Weekly Menu for May 24th thru May 29th

A tribute to the women who have touched my life these past eight weeks....

I remember long ago my Mom asking me if and when my life was ever going to slow down, and I would simply respond with, when this project is done, when my kids are no longer involved in this or that and over time I’ve noticed that I would just replace the current task, project or adventure with another task, project or adventure.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just wired to be busy, I like being busy. I enjoy being creative, helpful, and adventurous and have decided that busyness is my drug of choice!  
This week was the last installment for the video submissions for the Real Women of Philadelphia (RWoP) contest and the week was all about desert.  I did not participate in desert week as deserts are not made very often anymore in this household.  As I child I remember I would always be the one who was responsible for the desert, basically because I wasn’t responsible for anything else, my mom was - so for years I cranked out some pretty amazing sweets.  Today I am the one who is responsible for the majority of what goes on in my household and when it comes to feeding the family deserts are not part of the plan.  Of course my kids would be thrilled to have a homemade desert for dinner each night, heck they would be happy to have any type of desert every night, but that’s not going to happen!  We have desert type food once in a blue moon, not because I don’t allow my kids to have desert, they do so now and then, but because by the time we have our big dinner there is absolutely no room for desert.  In fact I remember heading to a restaurant once and I ordered a desert as my dinner.  I knew that if I ate an entree there would be no room left and that desert just looked too good not to do it.  Of course my kids were with me and every now and then they have ask if they can have desert for dinner and I always reply, yep, when your a mommy!  
So if I wasn’t making, filming and editing deserts this week, what was I doing?  A lot, just a lot of other things.  My sons football practices have started, the new cheer season for my daughter has started and after a bit of a break I’m back to helping with the coordination and coaching of an all-star team.  Then there was what seemed like all of the insurances needing to be renewed at the same time, a billing problem with a bill and it seemed like I was on the phone for most of the week and then I had to be out of town yesterday.  Regardless of what task I check off my to-do list, it is replaced by yet another task.  As I said before, I really do like being busy, but like everything else, too much of one thing is not always good for you.  I’m really tired today and have a headache that will just not go away regardless of how much Advil I pop.  
So I ask, do you find that you place so much pressure on yourself sometimes to get it all done?  I know I do, take this blog for instance.  On Thursday night I had already figured out what recipes were going to be featured and I just had to put it to cyber paper, but when 11:00 p.m. rolled around I had absolutely no energy to do so, even though I’m a night owl.  Knowing that yesterday I was going to be out of town for the majority of the day, I figured when I returned I would then do my posting, but after a long day of driving and then returning home and answering emails that could not wait any longer, I found myself tired exhausted! Yet, I was beating myself up telling myself that my blog is SUPPOSED to be posted on Fridays!  As I sit here today; Saturday, evening no less, typing away I wonder why I do this to myself and why we as women do this to ourselves?  I do this blog because I want to be a help to others and to share my love of food.  I do not get paid to do this blog nor do I have to meet the Friday deadline for a publisher, so why the pressure?  I have absolutely no idea!  Perhaps it is the same for everyone, we are own worst critic, we feel that we must be the “perfect” mom, wife, sister, friend, etc., yet I know that I have absolutely no one in my life expecting this from me.  I’ve learned that I need to follow their lead and stop expecting perfection from me and realizing that while I want to be the best me I can be, I will never be a perfect me, it’s impossible, there has been only one perfect one, and there will never be another.  
This week I’ve been thinking about the last 8 weeks of the Real Women of Philadelphia contest - there are so many women, over 500 I believe, who had the same goal; to head to Savannah, GA as a finalist in this contest.  Yet, the odds of becoming one were going to be slim as there were only 16 spaces to be won.  In reading the forums I would feel for the women who were heartbroken when Wednesdays rolled around and they were not one of the two chosen that week, on occasion myself include I have to admit.  They started to question themselves as to why they were not chosen.  Perhaps it was because they weren’t the right height, weight, or shape, was their hair not combed right, was their kitchen not big enough or fancy enough, was their lighting not right, was their recipe not good enough, was it too hard to make, was it too easy to make, was the recipe too common, was it to exotic, were they not perky enough, were they too perky, were their editing skills not good enough, and on and on it went.  Women beating themselves up over these very insignificant reasons, reasons that those around them, those they cook for daily, those they provide for daily, those they love on daily, do not see.  For those who love them only see that they were blessed with the best mom, wife, sister, friend, etc.  They know that they have the most beautiful, loving, fun, and I’ll say it, the most perfect person in their life, that just happens to be the best cook in their book, and should have won a spot hands down. Why? Because those around us feel the love we place in everything we do for them, there is no paycheck or recognition when we provide our family with love, nourishment and encouragement, it is just what we do, and I have to say that all the women demonstrated these characteristics in abundance.  I am so proud to have been part of the community of women at the Real Women of Philadelphia.  The friendships, dinner ideas, tips, laughter and not to mention the amazing food has truly been a blessing to me and I’m sure to the majority of the women who participated.  While I along with over 500 women may not be going to Savannah, I know that we feel we truly did win; we now have new friendships that would have never formed if it had not been for this contest, we have learned to step out of our comfort zones, we have added new titles such as camera operator, editing guru and software tech to our already long resumes and have become even bigger stars in our families eyes. I want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life, a thank you to Paula Deen, EQAL and Kraft foods for this journey and for bringing a bunch of foodie women together.  So after what has to be my longest intro ever (LOL) I invite you to enjoy this weeks menu featuring more amazing women of the RWoP, and as always have a fabulous week, you deserve it you beautiful and amazing woman!

