Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blog Neglect

I realize I have been neglecting my blog a bit over the past few weeks.  I have managed to get in a post here or there but not nearly as many as I would have liked to.  There have been many changes over the past few weeks at my house and I am still trying to get into the groove of what is going to be our new schedule.  Hopefully, this week I will be able to get back to blogging.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 22nd -28th


Well I knew it would happen and I did to, I was bound to have to drop something from last week's menu.  The Tarragon Chicken got dropped due to a late invitation to a birthday party Friday night, but it's reappearing on this week's menu. 

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - Tarragon Chicken, Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday - Crab Cakes, Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Corn 


Friday - Mushroom Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes

Saturday - Spaghetti with Meatballs

Sunday - Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Absolutely the best fried chicken EVER), The Best Baked Potatoes, Green Beans  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - Homemade Cole Slaw


There are several great cole slaw recipes around but this one is my favorite. 


Ingredients:

1 small head of cabbage
2-3 carrots
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup mayo
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

1.  In a food processor, process both cabbage and carrots.

2.  Place processed cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.  Add in all other ingredients, and stir well.

3.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refridgerator.  Cole slaw has it's best flavor if you wait 24 to 48 hours before eating.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, February 15th - 21st


It seems like every week I say we didn't get around to eating this or that last week, and this week was no different.  This past week we never did get around to eating our Vegetable Soup with Hamburger or Super Easy Crockpot Meatball Hoagies.

We ended up with a total of eleven inches of snow on the ground, most of which is still here, and it's just started snowing here again.  The weater forecasters are calling for another eight inches.  I really hope we don't get that much, I am so ready for the snow to be over and life to return to normal.  I guess we shall just have to wait and see what happens, as we really have no other choice than to take what comes at us.

Here's what I have planned out for this coming week.  I wonder which of these I will be posting that we didn't get around to eating next week.


Tuesday - Crockpot Pork and Potatoes (New Recipe)

Wednesday - Beef Brisket (Look for Recipe this week), Applebees Onion Petals, Corn on the Cob, Bread Machine Buttery Rolls

Friday - Tarragon Chicken, Mashed Potatoes


Sunday - Jennie Turkey Breast and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, My Grandmother's Green Beans

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cooking Thursday - No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies with Coconut


Join us for Cooking Thursday at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

No Bake Cookies are one of my favorite cookies.  They are easy to make, and they really quench my craving for chocolate.  On a whim one night I threw some coconut into the mix and the result was so wonderful that it has become a permanent part of my recipe. 

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons Dutch cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut



1.  In a heavy saucepan add the sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk.

2.  Bring mixture to a rolling boil. 

3.  Let boil for 1 minute.



4.  Add the mixture in the saucepan to the peanut butter, vanilla, oatmeal, and coconut.


5.  Mix all ingredients completely.



6.  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of cookie mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Of course I ran out of waxed paper on the day I made these and had to use aluminum foil instead.  I had the same results as when I use waxed paper.

7.  Allow cookies to cool.  Once they have hardened they are ready to eat.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Snow Pictures

These pictures were taken over the weekend, before we received another seven inches yesterday.  On top of that it's snowing again, as I type.





Works For Me Wednesday - Organizing the Kids Bathroom Toiletries

Join us at We are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday posts.

In our house the most used bathroom in the house is the kid's bathroom.  You know how a bathroom used exclusively by kids can get, and unfortunately it's the one that guests use when they come over, so I like to keep it as clean and neat as I possibly can.

Several weeks ago I noticed that it was getting way too cluttered.  Each of my kids like a different type of toothpaste, they each have their own deodorant, along with several other toiletries and all of these things had taken up permanent residency on our bathroom sink.  I knew there had to be a better way to store all of these items.

So I went to the Dollar Tree (don't you just love that store) and bought four of these handy little containers.


I wrote each kids name on the end of their container and gave it to them to fll with their toiletries.


The containers stack neatly on top of each other or they can take them to their rooms with them and bring them into the bathroom only when they need them.  Another added benefit for us is that when we start camping this summer there will be no need for them to pack up their toiletries, all they have to do is carry their container out to the camper and put them in their drawer. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - Baked Ham


Join us at Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

I have a confession to make, I did not learn to cook growing up.  I could bake a little but as far as cooking goes, I didn't have a clue.  I have basically taught myself what I know, and it's been a journey.  I honestly had to have a recipe the first time I cooked mashed potatoes.  This is why I like to share basic recipes from time to time.  I am hoping that I can help someone else out there who has no clue about the basics of cooking.

One of my favorite cooking appliances is my GE broaster I bought several years ago, it was only $25 and has been worth it's weight in gold.  I used my broaster to cook my ham.

A special thanks to my husband for helping me prepare my ham while I took pictures.


