Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-January 31


I don't know about y'all but I'm wore slap out (as my Grandmama would say) from a busy weekend! :)

Friday, Nyla and I met up with my Mom at the mall to walk around and talk. Saturday, Daniel, Nyla and I took advantage of one of our Christmas gifts and went to The Memphis Zoo (1 year membership) and were there for a good bit of the morning. Saturday evening an old friend of my Mom's came in town, so we had dinner out there. Then Sunday, we went to church in the morning and had a fellowship meal at church Sunday night! Whew, I'm tired!

This weekend isn't much different. Saturday night we have plans with our Sunday School class to go to dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse. Daniel and I are taking advantage and using it is our monthly date night, so no sweet baby Nyla that night. And Sunday evening is our annual Souper Bowl party. Yes, you read that right, it says SOUPer Bowl. We bring a soup to share and then hang out and watch the game. It's always good times. I'm very excited about the soup I'll be making. I will make sure and take a picture and post the recipe. It is super delicious!

You'll also see leftovers galore on our menu this week. Our freezer has decided it's going out of commission... again (it did this a few months ago, we got it fixed, but it's not cooperating)! Thankfully, we have a deep freezer, but it's pretty well stocked, so all my uncooked meats, vegetables and Nyla's homemade baby foods were the only food items able to fit in there. Unfortunately, my convenience meals are stuck in the freezer that's dying. So, we'll be eating on them a lot this week.

Here's our menu:

January 31-February 6

Bbq chicken, rice and vegetables
Pork loin with potato fries and vegetables
Bbq chicken pizza (a family favorite)
Spaghetti Warehouse, Saturday night with S.S. class

Unfortunately, because of our dumb freezer, I won't be trying any new recipes, that makes me sad. But hopefully soon again. I'll still be posting a couple of recipes in the next couple of weeks, desserts and appetizers!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Living with Less

I love the blog Frugal and Simple. I love that R and her sweet family love living simply and not get bogged down in all the "stuff." Her blog is a constant reminder that you can live a happy life with little. Her blogs encourage me to purge more than usual and get rid of the clutter in my life and house. If you haven't checked out her blog, head on over there. You will be encouraged by her and her sweet family. They love the Lord, save for their future and aren't surrounded by clutter. It's refreshing, when in other cases, the whole world is telling us we need this, this and this to be happy. Well I don't think so and it's nice to have others who feel the same way.

Some of my goals for 2011 include de-cluttering and purging of unused items. I'm not one to keep a bunch of items around, I'm good about through my clothes every 3-6 months, books, etc. I don't like a bunch of knick-knacks sitting around, it's more for me to move around when I have to dust. I don't like picking up a bunch of stuff that we don't need in our lives. If I have to pick up all day long, then I don't vacuum, dust, etc, because I'm tired from all the picking up I just did. It's annoying! So as January is almost over and I feel like I haven't de-cluttered much, that's what I'm spending this week doing, de-cluttering.

We recently added a new addition, sweet Nyla, and she comes with a lot of stuff. But we've really tried to not have an overabundance of baby stuff, we don't feel its needed. We don't buy into all the "stuff" they say babies need now. So today I went through her closet and her stuff and now I have a pile that needs to go to Goodwill. A great start for her stuff!

Yesterday I went through my cookbooks and found about 8 that I've used once or never, they are stacked by the door to leave the house.

Tomorrow I'll go through all the books on our bookshelves. We love to read and our collection shows it! But, why do I need so many books when I have a local library where I can check books out for free?! And Daniel has an IPad, with the Kindle app, so we can buy books (or get some for free) for that and save them there, instead of piling more books on the bookshelves.

Next week, I have plans to clean out the 3rd bedroom closet. It's full of craft supplies, puppet ministry books, Daniel's paint supplies, personalized card packs I never sold, my Mary Kay products for my business and so much more. It needs a good cleaning for sure! It's on my to-do list because it has become a catch-all and it's awful. Every time I walk in there it makes me mad! That is the next big space to be de-cluttered and organized:)

And then, we have a storage closet off of our carport, oh my! It needs de-cluttering for sure. That will wait until the Spring when it's a bit warmer.

I want to live with less. I can't take it all with me, so why do I need it now? And a lot of it, I rarely look at. My rule with clothes, if I haven't worn it in 6 months, I probably won't wear it. I need to do that with all our stuff. If I haven't opened a drawer containing that item or used whatever it is I'm looking at in 6 months to a year, it's time to give it to someone who may appreciate it more than I do.

What do you want to de-clutter in 2011?
How are you making steps to get there?
What areas do you need help to de-clutter?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-January 24


We've been enjoying some good food in our house the last couple of weeks. I just love that menu planning keeps me on track to keep cooking. We know we'll have a nice hot meal each week and that is a HUGE blessing.

