Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Morning Fruit Cup

Hoping to add a bit more nutrition and substance to our traditional cinnamon roll breakfast, we came up with this. Once again, a combination of several recipes to fit what we like and what is on hand. (doesn't everyone cook this way???) This recipe was great as the kids could basically do it all and it was done ahead of time, all we had to do was take it out of the freezer so it could thaw a bit before eating.

Christmas Morning Fruit Cup

2 cans crushed pineapple- in it's own juice (not drained)
1 pkg sliced sweetened strawberries
3 bananas, diced
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, quartered
1 can diced peaches in their own juice, or light syrup

mix all together, fill plastic cups. freeze. remove from freezer about 20 minutes before eating. we made 3/4 cup servings.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Panko Chicken Strips

As I generally don't cook from recipes, just get my ideas from them....I figured I'd better record this one as the chicken was devoured and Paperman commented several times on the yummy lunch and best chicken he's eaten. When we made these today dd3 was taking care of the chicken to the flour, I was in charge of moving the chicken from the flour to the egg and DD2 seasoned and dipped the chicken in the panko crumbs. Ds was just busy climbing from chair to chair and dipping his hands in the flour. It is a great way to get kids involved, plus I do agree, they tend to eat better if they help make it.
We used honey mustard, bbq sauce and ketchup for dipping.

Panko Crusted Chicken Strips

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut in strips/tenders
2 eggs, beaten
1 t franks red hot sauce


1/2 pkg panko bread crumbs (can be found in the Asian section)
2 t olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika
(mix bread crumbs, oil and seasonings)

prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil, spray with cooking spray, place a cooling rack on the foil and spray that also.

add the hot sauce to the eggs (it really doesn't make it spicy). dip chicken pieces in the egg, then flour then seasoned bread crumbs. place chicken on cooling rack/pan. repeat. spray chicken with cooking spray. bake 375 degrees until golden brown and cooked through. cooking time will vary based on size of chicken pieces.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Play dough

Today was day two of "too sick to go to school too well to nap or hang out on the couch" with dd2. I enjoyed her company and her sweet spirit even when she's not feeling quite up to par. Only once did I hear, "I'm bored" as I was trying to remember fun things to fill her days between a tv show, some webkin games, coloring, catching up on homework, reading books together and her reading to ds, puzzles..... Home made play dough! She got to pick colors, do the measuring and the beginning stirring. Once her arm was tired, it was time for my bicep workout. We used the recipe below and made 2 batches. One pink, one green. They made great ladybugs, flowers and pizza.

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c salt
1 1/2 c water
4 t oil
1 T cream of tarter (I try to keep a couple of containers on hand, just for this project)

Mix dry ingredients. Stir in wet. Heat on medium, stirring constantly until it forms a big ball of dough. Turn out on the counter or cookie sheet, let cool slightly then knead until smooth. Turn contents over to patiently waiting artists and watch the flowers bloom.

Scarf along with me??

My new adventure. Learning to sew and create. I have some limited sewing experience under the watchful eye of my Mother, 4-H leaders, home ec teacher, Grandmother and Mother In Law. My creations that I remember were a quilted table runner, tshirt and Indian Halloween costume for dd1. I have been reading for several months and she inspires me, but never to the extent of doing anything about it (my fault, not hers!). I was happy to admire pictures of her masterpieces and creativity. Now, she is sharing with her readers. I can't wait to join in. I'll post pictures of the final project. The timing is wonderful as I have nearly completed the transition from the guest bedroom to the family closet/craft/sewing/storage room. Pictures to follow on that also. Wish me luck, perseverance and a steady hand with the seam ripper.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Butterscotch Cake

Being dubbed "the best dessert you've ever made" by Paperman, I decided I must get my paper copy of this recipe recorded in another area too. This is the second time around, and for some reason, it made quite an impression this time. If Paperman enjoyed it this much, next time it just won't taste the same. The apples were from his Mom's tree and the applesauce was homemade from those apples too. Maybe I can duplicate it next fall if there is a good apple crop!

Apple Butterscotch Cake

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 ground flaxseed
1 t baking powder
1 t pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3 large eggs, beaten (I used egg beaters)
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c canola oil
2 large apples, grated
1/3 c butterscotch chips (and a few extra to sprinkle on top-optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together the two kinds of flour, sugar, flaxseed, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together eggs, applesauce, and oil in a separate bowl. Stir in apples.

