Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 3 Menu

Sunday - Veal and tomato/mushroom sauce
Monday - Shrimp scampi
Tuesday - Pork chops & apples (holdover from last week)
Wednesday - Homemade French onion soup with crusty bread (from the Crockpot app on my iPod Touch)
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Pasta with leftover bread
Saturday - Out with friends

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pulled Pork

On Thursday, we made pulled pork for dinner (sorry, no pictures....too hungry!). I never really understood where the term "Pulled" Pork came from until Thursday. When I wielded a fork in either hand and shredded that cut of meat like Edward Scissorhands, I realized it was the most appropriate name for the dish.

Here was the inspiration of the recipe: Barbecue Pork Sandwiches. I discovered this site on The Google looking for a recipe that didn't have 17 ingredients. It dawned on me that I didn't have to make the BBQ sauce from scratch , and simplified the process greatly. On a weeknight when we're rushing to get dinner on the table, making my own BBQ sauce goes out the window!

I liked this recipe because of the simplicity. And, this site has a very helpful feature: you can enter how many servings you wish to make, and the recipe amounts are adjusted accordingly. Don't shake your head disapprovingly! Illinois public education did teach me fractions and basic arithmetic, but it's always nice to be lazy (It also taught me multi-variable calculus and quantum physics, but I could not find a use for them in this recipe)!

Serves: 3-4

2 pound (approx.) Pork Roast
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
BBQ sauce of your choosing (we like Sweet Baby Ray's - pretty tangy with a hint of brown sugar)


Trim as much fat off the the pork roast as possible. Place in the crockpot. Mix package of soup mix with cup of water and pour over roast. Leave in crockpot for 8 hours on low. Take most of the juices out of crockpot leaving about 1/2 cup.

Shred pork roast with two forks and pour Barbecue sauce over. Stir and let it warm up about 10 minutes. Serve on Hamburger Buns or Steak Rolls with cheese slices.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Twice Shy

I picked Shelby up from school yesterday, and she was screaming her head off. :( Five minutes prior, she reached to touch her friend's book (that had kitties in it...her favorite), and the little boy bit her hand!!! Shelby was so mad!!! We hung out in the room for a couple minutes, and she was giggling by the time I got her in the car. Man! This is getting ridiculous! I think I'll send her in a Shark Suit on Monday.

A Little Bit of Fun

I was reading a magazine waiting for my hair to finish "processing" when I read about this fun little website:

I can immediately think of three people who will rush to the site and anxiously await their next movie to arrive in the mail!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Exhibit 2

I will present Exhibit 2 that Shelby is a mini-clone of her father, if it please the court.

Photos courtesy of Scott Lawrence & Margaret Hagstrand, respectively.

No Doubt

Based on recent revelations, there is no doubt that Shelby is her father's Daughter.

Exhibit 1:

Future Photographer
Originally uploaded by scottlawrence

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teeth Brushing

Scott asked the dentist when Shelby should start seeing the dentist. She wants her to see one in the next year. She recommended Dr. Setzer & Chochran. In the meantime, we got her a baby toothbrush, and brush her teeth every night. She likes it when Daddy brushes his teeth with her. Now, she'll put the brush on her teeth, but not swish over them. It always end up in her chewing on the bristles. After a couple swipes, she'll hand her brush back to Dad. And, he is supposed to put more water on the brush.

Brushing teeth is a little more necessary lately since she's been shoveling in the broccoli. It's hard to point out a floret stuck in a 15-month old's teeth to her! At least we're trying to start good habits early with the brushing!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 2 Menu

Sunday: Steak and roasted broccoli/onions
Monday: Pasta salad (using up veggies in the fridge!)
Tuesday: Meatloaf (made ahead last week)
Wednesday: Pork chops and apples (this recipe is my inspiration...I plan on taking some liberties)
Thursday: Pulled pork (in the slow cooker...a recipe from my friend Anne)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pork Loin Roast

Week 2 with the Slow Cooker....

I was originally going to make a pork roast with plum sauce, but went back to the drawing board when I realized we had no plum sauce in the house. I found this recipe instead. There's a salad that goes along with it, but there's more than enough food in just the roast! It could easily be halved to feed a family of four (or 2 when you want to eat it for 2 meals!). It was pretty yummy! Very tender and well-seasoned.

Scott did a great job of assembling again! I love being able to eat dinner within five minutes of walking through the door after getting home!

Slow-Cooker Parmesan-Sage Pork Loin
2 pounds diced red potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup sherry [Bonnie's note: I used 1/2 c of red wine]
1 (2-pound) pork loin [Bonnie's note: I used pork tenderloin]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried sage [Bonnie's note: dried basil instead...a little stronger flavor]
1 tablespoon salt-free garlic and herb seasoning
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots in bottom of slow-cooker. Pour in chicken broth and sherry. Season pork all over with salt and black pepper, sage and garlic and herb seasoning. Place pork on top of vegetables and top with Parmesan, pressing the cheese into the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.

