Weekly Menu 4/25-5/1

I think I may have mentioned this, but I’m going to be out of town for the next week so not a lot of cooking will get done. Well, not by me, anyway. I’ve been thinking of a few dinner ideas I can suggest to my family while I’m gone. Things that don’t require a recipe and can be thrown together quickly (it’s not that they can’t cook but they do it so rarely, it’s best not to get too fancy). But, for the most part, they’re on their own. While my work trips aren’t vacation, I do think of them as vacation from meal planning, cooking and cleanup!

Today, I’ll be making country ribs in the crockpot, so they’ll have those for leftover, but that’s the extent of my cooking for the week. Otherwise, it’s all restaurants for me. I thought I’d share some of the places I have reservations this week.

Wednesday night, I’ll be taking a group of authors to dinner at Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse. The menu makes me swoon.

Thursday night, it’s a business dinner at M and I’m excited to check out this restaurant. The website makes it seem very alluring.

For lunch one day Jane, Sarah and I will all be visiting ZenCha Tea Salon. This restaurant specializes in a soothing, Zen atmosphere and superior teas. It’s the perfect restaurant for the three of us to lunch at together.

Other places I’ll be eating are the hotel restaurant (haha, always exciting!), Buca di Beppo and possibly this Mongolian BBQ, which I’ve suggested as a lunch option. Of course, since I’ll be eating out for nearly a week, there will be many more additions to this list (including our Friday night dinner option, which hasn’t been determined yet), but I’ll have to wait and see what it turns out to be!

What’s on your menu this week?

Going to Romantic Times? 2 chances to win an ereader!

I’m stealing this post that I wrote for the Carina Press blog yesterday. If you’re going to be at RT, make sure you pay special attention to the bit about Club RT and the Carina Press luncheon (for a chance to win a nook) and take note of my Friday workshop on digital readers with Jane Litte and Sarah Wendell, and think about attending (for a chance to win a Sony).

I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, Ohio next week as will Aideen O’Leary-Chung, who will be there on behalf of both Carina Press and Harlequin. Below is a list of places you’ll be able to catch up with us. Even if you don’t attend any of the workshops I’m giving, I hope you’ll attend the Carina luncheon on Friday (there will be goodies!) where I’ll be giving an introduction speech. And please do find me and say hello!

Wednesday April 26th 10am-12:15pm, Everything Digital Publishing(that’s not actually the title but I don’t remember what RT thought sounded like a good idea for a title), presenting with author Lauren Dane. During this workshop, Lauren and I will present you with information about publishing in both the traditional and digital-first world. We’ll have a candid conversation with you about the pros and cons of digital publishing, and we’ll give you honest answers to your questions. Come prepared to have us talk with you, not to you!

Thursday April 27th 2:45-3:45pm Editor Panel

Moderated by author Judi McCoy, I join a long list of other editors on a panel to answer questions about our presses and what we’re looking for

Friday April 28th

10am: Carina Press Spotlight. Join Aideen and I in a conversation about Carina Press, our upcoming launch, our acquisitions, submissions process and any questions you might have!

11:15-12:15pm: Reading Digital (pay special attention to this one)

Along with Jane Litte of Dear Author and Sarah Wendell of SmartBitches, we’ll present a large variety of digital reading devices, discuss with you how to choose which device to buy, what online retailers are available for you to shop at, how DRM can impact your shopping and what formats you should look for. Basically, we’re going to talk everything necessary to read digitally and give you the opportunity to see the devices up close and personal. Not only that, but I’ve heard a rumor that there’s going to be a device for giveaway AND a coupon code to an online bookstore. This might be one you don’t want to miss!

12:30 Carina Press luncheon

Join us for martini mashed potatoes, cupcakes and a celebration of the Carina Press launch. There will be goodies and cover art and Carina Press authors! And there will be a giveaway of a nook!

Sometime Friday afternoon…editor appointments. I’m taking pitches Friday afternoon. Are you signed up?

Club RT Thursday 9am – 12 & 2-4pm; Friday 9am – 12 & 2-4pm

In addition to all of that, we’ll also have a table at Club RT. Aideen will have a variety of devices for you to handle (nook, a couple of Sonys, Kindle, etc) and there will be a sign up for a drawing for a nook, to be given away during the Carina Press luncheon on Friday (must be present to win!) as well as sign up for 2 winners to receive all of our launch titles (and that might just be more books than you suspect!). Visit Aideen at Club RT Thursday and Friday for your chance to win, check out the devices and get some Carina promo goodness!

