Dinner FAIL!

There’s no way to catch up from time passed, but I want to share my most recent meal time failure from last week.

I was excited to try (another) recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond called Steak Fingers with Gravy. I only recently have had the opportunity to watch her show and after watching her cook this meal I thought my boys would absolutely love it. I decided to add my sauteed broccoli and a special treat of deviled eggs. (Sorry for the blurry photo.)Steak Fingers Fail

Now, I know it may not look like a fail. And I agree. Many people would eat this meal and enjoy it. My boys tried the Steak Fingers and did not enjoy them. I thought they were OK, but I wouldn’t ask for them. This was my first time cooking with cube steak and I think the meat was tough and I wasn’t a fan of the breading. Most would probably compare this meal to Chicken Fried Steak, and I guess my family just isn’t a fan of it.

I am not bothered by the fail except for the wasted time and ingredients. I have always been given great feedback on my cooking which is a great help for improving. There was no way to improve this dish for my family. At least I’ve got Fried Chicken trips down to a “T”.

That night, and the following night, Ricky had the best leftovers ever!

This Week’s Meals

I have many readers who enjoy seeing the meals I serve my family, so if that’s you, you’re in luck!

I tried to make Carne Asada Tacos for the first time. I used a recipe from The Food Network that I simply searched for. It’s ironic to me that I move away from San Diego and away from all the convenient Mexican markets where the perfect meat and tortillas are and THEN I attempt to make a food item that was a staple in our diet prior to moving to Spokane.

Well, I clearly did not serve the tacos with traditional Mexican Rice and that is for two reasons. 1-I have not successfully made a recipe that we love. 2- We like white rice and my rice cooker is simple, producing perfect rice every time. I also used Top Round Steak, I think. I cut it, marinated it and grilled it and it came out great!

Carne Asada Tacos

This is Katsu Chicken. I’ve been making this recipe so long I can’t recall which, if any recipe I used. I pretty much treat it like Fried Chicken Strips except I used a breading of Panko Breadcrumbs and seasonings. I deep fry these for my boys, but I bake them for myself. You can’t forget the Katsu Sauce, and I’m a big fan of Sweet Chili Sauce and Sriracha hot sauce For the broccoli I use a recipe that I originally found in a magazine. Over the years I have switched to powdered garlic for this recipe. And I don’t measure, I just use the amount of broccoli I need and I season to taste.

Katsu Chicken

Spaghetti is probably a monthly meal for my family. This time I tried a new Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe instead of buying Pillsbury Canned Biscuits. I enjoyed them most pulled apart and topped with butter and honey. I almost forgot, I choose to eat my meatballs with white rice, instead of pasta.

Spaghetti w: meatballs

Shrimp Fried Rice, served with Chung’s Chicken Egg Rolls and Chicken Potstickers.

YUM!!! “I was expecting good but this exceeded good.” -Husband

He has been a fan of my Fried Rice for some time now, but adding the shrimp seems to have made it more amazing. Not being a shrimp fan myself I was worried that I would ruin it, but I ate it and it wasn’t ruined, just different.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Overall, this week’s menu was great. I’m kind of worried about next week’s menu.

Thanksgiving Meal 2014

As the family cook, pulling off a Thanksgiving Meal going solo brings thoughts of being overwhelmed, nervousness and anticipation of the final outcome.

And the final outcome was GREAT!

The feast, minus the Green Beans which were warming in the oven.Thanksgiving 2014

This year’s menu included:

9.99lb Premium Butterball Turkey (Purchased uncooked)
Recipes used: The Pioneer Woman’s Turkey Brine and Mom’s Roast Turkey
Off the Bone Ham 
I followed the directions on the package.
Sweet Potatoes (Mother-in-Law’s recipe)
Recipe: Blend cooked yams with evaporated milk, brown sugar until desired texture and taste is reached. Fold in drained pineapple chunks. Bake covered until warm. Add marshmallows until browned.
Mashed Potatoes
Recipe: Blend cooked potatoes with some butter, garlic, preferred type of milk, salt and pepper until desired consistency is reached.
Packet of Brown Gravy Mix
Baked Mac N Cheese
Recipe used: Reddit’s Mac N Cheese That’s CHEESY Pour into shallow dish, top with cheese and bake until hot and cheese is melted.
Bacon Fried Green Beans
Recipe used: Rachel Ray’s Bacon Fried Green Beans 
Deviled Eggs
Recipe used: Food Network’s Classic Deviled Eggs I like to add sweet relish to this recipe.
I followed direction on the package.
Dinner Rolls
Recipe used: The Pioneer Woman’s No-Knead Dinner Rolls
Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Recipes used:Perfect Pie Crust and Cooking for Engineers Pumpkin Pie
Turkey 2014
Pie and Mini Pies
Tgiving with salad
This Pumpkin Banana Bread was baked at a later time to use up ripe bananas the rest of the pumpkin puree I had baked for the pie.
Pumpkin Banana Bread Before Pumpkin Banana Bread Finished

Seafood, check!

