Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Monday Dec 28-Jan 3

What a wonderful Christmas! No where to be except church in the morning, the kids behaved, the gifts were loved, I was spoiled as usual, and the Eggs Benedict were heavenly. We have one more week of being at home together, I only wish the weather was just a bit more conducive to being outside. Can't have it all, I guess.
Here is what we are eating this week. I got a new cookbook for Christmas (hence the black eyed peas), so next week will be a bit more exciting...

Breakfast-Cold cereal
Supper-Roast chicken, fried potatoes, onions and apples, salad

Breakfast-Oatmeal with brown sugar
Lunch-Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Supper-Black eyed peas, cornbread and rice

Breakfast-Eggs and toast or omelets
Lunch-Bagels with turkey and cheese
Supper-Chicken pot pie, salad, cottage cheese

Breakfast-Soaked pancakes
Lunch-Creamy mac and cheese and fruit cups
Supper-Nacho bar, meat and cheese tray, fruit

Breakfast-Muffins and fruit smoothies
Lunch-Creamed chicken on toast, peas

Breakfast-Kids choice
Lunch-Maid-rites, chips
Supper-Sweet and sour chicken, rice, salad

Brunch-Sausage egg skillets or waffles
Supper-Leftovers or chicken noodle soup

Monday, December 21, 2009

Menu Monday Dec 20-26

Wow has Christmas snuck up on me! Don't get me wrong, I spread out my shopping over a couple of very organized days and did some online, but sitting in church yesterday and looking at the huge trees behind the priest reminded me how December has flown. Here is our menu for this week, again shopping from the freezer since the $65 I spent last week mostly went to Saturday night's party.

Breakfast-Cold cereal (mom is baking while they are eating)
Lunch-Grilled beef sandwiches, carrots and celery
Supper-Philly steak pizza

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Ham and cheese paninis
Supper-Pork roast, oven fries, green beans

Breakfast-Oatmeal and peaches
Lunch-Cheeseburger rolls and apples
Supper-Multi-bean soup, rolls

Breakfast-Fruit smoothies and pb toast
Lunch-Popcorn chicken, ff, applesauce
Supper-Chili and oyster stew, no-kneed bread, cheese

Friday-8:30 Mass (oldest serving, Mom nervous)
Brunch-Waffles, whipped cream, fruit, Eggs Benedict
Supper-Frozen pizza

Breakfast-Sticky buns
Lunch-Roast chicken, potatoes, beets, salad
Supper-Potato soup, chicken salad sandwiches

Brunch-Kids choice, egg skillets
Supper-Ham, corn casserole, salad

Friday, December 11, 2009

Frugal gift giving

"Happy birthday, Mom!" This was my greeting this morning from the usually grouchy #2 as she got ready for school. "My gift to you is Love." How appropriate is that, on a frugal Friday, love? Easy to give, no need to wrap, always in stock, and free.
At least for her...
How many of us give love with a price tag? I know that I have been guilty of it's not fair thoughts, I give so much and what do I get back thoughts, I deserve something too thoughts.
Oooo, Satan is tricky, huh?
Whispering in my ear. Telling me to give my love to others, at a price.
Dear Lord, thank you for the lesson from my beautiful daughter. Help me to always give the ultimate gift that I was given.
Thank you for the quiet lesson.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Menu Monday Dec 7-13

Well, the soup and sandwich as a lighter supper option has gone over fairly well. Hubby and I loved last nights ham and beans made with the leftover ham bone from Thanksgiving. We poured it over some homemade cornbread and it was so rich and creamy, I had a second helping. Here is the menu plan for this week, with high hopes that we can avoid going out to eat, although that never seems to happen with Tuesday's craziness.

Breakfast-Morning muffins, bananas
Lunch-Creamy Mac n cheese, raw veggies
Supper-Popcorn chicken, egg rolls, rice

Breakfast-Oatmeal, peaches
Lunch-Hot lunch at school (mini corn dogs, yuck)
Supper-Sub sandwiches, chips, dried fruit

Wednesday (snowed in)
Breakfast-Banana bread, warm vanilla soothers
Lunch-Pb and j, bananas
Supper-Baked chicken, rice and garlic green beans

Breakfast-Cereal and toast
Lunch-Chicken salad, fruit slushy, carrots and celery
Supper-Cheese soup, Blue cheese and bacon roast beef panini

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Hot lunch (tacos)
Supper-Pizza (Dad gone)

Breakfast-Pancakes with jam
Lunch-Spaghetti, salad and garlic toast
Supper-Chicken nuggets and ff

Brunch- Kid's choice
Supper-Grilled cheese, tomato soup

Friday, December 4, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

Since no day of the week starts with R, I guess Friday will have to continue to be my place for adding new recipes to the blog. This is my version of, "Ratfarts, the tortillas didn't come out near big enough or round enough for enchiladas", enchiladas. I love Mexico and its food, but I don't like to take kids to a restaurant, and certainly don't like to pay the bill. This is a go to recipe when I have a bunch of leftover things in the freezer, you know, a little beans here, a little rice here, end of a bag of corn, type thing. All these measurements are approximate. If you don't have an ingredient, no biggie, just makes the casserole a bit smaller. The rice and meat are interchangeable, so if you have a vegetarian (not here) or just a little bit of meat left over and you are tired of chicken salad, this is a very easy way to use it. Kinda reminds me of when we were kids an leftovers got added to white sauce and poured over toast... only way better...

