Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meal Planning

Well, as I said in my last post, we're home with our new baby, little Nathaniel. It's gone pretty smoothly lately all things considered. The weekend was a great time for just relaxing and celebrating the new baby but I made sure I set aside some time on Sunday to get ready for Monday - the first day back to a regular routine. So Sunday evening I chopped up some veggies for salads and sandwiches through the week, did up some laundry and made Matt's lunch for the next day so that he'd be able to sleep in a little bit in the morning.
Well, Monday actually went pretty smoothly. I slept in (until 8... and I love that that's now sleeping in again!) and then got up with the boys and got breakfast ready. Gabe wanted some time to watch Shaun the Sheep so we worked that into the morning and then Gabe had a nap and Matt's mom came and picked him up afterwards so it was just Nate and I for a bit. While Gabe had been napping I stole the chance to do some meal planning for the week. I had bought a magazine for while I was in hospital and wasn't able to look at it before I had the baby (as in, I physically was not able to. It was a cooking magazine and my stomach couldn't stand to look at recipes whie I was pregnant.) It was the May issue of Cooking Light and I honestly think that one issue convinced me to subscribe. The cover recipe was a Shrimp Cobb Salad (which I'm making tomorrow night), it had a great article on Portland, Oregon and how it became a foodie paradise (Matt and I talked about taking a trip there) and it had a great recipe for a Chai Cream Pie (which I will be making at some point, I promise you). I find all too often that recipes in cooking magazines go out of the way to be posh and fine-dining, to the point where you don't have any of the ingredients in your cupboard (smoked duck, ahi tuna and quinoa anyone?) and it's impractical for regular meal planning (even if it's categorized in their "Meal Planning" section). Cooking Light had a couple of those recipes, but they were far outnumbered by recipes that called for normal ingredients and made them into something fabulous - and that "something" was usually something I could wrap my head around preparing for a regular, weekday dinner. I'll let you know about whether or not I decide to take out that subscription... it'll have to wait a couple weeks at least since I have to renew my Martha Stewart Living subscription this month and that takes precedence over all other subscriptions.
Anyway, big tangent there. I did get my meal planning done for the week and only one of those meals involved something from my freezer, and that was for last night. I had decided to whip up some corn muffins yesterday (it really is "whip up." The actual hands on part took 8 minutes) and I wanted something spicy to go with it. Since Gabe was going to be out for dinner I decided to use up one of my pre-made enchilada dinners that only had 2 instead of 4 servings in it. So last night we had corn muffins, enchiladas and a salad with grated asiago in it that took less than a minute to prepare because of the food prep I had done on Sunday. Incidentally, the enchiladas were fantastic. I wasn't expecting them to be anything great, but they really, really were. I'll go back and see if I already posted that recipe or not and I'll make sure I get it up, because for a frozen meal, that was great.
For tonight I had scheduled to make Waldorf Chicken Croissants. I had almost everything in the house for them (apples, yogurt, grapes, etc) and I knew I would need to pick up the croissants, but I needed to have croissants this week already for a Chocolate Ribbon Bread Pudding I'll be making on Thursday and if the croissants went a little stale on the two days between buying them and making the bread pudding, well all the better for the pudding! So I've got the Waldorf Chicken Croissants in the fridge right now just waiting for Matt to get home and eat them.
Tomorrow night I'm making that Shrimp Cobb Salad and we'll be having company for dessert so I'm going to make up a batch of those Glorious Mango Puddings that I made around Easter time which were so yummy.
Thursday is going to be fun... Matt's going to take Gabe camping overnight in the backyard! They're going to pitch the tent together and have a fire and I decided to help with the theme so we'll be having a weiner roast that night. I've also got some corn-on-the-cob so we'll do that up and maybe some bannock. That's also the night we're having the Chocolate Ribbon Bread Pudding and, more than likely, smores.
Friday I didn't plan for since we might have dinner with Matt's family, but if I do need a recipe there was a great Peach Chicken Pizza recipe in the Cooking Light magazine that might work, or I'll make some goat cheese and flank steak tostadas. We'll see!
Anyway, Matt should be home soon so I'd best go get supper on the table and mix up our Italian Sodas!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

New baby!

Yay! The second baby is here! Welcome to baby Nathaniel Caleb, born June 22, 2011 weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and measuring 21.5 inches!
He is gorgeous and mellow and healthy and big brother Gabe is delighted by him!
We're at home and doing well. I'm already wanting to host some dinner parties (still have to figure out how those would work logistically) and this week I plan on baking at least I cake and making Glorious Mango Pudding and Blueberry stuffed Crepes with Star Anise syrup!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Waiting Game

Well, I'm at 37 1/2 weeks right now and today is my last day for major items on my to do list. Up until recently I've been so worried the baby would come before we were ready for him. A month ago we didn't have a thing ready - Gabe was still in the nursery with nowhere to move to, we still had a change table in our living room and everything we would need when the baby came was still in boxes downstairs.
Our house has seen a major transformation in the last few weeks however. Now Gabe is in his "Big Boy Room", the nursery has been restored to factory specs, every floor has been cleaned in the past 4 days, every room has been cleaned and every item of clothing has been laundered. Over the past two days I've managed to do all of my shopping that I wanted to get done before the baby came with the exception of a quick trip this afternoon to Save-On-Foods and to a local farmer's market. I have frozen meals prepared, easy snacks that I can grab for Gabe on hand and some fun things for Matt's lunches too. The dog has been thoroughly groomed, the bills have all been prepayed and our hospital bag, as well as Gabe's overnight bag, is packed and ready to go.
My nesting energy spurts have definitely been to thank for this huge accomplishment, as well as a husband who finds it easier to relax when the house is clean so he doesn't mind when I put him to work on his day off. However, even with all my rabid cleaning attempts, by this past Friday I still had the whole basement to clean and organize yet, as well as a number of other items on my checklist to still do. Then something happened on Friday that made me pick up my feet even more... the baby dropped. Now, in first pregnancies, the baby typically drops weeks prior to the baby being born. When I was pregnant with Gabriel he dropped 3 weeks before I had him. However, with subsequent pregnancies babies typically drop during labour or immediately preceeding labour. One website I found described the baby dropping in a second pregnancy as a sign that labour was "imminent". Well, while it was lovely that I could breathe again and that my ribs were no longer moving in and out, I was not feeling ready for the baby to come. I resolved to have all of my major tasks on my to do list completed by Tuesday night because while I didn't think that the baby was coming that night, I didn't want to be caught off guard. I've since had some low, hard contractions and a couple that shot across my back, which only happened during my first pregnancy when I was actually in labour, but I've also reorganized the basement and set up Gabe's play area down there, down some massive grocery shopping trips, and completed all the primary items on my to do list! I still have another to do list that will be a weekly thing until the baby does decide to come, but that list is mostly just to make sure I have absolutely nothing to think about other than my family for the first few weeks at home with the new addition.
So next you hear from me, hopefully I'll be the happy mother of two!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)