Saturday, May 22, 2010

homemaker heaven + the menu board

I promise to write about our honeymoon. I promise. Really.

But I'm itching to write about newlywed life. Itching I tell you! I'm in homemaker heaven.

For someone like me, who has been pretty domestic for most of her life. Having the opportunity to care for someone else full-time is pretty exciting. I get to plan meals and cook for the most complimentary man I know. I get to set the table and have a grand time doing it! It's beyond exciting.

I even get pretty excited about laundry and household chores. (When I've got the time to do them. Otherwise, it's pretty daunting.)

I love making sure our house is a home. That's REALLY fun. And, now that wedding planning is over, I can focus on the never-ending project of decorating my house. (One of my very favorite projects.)

I'm loving being a Mrs. I've entertained for some girlfriends a time or two. Nothing too big. I can't wait to have our first dinner party as married people and really can't wait to host our "Thanks for Helping with Our Wedding" cookout this next weekend. (We wanted to thank the members of our parish who helped so much with setup and cleanup for our wedding, so we're thanking them the best way we know how... with food!)

So much to look forward to.

When we came home from our honeymoon, we had mounds of presents to open. It was such fun! I'm loving all of the new appliances and gadgets. I'm in homemaker heaven.

I documented our first meal because, for me, it was quite the defining moment. I let Brandon choose his meal from among my repertoire. He took almost two days to decide. (While we were on the road home from Savannah, we didn't postpone eating for two days, I promise.)

He finally decided on my rosemary garlic roasted chicken. Such a classic choice. It reminded me of why I married the boy!

After opening all the presents and making a HUGE recycling pile of boxes, I made dinner. We ate on our new Scarlet Fiesta Ware plates on my super colorful Fiesta Ware tablecloth with matching red napkins. (I'm not usually one of those not-creative people who just buys all of one brand in order to match, but I just love the Fiesta. And all the colors coordinated so well with my existing collection of vintage Fiesta Ware plates.)

Like I said: homemaker heaven!

All of this brings me to a new series I hope to include here on the blog. In an effort to save money-time-sanity I have started planning our weekly menu. Monday through Friday, I plan out the meals. This way, I'm able to shop once and save multiple trips. Save money by only buying exactly what I need. And not have to think at the end of the day. Just cook!

This all seemed very NOT glamorous to me. So, I decided to jazz it up a bit. I had a small chalkboard lying around and some of those fabulous chalk pens. So, I wrote out our first week of meals and posted it on the wall. It was a success. I forgot to photo it, but we had:

Monday: Savannah Red Rice with Jalepeno Cheese Deer Sausage (courtesy of my uncle Jim.)
Tuesday: Roasted Vegetable Soup (made with leftover vegetables from the chicken) and Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Wednesday: We had a potluck at church for Ascension, but ended up staying home and eating the salmon salad I made.
Thursday: Coq Au Vin with Baguette
Friday: Shrimp and Grits (My favorite fasting friendly version, without cheese. I promise, it's possible.)

So, I want to start a series called: The Menu Board. I want to photograph and post our weekly menu board and write a little about it each week. I may sometimes include explanations and may also include some of my recipes.

I hope this gives my dear readers and friends a springboard to plan some of their own weekly menus. And also gives me a way to remember what we ate and like, loved, or hated.

The Menu Board (Week of May 17, 2010)
Monday: Slow Cooked Cajun Chicken with Green Beans
Tuesday: Slow Cooked Steak Tacos with Spicy Corn
Wednesday: Dinner at Church
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Cole Slaw and Baked Black Beans
Friday: Sweet and Spicy Broiled Salmon with Avocado Sauce and Roasted Asparagus.

As you might see, the theme of this week is the slow cooker. I'm having such fun experimenting with it. My job got a little busy this week! Since the girls I care for are out of school, I won't have as much time at home. So, I've been looking for ways to easily make dinner. I plan on employing my slow cooker over the summer, especially since it won't make my already warm upstairs 80 year old apartment any warmer! Plus, my slow cooker is the Cadillac of slow cookers. A gift from my beloved O'Brien family. It is just perfect. It's HUGE and it has this great little thermometer that shuts off the heat when the food is at the perfect temperature! It's like heaven for me; someone who despises overcooked meat.

I never thought I'd get this into slow cooking. But, after some research, I've found some great recipes that don't look like mush! I had my misconceptions about the slow cooker.... But now I'm sold!

By far the biggest hit of the week was the slow cooker Barbeque. Er, pulled pork. B won't let me call it BBQ since it wasn't actually smoked. Is he a true Memphian or what!?!?! I made it for Abby and Michele this Thursday night, and we ate it up!

Here's the technique originally from a dear friend, Kh. Pamela, but made more Memphis style by me:

Take a pork butt and rub it down with dry rub. (I used Rendezvous, but plan on coming up with my own blend someday.)
Then place the pork into the slow cooker on low for about 12 hours. (No need to add any water. It's a very fatty cut of meat, so it'll create it's own cooking juice.)
After 12 hours drain the fat and pull apart the meat. Believe me, it's pretty easy to do!
Then, I serve the sauce separately with some cole slaw and buns. Delicious!

{But, for parties, Kh. Pamela will pull the meat and then add a couple of bottles of sauce and cook on low for another 2-3 hours until the meat absorbs the sauce. And believe me, there are no complaints about the way she cooks it!}

It was a huge hit. It doesn't have the smokiness of regular pulled pork, but it's still delicious. We've got tons leftover. Who wants barbeque nachos?


Mindy said...

"I even get pretty excited about laundry and household chores." Please. come. over. NOW!!!

Melissa said...! After reading that I really have to give my husband a big hug for putting up with my lack of newleywed housewivery. I guess I can blame it all on the baby. Being nauseous and hormonal most of the time I guess does cut into the desire to create the "homemaker heaven"; but after reading your post I feel a little ashamed! I hope I can do better once Lucas is here. Love the menu board, and love the details!

The Labontes said...

i love the newness of newlywedness! everything, including appliances and the outlook on daily chores, are all shiny and pretty. Enjoy! it's a sweet time...the happy chore thing doesn't last long (but i totally know what you mean), but other than that, you are good to go. Do you know how long I could stick to a menu board? I would run out of options in one week. You are a better woman than me.