Thursday, September 23, 2010

Freezer Meals

When I was pregnant with "L" I decided I was going to make as many meals ahead as possible. When I got to looking up "freezer meals" online I was amazed at the variety and simplicity of it! In the last month or two of my pregnancy I was able to make and freeze about 18 meals in total. It was a God send after she was born! With many a sleepless night dealing with a very high needs baby by myself when Zach went back to working (he works nights), the premade meals made things so much easier! I still use freezer meals now on at least a once a week basis. They are quick, easy and save me from breaking down and ordering pizza!
So, a tutorial on what a freezer meal is, how to make them, ideas on what to make, how to freeze them, how to thaw them, and how to cook them. :o) This could be a long one!

A freezer meal is:
This is fairly simple to answer. A freezer meal is a meal in the freezer. Got it? :o) Ok, maybe a little more in depth. Freezer meals can be casseroles, enchiladas, lasagna, premade pizza dough, precooked meat, freezer marinades, meat loaves, soups, pot pies and even breads/rolls/biscuits.

How to make, freeze, thaw and cook the different types of freezer meals:

  • Casseroles: This week, make a casserole but double the recipe. Put the second batch in a disposable foil pan and place in the freezer. Uncooked! Now you have a freezer meal. This can be done with casseroles, lasagna, stuffed shells, mac and cheese, meat loaves, pot pies and enchiladas. You can buy foil pans for really cheap that have plastic covers that stack nicely in a freezer. Write on the lid of the container the bake temperature, time and any special instructions (Ie: add 1 cup shredded cheese to the top the last 5 minutes of bake time.) Also write on the lid what goes good with the casserole (Ie: for baked spaghetti: serve with green beans, salad, sliced peaches, and garlic bread.) To cook: allow the casserole to thaw for about 24 hours in the refrigerator. Bake at the time and temperature on the lid and serve!

  • Pizza dough: make a double batch of pizza dough (I love my bread machine!) Roll out your pizza crusts, poke holes in the bottom with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Place baked crusts on a flat surface to cool then place in a zip top baggie or wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. I like to do these in personal sized pizzas so we can have a few different types of toppings (meat lovers, peppers and onions, tomato basil mozzarella.) When you are ready to make them, pull the crusts out, unwrap and allow to thaw on your baking sheet for 10-15 minutes while your oven is preheating. Place on your toppings of choice including cheese. Put in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes till the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. These have been a lifesaver more than once for us! Times when we get home from being gone all day and there is nothing in the house to eat that is quick. Within a half an hour I can have hot pizza with a side salad and maybe some green beans ready to go.

  • Precooked meats are nice too. When I have a recipe that calls for diced cooked chicken, I always cook twice the amount. Pull out what you don't need for that recipe and throw it into zip top baggies in 1-2 cup amounts for later use. These are nice for salads! Also, breakfast sausage is a great cook ahead meat. Buy the bulk ground sausage (cheaper than the premade patties) and cook it all up in patties like you normally would for breakfast. Just cook double or however much you bought. Lay the cooked patties on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place in the freezer for a few hours. Now you have precooked sausage patties for breakfast. In a hurry one morning, pop a couple in the microwave while your eggs are cooking. Or place on a biscuit/bagel with some cheese for an "egg McWhatever" to go. Also, when you buy a package of bacon, split it up into serving sizes to fit your family (3 slices per person in the family kinda deal) and freeze these uncooked like you do the cooked patties. Then when you need bacon you are only thawing out the amount needed!

  • Freezer marinades are a nice one. Buy a big bag of chicken breasts or a family sized package of beef cut however you like it when they are on sale. I have been told you can do this with tofu as well. (Hi Andi!) Divide the meat into zip top baggies in the portions you need for your family (4 people in your family, 4 chicken breasts in the baggie.) Pour in your favorite marinade. This can be store bought or homemade. Then place in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, put the baggie in a large bowl in the refrigerator for a few days to thaw. As the meat thaws it will marinade by itself. Cook as you normally would!

  • Soups: Make a big pot of chili or veggie soup, pull out half and freeze in a large container or zip top baggie. Or freeze in individual portions for a quick meal. Simply thaw and reheat on the stove!

  • Breads/rolls/biscuits: Make up your bread/rolls as usual. Allow to rise for the final time. Then bake for about 3/4 of the time you usually do. You are looking to get them to the point of being baked completely but not browned. Allow to cool completely and then place in a freezer bag. When you want to use them, allow them to thaw and then bake for the last 1/4 amount of time. You now have "Brown and Serve" bread just like from the store! Biscuits can be done like for the bread or they can be mixed up, cut out and then frozen unbaked. Allow them to thaw most of the way and then bake as usual, though you may need to increase the time a bit.

  • Other ideas: 1:)Have a favorite crock pot recipe? Mix up a double batch of the ingredients next time you make it. Freeze one half of the uncooked ingredients for later use. Just like those expensive store bought ones. 2) Next time you have a meal that calls for diced onion, cut up a couple extra while you have the knife and cutting board out. Place in snack size freezer bags and use when you are in a hurry. 3) Buy bell peppers when they are on sale/in season. Wash, core and slice/dice them, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze over night. Next time you want a pepper omelet in the morning, pull out a hand full, toss in the microwave for 30 seconds or so and then add them in. Or if you have a recipe that calls for one pepper pull out a big handful (a large handful of sliced peppers for me is about equivalent to 1 whole pepper). 4) Short breads (muffins, banana nut bread, Amish friendship bread, ect.- those that do not use yeast but do use baking soda/powder) can be frozen after baking. These freeze wonderfully! Bake a big batch of your favorite muffins and then freeze the extra. In the morning, simply pull one out, warm it up in the oven or microwave, butter and enjoy! Bake a big batch of banana nut bread when "too old" bananas go on sale for $.20 a pound. Freeze the extra loaves. Thaw for a few hours and you have "fresh" bread that tastes as good as the day you made it. Honestly, freezer zucchini bread in the middle of winter has always tasted better to me than fresh baked.

I hope this gives you some helpful tips on how to make make ahead meals. Making meals from scratch can be a time consuming, tiring, and labor intensive process, but by doing a little thinking ahead, a little extra work here and there, and spending a few extra minutes at each meal, you can make it much easier and tastier!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First canning of the season!

