Living life in the carpool lane..

Posts Tagged ‘cooking

I microwaved scrambled eggs for the first time.

Seriously, where has that been all my life?

I’m always a bit hesistant to cook eggs in the morning because it’s such a hassle.

But microwaving?  What a life saver!

I’ll be the first to admit that microwaved scrambled eggs are NOT as good as stove top scrambled eggs.  However, it’s a quick and easy way to get some eggs for breakfast.

I scrambled two eggs into a microwave safe bowl.  I added some Lawry’s season salt for taste.

Then, I popped them into the microwave for 30 seconds.

At that point, only the outer edge of the eggs are cooked, so I stirred it all up and added another 30 seconds.

Stirred that up again and did another 30 seconds.

By then, most of the eggs are cooked, only a small amount of liquid is left.  I mixed that around and found that they remaining liquid cooked itself as the eggs were sitting there and mixed.

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And there they are in all their microwaved glory.  Now the consistency is much firmer than eggs I normally cook on the stove top.  I supposed microwaving them for less time, or adding some milk could soften the consistency.  However, I didn’t mind the firmness at all.

In fact, I believe that the firm consistency is the reason K liked them so much.  She usually spits out my stove top scrambled eggs.  I think it may have something to do with the slightly mushy texture it leaves in her mouth.  But these eggs were a hit!

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And here is a very blurry shot of the action.  (Yes, we were eating breakfast in the living room on the couch.  Sometimes, we like to live on the wild side.)

I can’t wait to experiment with some add-in ingredients to make these eggs more exciting and yummier!

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If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you will know that after I got married, I struggled with finding effective ways of meal planning and grocery shopping.

Search grocery shopping and you’ll come across several blog posts about my struggles.

#thestruggleISreal

Here’s the new system I’ve implemented and it almost seems like something that should have been easy enough to implement from the beginning.

While planning the week out in my planner, I take a moment to write out five dishes that I think I can make for the week.  Why five?  Because I usually end up making more than we need and end up with leftovers that we can carry over into another night’s dinner.

I don’t assign a specific night.

Easy peasy.

Then, I take that list and shop accordingly.

It’s like a light bulb moment.  It’s a low pressure system.  I still get the freedom of cooking whatever I want, when I want, just based on the list of foods I set for the week.  Why did I make it so hard on myself before?

The only difficulty I have is picking the five meals.

To fix that, I am going to list ALL the meals that I have cooked, I can cook, or would like to try and cook.  As recipes get tried and approved, I will add them to this list.  Then, I will have a master list of foods to choose from so I don’t have to wreck my brain trying to think of five different dinners.

We’re on week three of this system and it’s been working.  Grocery shopping has been fast and easy.  Food wasting has been the lowest it has been in a long time.  This system also pushes me to really try those recipes that I have been dreaming of testing.

Looks like it’s time for me to resurrect the Joe, Party of 4 food blog!

What’s your meal planning/grocery shopping system?

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Stuck on a dinner idea?  We’ve been looking to Pinterest for some inspiration.

Sometimes, before we go grocery shopping, I will scour Pinterest for some meal ideas.  We take inventory on the types of meats we have in the freezer, and I just do a search for those types of meals.

We seem to have tons of chicken in our fridge.  I don’t know how we accumulated so much chicken, but we have it.  So we decided we needed to use it.

I went on Pinterest and pinned these two recipes.

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These two recipes were perfect for our family.  They were quick and flavors were good enough for M to enjoy.

Now, when I find a recipe, I have a difficult time following them precisely, unless I’m baking.

So when I find a recipe, I tend to just take the “idea” of the meal and make it my own.

For the Chicken Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry, we didn’t have any lemon juice, so I didn’t use it.  I also added mushrooms with the asparagus.  The recipe called for a certain amount of ginger, but I decided to lessen it because I didn’t want it to be too harsh for M.  However, I did make sure that we got the hint of a ginger flavor in the dish.  I would like to try it with lemon juice eventually.  I just have to remember to buy some next time I want to make this dish.  My version of the dish was M and Hubby approved, but I would love to kick up the ginger flavor eventually.

For the Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs, we found this recipe last minute.  The recipe states to marinate the chicken thighs overnight in the marinade, but since this was a last minute find, we only let the chicken sit in the marinade for about 10-20 minutes before we cooked them.  In this case, we saw the ingredients and just added them all to taste.  We didn’t even look at the measurements.  We wanted a good balance of the sweet from the honey and the salt from the soy sauce, and I think we found it.  The chicken smelled so good and it was most definitely M approved.  Next time we do this, we would like to let the chicken marinate overnight.

So basically, we use the Pinterest pins as more of an inspiration than a definitive recipe.  It helps give me a better idea of what to buy during our weekly grocery trips.  Sometimes, I pin a recipe that inspires me to create something completely different from the pin.  It’s all about inspiration.