I'm making a new recipe this week, the beef enchilada soup. I can't wait to try it, I know it'll be delicious! I think we're in for some more cold weather, so this will be great to keep us warm.

I'm still planning 7 meals a week; 5 weeknight/weekend dinners and 2 weekend lunches.

Have a great week! Are you trying anything new this week?


January 24-January 30

Wheat-Blueberry Pancakes, eggs and bacon
Beef Enchilada Soup-from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures... I can't wait to try it!
Homemade chicken tenders, waffle fries (from Angel Food Ministries) and vegetables
Leftovers


This post is linked to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

California-Style Barbecue Chicken Pizza


We LOVE pizza in this house!

Let me rephrase... We are CRAZY about pizza in this house! We eat it for lunch or dinner at least once a week. It is pure deliciousness, in our opinion. Since we eat it so much, I'm always on the hunt for new pizza recipes. Well, I've found my new favorite one (at least for now)!

It's from Kraft foods. This is one of my favorite sites and it made me happy to see this wonderful pizza recipe. It's California-Style barbecue chicken pizza. And it's great. And easy. I'm all about easy these days!

I tweaked it suit it to our needs and will even do some different things the next time I make it, which will probably be this weekend. :)

The measurements for this recipe are personal preference. It depends on how much meat, cheese, veggies, etc you want on your pizza. Make it to your tastes. I'm not one to create recipes, but on pizza I know how much of what I like, so I feel comfortable eye-balling the ingredients.

California-Style Barbecue Chicken Pizza- modified from Kraft foods

Ingredients:

-cooked, shredded chicken (I always have in the freezer my shredded chicken I make from crock pot chicken, so I just use that). I probably used 1/2 cup-1 cup of chicken
-red bell pepper, green bell pepper and yellow bell pepper slices, sliced or minced; I use 1/4 each of the bell peppers
-1/2-1 red onion, sliced or minced
-try our homemade bbq sauce and use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup on the pizza, spread it just like marinara sauce
-1-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese or cheese or your choice
-pizza crust; homemade or store bought (I made my bread maker pizza dough, then my bread maker died, so I mixed it in my stand mixer and let it rise 1-2 hours, then cut it in thirds and used one of those thirds, this made a thinner crust; we're all about the thin crust in this house).

Directions:

1. Make pizza dough, if homemade, roll out to right consistency for you. Store bought works fine too!
2. Spread bbq sauce on top of sauce just as you would marinara and sprinkle with desired amount of chicken.
3. Place veggies, chicken and cheese on pizza.
4. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-15 minutes, as every oven is different. I started mine at 8 minutes, took it OFF the pizza pan placing the pizza right on the oven rack for another 5-6 minutes, until cheese was bubbly and crust was brown and crunchy.
5. Cool a bit, cut and enjoy! It's awesome!

Freezer friendly:
Before adding toppings place crust on a cookie sheet, top with ingredients and freeze for 1 hour or overnight. Wrap in plastic wrap. When ready to eat bake just as you would a frozen pizza. Leave frozen while oven preheats and bake as directed. Depending on your oven depends on how long it will bake. We do this all the time. I'll make a batch of dough and we'll make 3 pizza's for the freezer. These are easy to pull out when you need a quick meal!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gratituesday-Jan 18

gratituesday1010.jpg



This post is linked up over with Laura at Heavenly Homemakers. If you're grateful for something, head on over to her blog and link up!


Today I'm grateful for:


1. My sweet husband for going to work everyday so I can stay home and raise our daughter. I know not everyone can do this, and it's a huge blessing for us!


2. A healthy 6 month old baby girl. We went to the Doctor last Friday and she's on the right track for everything, and above all for others. She is the length of an 11-month old and the weight of a 9-month old. We have a big, strong and healthy girl!


3. I'm really thankful for a pantry and refrigerator stocked full of food. I went grocery shopping yesterday and got everything on my list, plus a few more things and I know not everyone is able to do that.

I've been thinking a lot about hunger in our world today. It's in our world, our country, our state, our county and our city. While I don't see it very much, I know it's there. I've never experienced being hungry or going without a meal, I can't imagine what it's like. So the past couple of weeks I've been extra thankful for having all the food I could possibly need!


What are you thankful for?

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


Bread rising tip

It's cold outside, basically in every state. It's been cold here in Tennessee, that's for sure. We usually have mild winters with a few days here and there or some pretty cold weather, you know 20's. That's cold for us down here in the South. :)

We keep the thermostat pretty low in the winter too, saving those dollars and energy. We keep it set at 68 degrees about 90% of the time. We'll turn it up first thing in the morning and at night when we're getting ready for bed, just to warm it up a bit.

