Sunday, July 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 1

Hope your week was good in the cooking department last week. Mine was! I tried a few new recipes, baked some cookies to share at church and just enjoyed being in my kitchen. I really forgot how much I enjoy spending my time there. I like cooking for my family and having some time in the kitchen to myself. That is rare these days with a toddler at my heels all day long. But it's worth it! :)
Looks to be another good week ahead in our kitchen! We picked up our Angel Food order yesterday and it has tons of meats and vegetables in it, a lot which you will see me using this month. I'm hoping the August menu will be just as good as July was through Angel Food. I felt like we got a lot of food for under $100. We'll see though. Here's what's coming up in our week in food! Get to cooking friends and enjoy!

August 1st-August 7th

Monday, August 1:
Pork chops with stuffing and fresh apples (maybe a little pureed apple for on top of the chops)

Tuesday, August 2:
Layered Enchilada Bake (a family favorite!)
I'll make it in two 8 inch pans and freeze the other after baking it so we have a quick meal for another night.

Wednesday, August 3:
Sandwiches and baked chips
I'll probably make the french bread and make smaller rolls for some fresh sandwiches. I tried it last weekend and it worked out pretty well, plus I just that love that bread!

Thursday, August 4:
I know, I know I must be crazy to make a homemade pasta but it's something I've been meaning to try for awhile and SnoWhite makes it sound so easy so I'm giving it a go!! The link is to her recipe and I'm going for it. :)

Friday, August 5:
Pepperoni Pizza
on homemade dough and a new homemade sauce I've been wanting to try from What Meghan's Making.
I haven't been too happy with my sauce lately and just need a change and store bought won't do. We tried some again and it just tastes funky to me. Besides I have fresh herbs in my garden that I need to utilize. :)

Saturday, August 6:
Dinner with our Sunday School class
the host family usually does a main course and guests usually bring sides and desserts so I'm not sure what I'll be bringing just yet

Sunday, August 7:
Hamburgers and potato fries

This post is linked to Organizing Junkies' Menu Plan Monday. See her page for more great ideas!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Money in the Drawer

I go to open one of my kitchen drawers yesterday and what do I see? Nyla's money from her play purse. I laughed when I saw it! Who wouldn't? Her new thing lately is putting her toys in drawers, bags, whatever is open and she can reach.
So for her money she stood on her tip toes and dropped this in, I guess anyways. I didn't see her do it, but I've been finding her toys in my drawers. She loves playing in my cabinets and I think it's funny. Our kitchen isn't baby proofed; I just took all the chemicals that were under the sink and moved them into our bathroom closet and the hall closet, up high so she couldn't get to them. I didn't feel like I needed to baby proof and there's nothing really I mind her playing with. She usually goes for the plastic storage container cabinet and proceeds to dump its belongings all over the floor. But that's how it goes with a toddler in the house.
Thought I'd share this picture with you. It just made me laugh. Oh the joys of motherhood!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Favorite Finds

I'm linking up with SnoWhite over at Joy in My Kitchen today for her usual "Friday Favorite Finds." I haven't been snooping too much this week on recipes but I do have a few I'd like to try. Link up with SnoWhite if you have a list of your favorite recipes from the week!

from: Kraft Foods

from: Heavenly Homemakers

from: Lynn's Kitchen Adventures



Enjoy trying new foods this week! I'm trying a new pizza sauce coming up and a couple new dishes next week!

This post is linked to At Home with Haley for Recipes I Can't Wait to Try!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Who doesn't love homemade? Especially if it's easy to throw together in one container. And it's something you use frequently. This is that recipe... homemade bbq sauce.
When we were visiting my Grandparents down in Georgia last Fall, so they could meet their first great-grandchild my Grandmother (a fabulous cook/baker!), she made some chicken and had this bbq sauce. It's one she's had in her foray of recipes for years and is used frequently. I took down the recipe and have made it ever since. I won't go back to a store bought bottle again!

