Thursday, July 31, 2008
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6-8 hours in crock pot on low
4 chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
½ cup water
1-15oz can of black beans (drain and rinse)
1-11oz or 15oz can corn (drain and rinse)
½ packet taco seasoning
1 cup uncooked brown rice
8 oz brick cream cheese (low fat works well)
- Combine first 6 ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
- One hour before you're ready to serve, add 1 cup uncooked brown rice.
- Half hour later, add 1 brick of cream cheese. Shred chicken and scoop into tortillas to make burritos.
Check out Life as Mom for more great crock pot recipes and WFMW for more summer recipes!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
What makes this deal so good is that this ebook package includes Supermarket Savings 101 which will teach you how to drastically reduce your grocery bill. If high fuel and food costs are discouraging you and leaving you strapped for cash, you definitely need to buy this ecourse. You'll learn how to cut your grocery bill by up to 50% or more and have fun saving money at the same time!
Click here to read more about this huge sale. Hurry, though, the price goes up $3 on Thursday and another $3 on Friday, then the sale is over.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
It was a really nice morning...I almost feel guilty not telling Ryan that we went without him, but he wouldn't understand and he had a blast on his last day of VBS. (my neighbor even bought the kids Happy Meals for lunch which we never do) He'll miss a lot of fun stuff like this once school starts, I suppose, so I need to let go of that guilt!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Since participating in the produce co-op last weekend, I have both drawers of both fridges OVERFLOWING with fresh food and because most of it is organic, if I don't plan my menus accordingly, I'll be wasting a ton of great food.
First, I took inventory of what I have on hand and prioritized my meals based on the foods that are going to spoil first. This meant pulling out my new, handy recipe binder and flipping pages like crazy. The good news for you is that most of my recipes will have links to them! In my boredom, I've been watching A LOT of Food Network and have been dying to try some of these new dishes, plus I have a few that I've found on other blogs.
Here's what I have on hand that's perishable...this quantity is excessive for our household plus we have a ton of stuff that I
tomatoes (at least a dozen!)
corn on the cob
green leaf lettuce
1/2 a head of iceberg leftover from tacos last night
Fruit (every day's snacks will have to be fruit salad if we're going to go through all of this fruit!)
bags upon bags of peaches
shredded Parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
shredded Mexican cheese blend
Other perishable items
Chicken Mango sausage from Trader Joe's (YUM)
So here's what I came up with (and I'm starting this today, not Monday, because some of this stuff is on it's way out and can't wait until next week) and I planned our meals for 14 days. I just bought milk, bread and eggs today at Trader Joe's, so I won't need to go to the store for a single thing until August 7th. I literally have every ingredient I need and am on CLOUD 9 about the efficiency of it all!!!
Dinner: Tomato & Spinach Pasta Toss (added eggplant and replaced canned tomato with fresh because I have SO many!)
Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins (I double the serving size for the 4 of us to share and add 2 egg whites at the end of the cooking time - I also cook it on the stove. A great way to sneak in protein with breakfast and if you whip the egg white in with a fork, you can't even tell it's in there!)
Lunch: Salad for me, turkey sandwiches with cheese sticks and fruit for the kids, Mike has a lunch appointment
Dinner: Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Burritos
Breakfast: Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Bread Pudding (There's bread, eggs and milk - like French toast, right??? Okay, so there's chocolate...I don't care - it just looks too good not to try.)
Lunch: leftover Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Dinner: Crockpot White Chicken Chili with cornbread
Breakfast: Whole Wheat Pancakes with fruit salsa
Dinner: Baked Chicken (from this Chicken Parmesan recipe) with Emily's Zucchini Cornbread Casserole and sauteed radishes (we're not into radishes, so we'll see about this one!)
Lunch: Salad for me, turkey sandwiches and fruit for Mike and the kids
Dinner: Healthy Corn Soup with homemade bread
Breakfast: cereal and fruit
Lunch: Salad for me, turkey sandwiches and fruit for Mike and the kids
Dinner: Chicken on the grill with corn on the cob and Black Bean & Couscous Salad
Dinner: Rice, Bean & Cheese Casserole with leftover grilled chicken from Tuesday night, using remaining iceberg lettuce and tomatoes to top in the taco shells + the rest of Mike's salsa for him.
Dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara with salad
I hope you get some good ideas from these recipes...I'm excited to try the new ones! What's really exciting is that I'll be using ALL of the listed perishable items except the red potatoes (which will keep for after the 2 weeks), yams and squash, which I'll puree this weekend since I know we're not going to eat them. WOO HOO! Have I mentioned that I love being efficient???
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, in 2 batches, stirring until just combined. (do not overmix or your coffee cake will be tough)
In a separate small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.
Per Serving: (serving size, 1 piece) Calories 210; Total Fat 8.5 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 2.5 g, Poly Fat 3 g) ; Protein 5 g; Carb 30 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 41 mg; Sodium 230 mg
4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 c. melted, salted butter (cooled)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
Gradually add: 1.5 cup flour
Optional: Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pour batter into lightly greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees (F) for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I got this idea from Simple Mom (from July 15th) who credited this post with the details of how she came up with the idea. I am SO doing this from my list of 100 things that make me happy list. I want to hang it in my craft room. I'm itchin' to go buy the supplies, but really should wait to see what sales come out in Sunday's paper. The biggest issue is that I don't like my handwriting and I consistently mess up words when I think too hard about what I'm writing...I guess I could paint over it if I mess up.