Enchilada Casserole
One batch of homemade corn tortillas (or about 16 store bought ones)
2 cans enchilada sauce
1-2 c cooked chicken, turkey, or beef
1 c corn
1 c beans- black, pinto, whatever
1-2 c brown rice
1 1/2 c sharp cheddar, or your favorite cheese blend

To assemble
Pour 1/2 can sauce into the pan you are baking this in. I am using the same pan that I made my tortillas in because I hate to do dishes. Shred 5 tortillas on top of the sauce layer. In the bowl I mixed up my tortilla dough in and still have not washed, mix meat, corn, beans and rice. My beans and corn are even still a bit frozen at this point. Spread 1/2 of this mixture on the shredded tortillas, pour the other half of the can of sauce over that and top with a bit of the cheese. Repeat process with 5 more tortillas, other half of mixture and 1/2 can of sauce. Shred last 5 tortillas and pour last 1/2 can sauce over that. Now top with cheese. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until bubbling and your family has asked you for the thousandth time if supper is done yet! We top this with plain yogurt and Cholula hot sauce. Typically I serve lettuce on the side as well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shopping trip for Nov 30

Downtown Grocery
Cereal 5.69
Fruit bars 4.49
Mayo 7.29
O's 3.19
Cabbage 1.19
Swiss 4.77
Eggs 4.99
Tomatoes 2.69
Apples 6.85
Zucchini 1.20
Total 42.35

Quality Foods
Buttermilk 2.23
Bacon 2.94
Total 5.17

Grand Total $47.52
This is what I will be making this week from my shopping trip.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 30- Dec 6

Thanksgiving went of without too much of a hitch. There was some issue with the shape of my rolls, and my friend was not entirely happy with her pies, but everything tasted wonderful and our kids had a great time playing together.
I just got my Country Life order, and since it was rather large, I am shopping from my freezer for the next two weeks. Also, I have been finding that as the nights get longer, I tend to cook heavier. This results in my scale reading heavier... So, in order to combat that, I will be testing lighter suppers this week in order to see how the rest of the family feels.

Breakfast-Cinnamon rolls (left over from company) bananas
Lunch-Leftovers (Enchiladas or potatoes and ham)
Supper-Noodles & Company (already have these)

Breakfast-Crock pot steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Turkey salad, oranges- Hot lunch for kids
Supper-Cream of tomato soup, ham and cheese sandwiches

Breakfast-French toast sticks, apple sauce
Lunch-Salmon salad, apples- Hot lunch for kids
Supper-Potato soup, cheese, no-kneed bread

Breakfast-Cereal, bananas
Lunch-Ham and cheese sandwiches, chips
Supper-Creamy pasta bake, salad

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-PB and J, bananas
Supper-Frozen pizza (we are going to a party)

Lunch-Crispy chicken, salad, creamy mac&cheese, beets
Supper-Veggie soup, bagels with cream cheese

Brunch-Biscuits and gravy, fruit cups, cereal
Supper-Fish tacos, coleslaw, mangoes

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was quite a deal, deciding what to have for Thanksgiving. I got so many suggestions from the kids that we nearly ended up having frozen pizza. In the end, smarter heads prevailed, and we had ham. It kept the holiday feeling for hubby and the kids, but provided three meals worth of leftovers for mom. Since we celebrate with another family every year, I only had to make half of the food in our photo. Next year it will be at their house, and we are already talking tacos...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on 101 things

You may have noticed the countdown on the side of my blog telling how many days are left in my challenge. If you have never heard of the 101 in 1001 days or the Day Zero Project, go here to check it out and see examples of other's goals around the world. I have to remind myself to update what I have done every once in a while. It has really helped to keep me accountable to my goals, and has made me realize that some goals just are not appropriate for a season of life. 101 things seem a bit overwhelming to you? How about cutting it down to 10 things in 101 days? Actually setting a group of goals down on paper helps you to focus on something you really want to accomplish, and setting a time limit encourages you to complete your goals rather than putting them off or just forgetting them. So, what are your goals? Is there a list that has been rolling around in your head and is just dying to get out and be looked at?

Shopping trip for Nov 23

Downtown Grocery
Eggs 4.99
Arthur loops 3.19
Tomatoes 3.89
Tomato soup 3.59
Garlic 1.33
Total 16.99

flour 2-3.58
marshmallows 0.99
milk 1.49
cool whip 3-3.00
oranges 5-4.45
pineapple 3-2.97
pudding 3-2.37
cheese 3-4.98
dish soap 3.19
Parmesan 2.50
enchilada sauce 2-3.58
cottage cheese 1.79
cherries 1.69
bananas #5-3.43
jello 2-1.58
pineapple 2.99
ham 19.54
Total 64.27

Milk 5-20.00
Grand total $101.27
I have to keep in mind that this total includes a rather large and tasty looking ham I normally would not have bought, and ingredients for a fruit salad for 25 hungry teachers since I volunteered to make food for them during conferences. That actually added $10.11 to my bill. So for this week, $91.16 is not too bad with company and the holiday. Definitely under my $125 a week goal! This just goes to show that God does provide (in the form of sale prices) when we practice hospitality.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Absent this Friday

It used to be a tradition, getting up at 3:30 AM and going through the ads with my in-laws to see what bargains we could find on "Black Friday". Since we've moved, I don't go anymore. While I do miss the fun of spending a crazy morning with them, it has been somewhat freeing to not have go through the insanity of standing in line for an hour, or getting shoved by some crazy lady who had to get to the $1 Barbie first. We have simplified our giving so much, that I save more now at Christmas by simply not buying, then I ever would have if I steamrollered some Grandma to get to the toy isle ahead of everyone.
I am grateful to be able to afford to skip the consumer hype and just enjoy the day after Thanksgiving digesting with my kids over puzzles. What are you grateful for? Head on over to Laura's at Heavenly Homemakers and let the rest of us know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Something new to your table this year

Every year for zillions of Americans (I researched this) families join together to eat the same food on Thanksgiving day. Turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and some sort of roll, bun, bread option.
Not this year! We have spent several days hearing opinions as to what we should eat this year on turkey day. I have heard brisket, ribs, cereal, corn on the cob, crab legs, ice cream, you get the idea. I think that I will have to keep corn casserole on the menu, but we are still up in the air as to what else we would like. We can have turkey any day (read-when on sale), so pork seems to be a popular choice for a main dish. I would like to avoid green bean casserole as I am about the only one who really likes it.
So, this year we will be trying new dishes! I am going to challenge myself to look for new hot sides to serve, using produce that is local and seasonal. This means I am looking in the squash, apple direction, and not the peach, shrimp direction. Local produce is fresh, and because of that, nutritionally better for you as a general rule. We could eat a local turkey, but since we are trying to avoid turkey all together....
So here is the challenge. Take a poll with your family and those who will be spending the holiday with you. Is there a dish that no one would really miss if you, say, "forgot" to put it on the buffet. Next, look for something in the same category of your old dish (salad, hot side, main meat) and replace it with a new, exciting dish of something that is grown or raised within a 100 miles of your house. Really brave people can post their link early and inspire the rest of us. What will you challenge your family with this year?

