The Week Behind: New...Or At Least New to Me
Saturday: A quiet day at home which suited me just fine. I reheated cinnamon rolls and cooked sausages for our breakfast this morning. I took out a chuck roast last night with plans to make that for today's dinner. No plan for lunch...and it bites me yet again.
Katie called and asked to come visit which meant we got to see the littlest boy. He took a lovely nap between feedings and is so chunky. He gives Grampa great huge smiles and gives me tiny little smiles.
Katie asked what was for lunch...I had a frozen pizza in the oven, as well as some pepperoni. We partially cooked onion, bell pepper and mushrooms to top the pizza, too. This proved to be quite good and made a hearty meal for three out of medium pizza.
While I was prepping the pizza I was also prepping the roast for the crockpot. I pan seared the roast in the same pan that I cooked the vegetables in.
After lunch Katie and littlest went home and I took an impromptu nap.
When it came time to make supper, I'd planned to make mashed potatoes. With just four wee potatoes in the potato basket I thought it might have to be instant but then remembered the bowl of au gratin potatoes left from earlier in the week. I took those out to mash and made cheesy potato pancakes. I opened a can of turnip greens, too. This proved to be a very nice meal for a cold Saturday evening.
Sunday: I had a glimmer of hope last night that my ear was better. I felt decidedly less pressure. Well this morning it was as full of pressure as before. That's okay...At least it must be clearing up a bit if I felt some break in the pressure.
I made oatmeal for breakfast. I had forgotten to get brown sugar from the pantry and didn't want to go digging in the back closet for it. So I sweetened the oatmeal with maple syrup. When I do this I decrease the amount of liquid I use.
Got dressed for church and put on the sheer paisley print blouse with the orange cami under it. This was warm enough to wear (with a jacket outdoors of course) but it had the unfortunate effect of making the shirt appear maroon in places. I won't wear those two pieces together again unless I'm wearing it open over the cami.
Asked John to take me by the Goodwill after church. He was happy to do so since he wanted to go into Lowe's anyway. I was happy to let him go into Lowe's. I just wander around in there and dream of things I can't yet afford to do in my house, lol. I did explain to him I'd be quite a while in Goodwill and he was fine with that. He came in to tell me he'd sit on the bench in the outer entry to the store. He loves to people watch just as I do.
I never cease to be amazed at the quality of items one might find in the clothing racks if you're just patient enough to flip through thousands of pieces. I found clothes today that were made by Talbots, Kim Rogers, White Stag, Alfred Dunner, Chicos. I also saw tags from Banana Republic among many, many others that are better quality items. I tried on everything I chose before checking out. It was a great help in realizing which pieces were mistakes (too short, too large, just didn't look well on me). I ended up with a coral cardigan and five tops. Some were $2 each and some were $3.99 each. I didn't buy anything else but tops today, though I did look through the white pants and jeans as I know I need a new pair for this year.
We stopped at Dairy Queen for lunch. It's in the same shopping center. We skipped the meal deal and just got hamburgers and shared an order of fries.
Once home, John did a load of laundry, including my new purchases. I unloaded the dishes I washed late last night and swept the floors.
Then I took Brunswick Stew from the freezer and set it to thaw in a pan of warm water. I failed to plan ahead yet again and had nothing out to thaw, but since I hadn't yet published my Week Ahead post, I just changed it there.
As I took the stew from the freezer, I made up my mind to do two things: Take several things from the freezer to thaw at once as a start to weekly meal preps and plan to make super easy meals on Sundays. It's just too much with church to do a cooked breakfast, sling lunch on the table when we come in and then make a supper, too. I've been doing this for months now, ever since John's been able to attend church every Sunday and it's ridiculous the rush I put on myself. I'll do my best to prep ahead on Fridays for Sunday lunch and supper (or at least to have a firm plan in place). Soup for supper or salad in warmer months will do quite well and be easy to make I think.
I made fried cornbread for supper. I made enough that we can have cornmeal pancakes for breakfast one morning this week.
