Wednesday, June 23, 2010 the Kitchen

Does anyone else have the same problem I do? Figuring out what's for dinner. It seems every day when 4:00 rolls around I'm in a panic, frantically rummaging through the pantry and freezer to see what I can scrounge up. And it doesn't help that this is the exact time the kids seem to want to have a melt down. The two older kids are outgrowing naps but are still waaaay tired and grumpy at the end of the day. And the baby will just cry from about 4-7 if he's not being held. It's a madhouse around here! Have you ever tried to hold a baby and make dinner? Even if I wear him in a carrier it's still very difficult! And most of the time I can't even do that because of the dangers of the stovetop or oven.


So how do you go about planning your meals for the week? I so wish I could have it all planned, do my shopping and be done for the week. Anyone have suggestions or websites or anything to recommend???????

I'm finding myself stuck in a rut making the same few things over and over again. Not that they're bad things, it would just be nice to try new things. Speaking of new things, I tried a supper swap group the other week. Ever heard of it? I think it's brilliant! In this particular case (I'm sure they are all pretty different) there are 4 members. Each member has a day of the week (Monday - Thursday) she is responsible for. On that day she makes dinner for all 4 families and delivers the meal. So 3 days of the week she doesn't have to cook. I was a substitute for this particular group filling in for one of the members. I really liked it and even though we can be picky eaters my family was fine with everything we received. I may look into starting my own group.

But until then here is one of my go-to recipes that my family loves. It's seseame chicken, steamed broccoli and white rice. I also make sesame tofu for me and my oldest. These are very easy and yummy recipes!

    Sesame Chicken (third photo)
    3 Tbsp honey
    2 Tbsp sesame seeds
    2 Tbsp soy sauce
    1 garlic clove
    2 large egg whites
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 1/2 lb chicken, cubed into bite-size pieces
    2 Tbsp oil
    In small bowl combine honey, seeds, soy sauce and garlic.
    In large bowl whisk eggs and cornstarch. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
    In large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken, cook until golden and opaque, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from skillet and repeat with other half . Return all chicken to pan. Add sauce and toss to coat.
    Sesame Tofu (last photo)
    1 package firm or extra firm tofu
    1/3 cup honey
    3 Tbsp tamari (substitute soy sauce if needed)
    3 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped (I sub about half the amount of dried)
    2 Tbsp sesame oil
    2 Tbsp rice vinegar
    2 cloves garlic
    1-2 tsp red chile flakes
    1/4 c cornstarch
    oil for frying
    2 Tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
    1 bunch sliced green onions, optional
    Drain tofu in paper towels for 20 minutes. This removes the moisture so it is not soggy. To do this I slice the block of tofu into about 5-7 rectangular slices. Lay a few paper towels on a plate or something flat. Next, lay the tofu in a single layer over the towels and cover with more paper towels. Place another plate on top of it all and ideally, way it down with something like a big can.
    Meanwhile make the sauce and keep warm.
    After the tofu is drained, cut into bite-size cubes. Dust with the cornstarch. Heat oil over medium-high. Saute tofu until golden brown. Add sauce, sesame seeds and green onions.
    The  tofu recipe makes a lot of sauce. Use the extra over rice and veggies or just let the tofu swim in it. Or what I do is mix the extra in with the sesame chicken. That doesn't have as much sauce as the boys would like so this helps!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 dinner time

This was one of those days when my 4-yr-old didn't take a nap (they are becoming more and more frequent)! By dinner time he was exhausted. Typically I need to call my kids several times before they make it to the table for dinner. But, on this night he was so tired, hungry, delirious that he managed to get pajamas on AND get to the table before dinner was even served. Poor kid was falling asleep before eating. I managed to quickly get dinner done before he was out for good. This was him waiting to eat:

And this was him after dinner. Watch as he slowly falls to the table...

I just thought it was too cute! I HAD to snap some pics! And Daddy was right there ready to catch him in case he fell. He made it to bed about 5 seconds after this shot was taken!

Friday, June 18, 2010

...In my craft room

I finally scrapped my first two pages and put them in an album! I can now officially say I am a scrapbooker!!

These are the newborn pages of my oldest son (who is now 6 - hey, better late than never right?) At this rate I may get to his kindergarten pics by the time he's in college. Oh well. At least it's a start.

The first page:
Second page:

And together in the book:

Yay! So I'm feeling proud of myself and can't wait to get more pages done and eventually get caught up! Then I realize I have THREE kids and need to do this TWO more times AND do my wedding album.

I think I can, I think I can...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hmm, why a blog you might be wondering? Well, I'm still trying to figure it out too! I have another blog for my family and all the stuff we do, mostly it's about the kids though. But this one will be for me! I might post pics of my latest crafty creation or what's going on in the kitchen. And, yes, stuff about the kids too!

And why the name "All Amber All the Time"? Well, it's really because EVERY other name I wanted was taken. You wouldn't believe how many names I tried that were not available! Even though this sounds a bit ego-centric I thought it was funny. If you think about it that's what a blog really is, right? It's always all about the writer and his or her thoughts. So, after spending what felt like hours on a name I just caved and used this one. For good or bad this blog will be All Amber All the Time!!