31 October 2011

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm about to go make the kiddos some orange scrambled eggs (a couple drops of red food coloring mixed in) with "pumpkin toast" (pumpkin cookie cutter to cut the bread). We are excited for some trick or treating tonight (I've had a bunch of orange burlap that I bought on sale a while ago, and decided to make the kiddos their own bags to hold their treats...) and then home to make our caramel apples (we didn't get to this on Saturday). I hope you have a festive day, and here is our meal plan for the week!

*Monday: Growing up my Mom always made soup/chili/stew on Halloween night. We always had to fill our tummies up with dinner before heading out to collect treats. I like that idea. So tonight we'll have our leftover Chili & Cornbread.

*Tuesday: Black Bean Pie (with avocados)

*Wednesday: Baked Potato Night

*Thursday: Orzo with Roasted Vegetables (see recipe below)

*Friday: Leftovers

*Saturday: Date night. FINALLY! We have several restaurants we've been itching to try...

*Sunday: Nachos (like these) have become one of our favorite "fast meals". Trader Joe's has some yummy refried Black Beans that we love. Topped with some good salsa, peppers & avocados, I hardly even need the chips!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 lb orzo
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • feta cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional)

for the dressing:

  • 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or less)


1. preheat oven to 425*. toss eggplant, peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, S&P. place on baking dish and roast for 30-40 minutes, until browned.

2. meanwhile, cook the orzo according to directions. drain and transfer to large serving bowl.

3. add roasted vegetables to the orzo, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan.

4. combine all the ingredients for the dressing and pour over orzo. let cool (room temp) and add scallions, pine nuts , feta and basil.

25 October 2011

And finally, a weekly menu:

...and some pie. You want a good Peanut Butter pie? This is the one.

I've been cooking away, without telling you what I'm cooking, and feeling the need to share. Here is what we had last week/are having this week:

*Monday: Hogi night. We passed a Subway the other day and Ryder really wanted to go there. He listed all the ingredients he would want on a Subway sandwich, and was quite amazed when I told him we had all those things at home! So tonight we're eating his favorite--"Subway bread" (store-bought sandwich buns), turkey, bacon, pickles, cucumbers, cheese and mustard. ;) I'm adding lots of other veggies like, tomatoes, lettuce, avocados, sprouts, etc. to mine. We also have lots of veggies for a veggie/dip plate & apples with caramel dip.

*Tuesday: Parmesan Squash Wedges & Wild Rice (from Trader Joe's)

*Wednesday: I've never made Pumpkin Soup, and decided now is as good a time as any. Doesn't it sound so cozy and delicious to be eating warm Pumpkin soup for dinner on a chilly night in October?

*Thursday: Leftovers

*Friday: Tonight is the Trunk-or-Treat! I'll be contributing Chili, Cornbread muffins (To be honest, I LOVE the 39 cent Jiffy mix. For sake of time, I'll probably use a few of those), cupcakes (for the cake walk) and THIS pie (If this pie doesn't win, the judges are crazy...)

*Saturday: Burke day! Burke is on an incredibly busy rotation right now. In fact, he's only had 4 days off the entire month. And the days he works, he works ALL DAY LONG. Today we're having our family fall celebration. We'll be carving pumpkins, making doughnuts and decorating caramel apples.

*Sunday: Simple Salmon (broil for 5-10 mins. with a little salt & Pepper) and Loaded Sweet-Potato Skins

I also made some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, White Chicken Chili, "Pizza Pockets", Homemade Macaroni & Cheese and Pretzel m&m Cookies last week while entertaining guests.

The winner is...

...Joanna! My first giveaway sort of backfired on me, because the first comment was actually the winner! Dulce de Leche is the Queen of all ice creams for me (although I would never turn down any of the other flavors. ;) Email me, or leave a comment with your favorite color, Jo and I'll send you your prize! Thanks for playing...maybe another giveaway at 200 posts?!

20 October 2011

100th Post!

Image Detail

I've been anticipating this post for a while now. I realize I never posted a menu for this week, but I've been having too much fun playing with my brother & his family. So to celebrate that I've been (sort of) keeping this blog going for 100 posts (thanks to my sister's who have also contributed posts!), I think I'm ready to host my first ever GIVEAWAY! Get excited....really.
I thought long and hard about what I should give, and what I would want if I were a winner. I decided on my favorite bowls. If you don't have some of these, you probably should. They're the perfect size for soup, cereal, ice cream, etc . They're also pretty enough to display, and microwave/dishwasher safe. If you win this giveaway, you will receive one set (4 bowls) in the color of your choice, shipped straight to your house. Takers?!
To win, leave a comment guessing my favorite flavor of ice cream (if you win, you could eat some in your new bowls!). You're allowed one guess, and I'll keep the guessing game going until someone wins. Good luck!

10 October 2011

In lou...

...of a regular post this week, I'm trying something new. I'm headed to Michigan for the week, but wanted to post something (although thanks SO much to my amazing sister, you're getting plenty of great ideas for dinners). Since I have a baby right in the "baby food phase", I decided to share my best tips regarding baby food.

Some people probably don't get as excited as me when this phase begins, but I love being able to introduce my babies to real food. It is a lot of work (if you make your own baby food) or money (if you buy it all), but I love knowing my babies tummies' are full of good fruits and veggies.
With my first child I strictly bought baby food. With my second baby, I used a hand held immersion blender and made it myself, and now (thanks to my Mom last year for my birthday) I love using my food processor.
As far as I'm concerned, making baby food is extremely basic and very easy. I choose what veggies I want my baby to eat, steam them until they are soft, and then mix the living daylights out of them (with a little water or chicken/vegetable stock) until they are the consistency I like. The other day I made peas, roasted butternut squash & carrots--each mixed with brown rice. I love my Beaba freezer trays (I also love that I found them on clearance at our Land of Nod outlet), but ice cube trays work just as well.
There are many websites that can help and lots of books, like this one, this one, and I have mainly used this one.

