Monday Meal Plan on Tuesday *Again*

I’ve got some big news…

(NO. I am NOT pregnant.)

I got a promotion!

This is mostly why it’s been so quiet around these parts, I’ve been trying to keep it on the DL until a bit closer to my start date, but I just can’t resist anymore. Plus, we’re due for a “Monday” meal plan.

I will still be working with New Americans but now, instead of the Employment Specialist, I will be the Resettlement Coordinator for the Grand Forks office. I.am.STOK.ED. (<–So stoked I had to separate that last word into two. I know, party animal.) So instead of focusing mainly on employment for clients, I will be overseeing my sub-office (LSS is based out of Fargo), completing assurances, finding apartments, working on community relations & giving presentations, writing grants, etc. It’s a big step, a big promo for me, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ve been training on and off throughout last week and my first day will be Monday, March 18th. (It’s getting SO close.) Then after that I have a relatively quiet week to situate myself into the new position before all the conferences barrage my spring schedule (Building Bridges, LIRS/EMM—luckily for me they’re doing a tri-agency conference this year so I don’t have to worry about being gone for 2 weeks, and NDACP). It’ll definitely be a “jumping in” experience but I’m looking forward to it (anticipating it gleefully, even…there may be something wrong with me).

This change also means we’ll get to see a bit more of Dylan, which the girls and I are exceptionally excited about. Instead of being gone Thursday-Monday every other week, we’ll just be Daddy/husband-less for Saturday-Monday. Much, much, MUCH more manageable. And since this is the weekend that he works, I’m excited to see how much quicker it will pass by since it’s only three days now…

“Monday” Meal Plan 3.4-3.10

Monday 3.4
D: Tacos (because we have a ton left from Ada’s party)
Tuesday 3.5
D: Eat the World: Bosnia and Herzgovina …Seriously. We’re actually going to make it happen tonight.
Wednesday 3.6
D: Coconut shrimp soup w/cilantro
Thursday 3.7
D: Nellie & Dylan will be on their own as Ada and I will be in Fargo getting fitted for dresses for my cousin’s wedding.
Friday 3.8
B: Pancakes (I typically freeze leftover pancakes every other week that I make them so that I can use them as quick and easy breakfasts/snacks. Put 1-2 in the microwave for about 40 seconds and they’re good to go.)
L & Tea: Ada will be at Grandpa Terry’s
D: Pizza Night!
*Extra*
Feed Brucie and mix up a sponge for Sourdough 1.
Saturday 3.9* Happy birthday Sheilaaaaaaa!
B: Rhubarb cream cheese strudel
L: Peanut Sesame Noodles
D: Birthday dinner for Sheila @ Texas Roadhouse
*Extra*
Mix & raise Sourdough 1 & mix up sponge for Sourdough 2.
Prep the scones to bake tomorrow morning.
Sunday 3.10*
B: Birthday scones for Sheila
L, Tea & Dinner: Terry & Sheila’s House
*Extra*
Bake Sourdough 1 & Final raise Sourdough 2 (bake Monday morning).

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Monday Meal Plan : Blizzard Dolley edition

I was on such a roll for a while with these meal plans! Ugh. Oh well, back on the proverbial horse I suppose. Today is technically Tuesday but my work Monday (we had a snow day and a suggested/mandatory stay-indoors-do-not-drive-anywhere day yesterday because of high wind speeds, powder, and otherwise obscene blizzard traffic, as in white-out driving conditions at a moments’ notice); so I hold that I am still posting this in a timely manner for “Monday Meal Plan.”

On another note, we’ve got a busy week planned for the Dachtler household as Dylan works, I’ve got a couple of presentations, and it’s my birthday tomorrow! Yay! I know that some people say the shine wears off a bit after so many years, but I still get that anticipatory glee the night before and the morning of. Secretly, or not so secretly, I hope that never wears off.