Pour liquid ingredients over the dry. Stir until moistened. Stir in chips.

Pour into pan. Smooth top.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yummy Muffins

After much trial and error to find a healthy muffin recipe I felt good about and Paperman and the kids enjoyed....I think we found it. Thought I'd share....posting original recipe with my changes.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (used all whole wheat)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (substituted 1/4 c flax seed)
1 banana, mashed (substituted 1/4 c vanilla yogurt)
1 cup buttermilk (1 c milk minus 1 T plus 1 T white vinegar)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar in the Raw for sprinkling on the tops before baking (optional-though it does add to the yum factor!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.

What time is it? Part 2

Seriously? Really? Are you SURE? I am, like most every other parent, in awe of how quickly 2 months can fly by. Especially months filled with no alarm clocks, no strict bedtimes, ball games, swimming, bike riding, picnics, parades, county fairs, slip and slides, lemonade and dentist appointments. We did our reading programs, shrinky dinks and are on book 2 of the Little House books. The two oldest have learned some new cooking skills and dd3 has a bike with no training wheels. Ds is learning that sleep isn't a "given" and you can pee on the floor if you take your diaper off without anyone noticing. Now, two full weeks left...crunch time. Time to find a sleep schedule for 4 kids with an age gap of 8 years. Time to fulfill the promise of sleepovers to christen the new rooms all 3 girls got this summer. We haven't been fishing, ice skating, had a camp out or kept the garden weed free. Two weeks? Let's see what we can do!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What time is it?

SUMMERTIME! I couldn't resist answering DD1's question that way this afternoon. (I do apologize to any High School Musical knowing people who will have that song stuck in their head the rest of the day....) I always have big plans, ideas for activities, learning experiences, fun outings.... We purposely have not scheduled anything in the summer besides swim lessons and softball games, all finished by the fourth of July. Downtime and fun time, that's the goal for the summer. The routine book will be out every morning, just to keep things in shape and make sure we can make it out of the house before 11 am. An early summer tradition has been to have each child make a summer list. A list all their own filled with activities they want to do during the summer. The list is not a guarantee of anything, only a guide and a way to look back in Mid August and see, yes, we DID do things things this summer. So far there is swim, camp out with friends, bike rides, State Fair, ice skating, fishing, and birthday parties (we have a lot of Summer birthdays in our family). Looks good to me....a few things I have on my list include reading programs, regular family time in the garden to keep the weeds under control, shrinky dinks, reading to the girls from a book picked out together (maybe the little house books), teaching each older child 2-3 recipes they can master and make without (much) help and allowing some guest blogging if they are so inclined. The first 1/2 day is over, a summertime to go.

Friday, May 15, 2009


If you ever thought you couldn't,
Read this post....
They did. You can. :) Congratulations Heidi and Family. You rock.

a little funny

Q. What did the zero say to the eight?

A. Nice belt

(Thanks Aimee!!)

Out of the mouths of (my) babes....

"When I do this, there won't be a white carpet for me....I'm gonna have a RED one." (DD1 to me while attending a family wedding last week)

"Can I smell your bunny?" (DD2 to DD3 on Easter morning, referring to her white chocolate bunny)

"wuv oooo" (DS's new phrase, and my most favorite to date!)

"Why does SHE get all the bubbles?" (DD3 to me while I blew bubbles for her and Zoey)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cookbook giveaway
Check out fab food friday, make a comment on your worst meal and have a chance to win a cookbook. While you're there, check out Have Kid Will Travel and Iowa Geek. Jody is an entertaining and educational Iowa Gal and a fellow Dave Ramsey fan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm still here, I think.....

