It’s been a while. A very long while.

2019, Week 9 (we start our week on Sunday)

I don’t even know what I’m making for dinner tonight, and it’s 2:00 pm (when I started writing this post). Who knows what time it will be when it gets published.

Menu planning has *got* to make a comeback in this house. Since August 2018, my menu planning has taken a back seat while selling our house and moving (we moved last month), and all the chaos it brings has taken a very prominent front seat. We are now settled in a temporary living space while our permanent living space takes shape.. aka construction.

So what do I have in my pantry, freezer, or refrigerator.

I have meatballs, bratwurst, roast, chicken (I think), hamburger, and an abundance of hot dogs. Let’s get to work on a simple meal plan. Family activities and the weather can often influence our menu. Simplest meals are made on the busiest days of the week. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will all be quite full this week. By Pacific Northwest standards, it’s going to be a cooler week, so some “warmer” comfort foods may make an appearance.

Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of any brand or product. If I mention a product/brand, it’s simply a personal/dietary preference.

Sunday (today): Chicken & Dumplings – from The Novice Chef

Monday: Bratwurst with Broccoli and Potatoes. I’ll be making this up as we go along. I’ve got all three that need to be used. If it turns out well, I might post a picture or recipe (note to self).

Tuesday: Tacos – I am a firm believer in having a few staple/weekly meals. Taco Tuesday lives on. Some weeks are beef tacos, others may include chicken or fish. We’ve also been known to make this a meatless meal by incorporating TVP, inspired by The Spruce Eats.

Wednesday:  Meatballs & mashed potatoes. Easy meal that everyone loves. When I have time to make the meatballs from scratch, “Someone Pasta the Meatballs” from Janet and Greta Podlaski’s cookbook “Looneyspoons Collection” is my favorite. When time is not on my side, I use Cooked Perfect All Natural Chicken Meatballs, in the crock pot or in the oven with a little water (1/2 cup) thrown in the baking dish to keep them moist.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner (scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast). This is another weekly/staple meal. Will be sharing my favorite crispy oven potatoes recipe soon (note to self).

Friday: Hot Dogs – incredibly busy day will call for an incredibly simple dinner.

Saturday: Hamburgers – the weather looks decent (finally!), so grilling is an option.

It’s now just after 3:00 pm, and I have a plan for the week. The load of things that I need to remember has just been lightened a bit!

What are some of your “go to” meals?


Week Two – Menu at Brown Dog Trail

This week arrived on time and I’m in a bit of a panic that my menu plan isn’t done for the month. I wasn’t ready for Christmas Break to be over (yes, we take breaks in our homeschool), and our schedule got very busy, very fast. Still behind a day or so, I’m brainstorming this menu as I am writing this post. Mr. K and I have a hot date this Friday: dinner and grocery shopping. Those with kids will understand!

The rest of the month will be planned before our date, and life will hopefully resume a normal temperature soon. So here we go:

January 8,2017 – January 15, 2017

  • Sunday, January 8 – Refrigerator Cleanout. We will not be having leftovers again tomorrow night. We all refuse.
  • Monday, January 9 – Mississippi Roast Beef (maybe this one), Mashed Potatoes, and Sautéed Veggies.
  • Tuesday, January 10 – Taco Night Returns!
  • Wednesday, January 12 – Nachos or French Dip.. depends on leftovers. 
  • Thursday, January 13 – Breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage/bacon, and toast. Possibly a breakfast casserole).
  • Friday, January 14 – DATE NIGHT! Grandparents are in charge of dinner.

Week One – Brown Dog Trail Menu

There’s a trail near our place named “Brown Dog,” so hence, the name of our menu. Menus need names.

Week One has passed, so I am posting past tense. Working on getting my game back. Ha!

January 1, 2017 – January 7, 2017

  • Sunday, January 1 – I believe we had breakfast for dinner. Long story, and it’s not that interesting unless you like living without a plan. No plan makes me crazy, end of story.
  • Monday, January 2 – Prime Rib, Sautéed Veggies, Steak Fries. Was supposed to be January 1, per our family tradition, but the “no plan,” thing…
  • Tuesday, January 3 – Prime Rib Dip and Salad.
  • Wednesday, January 4 – McDonalds. Yup, I am that mom. AWANA night means eating on the run. Or in the car. I don’t run.
  • Thursday, January 5 – Pretty sure we had breakfast again. Scrambled eggs, sausages and toast.
  • Friday, January 6 – Fried Chicken and Salad Bar. Yum.
  • Saturday, January 7 – Super Bowl Playoffs Night (Go Hawks!) We are like champions. Hot dogs, tater tots, and salad.