I will go first. No mashed potatoes and gravy this year, we are going to give Tyler Florence's Ultimate Potato Gratin a try. It is getting rave reviews and with the exception of the parmesan, can be made with all local ingredients.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 23-29

Breakfast-Pb toast, yogurt smoothies
Lunch-Homemade raman, veggie sticks, cheese
Supper-Potato soup, cheese toast

Lunch- Hot lunch
Supper-Subway (in town for gym and swim)

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Creamy mac n cheese, garlic green beans
Supper-Spaghetti, salad

Thanksgiving Thursday
Breakfast- Gingerbread pancakes, yogurt smoothies
Lunch-Ham, Ultimate potato gratin, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, orange salad, garlic green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie
Supper-Crock pot turkey and stuffing, leftovers

Breakfast-Waffles with fruit
Lunch-Cheesy beef and rice, salad
Supper-Pizza movie night

Breakfast-Steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Chili, rice, pickles, cheese
Supper-Scalloped potatoes and ham, salad

Breakfast-Sausage egg skillet with hollandaise
Lunch-Sandwiches and tortellini soup
Supper-Beef and been enchiladas, lettuce, tomato, onion, olives

Friday, November 20, 2009


My poor Schwan's man. Every time I hit on something new that works, I drop yet another product from my order. Good for me, but at some point he is going to start taking it personal... One package of waffles is $5.39 and I make that last for 2 weeks by only allowing each kid to have 2 at breakfast, one time a week. I felt like I was sending kids to school hungry, and it killed me to pull the box out, knowing that I could make better ones. I have now made 5 batches of waffles for pennies, and can't believe I didn't start sooner. This morning, I made a batch of whole wheat, two batches of kamut, and one batch with unbleached white flour. The kamut were my favorite.

Belgian waffles

1 3/4 c flour (white, wheat, kamut, oat or a combination of any)
2 T sucanant
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 c milk
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well, combine wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. If you add the eggs last, you can combine and measure all at once, less dishes... Whisk the wet into the dry just until combined, there will be lumps and let it set. This is an important step for me, because I grind my own flour, the grain needs a few minutes to absorb some of the liquid. If I was smart, I would soak them the night before....
Preheat your waffle iron (gotten on sale with coupon at Kohls for $18) and pour 2/3 cup batter (or whatever yours takes) on and cook. We top ours with our neighbors syrup that I buy by the gallon in the spring, or whipped cream and fruit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When someone ruins it for everyone, or my shopping trip

Don't you hate it when people don't play by the rules. I know I was like that as a kid, because I see it in my children. There are rules, it is fair, you may not like it, but as my MIL says "Suck it up and get back on the bus".
I don't know who ruined a good thing for everyone else, but as a was checking out at the grocery store with my fist full of new found money savers, the checker informed me they don't accept Internet coupons.
I wanted to cry.
Not only was there $8 worth of coupons that I had spent time searching for in order to save more on top of what was already on sale, there was a ton of groceries in my cart I would not have normally bought, if not for the great coupons. Sigh....
Who has time to counterfeit coupons?
Whoever they are, I am not happy with them...
IGA total $145

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks for the turkey

Ok, I swore I was not going to fix turkey this year for Thanksgiving. To tell you the truth, I just don't find it very exciting. We can have turkey any time of the year. Thanksgiving is a special day, why not challenge myself to make something new, different, special (read HARD) on this wonderful holiday?
When you get free turkey, however, it makes it hard not to. We found out last spring that our neighbors raise chickens, so we asked if we could add ten to their flock. Sure, if you come help when it is time to butcher, was their reply. Now if that doesn't take a girl back to her childhood.... We agreed, July came and we helped butcher 75 beautiful four to five pound birds. They cost only $6 a bird, and we knew where they were raised, what they ate, how they died, and how fast they were into our freezer. Our order of ten somehow magically grew to twenty and we were in chicken heaven. We knew they were going to do this again, since the family didn't even take any they had raised for themselves, so we cheerfully told them to call us and we would help with their chickens in November.
Fast forward to this last Saturday. Only 25 birds and nine turkeys total this time, seemed like cake. We started at 8:00 and were done and freezing them all three hours later. Here is where I get really grateful. That wonderful family decided to take only six of these birds. The young couple who came to help their aunt and uncle, took six.... hmmm, what are we doing with the other 13? "Those are yours, and take a turkey breast as thanks for helping. Are you staying for lunch?"
What was I going to say, no?
Now I have 13 more birds, and these were a bit bigger... 9 POUNDS! And what did I pay for this beautiful bounty of birdom? $6 a bird. Yup, you heard me. To sweeten the deal, they threw in a turkey breast as thanks, fed us lunch, told they would be happy to do it again next year, and did I want all the other backs and necks for soup.
You are reading one happy post...
Want to read some other grateful posts?
Head on over to Laura's at Heavenly Homemakers

Menu Monday (on Thursday) Nov 17-23

Eggs and toast
Cinnamon rolls and fruit smoothies
Biscuits and gravy or eggs
Waffles and fruit with whipped cream

Chicken, biscuits, fruit
Hot lunch
Turkey sandwiches, chips, apples
Cheese sandwiches, Arthur O's, dried bananas
Turkey sandwiches, tortellini soup
Company casserole, salad, beets

Noodles & Company
Lasagna, crescent rolls, salad, kiwi
Chili, rice, pickles, rolls, raw veggies
Roast turkey, baked potatoes, slaw, squash, corn, bread

Recipe Index

Steel cut oats in the crockpot
Super Food- Chia
Whole grain waffles
Brown soda breakfast scones

Whole wheat bread and rolls
No need to kneed bread

Bento #1 Angry eyes
Bento #2 Balsamic chicken on focaccia
Bento #3 Egg heads
Bento #4 Pretty flowers
Bento #5 Munchables
Bento #6 Noodle Flowers
Bento #7 Ham Roll-Ups

Soups and Stews
Oyster stew

Main dish
Lasagna rolls-WW
Enchilada casserole
Barbecue beef sandwiches
Pad thai pizza

Taco seasoning
Pumpkin for pie and such
Chicken bone broth

Steel Cut Oats in the Crockpot

Gotten from Ann, grateful for people who share their wonderful ideas!