BBQ Sauce-from Grandmama

Yields: 32 oz

3 cups (24 oz) ketchup
1/2 brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses*
1/4 cup mustard
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Red pepper flakes, to taste (I probably used a pinch)

Use a 32 oz ketchup bottle with 24 oz ketchup left. Add all ingredients. Shake well to combine. Refrigerate.

*I never had molasses in my kitchen until I talked to my Grandmother about it. She said she's always had it. And well, since she's such a good cook I decided why no?. And it is a nice staple to have on hand!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homemade Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

This an amazing ice cream recipe from Joy in my Kitchen. I am in love with her blog. Why? Because she makes their food from fresh ingredients just like I do in our house. And they're not too difficult. I've tried many of her foods and always love the new recipes she posts. I'm constantly printing off her recipes and putting in my recipe binder to try later. And they don't just sit in my binder I get around to trying them. I also love her dark chocolate ice cream recipe and her strawberry cheesecake ice cream recipe. And hubby loves just the plain ole vanilla ice cream. Yes, I have a thing for ice cream! :) Go to her blog, check out her recipe index. You won't be disappointed!

Without further ado the cookies and cream ice cream recipe!

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream-from Joy in my Kitchen

1 recipe vanilla ice cream, as follows:
3/4 cup sugar
16 oz half and half
8 oz whipping cream
2-4 tsp vanilla (depending on how vanilla you want it to taste)

1. Make sure your ice cream bowl is frozen, usually best overnight.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until sugar is somewhat dissolved.
3. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the machine instructions.
4. Let the ice cream make for 30+ minutes, depending on the consistency you like and however long it takes the ice cream to come together.
5. Serve immediately as a soft serve or put in a freezer safe bowl for about 2 hours for a hard scoop ice cream.

Cookies & cream variation:
12-14 chopped/crushed oreo cookies
Add these after about 15 minutes of your vanilla ice cream making, just when the ice cream is starting to come together. Continue making 10-15 minutes until ice cream comes together. Serve immediately as a soft serve or freeze about 2 hours for a hard scoop consistency.

Note: My ice cream did turn a gray color from the cookies, but it of course didn't change the delicious taste of it. This ice cream is so much better than the store-bought version! Enjoy!

The Verdict: My sister raved about this and said it was better than the store bought! It's been awhile since I've made this and have to say I'm not craving it. It is a tasty tasty ice cream treat. And right now with all these heat we could all use something good to cool us down.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Mmmm cookies! Who doesn't love them? I know we sure do. I try not to make too many desserts around here since I'm trying not to gain a ton of pregnancy weight and Daniel is trying to lose some more weight. But yesterday I had a craving for cookies and I may have found a replacement for my sugar cookie recipe (even though I love my sugar cookie recipe!).
These are very similar to the wonderful cookies you can buy at the grocery store. You know the ones? They have the icing tinted to match the season/holiday and they throw some sprinkles on them. The cookies are very soft and the icing is good. Well, these are very much like those. The icing isn't the same. Daniel says the icing could be sweeter but I think it's good the way it is. Besides, it's not going to be a perfect replica! We even tried the cookies without the frosting and they were really buttery and sweet. Throw a few sprinkles on those before they hit the oven and that's a nice treat. Of course, the icing is an added bonus.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Printer Friendly Recipe

Yield: about 2 dozen large cookies OR 4 dozen smaller cookies
(pictured are the smaller cookies)

For the cookies:
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 ½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup (5 ⅓ Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
7-8 Tbsp milk (plus more, if needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and blend. In a bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and mix together on medium until soft and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl if needed after the eggs. Mix in vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients until just combine.
For 2 dozen cookies: Scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on ungreased cookie sheet, spacing each about 2-3 inches apart.
For 4 dozen cookies: Use a Tbsp cookie dough scoop and scoop dough, flatten onto the cookie ungreased cookie sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart.

Bake cookies at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until just set. You don’t want to overbake these so they stay soft. The edges should be no more than very lightly browned, if browned at all. (I baked mine for 12 minutes and they were NOT brown on the edges, just the bottom. They were perfectly baked). Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting: Place powderd sugar in a medium bowl and add the melted butter, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth; add more milk if necessary, 1 tsp at a time, to reach desired consistecy (not too runny or icing will run off cookies). Tint with food coloring if desired. Use a spatula to frost cooled cookies; place sprinkles on top if wanted. Store in airtight container.

