Week 37: Tea Parties

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The ladies enjoying their tea party

Tea parties were a regular part of my childhood. With friends, pets, dolls, or anything that would sit long enough to be considered good company. My long-time childhood friend Caroline and I loved to have real tea parties with our moms’ and favorite teachers. It was an excellent excuse to have chocolate covered strawberries, but we loved dressing up, eating delicious finger sandwiches and acting grown up. There were also many more childhood tea parties that were far less civilized with anyone who would join in. Dogs, cats, donkeys, stuffed animals and siblings were all fair game. So it seems only fitting that Stella got her first tea set from my childhood tea party partner Caroline. This week was a little brutal with cold, cold weather and lots of snow. Thursday was the worst. Our usual daily routine gets us out every morning for a very mandatory walk or run with Tazzie and again in the afternoon after Stella’s nap we head out for either a play date or errands. Anything, really, to get out of the house. On Thursday in the single digits I bundled Stella up to go outside for a quick sled with Tazzie, but it was too cold for much else. By 9:30am Tazzie had already destroyed one of Stella’s toys so I knew I was in for a treat. Despite all the fun toys, 16-month olds have a very short attention span so our day of house arrest was a struggle. We colored with crayons, we played in the teepee, we read books, ate, played all of her musical instruments, looked out the window, played dress up, ate snow, pulled toys around the house and despite all that we were still struggling. So I unfolded our outdoor picnic blanket, set out the tea set and we had a tea party. Despite never having had a real tea party Stella knew just what to do and sipped away at her teacup. It was adorable. Tazzie of course was game. She thinks that every blanket, towel or rag that falls on the floor is her personal bed. Little did she know she would soon be fed “cakes” and tea but she made for a surprisingly well-behaved tea party mate. Despite the challenging day my memory will be of the tea party between my two sweet (sometimes) little ladies. Love them! Meal Plan & Grocery List

Monday: Veggie Sausage Skillet

  • I pre-cooked 1 cup of brown rice to use in this dish. Instant/dehydrated rice doesn’t do it for me.
  • I tweaked the quantities and used more sausage, zucchini, and a lot more seasoning (1 Tbsp each of cumin and oregano).
  • Once it is all mixed up I served it with every garnish I could think of: shredded cheese, cilantro, salsa, sour cream and avocado. And it was delicious.

Tuesday: Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Chicken

  • I did actually try to find dried mushrooms because I appreciate the flavor they were trying to get from them for the broth, but since I couldn’t find them I started with step two and borrowed a few ingredients from this more traditional recipe for extra flavor.
  • I added fish sauce and lemon grass to the broth using the quantities from the Bon Appetite recipe. The broth was so flavorful and delicious I could have drank the whole pot!
  • We used chicken instead of tofu and didn’t use the fresh mushrooms or the spinach, going again for the more traditional Tom Kha Gai soup but with the more unique addition of curry paste and a few less hard to find ingredients. A good combo.

Wednesday: Lemony Asparagus Pasta

  • I quadrupled this recipe to used 1 lb of penne. I’m not sure who makes 4 oz of pasta for dinner but that definitely does not cut it in this household.
  • I thought the whole-grain mustard and lemon zest and juice were a nice addition to the sauce.
  • I used green beans instead of asparagus, but there are plenty of other substitutes that would also work depending on what looks good at the store.

Thursday: Roasted Winter Squash with Seared Cod and Roasted Broccoli

  • I used the concept of this recipe but most certainly did not roast my winter squash and fish in a stick of butter. My goodness!
  • My winter squash of choice was red kuri and delicata. I tossed them with a little olive oil, butter, salt and pepper and roasted them stirring occasionally.
  • I also roasted some broccoli at the same time.
  • The rich winter squash was an excellent pairing with the cod, so the New York Times did have a good idea with this recipe, just a little rich for my taste.

Friday: Chili Topped Sweet Potatoes, Corn Bread and Green Salad

  • I like this super simple chili recipe with a slightly different presentation. In the magazine they give you three different dinner ideas for the same chili. Chili-topped sweet potatoes, nachos, and Cincinnati style served over spaghetti, all of which would make a pretty easy dinner.
  • I added a can of beans to the chili as well.
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