Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colorful Dining Room

You can't see the whole dining room here, but I did want to take this opportunity to share this picture because it features our new curtains, which was a major DIY project accomplishment for me.  After looking for the perfect curtains to use, I ended up buying my own fabric and was lucky enough to have my mom around to make these for us.  I know this is an easy project I can tackle on my own in the future, now that I bought a sewing machine, but hey, she offered!

Our dining room furniture is so heavy [table, book cases, and side board are all dark wood] so I really wanted to brighten up the room with a bright color palette.  I thought pops of orange and hot pink would be perfect for the room, and if I could bring in some yellow, I'd hit jackpot!  We love the colorful runner we use on the table, and also brought in a bright orange lamp (from our living room) onto the sideboard that's against the wall [not shown in this picture], to bring some cheer to this room.  We have two IKEA Poang chairs that we have had for some time, and changed the covers from faded black to fresh ivory [also not shown, these are on either side of the sideboard].  

The walls will eventually be painted in a cool bluish gray, and will complement the soft buttery yellow we are using in the adjacent kitchen.  it will take us some time to finish the look completely, and I look forward to sharing more pictures as it all comes together.

{Happy Decorating}

ps I bought the fabric at Jo-Ann Fabric store.  It is from the Waverly Home Decor Modern Essentials collection.  I used two and a half yards @ $19.99/yard.  {This particular fabric is not featured online, but there are many other great patterns I already have my eye on for future projects.}

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy Meal Planning

Lately, I've been trying to stay one step ahead of the game when it comes to our weekly meal planning for weeknight dinners.  My husband does most of the cooking at home, and I have been thinking of ways to alleviate the burden as much as possible.  Since I work full-time, I don't have the flexibility of making dinner during the week, unless it's just a matter of finishing something up or making something super quick.  Another factor is accommodating our twin toddlers.  At 21 months old, they are starting to show their independence by voicing more of what they like and don't like, and they are unpredictable at best.

I've been trying something new the past few weeks.  I've started to prepare foods on Sunday for storage in the freezer, that we can use during the week.  I only wish I had documented this along the way, in photos for sharing.  I've also started freezing breads and doughs for use at a later time.

Take a look at what's currently in our freezer, along with our meal plan for this week:
  • Home made ravioli, filled with lump crab and cream cheese
  • Home made pizza dough
  • Home made banana nut bread
  • Home made crab won tons
  • Home made meat lasagna
  • Home made cookie dough - oatmeal raisin with chocolate chips
  • Store bought frozen baguettes
  • Store bought frozen garlic toast
  • Frozen chicken breasts (marinated already -- jerk sauce, BBQ sauce)
  • Frozen vegetables
This week's meal plan:
  • Monday:  Jerk chicken with sweet potatoes and veggies {for the kiddos:  grilled chicken without the jerk sauce, and veggie mix with regular boiled potatoes}
  • Tuesday:  Vietnamese chicken sandwiches -- sauteed chicken on a french baguette, dressed with wasabi cream sauce, and garnished with fresh cilantro, cucumbers and carrots  {for the kiddos:  sauteed chicken, baguette slices, tater tots}
  • Wednesday:  Crab ravioli and shrimp in vodka sauce, with garlic toast and green salad {for the kiddos: plain pasta tossed with chicken and red pasta sauce}
  • Thursday:  Grilled BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and green veggies {the kiddos will have the same menu}
  • Friday:  Pizza topped with fresh basil, mozzarella and pepperoni, with green salad {for the kiddos:  pizza and steamed veggies}
  • Saturday:  Meat lasagna
Sunday, we will start all over again.  Last Sunday, my husband made Fish Tacos with fresh tilapia and a baja sauce (chipotles and sour cream).  They were great for lunch!  After lunch, while the girls napped, I made the meat lasagna and cookies, and froze the lasagna and half the cookie dough for later.  We had a light dinner and took it easy the rest of the day, knowing that meals for the week ahead were mostly taken care of.

I hope you're inspired to prepare in advance and make the most of your weeknights, since they are the shortest in the week.  Happy cooking!