Monday Meal Plan : 2.18-2.24

2.18 Monday (No school)
Snow day! We ate raspberry cream cheese strudels with coffee and hot chocolate for breakfast and then ventured over to Terry & Sheila’s for the rest of the day.
2.19 Tuesday (NS for Ada)
Breakfast: Leftover strudel & donuts, grapefruit & oranges (I love citrus season!)
Lunch: Ada w/Terry
Dinner: Beef stew a la Dylan w/buttery biscuits
2.20 Wednesday Happy birthday to me! (NS for Ada)
Breakfast: Puffed pancakes : Because it’s my birthday!
Lunch: Sack lunches @ work w/Ada
Dinner: @ Texas Roadhouse : Because I’ve been craving steak something fierce.
*Extra*
Cranberry-orange almond granola bars
2.21Thursday* (NS for Ada)
Breakfast: Leftover biscuits/toast & butter w/oranges
Lunch: Ada w/Terry
Dinner: Spaghetti w/garlic toasts
*Extra*
Breakfast granola…I think I’m gonna change up the flavor profile this time around. Any suggestions?
Begin prepping the sourdough for baking
2.22 Friday*
Breakfast: Cereal & milk
Tea Time: Ada w/ Terry
Dinner: Pizza night!
*Extra*
Prepare the final rise for the sourdough
Coconut oatmeal cookies
2.23 Saturday*
Breakfast: Breakfast sandwiches on sourdough
Lunch: Goat cheese & veggie quiche
Tea: Cookies & assam w/milk & sugar
Dinner: Crockpot tomato basil parmesan soup w/sourdough grilled cheese
*Extra*
Make another pot of Curried coconut chicken soup
Finish off the sourdough loaves
2.24 Sunday*
Breakfast: Cereal w/milk
Lunch, Tea & Dinner: @ Terry & Sheila’s

Monday Meal Plan : Blizzard Cooper edition

Today I woke up to a bonafide grownup snow day! Well, partially, 2 hours late anyway. Blizzard Cooper has wrecked a bit more havoc than I originally thought it might. It has bestowed us with a mere 4+ inches of snow but due to the winds, has created low-to-no visibility that closed interstates and highways, gave us a surprise overnight guest (thanks for staying Lee), and gave us an extra day of family time to our weekend. And luckily for me, I have an awesome husband who will shovel and snow blow our sidewalks and driveway without a second thought and then head over to his parents to do the same.

Also, you may notice that we’re having a whirlwind of countries this week on our Eat the World adventure. It’s mostly due to the fact that we missed Bosnia & Herzegovina last week and I don’t want to fall behind again. We’re not really rigid with this idea but it’s nice to keep going with the flow of momentum. Also, we’re having my co-workers over for our Bhutanese meal on Saturday night, it’ll be a series of mini parties leading up to Ada’s big birthday party in March.

And if that’s not enough, this week is Ada’s 5th birthday! “Three more sleeps” in Ada language. Ufta. Five? I’m totally unprepared.

Monday Meal Plan : 2.11-2.16

2.11 Monday* 

Breakfast: Leftover pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup

Lunch: The ultimate creamy mushrooms w/fried eggs over toasted sourdough

Tea: Cookies & assam w/milk & sugar

Dinner: Red lentil soup w/lemon & skinny green bean fries

*Extra*

Buttery pigeon pea dahl for my potluck tomorrow–you know you work in an office full of women when you have potluck themes based on Pinterest.

Roasted red pepper Parmesan cream cheese for Dylan and the girls’ bagels

2.12 Tuesday

Dinner: Eat the World 21: Bosnia & Herzegovina
2.13 Wednesday  

Dinner: Eat the World 22: Botswana
*Extra*

Miss Ada has requested a mint-chocolate-chip-Tinkerbell-ice-cream-cake. I’m thinking that this looks like a good fit? We’ll see, I think I’ll use it as a base recipe and go from there. Maybe I’ll even attempt that edible glitter I’ve seen floating around Pinterest. I think the main issue is that I’ve never made an ice cream cake before, but anything for the birthday girl, right? 

2.14 Thursday ADA’S FIVE TODAY!

Dinner: The birthday girl is still undecided as of today’s blog deadline but has narrowed it down to two options. We will either be feasting on chicken nuggets and French fries (being an unfun mom, I insisted that they would be homemade and not of the McD’s variety) or a meal out at her “favorite and bestest place to eat,” the Flying J. Yes, it is a gas station diner. Yes, I am proud. 😉

Breakfast: Fruit smoothies w/toast

Tea Time: Ada will be at Terry’s…

Dinner: Tonight we will be taking a break from our Friday night pizzas in order to roast the giant ham that I’m slowly defrosting in my refrigerator. I am drooling thinking about the burnt bits. Nom nom nom. And I’ll be making this delectable looking side dish, Roasted Parmesan onions to go alongside….oooh…and maybe some roasted broccoli bites too.

