Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trip to the Farmer's Market #2

This was the first time I could get to the Farmer's Market on Saturday. Last Saturday I had a wedding in St. Louis, so there was no time to run to the market before getting on the road. However, last Saturday, The Good Daughter and I got up early and headed out.

There are some new vendors this season. This is a stand that makes fresh omelets using ingredients from other vendors. They also have one main dish. Last week it was tofu tacos. The line was super long so TGD didn't get a chance to try it. Hopefully next week we can.


Baked Goods

Mixed Greens

Greens and herbs. This is actually the stand run by our CSA farmers, so they get to see me twice a week. I know they love it.

Canned Goods


Overall it was a good day. It didn't seem as crowded as it normally is and some booths seemed to be missing. But TGD and I did get there later than we normally go, so that might be one reason. We also got rained on, which sucked. However, we also got to pet a baby sheep. So overall it was a win.

I came away with pecans, rhubarb, strawberries, treats for The Good Dog - a first, since we got Foxy in March - and pineapple salsa.

I plan on making strawberry rhubarb pie this week. I might also attempt butter pecan ice cream.

CSA Salad

So with what we had from our CSA this week, I had this for lunch and dinner.

I used the greens, along with the radish and onion and topped it off with feta cheese and dressed it with lemon juice and oil. All in all, not a bad salad.

Salad greens
Radish, sliced
Onion, sliced
1/4 Feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Hearty drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

~Combine all and toss to coat with oil and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Monday, May 30, 2011

BotO - Menus and Shopping Lists

This is the final part of The Brains of The Operation, aka Household Binder.

This is the heart of menu planning. I've talked about meal planning before. I like to shop on Saturdays. I watch the store flyers for good deals and try and plan around sales. This was a whole lot harder back when we lived in the apartment since we had such little storage I couldn't stock up on meat. Now that we have a house, we have a huge chest freezer and we buy a whole cow. So it is very helpful to have an inventory to track just how much meat we have on hand.

This way I know when we are out of beef roasts, I need to adjust my meals accordingly. I also have an inventory for the pantry and the fridge, to help avoid having 3 open boxes of granola in the pantry.

Next in the binder is a weekly menu calendar. This helps me plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for all of us. I use this more than The Good Husband, since I, 1) make TGH's lunches for him and he has yet to complain, and 2) I also make breakfast, lunch and snacks for The Good Daughter and she has only minimally complained.

Next we have a monthly calendar to plan dinners. I like to use this one as a way to avoid having the same protien 3 nights in a row and it allows TGH to see what we are going to eat for the month and make suggestions. Every couple of months I change the layout of the proteins - switch breakfast for seafood, add more meatless dinners, etc.

Finally I have created a weekly shopping list. I have included a space on the left to quickly list all the meals and snacks we will be eating that week followed by spaces for ingredients on the right separated by category. For broad categories, such as pantry, I list each item and in parentheses list the aisle number. And I do know my store well enough to know what is in every aisle. I also like to put a star next to each item I have a coupon for and attach my coupons to the back of my list. But I am just anal like that.

So this is the final chapter of the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder. Over time I might add different categories and new templates but I think for now, this is a great foundation.

If you think of anything I should have included, shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I will work to get it created. 

You can now get this printable and more in my Etsy Shop

The Menus and Shopping Lists are now part of The Food and Cooking Pack and The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Friday, May 27, 2011

CSA - Week 2

The second week of my CSA arrived this week. In the beginning there will be a lot of greens I am told so I will need to find more ways to cook them other than braising. This week we got:





Arugula - the sign of truly elitist hippy food


So the menu this week was a lot of salad and braised kale.

BotO - Daily and Weekly Schedules

This is part six of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

I've found it extremely helpful to have everything I am supposed to do in a day in one place. So while I have my cleaning schedules, it's nice to see what other things I need to do daily, along with cleaning everything. So I created the Daily Docket.

This template helps me see what we are having for dinner (Eat Me), the glasses of water I should be drinking (Drink Me), what needs to be cleaned daily (Clean Me), what needs to be done daily (To Do), paperwork I need to do (To Sort) and laundry that needs washed (Wash Me). There is also room for notes. I think I should have this one laminated as well.

I have created templates for all days except Sunday. Sunday is my day to be a lazy bum, so I don't actually schedule anything for that day.

