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Monday, March 29, 2010

Asian Pot Roast

I warn you now, I failed to photograph the roast. But really, use your imagination. It looked like meat. Cooked meat. It wasn't that pretty anyway. But it was tasty.

Asian Pot Roast

roast (I used one 1.5 lb. bottom round and one approximately 2 lb. chuck roast)

If you have a normal family, obviously you could use less. I am feeding 6 plus I want leftovers.

1/2 c. soy sauce (I used tamari; I'm like that)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or about 2-3 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. honey
scant sprinkle of allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
1 tsp. sesame oil

Combine in crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours. However long you want. It's a crock pot. It's very forgiving. I had wanted to toss some sesame seeds in this at the end, but I forgot.

Anyway, here's how I finished it:

I had leftover red peppers and onions from yesterday. They were already sautéed. So if you want to add them, you'll have to sauté them toward the end. I am pro-veggie, so I really do recommend you add something. Some steamed broccoli would be good, too, just served with it.

I pulled the meat out of the pot (I threw out the fat) and shredded it in a bowl with two forks. If you are smarter than I am, you would add the seeds here. You could even toast them in a dry skillet. Man, I am so mad I forgot! Then I reheated the peppers and onions and mixed them into the liquid from the pot. I poured the liquid with veggies over the meat, and combined it. I served it all over some tasty brown rice.

You can really play with the seasonings here--more or less garlic, ginger, or add pepper. I was afraid to add pepper with the chili oil, but it could've been spicier. I just would not add much more allspice. I don't know what even possessed me to put that on the meat, but it was good. But I am pretty confident that no one wants their roast to taste like pie. So be careful!

Menu Plan for the Week of 3/29


Asian pot roast with peppers & onions
brown rice
tossed salad


homemade spinach calzone (for the fam)
I'm going out to eat Thai food!!


spicy tomato soup (I didn't make it last week)
grilled cheese


sweet & sour shrimp
steamed broccoli
some kind of bread


pepperjack cheese & spinach quesadillas
fresh fruit
cilantro lime chicken breasts


lemon pepper cod (except I don't have cod, so I am using some other whitefish)
roasted potatoes
green beans


who knows?

My nice in-laws have invited us over for brunch on Easter, which will be late, around 1:00ish. So I am thinking we aren't really going to be terribly hungry for dinner that day. For now, I am plan-less.

I think it's a little funny to see this all written out. Clearly, I am craving Asian food, as well as spinach. Weird.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

tortilla soup

chilean squash casserole


gado-gado with veggies

spicy tomato soup
grilled cheese


baked potatoes

So you might be scratching your head at this week's menu. It seems we are going largely vegetarian this week. Most of these recipes are from the Moosewood cookbook. If you haven't seen the Moosewood cookbook, I highly suggest you check it out. Even if you love meat, it can easily be added to a lot of the recipes. And the book is gorgeous. It's all hand-written and hand-drawn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Mini-Unit

Yes, winter is long, and cold, but I decided we might as well do something fun with it!

We started the night of our huge snowfall (about 2 feet) by going outside for our nature walk. We explored how snow made for different sights and sounds in our backyard.

I read some books aloud to all of the kids. For the older two, this was a review as we covered weather in great detail last year. For the younger two, this was an introduction to how snow works.

Flakes and Flurries by Josepha Sherman: Book Cover

Flakes and Flurries: A Book about Snow by Josepha Sherman is a wonderful introduction to the science of snow. It mentions how ice crystals form around a dust particle and join up to fall as snow.

Snow (Ready-to-Read, Level 1) by Marion Dane Bauer: Book Cover

Snow by Marion Dane Bauer (who has written some wonderful books for teens) is a simple introduction to the hows of snow. It is also a easy reader.

Animals in the Snow

My children adored Animals in the Snow by Margaret Wise Brown. It seems to be out of print, which is sad. We got this (and all of our books) from the library. This is a repetitive, but not tedious, story of animals and children playing out in the snow. At the end of the story, the animals lead the children into the woods and they find a budding flower. Spring has come!

Blizzard! by Carole Gerber: Book Cover

Blizzard! by Carole Gerber explains what is happening to the world outside during a blizzard, all while a boy and his cat are snuggled warmly inside. This book had gorgeous artwork, especially of the quiet, snowy world when the blizzard had ended.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin: Book Cover

Finally, we finished up with Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This book offered us the chance to talk about a number of things. First, I pointed out the Caldecott award on the front cover. We discussed that it goes to the illustrator for best picture book art for the year. I also pointed out that it was a biography, and the kids mentioned some other biographies we have read in the past. Scrappy and Funny were quite interested to know how Bentley did his work, and were fascinated that until he came along, no one really knew anything about snow! Scrappy has requested Bentley's book, Snow Crystals, from the library, so that he can look at more snowflakes. The kids also took an online comprehension quiz, in the style of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Finally, all of the kids took a stab at drawing their own snowflakes. The older two had to draw a flake with 6 sides, and identify the type of snowflake, while the younger two just played around with chalk on construction paper.

Pointless Rant about TV Watching

I am totally obsessed with TV. I really need some kind of game show for the amount of crap I know. It's largely useless. Oh, maybe I should be filling my brain with thought-provoking information. Maybe I should be puttering around the house instead of vegging out in front of the TV. (In my defense, I fold my laundry while I watch TV.)

But all of that stuff is lame. And TV is awesome.

I tend to be super-obsessive about TV shows. I really like to wait until a show has been cancelled, or is nearing its end, so I can get all the DVDs from Netflix and just watch them every day until I am caught up. Okay, not every day. I wish.

Currently, my whole family is into Doctor Who. We're all caught up on the new ones, but now we're watching the old ones from the 60s. Man, oh man, I love old sci-fi! It's hilarious. Those were the days, when special effects were all papier mache and tin foil.

Here's a question. Why are most things on television awful? I mean, seriously. I am so bored with American Idol. (Don't hate me.) Law & Order. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Law & Order: Security Guards. Law & Order: Parking Meters. Then there's CSI. And, how about the one good night of TV (Mondays) was screwed up by some smarty pants somewhere. How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory used to be the best hour on TV. Until Jenna Elfman came along, and they had to separate them.

In case you're wondering (and I doubt you are), we don't have cable. Mostly, people gasp in horror at that statement. Meanwhile, ya'll know there's nothing good on TV. You're all DVRing what you really want to watch. I just get all my junk from Netflix. For less than $20/month, I might add. Suckers.

Shhh... I'm watching my show.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of 3/1

I'm a little late posting this, but better late than never.

spaghetti with sauce from freezer

cilantro-lime chicken over salad

chicken tacos (meat from freezer)

hamburgers, homemade fries, green beans


ribs, baked potatoes, salad

pork stir fry