1 1/2 c steel cut or Irish oats
4 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp salt

Stir all ingredients in a bowl that a) is safe to get hot in your crockpot and b) will fit in your crockpot while still allowing the lid to close completely. Now, here is where it gets tricky and you need advanced skills for this recipe, ha! Place bowl in crock and pour more water into the crock around your bowl. Don't add the water to the bowl, or you will get very soupy oats, and who wants oat soup? Add enough water to reach the sides of your oatmeal bowl at the same level as the cereal. Put on the lid. Set it on low. Go to sleep.
In the morning you will wake up to the most beautiful bowl of chewy, creamy, easily made steel oats you have ever had. At this point, put some fruit in your bowl, I like peaches, and pour some of the oatmeal on top. Add whatever sweetener you like, cinnamon and sugar or honey for me, and enjoy.
On a side note, if your oats call for more or less water per cup, follow your bag... 1:3 was the Bobs Red Mill ratio.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Girls morning out

There are days I really need to connect with other women on some level besides just being a mom. Usually when I get together with my friends, it is for something that revolves around our kids, cooking for them, playing with them (although I am kinda the joke of our group, only attending playgroup once a year), or some activity. If we make a lunch date to go out, we spend $5 and hr on a babysitter, 7-10$ on lunch, and still end up discussing our kids.
Well, a group of us have come up with a different idea. Our YMCA has personal trainers to the tune of $38/hr. None of us can justify spending that on a pair of shoes, let alone an hour to work out. There is another option, however. We can pay $50 and a whole group of us can go. Because I am a volunteer in the aerobics department, my childcare is free, and I spend $12.50 (less than a lunch date, and doesn't cost me a pound of guilt) and work out with a fun group of women. We have our workout in common, but we are so busy disliking the trainer for making us sweat, that we don't have time to talk about the kids. I am sure this is the state of mind I am supposed to be achieving in yoga, you know, no thoughts about the day, but this way I really can't think about anything but how bad my butt hurts, and when is this exercise going to end. We laugh and sweat together for cheap! Even if you only do it once a month, what a great girls morning out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bento #2

I'm packing your angry eyes....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A chance to clean up

It is the middle of November and it is 55 degrees. I am going to clean out my garden today. Need I say more? Head over to Laura's and see what everyone else is grateful for this beautiful Tuesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekly shopping trip

What a beautiful day to go grocery shopping.

Turkey back and necks 1.30
Sausage 3.41
Bacon 2.99
Brisket 9.78
French bread 1.49
Sour cream 0.99
Cottage cheese 1.19
Ham #1 4.64
Grapes 3.52
Swiss #1 6.17
Romaine lettuce 3.59
Rye bread 2.39
Pomegranates 2/2.58
Garlic bread 1.50
Total $45.54

Downtown Grocery
Kashi 2.99
Eggs 2/5.98
Celery 2.79
Granola 3.69
Kiwi 3.71
Shredded cereal 5.59
Mac n cheese 2.69
Cabbage 2.58
Total $31.71

Gas station
Bananas 5# 2.45

Grand total this week $79.70
Not bad, considering the corned beef and Swiss cheese will last two weeks, and the turkey necks will not even be eaten this week. Didn't need the garlic toast, but sometimes a treat is ok. How did you do?

Menu Monday Nov 9-15

We are back from our whirlwind trip to Iowa and Nebraska to see family. I cleaned out the refrigerator before we left, so I was scrounging for breakfast and lunchbox things for the kids. Freezer waffles to the rescue!

Monday-Bake bread for the week
Breakfast-Waffles with pb
Lunch-Mac and cheese, fruit cups
Supper-Crock pot lasagna, garlic toast, salad

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Hot lunch at school
Supper-Subway (scrips)

Breakfast-Cold cereal, bananas
Lunch-Hot lunch at school
Supper-Roast chicken, root vegetables, salad (bake potatoes for week)

Breakfast-Crock pot steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Rice and chicken bento, raw veggies, pomegranate
Supper-Baked potato soup, ham and Swiss panini, apples

Breakfast-Fruit and yogurt smoothies, muffins
Lunch-Pb and j sandwiches, dates, carrot slices
Supper-Pizza, salad

Breakfast-Pancakes with blueberries
Lunch-Chicken with lemon-tarragon mayonnaise and grapes, coleslaw
Supper-Corned beef brisket, colcannon, squash, salad

Brunch-Egg and sausage skillet, fruit smoothies
Supper-Chicken and noodles with carrots, smashed potatoes, salad, apple pie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Before I lay me down to sleep

I have to agree with Cheryl that the time change as been wonderful. It's not so much that we got an extra hour of sleep for one night, but that my kids have not reset their internal clocks yet. This means no work getting them up in the morning, they just wake up, on their own, early... and so does mom. Despite having that extra time in the morning, I take a couple minutes at night to make my morning that much easier. Ten little minutes before I go to bed makes all the difference in the world.
Flylady has been the best thing to happen to me. My husband will be the first to say he didn't marry my for my cleaning abilities, and to tell you the truth, I was not terribly orgainzed either. Mornings were always a rush out the door with this or that missing and me not starting my day with a very good attitude. Now when I get up in the morning, everything flows perfectly, and everyone has a smile on their face as we drive away.
NOT! It has gotten much better though, and that ten little minutes before I go to bed has made a huge difference.
Flylady calls it her Before Bed routine, and it is wonderful. Before I climb into bed to read, or sleep, I do two simple things.
  1. Lay out my clothes for tomorrow and pack my gym bag
  2. Set out breakfast supplies on the counter and mix up dry ingredients if I am baking
These two things may not seem like much, but in the course of my morning, they save me a ton of time. Now, don't think that I stop there... I do have 4 kids, what about their stuff? This is the Before Bed routine, for everyone. Yes, everyone. Ok, not my hubby, but do guys really care what they are wearing the next day? This simple thing helps us all to avoid the following morning wreaking statement: "MOM! I can't find my..............." Don't be fooled, I still have to say hurry up at least 29 times to #2, but we are working on that too. What do you do in the morning that helps you get out the door faster? Are you already a Flyer, or will you just visit her for the first time today? Let us know!

Two pieces of bread, a slice of cheese and a napkin...

