(Enter Your Fruit Here) Casserole

Last year my family (finally) became part of a local CSA and started receiving a summer full of yummy fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies.  I loved it so much we signed up for winter shares as well (unfortunatley because of nasty pregnancy-related nausea, it didn't seem so yummy to me then).  Anyhow, one of the fruits we received a-plenty were plums.  What can you do with pounds and pounds of plums, you ask?  My friend Jen does some fantastic canning.  I would love to do some fantastic canning but it just isn't something I have dived into yet.  Soon!

But, this is what I did...and do over and over again...

Cream of Wheat and Plum Casserole

I actually got the recipe from the CSA website, which called for semolina and cherries but stated any fruit can be used as well as cream of wheat and grits.  I make mine with cream of wheat and plums.

Moira calls it plum casserole.  I don't think I have ever seen her eat anything as fast as she eats this.

I call it plum-wonderful-yumminess.  I find myself craving it.  I can't wait for more fruit (and a free moment) so I can make more.  It is just so good.  I have made it a couple of times already this season.

We eat ours warm with a scoop of vanilla Greek yogurt for breakfast.  I even drizzle mine with honey sometimes, not that it needs to be sweeter or anything.  I would eat it every day.

And with plums and cream of is packed with iron.


Cream of Wheat and Fruit Casserole

2 1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup cream of wheat
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups diced fruit (we use plums-with the peels on, I have used peeled apples)
2 Tbsp sugar for topping

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8x8 baking dish or comparable casserole dish with cooking spray.

Bring milk, sugar, butter, and salt to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Add cream of wheat in a stream, whisking to avoid clumping.  Bring back to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool.

Beat egg whites until stiff.  Stir yolks, lemon zest, and fruit into cooled cereal.  Add 1/3 egg whites to lighten, then fold in the rest.  Pour into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.


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New Planner

Even though it is not a new calendar year necessarily, I am no longer working in a school district, and my kids are not yet in school (although we refer to the daycare program as "school") I still feel like September is a good time to reorganize and get some fresh habits.

Maybe it is the cool weather coming in and the preparation for winter when I will be locked up in my house in snowy Buffalo.  Maybe it is the end of the care-free days of summer.  Maybe it is my OCD.  Regardless, I have this feeling that it is time to take a look at life and figure out what I can do to make it a little less stressful.

Back at the beginning of the year I started using a number of "planning" and "organizational" tools, all housed in a "Household Management Binder" of sorts.

I had a pre-printed grocery list I used weekly on which I checked off or jotted down the items we needed for the week. I had a pre-printed chore list, broken down by rooms in the house.  At the start of each day I picked one, two, or as many chores I would have liked to get done.  My goal was not for every surface to shine everyday, but for me to have a home I felt comfortable enough to have guests in at any given moment. In the past I found that assigning a chore to a specific day did not work for was too rigid.  I had a daily planner that outlined everything from appointments, to dos, menu, things to absolutely get done, notes, exercise, bla bla bla.  That actually worked well for a while until I missed filling out a day. Then another.  Then another.  You get the idea.  I planned my weekly menu on Google Calendar.  Loved it because I could save the links to my recipes or ideas I would be using right there!  We even sat down and did a weekly budget...Thank you SK2.

Then came the end of pregnancy when I was lucky to get a single task--napping and chasing a two-year-old not included--done.

Then came a baby and I was lucky to get a single task--napping, nursing, changing diapers, rocking an infant, chasing a two-year-old, and potty training not included--done.

A planner?  Yeah right!

Well, now I am ready to be back on track with the intent to use everything as before...except the Daily planner. It is just too much to fill in all that stuff everyday when I am rushing around as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning.  But weekly?  I can manage that.

So I spent a couple of nap times doing this...
Weekly Planner

I have my To Do (including workouts, work, or activities with Moira & Ronan); To Clean (where I can jot down what chores I will do from my weekly chore sheet); To Go (for appointments and errands); To Eat (dinner...and any other meals that need planning); and To Remember (any extra important stuff that week).  I can fill out the majority at the start of the week and fill in the rest on that day or as it comes up.

Less paper...less filling in.  I have even thought about putting this in a frame for a dry-erase calendar.  Not quite there yet.

Feel free to use for yourself.  I am happy to have some organized chaos in my life again!!!


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