a month of meals {july 2015}

Posted: August 3rd, 2015

a month of meal: july 2015

Here’s what we ate this month.

{An explanation as to why I’m doing this can be found in January 2015.}

{Past months: January 2015 : February 2015 : March 2015 : April 2015 : May 2015 : June 2015}

Jul 1–chicken spaghetti, zucchini with almonds (at the beach)
Jul 2–leftovers (at the beach)
Jul 3–steak, tequila lime red snapper, baked potatoes, roasted broccoli (at the beach)
Jul 4–hamburgers, sweet potato fries, slaw, peanut butter pie (at the beach)
Jul 5–sandwiches (at home)

Jul 6mushroom marsala pasta
Jul 7–dinner with Gerrit’s parents–crock pot chicken
Jul 8–dinner with my parents–red snapper with white wine sauce, baked “fried” okra
Jul 9–OUT with friends
Jul 10eggplant calzones
Jul 11BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries
Jul 12–dinner with Gerrit’s parents–pork tenderloin sliders, black bean salad, fruit, brown butter blondies and salted caramel ice cream

Jul 13korean short ribs, polenta, zucchini with almonds
Jul 14–dinner with Gerrit’s parents–leftover pork tenderloin, mac and cheese
Jul 15baked chicken thighs, roasted cauliflower, rice
Jul 16leftover BBQ chicken (from the freezer!), sweet potato fries
Jul 17pasta with garlic and olive oil
Jul 18–dinner with my family–flank steak, sauteed squash, roasted potatoes, baked “fried” okra
Jul 19–sandwiches (we had lunch after church with my family–tequila lime snapper, orzo pasta salad, and chocolate pie)

Jul 20–salmon, roasted carrots, couscous
Jul 21–dinner with Gerrit’s parents–chicken tacos, fruit, rice
Jul 22–dinner with my parents–Costa Rican food–steak tacos, plantains, black beans, and an agua fresca
Jul 23–red snapper with wine sauce, roasted broccoli, dipping bread
Jul 24–pasta alla gricia (recipe coming soon!), roasted broccoli and cauliflower
Jul 25–pizza (at a birthday party)
Jul 26–scrounge/leftovers/sandwiches

Jul 27baked chicken thighs, zucchini with almonds, roasted potatoes
Jul 28–pasta alla gricia, roasted broccoli
Jul 29–dinner with my parents–pan fried breaded chicken thighs, couscous, roasted squash
Jul 30roasted red pepper pasta
Jul 31pizza

No Comments

too much change

Posted: July 27th, 2015

veggie orzo

Our weekend was crazy (but in the best way possible).  We hung out with friends, had Gerrit’s brother and sister-in-law stay with us, helped Gerrit’s parents move, went to the birthday party of our friends’ kid, and worked on painting the room we are converting into a playroom.  And on Saturday afternoon, while Gerrit was helping his parents load trucks of furniture and boxes, Evelyn and I went to an Auburn Club lunch with my parents.

I had been a little ambivalent about going to lunch (there was so much other stuff going on that day), but then I found out Aubie was going to be there (who, for those of you who don’t know, is only the best college mascot ever) and my decision was made because I wanted Evelyn to have her first picture with Aubie and it would be ADORABLE.  But by the time I got Evelyn up from her nap and fed her some lunch (because that would be so much easier than trying to feed her there) and got her changed, we were running a little later than I would have liked, and then I couldn’t figure out where exactly the lunch was being held, and by the time I pulled up my dad came out to greet us and said “You just missed Aubie.”
I almost starting crying on the spot, but held it together and had a nice time at the rest of the lunch.  When I got home though, I did cry about it, as illogical and irrational as it seemed, until I figured out why.
The truth is that there is too much change going in our lives right now.  Gerrit has started a new job recently.  Our house been in a bit of chaos recently as we move furniture around to different rooms and have a room in the midst of being painted.  Gerrit’s parents have sold his childhood home and are moving to a new house.  And more drastic for me: my working situation is about to change significantly, and Evelyn is about to turn 1 year old.
And apparently I am not handling this as well as I thought I was.  I think I cried because in two weeks my baby girl will be a year old, and Saturday was my one chance to get a picture of her with Aubie while she is still a baby.  (And, as Gerrit said, I was pre-treasuring the cuteness of it.)
All of these changes are so good.  Gerrit loves his new job.  I am so excited about having a playroom.  Gerrit’s parents are so excited about their new house.  My workload needs to change.  And I am SO looking forward to Evelyn being a growing toddler who is exploring and learning.
But change, even when it’s all good, can be overwhelming when it comes in big batches.
I didn’t expect to relate these thoughts to food at all, but I had a moment while I was chopping and sauteeing carrots the peppers at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning (making a big batch of lunch for Evelyn before I went to help Gerrit’s parents clean their old house).  Because for a just moment, cooking felt like the one thing that wasn’t changing.  I’ve felt like my adrenaline has been pumping at a constant rate for the past couple of weeks as all of this change swirls around me.  But on Sunday morning it felt good to know that when I come back to the stove, the carrots are still going to cook the same way when I put them in the pan, and the lemon juice is still going to sizzle with the same tangy aroma.  And it is all going to be okay, actually even better, once things settle down.
No Comments

korean short ribs

Posted: July 23rd, 2015

korean short ribs

Thanks to one of my favorite cookbooks of the last year, Korean short ribs have been on our family’s dinner rotation for months now.  My mom made them first, and since then we’ve had them for regular family dinners and big family Sunday lunches.  We’ve used the recipe on pork and beef and chicken.  And it is one of the simplest things to make, because all it takes is the crock pot.  I, admittedly, don’t use my crock pot perhaps as often as I should (especially now that I have an almost-toddler and dinner prep time is spotty at best at least until Gerrit gets home from work).  But with Evelyn still taking a morning nap, it’s the perfect time to prep a dish for the slow cooker and then let it simmer all day.

