TBT: The Best of Thoughts Along Life’s Highway

I’ve been writing this blog for a loooooong time.

I’ve got over 1500 posts out here. That’s a lot of memories! A lot of recipes! A lot of stories!

So, I thought for “throwback Thursday” I’d share with you some of the “best of” posts from the past issues of Thoughts Along Life’s Highway – things I found interesting or humorous or recipes worth revisiting.

Here’s this week’s suggested reading: If you have to ask… (Notes from the Landlord Chronicles)

Feel free to make suggestions if there’s a post you particularly like and think I should share.

Menu Plan Monday: 17 August

Happy Monday, y’all.

IMG_2146[1]It’s been raining off and on here today and I have a snotty head at home with me today. She came home sick on Friday and has been pretty much on the sofa ever since. Fortunately, the worst seems to have passed and I think she’ll be back at school tomorrow and moving on with life. Now, if I can just keep the other folks healthy in my house…

This week we have several things going on in the evenings so I am opting for some easy dinners and some old standbys that I can toss in the oven or crock pot and forget about them until dinnertime.

I’m also starting to try something new in my planner this week – I created a page in my planner with our most used/loved recipes. I had this before, but it was just a list of all the different items.  The difference here is that I wrote them on post-it flags that I trimmed to fit in the days of the weekly planning pages I use.

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So now I can pull off the menu items I want to cook for the week and put them on the page. And rearrange them if I need to if plans change for the week. 

I also did all beef in one color, chicken in another, and “other” (i.e. soups, stews, veggie dishes) in another color. So I can see quickly at a glance if I have a good variety in my week.

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Once we’ve cooked/eaten, I’ll move the post it back to the back again and write down what we had so I have a record of it. I do like looking back to see how long it’s been since we had a particular item… or to see if we really have eaten so much chicken we should be sprouting feathers or not!

I’ll let you know how it works out. Today the little flags have been bugging me as I’ve written in the planner, but I’m thinking that I’ll get used to it soon. LOVE the concept but the execution may need some fine-tuning.

As to the menu for the week – you can see what I’ve got planned above –

  • Salisbury Steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Mexican Potato Casserole (that one never got made last week)
  • Asian Chicken Pasta
  • Jambalaya (that’s SuperMan’s recipe and his job to cook. I’ve been craving it for a while now and I can’t wait to eat some!)
  • Friday is up in the air – will most likely eat out as we drop off Little Bit for a church retreat Friday night.

I also made some banana bread and The World’s Best Oatmeal Cookies on Saturday for sweet treats this week.

So there you have our week – Looking pretty yummy  if I do say so myself.

What’s on your menu?

It’s a Monday … All day long

Wow, what a day it’s been.

I should’ve known though. My horoscope said to get everything done that I could before lunchtime because nothing was going to go according to plan after that.

Well, it was spot on.

I got a call from Little Bit around mid-day that her glasses were broken. Drop everything, run down to the school, pick her up, get her glasses fixed, race back home for a conference call, help her with her school work and homework, start supper preparations…

SuperMan calls and says he will pick up the big girls from school so I think maybe I’ve dodged the bullet and that was the end of the derailment for the day…

oh, you are so naiive, I think much later in the day.

SuperMan DOES indeed get the girls and Little Bit and I are able to run an errand in place of sitting in carpool.
But just as I’m putting the orzo in the soup for dinner I get another call. This time I have to go rescue SuperMan as he’s swapping rental vehicles (and companies) and needs a ride between places. In rush hour, in the rain, in the dark.

It was a doozy of a day for sure.

My family is home and we are all safe and dry and warm. And for that, I am thankful. The derailed day could’ve been much worse. Instead, it was just a Monday. I told the girls, who had “Mondays” of their own today, that we all have them and that the good thing is that they don’t last long and we get to go to sleep and try again tomorrow.

Thank goodness!

Much to catch up with you on – like the accident(s) that SuperMan has had, the soup(s) I’ve been making and the knitting projects I’ve been up to. I’ll try to post again soon and give you another update.

But for now, I’m going to knit, sip some tea and be glad that Monday’s almost over.

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday!

It’s a busy week in our house this week – two birthdays and lots of other things going on.  I’m hoping to keep our dinners simple, or at least as crock-pot-based as I can. That way, I know we’re eating well even if I don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen every single afternoon.