I recognize that babies should receive most of their nourishment by breast milk or formula until about 12 months of age. But my children get their teeth fairly early and I like them to be used to eating regular food by the time they turn 1. Here is the simple recipe I used for my 3 baby foods this week:

-1 medium sized Butternut Squash, seeds & skin removed, roasted in the oven until soft (or about 5 carrots diced and steamed, or 1/2 bag frozen peas cooked)
-1 1/2 c. water (or you can use stock)
-1/2 c. brown rice, cooked

Blend all ingredients in food processor (or with immersion blender) until smooth. Add water if needed to reach desired consistency. Refrigerate or freeze in individual portions.

Other things I like to feed my 6-12 month old babies are:

-sweet potatoes (I bake a sweet potato or 2 every week and leave them in the fridge. When my baby is hungry, I toss half of a soft sweet potato in the microwave and I've got an easy meal.)
-whatever we're eating (usually my babies end up not caring for baby food because they want to go right to the real stuff!)
-spinach/broccoli (I like to have these cooked/pureed to add to other baby foods. They seem like they are 2 flavors that kids shy away from...not around here!)
-pumpkin (canned or fresh)
-Beans (these are a GREAT finger food, and a good protein too!)
-eggs (scrambled or boiled & diced)

09 October 2011

2 easies

Here are 2 easy recipes we used last week:

Easy Peasy Crock-pot Chili

Monday was a day I woke up and realized I hadn't given any thought to what was for dinner. My first thought was the crock-pot. My second thought was the cooler fall temperatures and how fun it would be to have some warm soup. I knew I had to use whatever was on hand and didn't have much time before work, so this was kind of a throw-it-together chili, but it turned out yummy so I thought I would share.

onion (I used about 1.5)
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can corn
2 cans beans (I used 1 kidney and 1 great northern)
any other veggies on hand (I used some carrots and bell peppers)
and any spices you like, I used 1T chili powder, some cumin, oregano, S&P, red pepper flakes, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Throw it all in the crock-pot, stir it up, and turn on low heat for about 6 hours. If you like your chili thicker, stir some cornstarch (mixed in water first) in the pot about 10 minutes before you're ready to serve it and turn it up to high heat.

Serve with cornbread, cheese, sour cream, scallions, or whatever fixings you like.

See? It's quick, easy, and open to a myriad of flavors :-).

Mediterranean Inspired Stir-fry

I've been on a Mediterranean kick lately and Friday was another night that I didn't know what was for dinner (it's been a busy week). With that combination, the following ensued:

olive oil
veggies (tomato, bell pepper, carrot is what I used)
garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
feta cheese

Heat pan, coat with oil. Add onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes. Add whatever veggies you have/like, cook until crisp. Add garbanzo beans (I used 1 can) and your favorite spices (I used basil, cloves, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme). Cook until beans are heated through, add a little more olive oil if needed.

Serve over your favorite grain and top with diced cucumber and feta cheese. It's scrumptious.

05 October 2011

Birthday Pie

Last weekend was an exciting one. It was General Conference, my parents and my mother-in-law were in town, my brother ran the St. George marathon, and my husband took the LSAT. Perhaps the most exciting part of the weekend was that I got to be with my mom on her birthday, which hasn't happened for a few years.

When I asked her what her favorite dessert is, apple pie was the answer. Isn't that a great choice? I also know she loves all things lemon and had been itching to make a cheesecake, so we had two desserts:

Apple pie using this crust again, and a lemon raspberry cheesecake.

And when I say two desserts what I really mean is four. Two is what we planned for and what I was expecting, but we had extra pie filling (and crust) so we made an apple crisp, and had extra cheesecake filling so we made little cheesecake cupcakes. So if you happen to try these recipes on the same day, just be prepared to feed a sugar-hungry army. (Not to mention my dad bought a couple cartons of Creamery ice cream.)

03 October 2011

Here you are...

Another week of dinners from the Morin home just for you:

*Monday: Leftovers--I feel like we ate ALL WEEKEND LONG, but it was such a fun few days. Thanks to the Wilkinsons for driving here to play with us!

*Tuesday: Chili and Sour Cream & Cheddar Biscuits. I'm SO excited to make this for the first time this fall! And since I'm in the process (again) of making large batches of babyfood, I'm using lots of squash & yams...I'll probably add some roasted veggies to the recipe. Feel free to join me. ;)

*Wednesday: Black beans & Rice--I actually didn't end up making these on Sunday because we had so much other food! So tonight we'll load our beans & rice with lots of veggies and some cheese.

*Thursday: Didn't end up making Chicken Enchiladas on Sunday either, so we'll make them tonight. And I can bet that we'll have some leftover beans & rice to go with!

*Friday: Chicken Pita with Tzatziki Sauce--I actually bought a large container of Tzatziki at Costco the other day. It was a sample, and it was SO yummy! I've been eating it every day with crackers, veggies, etc. The kids love it too. As soon as it's gone, I'll definitely be making my own!

*Saturday: Leftover night

*Sunday: Pasta with fresh Tomato Sauce-Growing up I had pasta most Sunday afternoons. It always seemed to hit the spot, and was so quick and easy to prepare. Now being the Mom, I'm glad I have kids that love pasta, and thankfully, it still 'hits the spot'. ;)