My best friend in high school always joked about how I could make a meal out of nothing. To this day she still comments on how I could take two slices of bread, a piece of cheese and an empty fridge and make a gourmet meal. Wished I would have taken that idea and ran with it, I would be a household name like Sandra. I admire her strength and creativity and wish I could come up with a tenth of the ideas she does for my own house, decorating wise.
I am, however, still blessed with the ability to look in my kitchen for three minutes and come up with a day or two (or week) of meals that require nothing more than milk or an egg to round it out. My sisters tell me they have no clue how I do it, and I am stumped to explain it to them. I think cooking must be my love language. I can't even tell you how grateful that God has blessed me with this gift as it has come in handy, well, every day. What are you grateful for?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Shopping trip for Nov 2

Slim shopping this week so that I can stretch our budget in preperation for my Country Life order due at the end of the week.

Downtown Grocery Store
Panda puffs 5.69
Crackers 4.29
Lettuce 2.19
Wild Rice 4.19
Bananas #13.5 10.64
Eggs 2.99

Raw milk
5 gallons 20.00

Gas Station
1 gallon whole milk 2.29
#6 bananas 2.94

Total for the week 55.22

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 2- Nov 8

I decided to include this under the budget label as I am shopping from my freezer again in an attempt to give the checkbook a breather...until I have to place my Country Life order...

Breakfast-Irish Oatmeal with apples or peaches
Lunch-Sandwiches on no kneed bread, chips, fruit cups
Supper-Noodles & Company (Thai curry soup for me, gotta get a recipe)

Breakfast-Waffles with pb, nectarines
Lunch-Soba noodles with peas and carrots, grapes,
Supper-Subway (already have Scrips)

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-School lunch (pizza day)
Supper-Roasted chicken, root vegetables, cottage cheese

Breakfast-Toast and yogurt parfaits with peaches and blueberries
Lunch-PB&J roll-ups, carrot sticks with dip, fruit cups,
Supper-Buttery Shrimp and Pasta, salad

Breakfast-Blueberry muffins, boiled eggs
Lunch-Cream cheese, banana and honey wraps, apples
Supper-Pizza and salad

Breakfast-Pancakes and fruit
Lunch-Fish sticks, french fries, green beans
Supper-Lasagna and salad

Breakfast-Brunch (kids choice)
Supper-Chicken and noodles, smashed potatoes, salad

Thanksgiving jumpstart

I know it is a month away, but the thought of having to eat turkey this Thanksgiving makes me crazy. Aside from all that I have learned about turkeys this year, I am simply tired of them. So, since I have a few weeks to plan, I am taking suggestions for main dish ideas. I love all food, but can tell you that a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving will go over with the guys about as well as a fart in church... so think meat! I will also be hosting a "Something New To Your Table" challenge as we get closer. Start digging out those recipe boxes, I know I can't wait!

Friday, October 30, 2009

No need to knead

Ok, so my attempt at the pan noodles was a disaster, but that never stops me from trying to make it at home. Take out or canned is always more expensive and rarely as good as what I can make in my own kitchen. Take bread for example. You know that chewy bread you get with your soup at places like Panera? How about that awesome panini they have at one of those small places you are dying to have lunch with your friends at. I made this recipe and it about killed me not to eat the whole loaf! I had to be satisfied with the heels, but since it is round, there were 4 of those....
This recipe was published in the NY Times last year and has made the Internet rounds since then. I just decided to give it a try with AP flour despite being a whole wheat kinda girl, and it was incredible. I advise you make this on a day when you have soup on the menu, and if there is any left over, paninis the next day. I would!

No Knead Bread

3 cups flour
1 pkg yeast (.25 oz or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with a towel and a plate. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. I like to put mine in the microwave as it is above the stove, and then turn on its light.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. You can cover loosely with plastic wrap, I didn't, and let rest 30 minutes more.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic), I used my Le Creuset knock off, in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Carefully lift dough (it will resemble something out of a horror movie) and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 big loaf.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ordering out

Sometimes, no matter how much you want to cook at home, you just have to get take-out, or dine in, or take out to the car and dine in there... whatever. Tonight I had wonderful plans to stop that evil cycle and make one of #1's favorite fast food items, Japanese pan noodles from Noodles & Company. I researched online, found the actual chef's recipe, stocked my pantry with what I didn't have, weighed and measured (normally I don't) and ended up with a big pot of disaster... too salty, poor noodle to stuff ratio... you know what I am talking about... Some things should just be ordered out, that works for me.
What about you? Ever work really hard to recreate a favorite, and end up with a flop?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Monday October 25-Nov 1

Birthday tacos and angel food were a success, but #3 wanted something a little different to take for school treats. Not my kinda treat, but that is ok. Downtown Grocery total- $48.48 IGA total-$56.47 Gas station-$2.88 Total-$107.83 Better still!

Breakfast-French toast, syrup, grapes
Lunch-Pita sandwiches, veggies
Supper-Donut burgers, french fries

Breakfast-Breakfast bread pudding
Lunch-Hot lunch at school (volunteering for the morning)
Supper-Chili, rice, bagels, pickles

Breakfast-Waffles with pb, bananas
Lunch-Sub sandwiches, chips, grapes
Supper-Soba noodles with shrimp, egg rolls, salad

Breakfast-Oatmeal, toast
Lunch-Pb, J roll-ups, bananas, carrots
Supper-Popcorn chicken, mac n cheese, green beans

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Leftovers or sandwiches
Supper-Pizza and salad

Breakfast-Pancakes, blueberry syrup, whipped cream
Supper-Spaghetti, fruit salad

Breakfast-Eggs and bagels
Lunch-Fish sticks
Supper-Grilled cheese, tomato soup, apples

Birthday Treats in October

It's Monday.
These are the only kind of spiders I allow in my house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oyster Stew

Ok, I have to confess, I don't actually eat this one. I make it, every Christmas Eve, and a few odd days here and there as the weather gets colder. Those little oysters really are quite pretty as they ruffle up in the hot pan, swimming in butter, but.... just not my thing. So, we made it last night with these phenomenal cheese, tomato and basil paninis. Supper on in about 12 minutes.