My problem with the 68 degree temperature set, my bread doesn't rise well. I love baking bread too, especially in the winter. A nice, crusty french bread to accompany some soup... count me in!

So here's a tip on getting your bread to rise, even in the colder months.

Put in in the greased bowl as usual and cover with a towel. Place it in the oven. Turn the oven on to KEEP WARM and set the timer for 2 minutes. You don't have a "keep warm" setting? Then set your oven to 170 degrees F for 2 minutes. Don't forget that timer. Once the timer goes off, turn the oven off and leave the bread in, don't open that door and let that warm air out! No peeking!!! Let your bread rise as directed on your recipe. As soon as it's done, open your oven. Did it rise? Great! This has worked for me every time I do it. I even do it in the summer, so I know it will always rise!

Enjoy your bread!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-January 17


Not an overly busy week this week, which is good. I've got a couple of play date's scheduled over the next couple of weeks, which I'm very excited about. I have got to see more people and get out of this house a little more than I've been doing! So the play dates will be great for Nyla, but great for Momma too!

And I'm planning 7 meals a week, 5 dinners a week and lunches for Saturday and Sunday.

January 17-January 23

Taco's and Rice (homemade taco seasoning mix-It's so good and a BIG money saver, those little packets add up!)
Leftovers

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Goals

I have so many goals for this year, thankfully I wrote them all down in my handy-dandy notebook and hopefully I'll be able to check them off at the end of the year. If not, I WON'T beat myself up about it and feel guilty. Too many times I've done that in the past. I will not do it this year. I will take it one day at a time, one goal at a time. If it doesn't get done, fine because life does happen and I can't do everything!

Here are my goals:

Family and Budget:
-plan 7 meals a week, 5 nights for dinner and lunches for the weekend
-eat at the table 5 nights a week as a family, with no electronics
-date night with Hubby once a month, no baby
-proper wills and insurance
-tithe $ to our sweet church
-stick to grocery budget and menu planning monthly
-plan a schedule for housework, 1-2 things a day

Personal:
-keep up with both blogs, update twice a week each
-weight loss goals (see below)
-drink 64 oz of water daily
-re-goal monthly where necessary (mostly weight loss)

Spiritual:
-follow the "Slackers" one year Bible readings as best as possible, not beating myself up if it doesn't get done
-attend Connection Class (that's Sunday School in our church) and church regularly
-talk to Hubby about what we've been reading and studying in our Bible studies
-pray with Hubby (this one is hard for me b/c prayer is SO personal for me)
-memorize 1 scripture weekly

Puppet Ministry:
-recruit 2 new people for the Spring show
-have 2 big performances for the entire church this year

Weight Loss:
-weigh-in last Saturday morning of every month
-set goals for the next month after monthly weigh-in
-workout 5 days a week
-2 days of cardio (Wii Fit, walk, run, video)
-2 days of weight training (Core Secrets, Wii Fit)
-1 day of Yoga or Pilates (I've got to work on my flexibility)
-rest 2 days a week, doesn't matter what days

I have written out in my notebook the last Saturday of every month that I'm supposed to weigh-in and I have a space to re-goal for the next month. I lost 20 pounds before I got pregnant and I want to get back on track with that, I have a lot more to lose.

I weighed in last Saturday and I have the number I want to be at by the end of the month. I will do this every month so that number is with me each day, giving me determination to get there!

I'm not setting unreasonable goals, but realistic ones. I know when I work out hard and eat the right foods, good things will happen. It's just a matter of putting my mind to it, praying for strength and being proactive and just getting it done.

Those are my goals for 2011. I know, they're pretty ambitious! Some I've done in the past, some I did last year and want to continue and some are new. Writing the goals down keeps them real. They're always there for me to flip back and look at. I can re-goal at any time and I won't beat myself up if things don't get done. Life does happen and we do have a little one and things just don't happen as we plan, God has other plans sometimes.

What are your goals for 2011? It's never to late to get some and write them down!

Check out my recipes!

I've have indexed all my recipes to make it easier for you to find them.

Look up on the left of your screen. Do you see "Recipe Index?" Great! Go there to see all the recipes.

I promise to start posting more recipes, because I actually do cook 5 times a week, sometimes more, so it's not like I'm short on recipes!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Having a Baby Makes Blogging Hard...

I've come to the realization that being a full time wife and mother makes my blogging, well, not really happen a lot of weeks. Sorry about that. I'm trying to keep my sanity most days and blogging just doesn't come as easy these days.

I've made a goal for 2011 to blog twice a week. I feel like that's all I can do right now. Between taking care of the baby girl, keeping up with the piles and piles of laundry and all the other housework, cooking dinner, visiting family, spending time with Hubby, keeping up with my Bible studies, trying to read other books and picking up all the stuff that having a family brings, blogging is last. I do hate that. I love to write. I love to post recipes. I love to have this blogging outlet.

