spinach Enchiladas (Drew's night to cook, while I work)

WEDNESDAY-  Grilled halibut, grilled asparagus & zucchini, and whole wheat couscous.

THURSDAY-  A friend of ours is having an art show at Alberta Street's "Last Thursday".  We will have dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants on Alberta Street before attending the Art Show.  

FRIDAY- Salmon Chowder (I am making this in the slow cooker for my husband & son.  I will be having Happy Hour with some girl friends.  In this recipe, I will omit the bacon and add celery and carrot.)

SATURDAY-  Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil

SUNDAY-  Black Bean Soup and Vegetarian Taco Salad

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.  Enjoy some pictures my husband took at our future farm. 

Happy cooking & eating,

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity."  -Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This last weekend was a blast celebrating my son's 2nd birthday.  Our days did get a little crazy, so our menu plan got changed around.  One of my lovely best friends, Kelsey, made us homemade enchiladas on Thursday since we were busy preparing for Ayden's birthday.  It was so yummy and so sweet of her to help us out.  On Sunday I was going to make Stuffed Peppers but I came down with something very yucky.  I was pretty much bed ridden all day.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband took care of me and I got better quickly!  That evening we just decided to get take out from a local Thai Restaurant.  So I will just take the two dinners I missed last week and apply it to this week's menu.

This week's menu plan is short for us.  We are going on a vacation to see some of our best friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I am so excited to get out of town and spend some quality time with our good friends.  It is a much needed vacation!  I use to live in Albuquerque for a very short period of time a while back but Drew has never been.  I am so excited to show Drew and Ayden this awesome city and it's beautiful surroundings.  Our good friend is an amazing chef and him & his wife share the same values as us, especially when it comes to food.  Needless to say, we will be eating delicious, organic food while we are there!

Here is our short menu for the week:

Monday-  Baked Salmon and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (recipe is posted on my last blog)

Tuesday-  Vegetable Stir Fry with brown rice

Wednesday-  Potato Leek Soup (slow-cooker) and a green salad (soup recipe is posted on my last blog)

Thurs-Sun-  In New Mexico eating delicious food!

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

I have some new changes coming to my blog!  This is a temporary template while I am having a custom one made.  I made the header myself and it will permanently stay, though the pictures might change.  Keep your eye out for some exciting new changes!

Happy cooking & eating,

"At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind." -Michael Pollan

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last weekend we went on a last minute trip to Bend.  Drew got a photo job up at Mt. Bachelor for the weekend and my mom was staying at a cabin on the Metlious River.  So we went to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that Central Oregon has to offer! It was a relaxing and fun weekend!   I love it there and miss it so much!  As soon as I drive over the mountains and start seeing the Ponderosa Pines and smell the refreshing sage, I feel so at ease.  Drew and I really feel at peace there.  I hope we can find ourselves living there again! 

Since our trip to Bend was so last minute, our menu plan for the weekend got thrown out the window.  I'm totally okay with that because then I can just move those dinners to this week!   This week is a pretty BIG week!  My son is turning 2 on Friday!  I just can't fully believe my baby boy is 2 years old.  It feels like yesterday I was pregnant with him!  He has been more than amazing and has brought so much joy to our lives!  So we are planning a big celebration at our house on Saturday!  So, my menu plan this week is a little different but I love it!  I hope everyone has a great week and is enjoying yummy, delicious organic food!

MONDAY- Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce with tofu, served over basmati Indian rice.

TUESDAY-   Shrimp, artichoke hearts, & olive oil over whole wheat pasta and a loaded salad

WEDNESDAY-  Salmon Burgers, Oven Fries, and steamed broccoli

THURSDAY-  Potato Leek Soup* (slow-cooker)

FRIDAY-  Ayden's birthday!!!!!  Family dinner at Nacho Mama's

SATURDAY-  Ayden's birthday party!!!!!  Finger foods and appetizers at the party!

SUNDAY-  Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers* and baked Salmon

*Recipes from cookbooks or other sources:

POTATO LEEK SOUP-  from the book, 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson

1/4 cup olive oil
3 large leeks, sliced white part only, washed
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced (I added another potato)
1 tbs. minced garlic, or to taste
6 cups of Vegetable Broth
1 tbs. salt
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp white pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg
3/4 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed
1/3 cup sour cream
chopped green onions for garnish

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and saute leeks for about 4 to 5 minutes, until soft.  Transfer to the slow cooker.  Add potatoes, garlic, vegetable broth, salt, lemon juice, white pepper, and nutmeg.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 9 hours on high, until potatoes are tender.  Add fresh spinach to soup.  Stir a little of the soup in with the sour cream to prevent curdling and then add sour cream to the soup.  Cook for 10 minutes and serve.  Garnish soup with a sprinkling of chopped green onions. 

QUINOA-STUFFED PEPPERS- my good friend, Kyle, sent this recipe to me

1 med onion, finely chopped (1cup)
2 tbp olive oil
2 ribs celeery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 tbp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
1 10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup quinoa
3 large carrots, grated (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat pepper Jack Cheese, divided
4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add cumin and garlic, and saute 1 minute.  Stir in spinach and drained tomatoes.  Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrits, and 2 cups of water.  Cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.  Stir in 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350.  pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish.  Cover with foil, and bake 1 hr.  Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tbs remaining cheese.  Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving. 

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy eating & cooking,

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”- JRR Tolken