Next week will be better. 

Saving a Christmas Lefse Tradition

gf-lefse-nwmamaI know the New Year has rolled around, and Christmas has passed, but the good news is that Christmas is coming again in another 11 months and 22 days! This gives plenty of time to practice and perfect special recipes. The most special, on my side of the family, is lefse. A Norwegian treat. Practice = more lefse to eat!

A friend of mine and I got together a few days before Christmas, and made traditional potato lefse, using this recipe from We doubled the recipe, but somehow communication was confused (not hard when you are busy chatting and solving world peace), and we doubled-doubled the butter. Our “mistake” turned out to be genius! So for you wonderfully, blessed non-GF’ers, my only note for you on this recipe is to double the butter (increase the 1/4 cup butter to 1/2 cup butter), and DECREASE the cream (from 1/2 cup cream to 1/4 cup cream). Voila. Brilliant. Uff da, and all the rest.

Back to Gluten Free, because that’s why we’re here.. Or why I’m here.. you get the point. I just made this gluten free version yesterday, and I am so pleased with how it turned out. I will do my best to give clear direction on the alterations that I made to the original recipe. If you missed the link in the paragraph above, here it is again:

Notes, or “Areas to be emphasized.”

(in case they are already mentioned in the original recipe)


  • Boil the night before and add butter while hot (remember – DOUBLE the butter).
  • Cutting them into smaller pieces helps them cook more evenly.
  • Err on the side of overdone vs underdone.
  • Salt the water – about a tablespoon.
  • Drain REALLY well and cool without the lid on. This allows the extra moisture to escape. Then, refrigerate.
  • Use an electric mixer to get out the lumps. Ricer is not necessary, in my opinion.

My Lefse Making Notes (my notes, in addition to attached instructions):

  • Use slight teaspoon salt, since you salted the potato water.
  • Use 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cream. A mistake that turned out to be genius.
  • Gluten Free: increase cream to 1/3 cup.
  • Don’t add any extra flour to your dough. Instead add  flour on your board and generously flour your lefse rolling pin. Sprinkling after each roll with the pin if needed.
  • Pat the flour off the lefse before grilling, to prevent a black smokey mess (trust me).
  • Gluten free: DON’T PAT THE DOUGH! Use a pastry brush or dry cloth to gently brush off.
  • Gluten free, especially: Handle dough gently. Don’t press down on the dough, just use the weight of the roller.
  • Use flour sparingly when needed.
  • Handle like pie dough. The more you play with it, the tougher it gets.
  • Gluten Free: Don’t roll dough too much onto the stick.. more like a slight roll and lift onto the griddle.

That’s all I have for now 🙂

Oh.. one more. I probably don’t have to tell you, but I will anyway. Enjoy a piece while it’s warm! We love it with butter and cinnamon and sugar. My friend enjoys it with butter and brown sugar. BOTH are delicious!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies for the Win!

Since I’ve gone gluten free, holiday baking has been a bit of a challenge. This year, I decided I was going to defeat the ‘sugar cookie blues” and attempt to adapt my favorite sugar cookie recipe to meet my gluten free dietary needs. It was a huge success, and a few friends have asked for the recipe, so I’ll share it here for easy reference. Before I get to the recipe, I feel I need to add the following disclaimer: I am not celiac. If you are, you will need to make sure you use GF Vanilla. I did not for this recipe.

Madie was in charge of cutting out the cookies and decorating them. She chose to use her favorite baker’s recipe for the royal icing: Rosanna Pansino’s Royal Icing Recipe.


Here we go!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies for the Win!


  • 3/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup organic white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free, if celiac)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Namaste Organic Perfect Flour Blend, but King Arthur Gluten Free Flour should work fine too.)
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough overnight. I wrap mine tightly in plastic wrap and form it into a tight disc before refrigerating.
  2. About a half hour before you are ready to roll your cookies, take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Cover your rolling surface with parchment paper, then give it a good dusting of your gluten free flour. I also give the top of the dough a little dusting of flour.
  5. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets (I covered mine with parchment paper – keeps the bottoms from getting too brown).
  6. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven – watch closely (mine were done in 6 minutes). Cool completely.

Gluten free tips:

Gluten free flour is much more absorbent than traditional wheat flour. It also absorbs liquid much slower. Allowing your dough to rest overnight helps prevent that gritty taste that is a dead giveaway to gluten free baked goods.

Roll your dough slowly to keep it from cracking.