I encourage you check out the site www.realwomenofphiladelphia.com for more amazing recipes.  I have also updated the RWoP Blog page, new blogs are popping up daily and last but not least, don’t forget to sign up as a follower, by doing so you will show up in the “really cool people” slot.  Thanks for sending this blog off to family, friends and strangers!
A few reminders for the newbies; you can click the title of any recipe to access it and if you are interested in a blank grocery list sheet formatted for Excel, send me an email and I’ll send one off to you.  This sheet saves you time in the grocery store!  As always you can email me at mydinnerplaybook@aol.com with any suggestions, recipe ideas or blog tips!  
Quick Meal 1
By Jan Peer
Steaks as a quick meal?  Really?  Yep, that’s what Jan has accomplished.  She has created a dish that transforms a pork loin into steaks infused with a sweet and savory rub, and then tops them off with a creamy BBQ sauce, yes a creamy BBQ sauce.  Yum-my!

Quick Meal 2
by Helen Wickert
Nothing says comfort food like shepherds pie, I believe that it truly is a dish that so many love, and I know that you are going to love Helen’s version, and her.  :)
Got Some Time - Meal 1
by Kathryn Rezza
I think it’s best to let Kathyrn describe this dish - This entrée is a takeoff of an Italian dish I grew up with “Bonzetta” (stuffed breast of Veal).  It was served only on special occasions, but I did love it so. I reworked some of the ingredients, made it a bit more affordable and weeknight meal friendly. Make no mistake though, this entrée is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.  Accompanied by herbed rice and a garden salad it’s a winner.  I think that summed it up nicely!  Yum.
Got Some Time Meal - 2
by Laurie, aka flgirlchapy
I love quiche, and I remember way back when, my husband used to say, men don’t eat quiche!  LOL.  Yeah right, I know men will eat pretty much anything that  is placed in front of them including quiche and there will be no complaining when you are serving one that has shrimp, spinach and BACON!  Everyone loves bacon!
Got Some Time Meal - 3
by Mary Dubick
Lasagna.  In my book you can do no wrong if you can make a great lasagna.  I would always secretly wish I had an Italian grandmother who would cook all that was Italian for me all the time!  In fact, maybe I’ll start taking applications, hmmm.  Lovable foodie seeking Italian grandmother.....  Anyway, check out Mary’s eggplant lasagna, I have a feeling you are gonna love it!
Pass the Wine; I got all the time - Meal 1
by Paula Deen

Since Paula Deen was the reason we at the RWoP came together I wanted to pay tribute to her and include one of her recipes this week (not like I haven’t done this before, she rocks!) and this recipe just screamed weekend dinner to me.  If you don’t have Paula’s merlot steak sauce you can do what I did, I combined A-1 and Merlot wine, 1/4 cup of each and simmered in a small saucepan until it was reduced by 1/2. 

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