This template lets me see my week at a glance - my Weekly Docket. I can see what we will be eating for dinner each night. Again, Sunday is my free for all where I schedule nothing, so it is missing from the week. This template lets me see a brief description of what I am supposed to clean/do, eat and then any activities I have planned for The Good Daughter. I also have a space for notes. This template would probably be more helpful laminated too.

I also have a daily food tracker to help me stay on top of my diet. I have spaces to count calories/points, or in my case carbs for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and spaces to record my blood sugar numbers. At the top of the page I have a space to check off the daily allotment of water, protein, veggies/fruit and dairy and an exercise tracker. At the bottom of the template, I have space for notes as well as space to track my progress.

You can now get these printables and more in my Etsy Shop! 
The Daily and Weekly Docket includes the Today printable that features a new design and are now part of The Docket Pack and The Good Wife Home Management Pack. The Food Diaries are now part of The Health and Fitness Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chicken Gyros

I love traditional gyros and if the local place hadn't closed AND we had a leg of lamb on a spit, we would have had traditional gyros. However the thing I like about making my own is, I can adjust the sauce according to taste and use chicken, something we do have on hand.

I added more garlic to the sauce (of course) and grated some onion into it as well. While it didn't turn out as thick as our formerly local place, it was a hit with The Good Husband.

1 seedless cucumber
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 tomato, diced
1 small onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
4 (8-inch) pocketless pita rounds
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced

~Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, half of garlic, 2 tablespoons grated onion and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make tsatsiki. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

~Gently simmer oil, oregano, rosemary, remaining garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss chicken with 3 tablespoons garlic oil and brush one side of bread with remainder.

~Heat griddle over medium high heat and cook chicken until done, basting with remaining oil. Remove chicken from griddle and heat bread, oil side down for one to two minutes until slightly blackened.

~Top each pita with chicken, sliced onion and tomato and serve with tsatsiki.

recipe inspired by: epicurious

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our first CSA of 2011

I know I told you we started a new CSA this year. One we have been on a waiting list for two years to join. Last week was the first delivery. I had made The Good Husband drive me to the farm the week before so I wouldn't get lost (which happened to be a totally great thing, since Google maps doesn't know anything about BFE Illinois and took us somewhere 45 miles in the opposite direction). The Good Daughter loved the farm once we finally found it and played in the dirt and with the chickens all while we talked it up with the farmer.

So last week, I loaded her up in the car and we headed out to get our first share. We came home with greens (turnip, braising and mixed), parsley, radishes, spring garlic and onion. The radishes, garlic and onion went right into a salad. I braised half the greens with the rest of the garlic and onion along with some bacon and served it with some grilled pork chops we had.

One of the great things I love about this CSA so far is the weekly emails they send to us letting us know what is in our share for that week along with recipes they have tried over the years.

I know this week will include lettuces (Italienisher, actually) so I hope to have some really great salad this week as well as some recipes to share that include greens.

On feeding a toddler

The Good Daughter is normal in that she only eats one big meal a day. It's kind of hard to know which one it will be and not waste so much food, but lately her big meal has been lunch.

I try and hit all the food groups, so a typical plate looks something like this:
Everything organic - hard boiled egg, strawberries, raw milk cheddar cheese, cheddar bunnies, cucumber, carrots, grape tomatoes and raisins.

On this day she polished everything off.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Call Me Anytime

This is part five of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

This is really the brains of the whole operation and something I had never thought about before. I mean, we have our address book and business cards, we were covered, right?


What I failed to realize is that while I may know the date the mortgage was due, I was having to look up the damn account number or phone number any time I needed it.

The important account information includes the contact name and number, along with account number for our lending institution, home, auto and life insurance carriers, banking and financial institutions, medical and dental insurance carriers, credit cards and student loans information and account numbers as well as all our utility account numbers and due date.

I then have an emergency contact list. This includes the contact information for our primary care physician, pediatrician, OBGYN, dentist, optometrist, veterinarian and specialists.

Next I have a restaurant contact list of all our favorite local places. I have included spaces for delivery, ordering online, accepting coupons and the most important part - the best dish. That addition was actually The Good Husband's idea. While I know all his favorite dishes, he doesn't know what I like the best. So this helps him when he has to order and I might not have a chance to tell him what I want. I also have our menus in a folder behind the contact list.