Today I spent the day by taking a trip to the farmers market and then canning what I bought. I purchased 15 cucumbers of various sizes and 4 pounds of apples. All for about $5.00! Add that to the cucumbers I had picked from our plants and this is what I came up with!
That comes out to 13 jars of dill pickles- 5 sliced, 5 spears and 3 whole. And then 4 jars of peach applesauce. Not pictured are 5 jars of blueberry syrup. Plus 3/4 of a jar in the fridge for pancakes tomorrow. The blueberries were just bought at the grocery store but now I won't have to mess with making syrup anytime we want pancakes, waffles or sweet rolls.
I am looking forward to enjoying these lovelies this winter! And to much more canning this summer when our tomatoes come on and this fall when apples come on big time. I do so love canning the bounty God graciously give us!

Tomato, basil, mozerrlla pasta


Another wonderful, simple, whole foods meal recipe!


Who ever first decided to mix these things together should win an award!


Ingredients:

1 large tomato per person

1 cup dry pasta per person (what ever type you like)

diced block mozzarella cheese, to your liking (you can also use fresh cheese or shredded cheese)

dried or fresh basil, again to your liking (oregano is also good)


Put the pasta on to boil in a medium sized sauce pan. While this is cooking, dice your tomatoes and cheese and (if using fresh) mince up the herbs. When the pasta is al dente, pour into a colander. While the pasta is draining well, place the tomatoes and herbs in the pan. Cook on medium till heated through, falling apart, and fragrant. Add in the cheese and the pasta. Cook till the cheese is starting to melt. Dish into a bowl and enjoy! This also makes a nice cold salad.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Roasted chicken and veggies


Lunch today was baked/roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots and onions. It is a simple, easy, yummy meal so I figured I'd share! I would live to do more recipes like this where I walk you through step by step on how to make a simple meal. Just to show that you can make a good, healthy whole foods meal without too much effort. In total the prep time is probably 30 minutes! Then you can just sit back and relax while it is cooking, all in one pan!

I washed the potatoes and peeled the carrots and then cut them into a little bigger than bite sized pieces. I did the same with the onion. Place all those in a 9X13 inch pan, drizzle with olive oil. I then sprinkled on dried oregano and rosemary and powdered garlic. But please feel free to use what ever tastes good to you! Put that in the oven to bake while you get the chicken ready.

Skin a whole chicken. You can leave the skin in if you like, I just don't like. :o) Then cut it up into 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts). By the time this is done, the veggies will have begun to cook nicely. (You could skip the step and use a pre-cut up chicken or your favorite chicken parts- chicken breasts, legs and thighs, etc.)

Pull the pan out of the oven and stir the veggies. Place the chicken on top of the veggies and sprinkle with the herbs and seasonings. Place back in the oven to cook till done. Should take between 30-45 minutes. Till the chicken temps between 165-180.

Mean while, place the chicken carcass in a large pot and cover with water. Put a lid on it and place on the stove. Add seasonings if you wish but it is not necessary. Allow to simmer on the stove for 2-how ever many hours! :o) When done, pull the chicken from the water and allow to cool on a plate for a bit then using your hands, pick off any bits of meat you can find. Add to the chicken broth and place in quart sized zip top baggies (I usually do about 2 cups per bag). Lay them down on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer over night to get solid.

Now you have a nice meal and chicken broth for later use!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This is me!

I am a house wife. A stay-at-home mom. A home maker. I stay at home because we (Zach and I) made that decision a long time ago. It was not a decision we made lightly. We thought long and hard about it. There were many nights spent talking about it into the wee hours of the morning. There still are. We knew that by making this choice we would never own a brand new car or house. We knew we wouldn't be able to buy things just because we wanted them. But we don't want that either. We have to think about making our purchases. We have to save up. We have to pinch pennies. But we find those things fun, challenging, exciting even.

I do not feel I need to justify my not having a job. I do things here and there to bring in a little extra money on occasion but not because I feel I should but because I want to. Not because I have to but because I choose to. My husband is able to support us. Would a second income be helpful, sure! But it is not necessary. We don't need it, nor do we want it. We would much rather I be here. Taking care of our home, our children, and ourselves. And I do work. I work hard. I do not sit on the couch watching soap operas all day eating bon bons while filing my nails. I cook, plan meals, grocery shop, clean, do dishes, do laundry, play with my girl, garden (veggies), and make as much as I can from scratch (pie dough, pizza, bread, yogurt, casseroles, granola, baking mix, cream of chicken soup, gravy, chicken broth, pasta, desserts, pie filling, laundry soap). Could I buy most of those things from a store, sure! But I save us a lot of money by making them from scratch and they are much healthier. Could I do those things and still have a job, sure but maybe not as well or with as much attention to detail.

Have we chosen the hard life? In some peoples eyes, sure. But not in ours. We live a simple existence. We don't go out to eat for our birthdays and anniversary. Instead I make a favortie meal and dessert. We don't go out to the movies. Instead we head the the library and borrow a movie for free. We don't buy new clothes. Instead we shop at Goodwill, consignment shops, thrift stores, and yard sales. We don't go to high dollar salons. Instead I cut my husbands hair and I get mine cut at a beauty college for about $5. We don't buy pricey diapers. Instead we cloth diaper and use store brand disposables. We don't go on big vacations. Instead we go camping or to local parks and historical sites and maybe once every 5 years or so take a bigger trip. Still costing us no more than $500 or so.We live a reusable life instead of a disposable one. We use rags instead of Swifer dusters, sponges, paper towels. We use cloth napkins, cloth diapers, and towels. I am looking into using handkerchiefs this winter instead of tissues. Heck, I even use cloth "female products." Sorry guys!

Are we happy? For the most part, yes. Do we want more? Sure! Who doesn't? We want a home of our own. Land. A place to raise our children. In the country. A place for goats, chickens, maybe even a couple sheep. A place to grow, run, learn, live, breath! But we are willing to wait for that to happen. To slowly build up our savings. Are we planning to buy a quarter of a million dollar home? NO! Not by any means. An old farm house with a couple out buildings and a couple few acres would be fine with us.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not knocking those that do work! Both those that choose to and have to. I am not saying that it makes you a lesser wife, mother, father, husband, person! Not by any means. I am just stating our decision and why and how we make this decision possible. I can not count the number of times I have been looked down on because I choose to stay home. How many people have told my husband that I should get off my lazy good for nothing butt and get a job. And it hurts me. That people cannot accept the decision we have made.

