Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #24

March 1st-March 7th

Yet another busy week in the Gafford home this week!

We find out Monday if we're having a precious baby girl or precious baby boy. I cannot believe the day is finally here. I hope baby isn't shy and the ultrasound technician is able to see if it's a boy or girl! :)

Tuesday night we're having a "Gender Reveal Party" for family and a few friends at my MIL's house. It's a dessert party so I've baked a huge amount of delicious cookies and cupcakes (I'll post pictures later in the week). My mom is making chex mix, so yummy. And the cupcakes I'm making have either 2 pink or 2 blue m&m's, depending on the sex of the baby.

The rest of my family lives out of town, so I've made cards with a cute little poem inside on the right side, and a pouch on the left side with a slip of paper with either girl or boy written on it. I wanted all family to be involved, even if they don't live in town. I will be posting all the details of the party this week, with lots of pictures, so be on the lookout for that blog post.

So here's our menu for the week...

Monday, March 1st: Doctor appointment, 1:30 p.m.!!!

Tuesday, March 2nd: Gender Reveal Party Tonight!!!

Wednesday, March 3rd:

Thursday, March 4th: Happy Birthday to my Momma!!!
Dinner at parents house, in honor of Mom's birthday;
Burgers and hotdogs on the grill, cooked by Dad
Ice Cream Cake made by me, from my friend SnoWhite's recipe, over at Joy in My Kitchen, modified... come back and see what I did a little different :)

We were going to have Club Sandwiches

Friday, March 5th:

Saturday, March 6th:

Sunday, March 7th:
on your own (could be the club sandwiches from Thursday, since we didn't get to have them)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are you Cheap or Frugal?

Go to the link below and watch this video, if you haven't seen it already. And tell me, are you cheap or frugal?

After watching, please read on!

I am happy to say that I am frugal! (Well, most of the time).

In my opinion, and this video says it in so many words, if you're cheap you view money in a negative way and if you are frugal, you see saving your hard earned cash in a positive way, a way that will be useful to you and your family later in life.

Frugal: "I think of the future and want to be able to live a decent life later on." "I don't have a house, so I want to save to buy a house." "I've always had an older car and maybe I want something a little newer, something that won't cost me so much in repair bills." "I have kids and want to be able to send them to the school of their choice." "I go to a church and want to be able to give money to the budget needs of the church."

To me, this is frugal thinking.

Cheap: "I want a bigger house with more rooms, but no one here to occupy them. And I'm not willing to foster a child." "I want a brand new car every year, just because I can." "The kids, well they can take out student loans for school, pay their own way and deal with it themselves." "I go to church, but they don't need my money. I'm looking around, and all these other people probably give, why should I?"

In my opinion, this is cheap. It's negative thinking toward money. Very selfish. But haven't we all felt this? Don't we all think this at some point in our lives?

We spend what most would consider to be very little on groceries each month (only $160). But we spend this little amount because we want to have a house and we're starting a family and we want to give to our church. To me, our food intake is something we can control. We can't control our rent payment, car payment, student loans, etc., so we save money on groceries. I am very strict about meeting this each month. I literally jump up and down when I am under budget. Hubby laughs at me, but it's a big deal to me. I feel it's my responsibility to meet this goal each month. I am the meal planner, shopper and cook of the household, so I feel it's my duty, the one thing I can help control. And it's one less thing Hubby has to worry about.

I think we can all be stingy with our money sometimes. We are. I am. I'm a selfish human beings, who let's face it, thinks about myself too much. This is a struggle each day for me to get out of my box and think about others. I'm human after all. I'm home alone all day and doing my own thing. I live in my sweet little bubble, with a roof over my head, food in my stomach, a family who loves and supports me. I honestly don't have much to worry about. I live in a country of freedom and a very rich country at that. I don't have to worry about starving or a earthquake ruining my life because of all the gifts given to me. And if things did happen, I know there are so many friends and family who would be there to lend support.

But I know God is in control of my life and I give it all to Him. I give Him all my struggles of selfishness. He knows my heart. He knows how I can be. I'm thankful He's there to know all of this too. He's someone I can turn to in my time of need of selfishness. He puts me back on track when it's needed. And believe me, I need it!

So, what do you think, are you cheap or frugal?
No need to answer here, unless you want to.
It's a pretty personal question, more for you to reflect on and think about and pray about.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

This is a Weight Watchers recipe, but I don't use all the light versions, so it's not for us. :)
It's a quick and hot meal that I love making. All the cheesy goodness is wonderful.
Not much prep time is needed to make this dish which makes it a winner in my kitchen!

