Thursday, December 15, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Otherthings we did...
things i didn't do: gamble, drink, get a tattoo, see a show, see Elvis or Barry Manilow, or take one of those cards that people try to give you every two feet for an x-rated encounter. I did stand like 6 inches from Jose Canseco and didn't realize it until someone called out his name. He's a big dude, but not 'roided up like he used to be. Just in case you were wondering. OH, I also got to go out to Nellis AFB and happened to see a few stunts by the...stunt planes...can't remember their names. it wasn't for a whole show. we just happened to catch a few end stunts. anyway, it was a fun time and micah was awesome enough to work from home and take care of the kids so that i could unwind and have a great time! hopefully next time, he'll get to come with me!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Chili (makes about 6 quarts)
2 lbs ground beef (I used ground chuck b/c it was on sale)
1.5 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 small to med greed bell pepper, diced
2 cans green chilis
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chili beans (I used mild)
1- 29 oz can tomato sauce (yes, the bigg’un)
1- 29 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 pkg chili seasoning mix
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the diced onion, bell pepper and garlic over a medium high heat until tender. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off all fat. In a large stock pot or crock pot (my method) add beef and seasonings. Stir. Add all other ingredients and cook on low all day. (I didn’t have to add anything during the day. You can choose the hotter version of the chili/taco seasonings if you like it spicier. This was plenty for me, though.)
Hope it turns out well for you. I like to serve this with cheese and Jiffy corn muffins...or sometimes Fritos. Depends on how well I’ve done on my diet for the week, haha! This filled my 6 quart crock pot so we’ll have plenty for another time.)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
i've needed to organize AC's bows and accoutrements for a while now. it started with a ribbon hanging on the back of her closet. and since she has such wild hair that actually requires the help of a spray bottle and detangler and sometimes mousse...it was just easier to move her stuff to my bathroom. but i already share a bathroom and storage that is easy and doesn't get in the way of my too many B&B lotions is paramount.
so, after much thought and hours spent looking at websites and Pinterest (my new love and time suck) i decided to quit looking and get with it already.
oddly, the idea didn't come to full fruition until i was browsing around Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday. (i was really there on the prowl looking for shoe organization for me and barbie organization for her.) but i ran across this little diddy and thought..."hey, this could work."
it's a jewelry organizer. now let me be honest, i actually thought the little pockets were larger than they are. i thought the bows would fit inside the pockets. but, in response to the stink eye i was giving the too small pockets, the brilliance that is my husband said, "can you just clip them over the edge?"
Well, yes, dang it...i can. the ones that have alligator clips anyway. but what about the french barrettes? they need to clip closed to stay on.
I eyed it. i crooked my mouth. i grabbed the seam ripper (since i actually knew where it was...the sewing drawers having just been organized...do you see a theme?) and sliced the bottom of the pockets so that i could close the bow around it. it was magic.
truly a beautiful thing. so simple. it's double sided, so bows on one side...pony tail holders and barrettes on the other. slap some cute stickers on it (b/c i don't have one of those super cool cricut things) and call her done!
show it to you kid and forbid her touch it. easy peasy!
Monday, August 22, 2011
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can 98%Fat Free cream of chicken soup
1 can 98%FF cream of celery soup (trust me on this)
1 can cream of potato soup (doesn't come in FF, sadly)
1 small can corn, drained
1 small can sliced carrots, drained
1 small can sweet peas, drained
1 refrigerated pie crust, cut into strips
Cut pie crust into strips and set aside. Mix all other ingredients together, adding a little salt and pepper to taste. Fill a casserole dish or individual aluminum pot pie holders with the pot pie mixture. Place enough strips across the top to cover, but allow spaces for the steam to rise. At this point, you can cover with foil and freeze (which is what I did.)
From Frozen: Do not thaw!! Remove aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then 400 for 30 minutes. My crust didn't even think about burning using this method!!
From fresh: I'd start with baking at 350 for...25 minutes? Until bubbly and crust starts to brown.
Because I am the best...it's 5 Weight Watcher pointsPlus per serving before you add the crust...and it serves 6!! (you would add 3-4 more points per serving, depending on the pie crust nutritional info...but don't forget, this serves 6 as i have it divided. 32 for the filling, total.)
enjoy that bad boy and thank me later!!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
During the busier months I didn’t do many casseroles or things like that because for one thing, my kids are picky eaters. They do better with a meat and sides added. But also, I knew if I cooked the meat part ahead of time, everything I made to go with it would cook just about as quickly as whatever I was reheating.
