Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seven Layer Salad


Someone blessed me with some lettuce.  I LOVE salad in any shape or form. As long as I don't have to make it. Hehehe. Making it ahead is perfect for me. I will eat more. :-)  I used this recipe here. But I changed it up a little because I did not have all the ingredients. So here is my version of the recipe.




Michelle’s 7 Layer Salad

1 head lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
12 slices turkey bacon
1 ½  cups small cauliflower florets (I use the stems too)
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup onion
2 cups mayonnaise
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. In a 9x13 inch pan layer the lettuce followed by the peas, onion, bacon, cauliflower and celery.

Spread mayo over salad. Sprinkle cheese over top. Cover and chill for at least 8 to 12 hours for best flavors. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rhubarb Week!



I am so excited to be making something with Rhubarb this week. A friend of mine gave me a grocery bag of it. The best part of Spring is rhubarb, but alas I don't have a plant. I remember when I was younger a neighbor had 3 HUGE bushes. We asked for some and the lady graciously told us to help ourselves. Maybe someday I will have my own bushes.

This is my plan for the Rhubarb tomorrow. I already have it chopped and ready to go.

Rhubarb Jam
Rhubarb Muffins
Rhubarb Crisp

Menu Monday May 28-June 3

Breakfast:
Scrambled Eggs and Sausage
Oatmeal or Cereal
Waffles
Cinnamon Rolls

Lunch:
Mexican Bean Soup and Cornbread
Salad and Sandwiches
Pasta Salad and Sandwiches
Taco Salad
Beans and Cornbread

Supper:
Lasagna and green beans 
Boiled Eggs, Chicken Chunks, Veggies and Dip
Spicy Orange Chicken
Sloppy Joes, mashed potatoes, and broccoli
Chicken and Veggies Crock Pot Meal
Pizza and Salad

Goals May 28-June 3


How I did last week!
Personal
Complete week 4 of 5 Weeks to a clean house - still working on it
Finish week 3 of C25K program with my  kids- still working on it
Write up a list for Park Dates- still working on it
Finish last week of Filling the Freezer - still working on it
Practice Piano 5 times- 4 times!
Children/Homeschooling
Go on 1 dates/outings a month with each of the children individually - Just have 1 left!
Plan and go on at least one fun “trip/activity” every month with all the children. Take pictures
Plant 1/2 the garden and pots on the front porch- I did the front porch pots, but not the deck. Hoping to tackle the garden this week

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family
Write 1-2 handwritten notes every week to encourage or thank someone. - Totally failed this week!
Visit Grandpa
Blogging
Write 1 blog post a week about a new recipe we tried. - Did it several times!
Write 2 blog posts a month about my coupon shopping. - I did more than 2!

So my goals for this week - 
I changed it up a little. I made a list of 12 things

Personal

Finish Because He Loves Me
Complete 5 Weeks to a clean house
Finish week 3 of the C25K program
Music practice

Children/Homeschooling

Go on my last child date. Take pictures
Go on a fun “trip/activity” with all the children. Take pictures
Write up a list for Park Dates
Finish Read Aloud Missionary story
Finish planting garden

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family

Write 1-2 handwritten notes every week to encourage or thank someone.
Visit Grandpa

Blogging

Write 1 blog post a week about a a new recipe we tried

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Taco Casserole



 I was just browsing my Facebook feed and came across this Taco Casserole recipe. I was just making lunch and was not happy with what I was making. Plan and ordinary Tacos. Don't get me wrong I like tacos, but I wasn't in the mood for them. So when I saw this recipe I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised at the results.  My children all gave it a thumbs up.  So I am happy to recommend it to you.


Having tacos for us is always a challenge. Someone ALWAYS drops a taco on the table or better yet the floor.  And it seems that one person takes most of the cheese leaving little for the rest of us.  I like cheese, but not too much. So this recipe was perfect. You get a taco, but without all the mess. Plus it is gluten free. My tummy is happy about that.:-)  I am thinking I might make this part of the menu. Maybe do regular tacos one week and the other week this recipe. 

Pick N Save trip

I almost didn't get anything. Not because the deals were not good. Just because they did not have the things I wanted MOST in stock. I was really disappointed that they were ALL out of Gladwear Freezer containers.  But I still was able to score a few deals, despite having to COMPLETELY redoing my transaction.  Gatta love it when the stores don't carry the items have offer on sale huh?

