Double Trouble

As I write this post today, my little chic is sitting in a preschool class...her FIRST preschool class...EVER! She was so excited about it this morning that she was literally telling me to leave. I think the exact words were, "Can I go color now? You can go ahead and leave." Although I am so glad that my little darlings are confident enough to meet new challenges head on, another part of me is kinda sad that my baby pretty much kicked me out of her class this morning. I have to say, though, that I was a tad excited too. I haven't had a day alone with no children, and no husband, and no appointments in years. So, I'm sitting here typing, listening to the sounds of the dishwasher and air conditioner instead of whining for snacks or the sweet sweet sounds of Nickelodeon (raise your hand if you wanna scream every time you hear a Big Time Rush song).
Because big sister's lunches were such a big deal last year, little chic has been thinking about her first day of school lunch for quite a while. When I originally asked her what she wanted in her lunch, she told me to make a Tinkerbell sandwich. I told her that might be a little hard and she said, "Nuh uh. Just make the sandwich shaped like Tinkerbell and her eyes can be blueberries and her dress can be lettuce leaves." Ooooookay... Maybe she should start making the lunches? I finally convinced her to go with something a little less time consuming and she decided to help me make them. While big chic goes more for the surprise aspect of the cool lunch, little chic wants to have a bit more control (and by control I mean BOSSY!) She told me every thing that would be in her lunch and how to make it (again, BOSSY!) Did I mention that she stood over me, umm, I mean helped, the entire time? Both chics took pretty much the same lunch today with a few variations..
Big chic's...Lite turkey bologna butterfly sandwich, Peach flower filled with goat cheese and almonds, Sugar snap peas inside mini pepper rings, Cranberry white chocolate chip cookie and dried cranberries

Little chic's...Cranberry white chocolate chip cookie and dried cranberries, Celery sticks inside mini pepper rings, Peach star filled with goat cheese and almonds, Lite turkey bologna butterfly sandwich.

Beet and Orange Salad

This is the lunch that big chic was supposed to take earlier in the week (before the awesome Sloppy Bombay Joes). We've had our back and forth with beets. Big chic loves them, then hates them, then loves them again. One thing she always loves, though, is goat cheese. So, when I made beet and orange salad (with goat cheese) with our dinner last weekend, she loved beets again. She asked me to pack this salad for her lunch this week.

Beet and orange salad with orange vinaigrette, Plum, Carrots with red pepper heart

Sloppy Bombay Joes

We made a new recipe last night that was a huge hit with the family. It's an Indian twist on sloppy joes from Aarti Party, the new show on Food Network. The recipe (Sloppy Bombay Joes) sounds a bit odd (raisins, pistachios, garam masala) but the end result was phenomenal. Everyone devoured their dinner and both the big chic and the hubs asked me pack up leftovers for their lunch. We served ours on whole wheat sandwich rolls and topped them with sliced mango. DELISH!

Sloppy Bombay Joe with sliced mango on top of saffron rice, Half of a cowgirl cookie, Cucumber slices, Greek yogurt with strawberries.

1st grade, here we come!!

Today's the big day! YAY!!! And I'm not even going to try to pretend that I was a teary eyed mommy walking my sweet little angel in to the school this morning. No, no...I was the one that slowed down just long enough for the big chic to jump out and then peeled out of the school parking lot screaming, "WOOOOHOOOO!". I'm just kidding! I walked her in, took her picture, the whole thing, BUT I admit that as I drove out of the parking lot, I might have said, in a very soft yet excited voice, "woohoo!"

Let's be real, these last few weeks of summer have been a killer. The big chic and little chic are beyond tired of being together and could be a psychological study in mood swings. One minute they are hugging each other and playing nicely together, the next minute someones crayon "accidentally" marks on someone else's paper and the screaming, crying, and whining begins. Last year, at the end of summer, I was a sobbing crying mess because my first child was starting kindergarten. This year, at the end of summer, I was a sobbing crying mess because I couldn't take one more "I'm telling mommy!" or "Then I'm not playing!". I will miss the big chic while she's in school today, but I sure as heck am not going to miss the fighting!

