Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Take a week off....

and come back to a Page Rank of 5? Must be a glitch. How can inactivity result in a better page ranking? I've been wondering when I'd earn a higher page rank, but I didn't think it would happen when I wasn't posting!

In any case, it's nice to have a chance to sit down and blog.

Last week got very busy with the arrival of my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their four girls, ages 9 months to 9 years. It was fun, especially now that we have a larger house and they don't have to sleep in my living room anymore. The house we are in now is very well-suited for guests - there is a bedroom and a full bath in the basement, giving our guests quite a bit of privacy (not to mention a little sanity for myself). The closet in the guest room is even big enough to fit a portable crib for my youngest niece.

Once upon a time, I used to go all out for guests. We're talking appetizers almost every night, fairly elaborate meals and dessert. Not only was that a lot of work, but it was a lot of food. Nowadays, I try to keep things simple. Working full time has certainly cut into my cooking time, but I also found that I ended up spending almost all of my time in the kitchen instead of enjoying my guests. As much as I like to treat my guests well, that just wasn't working. And I honestly feel that a host can put his/her guests on edge or make them feel guilty for sitting around and enjoying themselves (as they should) if he/she is slaving away in the kitchen. If I do make appetizers and desserts, I do them all ahead of time and keep them in the freezer - very convenient and it frees me up to visit with my guests.

This time I skipped the appetizers and desserts altogether. I must admit it was for selfish reasons. Not only did I have time constraints, but I really need to lose some weight and I wanted to keep things simple and light. The menu was not only simple, but it was quite healthful as well. Lots of vegetables. Our grill got a pretty good workout too.

Friday was still Lent, so I made one of our favorite grilled salads, an interpretation of the Summer Vegetable Salad with Grilled Bread that I've mentioned here before. This time, I grilled a combination of mushrooms, red onion, orange pepper, zucchini and yellow squash. To that mixture, I added some whole wheat pasta, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes and feta cheese. I used the basic dressing in the recipe, but I added some Dijon mustard and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Leftovers of this salad are quite good lightly warmed in the microwave - I've been bringing it all week to work and just used up the last of it today. Yum!

Photo from Cooking Light

On Saturday, we had Cooking Light's Beef-and-Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Onions. I served this with my own creation - a Black Bean and Grilled Corn Salad (I will post a rough recipe for that this weekend). I love fajitas - especially with a nice cold Corona - and they are great for guests, especially kids since you get to create your own.

On Sunday we had a Honey Baked Ham that we picked up on Saturday. Okay, I admit that at least part of the reasoning for ordering a ham was to give my SIL and me a reason to go out for a bit on our own - we snuck in lunch and a little bit of shopping while getting the ham. I feel it's my duty as her friend to make sure she takes some time to herself - something she doesn't do often enough. And besides - I love Honey Baked Hams. I look forward to the treat once a year at Easter. I had planned to have sauteed asparagus and twice-baked potatoes as sides, but I ended up adding sauteed spinach to the menu after 6 1/2-year-old niece begged me to make her some spinach. What's this? A child begging me to make spinach??? How could I refuse? My guys would NEVER beg for spinach, so I was NOT passing up that opportunity - I was more than happy to oblige.

That was our weekend of cooking. Very simply and fairly light and healthful. My BIL seemed very appreciative of all the vegetables.

We had a lot of leftovers and have been living off of them all week, mostly for lunches. Monday night I made quesadillas out of the fajita leftovers. Tonight we took a break from leftovers and cooked some burgers on the grill. Tomorrow I need to use up some eggs along with the leftover ham, so it will be some sort of scramble or frittata, not sure yet.

I hope that I will find time now to post more than once a week - maybe twice, at least??!! I've been cutting back on the junk food and snacking and trying to at least walk every day and still hope to one day get back to my weigh-ins. I don't know if it's wise to commit to posting certain days, but for now I'd like to try to post at least on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Perhaps Wednesday could return to weigh-ins and Saturdays could be a weekly recap. And maybe a WDB or ARF thrown in here and there...

I will be back tomorrow with an announcement that I should have made quite a while ago. VRC en Fran├žais............

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a great time with your family! I've finally learned to relax when company comes to visit from out of town. It's so much nicer to have company now.

    Vive le Francais huh?