And this one is a winner no matter what you use it with.  Beef short ribs are my favorite (so juicy and buttery, and better, I think, than a pot roast).  But basically any cut of meat is good.  We have done chicken.  I think for Easter I did a pork roast.  We’ve done pork ribs.  (Yay for versatility!)

I’m not sure why I don’t use my crock pot more often.  Perhaps it’s because I love to cook so much, to watch the food transform into a meal in just 30 minutes to an hour.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel like the slow cooker is that versatile (I know I don’t give it enough credit).  Or perhaps it’s because I don’t plan ahead as much as I think I do; even though I always have dinner planned out, 9:00 in the morning hardly seems like the time to already be moving on to dinner prep to me.  But with meals this good (and this easy) coming out of my crock pot, I have a feeling it’s going to start creeping its way on to my counter top more and more.

korean short ribs


korean short ribs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

The original recipe tells you to simply put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook them together (and you can even put them in frozen! We've tried and it does work). However, I am a big believer in browning meat before you cook it in the slow cooker. It helps hold the moisture in and makes for a juicier end product.


  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 beef short ribs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 fresh whole jalepenos, sliced (and seeds scraped out if you would prefer)


  1. In a large heavy-bottom pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ribs, browning them on all sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  2. While the ribs are browning, stir together the brown sugar and soy sauce.
  3. When the ribs are browned, remove them and place them in the pot of your slow cooker. Pour the brown sugar/soy sauce mixture into the pot to deglaze it, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits up from the bottom.
  4. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the ribs in the crock pot. Then add the garlic, ginger, and jalepenos. Add enough water to just cover the ribs (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup). Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve warm.


adapted from Dinner the Playbook

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

{Note: this post contains affiliate links}

No Comments

a day in the life {with an 11.5 month old}

Posted: July 20th, 2015

It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these posts, which I really wish was not the case.  Whether anyone in the world cares about reading these, to me they are a snapshot of how life is in a moment when life is constantly changing.

But there is no time like the present to jump back into it.

6:30 am

Trying to get a bit of work done before Evelyn gets up in the morning.  Actually, she’s usually up, but is content to hang out in her crib until usually about 7:00.

morning playtime

Morning nursing, and then playtime for a bit.  Looking at books (after she pulls them all down from her bookshelf) is one of her favorite things right now (and her playing in the morning usually allows me to catch up on some blog reading/news/etc.).


Breakfast, including one of her favorite foods: blueberries.  Also usually a banana, some yogurt, and oatmeal fingers.

morning playtime 2

Playtime after breakfast for a bit (often involving music and dancing).


Then nap time.  And for me, getting some things done.  This morning: monthly budget stuff.

afternoon playtime

After nap, it’s usually lunch time, and then we play some more.  I’m glad Evelyn has these blocks, because they at least keep me entertained.

missing plant
We ventured outside to look at the plants today, and found a missing azalea.  Like and entire plant dug up from the ground.  What?!  I called Gerrit and looked around for the plant, and noticed it was sitting on the side of the house.  We finally deduced it must have something to do with our pest control person, but it’s still a bit of a mystery.  But it is now replanted and happy.

paint samples
Afternoon nap time, during which I put paint samples on the wall for our playroom.  I am terrible at choosing pain colors apparently.  Spoiler alert: none of these colors is the one we decided to go with.

Afternoon nap did not go well, so chocolate is getting me through my afternoon.


This is what happens when I let Evelyn use her snack cup (Sawyer appreciates it).

blog work
Since the afternoon nap was so short and I could tell Evelyn was still tired, we tried for an unusual third nap.  Success!  And some blog time for me.

I have no pictures of the rest of the day because then it is the usual evening craziness/routine: Gerrit gets home, dinner, getting Evelyn ready for bed, yoga (sometimes), time for some writing, and then finally collapsing into bed with a book (sometimes after a TV show).

And as usual, going to bed way too late.

No Comments

quick bbq pulled chicken

Posted: July 17th, 2015

quick bbq pulled chicken sandwich

Let me introduce you to one of my new favorite dinners.  If you’ve been around here long, you know my family is very into its BBQ, particularly pulled pork, ribs, and smoked chicken.  And growing up as a picky eater, it took me awhile to come around to the pulled pork and ribs part of it.  There was this BBQ restaurant we used to go to out in the country when I was growing up.  It sat on the edge of a field and had a screened in porch, and I always always always got a plain pulled chicken sandwich.  I have no idea what the rest of their food was like, because this is what I always ordered (#pickyeaterproblems). Read more »

No Comments