1.  Rub outside of ham with brown sugar.


2.  Place ham on rack in broaster and place about two inches of water in the bottom of the broaster.  Making sure it does not touch the ham.


3.  Mix 1/8 cup of brown sugar with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice.  Inject the top half of the ham with the pineapple juice mixture. 

4.  Cook the ham at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

5.  Turn ham over, and inject the bottom half of the ham with the pineapple juice mixture.

6.  Finish cooking the ham at 350 degrees for about 3 hours or until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 8th - 14th


Join us at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Last week flew by.  We had an unexpected dental emergency and I ended up spending two days in different dentist offices, not just an hour but pretty much the entire day.  I am so glad that it's over.  Due to the visits to the dentist office we ended up not trying the White Bean and Ham Soup Wednesday night.  Another change to our menu was the Au Gratin Sausage Skillet instead of fixing the recipe that I posted we ended up making this one that I found on the Hungry Jack website.  It was excellent!  If you decide to make it don't pass on the cayenne pepper, it makes the dish. 

One thing I noticed is that this week I am using several of my own recipes.  We haven't had several of them in a while but still.....  I am going to try to find some new recipes for next week, so that we don't fall into the habit of eating the same old, same old again. 

Monday - Hot Wings (Using my recipe that uses Chicken Breast Tenderloins instead of wings), Cheesy Hot Potatoes 

Tuesday - Basic Crockpot Chili, Cornbread

Wednesday - Roast Beef and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Best Bread Machine Bread (this is a new recipe for us, I plan to add the extra salt the reviews suggest)

Thursday -  Vegetable Soup with Hamburger, The Ultimate Breadsticks (I will halve the recipe and cook in my bread machine)


Saturday - We are going to go to the Saturday night church service this week since Valentines Day is Sunday.  We will eat out after church.

Sunday (Happy Valentines Day) - Chicken Parmesan, Bread Machine French Bread
Dessert - Best Ever Coconut Cream Pie (new recipe)

Friday, February 5, 2010

I am so excited!

I have to admit it I am a reality TV junkie.  I don't know why but I just simply can't get enough of it.  I watch them all Big Brother, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and even some of the less popular ones.  I had heard rumors that Jeff and Jordan from Big Brother were going to be on the Amazing Race this season but I thought it was just one of those internet rumors.  However I just discovered that they are going to be on the show!  I can't even tell you how excited I am about that!  I just loved watching them together on Big Brother, and I can't wait to see how they are on the Amazing Race.  It starts on Valentines Day.  Talk about true love......

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cooking Thursday - Cheater Chicken and Dumplings


For more Cooking Thursday recipes join us at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

We love chicken and dumplings around here.  I had never, ever eaten them before I met my husband but they have quickly become one of my favorite cooking foods.  I like to make them completely from scratch but sometimes I just don't have the time or the patience to do it.  Hence, my "cheater" version.




Ingredients:

8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Tenderlions
2 Quarts Water
2 Chicken Buillon Cubes
2 Carrots Chopped
2 Celery Ribs Chopped
2 Cans Plain Grands Biscuits


1.  Cut chicken breast tenderloins into bite sized pieces, and place in soup pan.


2.  Add in two quarts of water.

3.  Add in 2 chicken bouillon cubes.  Maggi is my favorite.



4.  Or if you really want to cheat use some pre-made chicken broth instead of water and chicken bouillon cubes.


5.  Add in carrots and celery.


6.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes.


7.  While soup is simmering it's time to get your dumplings ready.  Roll biscuits out on a floured surface. 

Be sure to use plain biscuits, butter flavored will result in an awful tasting soup.  Believe me, I learned this the hard way.  I honestly didn't think about it while I was cooking.




8.  Use a pizza cutter to cut biscuits into squares for dumplings.  Be sure to cut squares small! 


9.  Put dumplings in soup pot and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Let Me Call You Sweetheart Blog Hop - Making Valentines Day Special for Kids


I am so excited to be participating in the Let Me Call You Sweetheart Blog Hop that is being hosted by
The Frugal Housewife and I can't wait to check out all of the other blogs for some great inspiration!

I have been really looking forward to this post, and took some great pictures for it but of course as my luck has gone my camera isn't cooperating with me today.  So hopefully I can get the bugs worked out and get some pictures added in soon.  Until then you just might have to use your imagination a little.

Around our house everything we do is for the kids.  I mean everything.  I can not tell you how many times we have sacrificed something so that the kids can have a great day and not have to do without.  So of course, Valentines Day is no exception.