I'm looking for some exciting, new recipes. What slow cooker (or other) recipes would you like to share?

Once Bitten

Shelby was bitten by another child on Wednesday! I got a phone call at work:

"Hi. this is Kenyatta from New Dimensions...."

My response: "What is it?! What's wrong?!" These people never call to just say hi. Kenyatta connected me to Shelby's teacher. She told me Shelby was bitten by another child after nap time. They don't tell you which child was the biter, but I've got them all under surveillance now! I learned this child hasn't bitten before. So, she wasn't on their radar before. Luckily, the teacher has a Blackberry. So, she sent me a couple pictures so I wouldn't be surprised when I picked her up.

The New Dimensions Biting Policy is when children have limited language skills, they are more lenient. They keep track of a lot of data: time, child involved, toys in the area. If the child racks up a couple bites, they bring in a professional to see if there's anything with the set-up of the room to help keep the kids calmer. When, the children get to be 2.5 and up, there is little tolerance for biting. The parents are called, and come up with an action plan to stop the biting. One of my friend's daycare has a zero tolerance policy. One bite and you're expelled!....even the infants!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ode to Ina - and Eli's Asian Salmon

I just love Ina Garten (AKA the Barefoot Contessa). When I was on maternity leave (and Shelby wouldn't let me put her down), I watched A LOT of the Food Network. Ina was so great to watch - she has a calming voice and cooks elegant food with very simple, fresh ingredients. I believe I've seen every episode of her show...yes, that makes me a loser.

I've learned how to roast the perfect rib roast and chicken, flavorful couscous, and now, this Asian salmon.

2 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet (1 1/2 inches thick)
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce [Bonnie's note: who owns oyster sauce??]
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste
1/2 cup sliced scallions (2 scallions)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (8 large cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs) [Bonnie's note: regular bread crumbs work just fine]

Line an 8 by 12-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the salmon in the pan.

In a mixing cup, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Pour 1/3 of soy sauce mixture over the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the panko evenly over the fillet. Pour the rest of the soy sauce mixture evenly over the panko. Be sure to soak the panko completely and if any runs off, spoon back onto the salmon. Set aside for 15 minutes, leaving all the sauce in the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Roast the salmon for 18 to 20 minutes, or for about 12 minutes per inch at the thickest part of the salmon. The internal temperature will be 120 degrees F on a meat thermometer when it's done. Remove from the oven, wrap tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
[Bonnie's note: for a halved recipe, 15 minutes is all it took for the fish to be done.]

Asian Salmon
Blogging about our menus also allows my darling husband to photograph the meal! Credits to Scott for the great photo!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kitchen Logic

425 degrees is hot.
Not all ovens are hot.
All skillet handles in ovens are hot.
425 degrees burns skin.
Conclusion: I need a Le Creuset dutch oven.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 1 Menu

One of my favorite blogs is one where the author publishes her menu for the week, and encourages other to do the same in the comments at This Week For Dinner. She has been going for 156 weeks! She's my hero! To keep me motivated, I'm going to start posting my menus here!

Sunday: Grilled salmon and oven-roasted potato chips Salmon from the Ina Garten book Mike got me for Christmas & chips using the slicer Nancy got me for the mixer!!!!
Monday: (Leftover) Salmon & sausage paella
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner! – pancakes & eggs
Wednesday: LeftoversThursday: Slow cooker pork tenderloin
Friday: Pork stir fry (w/leftover pork)
Saturday: Out

Reviews to come later this week on the linked recipes.

Asian Salmon

Tooth Mistake

After the bath, I inspected Shelby's newly-erupted teeth. The two teeth coming in (top left and top right) are actually first molars - not canines. Apparently, canines don't come in until 16-20 mo.


Scott was taking pictures of Shelby outside when she started to munch on a leaf. Scott fished the leaf out, but got bitten in the meantime. He investigated her mouth again, and found two (very sharp!) canines poking through Shelby's gums on the top!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

529 Account.

In case you were interested, the contribution limit on the 529 Plans have gone from $310,000 to $370,000. And, just as a reminder, you can contribute up to $12,000 per year without any tax implications....just in case you were curious.

I thought that was pretty cool until I realized that the cost of college has risen so much that a hike in the contribution limit was probably necessary. Great. My freshman year Chemistry textbook cost $200. I wonder what it will be when Shelby goes to college. A second mortgage might be necessary.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good Dental Hygiene

Scott went to the dentist this week, and the dentist recommended Shelby start brushing her teeth. No toothpaste; just get used to action of brushing. Scott grabbed his toothbrush, and they brushed their teeth together. Shelby was into it at first, but then ended up just chewing on the head of the brush. Well,...she'll get the idea!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pot Roast

When Scott and I were at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, I found some slow cooker books. I was inspired! I went to, and found a pot roast recipe from trusty ol' Paula Deen! **

Since I leave before the crack of dawn, assembling the pot roast fell on Scott's (nervous) shoulders! I set him up for success. So easy, even a husband can make it! :)

I so kindly labeled each of the steps to ensure a successful assembly.