I ended up spending only $10 and I have 2 vouchers for cheese.  Gotta love it when I can put it together on the fly. I do not do very well on last minute change. I tend to just back off and quit. But I refused to do that this morning. PnS was not going to beat me. hehe.  I can't wait to try the Dill and Olive Oil crackers.

Week 4 Day 3 Fill the Freezer - Energy Bites




So I admit it. I was a little worried how I would like the Energy Bites. I have made similar recipes before and they were fine. I am not sure what about it made me apprehensive?  I made only 1 batch to make sure it was something we liked.   It was so good the kids and I ate almost half of it before we even rolled it into balls! I think I will make another batch again later tonight. :-)


The oddest ingredient was the flax. I have worked with it before. Trying to grind it up was the biggest challenge. Throwing 1/2 cup in the blender didn't really do a good job. I think next time I will do it in smaller batches.

DO NOT skip putting it in the fridge before you roll it into balls. I could not roll it into balls at all (it kept falling apart) until it was cold. Then it went together fine. So don't try to do it without. Just accept that it need to go in the fridge for a while. :-)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 4 Day 2 Fill the Freezer - Chex Mix



Well, I intended to make only 1 recipe. But when I was finished my daughter decided she wanted to make a batch. She wanted to make something chocolate. She is ALL girl. :-)  Then after glancing over the other Chex mix recipes I found a few more I wanted to try.  I ended up making 6 different recipes total. I won't bore you with pictures of ALL the different recipes, but rather a link to recipes we used at the end. How about that?  The amazing thing to me is that I only used up 6 boxes of cereal for all the chex mix. I actually had EVERYTHING on hand to  be able to make the recipes. I love having a stocked pantry!  I did not have wheat chex on hand so I just used Crispix instead. Since I have some gluten issues anyway I just decided to not get the wheat ones. :-)






So here is a list of all the recipes we tried and LOVED today

Apple Pie Chex Mix
Spiced Nut Chex Mix
Chocolate Coffee Chex Mix
Chocolate Chex, Caramel Crunch
Mayan Chocolate Chex Mix
Snickerdoodle Chex Mix




 I have 2 more I want to try yet. I just need to find a few more ingredients.  Mainly pecans and dried pineapple or cranberries. I think I have some in the pantry, but I wasn't able to find it quickly this afternoon.

Ginger-Honey Chex Mix
Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix
Banana Foster Crunch
Breakfast to go Mix

I wonder if the Breakfast to go Mix is anything like the Emerald's Breakfast to Go?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coupon shopping with my sister.


Going to Pick N Save for the second time today, I will just say it was my sister's idea. And she did a fantastic job of helping me put together 4 transactions (2 each). I think the idea for the transactions came from a match up I found on the internet this morning.

I try to be so careful to put the transactions together before I leave, but more often than not the store is out of something.  My sister and I were pleasantly surprised that they had EVERYTHING we wanted in stock.  That almost NEVER happens to me.

There were so many things on sale this week. Just trying to pick the best deals to get this week has been a challenge.

I believe I spent around $16 for all 3 transactions. I also have $6 OYNO and 2 coupons for cheese.  I ended up with 9 pkgs of sandwich meat for my husband's lunches, 4 pkg cream cheese, 8 boxes of crackers, 6 bottles of shampoo, and 4 pkg hot dogs. Not too bad.

I want to go back and get a few more things Saturday.   They have Glad freezer ware containers. With all the freezer cooking I do I sure could USE THEM right now.

Week 4 Day 1 - 4 Weeks to Fill the Freezer


 I thought I would like to start making cookie dough MIXES instead of dough. I don't have to keep it in the fridge, but rather on the shelf.  I already had Chocolate Chip Cookies so I decided to as my husband what kind of cookies he would like. He surprised me by saying M&M cookies.  I asked him in the dough or on it. He said IN until I showed him the picture of the cookies I was going to make. He laughed and said.. oh yeah, on top like that. :-) I think trying to be specific with someone who doesn't make cookies was kinda funny. He really did not know what I meant.  But that is ok. He can make the best egg sandwiches in the world. I can handle the cookies. :-)

I used little bags of M&Ms for the cookies. I got them for free from Target around Valentines Day. Works really well for a small amount like what one would need for cookies.  When I get the mixes out, all I need to add are eggs, butter, and some vanilla.  As a child I never used mixes for anything. In fact I never used a mix. As an adult I didn't until recently. I have learned to make my own. I can make whatever I want. Sure cuts down on time to make something if I have a mix on hand.  Now all I need is time to make them. :-)

Potato Salad





I use to HATE making it. Not just because it takes so long, but because I hate chopping the potatoes and onions. Well I got this neat Vidalia Chop Wizard that chopped the potatoes all the same size and very quickly. So now I don't mind making potato salad at all.  A friend of mine used one to quickly slice potatoes and onions when she made fried potatoes.  I was hooked. I use it for EVERYTHING.  Onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, bread, olives, potatoes, squash, apples, etc.  I can't imagine what I did BEFORE I had one.