Here are some of the great ways we make Valentines Day a special day for our kids:

Heart Shaped Pancakes
These are a favorite tradition on Valentines Day around here.  I have a silicone heart shape that I use to shape my pancakes but if you can't find one, just simply make your pancakes the regular way and use a large heart shaped cookie cutter to cut them into heart shapes.  While our pancakes are always heart shaped we do add in variations from year to year.  Sometimes we add red and pink ice cream sprinkles to the batter to have pancakes with sprinkles in them, or we add red or pink food coloring to the batter to have colored pankcakes.

Salt Dough Hearts 
Last year we had a party for the kids friends for Valentines Day and one of the crafts we did was Valentines Day Salt Dough Hearts.  The day before the party I made a big batch of salt dough, rolled it out, and cut it into large hearts using a heart shaped cookie cutter.  Before I baked them I took an ice pick and made a hole in the top of the heart to put a ribbon through.  The next day we painted them, added glitter and other goodies to decorate them, then ran red or pink ribbon through them so that they could be hung up.  This is my favorite salt dough recipe.

Pink and Red Dinner
I know several families do this as well.  We set the dining room table with our fancy china, napkins, and decorate with plenty of hearts.  We use our fine china and our dinner consists of items that are red and pink.  Be creative when planning your meal, and don't forget you can use red or pink food coloring.  Pastas are an easy main dish that incorporates red.

You're Special Hearts
Using red construction paper cut out a large red heart.  You will need one heart for each member of your family.  Decorate the middle of each heart with the name of a family member.  What you are going to do is each family member will write why they think that person is special on their heart.  Then at supper time everyone will read what the other family members have written about them. 

Valentines Day Movie
After dinner we all enjoy a family friendly Valentines Day movie.  Be My Valentine Charlie Brown is one of our favorites.

The next blog on the hop is The Frugal Kennedy's be sure to stop by and see what Valentines Day tips she has for you!



MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Disclosure

I have been debating about how to write this for a while, and I have no idea how to word this without turning readers off.  I want you all to know that I really value all of my followers, readers, and all those who comment.  You make my day.  I have great plans for this blog - so many more features that I want to add - but just don't have the time right now. 

However, like many bloggers I do hope to earn a little bit of money from my blog.  Right now I have google ads placed on my blog, and a few affiliate link buttons on my sidebar.  Which have netted me a whopping $1.37 since July.  From time to time I may have a post that includes an affiliate link in the post or I may be compensated for writing a review of a product.  However, this has not happened yet and it will not affect my opinion of the product.  If I like something I want to share it with everyone, if I find something great I want to share it, and if something stinks I'll share that too. 

The integrity and layout of my blog is not changing.  You are not going to be finding post after post of affiliate links on my blog.  Everything will remain the same.  I am only writing this post to make the FTC happy.

Now that I am finished with this post that was incredibly icky to write, I hope that you all will continue to visit my blog because like I said you make me very, very happy!

Works For Me Wednesday - Menu Planning


I haven't always planned my menus for the week.  I never thought it was really necessary.  I mean who wants to schedule every minute of every day of their lives.  Well, once I finally gave in and started menu planning I wondered how I ever managed without my menu plan.

I usually plan my menu out on Sundays after I have gone through the sales ads and made out my grocery list for the week.  Yes, I make my grocery list out first.  Sounds kind of backwards doesn't it?  I do not keep a running inventory of what I have in my cabinets, freezers, or things like that.  Honestly, while I have a small stockpile I don't have so much food that I can't keep up with what I have.  Before I sit down to plan my menu out I take a look at what meat I have, what canned goods and frozen foods I have. 

Then I look for recipes that match up with the items that I already have at home and what is on sale for the week.  I try to find recipes where I already have everything I need.  Sometimes I will need to buy something small like whipping cream or a spice but I try not to plan a recipe that I don't have everything for.

To look through my recipes quickly I have them organized on my favorites menu in folders titled "Beef Recipes", "Hamburger Recipes", "Pork Recipes", "Chicken Recipes", "Slow Cooker Recipes", "Breakfast Recipes" and "Soup Recipes".  If I decide I want to try something new I use My Recipes, All Recipes, and Taste of Home.  All three sites allow you to search recipes by ingredients. 

Joining I'm An Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday has also been a big incentive for me to stay on top of my menu plan.  Knowing I need to post my menu each Monday gives me the incentive to plan my menu out.  Plus while visiting the other bloggers who participate I have found a ton of new recipes.  

 Another thing I keep in mind when I am planning my menus is our schedule.  If I am going to be busy during the day I will use a slow cooker recipe, or if I know I won't be able to get supper cooked if we have something going on that night I can make plans for that. 

For us menu planning has meant that there is no more running around at 5 PM trying to figure out what we will be eating for supper, and the meat is already defrosted.  We save on our groceries because our menu is planned around what is on sale, and our grocery list is no longer planned around our menu.  Our menus are more creative now becuase I focus on using what I already have, which sometimes means having to find new recipes.  And the biggest benefit has been a less stressed out mommy. 