When we got home, I was so excited....and I hadn't even tasted our creation yet!

  1. The house hadn't burned down.
  2. The meat wasn't raw!

Instead, the house smelled wonderful! Let's see how the family liked it....

I think it was a successful project! Scott liked it so much he asked, "What else can we make in there?"

**Cook's note (don't get me wrong, we loved it; but, always looking to improve on a good thing!):
  1. No searing of the meat as in the recipe (5am is way too early to sear a 3-lb piece of meat!)
  2. Used 8oz of mushrooms and 1cup of heavy cream instead of cream of mushroom soup.
  3. We used 12oz of chicken stock and 12oz of water. WAY too much liquid! Next time we will cut down by 1/3 to 1/2.
  4. More garlic and pepper is always a good thing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dinner Out.

Last night we went out to a very nice dinner at Ocean 60. It's on 1st Street in Atlantic Beach next to our favorite pizza place (Joseph's). The menu is so eclectic. It's that type of restaurant that forms it's nightly menu based on what looked good from the fish guy that day. I had a rare tuna steak that was, reportedly, flown in from Hawaii less than 24 hours before. It sounds pretty fancy, but then, I almost feel guilty. The carbon footprint on my dinner was huge! But, man, it was so good!!

My friend from work, Jennifer, watched Shelby for us. She and her husband are expecting a baby in June. We got home about 8:30, and Jennifer was a little flustered. She said Shelby started crying about 7:00. Then, it took her an hour to get her down for bed. She called her mom because she didn't know if there was anything else that could be wrong with our darling daughter. Nope...just didn't want to go to sleep. I guess I didn't emphasize enough that she's a clingy girl that likes to be held all the time, and not have her precious feet touch the ground! Well, at least she got a good test drive before getting her own little one!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Only in Florida

Well, it has been frigid here in Jacksonville this past week. Northerners: stop your eye rolling. It's gotten down to 25-deg every night. And, people, there's even talk of some flurries or sleet tomorrow and this weekend.

Everyone is talking about Christmas, 1989 - the last time it snowed in Jacksonville. They closed down the bridges. Cars tried to drive up them only to slip back down. Firefighters and policemen were ordered to report to the nearest station because many could not get to their designated stations. There is no salt. There are no plows. We'd have better luck ice skating to work than driving.

I saw this news story today. I can't remember where I heard about this before: one of Moses' plagues or a sign of the apocalypse. Either way....only in Florida.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thank You Update

I asked Shelby's teachers if they've heard her say "thank you," and they have not. But, they are certainly on high alert now! They're thrilled that she's using one of their "polite words." They use 'please' & 'thank you' all day long.

Tonight, however, Shelby pulled off one of her socks and said (in her own way): Sock!!!!! It sounded like "Th-xs." It's definitely 2 distinct sounds strung together. The second syllable sounds like a quick, Pilates exhale. I'm no linguist in writing it with the proper symbols for pronunciation! :)

If I hadn't been listening so intently for "thank you," I might have missed "socks!" There's so much babbling at all times. So, it's hard to sift through it. Hopefully there will be more words to come in the near future!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thank You

Attention, grandparents and interested citizenry. We have a potential Shelby phrase siting!

When we picked her up from the nursery at church tonight, the sitter in the nursery asked us if Shelby says "Thank you." We blinked at her for a bit. We hadn't heard her say it. Whitney said she handed a cracker to Shelby, and she swears Shelby said, "thank you." She wanted to make sure she heard it right and handed her another one. Shelby said the same thing.

We didn't get to test it out tonight, but we will definitely tomorrow.

Three Many Cooks.

I'm reading a new blog called Three Many Cooks. It's a little cooking, a little life commentary. I've seen some of their recipes on Pioneer Woman. If Ree likes their cooking, they must be good!

I tried these muffins this weekend, and they were great!! I put Craisins and orange zest in mine, and they were so yummy!! You even get the "muffin spilling out the top of the pan" goodness that you get from the bakery. Yum!!! A "muffin top" in the truest sense (only more appetizing)!!

With my new mixer, I am rubbing my hands maniacally with the possibilities for my next batch! Any other good ideas of ingredients in the muffins?

Friday, January 1, 2010


Shelby has discovered a new place to play.

Please note -
In the basket with her is all she needs to keep herself entertained: Henry, her purse, Mrs. Wishy Washy, 3 socks, and her fancy, pink shoes. In this picture, Henry is making a fantastic pillow.

When it was time to come out, she clung to the sides of the basket. When you picked her up, the basket came with her. Shelby and the basket became one.

New Year's Eve with the Lawrences

We watched Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN. I don't think another human being could be as uncomfortable/nervous as Anderson is around Kathy.

I must admit, she's a pretty funny person. If anyone was playing the drinking game at home (take a drink when Kathy says "Oprah," "Ryan Seacrest," or calls Anderson "Andy"), I hope you had enough liquor to make it through the broadcast!