Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Funny story.

Yesterday Gabriel was being a doll and was pretending to put imaginary laundry away. He was sorting through 'laundry' for each person in the house and said, "Nathaniel's goes in the drawers, Daddy's goes in the closet, and Mommy's go on the floor!" Oh toddlers, you are such an awkward and inconvenient mirror sometimes... Yes, I'll admit it: I am the person who, at the end of the day, takes off my clothes and decides that since they are too dirty for putting back on the shelf, and too clean to put in the hamper, the floor is the most logical place for them to stay. I regularly have a mound of clothes piled next to my bed waiting to be worn, and the mess often looks worse than it is since the clothes mix with my neatly-sorted piles of projects, notebooks and beauty products.
Needless to say, Gabriel's interpretation of Mommy's cleaning skills was a bit convicting. I decided that since I'm trying to teach my boys how to clean up after themselves, I need to start doing a better job of it myself. Granted, I do clean up after a whole household daily, but I certainly have problem areas that need to be worked on.

Today I tackled problem area numero uno: the bedroom. Why is that numero uno? Partly because it was where the biggest, least-excusable mess was that was almost entirely my own, and partly because it is one of the rooms that Matt would most like to have spotless all the time. Unfortunately, the rooms that we each put precedence on don't overlap at all (My prefered rooms to keep clean are the bathroom, the kitchen and the entryways, while Matt's focus is on the storage areas and bedrooms). This wouldn't matter if I were a better housekeeper, but the reality is that God gifted me with cooking skill, and gave all the cleaning skill to my sister. Fortunately though, He also gifted me with the ability to be taught, and a whole lot of grace. Back to today though.
I tackled the first issue which Gabriel so attentively pointed out: the clothes. I've been getting better lately about not leaving clothes on the floor, but I just need to develop a zero-tolerance for it. I put the dirtier clothes in the hamper and put the clean ones away in the closet. Check.
Next, I fixed up an organizational system for my beauty products. A little while ago Matt got me a plastic drawer system that I had said I needed to help keep our room cleaner. Until today I had either not had the time, or not made the time, to properly use it. I have a drawer for electronics, a drawer for notebooks, a drawer for papers for the different groups I participate in, a drawer for perfumes and lotions and a drawer for accessories and cases. All of my jewelry went in my jewelry box on my dresser, and all of my hair-related items went in a cute basket that sits on top of my drawers. One thing I really needed to fix was my cosmetics storage. For the last little while I've actually been keeping my cosmetics in a handbag. But no more. A while back I got a number of galvanized steel utensil holders with rods for the wall from IKEA. One of the rods is in my kitchen and houses my growing herb garden, and the other rod is on the wall next to my bed. I had been keeping a mish-mash of beauty products in the little buckets but I didn't really have anything like a system for them, until now. One bucket has eye makeup, the next has foundation, blush and the like, and the last has makeup brushes, tweezers and general applicators. Booyah! So now all of my projects and books are picked up from beside my bed, which means I don't have anymore neat piles of stuff there, and everything has a place to go away to, which is the big issue for me usually. My knitting bag is the only thing sitting on the floor beside my bed right now, and we all know that will move all over the house with me.

Once the bedroom was clean I sat down to do a bit of a project. When we bought this house I was pregnant with Gabriel. We were so focused on gutting and completely redoing the main bathroom before he came that we hardly had time to do more for his nursery than a quick coat of paint and some new flooring (which since I'm married to a flooring guy is really easy for us to do). We did find some Winnie the Pooh decals that went on the wall, but they seem so half-hearted now and have a very transitional feel to them. When we fixed up Gabe's "Big Boy Bedroom" we did some more fun things with that and bought him some cute artwork for his walls, but the nursery stayed the same. And then I found Pinterest. One day I came across these absolutely delightful 3D Wall Art pieces for a kid's bedroom. They're paper clouds and hot air balloons or umbrellas and they're made by the Etsy store Gosh and Golly. They are exactly the kind of personal, whimsical feel that I want for Nathaniel's room! Now, you can buy these from Etsy or, if you're stubborn and cheap like me, you can make them yourselves. Fortunately I have a father who could hook me up with some high-quality card stock, so today I made a couple 3D clouds just to try my hand at the whole thing. And you know what? They really worked! Over the next few days I'm going to make a load more clouds and then the hot air balloons, umbrellas, rain drops and even some kites, and then we can hang them all around Nathaniel's room!
Since we're on the topic of Pinterest, I found the recipe for tonight's dinner on there and it was a winner! The recipe was for Teriyaki Meatball Bowls from the blog Budget Bytes and this was one of those rare times when I followed the recipe and can't think of anything that would improve it. The recipe says that it was for 6 servings, but between Matt, Gabriel and I, we cleaned the whole lot of it up. Gabriel had 5 meatballs himself, and he kept exclaiming, "Mmmmm! I love meatballs! These are super yummy Mommy!", and then he thanked me for dinner 5 separate times after he was done eating. The whole meal came together very quickly, and partly it was because I used my meatball-making techniques that I use for Pampered Chef shows. I broke out my manual food processor which is apparently the most perfect thing in the world for ginger - I hate grating ginger since it always seems to get stringy, and it's a pain to mince too, but for some reason I seems to disintigrate in the food processor within seconds... anyway, I threw a piece of bread in there first and made up the bread crumbs, set those aside while I chopped up the ginger (as I said, in seconds), the garlic and the green onion. I had pulled the ground pork last night so it was mostly thawed except for one frozen chunk in the center, so I put it in my 8 cup batter bowl and microwaved it for 30 seconds and it was perfect. Then I threw the breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic and green onions in, as well as the soya sauce, pepper and the egg and stirred it quick with a spatula. The hard part was rolling the meatballs, but since I used a cookie scoop and then just patted them into a prettier shape, it was done in 5 minutes! It took 40 minutes to bake, but as soon as they were out I coated them in the sauce, plated them over some rice and we were stuffing ourselves in minutes! I will certainly be making those again, and next time I may try ground turkey, even though they were fab with the ground pork.

While I was talking with my sister earlier today about my plans for dinner, I mentioned that I happened to have everything in my house already for the Teriyaki Meatball Bowls - and she was surprised. She wasn't too surprised about the ginger and green onions, although she admitted she's never bought fresh ginger, but what surprised her was the ground pork. Granted, a year ago it might have surprised me, too, but not anymore. I first bought ground pork a few months ago to make lasagna cups for a potluck. I had my gallstones so I couldn't really taste what I was making and I was a bit anxious about making something super yummy, so I thought back to every really good lasagna I've ever had and I realized that there was always something different about the meat - namely that it had some pork in with the ground beef. I had never tried mixing meats like that but I thought I'd give it a whirl. After making up my meat sauce I opted to have a taste and spit it out rather than going into the potluck totally blind, and I enjoyed what I tasted. Since then I've kept ground pork, which is often very cheap, in my freezer in half-pound portions. Whenever I'm making some sort of a meat sauce that calls for a bit more oomph, be it for lasagna or stuffed manicotti, I throw in some of the ground pork, and I always love the results! It's a quick was to amp up an already great meat sauce!

Well, I think that's all for now. I've got to finish meal planning for this week so that I know what I'm making for supper tomorrow before I go to sleep. Aw shucks, I have to go on Pinterest again??? Well, if I have to...

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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