Back to school means back to lunches. This year will be a bit different. I'm probably going to let her buy lunch a little more. The school is keeping the same lunch provider as last year so we know enough about the menu options now to let her eat there a little more. AND the little chic will be starting preschool next week, so I'll be making two lunches a couple times a week. We are sticking with the tried and true Laptop Lunchboxes, but we've added a few pieces to the collection to make my life a little easier. Another difference is that, this year, I'm not going to promise to post every single day. I have so much going on this year that I'm a little nervous about how it's all going to work out. But, the healthy lunch issue is important to me so I'm continuing on with the blog hoping that someone somewhere is getting some inspiration.

So, after all that, here's our first lunch of first grade...

Yogurt dip with cucumber and carrots, Clementine and blueberries, Cranberry white chocolate cookies, Peanut butter and jelly flower cut outs.

How to Make Meatloaf in the Summer

Well, hello there! The big chic starts school next week and my mind has been turning towards lunchboxes and Foodie Footsteps. It's been a great summer, and although I haven't been blogging, I've thought about my blog sooooo many times. I should have blogged more this summer about recipes that I was making, but we have been so busy. A Disney trip, a visit to the great grandparents across country, and countless play dates, summer camps, and movie days have occupied my mind as well as my time. I hope that I still have some readers left after my summer break!

Anyway, for those of you that are still left, I thought I'd share a very interesting recipe that I rediscovered this summer. I say "rediscovered" because I've had the recipe for quite a while stuck in one of my many binders filled with printed, copied or handwritten recipes that I've collected over the past fifteen years. If you're like me, you have an entire section of your kitchen dedicated to this mish mosh of recipes. The hubs complained about it constantly. A very good friend and fellow foodie told us about an e-reader for your kitchen. I thought it was an awesome idea, but the hubs, being the money saver that he is, had a hard time justifying the purchase. Well, a few weeks ago, he finally broke down (or I wore him down, depending on who you ask) and he bought me a Demy Kitchen Reader.

My New Best Friend...the Demy
It is SO cool. You put all your recipes into the Key Ingredient website and sync them to the Demy. You can create your own cookbooks and add pictures and everything. I thought adding the recipes to the Key Ingredient website would be horrible, but most of my recipes are from magazines and websites and you can just cut and paste them from the website. Now, I don't have to print out recipes or take my laptop into the kitchen (which REALLY freaks out the hubs). All my recipes are at the tip of my's touch screen. Such an awesome idea. You don't have to have a Demy to use Key Ingredient, either. You can create an account and add recipes to it (similar to All Recipes). Here are links to both in case you'd like to take a gander: For the Demy For Key Ingredient
There is a point of all of this rambling, I swear. One of the bonuses of putting my recipes into the Key Ingredient website, is that I found a bunch of recipes that I completely forgot about. One of those recipes was a meatloaf made in the bread machine. Yes, you read that right...meatloaf in the bread machine.

Now, if you've read my blog, you know that big chic loves some meatloaf! But, since we live in Texas, summer in unbearably hot and the idea of baking in the oven is not a pleasant one. Meatloaf is usually not on our summer foods list. The bread machine puts off very little heat, though (especially compared to the oven). I decided to give it a shot, I mean, how bad could it be? I'm guessing you could use any meatloaf recipe as long as it made to same volume. This is the recipe I used...
Breadmaker Meatloaf
1 medium onion, chopped
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I used dried wild mushrooms that I rehydrated in some boiling water)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp prepared mustard
Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl. Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Remove the paddle from the bread machine pan and press meatloaf into the pan.

Next is the hardest part. You need to set the machine to skip the rise and proof setting and to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. My machine doesn't have a way to bypass the proof or rise cycles, so I had to start a bread cycle and let it go through the steps. I put the pan into the bread machine when there was 1 hour and 10 minutes left in the bake cycle. Needless to say, since a full cycle on my machine is almost four hours, this recipe would require some pre-planning. (It would be worth it though since the proof and rise cycle use almost zero heat!)
When there are 30 minutes left on the bake cycle, open the machine and pour the glaze over the top of the meatloaf. Close the lid and continue to bake.

Once the meatloaf is done, allow it to cool for a minute and drain the juices. Remove from the pan...gently...NOT like this...

Slice and serve

I certainly won't say that I had the most supportive team of taste testers for this. When I told the hubs what we were having for dinner, he crinkled up his nose and said very slowly, "okay". The chics said, "in the bread machine?" and made yuck faces. After tasting it though, all of their skepticism disappeared. It was surprisingly moist and delicious. We'll be making meatloaf in our bread machine again. It makes me wonder what other things I could make in the bread machine...hmmm...