Here is my recipe:

Michelle's Easy Potato Salad Serves: 6

8 potatoes cubed (I don't always peel)
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 squirt of mustard
dash of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes).  Cool. Then add the remaining ingredients. I like to let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge to let the flavors mingle, but sometimes I can't resist and we dive in and enjoy the salad. :-)


Enjoy!

Shopping at Festival



I bought 2 items.  I payed $3.50+.  Not bad for TP and Eggs.  Festival sale prices are so good that coupons don't need to double to get a fantastic deal.  I even price matched the deal at Walmart 2 times. I think I will be set for TP for a while. We go through 4-6 dozen eggs a week. I think we need chickens.

My recent coupon shopping trip at Pick N Save

I haven't gone coupon shopping in AGES.  So when I went this Saturday at Pick N Save 10 double coupons I did 4 transactions.   I had 12 cases of soda that I did not include in the pictures. So just picture those along with everything else I bought. I payed about $35 for all the groceries you see (and a pizza I left in my mom's cooler).  I usually do a little better than that in 4 transactions, but I bought a few extra things. The 100 Calorie snack were for Daddy's Lunch. I wish I had gone at least one more time and bought more Tuna. My coupons expired Sunday and I totally forgot until I was home. "sigh"

Week 4 Fill your Freezer Menu



I am excited that we are on week 4 and I actually STUCK to it. I usually get discouraged and quit, but I kept on going. I am giving Crystal from Money Saving Mom all the credit.  I have admired her energy and drive for several months. I hope one day I can be half as disciplined as she is!

This is her menu this week. It is so tempting to just do the same things as she is. But I already made her Easy Morning Glory Muffins. So I am changing that recipe to Chex Mix. I also already have Chocolate Chip Cookie Mixes from her last challenge that I haven't used up, so I am going a different kind of cookie this time.

This is what I am going to ATTEMPT to make for this last week.

M&M Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Chocolate Banana Bread
No Bake Energy Bites
Spiced Nuts and Chex Mix

Goals for May 21-28





Redoing the list a little. It seemed overwhelming.

Personal
Complete week 4 of 5 Weeks to a clean house
Finish week 3 of C25K program with my  kids
Write up a list for Park Dates
Finish last week of Filling the Freezer
Practice Piano 5 times

Children/Homeschooling
Go on 1 dates/outings a month with each of the children individually - Just have 1 left!
Plan and go on at least one fun “trip/activity” every month with all the children. Take pictures
Plant 1/2 the garden and pots on the front porch


Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family
Write 1-2 handwritten notes every week to encourage or thank someone. 
Visit Grandpa

Blogging
Write 1 blog post a week about a new recipe we tried.
Write 2 blog posts a month about my couponing shopping.


How I did LAST week

Consistent Devotions with my children 4 -5 days a week- I did it 4 times. I use to do it daily so I am frustrated with myself for slipping
Teach the children 1 new song/hymn a week - We did 1!
Donate or toss 10 items a week - I had 30+.
Complete Week 3 of 5 Weeks to a Clean House- Finished up 2 and 3rd week!
Sew 1 item a month to get myself back into sewing again- I am going to make a clothespin bag. - still need to do this.
Complete Week 2 of the C25K program with my kids - DONE!
Write up a list for Park Dates- Have all the parks with addresses done. Now all I need to do is organize the list
Start a weekly prayer list. - Struggling how do it to be able to add etc

Children/Homeschooling
Go on 1 dates/outings a month with each of the children individually. Take pictures.- I have 1 left!
Go on at least one fun “trip/activity” every month with all the children. Take pictures.
Read and finish at least 1 Read Aloud Missionary book a month and 1 “fun story” - Reading Amy Carmichel and The Door in the Wall. -

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family
Write 1-2 handwritten notes every week to encourage or thank someone.- Forgot. Oops.