We both sacrifice to make this choice possible for us. Zach works hard! He works a hard, physical job and comes home tired every morning. He works third shift so he can earn an extra dollar an hour. And this means that he is on a different sleep schedule as "L" and I. He gets home from work at 7am and goes to bed. We get up at 8am. He then gets up at 1 or 1:30 pm (after only 6 or so hours of sleep) to spend time with us. He then leaves for work at 5pm. We don't even eat a meal together the days that he works.

And how do I sacrifice? I miss my husband! I see him a matter of 3-4 hours a day on the days he works. And those hours he is tired and half out of it. I don't always get to buy the things that I want or "need". I am tired. Mentally, physically and often times emotionally.

But we are happy. So why can't people just be happy for us? Because we don't want the same things you do? Because we don't want the same things you want? I am sorry if our life style offends you. But maybe yours offends me. But it is not my place to tell you how to live it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sorry I am so late getting this posted! We have had a busy week. Sunday we laid around the house and accomplished nothing. :o) We have to have one of these days every once in a great while. We spent the day listening to Morgan Spurlocks "Don't Eat This Book" on audio CDs. It has been great so far, we still have two disks to go. Monday we got up really early to beat the heat and took a long walk! We walked to the grocery store to pick up alum for the pickles and then two dollar stores to pick up invitations and paper plates/napkins/balloons/cups/forks/etc. for "L" up coming 1st birthday. Oh my, where did a year go? Then Monday evening we went to the library and listened to a group of steel drum players from Bloomington, Indiana play some wonderful music! "L" had a blast and was dancing to the music. Today (Tuesday) we have been out to eat at a small diner for breakfast (a rare treat!), been to the cell phone store to look at a new phone for me (yeah for upgrades!), and worked in the yard a bit. Zach got the mowing and weed eating done and I got the tomatoes re staked as the rain and muggy weather had made them a little droopy. The rest of the day, I don't know. I need to the the peppers re staked, wash dishes, do a load of laundry and then maybe I might get to sit down and enjoy a little quite time before starting dinner. Phew! I need a nap! :o)

CSA bag contents this week:
  • 3 medium cucumbers (added to the first ones from our garden, in the process of making them into sweet pickles, yum!)
  • 5 small hot peppers
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 1 purple bell pepper
  • 1 bunch of greens
  • 7 small onions
  • 1 large zucchini

Saturday dinner: grill out: chicken breasts, grilled onions and peppers, and potato salad

Sunday Lunch: Salads

Sunday dinner: Chicken noodle, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots

Monday Lunch: left over grilled chicken, potato salad, and Kenyan style greens and tomatoes

Monday Dinner: Spaghetti- no meat but LOTS of veggies!, salad, cheesy bread

Tuesday lunch: salads

Tuesday dinner: whole chicken in the crock pot, pan cooked squash,zucchini, tomato, thyme mix and sauteed green beans

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thankful Thrusday: Week #23

~ Fireworks
~ Wheat crackers
~ Library summer reading program
~ My baby's first steps
~ Create TV
~ Coconut oil
~ Favorite authors

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blogging Break

For some reason, over the last month or so, I have lost my interest in blogging. I am not finding the joy in it that I once was. I feel like maybe I need to take a break from it. I have so much on my plate right now. So many things that I want to be doing this summer. Knitting to do, toys I want to make, gardening to be done, walks to take, life to live. I feel like I've not been spending enough time with my little girl of late. I've been so tired. So over budgeted. I've been drinking soda, eating sugar, needing more energy boosters that are not good for my health in any way! I want to relax more. Read more. Smile more. And I think I need to unload somethings for a while in order to make that possible. Blogging is one of those things that I can cut back on. I will still get on and check up on things from time to time. I still want to get on and post my meal plan each week (if for no other reason than to keep me accountable for continuing to do one) and I want to continue my Thankful Thursday as well, to keep my mind in the right area of gratefulness. Other than that, it will be touch and go. Only doing what I feel like doing instead of feeling obligated to myself to write every day. I don't know how long this will last. How long of a break this will be. However long it takes me to get back to myself. My family. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for reading my blog so far! I really do hope to come back to it some day. Full time. But for now, I need to take care of me and mine full time. Thank you again! God bless you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

We hit the mother load! :o) And so begins the FULL bags of God's abundance from the CSA! I am so excited!


This weeks bag contained
  • 1 bunch of cauliflower
  • 3 small hot peppers
  • 1 medium bag of salad
  • 1 small bag of arugula
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • chives
  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 12 ears of corn!

We also still have a small amount of green onions and 1 bunch of broccoli left from last week since we were gone for a good part of the week.

We also got two quarts of raw goats milk this week as next week she is going to be busy at her county fair. But we (Zach and I) have also discussed it and we are going to start getting 2 quart from her every week and Zach is going to start drinking it as well. Raw milk and goats milk are just so packed with nutrition! And ours is hormone and antibiotic free and is from organically and pasture fed local goats. So why should only "L" and I be getting those benefits? It is more expensive ($2 a quart) but food (and our health, which is directly related to what we eat) isn't something we should scrimp and "save" on.

Anyway, onto the meal plans for this week...

Saturday dinner: Zach's week to work.

Sunday Lunch: Breakfast for lunch: scrambled eggs with green onion, minced hot pepper, cheese, and bacon

Sunday Dinner: Cook out! I found some yummy looking turkey sausages at the grocery store this week so we are having those with Cole slaw, grilled onion and roasted corn on the cob

Monday Lunch: Pasta arugula with chicken

Monday Dinner: Freezer meal- creamy broccoli casserole with corn on the cob, fresh bread with butter and jelly

Tuesday Lunch: Stir fry- broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, onion, corn? all over brown rice

Tuesday Dinner: Enchiladas (replacement freezer meal) with salad topped with cucumber

Snacks for the week: homemade granola bars and crackers with chive/garlic/cream cheese spread and cottage cheese with crushed pineapple

Friday, July 9, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Scrap/note paper

I am a list maker! I have lists of chores to do, leftovers in the fridge, things to buy, meal plans, things to pack for trips, etc. I am afraid I am going to have to start making lists of my lists just to remember them all. :o)

But in the process of making all these lists, I use a good bit of paper. So instead of buying note paper, I simply "make" my own. I use junk mail, printer mistakes, old fliers, (my Mom uses over printed school papers from the elementary school she works at). As long as the paper is only printed on one side, it is usable again! Maybe you can use "oops" prints from your job or church. I usually cut a regular sized sheet of paper into 4 pieces. These tend to be the perfect size for me.