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

16 oz dry spaghetti, cooked
1 lb (16 oz) Velvetta Light cheese (I don't use light)
12.5 oz can chicken breast, drained and flaked (I use a half of a whole chicken, shredded)
10 3/4 oz can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I use regular)
10 3/4 oz can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I use regular)
10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (Rotel) (I use 14 oz)
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to mix well.
3. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Stir again just before serving.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saltine Toffee

This is a delicious sweet treat! It's quick and easy and something a little different for a dessert snack.
When you break it into pieces, place it in little bags with some cute ribbon and give out to friends as a little happy. They'll be begging for more. And you'll make their day by giving them this small gift.

Saltine Toffee-from Pat P.

1 to 1 1/2 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 1/2stick butter
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (I tried with semi-sweets and it wasn't sweet enough, in my opinion)
1-2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Arrange crackers in a single layer so there is no empty space between them.
3. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Stir while the butter melts and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
4. Once boiling, carefully pour over the crackers, trying to cover most of the crackers.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes, or until toffee is bubbling all over.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute.
7. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top in an even layer an let cool for 1 minute to soften.
8. Spread the melted chocolate over the top.
9. Sprinkle nuts on top if you prefer or drizzle melted white chocolate for a pretty design, or do both.
10. Refrigerate about 30 minutes to set and enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #23

February 22nd-February 28th

Monday, 22nd:

Tuesday, 23rd:

Wednesday, 24th:

Thursday, 25th:

Friday, 26th:

Saturday, 27th:

Sunday, 28th:
on your own

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blueberry Turnovers

I love a little sweet treat and these hit the spot.
I was in the mood for just a little something sweet the other night and had the urge to bake a little. So I got on the internet to find something easy and found this turnover recipe. It was simple and quite delicious. Hubby liked the quite a bit too. I'll definitely be making them again!

Blueberry Turnovers-from
Printer-Friendly Recipe

1 (8 oz) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (I used frozed, partially thawed blueberries, rinsed)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup prepared vanilla frosting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out crescent dough triangles onto a baking sheet.
2. Place 1 Tbsp blueberries on the widest end of each triangle. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp confectioner's sugar over blueberries on each roll. Beginning with the wide end, roll up crescent around blueberries; pinkch both sides to seal completely.
3. Bake in the preheated over until gold, about 12 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes; dust with the remaining confectioners' sugar. Drizzle with the vanilla frosting.

Note: I felt I needed more blueberries and a little more confectioners' sugar in each crescent roll up. I did not make a frosting, just dusted with powdered sugar. Next time, I may try a glaze, especially if I'm going to serve them to other people.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is an amazingly wonderful bread! I love a good cinnamon raisin bread and I've been looking for a recipe for awhile and of course my friend at Joy in my Kitchen had one!
I adjusted it a bit for my own personal tastes and its delicious.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (for the bread maker)-modified from Joy in my Kitchen
Printer-Friendly Recipe

3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dry milk
2 Tbsp butter, cut up
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
10 1/2 oz water
1 1/2 tsp yeast

1. Place all ingredients in your bread maker as listed by your manufacturer; but add raisins right away. If you place the raisins in right away with all other ingredients, they'll get chopped up and dispersed all throughout the bread, which I like better.
2. Bake according to directions but don't use rapid cycle. My machine takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish. Believe me, it's worth the wait.
3. Allow to cool a bit before slicing.

Glaze (optional):
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Drizzle over top of cooling bread. And enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Hubby and I don't do anything big on Valentine's Day, we try and show our love everyday and not just 1 day a year. And we also don't like spending a bunch of money, but that is just us.

So we set a $5 budget to spend on one another this year. It was fun trying to think of ways to be really creative with only $5. But I was successful!

Hubby loves Coke. We don't keep them in the house and we don't budget for them in our groceries, it's just a huge expense that we don't feel is necessary. He does occasionally buy a Coke at work from the vending machine, usually on Friday's. He calls it "Coke Friday." It's a treat for him and that is totally fine, because it's not every week.

When I was thinking of what I wanted to get him, Cokes were the first thing to cross my mind. I wanted to buy him a 12 pack and make them in the shape of a heart on the counter, instead of just handing him a box of Cokes. It had been so long since I bought a 12 pack of cokes, I was hoping that with tax, they would be under $5. And thankfully, they were!
I got him a 12 pack, Caffeine free, Coke. And he loved it!