Dry Rub Pork Chops with Honey Barbecue Sauce

You probably didn't notice it but I missed Tempt My Tummy Tuesday yesterday.  Unfortunately, I didn't even get to turn my computer on yesterday.  That rarely ever happens.  I mean NEVER!  I have to be near death to not even check my emails.  My husband jokes that I am addicted to the computer.  I don't call it an addiction so much as a dependence.  But let's not talk about that right now.  I'll look for a twelve step program later. 

The reason for my lack of internet time yesterday was due to Sunshine.  She woke up yesterday with a terrible pain in her tooth.  She was scheduled to go to the dentist on Friday for her cleaning, but I called the dentist and they had me bring her on in.  Long story short she ended up having to go to an oral surgeon yesterday for immediate work.  Which made for a very LONG day for mommy.  I was both emotionally and physically drained by the time we got home last night and I went to bed at 8:30 last night.  I can' tell you the last time I went to bed that early.

I had planned to share my Dry Rub Pork Chops with Honey Barbecue Sauce yesterday for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.  So instead of making you all suffer, you know you really would have suffered, I thought I would go ahead and share it today.

I have to be honest it's not really my recipe.  It's a variation of a recipe for chicken.  Okay so it's not even a variation, I just substituted the pork for the chicken.

The recipe comes from My Recipe's Dry-Rub Chicken with Honey Barbecue Sauce

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE it?

I have never made it using a whole chicken like it says.  I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boneless pork chops, and even whole pork loins. 

To make the pork chops I rub them down with the dry rub.  Place them on the George Foreman Grill and cook them on each side for a few minutes.  Then right before they are completely done, I use a pastry brush to rub the barbecue sauce on each side. 

The result is a very yummy pork chop.

If I do a whole pork loin I make a double batch of the rub and rub the entire pork loin with the recipe.  I then place the pork loin in the oven at 425 degrees.  Once the outside of the pork loin has cooked, I use a pastry brush to rub barbecue sauce on the loin.  I turn the loin every 5 minutes, adding more barbecue sauce as I turn it. 

The barbecue sauce alone is awesome.  It's spicy but not hot.  Anytime I need barbecue sauce I use this recipe. 

Don't you just love a versatile recipe?

Monday, February 1, 2010


FOR TODAY... February 1, 2010

Outside my window...the sun is shining, and while it's still cold outside I can see the beginnings of Spring.

I am thinking...of all the things I need to get done today. 

I am thankful for... the ability I have to stay at home with my family and still earn an income.

I am wearing...jeans and a long sleeved tee-shirt.

I am remembering...how much fun we had with the kids this weekend.
I am going... to spend most of the week at home this week. 

I am hoping... that today is the day.....

On my mind... is how can we go from a $150 electric bill in summer to a nearly $500 electric bill in the winter.
Noticing that...weekday mornings seem to fly by.

Pondering these words... "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...."

From the kitchen... yummy pork chops for supper.

Around the house... I have a TON of laundry to get done.

One of my favorite things~ February means we are just one more month closer to warm weather.

From my picture journal...pictures from when we lived in Florida.  I love the shadows in the sand, and they are a reminder of where I would really love to be right now.
 
 


A Sewing Project for a Boy and a Girl

I am so thankful for all of the creative people there are in the blogging world.  Look at these cute tutorials I found this morning that I just had to share.

For the boys....

A tutorial from Made by Rae on how to turn a man's dress shirt into a dress shirt for a little boy.  Can't you just picture cute matching dad and son shirts?

And for the girls....

A tutorial on how to make an absolutely adorable pettiskirt from Made by Bronwyn!

Menu Plan Monday, February 1st - 6th


Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Well, last week didn't go quite as planned.  The pizza pockets didn't turn out quite like I wanted them to and when I went to make the Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Swiss Cheese I didn't have everything I needed so I didn't get to make them after all.  Even though I am absolutely positive that I picked everything up when I was at the store, but I guess I could be wrong.  It's happened before.....once.  I ended up making my back up Breaded Pork Cutlets instead.

I did get to make my crab cakes this week, and posted my recipe for them here

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday - Pork Chops with Honey Barbecue Sauce (look for recipe this week)

Tuesday - Baked Ham (another recipe coming this week), Mashed Potatoes, My Grandmother's Green Beans 

Wednesday - White Bean and Ham Soup (using leftovers from last night's ham and it's a new recipe), cornbread

Thursday - AuGratin Sausage Skillet (another new recipe)

Friday - Spaghetti with Meatballs (using my Spaghetti Sauce recipe), Bread Machine French Bread

Saturday - Country Fried Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Sunday - Eat out after church for lunch and leftovers for supper