You can also use the scrap papers for other things. Taking down a message for someone, leaving a loving note for your spouse or child in their lunch box, leaving a reminder for another family member on the bath room mirror, jotting down an address or name, or writing down something you want to look up on the Internet. Make flash cards for your child with simple words or memory cards for your teens upcoming test.

I keep some clipped to the fridge with a magnet and some in my purse. Keep a stack next to the home phone and in the console of your vehicle. Maybe even on your night stand for those middle of the night "Gotta remember to do that in the morning" things. Don't you hate those? :o)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thankful Thrusday: Week #22

~ Wool diaper covers (for those rash prone baby bums)
~ Brown paper bags (used to make a pattern)
~ High Fructose corn syrup free options (ketchup!)
~ Flat Rock Creek to play in with little babies (pictures to come)
~ Free yard sticks from the county fair
~ Pro-life bumper stickers (county fair again)
~ Fly strips (so gross but so helpful)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm back!

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend! We sure did. We played in the creek, watched fireworks, visited the county fair, ate home made ice cream and corn on the cob, had a cook out with my whole family, played croquet (hadn't done this in years,) picked wild flowers, played with babies and a sweet little girl, and had lots of great laughs with family. A perfect 4th of July weekend in my book!
But alas, we are now back to everyday life. We came home to nearly dead cucumber plants from needing watered so badly. But after about 3 gallons of water poured on them yesterday evening, this morning they are looking right as rain! We also came home to about 2 dozen baby bell peppers and lots of other lovelies growing quite well! Shouldn't be too long now before we will be harvesting our first veggies! I am very excited!
So anyway, I am back! I will be posting Thankful Thursday like normal tomorrow. Once again, hope you all had a wonderful holiday! God's blessings!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Feeling Bloggy Update

I'm just feeling "bloggy" right now so I figured I'd give you an update on how life in the Lance house is going...

  • "L" is napping right now, on my chest. This is where she usually sleeps. Most mother's I know use nap time as a chance to get things done. But "L" usually does fine when I am washing dishes, folding laundry or whatever so I use her nap times as my chance to relax as well. I will read, watch TV, get on here, knit, what ever I feel like doing. It is kinda nice to have peace and quiet for a little while. And who doesn't love holding a sleeping baby?
  • Our "garden" is looking amazing! We have about 2 dozen baby cherry tomatoes coming on. Half a dozen or so Roma and flowers all over the big tomatoes. There are three tiny cucumbers started. I mean tiny! Like 1/2 inch long little things. There are 3 yellow squash coming on. Once again, little! About 1 1/2 inches long. No zucchini yet but lots of blooms. And we have one peach seed sized bell pepper. It is so funny looking! Like a mini bell pepper. I could just eat it now, all in one bite! But I won't.
  • I have picked 12 leaves off our first ever basil. It smells wonderful! We have little parsley and thyme plants too and I just planted some chives as an after thought to the herb collection.
  • I have been dying yarn with kool-aid like crazy. Making some wonderful new colors. The past two days I've done dark red/purple, a wonderful bright blue and a variegated blue, green and white that is going to make a really cool boys diaper cover for my Etsy shop! I also picked up some new colors today- orange, pink lemonade, and regular lemonade. Looking forward to seeing how they turn now.
  • Don't you love the bullets? Makes my soo non professional information look so much better. :o)
  • I just finished crocheting a new kitchen rug as my other one died on me. Just fell apart in the wash. Oops.
  • I also just finished a watermelon kids rug that I am going to put in my shop. It is super cute and looks like a slice of pink watermelon. I just have to put some "seeds" on it.
  • I am all packed and ready for this weekend. We are heading home for the 4th. Planning to see the fireworks at the local park, have a cook out and go swimming and just spend some time with the families. It should be nice!
  • I made a test run of cinnamon roll bread yesterday and it turned out great! I will be posting the recipe later and I am planning on taking a couple loaves to the LLL meeting Tuesday as I am in charge of refreshments.
  • "L" has three teeth now and this last one did not come in as easily as the first two did. We have been using all natural teething tablets and eating ice popsicles but she is still grouchy which is making me grouchy. We have not been good company this week. It seems to be getting better now though. It is making nursing a little more interesting as she is still learning how do do it with this new thing in her mouth.
  • I have started a new book that I am looking forward to reviewing for you later. It is a book on marriage and how to be the best wife you can be. I am already seeing a change in Zach and I's relationship and in my general disposition. I am excited to see what the rest of the book has in store for us!

Ok, I suppose that is enough randomness for now. I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend! I will be standing proud for my country's anthem! I may not always agree with where our government is going but it was built on the backs of some strong Christian men and I have to hope that it will stay standing on those founding father's ideals! God bless the men and women who serve our country and those that have fought and died for it! Have a blessed weekend!

Frugal Tip Friday: Rags

Since I was a child, I remember my Mom cutting up old shirts and using them as dust rags. She'd use old wash rags and towels, in too bad a shape to wash dishes or bodies, to wash cars. My Grandma even used her and my Grandpa's old undies. And I have heard of lots of people using their now adult children's old cloth diapers.

Today we have Swiffer, disposable sponges, and Pledge wipes. All that get used and then tossed after just one, sometimes a few more, uses. We live in a "disposable" world. But these cost money and load our landfills with even more trash. While the old shirts, undies, towels and diapers cost nothing.

So the next time you have a old t-shirt that has gotten stained or have a wash rag with just one too many holes in it, cut up that shirt, don't toss that rag. Give them a second life! Use them, wash them and reuse them! I bet you'll find they work just as well as those expensive "replacements."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Etsy shop is now open!

My Etsy shop is up and running!!! I am so excited! I have all the wool diaper covers that I have finished posted and plan to start getting some of my jewelry posted soon as well. Hopefully I can get some things sold and start bringing in some extra cash flow to help with saving for a house. That is the plan at least! Go check it out and tell me what you think!

Thankful Thursday: Week #21

~ Four wonderful years with my high school sweetheart

~ Old videos that remind me of my childhood (Disney sing along songs found at Goodwill for $1, one that my Grandma owned)

~ Silly little girls

~ Children's laughter in a restaurant (it can bug other people if they like, but I enjoy hearing it!)