I have some excuses/reasons for not writing the last month or so, but none of them are going away any time soon. Softball season is in full swing for both of the oldest girls, meaning, practice or games most days a week! The younger kiddos couldn't be happier with 2 hours a day at the park. We are doing several home improvement/organization projects along with attempting the normal upkeep of 20 acres. Morel mushroom season is just around the corner and I am trying to prepare myself to being a mushroom widow for a couple of weeks. I can handle it as Paperman looks forward to this time of year and rarely comes home empty handed. We get to share with our friends and family PLUS eat from our freezer stash all winter long. Piano and dance recital preparations are underway and will happen in the next 3 weeks. I've started a revised plan of working out in the morning (Monday-Friday) which has been forcing me to go to bed earlier, except tonight, I couldn't sleep (this never happens!). Probably from thinking about all of the above. DS continues his daily whirlwind of activity and nearly draining me of energy. Meal planning has been slipping, but I would really love to get some more meals in the freezer to free up my afternoons for quality time with dd3. The next few months will be an experiment in being in two places at once, leaning on my friends and family and taking deep breaths. There it is in one rambling nutshell.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hola Amigos!!

An email starts the ball rolling. We find a date, we pick a place and we wait for the day to come. This is how my "book club" gets together 2-4 times a year. Our readings are very intellectually challenging, or not. We used to read books. We used to work together 8-5, Monday through Friday. Neither of those things happen anymore, but what remains is our friendship. Our get togethers usually follow the same agenda. Food. Drink. Current events and big announcements. Hopes. Dreams. Problems shared, and solved. Celebrations and support. Hugs and promises to not wait so long next time. We've been through weddings, divorces, births, adoptions, graduations, job changes and death. Thank you my dear friends. Our visits are never long or often enough and they make my heart happy. Thursday we had the opportunity to send our dear Suz off to becoming a Mrs. Blessings to the happy couple and here's the recipe from our toast.

Beer Margaritas
1 can frozen limeade
1/2 (limeade can) tequila
1/2 (limeade can) triple sec
1 can beer
Mix first 3 ingredients well. Add beer. Fill remainder of pitcher with sprite. Serve over ice.
(the only rule is when you make this, think of me. When I make it, I always think of my friend Shell, because she gave me the recipe not because she drinks these constantly...).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken Fried

Yep, I love that song (Zac Brown Band). It can get the whole family dancing along. I also like my chicken fried. Oven fried that's what I did with the final 10 lbs of $.39 chicken.

Oven Fried Chicken

10 lbs chicken hind quarters (I removed the skin much to Paperman's dismay)

2 cups dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
cookies all purpose seasoning

1 egg
2 cups milk

3T butter, melted

dip chicken pieces in milk and egg mixture
roll in bread crumbs, place on greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with butter. Bake 375 degrees until done. This gives us enough for supper tomorrow, with leftovers and a meal to freeze, with leftovers.

Swimming naked

It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.Warren Buffet

And the tide is on it's way out. I have posted about this blog previously, but has some great reading. I won't copy anymore of her writing, but this quote and a movie literally sucked me in tonight "The Pursuit of Happyness" (this is really the way they spelled happiness...) really put things in perspective. Today was one of "those" days. The baskets of (clean) laundry, my sore neck, my captive cell phone, my tight jeans, the baby who didn't want to go to sleep and the messy entryway were all wearing on me, and my patience. I was a grump, then as Paperman was going to sleep and flipping through the channels one last time, I noticed the movie. Just reading the description and the 30 seconds he kept it on that channel made me know, I was staying up until midnight. All of the sudden, none of MY problems were so bad. I also owe MY babies an apology for being impatient at bedtime. In the movie he slept holding his son on the floor of a subway station bathroom, but still didn't lose HIS patience. Goodness, Heather. Every once in a while I need that eye opener. I got mine.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Where did February Go??

I'm sure I'm not the only asking that question! I do notice I didn't chronicle anything here to figure out what how we spent those 28 days. Let's see...I know we finally got to spend time out side and dreaming of spring. We removed ds from the dining room table at least 97 times and from the computer closet another 126 times (he's figured out if you push certain buttons, things happen). We made homemade marshmallows and chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentines Day. The girls started a session of swimming lessons. We've been trying to figure out how the Stimulus Package will actually affect us. We've had one couple in our neighborhood BOTH get laid off within two days of each other. We've went from having a strong confidence in Papermans job security to having some strong questions. One case of strep throat. Four pitching lessons. Three doctor visits. Eight trips to dance class. And a partridge in a pear tree, or something like that.