The Verdict: These were "Husband Approved!" He LOVES the cookies from the grocery store because of the thick icing. He told me to make the icing for these cookies a thicker consistency so I can spread more icing on top and I do agree with that. I felt like I had a lot of icing leftover, but it was because I thinned it too much and then wasn't able to pile it on the cookie like I wanted. So if you want a thicker consistency, don't use as much milk. If you want a thinner coating, use more milk.
These cookies are definitely a sweet treat. If you're looking to portion control only have a couple of these a day! :) But they're worth every calorie!

This post is linked to:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-July 25

July 25-July 31

Happy last week of July! Can y'all believe we only have 1 more week of this month?! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I've been thinking about it, but not sure what to do. It seems so early, but when you live on a budget you've got to think ahead like that!
This week ahead looks to be pretty good in food in our house. What's cooking in yours?

Monday-July 25

Tuesday-July 26

Wednesday-July 27
Leftovers, before church

Thursday-July 28
(made with phyllo dough and split into 9 inch pans, to save one for the freezer; I'm trying to do more freezer cooking to make it easier on me!)

Friday-July 29

Saturday-July 30
Late lunch/early dinner at some of Daniel's family's house for a swim party!

Pick up our Angel Food order from a local church in the morning
Interested? Go to their home site and find a local site near you. You can enter your zip code and find a local host site where you can pick up your order. We get a lot of food for the money. It just depends on the month as to whether or not we order; the menu does change monthly.

Sunday-July 31
Stouffer's Meal from Angel Food, before church

I'd love to hear what you're cooking this week. Leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Favorite Finds

I'm linking up this post to Joy in my Kitchen's Friday Favorite Finds where we share some good recipes we've been eyeing this week. There are some amazing cooks out there and I can't wait to try these recipes. Yummy!

Skinny Taste

Mexican Layer Casserole
Clay in His Hands

Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

At Home with Haley

Heavenly Homemakers

Cooking with Mrs Sea Monster

And of course the majority of the recipes I can't wait to try are desserts. Typical me! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First bounty from my first ever garden!

3 bell peppers and 9 jalapeno peppers

This is our first full summer in our house and I have had big plans for a garden ever since we put an offer in last year. I wanted to start one last year but would've had no time with a new baby at home. This was the year to try!

For this years trial run I bought 4 tomato plants, 2 green bell pepper plants and 4 jalapeno plants. I planted them in big pots this year wanting to make sure I liked it before I put more money into building homes for them or tearing up my yard to make a garden. And I do like it!
I love seeing them grow from such a small plant to towering plants producing vegetables. I kept telling my husband and I mom, "If I get just one vegetable from each plant this year, I'll be happy." So far, I've gotten more than that from my bell pepper and jalapeno. The tomatoes are taking longer to produce, but I've got a few small tomatoes on a couple of the plants. And the plants themselves look healthy, I feel like they're in a good place so far.

As of right now I'd say I'll be doing another garden next year and may even expand what I plant and grow. Any suggestions on what I should have in my garden next year? What do you garden?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baked Chimichangas

Originally posted in August 2010.
I made these last night and decided to post them again since they are so delicious! Don't be daunted by the number of ingredients, they are really simple to put together once the chicken is cooked.

It looks like there are a lot of ingredients, but its for the chimichangas themselves and the sauce that goes with it. In three short steps, you have a delicious dinner that serves 6!