So…first I made a list of things I knew we all liked and then moved on to looking at who had what meat on sale…b/c that is where the bulk of your money can go…to meat and premade foods. (TIP: A great place to get ideas is the freezer section at the grocery store. If they can make it and freeze it, so can you, but without some of the added “junk” they put in and you can control the nutritional aspects.)
Hint: You can almost always find chicken on sale. If you have a Sam’s or Costco card, just as good!!
You will need to dedicate an entire day to this (and maybe even a little bit the next day…depending on what you cook.)
When I first started, I split boneless skinless chicken (usually breasts, but I hear thighs are good too and usually at a good price…I’m using them this time, so we will see) between three different crock pots. I know what you are thinking and YES…I have 3 and I use them ALL, all the time! (TIP: you do know that the size of your crock pot has an effect on how your food cooks, right?)
Anyway, I did one with chicken, jane’s crazy mixed up salt/pepper/onion powder/garlic powder/chicken bullion cubes (Plain Chicken.)
The next pot had chicken, BBQ sauce and coke (BBQ chicken).
The last had chicken, salsa and a little taco seasoning (Salsa Chicken).
From these 3 pots, I can make all kinds of things (b/c isn’t remembering to thaw meat and then cooking it the most time consuming process??)
First I shred it all, then proportion it into freezer bags and label it for what I want to use it for. Examples:
Plain Chicken—almost every casserole calls for 2 cups shredded chicken, so put that much (or however much you want) into Ziploc bags. You defrost it in the microwave on high for5-7 minutes. While that’s doing its thing, mix together your other ingredients and your casserole is ready to cook and in the oven super quick. Usually 30 minutes later, supper is on the table!
TIP: You can also make casseroles ahead of time, but that’s for a later discussion!
BBQ chicken--(just defrost/heat in the microwave, add in a little extra sauce or thaw in fridge while gone during the day, put it in a casserole dish with extra sauce, cover with aluminum foil, heat on 350 until warmed through.)
BBQ chicken tacos--heat the same way as above, but serve in a soft tortilla topped with corn and cheese (slaw or lettuce if wanted)
BBQ chicken Pizza—heat as above; spread BBQ sauce on a pita, top with chicken, red onion, bacon crumbles and cheese—something with cheddar is my favorite.
Salsa Chicken—if it’s Mexican in nature, you can use this! Quesadillas, Mexican casseroles, tacos, chicken chili, just Salsa chicken over rice…anything.
Next up…ground beef/turkey. First of all, I put carrots/onions/bell peppers in the food processor and add it into all of my ground beef/turkey (which we pretty much always use turkey—93/7—b/c they can’t tell the difference in taste and it’s actually cheaper per lb. This will bulk up your meats, add flavor and sneak in some veggies at the same time.
Ideas: Meatloaf (recipes/flavors are endless here) and hamburger patties (keep raw when freezing both of these), sloppy joes, tacos, veggie-beef soup, chili, taco soup, spaghetti sauce, really anything you can add hamburger meat to, brown it…cool it…freeze it. Thaw in the microwave or the fridge…cook to your heart’s content.
I’ve also done pork loin/chops/boston butt. I don’t cook those ahead of time, but I have pre-seasoned them. I just thaw in the fridge and then cook as usual.
Sides: Mac-n-cheese (the homemade kind) hashbrown casserole, twice baked potatoes are things that I’m pretty sure make a bunch and freeze well. I haven’t tried anything else, but feel free to let me know if you do! Sides are the easy part for me usually.
So, how else do I get started??
If you aren’t a list maker, this probably will never be your thing. It requires planning and a good bit of it, but once you do it a few times, you’ll figure it out. The first time you do it, you’ll think you are spending more than usual, but I promise it will even out within a couple of months. Look for the sales. I do NOT go to several stores rounding up stuff. I usually shop at Walmart, Kroger, Sam’s or Publix. I just check ahead of time. If you have a local chain that you like, ask your butcher what day the mark meat down. It’s usually a certain day of the week and it’s usually a few days before the “sell by” date.
Every month I print out a blank monthly calendar. I sit down and decide what we want for supper as the main dish. (I make out my bulk meat list from that…including what seasonings or sauces I’ll need for whatever I’m making.) After that I add in the sides (which is where my weekly or bi-weekly shopping comes in). People, I own my OCD-ness…but I’m telling you, it helps.
I take my job as the house manager seriously. It’s my job to feed us, which it’s my job to be thoughtful about the nutrition as well as the money we spend on it…not to mention the time management that comes into play with it as well. I spent too long wasting money on guess work, sometimes over-buying, lots of times having to go back more than once a week (which sometimes I still do…I’m still learning).
Alright, you’ve decided to do this.
You’ve made a running list of things you like.