Beans and Rice Baby

I'm a bit tardy (ok, 6 days and counting, to be exact) on making our meal plan for March. It is on my list, but manages to get pushed down on a daily basis. Today I did some big batch cooking as Fareway had some great prices. Boneless pork loin ($1.69/lb), chicken hind quarters ($.39/lb) and dried pinto beans (4 lbs $2.50). I bought 20 lbs of pork loin, roasted 10 lbs and shredded for sandwiches. The rest is cut in chops to grill. Chicken 20 lbs also. I stewed 10 lbs to make broth and cooked chicken for soup, noodles, chicken salad, tacos, and whatever else makes the menu. The beans, I bought two bags, but only prepared 1, thank goodness, as the cooked yield was close to 20 cups. They are simple, cheap, healthy and for those who follow Dave Ramsey...I have rice on hand. "Beans and Rice, Beans and Rice Baby". (that is a Paperman quote) I plan to use them for refried beans and also see if anyone besides me will eat them without a tortilla chip!

CAM Pasta

That would stand for Creamy Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta... This dish came about after I invited my sister and nephew for supper, with nothing planned. Not a real smart move on my part, but not a problem as they take me as I am. For that I am truly thankful, plus the pasta turned out yummy (we were all thankful for that). Note: all measurements are flexible as I just made this one up so I'm guessing too!!

2 c fresh asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced

olive oil

diced bacon (optional)

Saute veggies and bacon if using. Add:

2 c grape tomatoes cut in half

2 cloves garlic

salt , pepper and hot pepper flakes to taste

when the tomatoes begin to wilt add:

3/4 c half and half (I used fat free and it was good)

1/2 c Parmesan cheese

heat and mix gently with cooked pasta of choice. Tonight it was bow ties....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is My Mom's birthday. My Dad sent me this photo from the time they had with ds last week. The same gentle hands that held and comforted me are now doing the same for my babies. I am so blessed and thankful to have my Mom near me and my family. Happy Birthday Mom, here's to a wonderful 2009 and many more. I love you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The big O

I was just trying to get your attention. O for Organization. I think it's one of the keys to my happiness. Maybe not happiness, maybe inner peace (there is a difference right??). This week I implemented an idea I had brewing in my ever churning mind. My problem-"the pile". "The pile" sits on the corner of my kitchen counter, in plain view of anyone entering my house from ANY direction, entering the kitchen from any direction and even anyone who happens to pull up in my driveway. "The pile" drives me crazy, and back. "The pile" contents are ever changing but some of the most popular items include (please don't judge me on this!) shopping lists, coupons, ponytail holders, stickers, stray game pieces, magazines, jewelry, pens, anything the girls dug up, drug home or found and spare change. My plan- I had 3 matching baskets I placed on another counter and one 9x13 size to place in the original spot. The three baskets are one for each daughter. ANYTHING that is theirs goes in there. It is then their responsibility to find a home (ie:their room or the trash) for it. If their basket is too full, it gets thrown away (within reason, I'm not that Mom!). The 9x13 basket is mine, when it is full I have the same rules. File, put away or recycle what shows up. This system has been in effect for a week and seems to be working. What to tackle next??

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Orleans, Jambalaya and Memories....

In honor of fat Tuesday (February 24) here's a recipe. This recipe was created by combining many different recipes and my recollection of cooking school in the french quarter (1984 at age 11). My memories of New Orleans from my second trip, ten years later, are much different than the first, but still involve the beloved Bourbon Street. I consider this recipe a success as my Mississippi livin, spicy food lovin Father in Law eats it by the bowlful!

** this may look a bit involved, but it makes a lot and it can be customized to satisfy most everyone. a heavy bottomed pot works best (I use enameled cast iron). I make 2 batches, one for the timid and one for the daring. If freezing do not add the rice until ready to eat. Be sure to not overcook the rice, unless you like it mushy)

1 1/2 lbs raw boneless chicken, chopped
season with creole seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 lb smoked sausage (use hot or mild depending on preference), chopped
brown meats together in 3 T oil and set aside

In same pot- saute until tender-
(all chopped)
4 c onion
2 c green pepper
2 c celery
2 cloves garlic

Drain excess oil and add
2 16-18 oz cans crushed or diced tomatoes with juice
5 c chicken stock
2 t old bay seasoning
1 t oregano
1 T paprika
1 t thyme crushed
add to taste-creole/Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce) Simmer 15 minutes.
Return meat to pot. The mixture should be spicy and salty at this point to flavor the rice as it cooks. Bring to a boil and add 4 c long grain rice. Cook uncovered, turning the rice, not stirring, from the bottom. Can add shrimp during the last 5 minutes of cooking. May need additional liquid. Cook until rice is almost done but still al dente.