Monday: I'd been thinking I ought to get up earlier. Since I started to feel unwell two weeks ago, I have slept long nights and not risen until nearly 9am each morning except for one morning when I rose at 5:30. Well this morning I woke at 6am. It was cold and raining and I thought I'd just get up in about an hour...and three hours later I woke up again. I told John I'd feel guilty if I wasn't so sure that sleeping is as much about healing as anything else, and since I'm not usually prone to naps (though I've had quite a few impromptu ones of late), I'll accept the extra hours in the mornings.
Breakfast was easy and proved the value of having something prepped ahead: I simply reheated last night's cornmeal pancakes in the microwave and then reheated the already cooked sausages in the same. Breakfast in under five minutes and it was yummy.
I was not motivated at all this morning. I mean seriously not motivated, but I pushed forward and did get a few things done. I stripped our bed, brought the dried laundry to the bedroom and photographed most of the new shirts for spring so that I might share them. I cleared up the house overall and then did an inventory of the big deep freeze. It's about half full at present. I don't have much meat at all. I took several things from the freezer: ground venison, the last two chicken breasts, a bit of turkey breast that I think will make turkey salad for sandwiches this week, cranberries to make an upside down cake, milk to thaw.
I went back to the guest room after lunch and packed up that trunk/bin thing that John had given me with all the party supplies and extra storage pieces that we use when packing up copious leftovers or are wanting to make a gift to someone (like butter cookie tins or ice cream pails). Then I went to work clearing off the sewing table, gathering a few supplies to come to kitchen and packing up some loose books I need to take off to the library for the women's club sale in April.
I put out some fresh pieces for decor in the living room and changed things out in the dining room. I'm counting that part as my creative thing for the day though it took only 30 minutes and not an hour. I did my math though it took a lot of brain power to figure out the missing step the book didn't share, so I reckon that counts as creative, too, and then I did Bible study and I made lunch amidst all the work. All in all it took a goodly part of the morning (what was left) and the afternoon but I felt accomplished when it was done and was glad I'd motivated myself, so well.
John approved of tonight's supper which was a meatless meal. I'm sharing the recipe as I made it tonight. I will say that I'd add milk next time (and will when reheating it) to thin it a little bit.
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 sage leaves
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I used powder)
Melt butter. Heat sage leaves in the butter, add garlic and cook 30 seconds or less. Add in pumpkin puree, half and half and Parmesan cheese. Add milk or pasta water if you feel it needs to be thinned further. I added salt to taste.
I thought sure John wouldn't like this but he did...His only criticism was the Rotelli I serve it with. He felt spaghetti or fettucini would have been better. I thought this was a nice supper. I'm not big on Alfredo as a rule but thought this a good option for a meatless meal.
I used just 1/2 a can of pumpkin. I do have a second recipe I mean to try to make with the remainder.
Tuesday: Plans were scarce anyway today but what few we had flew out of the window. It started with a phone call about 7am and then a text. No dire anything. One was a call from John's former partner with a bit of news that was funny and the other was a need to borrow a cake pan. Sam's plethora of eggs has led him to feel he must bake a pound cake. Shortly thereafter, a third call came telling John we must sign some paperwork related to retirement.
So we gathered trash and mail and went off to do that ride. We started out in the promise of almost sunlight but it soon was drizzling rain upon us and sort of shattered our hopes. Despite the mizzly weather we decided to take the longer way home. It felt good to be out of the house and we both agreed that it was most welcome.
Conversation generated by yesterday's text coming in that checks were in...Well we didn't get one, nor did we expect to, but it triggered some minor anxiety on John's part as he pointed out that it was the first time in 26 years (really longer than that) that he hadn't gotten a check on 'pay day'. I reminded him we've a check coming end of this week, and barely two weeks to go after that before we get our first retirement check. This led to another discussion about whether or not we really could manage on retirement funds alone. I assured him we can and shall and next year when I 'retire' will make things even easier for us. Conversations in the car are freer of distractions than repeated conversations at home.
