Thursday, June 24, 2010

Staying out of the kitchen

I mentioned in an earlier post that P-daddy and I spent a couple hours in the kitchen earlier this week in order to avoid having to be there for the rest of the week.  So far, that's working pretty well.  In the 100 degree heat in Texas, no one wants to heat up the kitchen, and in our little apt with no central air (window units in all rooms *except* the kitchen!) we really don't want to be in the kitchen for long!  So I loved that LifeasMom's Ultimate Recipe Swap this week is all about great summer recipes - I'm getting lots of ideas for summer meals and treats!

One of my all-time favorite summer recipes is a cold black bean salad that my dear friend Erin introduced me to.  I've made a few changes, and I don't follow an exact recipe (it's very forgiving!), but here's the basics:

Black Bean Salad
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained (or use 2 if you want)
1 small red onion, diced
2 medium bell peppers, diced (I like to use 2 contrasting colors, preferably sweet) 
2 tomatoes, chopped
chopped cilantro (how much is dependent on your taste)

Place everything in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Dress with either vinegar (red wine vinegar is my favorite in this recipe) or simply lemon or lime juice, then stick it in the fridge to chill.  Serve with additional toppings, such as avocado, sour cream, or grated cheese.  Good on its own, or on tortilla chips.  We sometimes even use the immersion blender to mush it up a bit as bean dip.

Yum!!  That's definitely on my menu plan for next week!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More menus, and an update!

First the update:  Last night, P-daddy and I had a lovely talk with the director of our agency, who has to approve all the homestudies.  She just had some residual issues to clear up, which we did successfully, and she said she'd approve and pass it on, and we should be licensed by the end of the week if no other issues arrive!  Yay - finally!

And now the menus:
Last week, we did...sort of okay on the menu front.  It was super-helpful to me to have a menu there on the fridge, so that I could look at it in the morning when I was packing my lunch, and know that I was taking enough food.  We didn't always stick to the dailiness of it, and we ended up eating meals on the 'wrong' day, but it was nice to at least have the ideas there for us.  On the weekend, not so successful, but that was more due to the fact that the PM was in the house, and he ripped the menu off of the fridge sometime early on Saturday.  Note to self:  post menu high enough the grabbing hands can't make it disappear!

Yesterday evening, P-daddy and I spent a couple hours in the kitchen, in the hopes that we can spend almost no time in the kitchen the rest of the week.  We chopped and packaged carrots and peppers for lunches and snacks, sauteed a mixture of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, cooked a large pot of curried lentils, made brown rice to go with the lentils,  and made spinach frittata (well, okay, P-daddy made that earlier in the day).  Then I cleaned out and rearranged the fridge so that everything would fit, and we now have most of the week's food ready to go, or at least pretty easy to prepare.  We'll have to do some cooking/prepping on the weekend, but I hope to combine that with next week's food prep to keep us out of the 100 degree heat in there!   Here's the plan:

Monday:
B:  eggs, black beans, avocado, tortillas
L:  spinach frittata, mango
D:  brown rice w/ curried lentils; cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage mix
S:  yogurt, peaches, cucumber

Tuesday:
B:  SCO w/ fruit
L:  brown rice w/ curried lentils; cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage mix
D:  turkey sandwiches, carrot sticks
S:  applesauce, red peppers, cherries

Wednesday:
B:  SCO w/ fruit
L:  spinach frittata, cottage cheese, bread
D:  carrot and potato dumplings, side salad
S:  yogurt, celery, banana

Thursday:
B:  eggs and beans, tortillas
L:  brown rice w/ curried lentils; cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage mix
D:  turkey sandwiches, carrot sticks
S:  yogurt, blackberries

Friday:
B:  SCO w/ fruit
L:  pb&j sandwiches, cucumbers, carrots, apples
D:  eat out or order in
S:  applesauce, nectarines, red peppers w/ hummus

Saturday:
B:  cinnamon rolls
L:  salad w/ tuna, tomatoes, and onion
D:  homemade pizza or calzone
S:  yogurt, cucumbers, banana

Sunday:
B:  yogurt and granola
L:  black bean and corn salad, avocado, tortilla chips
D:  MSF spicy black bean burgers, avocado, mixed veggies
S:  applesauce, oranges, carrots
Anyway, we are trying again

Sweetness...

From the very beginning of our relationship, back before we ever had a real date and when we were trying to figure out if we even wanted to, P-daddy and I talked about foster care and adoption.  It seemed that both of us were on the same page in our desires to eventually foster and/or adopt, with each of us individually considering it before we ever even met.  I'm not sure how long it would have taken us to get around to actually starting the process if we hadn't met my niece B3's adorable foster son last Fall.  He was then just over a year old, and we've had the wonderful opportunity to see him grow and change for the last 9 months.  When it became clear that he would likely come available for adoption, P-daddy and I jumped at the chance, found an agency, and started the licensing process.  Since January, we've provided respite for this child about once every 6 weeks to 2 months, and he's a blast to have in the house.  From his first visit, we've referred to him as the Pooping Machine due to the number of dirty diapers we have to change - maybe we are giving him too much fiber with all the apples, bananas, pears, oatmeal...

Anyway, the PM stayed with us this past weekend.  We've started to notice over the last couple of visits that he is bonding with us, which is, of course, a very good sign!  On the last visit, this was evident more in his wanting one of us for comfort, or crying when we were leaving (not a problem since his attention span is about 3 seconds long and he's very easily distracted by anything fun!).  This past visit, though, oh this was special!

On Sunday, we left him in the nursery when we went to church - they have tons of fun toys for him to play with, and he's generally quite happy there.  When we returned, he dropped everything when he saw us, ran full-speed across the room yelling "Daaaaadddddyyyyyyyy", and flung himself into P-daddy's waiting arms.  It almost brought tears to the eyes, it was so sweet!  It gives me joy to know the men in my life love each other so much!