This is my version of Gina’s Grilled Shrimp Tostadas. Hubby found it and asked me to try, even though he knows I’m not a big seafood fan. No big deal, I made my own omelette tostada. They were not too complicated or time consuming, which is great depending on how my workday has been.I used frozen, tail off, cooked shrimp which made preparation simple. There are options as to how you cook the tortillas (fry/bake) and what type of oil you use. You can add more/less of your favorite toppings. The best part is that I don’t have to cook seafood for a couple weeks.

Grilled Shrimp Tostadas

Tomorrow my work is having a Thanksgiving Potluck. And I am prepared. I have decided to bring my own food instead of bringing something to share. Not because I’m mean and don’t like sharing. (Far from it!) This time, not sharing is part of my attack plan. If I don’t bring something to share I will feel guilty filling my plate with the delicious food that I know will be served. We have awesome potlucks at my work. I want to maintain my progress. I have my salad and toppings- Pepper Jack cheese, tomatoes, grilled chicken and honey mustard dressing ready to go!

Potluck Salad Attack

Morning Rush

I may only have one child, but sometimes getting ready in the morning is chaotic. He is 7, almost 8 (!) and he gets ready 100% on his own. He even helps to take the dog out and make sure he gets fed each morning. Sometimes he even helps me fill my water bottle if I’m running behind schedule and ask for help. Still, some mornings he needs a lot of reminders. My point is that often I am so focused on making sure we are both ready for the day that I become a robot. I say the same things, over and over. “Did you brush your teeth?” “Did you make your bed?” “Did you get your snack?”

Today, I paused while getting dressed. I went into his room as he was getting dressed. As he pulled his pants up I looked him in the eye and said “Guess what?” His eyes lit up and he said, “What?” I said, “I love you and I am so proud to be your Mama.” The smile on his face was the reminder I needed to slow down and cherish him.

Personal Half Marathon- I did it!

This has been one of my goals for 2014 and I got it done before the weather brought ice, snow and messy weather in general. It was COLD this morning. It was about 20* when I left the house a little after 10am but it was sunny. It’s strange, and very uncomfortable to wear sunglasses along with headbands, a beanie and 1 ear bud for music. But I was warm and that is very important.

Cold weather gear worn: Two pairs of pants, 1 Bloomsday T-Shirt, 1 thermal shirt (Hand me Down from my Husband), 1 thin hooded sweatshirt, my yellow outer shell, thick snow gloves, 2 headbands, 1 beanie, and a scarf. Also, I always wear my fanny pack to hold my phone/keys etc. The yellow shell jacket has been one of my smartest purchases: $4.00 from the base thrift shop. It sells online for over $70.00.

Here is most of the gear. This was the least blurry photo of the 6 my son took of me.

Half GearMama 16 Nov 2014

Oh, and I was fueled by Pillsbury Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls. 3 of them. I was “Carbing up”, leave me alone! I had a scrambled egg and water too.

Cinnamon Rolls

After I started my run I decided I would run out 6.52 then turn around which would ensure a total of 13.1 upon my return home. After checking my split times I ran out in 1:07 and ran back in 1:07 as well. I kept a pretty steady pace for the distance I tackled for the first time.

Half MapHalf Mile splits

And, there was sweat. No medal, but lots of sweat.

After Half Marathon

Sunday Meal Preparation

I think breakfast is very important, so I plan ahead to make my mornings easier as I head out to work. I add cinnamon and sliced apples and then put into 5 containers to be microwaved each morning. After warming in the morning, I add yogurt, applesauce, sliced banana and sometimes a sprinkle of sliced almonds.Oatmeal pan

Oatmeal bowls

SALAD. I love salad. At lunch I can grab a giant handful of lettuce and then chop up other fresh veggies to add on top. I didn’t take a picture, but I also cut up, seasoned and (George Foreman) grilled some chicken to eat with my salads.


I also prepare sandwiches for me and my Husband to have for lunch. It really helps cut down on the amount of fast food he has to consume and helps with our budget.


First Officer

I may not be The Pioneer Woman, but in my family I am The First Officer. As it relates to Star Trek, I am the one that keeps the ship (Family) alive. I’m the family cook, I keep everyone fed. And I have learned a lot and my cooking has improved over the last 10 years. Just ask my Husband! On the flip side, occasionally I experiment with a new meal and it just doesn’t turn out well. Usually the meal is still edible, but it is not desired to be repeated. I look forward to sharing food photos and the adventures I experience in my kitchen. 🙂