2.16 Saturday

Breakfast: Creamy, cheesy grits with crisped ham 
Lunch: Leftovers/sandwiches  
Tea: Leftover ice cream cake

Dinner: Eat the World 23: Bhutan

2.17 Sunday

Breakfast: Toast & jam w/coffee & juice
Lunch: @ Terry & Sheila’s
Tea: Salted peanuts w/assam, milk & sugar 

Dinner: Crockpot tomato basil Parmesan soup w/sourdough

Enjoy the snow and be safe! (Also, family and friends, please keep your eyes a’peeled for a pony-tastic party invite in honor a little miss someone’s 5th birthday!)

Eat the World 19: Benin

Introducing: Benin, country #19 on our Eat the World adventure!

Benin’s Flag

Benin is a small, West African country that is landlocked by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger. It was colonized by the French and thus you will find the French language predominately throughout. I am lucky to have a co-worker who is West African, he is officially Liberian, but was able to shed some very helpful advice on the general cuisine found throughout West Africa. The information he shared lead me to plan a light-on-meat, heavy on peanuts and starch meal of Peanut Sauce over coconut rice with Akkra Funfun (fried bean fritters). I bought peanuts to make sugared peanuts, a common street vendor food found throughout the country, but I was short on time and hungry. So I scratched that idea and will be snacking on them for the next few weeks…

Peanut Sauce
Makes enough sauce for 4 servings
3 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 -1 tsp of your favorite piment/hot pepper i.e. Cayenne pepper in our case. I only added a pinch, a fair amount less because I wanted my children to try it without hating me. Dylan and I added generous spoonfuls of sambol oelek to our helpings. Admittedly that’s not very African but Asian, but what can you do? The heat was a perfect foil to the fatty peanut butter and oil in the sauce.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 beef bullion cube
1 cup water-or more depending on the density of the peanut butter you’re using
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (the mix before use stuff)
1/2 cup diced onion
1.) Saute tomato paste, hot pepper, salt, onion and bullion cube in oil for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.
2.) Add peanut butter and water.
3.) Mix and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Be careful to stir occasionally as you do not want the peanut butter to burn! Serve over rice.

Coconut Rice
Serves 6
1 can coconut milk
1 ½ c. water
1 ½ c. rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.) Bring water and coconut to a boil over medium heat.
2.) Add rice, salt and pepper. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Careful to keep an eye on your pot so the liquid doesn’t boil over. Makes a mess on a glass stovetop—not that I’d know…
3.) Uncover and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with peanut sauce.

Akkara Funfun (Fried Bean Fritters)
Makes around 16 medium-size fritters
1 small onion, finely minced
1 can of white beans (we used Northerns)
1 large egg
1/3 cup of flour
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Oil for frying (Peanut oil, palm oil or a combination of the two make for a more authentic flavor. We opted to use only peanut since I’m not crazy about palm.)
1.) Blend the beans, cayenne pepper and salt together until they form a smooth, firm paste. Dylan just whirred them together in our food processor for about a minute.
2.) Add the minced onion, egg and flour to the bean paste and stir to mix well.
3.) Add enough oil to a saucepan or wok to reach one or two centimeters up the side, and heat until hot enough to sizzle when a little batter is dropped in.
4.) Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil and fry in batches on both sides until golden. Drain cooked fritters on a paper towel. Take care to watch your oil so it doesn’t get too hot and burn your fritters before cooking them.
5.) Sprinkle with extra cayenne pepper and serve hot. The girls dipped them in the peanut sauce.

Ada was all about the akkara funfun before she learned that they were made out of mashed up beans. :-/ Dylan and I actually really liked them but MAN, are they filling! We had a lot of leftover rice (which generally never happens) because of those little fritters. Knowledge for the next time I suppose.

Happy birthday Nellie So!

Mommy and Nellie’s first picture.

Happy 2nd birthday to my beautiful Nellie So! Mommy and Daddy love you so, so, SO much!

You continue to inspire and delight us in ways that we never imagined. I remember two years ago, wondering if I could love another person as much as I love your Daddy and sister. But I did and I still do now, it’s amazing how God created our hearts to expand exponentially. It’s a gift that I hope you grow to understand and cherish as a mother someday (wait, that would make me a grandmother–I’ll slow it down now).