We went by Sam and Bess' to see the baby, drop off an accumulated lot of things I'd set aside which I traded for eggs and the things they'd set aside for Katie and myself. We three women have a system of putting things to one side for each other and then we drop them off at whomever's house we happen to be at. It's a homemaker's system of savings. We got to hold Millie, hugged and kissed both boys. Josh was home with a tummy virus today and Isaac is always at home. They all received hugs though the boys were meant to be napping and the little Princess was asleep for the entirety of our visit.
We really enjoyed our supper tonight which was Butter Baked Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy. It's an old recipe that I make only in the colder months. Basically it's oven fried chicken which is cooked in butter and then you pour in a can of evaporated milk with a bit of flour to make a pan gravy, tuck biscuits into the gravy and bake until the biscuits are done and the gravy has thickened nicely.
I followed the recipe for my biscuits exactly, doubling the recipe and ended up with two dozen biscuits. I put just three in the pan with the chicken and baked off the rest to put into the freezer for future breakfasts.
Sam stopped by and brought us pound cake he'd made with his plethora of eggs. His chickens have finally determined they are there to lay eggs and they have put out a half dozen eggs daily for weeks now. Sam's giving away eggs, hence my getting two dozen today. He stayed and talked a bit with us as we enjoyed the cake. I think he really hung about to see how many compliments we'd pay him, lol.
Wednesday: Oh sun where art thou? Another grey, dreary day has descended upon us. Now please tell me why grey is such a great color for walls indoors just now but the same color plastered across the skies is so depressing? We hoped in vain for the weather men to be correct, but our partly cloudy today proved to be very heavy cloud cover with a break on the horizon about sunset followed by more clouds.
I've puttered here at home today. I took a piece of turkey breast from the freezer and made turkey salad and egg salad for sandwich feelings. We had turkey salad sandwiches for lunch today.
I worked on genealogy today. I'd meant to work on a family tree but got overwhelmed with the scale of what I have done thus far, even if sticking to direct line only. Instead I ended up going through the first notebook and jotted down every blank space I have in my lineage. This evening I spent hours looking up the correct dates of birth and death, parents of this one or that one. Fun part was noting names in England and being familiar with the areas they refer to as we've been watching several narrow boat owners who vlog and these towns are all along canals. It's rather neat to see a church and think that might have been the place where an ancestor went to Sunday worship.
I pretty much just pursued genealogy all afternoon and evening and figure it makes up for all those missed 'creative time' and 'reading' hours over the past month.
Thursday: John had promised to help Sam today and I'd made a date with Mama to go to lunch and pick up any groceries she needs. It's the first time I've been over in February. I felt sure I'd manage it today since I didn't feel well yesterday and that seems to be coming along every other day just now.
Before leaving home, I did minor household chores. That meant when I returned I didn't have anything to do.
The day with Mama proved to be heavy duty. I ended up shopping on my own, following her list. The difficulty arises in trying to make choices that she just doesn't bother thinking of. I have to ask myself if she'd choose the brand name or the savings. I tried to strike a balance on it all. She is not easy to please...and her list was long enough that my buggy was filled to overflow. It absolutely is fact that she does this weekly which blows my mind. But it's her choice to spend loads in this area and spend she does.
I had not planned to buy anything at all, since we have spent our budget for the month of February. However, Mama urged me to buy what was needed or wanted as her treat. I chose to get a deli roasted chicken (on sale this week) so when I returned this evening I shouldn't have to make a long meal prep as well as enough fruit to tide us over until we can shop next week. Had she not offered to gift us, I'd not have bought a single thing for the house, that's how determined I am to stick to my budget!
Got Mama and her groceries settled back at the apartment and then headed home. The check engine light stayed on all the way. Was I worried about it? No. I know that our car is well maintained and we've just repaired some pretty necessary items. I could tell the car was running well and quietly. Temperature gauge was normal. Whatever is wrong with it is likely a computer glitch that has caused that switch to come on. Indeed, I made it all the way home without any issue whatsoever which convinced me further that it's a computer glitch.