Oyster Stew
1/8 c shallot or onion, minced
2 tsp butter
8 oz can oysters
1 c half and half
1/2 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook shallot in butter until soft, add oysters and simmer until the edges begin to look ruffled. I can't really say how long this takes, maybe a couple minutes. Add half and half and milk all at once and slowly reheat, do not boil. You can add parsley for looks, but salt and pepper to taste since the oysters do give it somewhat of a salty flavor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ok, here is my shopping for this week. I didn't wait for the flyer to come out as I had specific things I needed to get whether they were on sale or not. Now that I have the flyer, I think that I will plan next week's menu and buy on Sunday. Maybe if I plan and shop a week ahead the budget can be followed a bit better. I did calculate that if we didn't eat out at all this week, I would have spent $1.50 per person, per meal. That is 6 people, 7 days, 3 meals a day, not bad, still can do better.

Downtown Grocery (organic items)
$5.69 Corn flakes
$4.49 Blueberry monkey bars
$5.59 Detox tea
$3.49 Pita chips
$2.19 Baking powder ( aluminum free)
$18.00 Produce (celery, mango, kiwi, lettuce, zucchini, green grapes)
$39.45 Total

Big box
$3.48 Babybel light cheese (spurge)

$1.94 Unbleached AP flour
$6.79 Summer sausage
$7.66 2 Ham (preservative free)
$7.66 2 Turkey (preservative free)
$2.70 whole milk
$11.96 Cheese (muenster, havarti, string, sharp cheddar)
$2.89 Yogurt
$1.99 Olives
$3.78 2 Creamer (for playgroup)
$5.90 2 Butter
$3.34 Orange juice (splurge)
$13.20 2 chicken breast
$6.71 Ground chuck
$2.51 Cauliflower
$1.39 Pita
$1.65 Brown sugar
$2.70 #5 bananas
$3.49 Strawberries (for playgroup)
$2.49 Romaine
$2.99 Honey nut scooters
$2.99 Mini donuts (playgroup)
$1.49 French bread (playgroup)
$2.49 Buns
$1.39 Diet soda (whew)
$102.35 Total (saved $10.11, but spent $11.31 extra for playgroup)

$145.28 Grand total for the week. Will still need eggs again before week is done.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Monday October 19-25

I made such cute bentos this morning for my kids. It was Kirby out of salami and Havarti cheese. Did I take a picture... of course not! Crud. I am sure these will be a hit and requested frequently, so eventually I will get one. Here is our week's menu.

Breakfast-French toast with syrup
Lunch-Sandwiches, carrots and celery, mangoes, pb cookie
Supper-Noodles & Company curry soup (in town)

Breakfast-Playgroup-Blueberry brunch bake, muffins, fruit, coffee, juice, milk
Lunch-Turkey sandwiches, broccoli, dates
Supper-In town for gymnastics, swim, and conferences

Breakfast-Scrambled eggs w/ bacon, toast bananas
Lunch-Sub sandwiches, pita chips, fruit cups
Supper-Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread with cheese

Breakfast-Oatmeal, toast
Lunch-Pb&j roll-ups, carrots, bananas
Supper-Finger picking chicken balls, rice, garlic green beans

Breakfast-Lemon poppy seed muffins, apples
Lunch-Leftover chicken balls and rice
Supper-Pizza, salad, Four cheese Panini with basil tomatoes

Breakfast-Pancakes, blueberries, whipped cream
Lunch-Wausau Area Empty Bowls
Supper-no clue...

Supper-Tacos and angel food cake with strawberries (#3 birthday choice)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Super Foods- Breakfast Style

I love the Super Foods Fest that Katie is having over at Kitchen Stewardship. What a great idea to focus on why we should eat certain things and run away from other parts of the grocery store. So in an effort to add some foods we rarely eat, and to take advantage of hubby not being here so that I could test out some ideas, this morning was certainly an adventure. A chia adventure. Yup, chia. Cha cha cha chia...
I am a confessed blogaholic when it comes to reading. I get click happy on someones blog, link up somewhere else and by the time an hour goes by, have read about a dozen different people and a dozen different topics. Sara Janssen at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly posted a slide show on the home birth of her second daughter. While watching that, I found she had also posted some great webcam movies about raw food diets and smoothies. Then I discovered the movie about chia. Perfect, hubby out of town, I cook for the kids and I am free to try whatever.
I have to tell you, it's not bad. I mixed up a batch according to her directions, and then because I am only a little brave, I mixed the chia in with my oatmeal. As I sit here, 15 minutes or so after eating, I am really happy and satisfied. I know that I won't be hungry this morning despite having both a personal trainer session and an hour of yoga coming. Here is what I ate, if you are so inclined to try... you should be able to find chia at your local organic grocer, but if not and you are still interested, there are many places online to order it. Once again I can honestly tell my kids, they need to try something before they don't like it.
Cha cha cha chia....

Chia breakfast
1/3 c cooked old fashoned oatmeal
1/4 c soaked chia
1 tsp honey
1/2 banana

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Super Foods- Lasagna Rolls

6 lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground turkey breast
1 onion chopped (from garden)
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 16oz tomato sauce ( I used home canned)
1/3 c water
1 c ricotta cheese
1/2 bag fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp basil
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions, drain and lay out on a dish towel to dry a bit

2. Heat oil in skillet (oven safe) and cook turkey, onion, garlic and bell pepper until all the pan juices evaporate (10 min or so). Stir in tomato sauce and water, simmer for about 5 minuts.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While heating, stir ricotta, spinach, basil, parmesan, egg and nutmeg in a bowl. Spread over the length of each noodle and roll up.

4. Place in pan on top of tomato/turkey mixture and spoon half of sauce over rolls. Bake 40 minutes, sprinkling the mozzarella on in the last 10 minutes.

5. Call them something witty like incredible hulk food so your kids have even more fun eating them. My kids all liked them, but they are kinda like that.

Visit Kitchen Stewardship for more Super Foods Recipes as part of the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. Next week’s theme: “Un-Processed foods”.

