laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Spring Meltdown

on April 12, 2011

When you live in the frozen tundra, as my family does, by the time Spring has sprung I’m left in a permafrost funk. Thankfully sunshine helps. But after months of being stuck in the house with three small children… I’m a little bit antsy. Thankfully the warm up has officially started and the snow is FINALLY gone! Unfortunately, for my children, that want to spend every last moment of this new found warm weather OUTSIDE… I have got the organizational munchies. I love organization. And before children I was known to go as far as to refold towels my husband had folded, because they weren’t quite right. 6 years and three kids later, I’m just thankful if any towels have been cleaned and are in need of folding, let alone getting folded- by anyone!

Because of littlest E’s birth last July, we didn’t get things as unpacked and organized as we otherwise would have, so we’re dusting off the cobwebs and picking up the slack now! We’ve filled our whole big trash bin with things we’re tossing and it’s not even trash day (we never do that!). Declutter!! I just can’t stand that “little bit everywhere”…in fact, it makes me a little crazy. And let’s face it, I’m already headed down that lane, so you can see why this would be a problem. So for me the first couple weeks of warmer weathers- they motivate me! I have to force myself to stop and let the kids run and play outside because I just want to keep going!

And since Monday has been dubbed, “Monday Funday” (I’m still trying to work out the rest of the days… if you have suggestions- let me know), it is our “electronic free day.” At least for the kids, and I try to at least keep mine minimized for their sake. Since it means no TV, no movies, no computer games…. we play. Outside, inside… wherever! We play. So things don’t really get done around the house on Mondays, but happiness occurs anyhow. Since we’re over that hump, today I’m attempting to get going on the re-organizing business full force! Today I have become Operative Mother of All Organization. Ok, maybe not that extreme, because I still have baby to nurse, kids to feed, dinners to make (hmm… my days often seem to focus on feeding people…). I seem to be having trouble staying focused on one subject here, so I should make this quick. Go. Do. Organize.

Another goal of this mass organization is to find my stinkin’ camera adapter so that I can actually post pictures! Other than my phone’s pictures! I have some fun spring/Easter crafts and really tasty meals that I would like you to see!

Want to know what I’m having for dinner tonight? A family favorite! I usually just make this quick on the stovetop (takes the same amount of time as making a box of Hamburger Helper!) but in honor of being reunited with my crockpot, I may just throw it in there! This truly is a family favorite, and is also spouse-friendly! One of the first meals I made after throwing out all the boxed, packaged kinds! I didn’t know what I was doing, but threw things together…and voila! It was proclaimed delicious! Since then (I’m hoping!) it has been honed and tweaked just enough to make me feel like it’s no longer in the experiment stage.

Burgers a la Pasta!

  • 4 servings of pasta (any kind- my kinds prefer “the noodles that look like phones” aka elbow)
  • *Homemade tomato sauce (I’m all out of the stuff I made and frozen in serving-size packages last fall, so I use plain tomato sauce and make it my own… adding in whatever tomatoes I have laying around, oregano, garlic, thyme, pepper, salt, pinch of sugar, and a pinch of whatever flour/starch I have on hand to thicken it just a bit. Don’t worry if you end up with more than you need with this recipe! Save it to use later this week or freeze it and use it next time!) You can of course use any kind of tomato/spaghetti sauce
  • 1 lb hamburger, browned (I add whatever I would add when making normal hamburgers. So I add some Montreal Steak Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Pepper, Lowry’s, and salt… just pinches of each. And if I have any, I’ll mince just enough onion to taste like it’s got a little bit of onion in it, but not enough to be seen)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar (or whatever kind you like on your burgers) cheese
  • Parmesan cheese (if you don’t have this, don’t worry. I keep the grated kind and the real, aged, parmigiana reggianna shredded kind on hand, so I always throw in a little of each.)
  • Splash of milk (maybe 1/4 cup if I had to guess)

*Like Ranch burgers? Stay away from tomatoes? I have to for my girl’s sake, and so I either A)omit the sauce for her and just make hers extra cheesy or b)make a ranch sauce (plain white sauce: 2 tbs butter, 2 tbs. flour, 1 cup milk. Boil 2 minutes and add whatever seasoning sounds good to you. I use a buttermilk ranch seasoning.) Don’t want dairy? Skip the cheese all together. Still very good!

side note: You can do this all in one pot, but I had hungry people so I boiled the water, then put the noodles in as I browned the ground beef (so they’d be done simultaneously).

After hamburger is browned (and drained! PS. if you cook it at a high heat, it gets more of the fat out!), add in the  noodles. Add the cheese slowly, while stirring, so that it melts and doesn’t turn into one big clump. If needed, adding in milk. (my kids like it just like this! no sauce needed!) Add in tomato sauce (about 2 cups. I always use more because my family likes things “saucy.”). Stir so noodles are coated and in the sauce. Once boiling (med-high heat) turn heat down and simmer (with a lid!) until noodles are thoroughly cooked, stirring occasionally. About 15 minutes (but that will depend on the kind of noodles you use, so keep an eye on them). Let sit about 2 minutes (will thicken up some). And eat! Enjoy!

I was starting to think my crock pot has long gone since I haven’t seen it since we moved, last summer. I came home from an outing with the kids to it sitting on the counter! My husband had found it! He walked in the door just in time to see me discover it! I literally jumped in his arms! (He threatened to hide it again based on my enthusiasm! But he also found my food puree-er that I’ve been searching for to make baby food with, so I was doubly excited!) In honor of that, I think tonight I will attempt throwing all the ingredients in the crock pot and seeing how it turns out!

I am going to take pictures of tonight’s meal…hopefully the process and not just the end results. And will add them to this post as soon as I can! THE CAMERA ADAPTER WILL BE FOUND! Hopefully before I get a chance to go out and buy a new one and not momentarily afterwards, like the Wii remote I just replaced, and was found within minutes of me walking in the door with the new one. *eye roll*

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