~ Good books. There are so many of them!

~ God's amazing grace

~ Hope

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Washer Wipe Down

I don't know how, but in my weekly cleaning I always seem to miss getting the washer and dryer wiped off. I have figured out a way to remember to do it now though. I keep my dust rags on a rack above the washer and dryer along with the laundry soap, gallon of vinegar, stain remover, etc. So now whenever I have a load of towels that needs washing, I pull out a dust rag and get it wet in the water flowing into the washer and use it to wipe down my washer and dryer. Then all I have to do it toss it into the wash along with all the other dirty towels. Quick and simple and I know that the washer is getting wiped down about once a week!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Good morning! I am sitting here enjoying a smoothie with my sweet little girly. Mango, strawberry, banana and spinach! Yum! We've had a nice weekend here.We didn't end up going camping as it was just too hot and wet. We are planning to go home next weekend for the 4th though and we might camp out then. So instead we had a nice weekend at home. Saturday we spent relaxing around the house Just enjoying each others company and playing with our ever growing little blessing. Sunday was our 4 year wedding anniversary. My goodness, has it really been 4 years? We went out to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed a big storm that rushed by outside the large windows next to our table. Chopsticks and lightening. Great combination! All in all, it was a lovely celebration of our time together thus far.


This weeks CSA bag has quite a few new items in it. It contained
  • lettuce mix
  • Chives
  • parsley
  • a small bell pepper
  • and two other small peppers (hot ones)

The day we got it I made breakfast for lunch and we had scrambled eggs with the bell pepper, a pinch of the finely diced hot peppers (Zach isn't much for hot things so they gave flavor but not heat,) chives and parsley, sliced peaches and chocolate chip muffins. It made for a nice lunch! So here are our meal plans for this week...

Saturday dinner: Cabbage casserole- we were supposed to have this last week but the night I had planned to fix it, the power went out. So I moved it to this week!

Sunday lunch: Salads

Sunday dinner: our anniversary, out for Chinese

Monday lunch: Tacos-flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, tomato, sour cream, taco meat

Monday dinner: Freezer meal- Chicken Tetrazinni, salad, fresh bread and parsley potatoes

Tuesday lunch: Sloppy Joe's (using the new high fructose corn syrup free ketchup we got this week,) browned potatoes, and Cole slaw

Tuesday dinner: Meat loaf, chive carrots, and mashed potatoes

Wednesday lunch through Friday dinner: leftovers for me!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Frugal TIp Friday: Grill Extra Meat

If you are planning to grill out one day (we did this on Sunday for Father's Day), plan to grill extra meat. Don't just heat up the grill to fix a couple burgers, make your meats for the next few days worth of meals as well. This past Sunday we fixed:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • a whole package of hot dogs
  • 4 turkey burgers
  • 2 steaks (this was Zach's Father's Day "gift." I got him grass fed top sirloin steak from the farmer's market)

We also grilled some peppers and onions to go with it. We had meat for Sunday dinner, Monday lunch and dinner and some more leftovers for throughout the week. I will freeze the extra hot dogs for Zach as a quick meal for him in the future.

This is frugal in that you are getting the most use out of your hot grill/charcoal. Not just using them for one meal but for many. Any who doesn't love the taste of grilled food?

You can also sneak out after dinner with some marshmallows. :o)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Week #20

~ Iced mint tea

~ NBC Nightly News

~ Babies who are growing fast! (This one is very hard to be thankful for sometimes!)

~ Soft baby hair

~ teething tablets (all natural ones)

~ naps, no matter how short

~ take out pizza, because sometimes, I just don't feel like cooking!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picture Perfect Wednesday

Pictue of "God's thumb nail" at sunset one evening.
Our "flower" garden filled with tomato plants along the front of our house. :o) They are looking good!


Our container garden along the side of our house. From left to right are bell peppers, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, bell peppers, and yellow summer squash. Can you tell we like peppers?


Our first blooms on the pepper plants. If you look below the blooms to where the plant splits, you can see our first baby pepper starting.

The first blooms on the cucumber plant. We also have a couple on the squash.



This 0ne is super exciting! Our first cherry tomatoes! Yum! I will be ready to eat these guys right off the plant when they are ripe!


"L" getting her hands dirty in the garden.

There appears to be some sort of critter in my squash! :o)







Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Chicken for salad

When ever I grill or pan cook whole chicken breasts, I always try to make at least one extra while I am at it. Then I cut it up into chunks or strips and freeze it in snack sized zip top baggies (usually half a chicken breast per baggie.) Then when I want chicken on a salad for lunch or a quick dinner, all I need do is pull out the chicken, rewarm it and I have a yummy topping for my salad. Super easy with out much extra effort!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Hello! I hope this post finds you well and happy this fine, over cast, stormy Monday. :o)

This week our CSA box contained:
  • A small cabbage
  • A bundle of green onions
  • A bag of swiss chard (this is a totally new one for me!)
  • A couple handfuls of green beans

Sorry, I didn't get a picture taken before we ate some of it! :o)

Meal plans for this week:

Monday lunch: Leftover grilled meat from Sunday, green bean and radish salad, and left over coleslaw from Sunday

Monday dinner: Chicken breasts, potato and swiss chard curry (wish me luck! We have never even eaten swiss chard!) and pan yeast bread (recipe to come probably Saturday)

Tuesday lunch: Chicken chunks, green onion mashed potatoes, and green onion corn (our breath will probably be lovely after this meal!)

Tuesday dinner: Cabbage roll casserole (new recipe that I am a little iffy about as Zach doesn't like cabbage any way but coleslaw and sour kraut but we can hope!)

Wednesday lunch-Friday dinner: Leftovers for me!

We are planning to go camping next weekend so we will be eating "camp-y" foods. More than likely hot dogs and the like and who knows what else. I am one of those odd people who really likes camp cooking. This will be the first time camping out with "L" so we shall see how she does. I am still trying to decide weather to brave cloth diapering while camping or not. Anyone done this before?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Week #19

~ A full parking lot at the library on a Monday afternoon
~ Time of fellowship with other home birthing families
~ the first blooms on our tomato plants
~ That my poor babies Fifth's diease rash is going away
~ Spray bottles of all sizes
~ Mid day thunderstorms
~ Meeting new, like-minded friends!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Now, where are my keys?

