Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #7

September 28-October 4 (Is is really October already???)

So last week I didn't do much with this blog. Sorry!
I had a lot on my plate last week. I was baking for church events, baking for my brother-in-law's birthday party, organizing a friends wedding shower, Hubby and I had meetings at church two nights, plus fitting in workouts and I was packing and menu planning for our week of house-sitting this week. So this got thrown to the wayside! Sorry about that.
We're house-sitting now for Hubby's aunt and uncle and 3 of their dogs. It's quite an adventure!
I'm throwing a wedding shower for a girlfriend at church this afternoon and it's my first to organized and plan by myself. I've helped with a few others but never had to plan what to have and do and all that jazz. It's going to be fun but I'm ready for it to be over so I can stop thinking about it.
Because of house-sitting this week and I'm beginning to babysit quite often in October you'll see a few times that Hubby will be on his own. I hate it but I can't do it all. He can fend for himself well enough that I know he won't starve. :)
So here is what is on the menu for this week. Sorry it's not a weeks worth but I start babysitting Friday and stay overnight until late on Saturday afternoon, then babysit Sunday evening. I hate being this busy!!!

Leftover french bread pizzas (Go here for the french bread recipe... it's delish!)
I bake the french bread as directed, cool completely, then cut into fourths, then cut those fourths in half horizontally, top with toppings and bake in 350-400 degree oven until the cheese is melted and just the way you like it.

Burgers and potato fries

Leftovers (ravioli, pizza, burgers, etc)

Leftover lasagna

On your own (I'm babysitting starting at 2:30 in the afternoon and staying overnight)

Lunch and Dinner: On your own (Won't be home from babysitting until early evening and I'll be exhausted, the kid is 22 months after all)

Lunch: On your own (Wedding shower at church organized by me)
Dinner: On your own (I'm babysitting from 6-10 p.m.)

I hate not being able to cook! I just love it so much. I know I'll find a way to do more than this but who knows. With being at someone else's house it's hard for me to find things to cook, so we'll see.
Have a great week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strawberry Cake or Cupcakes

This is one of my favorite recipes!
I'm asked frequently to make it for dinners at church and other functions. It's easy and wonderful. The picture that I posted is from a batch of cupcakes I made for a baby shower back in May.

Strawberry Cake-from Vicki V.

Cake Ingredients:
-1 box white cake mix
-1 small box strawberry jello
-3/4 cup oil (applesauce might work here too, never tried it)
-4 eggs, room temperature
-1 cup sweetened, sliced strawberries (I buy these in the frozen dessert section at Wal-Mart; fresh would probably work but you would need to put sugar on top and let the juice come out, you need the juice for the cake; this can also be pureed so no big pieces are in your cake)

-Mix first 4 ingredients in a stand mixer, then mix in the 1 cup of strawberries.
-Grease and flour 3, 8 inch cake pans or line 2, 12 count cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners (sprayed with vegetable spray)
-Dump batter into prepared pans evenly.
-Bake at 325 degrees for 25+ minutes
-Place on cooling racks for 10 minutes, then remove to let cakes cool completely.

Icing Ingredients:
-1/2 stick butter, softened but not melted
-1 pound powdered sugar (or 4 cups)
-1/2 cup sweetened, sliced strawberries (same stuff used in the cake mix)

Let cakes or cupcakes cool completely (this is so important).
Mix all icing ingredients together with a bowl with a hand mixer.
The icing does need to be a bit stiff or it will just drip right off the cakes (another reason to let cakes cool completely). I usually add a quarter cup of the strawberries first and add more as needed. And more powdered sugar if needed too. (An 8 ounce cream cheese, softened can be added into the icing as well. It's a nice, creamy change.)
Ice cakes and refrigerate.
And refrigerate any leftovers.

P.S. It's not the healthiest dessert, around 350+ calories a serving. But it's a nice treat every now and then.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bible reading

I've started reading Genesis again. I'm sorry to say it's been quite awhile since I've picked up my Bible other than on Sundays for church. I can't let it get me down though. I've picked it up again and that's what is important. And I love Jesus!

I've always been a reader but for some reason I couldn't sit down and just read the Bible. I never thought it would work. I never thought I could just sit down and read it like a book. I've heard a lot of people say that you can't/shouldn't read it this way. But I was so wrong. They were wrong. Hubby told me, "Sit down and just read it. If you have questions write them in the margins or in your notebook." So, that's what I've been doing. And it's been working. And I'm loving it. So far I've read through chapter 11 of Genesis.

