Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Play Date

On Sunday, we went to Harry's house for playtime and dinner. Both Shelby and Harry take about thirty minutes to warm up to the other family. But, once everyone feels comfortable, we have such a great time!

They play SO WELL together! They shared the crayons and paper....

And, they even took turns tickling each other! Those, my friends, are looks of pure joy!

Photos courtesy of Scott Lawrence Photography.

Still Got It!

I'm getting a little older now. I'm stuck in between the Baby Boomers and the Fresh Out of College Twenty Somethings. My peer group is somewhat non-existent. My lunch group consists of people spanning thirty years! We talk about baseball, kids, college, hometowns. Today, I even recited one of Shelby's favorite bedtime stories. I was told I needed a life! :)

But, when the Twenty Somethings compliment me on my hair, clothes, and jewelry, I know I still have it! I've gotten the trifecta in the last week. It's pretty amazing, actually!....if you've ever met me. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 33 Menu

Sunday: Dinner at the Stahls
Monday: Roasted chicken/veggies with white beans in a viniagrette
Tuesday: Spinach lasagna (from the freezer)
Wednesday: Pulled pork sandwiches (from the freezer)
Thursday: Coq au Vin
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: out.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Toddler TV

Shelby has been stuck on Mickey Mouse Club House for a while. She whines and demands Mickey be turned on. She loses interest in it after a couple minutes. But, she instantly is enthralled when the Hot Dog Dance comes on at the end. Fortunately, there are MMCH episodes on On Demand! UNfortunately, there are only four episodes and we have seen each at least 20 times.

Scott decided we needed a break from The Mouse. So, he tested out other Disney Playhouse series. Shelby took to one of them in a second: Agent Oso!

Check out his theme song. He truly is a unique bear.

He gets special assignments from his "Paw Pilot." With the assignment comes "Three Special Steps" for success. The last of which involves the Paw Pilot only giving Agent Oso ten seconds to complete the task. I think it's stressful for a toddler show!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Sense a Theme

We went to Home Depot tonight to get a ceiling fan for the Man Cave. There were light fixtures and fans everywhere. Seriously, this was the first thing she saw and the only thing that interested her. She swept most of the aisle by the time we left. The staff was grateful.

I am just loving the camera on my iPhone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I have a problem. I love eggplant, but struggle to prepare it in a tasty manner. If I saute it in oil, it gets too mushy. And, unless it's baba ghanoush, it's probably pretty bland. I've read the same laments on Smitten Kitchen and now Bitten Word.

The Bitten Word boys reviewed this recipe from Cook's Country and they like the recipe specifically because the dish doesn't turn out "gooey." They had my attention.

I love the pan-fried-then-baked eggplant planks. The eggplant almost melts inside the breading - like a mozzarella stick. Pair that crispy plank with the tender eggplant/tomato ragout, and you have a fantastic, restaurant quality Eggplant Parm!

I was certainly surprised! I thought it would be a good, decent recipe to throw in the rotation. But, I would serve this dish for a fancy dinner party. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate a crowd. You just have to dredge a few extra planks. I spiced up the ragout with a generous helping of pepper flakes.

In true Bonnie-fashion, I tried to do as much prep the night before as I could. I mixed up the breading, prepped the eggplant, chopped the garlic and gathered all the pans and dishes I would need. The next time I would like to try making the planks ahead of time and heat them in the oven when ready to serve them.

from Bitten Word

Serves 4 (the recipe said serves 2, but it was way more than we could ever eat)

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup shredded provolone cheese

1. BREAD EGGPLANT. Cut two ¾-inch planks lengthwise from center of eggplant, halve each plank crosswise, and cut remaining eggplant into ½-inch dice. Place flour in shallow dish. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs, ¼ cup Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in third shallow dish. One at a time, coat eggplant slices lightly with flour, dip them in egg, and dredge in bread-crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and let sit 5 minutes (or refrigerate up to 1 hour).

2. COOK EGGPLANT. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat ½ cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook -eggplant slices until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to wire rack set inside baking sheet and bake until eggplant is tender and deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. MAKE SAUCE. Meanwhile, pour off oil and wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped eggplant and ¼ -teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining oil, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 -seconds. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until eggplant is tender and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper; cover and keep warm.

4. ASSEMBLE. Combine remaining Parmesan and provolone in medium bowl. Top browned eggplant slices with cheese mixture and bake until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer half of sauce to platter and top with eggplant slices. Spoon remaining sauce over eggplant. Serve.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Only Way to Go Grocery Shopping

I love to grocery shop. Crazy, I know. I love looking at the ad to see what's on special for the week. I love making my list for the week on my iPhone app. I love going to Publix. I love walking up and down the aisles. Shelby and I usually go together sometime during the weekend. Her attention span is good through the deli section, but wanes by the bread aisle. You don't even want to know how ugly the produce section can be!

But, now I've discovered a way to keep Shelby entertained from lunch meat to lettuce. Behold: The spaceship cart!!!

Shelby loves to steer and beep the horn (thankfully, no audible horn exists, just Shelby saying "beep"). And, she gets plenty of attention as she hams it up in her cockpit. Throw in a cup of water and some fishes, and she's set for the whole trip!