How many times have you had everything ready to go, kids loaded in the car, grocery list in hand only to realize that you have no idea where your keys or cell phone are?

My quick tip for today is to find a place for them! Some where you know to put them as soon as you get home and stick to it! I have a certain pocket in my purse just for my keys. When ever I get home, even if my arms are full of groceries and a baby, I know to at least throw my keys on my purse and then tuck them in that pocket later when I have time, or put them there in the first place. My husband hangs his on a hook when he comes in, then they are handy for when he walks out the door each day.

My cell phone can usually be found in the living room as we don't have a house phone. Where in the living room changes through out the day. Some times it is on top of the entertainment center, sometimes on the arm of the couch, sometimes on the end table, some times in the couch and sometimes on the floor (this happens when a certain baby gets a hold of it and it is usually then covered in slobber.) :o)

Maybe your place could be in your purse, on a table in the entry way of your home, on a hook in side the door, on your night stand even. Wherever is easiest for you to remember to put it as soon as you walk in the door!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: Pushed!

I have decided that for the rest of this year, I am only going to read "self-help" and educational type books. I am looking forward to this and have already made a good start!
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block has been on my list of books that I have wanted to read for a long time now! Now that I have read it, I want to own it!
Much like The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, it tells the truth (with loads of statics, facts, surveys, studies and quotes from many people) about where modern maternity care is today and where it is going; and it isn't pretty! Too many women are choosing to just fall blindly into what their doctors and even midwives are telling them is "necessary" and "safe" for them and their babies when in actuality the studies show over and over what the real truth is.
I am not going to give you too much information, because I would love for you to go out and read this for yourself. But I will tell you that what is happening in our labor and delivery rooms is not right! In any way! Nor is it safe. Be informed about your body and your rights!
Other books I've been reading:
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: This book turned out to be really informative! The author and you go to different homeschoolers homes and "interview" them on how they choose to home school. Everything from single parents, grandparents, a family living in an RV traveling across the country, to the "average" homeschooling family. It also takes a look at the different homeschooling options and curriculum's. All in all, a very good and easy read!
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child: This book has been a "life saver" more than once since "L" was born! It is a great source to have on hands for every thing from chicken pox to choking. This week she came down with a fever and now has a rash. We discovered it is Roseola and boy is she itchy! Poor thing. Anyway, the book gives a run down of what each illness or symptom is, what the traditional, herbal, homeopathic, and acupressure treatments are for it. Lots of great information and easy to read and use!
Our Daily Bread: Ok, so this isn't a book, but it is informative! This video is actually just a series of videos of where our food, in the modern times, is grown, processed, packaged, slaughtered (yes, sometimes quite gross), and the people behind our food. This video was quite interesting and also quite disturbing at times. Much like Food, Inc. in the content, but the whole film had no speaking. Just images. It was really quite good!

CSA bag and Weekly Meal Plan


Here is a look at this weeks CSA score. Once again, it is small but our farmer said next week it will start getting bigger and bigger. We might even have some bell peppers. Yum! This weeks bag contained...



  • A LARGE bag of salad mix

  • A small bag of spinach

  • A couple hand fulls of snow peas

In the picture is also my weekly quart of raw goats milk. Yum!


And here is our meal plan for this week...


Saturday late lunch/early dinner: sweet potato burritos


Saturday dinner: Zach's week to work over time on Saturday so I had left overs


Sunday lunch and dinner: We are attending our first Home4Birth picnic at one of our midwives homes. We are SO excited to meet lots of other home birthing families and to see our lovely midwives again. We haven't seen them since "L" was born about 9 months ago. I am planning to bring these lovely Pumpkin Dinner Rolls from Tammy's Recipes (thank you Tammy for this yummy recipe!) I still have a good bit of pumpkin puree in the deep freezer from last fall that will be wonderful for these!


Monday lunch: Sweet potato burritos


Monday dinner: Stir fry- chicken, peppers, CSA snow peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic and soy sauce on top of brown rice


Tuesday lunch: Sloppy Joe's, oven fries, and peas


Tuesday dinner: Chicken breasts (maybe chunks), mac and cheese, Lima beans and salad


Wednesday lunch - Friday dinner is leftovers as usual!

Saturday lunch: Leftovers?

Saturday dinner: Freezer meal, salad and garlic bread

Sunday lunch: Salad, hard boiled eggs, extra chicken from Tuesday

Sunday dinner: Father's Day! Grill out, deviled eggs, grilled peppers and onions

Friday, June 11, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Coupons

I have found that most often, buying generic/store brand items is less than buying the name brand version with a coupon. I still check every time though because there is a rare case that proves me wrong. However, if you are going to buy something name brand anyway, look for a coupon for the item or stock up when you do find coupons or good deals on it. There are a few items that I have not found a suitable substitute for the name brand in the store brand options. One is my body soap. I have sensitive skin and have only found one soap that doesn't dry me out or irritate my skin. So I watch for when that brand goes on sale and keep an eye out for coupons for it. That way when I do have to buy name brand, I know I am at least getting a better deal on it. Fifty cents here and there can add up to quite a lot in the long run!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Week #18

~ State parks

~ Nice doctors who don't push too much, even when they don't particularly agree with one (or more) of your parenting choices.

~ Scrap paper

~ Nature's beautiful bounty

~ The daisies and day lilies starting to bloom. Summer's almost here!

~ Tongue depressors that entertain a fussy baby while the doctor looks them over

~ Good books!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Picture Perfect Wednesday

We have been doing really good about making smoothies for breakfast about 5 mornings a week. This one contained pineapple, frozen fruit mix (peaches, strawberries, grapes and melon), yogurt, pineapple juice, and a big handful of spinach. This gets us all our fruit servings, one dairy serving and one vegetable/all our dark green leafys for one day. And they are soo tasty!
We went on a LONG walk at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis on Sunday after church and it was lovely! "L" rode in her new hiking sling and we got lots of good snap shots of her. And also some great nature shots! Here is a lovely water lily in bloom.


One of the trails we took. This one had lots of pretty daisies and some tiny raspberries starting to come on.


The water lilies in Duck Pond.


The water lilies again. Zach and I agree that they are just a neat little plant!