You’ve written out a calendar of the meals you’d like to have (INCLUDING SOME MUCH NEEDED OUT TO EAT BREAKS FOR THE HARD WORKING/COOKING MAMA!!)
You’ve made your bulk shopping list.
Time to shop…If you have crock pots, get the crock pot liners!! You won’t be sorry…and don’t forget the freezer bags! If it’s something “saucy” I double bag, just in case of leaks when thawing. Plus, if you thaw in the fridge, you won’t stink up everything. (I hate it when that happens!) I usually use quart and gallon size. Some will be reusable…some will not. It’s not something I get hung up on, for now. (Also, if you have a Kroger in your area, they have the disposable aluminum tins that have the flat tops on them. Most places have no top or the plastic one that wastes at least an inch of space. I find the flat top kind to be most useful for casseroles/sides.)
Time to cook…start with a clean kitchen. You are GONNA MAKE A MESS…A BIG’UN!! Just accept it.
I figure out how I’m cooking my chicken first (because I always do it in crock pots! The meat gets more tender, plus, I strain and use the broth for soups.) When that is decided and doing its thing, that frees me up to take care of the other prep that I need to do with the pork/ground beef/veggies or whatever.
TIPS: Use the internet. Look for other people who do this. Look for recipes. Take short cuts where you can. I don’t like the tediousness of doing my own meatballs, so I buy them already cooked. I have found that if I grill meat ahead of time, that for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like it tastes the same after it’s been refrigerated…so any grilling I do, it’s for eating then, or I let Tyson do the work.
I’m not particularly good at couponing, I try…but I look for stuff we use, brands we like, and when Publix puts something on BOGO…I use it then or at Kroger. After doing all of this, I just don’t have the brain strength sometimes, haha!
Things you can make in bulk and freeze:
Breakfast: pancakes/waffles/muffins/ham-egg-cheese cups (I’ve seen, but haven’t tried), I’m sure there are more, but we aren’t huge breakfast eaters. We’re good with cereal, muffins and pop-tarts!
Suppers we like: enchiladas, tacos, spaghetti, quiche, meatloaf, meatballs, BBQ, sloppy joes, chicken fingers/nuggets, fish/shrimp, soups, pork chops/loin, hamburgers, hotdogs, ham, roast, lasagna, breakfast…
Well, you get it. Not all of us like everything, but we make it and serve it and that’s it.
Doing it this way has saved my sanity and our budget for sure. Lots of times we have left overs, stretching what I’ve made even more.
If you have a friend, you can even trade meals!
I’ll try to get around to posting more recipes soon. Click here for the first time I did this. We also have some quick stuff on hand that I didn’t list here, but I can be more detailed if requested. If you see something in my freezer right now that you’d like to try, let me know and I’ll send the recipe along to you! Or if you want my blank calendar forms, I can send those, too. Just shoot me an email…firstname.lastname@example.org Here are a few other websites to get you started:
Once a Month Mom
Thanks for the interest and happy freezing!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
I don't think they have been bare for the last two years, to be honest. I painted them for the first time before going to the beach two summers ago! Your brothers are your best friends and worst enemies, but they love you just as much. (You are able to get them to play house, school and costume party.) You are a big daddy's girl, but love time with me, too. We had a blast this summer at camp, just us girls! You are braver in the pool this summer, paddling everywhere in your float. Your best friend is Jackson and you love church day! Unfortunately, you also like to call your brothers names and work the word "butt" into nearly everything you say. Some favorites these days are "chicken noodle weenie head" and "booty butt". I have no idea...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
while walking through walmart, we pass the ladies undergarments. while spotting a padded bra...wait...get the image in your head...he says:
i had to stop the buggy and lean over on the bar i was laughing so hard. You see, Micah has terrible allergies and wears a mask that looks like this while he mows...so...you get it.
I've also been working on trying to write down some House Rules, some sort of physical reminder of how we should act and how we should help (more to come on that later.) so after church tonight i asked the kids what they thought the house rules were. the one they had to learn the hard way today was "keep your hands to yourself." i knew that one was coming. then seth said:
clearly he gets it.
after a few minutes had passed they were telling the same mind-numbing joke over and over so it was obviously time for the quiet game (which i'm sure luke would like for me to tell you that he always wins.) after a minute or two of being quiet (and constantly reminding sissy what quiet actually means), seth apparently had something really important to say because he whispered,
seriously...it's why i keep him around.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
i am so very glad that it's summer time because we aren't bound to a schedule every week. i actually only have 3 weeks where something specific is planned and the rest is up to us. there is always something funny coming out of one of their little
so, all that to say this...we have been busy the last couple of weeks graduating from 1st grade, losing more teeth, playing baseball in 100 degree heat, throwing up b/c of it, making out summer fun charts, splashing in a blow up pool, counting down the days until the beach
i hope to report more frequently about all the fun things we want to do this summer, but for real moments, you know where you can look. my status updates frequently. it's cheaper than therapy.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
so...if you ever liked the wendy's salad...here's what you need:
Lettuce (today i used what i had, which was butter lettuce)
1 Grilled Chicken Breast, diced or sliced (i used the pre-cooked frozen ones that i get at walmart and keep on hand alllllllll the time.)