February Meal Plan

This is a continuing work in progress, but I'll give it my best shot. If you see something you like and want a recipe, I'll be glad to share, but only if you share back! I tend to get stuck in a rut and love to hear of tried and true family approved recipes. Listed are meals that I have groceries on hand to make, with the exceptions of a few perishables. I do not decide WHEN we will eat each meal, only that it's available.

Boiled dinner (roast, potatoes, cabbage, onions and carrots)
Grilled t-bones (I am hoping for warm weather!)
Turkey ( roast a 12 lb turkey then have at least 3 meals- roast turkey, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey-rice soup)
Veal scallopini (please don't hate me for eating baby cows....but it was only $1.99 lb regularly $12!!)
Beef veggie stew
Jambalaya (I plan to post this recipe soon)
Deer brats and morel mushrooms
Homemade pizza (4) (cheese, mushroom and bbq chicken pizza)
BBQ pork sandwiches oven french fries
Hamburgers oven fries (2)
Talipia with mushrooms
Roast chicken
Lasagna (in freezer ready to cook)
Veggie Lasagna (in freezer ready to cook)
Homemade mac and cheese (in freezer...)
Chicken, rice and broccoli casserole
Shrimp scampi
Grilled sirloin, sauteed onions/mushrooms and brown rice pilaf
Tuna and Noodles

Most meals I cook with plans for leftovers, usually taken in Paperman's lunch. As far as sides for meals, I'm not very creative, usually veggies (fresh, canned or frozen) fruit salad and/or a green salad. A new favorite is spinach or romaine with dried cranberries, slivered almond and a sweet and sour dressing.

21 hours....

It sounds like a long time if your thinking of staying awake, riding a bike without stopping or being sick. It sounds like a very short time if your thinking vacation. That was the length of our midwinter getaway last week. It had been over 2 years since we'd been away for over 12 hours. It was enough time for us to remember what WE are all about when we aren't being double teamed at home. Time enough to eat 2 straight meals with conversation. Time enough to sleep until WE were ready to wake up. Time enough to shower without thinking about the septic system, the bathtub needing cleaned or having to wash the towels. Time enough to thoroughly relax and enjoy being together. Time enough to miss our kids and appreciate all they bring to our lives. Time enough to be totally grateful and indebted to all 3 families that had a part in caring for the kids and the dog. Little do they know, it was only a test....everything went so well we might just have to do this again!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Out of the mouth of DD3

Tuesday we were heading to town, at the intersection of our road and the next paved road DD3 looked to the right and saw 2 horses and riders. (Background, DD3 was a cowgirl for Halloween, used to ask for horses, but after being told "no" too many times now says she will be a real cowgirl when she grows up and have her own horses. She really really likes them.)
She said "Look Mom, horsees!" I said " Cool, looks like they're having fun doesn't it?" She said, "Roll down your window!" I said, "Why, Can't you see them?" She said, "I can see them, but I want to hear the clippity-clop, clippity-clop!" I cried, as it hit me as one of those super sweet- only -a -mom -can -understand things your kids say. DD1 looked at me with "that" look only a 9 going on 14 year old can do and asked why I was crying. Just a reminder, this blog is as much for me (to remember) as it is for those who read it (to share). This may be one of those remembering posts, but I can show it to DD3 when she buys her first horse.

Monday, January 19, 2009

7 things I Love

I don't know why I picked 7....but just go with me on this one. There are the very obvious things, I tried to dig deeper.

Music....loud, when I can sing and pretend, hope and pray no one is listening! Like in the car, by myself. Does anyone else have the false sense of security that others can't see you behind the windows of your car. I am amazed at the power music has, to take you to a place you haven't been in many years, to bring a smile to your face or make you cry, to make you walk faster or want to go to sleep. I know this is not a new revelation, hence the mp3 revolution, but give me a break here, I'm trying to be philosophical.