Some pretty reddish pink flowers.
All in all it was a lovely trip! We also visited the Museum of 20th Century Warfare. Not really our "cup of tea" but neat and informative none the less.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Marinade Help

Next time you are making a marinade in a zip top bag, use this simple tip!

I was always having trouble with the liquids wanting to run out of the bag as I was adding the other ingredients because my baggie would fall over. Then I came up with an idea and have used it ever since. Take your gallon sized zip top bag and place it inside a gallon tea pitcher, then fold the edge of the baggie over the edge of the pitcher and fill. The pitcher will hold your baggie in place and not let the liquids run out. You can even add your gently meats and it will still hold strong. Then simply pull it off from around the rim and zip shut!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan: June 7th-11th

We got our first CSA box this week so I got to try out my new meal planning. I think it went well and we get to try lots of new recipes with our yummy food!

Monday lunch: leftovers from Sunday ("L" had her 9 month baby wellness check up today and is doing great!)

Monday dinner: Chicken Soulvaki (new recipe using some of the oregano from our CSA box), potatoes with cilantro (new recipe using the cilantro from our CSA box) and the salad mix (from the CSA box.)

Tuesday lunch: Pasta arugula (new recipe using the arugula from the CSA box)

Tuesday dinner: Roasted Greek chicken (new recipe-also on the oregano site) and green bean and radish salad (new recipe)

Wednesday lunch: bean burritos (making extra for in the freezer), fresh salsa (using the green onions from the CSA box), and blue corn chips (a new favorite in the house.)

Wednesday dinner through Friday dinner is leftovers as usual.

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture


We got our first box of fruits and vegetables from our CSA membership on Saturday and I thought I'd give you a peek. Lovely is it not? Everything looks so fresh and green smells wonderful!

So, what is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture (also called a CO-OP). At the beginning of the summer (the first of May was the cut off for ours) you sign up and buy a "share" (or in our case half a share) of what a local farm produces. We paid a set amount (ours is about $13 a week) and we will receive 8-12 pounds of fresh, organic, local produce each week for approximately 20 weeks. And by fresh, I mean FRESH! As in most of the items in our box were picked the morning of delivery. They can range in size from a few members to a few hundred. Ours has 54 members/families this year.

This is what our first box included:


  • about a half a quart of fresh strawberries

  • a bundle of radishes

  • a bundle of green onions

  • a nice sized bag of salad mix (this is a weekly item)

  • 3 containers (like you would buy herbs in at the grocery store) of fresh Arugula, oregano and cilantro

The first few weeks boxes won't contain much but as the season progresses, the will get more and more fruitful!

In some ways I am a little nervous about the contents of these boxes as we will be introduced to some vegetables we have never tried before and I will have to get creative in the kitchen, trying new recipes and new ways of cooking these new foods. But at the time time, I am excited at this prospect as well. We have the opportunity to expand our culinary palate and push our "boundaries" a little when it comes to what we "think" we like and don't like. It also means I will have to get creative with the meal plans I make each week. From now on, I will get the CSA box on Saturday, search out recipes for the new and interesting items on Saturday, plan the next weeks menu on Saturday and Sunday and then grocery shop on Sunday or Monday. Phew! I am soo looking forward to this!

So, what some more information on CSA's?

Here is a link to a more detailed description of what a CSA is. Make sure too use the "Find CSA Farms" search to the right to see if there is a CSA near you to possibly look into.

Most CSA's are now closed to new members for the year, but maybe seeing mine this year will get you in the frame of mind to look into one for your family next year. They are a great way to help support your local farmers and a wonderful source of fresh, healthy, and sometimes organic foods!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shepherd's Pie




I have always been a fan of this lovely, simple, old-timey meal. Meat, potatoes, vegetables and cheese all in one pan. How can you beat that? Way back when, Mothers used to make this out of the bits of meat and veggies they had left over and covered it with the cold mashed potatoes from last night. Now, in better times, it is just a tasty comfort food that sticks to the ribs. Enjoy!




Ingredients:


1 pound ground beef or turkey


2 cups hot mashed potatoes


4 ounces cream cheese


1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


2 cloves garlic, minced


4 cups frozen mixed veggies, thawed


1 cup gravy




1. Preheat your oven to 370` F. Brown the meat in a large skillet. (While doing this, cook and mash your potatoes.) Drain.




2. Mix potatoes, cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and the garlic until well blended.




3. Stir vegetables and gravy into the meat.




4. Spoon the meat mixture into a 9x9 inch square baking dish.




5. Cover with the potato mixture. Don't worry about it being perfectly even; the more imperfect it looks, the better.




6. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until it is heated through.




Makes 4-6 servings.




Notes: I choose to scoop the meat out of the pan, leaving the drippings. Then I made a simple gravy (about 3 tbsp. flour, 1 cup of milk, and the fat drippings.) This worked out just perfect for me and saved me from either dirtying up another pan or buying super salty jarred gravy. Also, make sure your veggies are completely thawed! Mine were not and so I ended up having to bake it for another 10 minutes. This did not harm it in any way, it just took longer to bake than I expected. You can also use instant mashed potatoes for the topping and it works out well. Just omit the milk from the package directions, that way when you mix in the cream cheese they stay fluffy.




All in all, we really enjoyed this! Zach took leftovers to work the next day and lots of his co-workers said it smelled and looked yummy and one of them said he remembered his grandmother making it for him.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Dish rinse water re-use

I have given up on the dishwasher! I have banned it's use in my house. It is more eco-friendly and frugal to use the dishwasher because it uses less water than hand washing, but the darn thing just doesn't work! I have tried everything I can think of and nothing is working, so, I give up! I will just hand wash from now on. And that is fine with me. But what to do with all that "wasted" water?

Well, my solution is to save my rinse water and reuse it. I wash my dishes in the sink but then use a dish pan to rinse them in. I then reuse that rinse water to water my outdoor plants. After I have done the dishes, I allow the water to cool to room temperature. Then that evening, I water my garden with it. It doesn't get all the plants but it gets about half of ours. The little bits of food in the water act at compost/fertilizer and the small amount of dish soap acts as a pest detergent. So not only is it frugal and eco-friendly but reusing something that you would otherwise have just run down the drain, but it is also beneficial to your plants!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Week #17

~ Free things on the curb. (Item in mention is a working, in nearly perfect condition, gliding footstool for my glider rocker.)

~ All the military men and women who have so bravely given their service and sometimes their lives for our country.

