Monday, December 17, 2012

Menu Monday #31

We spent a lot of family time together this weekend. Like every other parent out there, we hugged our little ones a lot tighter and prayed for the families suffering this horrible tragedy. I still haven't found the words for how I am feeling, nor do I know if I'll ever truly understand why these things happen. I'm fortunate that our boys are too young to know what is going on, too innocent to have to grasp the situation themselves. I have been thinking about everything since Friday...about mental illness, gun control, media influence. Perhaps I will tackle all of this in another post at some point, in an effort to sort out my thoughts and try to make some sense of this horrible situation. For now, I will continue to pray for the families and cherish every moment I spend with our boys. I'm crying inside for all of those mothers who won't be sharing Christmas with their little ones this year, but trying to maintain normalcy for our boys, as they have no idea what has gone on, but they do know this is supposed to be a happy time of year.

On Friday evening, I had had a Girl's Night scheduled, and I went ahead and went to it. I knew the boys would be safe at home with their Daddy and they love that special alone time with him. They enjoyed some pizza and root beer and watched Christmas movies that evening. While they were having fun at home, I had a nice evening out with some friends. We went to The Battery, in downtown Johnson City. They just opened in March, but we hadn't been there yet to check it out. Set in what appears to be an old factory, the inside has been updated, but retains its brick walls. Very nice. The atmosphere was great for a girl's night, or date night. The food wasn't bad, but not my favorite. My caesar salad was excellent, but I made the mistake of ordering the salmon for my entrée. It wasn't bad, but I have been spoiled with Josh's superb grilling skills. It's super moist and delicious when he makes it, and the salmon I had was kind of dried out, so it lost a lot of its flavor. The potatoes they served (like a potato au gratin) were pretty good, as well as the grilled asparagus. Overall, it was a good experience, but I would definitely try one of their steaks next time instead. We had a nice evening sharing stories and laughs, much needed after a day of mourning.

Waiting for our food!
On Saturday morning, I treated the kids to more strawberry pancakes with cream cheese icing. Ethan had requested them again and well, I kind of just felt like giving that boy anything he wanted this weekend. I'm sure you know how I felt! We enjoyed the rest of the morning in our jammies watching Christmas movies. Later, after naps, we cleaned up and went Christmas shopping for the boys! It's possible that the boys may have went around the stores pointing out some things they wanted, that "Santa" then purchased! ;) I am super excited about the one big item we got for them to share this year. Is it bad that I might be more excited to play with it than them? Haha! We enjoyed a yummy dinner at Carrabba's while we were out. Their chocolate bread pudding is absolutely amazing. Please go enjoy some while they are still offering it!!

Helping crack the eggs!
On Sunday morning, Ethan and Noah helped Daddy make scrambled eggs and Cream of Wheat for breakfast. As one of the boys' favorite meals, it enjoys heavy rotation in our weekend schedule. :) Later that day, we decided to head to the local mall for some more shopping and a chance for the boys to sit on Santa's lap! We had skipped it on Saturday because the mall was super packed. We were hoping for a shorter line on Sunday, and it wasn't too bad. Ethan was very excited for the chance to meet Santa, but Noah wasn't as equally pumped. Fortunately, there were no tears, but we weren't going to get a smile out of him either. Maybe next year. :) The boys had fun shopping with Daddy for presents for Mommy. ;) There are now 2 little packages hiding somewhere in the house that will drive me nuts waiting to see what they are! Haha!

Sunday: Dinner at the mall
We ate at the food court while we were out. Burgers for the guys, and a grilled sub for me.

Monday: Taco cupcakes, Mexican rice
On the menu this week!
I'm going to try a couple new recipes from Plain Chicken. She always has tasty recipes, so I am sure these will be good, too. The taco cupcakes are made with wonton wrappers, like the lasagna cups I have made in the past. Should be a tasty combo with ground beef, black beans and cheddar cheese. On the side, the Mexican rice should pair well with these. A very fun, kid-friendly meal.

Tuesday: Crunchy chicken, pierogies, corn
I haven't made this meal in ages, but it used to be one of Ethan's favorites, so we'll see if he still likes it as much. I slice my chicken breasts thin, then coat them in some egg, then a mixture of crushed up cornflakes, paprika and a little salt and pepper. I bake them in the oven until tender and juicy. I buy Mrs. T's frozen pierogies since I have never tried making my own, though I should. If you aren't familiar with them, they are dumplings stuffed with a potato filling. Heavenly! I heat them up on the stove top by sautéing them in a little bit of butter. So good! I'll also sauté some frozen sweet corn in a little butter, too. Not the healthiest meal, but super tasty.

Wednesday:  Grilled pork chops, roasted butternut squash, and toasted pine nut couscous with dried cranberries
We skipped this meal last week, but it's supposed to be warmer and not raining on Wednesday, so a pretty decent day for grilling. Pretty crazy for the week before Christmas, but I'll take it!

Thursday: Chicken parmesan, whole wheat rotini, roasted green beans
This is another meal I haven't made for awhile, and another favorite of Ethan's from a couple years ago. I coat the chicken breast (sliced thin), in a little egg, then a mixture of bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese and parsley. I bake these until tender and juicy, topping them with a little shredded mozzarella cheese near the end. I serve them over the rotini, with some tomato sauce. Last week's fresh snap beans were awesome when I roasted them in the oven with a little EVOO, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, so I'll do that again.

Friday: TBD
We'll probably eat out somewhere. We'll see what we're in the mood for that day!

Saturday: TBD
Maybe we'll eat out again. Maybe not.

Happy meal planning to you this week. I was in the mood for some comfort food this week, and it showed! Are you finished with your Christmas shopping? We're not quite done yet, but I feel better knowing that we have at least started now!

If you haven't checked out Mom of the Year's posts on What Real Moms Want for Christmas, please do so! Keep tuning in...the post for this week will be coming up on Thursday, instead of today.


  1. Glad you still had a nice evening out with your girlfriends. And I love the Santa pic! Your boys are SO cute :) I am going to try your strawberry pancakes this week, so I will let you know--I'm looking forward to it!

  2. Thank you! I definitely thought about canceling, but it's hard for the other moms to get out with their husband's schedules, so we kind of had to take the chance while we had it! Aww, thank you! Of course I think so, too, but I'm probably a bit biased. ;) I hope the video I posted of them on his lap is showing for most. I can't get it to show up on my iPad, but is working fine on my laptop. It is great to see how Noah really felt about the whole ordeal, haha! Aww, yay! I hope you guys love them as much as we do! :)


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