Thoughts of an 11 year old

Last night when #1 came home from CCD, he had homework. I think the change from last year has been a shock, and now we have homework for church, too. The question was, how many of the gospels speak of the nativity. True to his age, he tried to Google it and didn't seem to come up with an answer. He turned to me, stumped, and that's when Mom gave him the brilliant idea of checking.... oh say..... the bible? Hmmmmmmm
So, here we were, flipping through the first two chapters or so of the gospels, reading the chapter and section headings and looking for the nativity when we came across Mary going to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-44). We read the passage out loud and when we finished, he looked at me and said, "Whoa. Cool."
That's what I was thinking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to basics- Milling

I love a giveaway. Tons of new people stop by your blog, read about you and what you do, and give you ideas for what they would like to see you talk about. It made me realize that unlike a good book that starts at the beginning, my blog kinda just started where I was. So I thought it might be a good idea to back up and show some of the basics of what I do and why I do it. First order of the day, milling.
I use a Nutrimill to grind my flour for all my baking. Now, why would I spend time grinding flour when it comes in a bag at any big box or grocery store, you ask? The stuff in the bag is dead. That's right, dead. They grind these beautiful wheat berries, kill everything in it, pull out all the fiber and then bleach it. To make you feel better, they "enrich" it, which means they attempt to put the good stuff back into it so that you feel like you are doing a good thing by baking from scratch rather than buying, say, a cupcake. If you bake, you are doing a good thing, but I say why not make it better?
I can't tell you all the particulars about what happens during that process, or how many nutrients are lost in what time frame. What I can tell you is that I know broccoli from my garden is better for me than what I have available at Big-box and that food in its natural state is the best food. So, I grind a weeks worth of flour at a time and store it in my freezer. My personal favorite is a combination of Montana gold and hard red wheat for bread and soft white for muffins, pancakes and other pastries. I do keep a bag of unbleached natural flour that is commercially ground on hand for when I run out, or want to lighten up my bread a bit. More on that later. For now, here is the mix I am about to grind. Makes me want to smile.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Half The Kids

I am tired. Our new school schedule has been a difficult adjustment for everyone in the house, and I seem to be taking the longest to get with the program. Monday and Tuesday are the worst days since we have activities right after school for our two oldest. That usually means me in the car with all the kids trying to juggle supper, homework, movies, library books and whatever else we can or need to occupy our time while swimming and gymnastics are going on.
Today, my husband was home from work, and while he had plenty of his own projects to take care of, he kept the younger two kids so they didn't have to go sit in the car during the night's activities. Our kids are good, but it is just nice to only have the ones that need to be in the car, in the car. What a guy! Today I am grateful to him for keeping half of the kids to make my life a bit easier, even though it made his a little more crazy. I love him!

Menu Monday October 12-19

This week will be spent getting the rest of the produce out of the garden since the white stuff has started to fall here in Wisconsin.

Homemade donuts and yogurt
Apple muffins and hard boiled eggs
Oatmeal and fruit
Cold cereal and pb toast
Eggs and toast with fruit
Waffles and yogurt smoothies
Brunch (out)
Blueberry muffins and fruit cups

Bento box #1
Lunch at school
Sandwiches, banana chips and veggies
Pasta and fruit
Chicken noodle soup, bread with butter
Bean soup and cheese sandwiches
Bento box #2 (not yet created)

Lasagna roll-ups, salad
Subway sandwiches
Tacos or taco dip
Mac n cheese, green beans, apples
Meatballs, rice, peas
Roast chicken, oven veggies and potatoes

Bento #1

Our new no plastic lunch boxes came and here is my first bento. Won't #2 be suprised when she opens it.... the thermos has cheese soup that I made for hubby's sub-zero fishing trip yesterday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last day of the carnival...

And yes, I did promise five winners in five days. Today is a double whammy! I love Flylady you may have noticed if you flipped through my blog how I have mentioned it a time or two.. million.... Well, today's giveaway is for two of my favorite tools, the Flylady calendar and sticker pack. I love these because it helps me have my whole life organized at a glance. My Hubby knows that he can go to the back door and at a glance, see what the week looks like. Take a glance at my lovely, color coded, menu filled, tracking system that keeps us where we need to be, and what part of my house I am tackling on that week. One person will win the sticker pack that turns your favorite calendar into a Flylady tool, the second person wins one complete calender with sticker pack.... I am envious for you, and I already have mine! The best thing, you can use it already because it is an August 2009-December 2010 calendar. Woo Hoo! Leave me a note about how you would use this or any other tool you see at Flylady. Good luck! Drawing for all my giveaways will be tonight at 8:00 pm CST.
*Update- Congrats to Kate on winning the sticker pack!
Congrats to Tweeterbird on winning the calendar!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 3

Today's lucky winner will receive a copy of Weight Watchers In One Pot recipe book. There are 200 one-dish meals in it, and it was only used twice I think. This is a fun resource even if you are not following the plan. I bought it in 2004 when I first joined thinking it would make meal planning easier, but you know how it is... too many cookbooks, too much..... well, just too many cookbooks. You can see the book here. Just like yesterday, leave me a comment about something on my blog, follow me, or surf one of the blogs I follow (there are more on my profile page) and leave me a comment about what you found. Be sure to visit Laura for all her giveaways, too.
*Update-Congrats to Camelfam on winning this giveaway!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 2

Wow, what a great response to day one, on to day two. Today's giveaway is a copy of the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets them Free. I read this book, and then passed it on to my sister to read. It is a great resource for women who are struggling with personal issues and are looking for answers or advice. Just like yesterday's giveaway, leave me a comment about something you read on my blog, or follow me for a second entry. A new option for today will be to visit one of the blogs I follow and leave me a comment about which one you chose.
*Update- Congrats to Faerie Mom for winning this giveaway

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Carnival Giveaway Day 1

Purge is my middle name.

Ok, it's not really, but it might as well be according to my kids and hubby. Since finding Flylady, I have become the queen of purge and Heavenly Homemakers Fall Giveaway Carnival is right up my alley. Each day I will be giving away something that does not fall in the love it, need it, use it category from my home. That is 5 different items, 5 different winners and 5 more items I have given a loving new home too! Be sure to visit back again tomorrow to see what's new. Head over to Laura's to visit everyone else at their site and sign up for their awesome

Monday, October 4

The Fall Giveaway for today is a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Menus in Minutes.
This is a fun book that has pages that are split in half. The top half is your main entree and the bottom half is a side dish or dessert. The pages are color coded so that you can match up a variety of choices and gives your kids some choices in your meal. Leave me a comment with a link to your blog, or an email address if you don't blog. Follow me for a second entry. For even one more chance to win, post something you have a question about or would like to learn more about on my blog. Then go back to Laura's and visit someone else!
*Update- Congrats to The Fifth Street Mama for winning day 1!