Blogging
Write 1 blog post a week about a new recipe we tried. - Accomplished!
Write 2 blog posts a month about my couponing shopping.- Have the shopping and picture done. Just need to write the blog post!
 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Menu Monday - May 21-27


Breakfast:
Scrambled Eggs and Sausage
Muffins
Quiche
Oatmeal or Cereal
Waffles or Pancakes
French Toast
Cinnamon Rolls

Lunch:
Chili and Cornbread
Salad and Sandwiches
Potato and Corn Soup
Potato Salad and Sandwiches
Taco Salad
Split Pea Soup
Beans and Cornbread

Supper:
Kraut and Potatoes Crock Pot Meal
Garlic Beef Enchiladas
Boiled Eggs, Chicken Chunks, Veggies and Dip
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Sloppy Joes, mashed potatoes, and broccoli
Lasagna and green beans
Pizza and Salad

Week 3 Day 5 - 4 Weeks to Fill the Freezer

 
My final recipe for the week is Money Saving Mom's Lasagna.  My daughter was such a great help putting this together. She is turning into a great cook and is eager to learn new things. I am so blessed to have a daughter and also a daughter that enjoys cooking with me. I think she can sometimes bake better than I can. But that is ok. I don't mind.

I made my own cottage and Motz cheese. I made it several weeks ago so That I would have it on hand.  I never made cheese as a child, but when I was an adult I did all sorts of odd things. I made my own tortillas and bagels. It was fun, but a lot of work. :-)


I originally intended to make 8 meals, but I settled for 4 because it got so late. We added extra cheese to the top since my husband LOVES cheese.

7 Layer Bars






I wanted to make Hershey’s 7 Layer Bars for a long time.  They looked so good.    So I did. They were not that good. Sorry to all you 7 layer bars fans we did not like it. The pretzels on the bottom were just stale tasting and soggy.  They looked so good though. I think I must have done something wrong.  I have enjoyed 7 layer bars before. The biggest issues was that the pretzels are soggy instead of crispy like I expected.

Week 3 Day 4 - 4 Weeks to Fill the Freezer

This is one of my favorite recipes. Sweet and Sour Meatballs. When I first made this recipe I was very unsure if I would like it. I have made pineapple with chicken before and we hated it. So when my friend Nicole suggested this recipe for our Once A Month Cooking challenge I was a little skeptical. But I did learn something. Letting it sit and marinade, ie in the freezer make the taste better.  So I think this is now one of our family's favorite Chinese meals. 

I hate making meatballs. Or should I say I am scared of making them. When Nicole and I made them for this recipe the first time I discovered it wasn't so hard after all. My oldest son thought it would be so fun to help so it was a mother, son  project. Sure made it go fast and we had a fun.  I never really thought making meatballs was that exciting for an 8 yr old boy. Maybe I will have to make meatballs again. he he.


The recipe called for canned pineapple, but I only had 1 can, but I had some fresh on hand since Aldi had it on sale not too long ago. The canned was such a pale colored compared to the fresh pineapple.  I don't know about you, but I grew up on canned pineapple. I never had a fresh pineapple until after I got married.  I had no idea what I was missing. The flavor was so different.

I used colored peppers instead of green peppers. I for some reason forgot that I needed more peppers for this recipe and all I had in the fridge was the Aldi colored grab bag of peppers.  I am sure the recipe will still be good. I am going to bet that it will be even BETTER with the sweet peppers!

Week 3 Day 3 - 4 weeks to Fill the Freezer

Stuffed Peppers was my third recipe. I have never made or age them before.  I always thought my husband HATED peppers. So when he told me he wanted me to make Stuffed Peppers I was very surprised. Apparently his mom made them when he was a child. Who knew?


I cooked up all my meat a few days ahead of time in the crock pot so it was all ready to use in the recipe.  Aldi had peppers on sale 2 weeks ago so I stocked up know that I was going to make this.   I stuffed 12 peppers.  That looks like quite a bit when you lay it all out.








I bagged up 3 peppers for a meal. Since it is not a meal I have ever had before I am kinda excited to try it. I hope my husband will enjoy it.  I am going to add some cheese on the top when I serve it. My husband thinks cheese and ketchup makes everything better. Maybe I will take a picture of them when I make them for you. I am going to bet that he will add ketchup. hehe

Week 3 Day 2 - 4 Weeks to Fill the Freezer


 For my second meal my children AND husband decided they wanted Tater Tot Casserole. I know when I was a child we had it every once in a while. We added green beans and corn to ours. So I just doctored up the recipe to add more vegetables.
I didn't actually put the meal together this time either. I just made a kit. Partially because it takes up less space, but the other reason is that I don't have enough pans to put all my meals in the freezer. I labeled the soup for the meals so we don't use it up accidentally.