Lately, I've struggled with keeping up with everything. Lately I've struggled with who I am now. Wife? Mother? Housekeeper? Cook? Friend? Daughter? Sister? Yes to all and so much more. I wear so many hats these days. I am tired a lot. I love my life. But I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I have no time for myself. When I get a free moment I'm picking up stuff and cooking.

But I'll figure it all out. I have a wonderful support system. I have a loving husband and a wonderful family who is more than willing to help out when they can. And they do, very often.

Blogging will come back to me. It just takes time. I cook 5 times a week so it's not like I don't have recipes to post. But I cook and I want to eat, not take pictures and worry about posting stuff. But I'll be back. I know I've been saying that lately. But blogging is an outlet for me and I need an outlet. A place for me to talk and express myself. I've made some friends through blogging and it's time to keep up with it all.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recipe Index


While I'd love to share all these recipes through this blog it seems impossible for me to get to them all so this recipe index includes the few recipes I have on my blog, recipes from my favorite blogs and links directly to Google Docs for recipes I have uploaded there. I've made these yummy foods over and over again in our house and they are favorites. I hope you find some good food and inspiration to keep on cooking!
(If you find a link doesn't work properly let me know so I can fix it. Thanks.)


Breakfast/Brunch:


Apple Muffins (great freezer breakfast)
Lemon Blueberry Scones (great freezer breakfast)
Monkey Bread (a family favorite!)
Muffins (blueberry, banana-nut, peach-nut)
Wheat-Blueberry Pancakes (a family favorite and great freezer breakfast)

Breads:

Bagels (freeze great)
English Muffins (freeze great)
Focaccia Bread (no knead)
French Bread (a family favorite)
Full-Proof Pizza Dough (freeze easily, portion out first)
Homemade Tortillas (great freezer meals)
Strawberry Bread (uses fresh strawberries)
Strawberry Bread 2 (uses frozen strawberries)

Appetizers:
Apricot-Bacon Cheese Ball (Ginny's favorite)
Bruschetta (I toast the bread a little first b/c I like it good and crunchy)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (great with butterscotch chips too)
Deb's Dip (oh so good and a get-together favorite!)
Easy Apple Spread (a get-together favorite!)
Marinated Cheese (nice for a brunch, baby or wedding shower)



Sauces and Seasonings:
Alfredo Sauce (similar to Olive Garden)
Garlic Seasoning (great on breads, with pasta's, etc)


Side Dishes:

Asparagus (in the oven)
Spaghetti Salad (great with all your favorite summer veggies)
Sweet Potato Casserole (Ginny's favorite)


Dinners:

BBQ Chicken Packets (easily makes as many as you want)
BBQ Chicken Pizza (family favorite)
Cheesy Chicken and Salsa Skillet (great without pasta and on tortillas)
Chicken and Pepper Pasta Bake (replace chicken for sweet italian sausage)
Grilled Chicken Roller (oven, 375 degrees F for 20 minutes)
Parmesan Chicken Tenders (family favorite)
Pizza Bread
Poppyseed Chicken (5 ingredients and freezes great)
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (family favorite)
Saucy Pepper Steak (I sub chicken occasionally)


Crock pot Dinners:

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti (a family favorite)


Soups:



Desserts:

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread (great for breakfast too)
Apple Dumplings (a crowd favorite)
Bunny Cake (great for Easter; I use chocolate icing and no coconut)
Chocolate Chip Brownies (family favorite)
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (best ever cheesecake!!)
Chocolate Chip Pie (so easy!)
Chocolate Icing (family favorite and great with any cake)
Chocolate Snowflake Cookies (great holiday cookie)
Crock pot Cheesecake (Ginny's favorite!)
Magic Peanut Butter Middle Cookies (childhood favorite of Daniel's)
Mini Pecan Pies (great holiday cookie)
Multi-Colored Cupcakes (great for kids!)
Peanut Butter Blossoms (great holiday cookie)
Peanut Butter Crunchies (Daniel's childhood favorite, from his Grandma)
Scotcheroo's (a family favorite, easy to put together)
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies (great without the icing and just sprinkles)
Sugar Cookies (a family favorite)
Thumbprint Fudge Cookies (great holiday cookie)



Cool Treats:

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (Ginny's all-time favorite)
Frozen Cherry Salad (great to pull out as a side dish, sweet for a wedding/baby shower)
Ice Cream Pie (childhood favorite of Ginny's)


Drinks:
Hot Chocolate Mix (great holiday gift)
Vicki's Wedding Punch (used at our wedding!)