Menu Monday October 5-12

I spent a total of $106.75 at two grocery stores this week. Here is what that looks like...chinese 5/$5.00
yeast 2/$1.98
2 bags choc chips-$5.00
ricotta-$2.85 (not on sale)
cheddar cheese-$2.08
butter 2/$3.00
WW meals 9/$24.18
evap milk-$1.19
summer sausage #1- $5.04
chicken thighs-$4.99
Newman sauce 2/$4.00
english muffins-.79
spinach-$3.29 (not on sale)
beef stew meat #1.5-$4.57
ground round 90% #1.5- $3.58
rump roast #2.6- $6.50

IGA was $83.94 which is not too bad for a week to supplement what we already have in stock, still not as low as I would like it. I did save $13.92 by shopping my flyer.
Sweet potato chips -$4.29
Eggs- $2.99
Kiwi- #1/$2.66
Bananas #7/$3.45
Bug Chocolate-$0.79

The Downtown Grocery store was only 22.81, bear in mind that everything that comes from there is a combination of Moonshadow Farms (local organic) or shipped in organic. If there is a local option, I prefer that. Even the beer we purchase is made here in town, food less traveled!

Here is my menu for the week.
Sunday brunch (eggs benedict, pancakes and fruit)
Homemade donuts
Cold cereal
Smoothies and toast with pb
Pancakes with fruit on top
Egg sandwiches
Sunday brunch again (may eat out)
Apple muffins

Leftovers, cold lunch or school lunch

Frozen pizza and salad
Football food (mini quiche, empanadas, neighbors brought-veggie tray, stuffed mushrooms)
Chili and macaroni noodles, apples
Japanese mum's chicken, homemade bread, broccoli
Chili dogs, chips, apples
Roast, garden carrots and potatoes, kiwi
Lasagna, salad, pears
Beef stew with garden vegetables, parmesan-cornmeal biscuits
General Tso's chicken, stir fried vegetables, egg rolls

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I was blog surfing the other day, something I find I don't have much time for, and I found several posts about pumpkin. Normally I would have been drooling into my computer, but these were scary posts.... about.....A PUMPKIN SHORTAGE! How can this happen you ask? One blogger blamed it on loss due to a cold snap in pumpkin land. I don't know if this is true and I have not gone looking for any at the store to confirm the shortage because there isn't one, at our house at least.
Back in February when I was drooling over seed catalogues, #3 said to me, "Mom, we HAVE to grow pumpkins so we can have pie!" So he picked out the seeds, and then in the spring, he "helped" me plant them. We were a little concerned about the dry weather this summer, but our neighbor brought over a wagon of soybean straw to put around the plants as mulch and here we are in October and we have loads of beautiful round orange pumpkins. We have so many different ones, we invited our neighborhood to come help themselves to some too.
So, what do you do with a pie pumpkin you ask? Easy as... well pie! Cut it in half like this.
Now scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down in a baking pan or roaster. I can fit three pumpkins in my turkey roaster at once. Then put it in the oven for two hours at 350, much like cooking squash. You may want to check it every once in a while, but when you see the tops starting to cave in, you know they are done. Pull them out, scrape them out and mash up what looks NOTHING like canned pumpkin. Measure it into quantities of your favorite recipe, mine is two cups, and throw it in the freezer. Done! Six pumpkins gave me enough goo for ten pies. I will probably do ten more as we eat a lot of pumpkin things, but that will still leave me with some for the neighbors. Yay! Later I will post what I did with my first batch of fresh, organic, home grown, frugal pumpkin.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apples, Apples and More Apples

I commented before about how much I love a good deal and apples and here I am again, with more apples and a better deal! My wonderful neighbors have three apple trees and this year they have been particularly blessed with apples. In turn, they bless the rest of us with apples by the bucket. I don't mean kids bucket, or ice cream bucket, I mean good old five gallon feed pail buckets! Our family loves apples, apple pie filling with french toast, apple butter and apple crisp. More than anything, we go through gallons of apple sauce over the course of the winter. We love it plain, with sugar, cinnamon, cream, in bread, to replace 1/2 the butter in baked goods and whatever else we can do with it. I wish you all had e-smell so that you could enjoy our house as much as we do. To top it off, I have a vanilla scented pod in my warmer.... Like pie a la mode.... mmmmmmmm pie.....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

School = Schedule = Sanity

I love school, in every way. I love new pencils, new (to us) clothes, new grade levels and student planners, and new schedules. Even though my alarm goes of at 5:30, and boy is hubby excited about that one, lol, I love the idea of each new day starting of quietly in the dark where I can collect my thoughts for the day. My oldest slips into the routine of school so easily every year I never worry that he won't pound up the steps shortly after I get up. My second one... not so much. It is like pulling teeth to get that girl out of bed. Number 3 is like that too, but since he doesn't have to be at school until after lunch, not really a problem. The baby? Well, I think he is already showing signs of being more like the oldest, so all is good.
Between school starting and the garden, things have been busy around here. The sweet corn is nearly done, I have a batch drying right now on my counter, and the tomatoes are not yet red, so you know what that means? Apples.
I am going to do applesauce, sliced apples for pie and cobbler, dried apples, apple butter, and whatever else I can think of to do with them since we get them for free from our neighbor. You can't beat free... just ask Laura about her tomatoes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Peachy

I know I should be making a menu this morning, but I am sure you will understand when I show you how busy I was... I am now into my second box of beautiful organic peaches. Yes, they are from California, but really.. where was I going to find these beauties in Wisconsin? This is how they started, and this is how my stove started, note how clean it is.
The big black pot has jars heating in it, so they will be very clean for the peaches. You don't want anything nasty growing in your jars. The lidded pot is water heating for peeling the peaches, and the pot in the back has a light sugar solution in it. I am using white sugar for this and as I type I am wondering if you sucanat would have worked just as well. Hmmm, next batch perhaps.
Once the peaches are peeled, pitted, sliced and sprinkled with ascorbic acid, they are loaded into the hot jars and topped off with the syrup.
Here they are, all full and taking a nice hot bath for 20 minutes. This is what makes it possible for us to still be eating these little jars of sunshine in the middle of the winter.
Ta Da! They are so pretty that I almost want to just store them on my counter top. The only problem with that is my kids want to eat them while they are still cooling. Who needs Del Monte?