Classic Meatloaf

I made meatloaf for dinner last Monday. I don’t know why meatloaf has gotten such a bad rap over the years! Brian was a much pickier eater when we got married and I was surprised that he wanted to eat it at all. It has turned out to be one of our favorite meals. This is the recipe that we’ve always used and although it has evolved since we discovered it (I have no clue where we got it to begin with), it has only gotten better.

Ingredients
1 lb Ground beef
1 Egg
1 Onion, chopped
3/4 c. Milk
1 1/4 c. Bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1/3 c. Ketchup
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1 Tb Mustard
1 Tb BBQ sauce

Directions
Combine beef, egg, onion, milk, and bread crumbs in a mixing bowl (mixing by hand is the best if you can handle it!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Put meat mixture in a greased 5×9 loaf pan. Mix ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and BBQ sauce  in a small dish. Spread over the top of the loaf.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

What We Ate: 6/9 – 6/15

Starting this week, I’m going to link to any recipes I’ve found online (usually through Pinterest). I’ve also gone back through the last several weeks and linked up those meals too. One of my goals is to slowly start adding recipes I’ve collected from family, cookbooks, or other sources to the blog as well, hopefully as we eat them. You should see at least 2 coming your way shortly!

Sunday
Lunch: Cheese ravioli with marinara, steamed green beans, and garlic bread *
Dinner: Huevos Rancheros served with plain greek yogurt (eaten like sour cream) and tortilla chips

Monday
Lunch: Leftover huevos rancheros
Dinner: Meatloaf, baked red skin potatoes, green beans, (K) baked sweet potato

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Leftover linguine with red sauce and asparagus from Brian’s date night meal
Dinner: Leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus

Wednesday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Last of the meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Dinner: Another date night! We went to Red Robin to redeem my free birthday burger **

Thursday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Cheddar and black bean quesadilla with greek yogurt and salsa
Dinner: Grilled steak, chive and butter baked potatoes (also grilled), roasted carrots

Friday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Cheddar and black bean quesadilla with greek yogurt and salsa
Dinner: Frozen alfredo chicken meal from Aldi

Saturday
Lunch: McDonald’s (traveling)
Dinner: Jet’s Pizza and salad ***

* Yup, pretty much the exact same lunch as last Sunday. Ben and I had a playdate with a former coworker and her two kids less than an hour after we got home from church and I knew this meal takes about 15 minutes to put together.

** A friend of mine who was recently engaged invited us to an engagement party in the couple’s honor on Wednesday. The party was conveniently near my parents’ house so we dropped Ben off a little early and went out to dinner, just the two of us.

*** Good friends of ours from college moved to LA 4 years ago and only come back once or twice a year. The whole college group, Club 68, got together over Saturday to Sunday to catch up and for those who hadn’t, meet Ben. We eat really well when we’re together but pizza always seems to be on the list.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

I finally got my vegetable garden planted last week. Yes, I know it was super late!

I never plant any early producers that need to get in right away (no asparagus, leaf lettuces, strawberries, radishes, green onion, etc) because May is historically a horribly busy month for us. Between birthdays, our anniversary, and preparing for our first reenactment of the year at Greenfield Village, there is never enough time to get myself to the farmers’ market, weed, spread dirt, put up the rabbit fence, lay weed-blocking fabric, and get the plants in the ground between the frost-safe time (usually around the second week of May) and Memorial Day.

The contents of the garden varies from year to year, especially since I was largely pregnant last summer so I did the bare minimum to keep things from getting overgrown. This year I weeded and prepped both sections of the garden; the south bed where we pulled out 3 large trees planted only inches from the house the summer after we moved in and the L garden next to the driveway. The L garden was here when we moved in and I have fond memories of my Grandpa coming over first thing on the morning we moved in to weed, put up fences and plant a forest of bush beans. Grandma told me that Grandpa always planted too many beans in their garden too! Now that Grandpa is gone, cleaning out the L bed and planting my beans (vine on teepees, not bushes) makes me feel a little closer to him.

In the south bed, we have a patio tomato, a yellow pear tomato, a purple sweet pepper plant, a yellow sweet pepper, two squashes, a yellow crook-neck and a zucchini, and my experiment of the year, two sweet potato vines. The time needed until maturity for sweet potatoes is longer than I anticipate having left this year (I think it’s close to 140 days) but it’s worth a shot! There is also a largeish lavender plant and chives at the far end of the bed. Since those are perennials, I don’t have to worry about them much.

The L bed will have 2 bean teepees with 3 vines planted at the base of each leg; 18 total, and Brian’s one request, the pumpkin plant. That space needs a bit more work before I can say that it’s actually finished but that should be done tomorrow if the weather holds out.

I’m going to mulch the south bed but I read somewhere that I should hold off on mulching until the plants are established (3 or so weeks) so they don’t feel too crowded and die. I don’t mind delaying mulching at all! It’s one of my least favorite outdoor chores.

What We Ate: 6/2 – 6/8

This week was fun because we had so much going on. My birthday was the 5th and Brian’s mom came over on Wednesday to take us out for dinner and spend the night and then my parents came over on Friday night so Brian and I could celebrate my birthday by going out by ourselves. It’s not often that we get to go out twice in one week!

Sunday
Lunch: Cheese ravioli, garlic bread, broccoli
Dinner: Ice cream, string cheese, (K) Spring Onion noodle soup from Trader Joe’s

Monday
Lunch: Black bean quesadillas
Dinner: Chuck roast in the crock pot with potatoes, carrots, and onion

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) BBQ chicken sandwich with leftover BBQ chicken, (K) leftover roast
Dinner: Baked chicken fajitas (these were awesome!)

