Monday, July 16, 2012

I Got the Call

I woke up this morning, looked through the kitchen, and asked myself, "What the hell did Terry bring for lunch today? We have no food."

I e-mailed him to ask if he wanted me to bring him a post-grocery-shopping lunch, and he invited me to come out to lunch with him. Done! I'm fairly certain that, as a married lady, an impromptu lunch date is the closest feeling to that first date tingle. Terry usually works straight through the day and prefers to eat lunch at his desk, so his willingness to extend his day to see me gets me all excited. When I got the call, I was thrilled! No boring cafeteria salad for the big guy--wife to the rescue!

That's a happy midday smile!

Backing up a bit, I made it my goal today to hit Trader Joe's before 11. A checkout worker there mentioned once that it's pretty dead in the morning, so I wanted to see if I could make my shopping even quicker than usual. Success! I planned out our menu for the week and made it in and out of Trader Joe's in less than 15 minutes. Like a champ.

Here's our menu for the week:


(To answer your question, no, I don't color code and type out our menu every week, though it certainly does make the whole thing more exciting. Then again, what's not exciting about food?)

Our lunches will be leftovers for the rest of the week (today's leftovers will be eaten tomorrow, tomorrow night's leftovers will be eaten Wednesday and Thursday for lunch). I love hot lunches and almost never get sick of eating the same thing, even a few days in a row--and this way we won't be tempted to go out in the middle of the day again.

Another major success this morning was checking a chore off my summer project list: cleaning out the freezer. I cleared everything out, wiped down the inside of the freezer, threw out food we wouldn't eat (and, as usual, vowed to never waste food again), and put everything back in a semi-organized fashion. I used a corner shelf unit that I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond to avoid the giant stacking mess I had for the last year. I also noticed that about one quarter of my freezer food is nuts--almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans. I store my nuts in the freezer because it extends the shelf life; the oils in nuts can spoil in the cabinet, and we buy raw nuts that don't have preservatives. So I'm on the lookout for a little freezer-safe basket I can use to store all the nuts.

Tonight I made a completely new side dish to accompany our grilled chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts. I was inspired by the pearl onions I found in our freezer from last week's boeuf bourguignon plus a recipe I've made a few times in the past, and it turned out to be delicious!

Braised Onions and Mushroom Couscous
Serves 4

Braised onion and mushroom couscous

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package frozen pearl onions (can replace with sliced brown/yellow onions)
  • 1 package button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups water
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan or pan with tall sides. Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and saute until browned, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth and wine; bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to package directions. If desired, toast the couscous in olive oil before adding the water--it provides a nutty flavor.

To finish the dish, add the mushroom-onion mixture (there will still be some liquid left; add that too) to the cooked couscous. Stir everything together and serve warm. This dish is a perfect side for grilled chicken or fish.

Tonight was a night out with the ladies to see Magic Mike. I knew Jenn would want to see it with me, and she invited two other friends. Terry and I earn free movie tickets when we donate blood, so I was even able to treat all four of us to the movie. Tickets are over $12 now, so I'm thrilled we all saved money--and saved a life! The movie itself was terrible (no, Channing Tatum didn't make up for it...sadly), but I was grateful to spend some time with the ladies and to have a good chat with Jenn after the movie.

On a side note, if you're interested in donating blood, here are some sites to find out where, how, and whether you're eligible. 
You can also contact local hospitals or ask your physician for a local blood donation center. 

What's the last horrible movie you saw? 
I really thought Magic Mike was going to be light and funny, but it was painful. Channing Tatum's dancing was awesome (he's actually an extremely talented dancer, as was demonstrated in Step Up), but I think that's the only good thing I can say about it. Sure, we laughed a lot--but not for the right reasons!


  1. Awe, so glad you two got to enjoy a lunch date together :) Those are always the best!!

    Good job on clearing out your freezer girl. That and the fridge may be one of the biggest chores I despise doing. I'm not sure what it is about it, but ughh it seems like such an annoyance everytime!!

    Your dinner looks deliciousss too btw! :)

    1. Thanks Jessie! A clean freezer makes me smile, and it was worth the time...but I only do it once a year!

  2. I wish I could have enjoyed that beautiful dinner before the movie too! Next time, could you bring me some of that in your purse for the movie??

    1. Next time: gourmet meal at the theater.

  3. That must feel amazing to get your freezer cleaned out - good job!