~ The families of those men and women who serve for their sacrifice.

~ The American flag, a symbol of all the lives given and all the battles fought for our freedom.

~ Cool showers after hot days.

~ The La Leche League

~ Kitchen timers

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Greasy Laundry Booster

My husband's work clothes are always quite nasty. He is a screen printer and his clothes are usually covered with ink, tack, glue, sweat and grease. Eww. There isn't much I can do about the ink. It is permanent and that is fine, they are just work clothes. The tack and glue just take some good, hot water. The sweat and grease, well, that is where the "booster" comes in.

My booster... liquid dish soap.

When you do a load of greasy clothes (work clothes, rags, kitchen towels/rags, sheets-for those of us with oily hair, etc.), wash in warm water, use your normal amount of laundry soap, and then add a good squirt of liquid dish soap. Not too much! About 1 to 2 tablespoons should do it. If you add too much, you risk creating too many bubbles for your washer to handle. No one wants a big mess of bubbles to clean up, although it would be quite fun for a while!

The grease fighters in the dish soap cut the grease in your clothes just as well! It is inexpensive as well. Can't beat that!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Sun Tea


When the weather gets warm and the days get longer, I love to use the power of the sun to make sun tea. Get out a glass jar of any sort. It can be a canning jar, a pickle jar, an actual sun tea pitcher, or what ever else you happen to have on hand. Place in however many tea bags you usually use (we use 7 for a gallon of tea), cover the bags with cool water, and set in a sunny place. This can be outdoors or indoors. Make sure that the top is covered with something. A lid, a plate, a wash cloth, just something to keep the bugs out. Allow to sit in the sun for a few hours. When the liquid inside is dark brown, bring it in a make your tea as usual. We do the 7 tea bags to one cup of sugar and 1 gallon of water. Refridgerate till cold.
This is a frugal option in that you are using no "man-made" energy to steep the tea. It is all done by the sun. And it tastes lovely!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thrusday: Week #16

~ Cookouts with family
~ A church full of praising voices
~ Busy days
~ Running water
~ The library and all it's resources
~ Documentaries
~ Fans on hot days when I refuse to turn on the A/C

Friday, May 21, 2010

Frugal Tip Friday: Freeze your cheese!

Next time you happen to spot shredded cheese on sale, buy it up!

We use shredded cheese a lot in this house! What can I say? We like it! So I tend to keep quite a bit on hand. But I was still having the problem of it going bad before I could use it all. Until I learned that you can freeze it.

It is actually very simple! Just throw the bag of cheese, direct from the grocery store, into the freezer. When you want to use it, pull out the flavor/kind that you want, break it up a little and use just like you would if not frozen. If you are going to use the full amount in the bag, then you can allow it to completely thaw in the fridge for a few hours before making dinner. If using from frozen, it will take a little longer to melt. So if you are using it on say a baked potato, you may have to give it a few minutes or throw it in the microwave or warm oven to help it along. I use the frozen cheese in salads I send to work with my husband. By the time he gets his lunch at work, the cheese is thawed! And we never have to deal with moldy cheese again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Week #15

~ Purny baby feet after a bath

~ Meals that bring back fond memories of lost loved ones. (Swedish meatballs and butterscotch pie this week. I miss you Grandma!)

~ Going to a yard sale and buying a cast iron skillet for a dollar

~ Kombucha that turns out perfectly (google it!) :o)

~ Heirloom tomato plants (got all of ours planted!)

~ Baby teeth! ("L" got her first two teeth in 3 days! And she hasn't been super grumpy!)

~Productive mornings

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Tip Tuesday: Easier bread slicing

It is hard to get fresh baked bread sliced thin enough for our liking. If we are planning to eat it warm, slathered in butter or jelly, it's not a big deal. But when it comes to sandwiches, we like it to be as thin or thinner than store bought. So I have discovered how to do just that.

Allow the fresh loaf of bread to cool completely on a wire rack. When it is totally cooled, place into a zip top baggie and the put it into the fridge over night. This "firms" up the bread. Then slice it into your thin slices. The bread is firm enough to slice yet still soft and yummy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan: 05/15-05/21

I am late getting this done this week. I've had a couple "feeling pooy" days and just didn't get it done. Have to go to the grocery store tomorrow afternoon to do the shopping for the week. Not my idea of a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Lesson learned?

Saturday dinner: BIG pizza. I happened to find one of those huge pizzas you can get at the grocery store on sale (it was "out of date" the next day) for $3.00! They are originally like $10. BBQ chicken. Yum!

Prep for Sunday: thaw ground turkey

Sunday lunch: Left over pizza? I am not kidding, this thing is huge! :o) Or maybe a freezer meal?

Sunday dinner: Swedish meatballs (making a double batch to freeze 1/2 for later use), mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and fresh bread. May come up with a special dessert. I need to get back into the habit of that. If all else fails, cookies and ice cream!

Prep for Monday: cook hard boiled eggs, thaw chicken breasts/thighs

Monday lunch: Tuna salad in homemade pita pockets, potato salad and hard boiled eggs

Monday dinner: Chicken tetrazini (making a single batch but freezing half for later use, one batch makes two 8x8 inch pans), peas, "daddy" potatoes and buttered bread.

Prep for Tuesday: soak beans, thaw chicken breasts

Tuesday lunch: Chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and Lima beans

Tuesday dinner: crock pot pizza beans

Prep for Wednesday: Check to see if first batch of kombucha is done!

Wednesday lunch: left over chicken fingers in pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard

Wednesday dinner, all meals for Thursday and Friday: Leftovers!

White chocolate chip cookies




These are just yummy! They are great warm, cold, with a glass of milk or broken up in a bowl of vanilla ice cream. A simple cookie with a great flavor! Chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside. (This one's for you Christine! Hope you enjoy it!)

Ingredients





  • 1 cup butter, softened


  • 2 cups white sugar


  • 2 eggs


  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (the powdered kind)


  • 1 tsp. baking soda


  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  • 1 2/3 cups white chocolate


Directions





  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.


  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.


  4. Add dry mix into the wet mix a little at a time till all dry is used and the dough is well mixed. Fold in the white chocolate chips.


  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, allowing for room to spread.


  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


The dough from the cookies freezes really well! I have some thawing on the counter right now to enjoy with some yummy raw goats milk! Mmm.