Baked Chimichangas

2-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast OR use this chicken recipe and measure out the 2.5 cups as directed
1 cup salsa
1 small onion, chopped (I used dried, minced onion)
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed (or make your own, recipe found here)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese (I used mexican shredded cheese)

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or make your own
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules or 2 bouillon cubes
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-n-half (fat free is okay)
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1. In a nonstick skillet, simmer first 5 ingredients until heated through and most of liquid evaporates. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 2 Tbsp cheese. (Note: I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled the tortillas all at the same time, making sure they were all filled evenly, then with a spoon, spread the mixture all down the middle.)
2. Fold sides and ends over filling; roll up. Place seam side down in a 13-in x 9-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until browned.
3. In a saucepan, heat broth, bouillon and pepper until bouillon is dissolved. Combine flour and cream until smooth, stir into broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chiles; heat through. To serve, cut chimichangas in half; spoon sauce over top. (We measure out a 1/3 cup per serving, as the recipe states to do, instead of dumping all the sauce over all the chimichangas.)
(Note: I made the sauce right after I put chimichangas in the oven and it cooked, then sat covered until I pulled them out of the oven and it was fine.)

Yield: 6 servings


Monday, July 18, 2011

Nyla is 1 year old!

My birthday girl!

My sweet baby girl, also known as "Bird" in our house, turned 1 last Wednesday. Yes, I cried, not because I was unhappy, just thinking about all we've gone through in this past year. It's just hard to believe she's already 1 year old!

When I went to her room first thing in the morning on Wednesday I walked in and started singing "Happy Birthday" to her and immediately started crying. She looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn't care. Then my mom came over before work to see us and give Bird a card and I started crying again. I just love this girl so much, I can't help it!

Since Wednesday was her official birthday we went to the Pediatrician and we thought we were going for her 12 month well check-up but little did we know she ended up having another double ear infection and that's along with the 4 teeth she's getting at the same time! We ended up not doing her well check-up and will go back in 2 weeks for her real check-up, plus a recheck of her ears. My poor baby was sick on her birthday, no fun! Thankfully, she's a tough girl and showed no signs of being bothered by her ears, that's how I didn't know she had one this time around.

Now she's on a stronger medicine for her ear for the next 5 days or so. She's doing really well with it so I'm think we'll be starting the process of whole milk today or tomorrow. I hope she does well transitioning because we are ready to quit buying formula, at least until our next one comes. I'm leaving the bottle around for a bit and will take that away after we try whole milk for awhile. I'm so nervous about all this. We didn't do pacifiers, so we never had to wean from those so this is our first try at weaning from anything! Eek! I know she'll do great because she's pretty good at transitioning to new things.

I'll post pictures from her birthday party later. Not that I remembered to take all I wanted but I've got something from it. I'm so bad about getting caught up in the moment and not snapping pictures that I want. Oh well, I'll work on that! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-July 18

This just in...I'm trying to get back into blogging!

We thankfully don't have a busy week this week because I am flat wore out. My baby girl turned 1 this past Wednesday and we had her birthday party last night with tons of people. Not only that, but I also co-hosted a baby shower for a girlfriend yesterday afternoon. Let's just say this next week I'm not planning on doing too much around the house but play with my girl and spend time with my man. :)
And since I've finally gotten back into menu planning (I know my husband is happy) I can actually post my menu. I've been slacking in the planning department for the past couple of months and it's really shown in our grocery bill and lack of leftovers for lunches and quick bites when we need them. But I have planned the rest of July and all of August and I'm stoked about that! So here's my plan for dinners this week.

Monday, July 18:
Baked Chimichangas w/homemade whole wheat flour tortillas (I replace the flour with whole wheat flour)
This recipe is a favorite in our house. I just ventured into the tortilla making stuff too and found it to be easier than I ever thought. And they're cheaper to make. :)

Tuesday, July 19:
Leftover grilled pork loin with brown rice and veggies

Wednesday, July 20:
This bread is great with it, store bought works just as well.

Thursday, July 21:
New recipe!

Friday, July 22:
Homemade pizza using this pizza dough

Saturday, July 23:
Dinner with friends
I'll be bringing my recipes and help her get started on menu planning!

Sunday, July 24:
This is a great recipe b/c you don't have to cook the noodles.
Tip: Use cottage cheese in place of the ricotta if you can't find ricotta; you can't even tell the difference!

Have a great week cooking!

This post is linked at: