Tag Archives: dinner

5 Books + New Beer!


Another week has come and gone and *sigh*…. I still haven’t posted on anything except books! I have a lot I’d like to share; but I’m still in that “don’t want to be on the computer after sitting and working on one all day” mode.

What’s more? Our friends opened a new brewery in Shakopee last night! I did stop by to support; but instead of the old me, snapping photos at every opportunity, I did not take a single one. Instead, I just enjoyed the experience. It was really fun to see a bunch of our friends there, too! If you haven’t yet, please take a time to check out Shakopee Brewhall. They did an amazing job with which I thought was going to be the narrowest space tucked between Turtles and Arnie’s in downtown Shakopee. Instead, it feels quite roomy and is a perfect space for socializing!


One reason I like to post about the books that I’ve read is that I want to remember themSince I went a whole month between stretches of posting on this blog, there are a few books that I don’t remember very well! That makes me sad. I teetered on whether I should post about them or not. I decided to post about them anyway!

Many of the books this week are how-to and cookbooks, but I’ve saved a little fiction for last. 🙂 Enjoy!


Dinner: The Playbook
by Jenny Rosenstrach 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

After loving Jenny’s (can I be so bold to address you by your first name, Jenny?!) first book, Dinner, A Love Story, I knew this would be another good one. It’s a different approach, though. Whereas Dinner, A Love Story was quite literally a story, Dinner, The Playbook is, well… a playbook. It’s your guide and how-to to get dinner on the table every. single. night… if you so desire. While it does focus on families and how to encourage picky eaters, I still felt this book could apply to me. With a husband who does not cook and would be content to eat out every night of the week, I sometimes need this. While she suggests enlisting the help of everyone in the family, even if it’s just to set the table, I find that one difficult. If dinner is anything but ordering and paying for it, my husband considers it too much work and not worth it! If I want to eat at home, I have to do the cooking and the dishes. (The trade off is that I don’t do any yardwork or vacuuming!)

One of the suggestions I did like, however, was when asked what is for dinner to casually say, “Hmmm… I haven’t decided yet,” even when you do know. That keeps any backlash at bay and makes things so much easier for you! I feel like this would work with my husband because whenever we would have something planned for an evening meal in, he wouldn’t be feeling it and would suggest going out instead. I have yet to try this on him!

After returning this book to the library, it promptly went on my PaperbackSwap.com and put it on my wishlist.


Lose Weight by Eating
by Audrey Johns 
(non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read?

Here is one of the cookbooks that I don’t remember much about. I don’t know how I hears about it; but I do know that I chose it because it focuses on real food. Still, I don’t remember the content nor the recipes! I liked it enough that I gave it 3 start out of 5 on Good Reads and put it on my PaperbackSwap.com. Hmmmm.


Home Cheap Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Great Decorating
by Budget Living (non-fiction, how-to) – skip it

Truth be told, this is a book from 2004 that I think I’ve owned since then, but have never read! I had it up for grabs on PaperbackSwap.com. When someone requested it, I figured I should probably give it a quick read, or at least flip-through, before I mailed it off. Now I know why I did not read this book – it is Not. For. Me. Surprisingly, I don’t think it’s really that out-dated in terms of style; but the ideas where not ones I would use. I hope the person who requested this book gets much better use out of it than I did!


Organizing Solutions for People with ADD:
Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

by Susan C. Pinsky (non-fiction, how-to) – worth a read

I have never been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder; but I do believe we all can suffer from distraction from time to time. This book was written in 2006. I will say that some of the tips sounded condescending, even though the author has family members with ADD and has been helping others for years. I’m sure she didn’t intended it to be that way. Maybe I’m just sensitive to the language. In any case, I can’t even remember some of the tips. All I know is that simplifying seems to be best. Ease and efficiency is more important than special organizers or how something looks.  Items should be in reach and never take multiple steps to get to or put away because otherwise, they will not happen! I think that is good advice for anyone, not just those with ADD.


Hello Sunshine
by Laura Dave (fiction) – worth a read

I loved the opening of this book! It was recommended by another blogger I follow. While I liked the storyline, I felt like the book fell flat by the end. I’m not sure there was any true climax. When I started reading this book, I was in the throes of watching Next Food Network Star. I kept seeing commercials for a show called I Hart Food with Hannah Hart. Hannah became my image of this book’s main character for that reason! Although I didn’t love the way the book fizzled out, I’m still intrigued to read her book Eight Hundred Grapes, which takes place in wine country!


