Menu: Week of 4/1

It's been a busy week with The Man returning to work after a 5-week layoff, so we're all readjusting, and I've been crazy-busy at work. This morning, I took EVERYTHING out of both freezers and did a quick inventory. I've recently stocked up on a few things at super-low prices (thanks to sales & coupons), so I wanted to be sure we don't forget about any of it...that would be a waste of time spent couponing and money.

Once the inventory was taken and everything put back in the freezers (in a much more organized way), I sat down and wrote out our dinner menu for the month and made a shopping list. Needless to say, we didn't need much!

This afternoon, my mom and I went to the store to pick up the swingsets we had ordered for The Munchkin (one for her house and one for ours), and we went ahead and got the few groceries we both needed while we were in town. Once we got home, The Man assembled our swingset, and mom and I played outside with The Munchkin.

Now, The Munchkin is tuckered out in bed, The Man is relaxing with some TV, and well, I'm typing this. :)

A quick update from last week on the corn bread: the modifications I made resulted in corn bread that was a little lacking, so I'm going to keep testing until I find the perfect combination...then I'll share the recipe.

Also, the Taco Pasta from last week needs a little help, so I'll be working on modifications to that as well.

So now, on to the menu...

Sunday: Fried Eggs, Bacon, Hash Brown Potatoes - The Man loves having breakfast for dinner, and it's usually a quick, easy meal. This week, we're going to use the eggs I got from Oak Tree Organics, some bacon I found in the freezer, and potatoes I caught on sale at the grocery store.

Monday: Spaghetti, Meat Sauce, Corn, Focaccia - While going through the freezer, I found a small container of leftover meat sauce I made a while back, so this meal will be the perfect way to use it. I also found several bags of frozen corn (a grocery store sale stock-up), and I'll make focaccia to accompany the meal.

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice - We've got several pounds of chicken in the freezer (another grocery store sale), so I'll add some sliced peppers and onions and a few spices, and dinner is made. I've also got several small containers of Mexican Rice in the freezer, so we'll use up some of that too.

Wednesday: BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli - The pork for this meal was also discovered in the freezer - a few months ago, I cooked a pork shoulder in the crockpot, shredded the leftover meat, and froze it in portions. It was seasoned with simple salt & pepper, so all I have to do is add BBQ sauce and a bun. I'll use more of the bargain potatoes, and some of the frozen broccoli. Easy dinner!

Thursday: Jambalaya - I found andouille sausage, shrimp, and cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer. Add Zatarain's, a little chopped bell pepper, and call it done!

Friday: Grilled Pizza - Of course! :)

Saturday: Cookout - We'll be spending the day at my parents' house to celebrate Easter. Mom is going to grill some chicken and steaks, and we're donating some pork chops from our freezer stock. We're also having potato salad, greens beans & carrots, and grilled flatbread (made with Olive Oil Dough). For dessert, mom is making an angel food cake, and we're donating some frozen Farmers' Market peaches and Cool Whip from the freezer stock.

Mangia Bene!


Day Trip: St. Louis, MO

Yesterday, the three of us took a little trip to St. Louis. The main goal of the trip was to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden's Orchid Show, but we made a few other stops while we were in the area.

I am infatuated with orchids and their unique beauty. Apparently, my great-grandmother was an orchid growing pro. I, unfortunately, didn't get that gene! I found out about the Orchid Show a few weeks ago, and then my AD/HD took over, and I forgot about it. I realized early last week that this weekend was the last weekend of the show, and I just couldn't pass it up. So I did a little planning and away we went!

The first stop we made was in the small Italian-American neighborhood called The Hill. It's a wonderfully quiet neighborhood just west of the Botanical Garden, and it is home to some very delicious food! You all know I can't pass up delicious food...especially if it's Italian food!

So we planned to have lunch at Amighetti's. It is a bakery and restaurant, and they have wonderful bread and giant meatballs. (If you go, order a side portion of the dish, because a regular is too much food for a single human to consume!) I strongly recommend ordering the spaghetti and meatballs.

If you're a vegetarian, make an exception...you won't regret it. :) All the pasta dishes come with bread, so you don't have to worry about ordering it. The sandwiches are great as well. And having a Fitz's rootbeer with your meal is a must (I know, it's not Italian, but it's a local offering that is well worth the sugar intake)!

I also recommend stopping in the bakery (attached to the restaurant) and buying at least one loaf of bread to take home. I could live on their bread!

Waiting in the LONG line at Amighetti's & being cute enough that the lady in line behind us asked if she could hold her!
We then crossed the street to pay a visit to Gelato di Riso, where they serve gelato that transports me back to Rome, and it comes in a mind-blowing number of flavors. I could just stand at the counter and taste each flavor, but instead I chose a small bowl with two flavors. The lemon was a true lemon flavor with a creaminess that only gelato can offer. The blood orange was almost a trip down memory lane (think PushUps from the Schwann man, but with a more refined, intense orange flavor). The Man walked in thinking he was going to keep it simple and get a bowl of chocolate gelato (which is AMAZING, by the way!)...until he tasted the blood orange. In the end, he got the blood orange and vanilla. He said it was the best vanilla ice cream he'd ever had. (I had to correct him and tell him it's not "ice cream", it's GELATO!) LOL

We even shared with The Munchkin. She was a fan of all 3 flavors.

After stuffing ourselves full of pasta, bread, and gelato, we decided to walk off some of those carbs! The Munchkin had a blast toodling around The Hill!

After our lunch and walk, we hopped over to the Botanical Garden. We spent 3 hours there, and it was a wonderful time, and the orchids were phenomenal! I'll let the photos below do the talking. PS - there are lots of photos below! And please pardon the blurry ones...most of these were taken with a wiggly baby on my hip to accommodate the mommy complex she had going on when we got there!

After we'd seen all the orchids, we went out into the garden to wander around and see the Japanese Garden. Here are some photos of that excursion: