Tag Archives: Snow Day

In anticipation of the storm… week 4

8 Feb

The weekend routines run smoothly these days as long as I keep my focus on getting my chores, errands and duties commenced, on track, and finalized before Sunday night’s sad exit.  Some invisible hand pries my eyelids open on the weekends – and I lament those lost days when sleeping in past 9:00 am were the norm.  These days, I either have my daughter (at eye-level) peeking over the mattress and whimpering (in the wee hours of the morning), “I had an accident” or an energetic dashing of heavy-footed galloping down the hall of “Mama!! She threw ALL her stuff outside her crib!!” and the triumphant puffing-out of the chest of an older sister tattling on her younger sister.  Frankly, at 7:30 am on a weekend, I really can’t be fully interested whether she threw her stuffed bears, Totoro doll, Ponyo or blankie out of her crib.  I. Just. Want. To. Sleep. Oh… for five more minutes.  Maybe ten.  Wishful thinking.

The routine this week was roasting chicken wings from Makinajian’s at 350 degrees, seasoned with Trader Joe’s 21 Spice seasoning and a drop of olive oil for 30 minutes.  I also roasted the required beets alongside the chicken wings – and I also chopped the beet greens into inch long pieces and sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic.

For Monday’s lunch, I packed the following:

Roasted chicken wings (cut at the joints, I include both drumstick and wing for lunch but save the upper tip for stock)

Roast beets

Pan-sauteed potatoes – I boil potatoes (cut into eighths) until barely tender, then pan saute in a cast-iron skillet well heated over medium heat.  A drop of olive oil, and I try not to touch the potatoes until they have formed a crispy brown crust over each side.

Blanched broccoli

Celery sticks

Tuesday was a variation of what I made over the weekend. 

I had frozen some of the turkey meatballs from earlier in the month, and I defrosted, and warmed up.

Grape tomatoes

Blanched broccoli

Sautéed beet greens

Wednesday, the little one was sick, so I stayed home from work and spent an out-of-routine day.  I still packed the older one her lunch, and here’s her menu:

Roasted chicken wings and drumsticks with a squeeze of lemon juice

Quartered roast beets

Cubes of medium firm tofu that were blanched in boiling water and cooled prior to packing – a drop of soy sauce was added for seasoning (post photo)

Conventional steamed snow peas

Steamed carrots and string beans

I had originally poo-pooed the impending snow storm.  My experience with a dud storm made me a bit cynical, and with Papa across the continent at a week-long business meeting, it was denial by wishful thinking.

It didn’t work.

A foot and a half (30 cm) of snow later, school was closed, work was closed, and I was left to snow-blow my driveway.  I snuck outside in the driveway around 7:00 am, hoping I would be finished by the time I had gracefully blown ALL the snow out of the driveway – but who was I kidding?  I had left the living room blinds wide open, and the television set on the Japanese channel so the kids wouldn’t be alarmed that I wasn’t in my bedroom.  I figured the older one would hear the TV, and hopefully by then, the children’s shows were on.

After a heart-dropping puttering of the snowblower, a frantic call to my husband who was fast asleep (4 am PST – bah!) and a call to my mother in law warning her I was about to put whatever fuel that I could pour out of the lone, filled, fuel container and to come check on the kids if she didn’t hear from me within the hour (assume the worst! I told her) – I looked up from my hellish trudging across and up and down my driveway, I saw my blinds dancing up and down.  I ran into the house to tell my daughter not to play with the blinds, and to please wait until I was done…

Again – I didn’t realize how long the snowblowing exercise was going to take; however, let’s say, I was glad I had packed my daughter’s bento box the night before.  I also packed a mini bento box for my little daughter, and at noon, they both tucked into their respective lunches.

Here’s the menu for the snowday:

Rolled omelette with sautéed and chopped beet greens, and shirasu boshi, or boiled baby sardines

Roasted beets

Steamed multi-grain rice (quinoa, millet, brown rice, barley, wheat berries) seasoned with sesame seeds (black and white)

Roasted chicken wings and drumstick, simmered in a teriyaki sauce made of 2 tbs mirin, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1/2 tsp grated ginger and a quarter cup of water.  I heated up the sauce first, and when it started bubbling, added the chicken to cook until the sauce thickened.  I then lowered the heat to low, and kept tossing the chicken to coat it well with the sauce.

Since school was closed the next day, both girls went to our daycare provider who makes delicious meals every day.  Lentil soup with chicken sausage and kale, chicken soup with pastina, eggplant parmigiana….  I know they both ate well that day!


Swimming in Snow! Snow! Snow!

13 Jan

Our house was blanketed in more than a foot of lovely white yesterday, and we had a wonderful family snow day.  Papa cleared the driveway and walkways with the snowblower – a ribbon of white fluff relocated the snow, Kiki hopped around in the snow in circles, and the girls enjoyed exploring the various corners of the yard.  Of course the day didn’t start without drama – a good half hour of wailing and crying by the older one because she didn’t want to wear her winter coat, snow pants, boots, gloves or hat.  I probably should have allowed her to venture out in her wardrobe selection of skirt, tights and no sweater so she could understand, first hand, the importance of winter gear.  Next time.

I was able to put a few slow cooking dishes on the stove, and enjoyed a day of watching the girls and dog enjoy the beautiful snow.  They even had their own mugs of hot cocoa! (with marshmallows I purchased at Makinajian’s!)

Today’s lunch:

Sautéed cabbage, seasoned with a little pepper and soy sauce.  I let the soy sauce carmelize, adding a rich, savory edge to the sweet cabbage bits.  I was inspired to cook cabbage (normally I make an Asian “slaw” with shredded cabbage and thinly sliced red onion tossed with soy sauce, ginger and rice vinegar dressing) thanks to Elaine Louie’s lovely New York Times articles on cabbage this past week.

Roasted beets cut into penguin shapes (courtesy of a care package from Gigi and Baba)

Fresh veggie sticks (celery, cucumber and grape tomato)

Steamed multi-grain rice pilaf topped with Mabo Tofu.  I sautéed one minced onion, a half inch piece of ginger and two finely minced garlic cloves in canola oil, and set aside when they were done.  In the same pan, I browned a pound of ground turkey over medium heat.  Once the meat was done, I added the cooked onion and garlic, and added enough vegetable stock to immerse the meat, and set on the stove to simmer at very low heat for an hour.  I checked occasionally, and added more water as needed.  I then added a tablespoon of red miso dissolved in a half cup of water, and poured it over the meat mixture over low heat.  I let it reduce a bit more, and added a block (14 ozs) of House Medium Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  The key is to gently toss the tofu into the meat without crushing the tofu cubes.  Once the tofu heated through, I added two finely chopped (about 1/8 inch long pieces) scallions and slowly stirred it together.  I then added a slurry of katakuriko and water over everything, and slowly stirred until everything thickened.  Normally, I would add toubanjan or fermented spicy bean paste, but the last time I made this dish, I added too much and the girls refused to eat it.  I’ll just add to my portion when I warm it up.

Hopefully she’ll try everything.  The slow cooking of the turkey made it incredible tender and flavorful – and although it seems strange I would cook ground meat in such a manner, let’s say I was curious to see if it would be an improvement to the often dried out version I would make in a shorter span of time.