And another great thing, I've taken 3 pages of notes on these 11 chapters. And it didn't feel like I was pushing something to happen, it just came naturally. Does that sound weird? I don't think it's coming out the way I want to. But it feels good to back in the Bible again.

This whole weight loss journey has really improved my skills in other areas. I'm learning how to live a more balanced life (most of the time) and put myself first in (some) situations. I'm not being selfish about it but I need to lose weight for my health and that has to be a priority, so I've made it a priority. Just like I need to make spending time with God a priority. It helps my well being and I'm able to give more to people without it feeling like a burden. It isn't a burden to help others and I know that but if I'm not prayed up then I can't help people.

So I'm feeling encouraged. I hope you know Jesus as your Savior. He is there for you and He loves you. Get to know Him!!!

What are you reading in your quiet time?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #6

It's hard to believe we're about to start another week. This year is absolutely flying by! Is it just me?
We had a nice, relaxing weekend. I hope you did too.
We have another pretty basic week ahead with not too much going on. And that's okay with us!
Here's our plan for dinner for the week. Enjoy!

Mexican corn tortillas with spanish rice

Barbecue nachos
I have some leftover turkey loin that I'll shred to use for this.

Potluck dinner at church
Go here and here for the recipes I'll be using.

Hamburger helper and a veggie

French bread pizza
Go here for the french bread dough recipe.
It's a great recipe from SnoWhite at Joy in my Kitchen. I haven't had time to post a blog on it. It's so great and super easy because of the bread machine. Delicious!

Leftover burgers
French toast and bacon (using french bread for the toast too); see link above for the recipe

Leftover pizza
Pork roast, baked potatoes, asparagus (for me) and another vegetable (for Hubby

Have a great week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #5

Happy Holiday Weekend. Sorry this is late. I've been enjoying this long weekend with friends and family and especially my wonderful husband.
I (unfortunately) only cooked 2 times this past week. I had meetings Monday and Tuesday, cooked Wednesday and Thursday and had dinner out with family and friends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were absolutely spoiled this week! I feel like I could lose my touch in the cooking department. Well that may not be true but I do have to get back with it. So here's my plan for the week.

Monday: Labor Day!
Lunch: Burgers and Potato Fries
Dinner: Mushroom Garlic Pork Chop, rice and veggies
Steaks and baked potatoes
Steak marinade: prick steaks many times with fork, salt and pepper both sides, place in 9x13 baking dish. Pour olive oil on top, 1/4 cup- 1/2 cup, sprinkle with garlic powder and worcestershire sauce. Let marinate 8 hours to overnight. Delicious!
Lunch: leftover Pizza Bread
Dinner: Sandwiches

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pizza Crust 2- Our favorite!

This pizza crust can be made WITHOUT a bread machine. Place all ingredients in mixer with the dough hook and let the hook do the work. You may have to scrape down the sides once or twice to help the mixer, but the hook will knead the dough for you. After it's mixed and kneaded (knead 5-10 minutes), place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel, let rise 1 to 1.5 hours in a warm place. After it's risen, place on floured surface and let rest 10 minutes, but no more than 30. After you let it rest, it's ready to roll out. If it keeps springing back after you've tried rolling it out, let it rest for another few minutes and try again.

Here's the recipe:
Pizza Crust (for bread maker)

9-11 ounces water
3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups all-purpose and 2 cups whole wheat flour work great)
2 tsp yeast

Combine all ingredients into the bread pan.
Press dough setting.
Remove the dough.
Roll out dough, spread toppings, bake.

Preheat a baking stone in a 450-500 degrees F oven. Once the oven is preheated place topped pizza on the stone and bake. Start at 10 minutes and go from there until your cheese and crust is the way you like it.

I've made calzones, regular 10" pizzas, and large sheet pan pizzas (picture above). It works great for everything and it's so good!!!

*I split this dough into thirds to make it more calorie friendly and to make a thinner crust. I also either make 3 pizzas, cook 1 and freeze the other 2 for quick meals (they work just like a frozen pizza does from the store) OR freeze the balls of dough for later use. If you freeze the dough, keep it in it's round form in the freezer. To thaw: place in a bowl or on a plate and let thaw and use as fresh pizza dough that's ready to roll out. It works great and I do this often.