Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Lots of Cooking

This last week was a long one. Something happened to my baby - she morphed into a different little person. She went from her normal happy self…..

To this….a whiny, slobbery, unhappy, crying toddler…..

And this was my week. I had a hard time dealing with it all. I am lucky to have a husband that understands, and he helped take her off my hands after work so I wouldn’t go crazy from all the screaming tantrums and almost non-stop whining.
Then I realized as I was brushing her teeth on Saturday that two of her 2-year molars had grown almost all the way in in the matter of a week! My poor little one! She has since been given some Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Baby Orajel, some natural herbal teething tablets and is the happy, smiley, funny and mischievous toddler I’m used to! Whew!

My baby is back!

This weekend while I.C. napped Hubby and I did some spring cleaning. Our garage is kind of a nightmare, the kind I probably shouldn’t tell you about, but I will. For almost a year now we haven’t had a car in the garage because we have too many other things occupying space in there! A few years back my husband and I lived in Ecuador for close to a year. Before leaving we each had our own apartments, and we put all our stuff together in storage while we were gone. When we got back we lived in a small duplex and we kept the storage unit because we didn’t have enough room in our apartment. And because we had to go through a lot of boxes to find stuff because my husband didn’t label anything that was his.
 Now we rent a house with more room and we were able to clear out the storage unit after moving in here, getting rid of a lot of what was there and moving the rest into our garage. We also got a new couch and a couple of other items and just put the old items in the garage to be sold this spring. So the garage has been filling up! This weekend we recycled and garbaged some things, and piled our minivan full of donations to drop off at Goodwill. We will be selling our furniture on Craig’s List this week and after just a few hours of work, we can now get my minivan into the garage. What a feeling of accomplishment! After another couple hours of work and selling our stuff on CL we will be able to get my hubby’s car in there, too. I can’t wait!

Although this last week was a long one with my little one, it was still a great one. My hubby helped a bunch with our little one and made breakfast for us this weekend, we all went on lots of long walks and were all able to spend a lot of time together, getting things done and relaxing, too. I was also able to cook a lot of great meals. Here are some recipes from this last week. I’ve got more to share than this, but will share them later in the week.

Braised Cabbage and Sausages - Our St. Patrick's Day meal!

Homemade Sloppy Joe’s
makes 6 servings

1.5 Lbs ground beef (or chicken, turkey, whatever floats your boat!)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz tomato paste
6 oz water
½ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 heaping tsp. chili powder
1/8 - ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder - more if you like it spicy!
3 big dashes Worcestershire
1.5 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Hamburger buns, rolls, whatever your serving preference is!

Brown ground beef with onion over medium-high heat, and add bell pepper after 5 minutes. Cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes more. Drain any excess fat and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook another 5-10 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and all the flavors have blended. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve on buns or rolls and enjoy!

Braised Cabbage
Serves 3-4

Half of a large head of cabbage
1 tsp olive oil
3-4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 pinches red chili pepper flakes, optional
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
Salt and Pepper to taste

Use a large, wide pan with steep sides for this recipe. Cabbage takes up a lot of room at first and you’ll need room to toss the cabbage with the rest of the ingredients.
Add oil to the pan and heat to medium-high heat. When hot, add oil, swirl around the pan and then add cabbage, vinegar, chili pepper, garlic, some salt and pepper. Toss with a tong and cook, uncovered, tossing a few times, for 10-15 minutes, until cabbage is wilted but still has some crunch. If it dries out at all during the cooking process add more vinegar or water, a tablespoon or two at a time. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy! Sometimes I sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. This is a recipe that can easily be doubled or tripled for company! It is so yummy - the balsamic vinegar caramelizes and sticks to the cabbage, and the chili pepper flakes give a little kick. A great dish for any season!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! Im happy Isa is feeling better! those molars...what a pain. literally! glad to hear your garage is cleared out! im doing some spring cleaning soon today! hope i can be as productive as you guys were!