Week 32 Menu

Sunday: Mahi and roasted potatoes
Monday: Eggplant Parmesan
Tuesday: Real burgers on the grill (after a veggie-heavy week last week, Scott is craving some real meat)
Wednesday: Sweet Corn Pancakes
Thursday: Grilled, marinated chicken and stir-fry veggies
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday: Out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I first learned about microlending from reading Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus & the Olive Tree" in college. He talked about women who obtained microloans to buy cell phones. They charged their customers to make calls. The women could support their families and make their standard of living just a bit better. Brilliant!

I know it's been around for a while, but Kiva fascinates me. The fact they can gather 78 lenders from around the world to loan a Ukrainian woman $2100 to fund her clothing shop is incredible. Do you know there are 745,000 individual lenders from 201 countries who have collectively loaned $150 million? Even more incredible: 98.84% of all loans are paid back. Trying getting those kind of stats in our banking industry!!

I don't think I've ever felt so good about donating $50 before.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Is there any question who's daughter she is?? Give this girl a baby wipe or a towel and she'll go to town cleaning the nearest flat surface for a good fifteen minutes.

Grandma and Uncle Mike found this pretty party dress at TJ Maxx. What a great find! Shelby just loved wearing it and dancing at the reception!

And, yes, Cinderella was allowed to go to the party! Instead of glass slippers, she has pretty, pink shoes (see previous post).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Family Picture

I finally had time to sit and relax. So, I'm trying to catch up on the blog (besides a weekly menu, of course!) I realized there is no recent picture of the three of us...the last one I can find is from Shelby's first birthday! We were able to get this one while we were in Cleveland at the Fritz & Alison Wedding Extravaganza.

Even though it was a thousand degrees, we clean up pretty well!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 31 menu

Sunday: Turkey tenderloin, rosemary potatoes, & green beans
Monday: Out for a final night with Grandma & Grandpa.
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers from the freezer stash (This Week for Dinner)
Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pies from freezer
Thursday: Chickpea Burgers (from This Week for Dinner) with homemade buns....these are a big hit! Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Hopefully we'll have some friends over for dinner

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 30 Menu

Sunday: Out for pizza with beach friends!
Monday: Pasta with pesto
Tuesday: Burgers with homemade buns and broccoli/zucchini.
Wednesday: Peach/Bacon/Mozzarella Paninis (on Kate's menu last week!)
Thursday: Italian Beef in the slow cooker by request...Grandma & Grandpa get here!
Friday - Saturday: Probably go out!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Italian Beef

Italian Beef. French Dip. I don't care which country it came from - shreds of beef, crusty bread, and a dipping sauce? I'm a fan. For goodness sake, it was the first meal I ate after I gave birth to my daughter Shelby! A sandwich never tasted so good!!!

No, I am not a proud person. Note the IVs are still hooked up.
Yes, I am a pretty secure person to share this photo with the InterWeb.

It never really occurred to me that I could make this treasure in my own kitchen. This year I've really tried to use our slow cooker. So, I've been on the lookout for different meals to make in it. I found the recipe on Pioneer Woman's food blog. She simmers her chuck roast on the stove. No offense Ree, but I don't have that kind of time! So, I adapted it for the slow cooker.

When you have Italian Beef, it's a special occasion and it calls for special bread. You need a good, hearty sub/hoagie/hero/grinder (depending on where you live in the country) roll. This week I took it a step further and put mozzarella on top and finished the sandwiches in the broiler. It was fantastic!! It tasted just like an sandwich from a restaurant. After we finished dinner, I forgot that we had some roasted red peppers in the fridge! They will be incorporated next time. Italian Beef is one our favorite comfort foods now!

Italian Beef
from Pioneer Woman

■1 whole 2.5 To 4 Pound Chuck Roast
■¼ cups Butter
■1 whole Large Onion, Sliced Thick
■3 cloves Garlic, Peeled
■½ cups Soy Sauce
■1 cup Sherry (cooking Sherry Is Fine)
■½ teaspoons Salt
■4 cups Water
■Toasted, Buttered Deli Rolls
■OPTIONAL: Rosemary, Thyme, Other Spices

Preparation Instructions
Heat butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get brown.

In slow cooker, set chuck roast on top of the onions. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours, or until beef is fork-tender and falling apart. **If meat is not yet tender, return to oven for 30 minute intervals till it’s tender!** Shred meat with two forks until all large chunks are gone. Serve immediately or continue to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

*Mixture can be refrigerated overnight. Remove hardened fat from top of pan before reheating.

Serve on top of toasted, buttered deli rolls. Top with cheese and place under the broiler if desired.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Week 29 Menu

The produce at the store looked so good this week! I think I bought one of everything! :) But, this week's menu is heavy on the veggie. We can set a good example for Shelby. And, who knows, she may even find a few more she likes!

Sunday: Italian Beef in slow cooker with au jus
This is slowly (pun intende) becoming my favorite meal; this time I finished it off (sandwich assembled with mozzerella) in the broiler for a couple minutes. If possible, I think it was even better!
Monday: BLTs
Tuesday: Lettuce Wraps (from Pioneer Woman)
Wednesday: Chickpea Burgers (from This Week for Dinner) with homemade buns
Thursday: Summer Succotash (from Smitten Kitchen)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out!