So, who’s going to be at RT?

My wine, let me show it to you…

No recipes from me today, I couldn’t think of anything to share! But I was going through pictures and realized I’d taken some pictures of my wine collection when I got my new wine chiller, so I thought I’d share.

A few years ago, I got an 8-bottle wine chiller on clearance somewhere. Actually, I wasn’t even sure I’d use it, but Josh thought it would be a great thing to have. So we got it. And my wine collection started growing. I’d collect a bottle or two (or three or four) from wherever I traveled or if something caught my eye. I had a lot more wine than 8 bottles. I was keeping it in the wine chiller, in the wine rack at the bottom of our baker’s rack, and in wine cases next to the baker rack.

One day Josh found some 40+ bottle wine chillers at a local store that sells new appliances for dirt cheap. We decided to upgrade to this one, which is a 48-bottle, with dual (top and bottom) climate control and slide out racks. I love it.

Here’s a close up of the control panel. Super cool because it’s a touch panel on the outside of the door, but it has a “lock” function so I don’t have to worry about little fingers playing with it and changing the temperature. This photo also lets you see that there’s interior lighting that can be turned on and off.

I set (some) of the wine collection on the floor while I was switching things around and here’s a few shots of that.

I’m a kind of random wine drinker. I don’t drink most reds, because it’s an instant headache for me, so I drink mostly white and or rose. I like everything from dessert wines to pinot grigio, some chardonnay, reisling, etc. I don’t like very dry or oaky wines at all, so you won’t see those in my collection. I’m not much of a wine snob, and yes, I will drink wine from a box but I draw the line at Boone’s Farm (gross!)

Next time, I’ll share some of my favorite wines that I’ve collected the past few years (and some of my favorite bottles because, yes, I will buy a wine if I love the bottle)

My Future American Idol?

Today was a Mother’s Day program at B’s daycare. The 2-year-old class did some nursery rhymes (and were so adorable doing it) and the 3-5 year olds sang a variety of songs including “You are My Sunshine” and “Doe-Ray-Mi”. The first song, though was an animal song I’ve never heard before and each child was supposed to dress as an animal. Supposedly, Brianna chose to be a pig, though this morning, in a fit of dramatics that would do Elizabeth Taylor proud, she sobbed uncontrollably that she didn’t want to be a pig and that the teacher had said she had to be a pig. Regardless, we moved past the dramatics and B went on to be a very cute little piglet.

As generally happens, I got a lot of great shots of other people’s children, but most of the ones of B didn’t turn out that great. Except this one, which I adore, because it shows her singing her little American Idol heart out. Most of the kids were incredibly shy and either sang quietly or not at all. Not my diva. She belted out those tunes like she was born to the stage. This picture? Makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. She looks so earnest, doesn’t she?

Weekly menu 4/18-4/24

Let me share something sad with you: we spent most of the morning and a portion of the afternoon yesterday doing some grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and Walmart. But I went without first planning my menu for the week, but we already had a long list for each place, of staples we needed. What does that mean? At least one more trip to the store will be in order this week, to fill in any holes because I didn’t plan my menu first. Bad. Planning. So I’m going to try and plan with what we have on hand (we have plenty of meat, it’s the veggies that do me in).

Sunday: Josh is off racing and Adam is sick, so B and Adam requested chicken soup for lunch. For dinner, Adam requested Thai Basil Chicken (it’s spicy and will help clear his sinuses)

Monday: Dinner Made Easy: Burrito BLTs. This is the recipe I shared last Wednesday. It was on my menu last week but I actually didn’t have the ingredients, and I ended up changing my menu and making things I did have ingredients for. Luckily, I had this part of my menu planned yesterday so I picked up the lettuce/tomatos/tortillas then. And we had grilled chicken last night that I made extra of to add.

Tuesday: 40-clove garlic chicken in the crockpot. I bought a whole chicken cut up last week and we buy fresh garlic bulbs in bulk so we’re set for this one. Will serve over mashed potatoes with some canned or frozen veggie from the freezer.

Wednesday: Grilled pork chops with…stuff

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Seafood lasagna

Saturday: No cooking

Sunday: I’m planning this one ahead because I’ll be traveling the entire week following (Monday-Sunday) so no menu planning for that week. We’ll probably grill something, though I’m not sure what yet. Possibly chicken drumsticks.

Hmm…I think I’m okay with this menu. The iffy day will be the seafood lasagna. Not sure about that. Anyway, what’s on your menu?

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