I’ve also decided that I want to try some of the bajillion recipes I have on Pinterest. So, this week is experiment week. I’m breaking out of the “tried and true” and trying new versions of favorites and some new recipes to boot.  This will either be a rousing success or an utter failure.  My family has taught me that they really love my old standby recipes and don’t like me messing with them very much.  But I like to spice things up (so to speak) and try to cook restaurant favorites that we love at home. It’s cheaper and healthier!

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Today is SuperMan’s birthday. We’re going to enjoy some crock pot Mongolian Beef and rice tonight.  I’ll steam some broccoli to go along with the rice and beef and I’m baking an apple cake and plan to pick up an ice cream cake (his special request) for our dessert.

Crock Pot Mongolian Beef from Once a Month Meals

Tomorrow, I’m thinking I’m going to try this Crock Pot Creamy Italian Chicken recipe. It looks really good to me – it’s not 100% crock pot – there are parts you have to do outside the crock pot (like cooking the pasta), but it looks really good. I am thinking I may serve it with the salad and garlic bread exactly as she shows it on the website.

Crock Pot Creamy Italian Chicken from The Country Cook

We love, love, love, fajitas.  We usually have them on Friday nights at our local favorite Mexican place. I’m thinking that maybe this Friday I’ll try this recipe for oven-baked chicken fajitas.  Of course, my girls are meatasauruses, so I may have to edit things and add some steak into that.  Just chicken would be healthier, but I think there would be squawking from the peeps if I don’t.

Oven-baked chicken fajitas from Real Mom Kitchen

One more new recipe to try – not sure if it will make it into this week or next, but it sure looks good. The girls and I love Panda Express. It’s one of our Saturday lunch treats. The only thing about it is that sometimes it’s a little bit too spicy for our delicate palates. So, when I found this recipe, I decided it was a must-try. I can adjust the heat to our preferences and still get that yummy Orange Chicken that we enjoy so much.

I can also finish up the green onions I bought for Monday’s dinner and make some fried rice to go along with it with the leftover rice from Monday. I love dinners like that!

Better-than-Panda Orange Chicken from Brown Thumb Momma

So, that’s what’s on our menu for the week! What’re you planning for your family?

Check out other Menu Plan Monday ideas at OrgJunkie.com.

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

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This week I’m combining some tried and true favorites along with a few new recipes for our menu plan this week.

Monday: I’ve been craving Pasta Fagioli so I whipped up a batch – in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be 90 degrees today.  I’m also making some homemade French bread – trying a new recipe out and will have salad to go along with the soup and bread.

Tuesday: I’ll be heading out for a ladies’ Bible study Tuesday night so I wanted to do something easy for SuperMan and the girls. I’ll be using up my last frozen Chicken Spaghetti from my freezer cooking day.

Wednesday: Trying out this new recipe – a one pot Santa Fe Chicken & Rice dinner. I’m thinking I may use chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces to make this even faster and easier.

Thursday: dance night – which means run around like crazy night. We’ll either do leftovers or sandwiches.

Friday: Mexican – thinking I may make my Colorado Beef Burritos or Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

Saturday: homemade pizza night

Sunday: kitchen is closed – Mama gets a break.

We’re also talking about doing another freezer cooking day sometime soon. I need to come up with a menu – and figure out what we will do this month for our freezer meals.  They sure have been nice to fall back on one or two nights a week.

What’re you planning for your family’s meals this week?

Check out some more ideas at orgjunkie.com.

Taking the Summer off…

Although not intentional originally, I think I am going to take the summer off from blogging.

I’ll be back when the girls start school in August. I’m going to focus on enjoying my kids whenever I’m not at work! 🙂

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Have a great summer y’all.

The crud has arrived

Illness has hit my house – beginning with me last weekend and now my baby girl  has it. 😦

She’s been sniffling, sneezing and coughing all day. Poor thing.

I’m hoping she feels better tomorrow but right now I’m going to go snuggle with her rather than write a blog post.

I hope you understand.

Talk to you soon.

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday)

So, I took the day off of work on Friday and Monday was a holiday. And, apparently, I took a blogging holiday, too. I hadn’t really planned it, but I did plan to disconnect digitally and that sort of included blogging as well. It was a much-needed break and I really enjoyed having the time with the girls. I also got some major cleaning projects taken care 0f – my closet, my office and a good, thorough dusting/cleaning of most of the house.  After the hectic work schedule of the past few months the house had really been neglected so it felt really good to make some progress there.  My office is gleaming this  morning and it’s reconfigured in a way that I hope will help with my back pain. Too many hours hunched over a computer and I’m paying the price.