Next is our business contact list. Instead of looking for the scrap of paper with the drywall guy's number, now it is all in one space. Contact information for contractor, plumber, HVAC, electrician, mechanic, tire and brakes, transmission, towing, lender, banker, financial, insurances, neighbors, attorney, accountant, school district and day care.

I then have a personal contact list that includes a space for birthdays. I use this spot for most called numbers.

Lastly, I bought some business card holders to move all our business cards from the drawer in the kitchen, to the binder. I also try and grab a few cards from each contact that way when someone asks me who did our plumbing, I can just give them an extra card.

You can now get these printables and more in my Etsy Shop! 

The Contact Lists are now part of The Contact Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Friday, May 20, 2011

BotO - Cleaning Schedules

This is part four of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

This is one of the most helpful parts of the BotO, for me. I have a cleaning schedule - several actually - that I like to follow. They help me stay on top of all the housework. So it's nice to have everything I have to clean listed in one place.

This is my weekly cleaning checklist. Each day focuses on a different part of the house as well as daily tasks. I think I might get it laminated since it shouldn't change much. I would be able to use a dry erase marker then to check off each item and write any notes.

The goal is to focus on one area of the house daily to make sure its clean. I tried to focus on one tasks a day, such as dusting, and I found for me that feels like more work, going from room to room. This way I can enter a room and know that everything will be cleaned after I leave.
This is my spring cleaning checklist. 5 glorious weeks of cleaning. Even though it is "spring" cleaning, I try and do it twice a year.

This should probably be laminated too.

Similar to the bill checklist, this list helps me remember to clean the things that need it only once a month - the bed covers and mattress pad, the hood filter in the kitchen, flush the drains, the phone, drapes, ceiling fans, air vents, light fixtures and the things that only need yearly cleaning - mattress, exterior windows and doors, patio and garage.

You can now get these printables and more in my Etsy Shop! 
The Cleaning Checklists have a new design and are now part of The Cleaning Pack and The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

BotO - Calendar

This is part three of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

I can never have too many calendars and since I don't know if I will be near one when I am using the BotO, it is best that I include one in it.

It's helpful to have it as a reference when scheduling oil changes and the like.

You can now get this printable and more in my Etsy Shop
The Calendar is now part of The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I love consignment stores

I have told y'all of about my habit of shopping at consignment stores before. But let me use this post to profess my love of consignment stores.

The Good Daughter is lucky in that her birthday is six months from Christmas. So clothes she gets at Christmas last roughly until her birthday where she then gets clothes to last her through to Christmas. It's a pretty sweet deal.

However, there are times when I need to buy something for her that she just didn't have and wasn't available at stores until now.

Like an Easter dress.
This one actually doubled as an Easter/wedding dress since we suddenly have to go to 3 wedding in two months when it has been 7 years since the last wedding we attended.

I just died when I saw this. There was not a drop of stain on it and the cherry blossoms are just so damn cute I am sad TGD will outgrow this soon. I seriously want to frame it or some shit. But the best thing is, this cute Old Navy number was only $5. Yup. Cheaper than a pack of smokes. The hat was separate.

Another item you can't find in the dead of winter in the Midwest is swimsuits. TGD needs two suits for daycare, so I checked out the consignment store, hoping they would have some in TGD's size. I was lucky they had several option but once I ruled out all the bikini style suits, there were 5 suits to choose from. I let TGD pick and she chose:

This freaking cute number. It is a two piece and the bottom is cut like traditional undies, but the top covers her belly and arms, which is good considering I need to be more diligent about applying sun screen in the summer.

We had a day in the high 80s this week, so I busted out the hose, slapped the suit on her and headed out in the yard. She didn't like the hose, and I don't blame her since the water was cold as hell, but she loved the suit. I even let her play in the tub with it.

And this little Gymboree beauty was only $4. A quick google tells me this thing is selling on ebay for 25 bucks.

So I hope this post debunks any notion that consignment stores only sell old, outdated stuff you wouldn't put on your dog. Consignment stores fucking rock.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Opening Day of 2011 Farmer's Market

Yesterday was opening day of the 2011 Farmer's Market season. I feel like summer is finally here. The Good Daughter and I headed out after work in the hope of getting some fresh strawberries.

We got there at 4:25.

They were sold out.