How do you handle Pinterest meals?

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In the quest to find more foods that my daughter will eat, I found this great recipe for Baked Chicken Fingers.  Clicking on the link will take you to the website where I found the actual recipe.

I used it as a guide for my own chicken fingers and modified based on what we had on hand.

Here is the recipe, based on the link above:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Based on this recipe above, this is what I did:

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

My measurements were only rough estimates.  I actually did things more “to taste.”   Always take a taste of the breadcrumb mix BEFORE adding the raw chicken. 

To start, I set the oven to 400 degrees to pre-heat.  I took the chicken breasts and sliced them into about 4-5 pieces, depending on the size.  I put them into a bowl and tossed them in the vegetable oil.  I made sure that the chicken pieces were fully coated.  Then, I transfered the chicken pieces into the larger bowl where I made the breadcrumb mix.  I tossed that around until all the pieces were coated.  I placed the coated chicken pieces onto a foil-lined, cooking sprayed cookie sheet.  I baked the chicken for 10 minutes, then turned them and baked them for another 10 minutes.

The wasn’t too crispy, but it did have a nice light coating full of flavor.  M, who doesn’t usually eat meat, ate one and a half pieces.  I served the chicken fingers with some pasta shells and M LOVED it. 

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Don’t they look so yummy???

Share some toddler friendly recipes in the comments!  I’d love to try them!

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I’m NOT a breakfast person.

Yes, I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when wanting to lose weight.

I just can’t do it.

I’m not hungry in the mornings and breakfast foods just aren’t that appealing to me.

A bowl of oatmeal?  A bowl of cereal?

Who has time for that?!

Well, I don’t know if it’s old age, but I go through weeks during the month where I HAVE to eat before lunch.  My body just needs the food.

I don’t necessarily WANT breakfast, but I NEED breakfast..

I’ve been making the wrong choices because I’ve just been starving.  I just grab whatever I can, and I know that it’s not helping my cause at all.

So.. I need your help.

Give me quick and easy.. and healthy.. and yummy.. breakfast ideas.

I’m basically on the go in the morning.. I barely wake up in time to just get ready and out the door.  I love my sleep and don’t want to give up too much of it just to make breakfast..

I’ve searched online for options.. and most of what I get are eggs, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter sandwiches using whole wheat bread, and yogurt.

I want to know what YOU do.. anything creative I need to know about a quick and easy (and healthy) breakfast?!

Answers in the comments!

M has this facination with eggs.

Whenever we ask her what to eat, she’ll say “egg.”

In the future, when she askes me what her first sentence was, I’ll say:

“Go, ah eet egg.”
Go, I eat egg.

Yup, at seventeen months, her first documented four word sentence that was understandable and made perfect sense was, “Go, I eat egg.”

Of course, I made her eggs that morning, but the little booger didn’t eat it!

In fact, whenever she asks for eggs and I make them, she will only eat a few bites and the proceed to spit the rest out.

Yet, she continues to ask for eggs.

Oh, the joys of toddlerhood..

Every night, it seems like a battle.

Every night, it’s getting harder and harder.

Every night, it’s a question of will she or won’t she?

Every night, it makes me a little anxious and stressed out.

Dinner time.  Yes, dinner time.

M used to be a great eater.  She ate anything you put in a bowl and into her mouth.  She would eat a lot too.  She had the greatest appetite.

Ok, so she still has a great appetite, and when she likes what she’s eating, she’s a great eater..

But the reign of the pickiness is totally beginning.. sixteen months and she’s telling me what she wants to eat..

When did she get a mind of her own?

The other night, Hubby brought some food from his parents house.  I haven’t been cooking lately so I can finish the Save The Dates for my friend. 

It was good food, yummy filipino food. 

M wasn’t having it.

She’d either keep her mouth completely shut and turn away from me, or I’d get it in her mouth and she’d immediately push it out with her tongue.

So frustrating, but there was no changing her mind.  I tried everything. I tried to pretend feed her little princess toy that was with her, I tried to pretend-feed Elmo, I tried to pretend-feed the Fresh Beat Band she was watching on TV.

Nothing.

Thank God for frozen bags of peas and hot dogs..

We quickly heated and chopped up a hot dog, cooked up some frozen peas.. and she LOVED it!

She ate almost all of it..

I asked my mom about whether I should be doing that, or make her eat what we initially had.  She said that at this age, I should just cater.  I guess she has a point.  She’s a little too young to realize what I’m doing, but smart enough to know what she wants and doesn’t. 

All I know is that she can’t live off hot dogs and peas.. so I need to figure out more foods to cook that I know she will like..

Any suggestions and/or recipies?!


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