What do you do for your Valentine's Day?

Menu Plan Monday #22

February 15th-February 21st

Monday, 15th: Chicken and Biscuits

Tuesday, 16th: Cheesy Manicotti

Thursday 18th: Smothered Chicken

Friday, 19th: Calzones from my pizza dough and sauce

Saturday, 20th: Cheesy Chicken Skillet
Check out the how-to video for steps on how to make this dish

Sunday, 21st: on your own

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup-modified from Recipelink

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or 1/2 whole chicken, shredded)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I use Rotel here)
1 (28 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth (I use 32 oz)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
4 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese (I use a little more, we like cheese)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I use dried)
2 cups tortilla chips
1 bunch green onions, sliced (optional)

1. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is done, about 15 minutes. Drain chicken; cut into 1/2-inch cubes. OR go here to see how to cook a whole chicken and use shredded chicken.

2. In a medium stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until soft.

3. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes and their liquid, chicken broth and 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp water.

4. Stir together cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup water; stir into stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until broth is slightly thickened.

5. Stir in chiles, cheese, cilantro and cooked chicken. Stir until cheese melts, then let simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Ladle soup into bowls; serve chips on the side (or crumble on top of each bowl of soup). Garnish with chopped green onions (optional).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot & Chicken Broth

Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot-from The Happy Housewife

1. Unwrap chicken, remove bag of stuff, (chicken can be partially frozen, that is just fine).
2. Rinse the chicken.
3. Spray crock pot with non-stick spray.
4. Place chicken in crock pot, no liquid required.
5. Pour 2-3 Tbsp olive oil over top of chicken and sprinkle with choice of spices (I like salt and pepper with onion and garlic powders; and then depending on what I'm going to use the chicken for, I make it more taste specific for that dish).
6. Place lid on the crock pot, set on LOW, cook 5 hours.
7. Remove from pot, let cool, shred amount of chicken desired and serve; or add to a dish.
(I got my whole chicken for about $.79 a pound at Aldi; I'm sure you can find it for cheaper in the adds some weeks).

Note: I usually cook my whole chicken, shred it and put all the shredded chicken in a bag in the freezer. I pull out what I need for my BBQ Chicken Pizza or whatever recipe I need that calls for shredded chicken. It's a much cheaper option then using boneless/skinless chicken breasts all the time!

Homemade chicken broth:
1. Leave liquid in crock pot, shred chicken and place bones and skin back into crock pot.
2. Add 5 cups water and cook on LOW overnight.
3. Wake up to homemade chicken broth!
4. Drain well, removing all bones and skin.
5. Place in desired containers and place in refrigerator.
6. Take out of fridge and remove layer of fat.
7. Either use in a dish or place in freezer for later use, (freezes up to 6 months).
(I got about 32 oz of chicken broth but I accidentally turned the pot on "keep warm" instead of "low." Next time I'll put on LOW and I expect to get more broth.

Check back next time for Chicken Tortilla Soup, made using meat from the whole chicken and the homemade chicken broth!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread-from Joy in my Kitchen
Printer-Friendly Recipe

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cup applesauce (oil works fine here too, but applesauce makes it better for you; and you might not need as much oil)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup oats (I used Old Fashioned)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar (for sprinkling on top)

1. Cream butter and sugar together.
2. Add applesauce.
3. Add oats, flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and nutmeg.
4. Pour in greased bundt pant (or 2 loaf pans).
5. Sprinkle top with brown sugar.
6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, at 350 degrees F.
7. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, remove to wire rack and cool completely.
8. Place on serving plate a little warm and serve. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of powdered sugar to glam it up.


This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday #21

February 8-February 14

Monday, 8th:
Chicken Bowls

Tuesday, 9th:
Brushchetta Chicken

Wednesday, 10th:
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Rolls

Thursday, 11th:
Taco Soup-recipe to come (from someone at church)

Friday, 12th:
Breakfast (Cinnamon rolls, eggs and bacon)

Saturday, 13th:
Going away party for a friend

Sunday, 14th:
Mellow Mushroom (with friends, its new in our city! and so delicious!)

Kraft Foods was goofing up, so I couldn't link my recipes this week. I'll try again later. Sorry. Have a great week! It's a beautiful, winter wonderland here, again!