On to other things…

It’s cold here! Like REALLY cold. Of course, I’m a wimpy southern girl. If it’s below 40 degrees I think I’m going to freeze to death.  My friends in the northeast and northern midwest get a kick out of my whining about temperatures.

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What’s your high temperature today?  It’s supposed to be 42 here.  It was 29 when I took the girls to school – and it’s STILL 29 outside! Brrrr. And poor SuperMan is working out in this cold.  Of course, I think he layers up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man when it is this cold. He comes home from work with his 47 layers of clothes and starts fussing about how hot the house is. We just tell him to take some clothes off 🙂

Since it is so chilly, I’m planning some good comfort food dinners this week.  Last night I made a pot of spaghetti sauce. We had pasta with some homemade bread.  (which I’ll be telling you more about later this week) The girls and SuperMan all had leftovers in their thermoses for lunch today. I’ve been on a tuna kick for lunch lately. It fills me up and the kitties are quite content to eat my leftovers.

So for the remainder of the week I will be cooking some other things that will go well in the thermoses so that everyone has a hot, hearty lunch the next day. Sandwiches are no fun when it’s cold.  I’m going to try this new recipe I found on Pinterest – Pesto Ranch Crock Pot Chicken. It has rave reviews on the website and looks SO EASY. Probably serve with some pasta and some more of the homemade bread.

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Are you planning anything special for your family this week? Any new recipes you’re trying?

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Menu Plan Monday and other things

Happy Monday, y’all.

It’s raining cats & dogs outside and my body is telling me that I need to curl up on the sofa with a good book and take a nap.  Hibernate until the rain is gone. But, since it is supposed to rain for the next THREE DAYS I don’t think hibernating is a good idea. Especially since the girls would not be too happy when I didn’t pick them up at school this afternoon.

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So, I’ll fight the urge to nap and instead focus on my ever-growing to-do list for work… right after I tell you about the fabulous meal we had last night.  I’m bragging, just a little, because I made it, you see. But it truly was scrumptious.

We had friends over for dinner and I made Pasta Fagioli soup. I served it with a hearty salad and some whole grain rolls.  We all pigged out. It was a yummy, filling, make-your-mouth-sing-and-your-tummy-happy kind of meal.

Have you ever had Pasta Fagioli? It’s super easy and super good. And a great way to get some veggies into your body (or your kids’ bodies) in a hearty soup.  My grandpa used to call it “pasta fazool” (read with a heavy Italian accent) or he’d call it “pasta beans.”

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Basically, pasta fagioli is a tomato and beef-broth based soup with beans, vegetables and ground beef.  Only this time I also added a pound of mild Italian sausage. Oh.my.goodness. I’ll definitely be adding it to the recipe from now on.

For dessert, I made the cream cheese coffee cake I’d posted about on my Facebook page (you can follow me here) on Saturday.  Little Bit was my assistant baker and we had a great time making it.

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It’s a very mild cake that’s not too sweet and has a ribbon of cream cheese running through it. It’s topped with a drizzle of a powdered-sugar and milk glaze which adds just the right amount of sweetness to it.

It’s kind of like cheesecake and pound cake got together and had a baby and this is what the baby is.  And since pound cake and cheesecake are two of my favorite desserts, I really like this one!!

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It was perfect with a cup of coffee (or tea, in my case) and we all really enjoyed it for dessert last night.

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As far as the rest of this week’s menu goes, I’m going to be cooking from my freezer for a few days – using up my stockpile of meats & veggies in there.  Here are a few things I’m thinking about:

  • Meatloaf on Monday – I’ll make little individual meatloaves so they bake faster and everyone gets their own little loaf.
  • Chicken stir fry with rice – ever since I got my rice cooker, I love making a huge batch of rice once a week and then finding different ways to serve it (quickly) for dinner.  This one is a favorite of ours.
  • Big Girl has been begging for some Shepherd’s Pie so I will probably make that one night, too.

SuperMan is working a big “shut down” at work and is going to be gone most of the week – 14 hour days – so I don’t know if I’ll do too many more big meals than that. Cereal and/or pasta nights might creep in as they’re easy and quick to fix and the girls are quite happy with that.

And now I’m off to brew some Tazo AWAKE tea, because I think I’m gonna need that extra jolt to get me going today.