Our neighbors....ever have one of "those" people in your life, we all have them. The song "find out who your friends are" was written about them...well we're lucky enough to have them a big strong stones throw away from us...about 1 minute from a phone call in the middle of the night, away from us. I can only try to list the phone calls I've baby's not breathing right....I need eggs for the cookies.....I hear voices in my back yard....the garage is flooding....we're out of toilet paper for the birthday party...someone's arm hurts, they have a rock in their ear, they won't walk on their leg (fyi, they are paramedic, fireman, and rn wrapped up in one awesome package), the snowblower is broke and we just got 8 inches of snow (we didn't even have to ask on this one).... I try to have extra eggs on hand to repay all those favors, but goodness, I'm going to need to buy chickens. It's not only the things they do for us, but just their family in general that is a bright spot in our day. Thanks guys, never ever leave us, ok??????????

Soft sheets...I remember buying sheets for the first time and thinking, "like it really matters...sheets are sheets" now when I lay my weary old body on my 600 thread count softies, I realize...yep, it really matters.

Stetson... that's what Paperman wears, always has. nuff said.

My Sleeping Babies.... It's not what you're thinking...yep, they sleep, she's off the hook for a good 10 hours. It's the innocence, the renewing of their bodies and souls for another day of growing, learning and loving, it's all that it takes to make everything right with the world (mine anyway) to look at them so peaceful.

Sunsets and rainbows... One of my oldest and bestest friends and I used to have a saying whenever we saw a beautiful sunset.... "Wanna go?" That was over 20 years ago but I could still call her up, look out the window and utter those 2 words. She would respond "Sure!". I have passed this on to my kids too. Often we'll be driving and someone will say "LOOK!" with responses of "cool..." "wow" and in my head I hear "Wanna go??" We have also been known to jump in the van and chase the rainbow to get a better view.

The ice cream truck... yes, the prices and the music are both outrageous but they can't overshadow the pure excitement that rushes through this house with the faintest tune. Being willing to drop everything, grab a fistfull of cash and run down the lane (Paperman has been known to jump on the 4 wheeler with a kid or 2). It is ice cream, it is summertime and it is being able to give my kids everything they ever wanted (for those 5 minutes anyway).

Crockpot recipe

Made this today, pretty much a made up recipe that everyone ate except for dd3. She only eats things made with sugar and/or American cheese, and broccoli. She may grow up to be a diet book author and I will not be able to wear a shirt that says "my kids are not picky eaters" as she has taken that from me.... I'll just keep plenty of broccoli and mac and cheese on hand and hope she doesn't waste away the other 6 days of the week!

Beef Veggie Stew
1 lb stew meat, cut small
1 large onion diced
1 c chopped celery
2 c sliced carrots
1 can beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 T tomato paste or ketchup
3 cups chopped cabbage
1 c water (or as needed to cover veggies)
mix well in crockpot and cook on high 4-6 hours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Below are some recipes I've tried new or tried and true this week!

(New) Crispy Baked Kale
1 large bunch kale, washed, dried and tough stems removed
1T olive oil
1-2 t. sea or kosher salt

Prepare kale, toss with olive oil and salt, bake in 375 degree oven until crispy (about 20 minutes).
** This had a generally good review with the family. A fun way to get your greens. It was healthy and the kids can tell no matter how it's done, but everyone tried it and some even had seconds.

Roast Turkey

1 turkey, thawed
1 oven roasting bag
Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt
vegetable oil
1 T flour

Place flour in bag and shake, add onion and celery (reserve some for turkey cavity). Rub oil on turkey and season inside and out with Seasoned Salt. Place turkey in bag with onion and celery. Roast per directions. Lots of drippings for gravy!!
** I have made turkey many different ways, but I think this is my keeper based on the compliments from my family.

Boneless BBQ Ribs (6-8 servings)
5 lbs boneless pork ribs
cover ribs with water. add salt, pepper, bay leaves and onion or garlic (optional). Simmer about 1 hour. Remove from water and place in covered roasting pan, pour favorite bbq sauce over and bake 1 hour or until tender. (325 degrees)
BBQ sauce-
1 onion diced and sauteed in 2 t oil. add 1 t wor sauce, 1 c ketchup, 1 cup brown sugar and 2 t cider vinegar. simmer 15 minutes, stirring often.
** these came out just the way I like them, sweet and tender. The brown sugar is the kicker for dd3, and even she ate some.