Rocky Road Brownies


We made Hershey’s Rocky Road Brownies. The pictures made them look almost like S’Mores Bars. YUM YUM.  But when I pulled mine out of the oven I was disappointed. The marshmallows were all melted into the brownies.  The brownies tasted great, but they weren’t as “pretty” as I expected them to be. 

Week 3 Day 1- 4 Week to Fill the Freezer







The first recipe I choose to make was Turkey Pot Pie. My husband requested Pot Pies for a meal. He use to stop and buy those small pot pies at Walmart for a quick supper at night. I tried to make them a few times on my own, but I could never get the crust right. I finally just gave in and allowed myself the pleasure of purchasing pre-made crusts. Problem solved with less stress on my end and a happy consumer on the other.   The only difference I made was that I added some peas. No one seemed to mind. 






I was given some freezer and baking friendly Gladwear pans.  The problem is the pans are square and not round. The pie crusts didn't fit right.  Since my pans were square instead of round I just trimmed off the extra dough. I used the dough later to make lattice work on a peach pie and an extra pot pie. Worked out well. I still had 4 pot pies for the freezer, plus a peach pie.

So here are my pies for the freezer. We ate the lattice work pie for supper. It was delicious. :-)

And of course my peach pie with the extra dough. As you can see I used a little creative work to get it all together. But it was worth it. I just grabbed a gallon bag of frozen peaches, added 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour and then put the crust on top. Super simple and easy to throw together.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Money Saving Mom's Banana Bread

I made Banana Bread today with Edward. We used Money Saving Mom's Banana Bread recipe..I did not make it with her on the Freezer Challenge. I made muffins instead. So I felt bad.. or something. Hehe.



Edward wanted to help with EVERYTHING including putting it IN The stove. Eeek. I am thankful for a helpful child, but he does scare me at times with all his "helping"  Since he was helping me I decided to make 3 little Edward sized loaves. They turned out nicely and made my house smell SOOOO good. Mmmmm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 3 Fill the Freezer Plan



Wow already at week 3. Whew. Time has just flown by.  I can't believe we are half done. I am so please that all the meals are all waiting for me in the freezer. I am REALLY going to enjoy them.

Here is what is on the menu for this week


Kim's Lasagna - Guess I will have to share the recipe when I do it. :-)
Tatar Tot Casserole
Stuffed Peppers


Week 2 Day 5 Fill the Freezer




 So my last recipe is Mexican Bean Soup.

A dear friend introduced me to this soup YEARS ago.  I make it without hominy and use corn instead. I have trouble finding it in the store. I have made it a few times, but it is so much work. I would rather just use corn. I have plenty in my pantry.

The recipe itself is enough for 3 batches for our family so normally I just make it once and freeze the extras. I don't usually eat it with sour cream, but we sometimes will toss in some cheese or corn bread. Mmm Mmm Good.

Week 2 Day 4 Fill the Freezer Challenge

This is one of the most unique burrito recipes I have ever found. I was searching for something with beans and greens, no meat or cheese. This is what I found on all recipes. Bean, Tomato, and Spinach Burritos.

 I usually make them with Spinach, but I am using Collard Greens, Kale, and Swiss Chard. Any green will do.  I have used fresh and canned tomatoes. Just whatever I have on hand.   For this recipe I just put each in a bag. I have canned tomatoes in the pantry so I will grab a jar when I go to make the burritos.  I think this is one of my favorite recipes that is super fast and also easy to sneak in those greens. It is also vegan or dairy free. Win win!


Week 2 Day 3 Fill the Freezer

For this day's challenge I choose to make Chicken and Red Bean Enchiladas. I made a kit as you can see.  I mixed several cheese and used the bags the cheese came in. Why throw it away when it is a perfectly sound bag?  When I go to make my enchiladas I will grab a jar of Enchilada sauce out of the pantry and make them up.I have tried to make this recipe with the enchiladas ready made, but they were so soggy later that I decided I would rather a kit to make up the recipe later.


I actually used Turkey in this recipe. I cooked it up ages ago and I was able to throw it in the mixer with the dough hook (a tip from a friend), and it shredded up so nicely. I think that will be my new way of shredded meat!


I think the beans were OUT TO GET ME.  I tried to cook them up for 3 days. Yes, you read that right. 3 days. I finally figured it out. One of my children had pushed buttons on the crock pot and turned it off or on warm. AHHH! When I finally figure that out I was able to cook the beans. AHHHH! Now I have beans for the last 3 meals this week. YAY!


Voila!  My Chicken and Red Bean Enchilada kit ready for the freezer.