Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tote Bag Contest

These are some gorgeous totes! I'd be heading to the library in high style with one of these, for sure.

Enter the contest by visiting this post and leave a comment, and link at your blog (if you have one).

Contest hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 20

This is a two-week menu plan since we will be leaving for vacation at the Jersey Shore on Saturday.

MONDAY: Szechuan Chicken with rice (new recipe)

TUESDAY: Spaghetti

WEDNESDAY: Chicken pot pie

THURSDAY: Pork roast with roasted potatoes and carrots


VACATION DINNERS (in no particular order; it will depend on what each day brings in terms of weather and visitors)
1. Eat out
2. Spaghetti
3. Taco Skillet
4. Swiss Chicken Melt
5. Paula Deen's Sesame Chicken Strips
6. Pot roast
7. Spanish Garlic Shrimp

See you all in September!

Visit the home of Menu Plan Monday to see lots of creative menus and get some great recipes (that's where I found the Chicken Pot Pie we're having this week!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cookbook Review: Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller

I've spent a good chunk of the afternoon browsing through Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals, published in 2006 by the Food Network and Taunton Press.

I enjoy Robin Miller's show on the Food Network. While I have never wound up making one of her recipes, I've gained a lot of tips and strategies from watching the show.

This cookbook contains 200 recipes, advertised on the cover as "simple, delicious recipes to make mealtime easy." That's very true!

Here's what I liked about this book:
These are convenient meals without the use of convenience foods! Once in a while she calls for a canned ingredient, but I didn't see any recipes asking for boxed mixes (full of salt and sugar), jarred spaghetti sauce (again, the salt and sugar), or goopy condensed cream soup. This, by far, is the best part about the book.

Robin Miller's recipes depend on a planned menu. I'm all for that!

This book is LOADED with tips! There are storage tips, planning tips, prep tips, health tips, information about ingredients, easy variations, and more. Even if you don't make the recipes, read this book for the tips! And pages 2 through 11 are fully-packed with information that anyone can use with any recipe. It's totally worth reading.

The directions are clear and easy to follow. Cook times are broken down into prep time, active cooking time, and walk-away time.

Directions also come with suggestions for where you can "stop" in a recipe and store the food in the fridge or freezer for finishing and eating later.

The recipes are often healthy-but-flavorful twists on old favorites (such as cacciatore, fra diavolo, lo mein).

Here's what I didn't like:
I think I'd go broke buying all the ziplock bags she uses....how about using some reusable containers instead? Is Ziplock her sponsor?

The recipes were heavy on Thai, curry, and cilantro--3 flavors that are not popular with anyone in my family. We're not picky; in fact, I'd say my kids are fairly adventurous eaters, but we don't care for that kind of food.

All the text in the book is green and brown. It's kind of pretty, but I find it hard on the eyes. She tells stories about the recipe in green, and gives the information in brown. I'd prefer just using italics to set apart the story and keep all the text black.

Most of the pictures in the book were Robin Miller. Sometimes we see her with a pot, pan or knife in her hand. Sometimes we just see Robin Miller. I want to see the FOOD! Make me drool! Make me want to cook this recipe tonight so we can eat it! There's a color-photo section in the middle of the book, but I like to see a photo next to the recipe, not go hunting for it.

Love the stories, hate the bad jokes. And it gets a little old, hearing about how "crazy" her life is every day. Yes, that's the premise of the technique, but enough already.

I think it's safe to say that the things I didn't like were generally minor things, and not something that would put me off from the book.

All told, I'd give this book a B+.

**This is an unsolicited review. As a matter of fact, the book is a library book; I was not given a free copy and I have not yet purchased a copy. So there's nothing in it for me for sharing my opinion here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Flags

I love those little Post-It flags. They are fabulous for so many things!

* In a planner I had last year, there were no tabs to separate each month. I put a flag for each month; even labeled them!

* I have a few family favorite recipes in various cookbooks. The flags make it easy to find them quickly. Again, you can write on the flags!

* They work great as bookmarks.

I've gotten quite a few as free samples from the manufacturer. You can use them again and again--so they're frugal as well as useful. Works for me!

Visit Rocks in my Dryer to see links to the rest of the Works-for-Me Wednesday participants.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, August 13

Here's what's in the plan for this week:

MONDAY: I'll be picking up the kids at my parents' house; they stayed over there while TheDad and I attended a wedding. Hopefully we'll eat with my parents before we head for home--otherwise, I guess it will be fast food on the road.

TUESDAY: Steak fajitas and cheese quesadillas. We'll be using up the leftover London broil from Saturday in the fajitas. A friend gave us some green bell peppers from her garden so those will be great in the fajitas as well.

WEDNESDAY: Trying a new recipe! Spicy Orange Chicken that I picked up at "And Miles to Go." *

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Spanish Garlic Shrimp

SATURDAY: Barbecued Chicken

Check out all the other participants in Menu Plan Monday! It just keeps getting bigger and better.

Just a note about links: I have started a blog specifically to save all those delicious-sounding recipes I find through Menu Plan Monday or other online sources. This is basically to help me keep these recipes close at hand. So I noted the original source of the recipe when I had that available. When I try the recipe, I will update my "untried cookbook" with my review of the recipe. But I figure this is the only way I can give credit where it is due, and still keep my sanity with all these great recipes that I've been finding!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crockpot Festival!

Barbara is hosting a Crockpot Festival at her cooking blog.

I just got Big Brother's school calendar in the mail today, and I know the other kids' calendar will soon follow. Then it will be the cross-country meet schedule, and basketball season, and, well, you know the drill! I'll need all the great slow-cooking recipes I can get my oven mitts on.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Contest for Homemakers!

Check out this contest over at Mrs. Pear's blog! She'd like some input on a book she's preparing to write, geared toward women who would like support in staying at home with their families.

To enter, just read the question in each post and answer it in her comments box.

Prizes include some really interesting books. Two of them are cookbooks (my favorite!)

Menu Plan Monday, August 6

MONDAY: Ranch breaded chicken breasts, leftover hash brown casserole, vegetable

TUESDAY: Tandoori Chicken

WEDNESDAY: Crockpot Beef Burgundy

THURSDAY: Spaghetti (time to make the big batch!)

FRIDAY: Fish surprise (I haven't decided what kind yet! My parents are coming to visit so I want to make something nice. Maybe salmon...)

SATURDAY: London broil on the grill

SUNDAY: TheDad and I are going to a wedding. My mom will be watching the kids (since the wedding is 100 miles away, we can't leave them alone). I'll leave an easy dinner for them.

Stop in at the home of Menu Plan Monday to get some great menu and recipe ideas from the other participants! It's topping out at well over 100 each week!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...