What are your favorite how-to books?



High Protein Dinners?


I’m looking for some more ideas for high-protein recipes to make my husband for dinners. There’s only so much you can do with just beef and pork before it can get boring.

These are a few favorites that I have recently tucked in my arsenal:

Then there are few that I want to try out on him! Although, some of these are chicken dishes. Unless I am dining alone, I plan to substitute pork for the chicken in those receipes for Rob. What do you think?

I’m in search of more high protein recipes! While beef and pork ones are preferred to keep them Rob-friendly, I am working on adapting chicken ones to pork, too!

Have you tried any of the recipes above? If so, what do you think?

What are your favorite beef, pork or other high protein recipes?


Bacon-Covered Meatloaf with Creamy Mustard Sauce


When my mom was in town for the week cleaning my house {I know, I am spoiled. It’s the best gift ever!}, we wanted to take her out to dinner to some of our favorite places. But during the week, I also wanted to cook for her after a long day on her feet. I had to make sure our dinners were Rob-friendly. Of course, I made his beloved San Marzano Pasta. Another night, I did some easy Zatarain’s Jambalaya.

Then, I thought of something.

Rob doesn’t like leftovers. If I’m lucky, he’ll eat one serving. A while back, I made him a meatloaf that he adored. However, it makes six servings, which would normally mean that there were four leftovers for me. I do like leftovers and all, but not that much. With mom in town, that meant that we could each have a serving and each have a leftover for lunch the following day. Win-win!

First off, let’s be honest – I’m not much of a meatloaf fan.

Maybe it’s the overabundance of ketchup? Before watching Melissa d’Arabian make this particular version on the Food Network, I’d never actually made meatloaf in my life. And you’d think with my strange aversion to bacon on and in my food, you’d think this recipe would be a turn-off for me. But I like Melissa’s concept of Ten-Dollar Dinners. And the fact that she is married to a Frenchman {and ovbiously a francophile herself} means she creates some great French and French-inspired dishes. So I’m a follower. But on this particular episode, she made a recipe, I thought Rob would love!

Meatloaf with Mustard and Sour Cream Gravy

{Recipe link here.}

The thing is that Rob is turned off by any dish labeled gravy. I know it makes him think of the traditional Thanksgiving Day kind. So when I told him that I was making a Bacon Meatloaf, I just said that it would be accompanied by a Creamy Mustard Sauce. Because that’s all it is, isn’t it? 😉 Truthfully, I didn’t think he heard me after I used the words Bacon & Meatloaf together. I had him at that. Still, for my purposes, I’ve renamed the dish:

Bacon-Covered Meatloaf with Creamy Mustard Sauce

I hope you don’t mind, Melissa! {I’m still givin’ you all the credit.} And it’s soooo good and juicy. Surprisingly, the bacon isn’t overpowering, which is one reason why I usually prefer my bacon on its own. My mom gobbled it up, too, along with the side salad I served with it. I promptly gave her the recipe, so I’m sharing it here with you, too. I had fully intended of taking a photo of it when it came out of the oven, but my diners were anxious to eat and I completely forgot about it. So you’ll have to make do with a photo of one of my containers of leftovers. It’s still pretty yummy-looking, if you ask me.


Bacon-Covered Meatloaf with Creamy Mustard Sauce

I followed Melissa’s recipe almost to a “T”. However, I did use panko breadcrumbs, the spicy Italian sausage and a leaner ground beef. I also didn’t use the recommended special equipment – a glass loaf pan. I didn’t find it necessary. I just used my regular non-stick one. It’s only used for molding the meatloaf anyway. The leaner ground beef worked just fine, so I’m sure you can lighten up this recipe in many ways, too.

Give it a try, I’ll bet you’ll love it. In order to have less leftovers for the two of us next time, does anyone know how to adapt this recipe into a small loaf pan? Half the ingredients? Then cook for how long? Sometimes it is easy to half or double a recipe, sometimes it’s not as simple.

What are your tricks and tips to adapting recipes for more or less people?

How ’bout your tricks and tips to lighten up recipes?

Have you ever renamed a dish so your family would eat it?