Snow Ice Cream
1 big bowl of fresh, clean snow (easy to find after and 8 inch snowfall)
1 T vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 c milk (plus more depending on snow consistency)
sugar to taste (start with 1/4 cup)
Gather snow carefully! mix liquid ingredients and sugar together, pour over snow and mix well. Add more milk as needed. Eat right away.
** I had this for the first time at Tina's house growing up. I'm not sure it's ever tasted as good as it did that first snowy day....but it's still good and something the kids ask for after a big snowfall. Not to be made after school or on a weekend, best on a snow day from school!

Fareway, Sams and Aldis....

I visited each of these stores last week and spent just shy of $400. You're probably thinking, we must have been hungry or had a party, or both! No parties and not hungrier than normal, just trying something new. I have read of people who shopped for their groceries once a month with a couple of quick stops for milk and fresh fruits and veggies. So, I decided to try it. I wasn't incredibly organized, but did create a list of what we had on hand and what we needed to make meals to go with those things. We have enough for roughly 27 meals, most with leftovers (lunches). This does not include breakfast foods that we just have on hand (cereal, ingredients for waffles and pancakes, oatmeal, smoothie fixens, eggs, toast). Paperman and I discussed the $400. We decided that amount wasn't bad, comparing it with a 2 person household with two "expensive habits" would spend that much on "feeding the need" as we spend feeding our 4 expensive blessings (and ourselves too)!!! My ultimate goal is to do more OAMC (once a month cooking) along with my OAMS (once a month shopping). I did buy 10 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts and prepared 5 meals for the freezer in 1 hour. They included chicken taco meat, diced for stir fry, chopped for bbq chicken pizza, marinated, browned for something to be decided. DD3 enjoyed this day as she loves to squish her hands in raw meat...wierd I know, but it keeps her busy while I'm cooking. (yes, she washes very well when she's done!) I have thoroughly enjoyed pulling meals from the freezer and crossing them off my list along with having at least 2 extra hours a week not spent at the grocery store. I guess I'll discontinue meal planning Monday and as I get this down, I can share our monthly plan. I'm always looking for new recipes to try so feel free to share!


It's cold outside. We have a lot of snow. We live in Iowa and it's January. There's not really a lot else to say besides I need my slippers and blankie. Stay warm, drink cocoa and cuddle lots.

The Trendy Dollar

If you want some good reading or have some new year's resolutions based on debt reduction check out
Heidi is from Iowa and they have paid down a lot of debt and changed their lifestyle using the Dave Ramsey system. This is her new site. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The new year...even if you don't make resolutions, it's a fresh start, opportunity for change, wonder in what lies ahead.... I always have a plan in place for my year, the picture in my minds eye that never changes. A healthy, happy, in shape, organized picture.... Will this be MY year? It just could be. Stay tuned, I'll let you know. Happy 2009!

Menu plan Monday

The new year is here.... back to trying to develop good habits and one of those is Menu planning. Here's the plan for the first full week of 2009-

Meatloaf/ Roasted Carrots
French onion Soup/Cheesy Vegetable Soup
Pasta with mushroom sauce/salad/Garlic bread
Shrimp/Broccoli light Alfredo pasta
Roast chicken/green beans/applesauce
Pita pizzas/fruit salad
Fish Tacos/refried beans

in a nutshell...

I did it. I took my break but now, I'm back. The last 2 weeks were busy and eventful. As I was writing my last post on 12/23 I made it short as I had a lot of things to take care of. I didn't want to be "busy" on Christmas Eve trying to get things organized, food ready, etc.... I got a lot done that night, got up early the next morning and got ready right away (instead of my usual when we don't have to be somewhere in the morning...). DD3 woke up and for the 5th day in a row, vomited. I decided it was time to take her in. The doctor decided it was time for her to STAY in. She spent 24 hours in the hospital on Christmas eve. She was a trooper and didn't take her long, once her iv was started, to get feeling better. Paperman was working and my Mom and Dad kept the other kids during that time. They might think twice now when they agree to watch 3 when I "run one to the doctor"!!! Santa with his magical wisdom still found each child where they were that night, hospital and all. My sister was sick and Paperman ended up being sick on Christmas eve also. Our celebrating was delayed a bit, but all family gatherings finally happened and we hope and pray we stay healthy the rest of the winter.