Sliced Almonds (i used the Almond Accents roasted version)
Chow Mein Noodles
Publix brand Roasted Asian Sesame salad dressing
A Squeeze of Honey
layer as listed. mix a little bit of honey into your dressing and coat thoroughly. love it! a perfect summertime salad. you are welcome.
Monday, May 2, 2011
luke has been out of school since wednesday and we won't know when they will go back as of yet. for sure they are still out tomorrow. the area damaged near our house (about 4 miles south to north east) cut through both routes we could take to get luke to school. we haven't been over that way since thursday, so i'm not sure what has happened there since then.
we were so very lucky that we only had one large tree down on our fence (which i posted to facebook). otherwise, we were completely fine (well, minus the power thing, but that really is so insignificant.)
our song leader from church lost their home, but fortunately the Lord protected them in their storm shelter during the 10 seconds that it pummeled everything around them.
i hope that you will continue to pray for the residents of middle/north alabama (and anyone else that was in the path) of this viscious storm. so many homes and businesses are still without power and so much else. this is a video that was put together by some of the men at our church of the efforts that have been going on out in our community.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
first off, we'll address the OCD/list maker tendencies that i have. i'm not proud. a few years ago i found a weekly menu form (breakfast/lunch/supper) on the Cheap Cooking website that i use to plan out our menus every single week. now, before you think i'm a good mom, let me preface this by saying i'm not a breakfast cooker, so that column looks something along the lines of pop-tarts every other day (because my kids would eat them every day if i'd let them) alternating with something else (usually cereal or muffins or cereal bars.) i'm not really a breakfast eater and they are way picky, so...ya know. lunches vary as well. luke has his own lunch menu schedule (which helps micah, who is the one who packs it) and the other two kids usually eat hotdogs or sandwiches and me, just whatever i can find. (that is also an area i need to reign in a little better.) next, i printed out a blank march calendar from my microsoft program. (we typically have a copy or two lying around somewhere because with having kids who refuse to share, we put everything except the toilet on a rotation schedule. forced sharing is total win, justsoyaknow.) Then I sat down with my inventory list and tried to make the best mix/rotation of foods that i could, and still accomodate the baseball schedule. (is it any wonder i am #1. insane, #2. unreachable by phone, and #3. completely out of touch with what is going on in my friends' lives.--Hey Lindsey! I didn't know you moved or that you were homeschooling!--Hey Darby! Thanks for the book rec of The Mission of Motherhood. It's the first book that i paid for on my Kindle.--Hey Tara M.! Thanks for the info on "farm shopping.")
ok, where was i? oh yes, under a mound of lists. see, i like to be able to see everything at a glance. I also like variety, so having an inventory list, a master monthly menu and then a weekly one (for general grocery shopping and so that the kids know what we're having) works well for me. it really is organized chaos. I'd let micah take a picture of me doing this, but i'm fairly certain that i don't actually show up on film. so, in my week, i do plan an out to eat meal once a week. i thought about doing sunday lunch, and occasionally we will, but i'm thinking that it may vary between saturday night and sunday. still working on what works best for us on that one. there have been some days that i had my menu all planned out and then that day, i just wasnt' feelin' it. the good thing is that it didn't matter. i had several other things that i could choose from b/c they were already waiting for me in my freezer. problem solved and it didn't come down to a last minute, "let's just go pick something up."
i still have plenty in my inventory for the moment. this is a pay week, so i'm going to pick up some ground hamburger/turkey and make and grill some hamburgers and then freeze them. i mean, they sell them already cooked in the freezer section. surely i can do it and make them healthier, right?
another thing i might suggest is browsing some of the menu planning sites that are out there and giving one of their 3-month subscriptions a try. they usually give you a shopping list and a prep list along with the menu suggestions so that it takes the guess work right out of it. If nothing else, it will give you a few items to add to your repertoire that you may not have had or thought of before. it helps break me out of the cooking the same ole thing every week or two rut. try e-mealz or 5Dinners1Hour.
thanks for the interest while i get it figured out. any mom on the go should give it a try for sure!
oh, question for my SAHM friends...if you had a job outside of the home before you had kids and now stay at home, do you ever plan on working outside of the home at a later time? i'm just curious.