Wednesday
Lunch: Panera (broccoli cheese soup)
Dinner: On The Border (carne asada with cilantro lime rice and veggies)

Thursday
Lunch: Leftover chicken fajitas
Dinner: Roasted asparagus, goat cheese and honey on wheat crackers, and popcorn

Friday
Lunch: A doughnut each (National Doughnut Day!), (B) Black bean quesadilla, (K) Black bean and sweet red pepper quesadilla
Dinner: Date Night! Local Italian place Mangiamo. It’s in a giant, old Victorian mansion. Brian ordered Parmesan crusted chicken with creamy red sauce and linguine and I picked slow roasted beef shoulder with mashed potatoes, broccolini, and shaved root vegetables.

Saturday
Lunch: Cousin’s son’s first birthday party (brats, wonderful baked beans, potato salad)
Dinner: (B) Tacos from my On The Border carne asada, (K) Leftover beef shoulder

What We Ate: 5/26 – 6/1

One of the things I’d like to do on this blog is record what we ate each week to make myself more aware of how I’m feeding my family. I’ve attempted making meal plans at the beginning of the week in the past but have never been able to fully commit. Maybe listing our meals after the fact will be a baby step in that direction?

In our house, breakfast is on our own since we get up at different times. The exception would be special occasions, holidays, and sometimes Sundays when I might make pancakes or oatmeal. I make Brian’s lunch about half of the time so he doesn’t have to take more time off of work during his lunch break. I also gladly trade making his lunch if he feeds Ben! Dinner is always a family activity and is becoming more so as Ben grows. We don’t usually eat at the table like real adults yet but we’re closer than we were last year!

Sunday: Reenacting

Monday
Lunch: Reenacting
Dinner: Leftover pizza and the last package of frozen cinnamon breadsticks

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) Salad leftovers from weekend
Dinner: Homemade mac & cheese

Wednesday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) Mac & cheese leftovers
Dinner: Bean soup with ham and beer bread

Thursday
Lunch: (B) Mach & cheese leftovers, (K) Grilled sharp cheddar and spinach on sourdough
Dinner: (Friends for dinner) BBQ chicken legs and thighs, steamed green beans, Supreme pasta salad

Friday
Lunch: Leftover bean soup
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night

Saturday
Lunch: McDonalds (treat we promised ourselves if we got up early and did yard work)
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night

Washing Cloth Diapers in a Whirlpool Duet Steam

We started using cloth diapers 2 weeks after Ben was born and immediately liked them better than disposables. They contained messes better, didn’t leak, and looked fluffy and adorable on his little bum! We used prefolds and covers (PUL, fleece, and wool) exclusively for 4 weeks and started mixing in our BumGenius 4.0 diapers when Ben was 6 weeks old. We’ve been using the 4.0s ever since but have also bought 5 BumGenius All-in-Ones, which I love. Maybe I’ll get into the hows and whys of our cloth diaper routine in another post.

When we started our cloth adventure, I had an old top loading washing machine that we had gotten with the house. It worked well but wasn’t very water efficient so we knew we wanted to upgrade eventually. I found a great deal on a Whirlpool Duet Steam washer on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and couldn’t wait for it to be delivered! My washing machine is almost like another member of the family and I know it will get to be more so as our family grows.

I have always heard that you have to be careful washing cloth diapers in a high efficiency front loader because they don’t always use enough water to fully rinse out the diapers. We have been using this same series of steps to wash the diapers since we got the machine in December and haven’t had a problem with smell yet!

1. Load the diapers into wash. Set the washer to Rinse/Drain and Spin and change spin speed to low. Add 1 c. vinegar to the main wash section of the soap drawer OR 2 Tbs of Funk Rock (once a month) into the drum with the diapers. Make sure temp is set to cold (should automatically be set to cold). Timer should be set to 30 minutes. Start!

2. Set the washer to Normal/Casual. Set temp to hot, spin to high, soil level to heavy, push the buttons for presoak and extra rinse. The timer should be set to around 2 hours and 8 minutes after all the options are selected. Add an almost full scoop of Charlie’s soap OR 1.5 Tbs of Classic Rock to main wash section of soap drawer. DO NOT ADD FABRIC SOFTENER!

3. Unsnap all inserts and unfold burp cloths. Dry on heavy duty (high heat) all inserts, prefolds, burp cloths, and fitted diapers. All pocket diapers, covers and the wet bag are line dried. If the weather is warm and sunny, I bring the inserts, All-in-Ones, and pocket diapers to the back patio along with the drying rack and let them dry outside. I keep hoping that we’ll get a retractable clothes line (like this one) installed this summer.

Questions? Comments? Feel like cloth diapers are more trouble than they’re worth?

Welcome

I thought it time that I finally act on my idea of starting a blog to record some of the happenings around the Richards residence as well as share some of the things I’ve learned about running the house and family.

I’ve always been interested in the skills people attribute to homemakers. I’ve been sewing, washing laundry, cooking, crocheting, cleaning (yuck), and ordering people around for a long time. I remember being frustrated during my freshman year of college when I had to declare a major because I already knew that all I wanted from life was to be a mom and take care of my family. It took a few years to find the right guy who supported that life goal and a few years beyond that for me to be able to quit my day job but I love what I do today.

Things I am good at: Telling people what to do, remembering where things are kept, finding recipes my family will enjoy, loving my boys

Things I don’t do well: Dust the house, deal with bugs or spiders, part with any sentimental object, take out the trash in a timely manner.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be posting here but I’m excited to start!