I remember that day so well, it was such a calm feeling, knowing that everything was under control and in mere hours you would be in my arms. It’s such a bittersweet memory, knowing that I can never revisit that time again, but that I have millions of more moments ahead with you.

Ada and Nellie meet for the first time.

You’ve developed such a little personality this year and it continues to keep us (and your sister) on our toes. I love that you’re such a little monster (in the fondest way of course) and your little growl. Your imagination is astounding and I am so happy that you are able to play right along with your sister now in your own imaginary world.

Daddy and Nellie

You’ve also got Daddy wrapped around your little finger. The way that you shriek with glee when he comes in the door warms my heart and I hope that you always consider yourself “Daddy’s little girl.” In fact, I don’t even mind that you ask for Daddy when I pick you up at daycare and bring you home. I’m just happy that you have such an upstanding man to look up to and learn what kind of person you deserve if one day you choose to get married. You Daddy loves you so much sweet one.

You are such a trooper, demanding and diligent as you are, you go with the flow consistently and are generally enthralled with new experiences. As we near our Mayo Clinic visit, I cling to the promise that Christ gave us when He called us to

“Cast all [our] anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

and know that no matter what happens, you will always be loved. You are a loved little one my dear, and you will be blanketed with prayers during our visit. Whether or not you understand what’s going on medically with you, all we want you to know is that you are loved from the top of your outrageous behaving hair to your cute, little blue butt.

I love your gusto for life and learning. Already you are singing your ABCs and counting along with your sister. It’s such a blessing for us to see you grow and I look forward to another, and another, and another after that.

Happy 2nd birthday my beautiful baby!

Going home

My growing, Nellie girl

Miss Nellie had her two-year checkup on Monday this week. Dr. King looked her up and over and declared that everything looks and seems healthy. She’s still got the heart murmur we learned about last year but said she’s not really concerned since we saw a specialist in Fargo and he said it’d go away. Dylan had the same type when he was younger and it no longer exists, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. AND lucky for us she was up-to-date on all her shots (including the flu) so we had a shot free visit…but we still had to get a finger prick to test her blood lead level.

We’ve set up an appointment at Mayo Clinic to checkout the swelling of her hemangioma. It hasn’t changed much, if at all, since we first went in again in October, but figure it might be enough to be impeding on the upper part of her vision. Better safe than sorry, right? I’m sure I’ll write more on that later, so we’ll leave it be for now, just if you think about it, please send up a prayer for us next week.

The hospital used to give out these cute little “See how I’m growing” stickers with the child’s info written on them, this time around I got a print out, along with other “helpful” tips on her developmental stage. Not quite as cute for her journal. She is growing though, albeit slowly. My peanut is 2’9″ (30%) and 25 lb 9.6 oz (37%), she’s still wearing some 12-24 mo. shirts but now has pretty much upgraded to 2T. Which reminds me that I’ve got to go through her closet and put away all the clothes that are too small.

An Instagram: Playing dress up with Daddy’s hat.

This Friday is her official birthday. She’ll be TWO. Has it really been TWO years? She’s still my “baby,” but she’s becoming more and more vocal about how much of a “baby” she sees herself as. Which, of course, kicks off baby fever for this mama, but rest assured that these ovaries are for now under control.

Christmas Decorating

We spent a laid back Sunday putting up the few Christmas decorations that we own. Ada and Nellie were ecstatic about the Christmas tree and had a blast hanging the ornaments. It’s always fun for me unwrapping the ornaments and remembering the little stories behind each one. Hopefully, someday, both girls will be able to do that with all the ones that they’ll have collected throughout the years.

I didn’t take many pictures of the house because frankly, the kids and the tree are the best things to look at anyway. 🙂

Nellie So turns 2!

We celebrated Nellie’s 2nd birthday a bit early since Dylan has to work on the actual day. Boo to unconventional work hours. Boo.

We planned a Sesame Street Party for the birthday girl since she loves her some Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover. I was nervous about making her cake this year but I think it all ended up going really well. My parents even came up Friday night to spend some extra time with us prior to partying. 😉

And of course a little singing:

And a little bit of after-party goodness. I made a balloon garland to hang in our archway and the girls went to town on it after Dylan unhooked it.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and for those of you who weren’t, we know the holidays get busy and travel isn’t always the best, just know you are loved and were missed! 🙂