The market opened at 4.


So we cruised around the market and enjoyed the warm afternoon. This early in the season the vendors are mostly selling herbs and plants and I don't have much success in keeping that stuff alive. So we skipped it and opted instead to pick up dinner. We got apple brats, asparagus, salad greens, black walnuts and vanilla bean cake, on which I had to do quality control.

The "big" market downtown opens on Wednesday, so I'll probably head down there for opening day and see if I can find some strawberries.

Our CSA starts this week too. I have been on the waiting list for 2 years for this CSA. They consistently have the best stand at the big market and all my waiting has finally paid off.

As opposed to the last time we had a CSA, I hope to be able to blog about it more now that I don't have a newborn to take care of.

Money, money, money, MON-NAY

This is part two of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

I will confess that budget and finance are my weakest points, even after getting an A in my graduate class. For some reason I am totally Scarlett O'Hara about budgeting and always put it off for tomorrow.

A few months ago I signed up to track my budget online and while I like some things about the website I use, I don't like it all. With these worksheets, I can track my spending and income weekly as see where everything is.

The first page of my two page budget worksheet contains income and the bigger expenses - housing, debt and transportation. Each category has blank spaces for misc entries.

The second page continues the spending by category as well as a category for saving. There are spaces at the bottom to total the weekly spending as well as spaces to total monthly spending by category.

This is probably more handy to me than the budget worksheet. This lets me see at a glance all the bills I have paid to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

I have also created an yearly overview worksheet. It divides the year into four quarters and all the categories (housing, auto, debt, ect) are listed with an actual, budgeted and difference line as well as overall totals.

You can now get these printables and more in my Etsy Shop! 

The Budget Checklists includes the Bill Tracker are now part of The Budget Pack and The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aw, beep, beep. Toot, toot!

This is part one of content for the Brains of the Operation, aka Household Binder.

Since I have arranged the categories alphabetically, the auto log is the first thing I come to in the BotO. Car maintenance is the one area where The Good Husband is completely anal while I couldn't care less. I just fill it with gas and sometimes run it through the car wash.

But TGH likes to stay on top of things to keep the cars in good shape. He says he is better for resale.

So I created this template to track everything we do to both cars. The year, make, model and VIN number for the car is in the upper right hand corner, while the columns track oil changes, rotating and replacing the tires, cleaning and replacing air and fuel filters, wipers, brakes, batteries, transmission and other. There is space for notes as well.

It helps to be able to look up the exact date you got new tires or brakes and the last time you had the oil changed.

I always get a detailed invoice from our mechanic listing the things they did. For routine oil changes, I shred the invoice. When I have something more detailed done, I use a 3 hole punch and place that invoice in the binder. Eventually I will move them to the file cabinet, but for now they go here.

You can now get this printables and more in my Etsy Shop! 
The Auto Log is now part of The Good Wife Home Management Pack. You can also get CUSTOMIZED printables too!

Monday, May 2, 2011

On the death of Bin Laden

Time for more brilliant political commentary:

Last night the world was informed that Navy Seals had found and killed Osama Bin Laden. Pres. Obama's reaction was all

Meanwhile the rest of the world reacted and was all

The Brains of the Operation

I try to be organized.

I file away all our statements and receipts and I have all our paperwork in the file cabinet. I have a home address book. I have business cards stored in a drawer in the kitchen. I have a chore list on the fridge.

However, nothing is in one central location. If something were to happen to me, all our household info gets lost. So I hopped on the bandwagon and created this Household Binder, aka the Brains of the Operation.

Like any good white suburban girl, I headed over to Target to pick up some binders. I got this one and one that is brown with the same pattern.

I picked up the pouch and divers at OfficeMax/Staples/OfficeDepot. Inside I have a small notebook, also from Target and misc coupons and vouchers for things like free movies that don't belong with my food coupons.

Since The Good Daughter doesn't have much of a social life yet and certainly no school work, my BotO is a little thin. However, now when The Good Husband is freaking out b/c he needs to know an account number for something, he can look in here, instead of tearing the house apart looking for said account number.

I know BotO will grow over time (and get smarter LOL) but I have built a solid foundation with the following categories:

Budget and Finance
Cleaning Schedules
Daily Schedules
Food and Menu Planning

In the next few weeks, I will highlight each section and share the templates I have created for each.