Not the most relaxing of snow days

I’m not sure what I was thinking today when I moved from one kitchen project to the next. When I decided to bake up the oatmeal for breakfast, I figured dinner would be the only other thing I’d tackle. The only reason I opted for the oatmeal is that I’d parked my laptop at the dining room table and the kitchen seemed to be taunting me. Eat something, Lori. Eat something. Yeah, OK.

But when it was time for lunch, I spied a few leftover things that needed to be used up, so I thought pizza would be simple enough. And it was. A couple of tortillas topped with all sorts of toppings. But there was some chopping and such involved in that. So it wasn’t as quick as slapping together sandwiches for myself and Dev and calling it done. He was happy with his pizza, though, so it was worth it.

And then came the brownies. I’d wanted to bake them this weekend. I try to find baking-together projects for the two of us. I figured the allure of chocolate would seal the deal on this one. I was right, ya know. And the results were ever so good. (Darn me for skipping Cooking Light for this project, too…those are some rich, tempting brownies that I need to get out of my house. Now!)

Then we had to shovel. So that got me out of the kitchen for a bit. (And made me feel slightly better for eating more than one brownie.)

The shoveling and the tromping through the un-shoveled sidewalks with the dog kind of flattened me, but I felt the need to do something for dinner. Turkey burgers, to be exact. Nothing gourmet (and no photos because they weren’t pretty or anything). Paired them with ABC tater tots to please the child. Again, easy enough. But again, standing in the kitchen. On the hard tile floor. Plus, the need to wash dishes after each of these events.

Can I go to work tomorrow? Please?

Fast food can look pretty too

I usually take pictures of more upscale dining fare, but I had a date with a certain 6-year-old at McDonald’s today and we were sitting by a window…so, you know.

Really, the Southwestern Chicken Salad is quite good. The tortilla strips make it all crunchy, and the chicken is tender. I paired it with one of the caramel mochas, which I was surprised to find are pretty darn tasty. Plus there was the fun of helping the little fingers put stickers on the new Tonka truck. Gotta love those Happy Meals!

So, yeah, I have a blog, don’t I?

I’m not sure sometimes. I think fondly of this site, but I don’t seem to find the time to give it love lately. With the dreary grey coldness of January in Michigan, though, I need to push myself to focus on my creativity. That was fairly easy to do when presented with a lovely window seat at The Green Well today and a scrumptious bowl of mac ‘n cheese. Couldn’t resist a photo in that case. Now I shall have to think up some photo ops over the weekend.

This weekend in food

I ate some good stuff this weekend. Fortunately I had my camera with me to document things.

Friday was dinner with friends at The Winchester. I didn’t snap pics of the plantain chips because I was to busy gobbling them down. The sweet potato and goat cheese pierogies, however, got the attention they deserved. So good!

Saturday’s food adventures amounted to many samples at Costco and a microwaved Morning Star Farms Chik Patty, none of which seemed photo-worthy. Although the fake chicken really is good. I swear!

Today I got around to making the recipe I found earlier this week that made me salivate. My only regret is that I couldn’t locate the lavender. Still, the scones tasted awesome. (For my future food-styling efforts, I definitely need to find some plain, cheap plates for a less busy presentation.)

I cooked dinner without a net, varying a couple of other dishes I’d put together in the past. We had chicken and apricot puff pastries and fruited orzo. And now? I’m full!

Repeat after me…YUM!

I rarely eat out. You wouldn’t know it from the past several days, though!

Dev and I were famished after the Children’s Museum on Sunday so we grabbed a bite at San Chez. That would be the berry risotto above. Creamy!

On Tuesday I had lunch with Edris and Chelsea at The Green Well. I tried to resist my mac ‘n cheese urge, but their’s is just the best.

I have no pics of dinner at Marie Catrib’s that evening, unfortunately.

And today I met up with Amy for lunch at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Tomato Basil Pizza to be exact.

I’m brown-bagging it for the rest of the week. Honest!

Sunday dinner

I wanted to make my own crust, but lacked time so I went with a defrosted one from GB Russo’s. The toppings? Peaches (was supposed to be apricots, but there weren’t any available), shallots, chives, arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese and parmesan. It was pretty good. Not sure I’m a big fan of prosciutto, though. Dev didn’t help me with this one, and he systematically picked off most of the toppings until he was down to just the goat cheese and crust. I guess I can’t make him happy all the time.

Is it April already?

Spring break has come and gone. I’m back to work tomorrow. I’ve been very neglectful of my online pursuits over the past week, but I made sure I got in some cooking pursuits this weekend while I had some extra time. Yesterday I made mac ‘n cheese with roasted tomatoes. Today it was whole wheat banana pancakes for breakfast, a fuzzy navel smoothie for a snack and a family teamwork dinner with Scott manning the grill for the turkey burgers, Devin putting together a kick-butt spinach salad and me cooking up some stovetop baked beans. Dev and I also made a whole-wheat chocolate blueberry cake. Yumma-yumma. It’s all about the food, you know!

I’m so happy that Dev likes to help in the kitchen. I don’t have to twist his arm. In fact, when he heard me rattling around with the pancake gear this morning, he grabbed his stool and was ready for flipping. (I let him handle the second flip from the pan to the plate.) And he put the salad together all by himself. He decided on ingredients (spinach, strawberries, carrots, celery, feta and goat cheese, pine nuts and sunflower seeds) and layered it all the way he wanted. It turned out great. He’s dubbed me a smoothie expert and he has the crown of salad pro.

In the kitchen

We made muffins today. And pizza.

I don’t cook or bake nearly enough anymore. I get claustrophobic when it comes to cooking. I have to have enough time to plan and execute. But I actually put the muffins together spontaneously. Just grabbed a Cooking Light volume and fingered a recipe that seemed to match with the limited offerings in the pantry. We didn’t have quick-cooking oats but the regular kind seemed to fare just as well. And I recreated buttermilk with a bit of skim and some lemon juice. The smell lingered in the house for a couple of hours too. Always preferable to that of the hard-boiled eggs my husband sometimes cooks up on the weekend.s

Coddling the canine

Scott’s working at a client site this week, which is good. For most of the family. The dog is the one I worry about. She’s had it good the past six months, being alone only a few hours at a time. So now it’s back up to 8+ hours. And because I’m oh, so sensitive about her feelings, I hauled myself home for lunch to hang out with her. I don’t know why she can’t see this as an opportunity to power nap. But I really do understand. So I’ll probably do this the rest of the week.

I get perks from this situation, though, other than petting her very soft ears: lunch on the deck! Replete with a glass of blueberry sparkling juice from Trader Joe’s.