I baked sweet potatoes in the microwave to go with our warmed chicken. We sliced a fresh apple as a second side. Both ears were bothersome when I got home, no doubt due to the pollen levels rising outdoors with all the blooming that is going on. I just wanted to take my meds and do as little as possible and so I did.
Friday: I was sleeping hard this morning...I had to fight myself to wake and then I found John in his chair in the living room sound asleep as well. I guess we just felt we needed the sleep after yesterday. We were both tired after our day away from home.
I made Pumpkin French Toast this morning to use up the second half of the can of pumpkin...I wonder why someone doesn't decide to just sell pumpkin in a 1 cup portion?...The toast was really good. Even the 'Oops!' which was to pull what I thought was a few slices of seeded bread from the freezer and use it as French Toast. Turns out it was Rye bread, but it was still good! The recipe is just a standard French toast recipe with the addition of 3/4 cup pumpkin in the egg/cream mixture as well as pumpkin pie spice to season. I'll definitely be making this next fall. And I'm half tempted to try it as a bread pudding as well.
I put a half dozen slices of French Toast in the freezer this morning.
Puttered around the house. Miscommunication between John and I as he appeared to be saying last night that 'we' were going to be attending to a job today, so I rushed through my morning's work, which included mopping the kitchen floor. I hurried through my mathwork too then had a message from Katie saying they'd be out in a few minutes. I knew good and well she was coming out today but I'd gotten so focused on that 'we' job that I'd forgotten she was coming out. By that point I was hungry.
I used the breasts of the deli roasted chicken to make a Chicken Tortellini Pasta Salad. This is such a yummy dish. The homemade dressing is key to the taste of the dish. It was easy enough to make up in a hurry and it made plenty for the four of us to eat well with a couple servings over. This is one of those recipes I want to keep in my file. It uses plain old ingredients and I almost always have shelf stable cheese tortellini on hand in my pantry. I don't stock loads of it but I generally have a couple packets.
Caleb is now wanting to sit up (with help) rather than just recline in your arms and he's pretty insistent upon it. He's soooo chunky, too, lol. I noticed he's 'found' his hands since I saw him last Saturday, another developmental stage. They change so quickly in the first 2 years! Sam popped in while Katie and Chad were here and I felt myself blessed mightily yet again. Here are at least two of my children close by enough to drop in and see me.
I started a loaf of bread in the breadmaker when I discovered that John's 'we' was meant to include Sam, not me. It will not be ready in time for Shabat, but we'll have fresh bread for tomorrow. We'll use a substitute for our bread tonight.
I gathered up trash and gave it to Sam who had loaded up his truck with stuff to go to the dump. Next week he and John are taking a load of things over to the county dump where they take larger household items. Katie's getting in on that trip and having an old mattress hauled off, too.
Washed a full load of dishes and put them away almost immediately. I don't turn on the heat dry function but simply open the door and let the steam disperse. The dishes were dry in about five minutes time. It's a lot cheaper to use indoor air than electricity to dry them for 20 minutes or so and much quicker.
breakfasts this week:
Cinnamon Rolls and Sausages
Oatmeal and toast
Cornmeal pancakes and Sausage
Steamed Eggs, Hash Browns and Toast
Eggs, Toast (John made breakfast)
Pumpkin French Toast
Dressed up frozen pizza
take out hamburgers and fries
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Chips
Subway Sandwich on the way home
Turkey salad sandwiches
out with Mama
Chicken Tortellini Pasta Salad
Mississippi Pot Roast, Potato Pancakes, Turnip Greens
Brunswick Stew, Cornmeal Cakes
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta, Green Beans, Tossed Salad
Butter Baked Chicken and Biscuits, Green Peas, Waldorf Salad
Sloppy Joes with chips
Deli Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Apples
NO CLUE but we will eat!
How was your week? Please feel free to share.
(C) Terri Cheney