If you're on blogger, go into "settings" then "formatting" - then paste the html code after scrolling down to the "post template" area. Can't wait to see your new signatures! I've LOVED all the new looks from those who bloglifted the TheCutestBlogOnTheBlock idea!!!
For HeathahLee (assuming that's Heather Lee with a southern drawwwwwwwwl)
SIX unimportant things about me:
1. We're going to Outback Steakhouse for dinner tonight with a gift card.
2. I am near-obsessed with the tv show The Office.
3. Watching kid shows with my children doesn't bother me. (I watched cartoons well into college...has anyone else seen Recess??? Seriously takes me back to 4th grade.)
4. It feels like I need much more sleep than the rest of the world.
5. If we won the lottery (which we wouldn't because we don't play...and you can't win if you don't play!), we wouldn't live life much differently than we do now. Mike would still work for the church, but he wouldn't take a paycheck, I'd still be home with the kids, we might move into a custom home but it wouldn't be much bigger than what we have now, we'd probably travel more, I'd go back to getting my hair highlighted...uh oh, now I'm dreaming...
6. Kaylin's taking an extra long nap today, which hopefully means that our afternoon will be better than our morning was!
For Lisa (a real life friend)
- My husband
- My kids
- My kids falling and getting severely hurt (primarily down the stairs)
- Someone I love coming down with a terminal illness
- Mike getting altzheimer's disease later in life (has anyone seen The Notebook?!??!)
- To get back into the habit of daily quiet times with God (more than just prayer...I need to get back into reading and learning)
- To have a healthy body image and to be so comfortable in my own skin that I'm not as concerned when I eat garbage
- To raise kind, loving, giving kids who are contributing members to society and desire to further God's kingdom
3 CURRENT OBSESSIONS:
- Um, blogging - duh!
- Checking my email a million times a day
- Baking (do you realize how skinny I'd be if I didn't bake all the time? Uh oh, see goal #2 above...)
3 RANDOM FACTS:
- Every time I swallow down the "wrong pipe" and choke, I sneeze. 100% of the time.
- My mind never...shuts...off. It takes me forever to fall asleep at night because I can't stop thinking.
- I'm very influenced by other people's music choices. In the late 80s, it was heavy metal and big-hair-bands like Motley Crue and Skid Row. Then I dated a guy who was into rap and that became my 5 year obsession. Then in college, my friends all listened to Dave Matthews and Phil Collins and Indigo Girls so I was into that. And when I started dating Mike, all I heard was Christian radio and I've never turned back. You all thought I grew up loving Debbie Gibson, didn't you?? Yeah, I get that a lot.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
On the way home, Ryan asked for Cheerios, then Kaylin repeated that she wanted Cheerios. (she's often a parrot and says whatever he says) I gave the box to Ryan, knowing that he would share with her. She started to freak out, saying that she wanted to hold the box of Cheerios. Ryan tried giving her a handful and she pushed his hand away. When I didn't tell Ryan to give her the box, Kaylin lost it. Full screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs tantrum. About halfway home, Ryan said loudly, "It looks like someone needs to go night-night." Yup! I think the issue today can be attributed to being overtired. At one point on the drive home, I looked in the backseat and she was sobbing with her eyes completely closed. As soon as we got home, she was fine, but I still put her right to bed. I hope she wakes up happier!!!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I do not need your help.
Can I get an "Amen?" My grandmother had this up on her fridge for the longest time. Too true! God doesn't need MY help. Isn't that refreshing?
Monday, July 14, 2008
- To make buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of regular milk.
- To make self-rising flour, mix together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, an 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Before putting sticky ingredients in a measuring cup, give it a quick rinse with hot water. The ingredient will then slide right out.
- If your brown sugar is hard, try microwaving it for 10 seconds to soften. Or better yet, if you have a few hours, put a piece of bread in the bag and it will be just like new.
- To wake up to a loaf of fresh baked bread, put the mix in your bread maker before you go to bed and set the timer for the appropriate number of hours.
- Coat blueberries (or any other berries) lightly with flour before baking them in muffins or cakes. This helps prevents them from staining the surrounding dough and will help keep them suspended in the batter rather than just sinking to the bottom.
- Here is the best recipe ever for roasted chicken. I’m shocked with how easy it is. You can eat it as the main feature of your meal, or as I mentioned earlier, you can dice it, fill ziploc baggies with one cup of chicken, and freeze it for future meals like casseroles, enchiladas, etc. You can then use the juice for homemade chicken stock.
- Speaking of which, here is a fabulous recipe for homemade cream of chicken soup, which is used in tons of recipes. It’s very easy and much lower in sodium than the canned variety.
- If you accidentally put too much salt in a recipe, sometimes putting a slice of raw, peeled potato will soak up excess salt.
- For most recipes, it doesn’t take much more work to double it. Then you can freeze a second portion, and when you’re busier than normal, you can reheat it and have a homemade meal.
- To hull a strawberry while still leaving most of the fruit, push a drinking straw through the bottom of the berry and push it through the top. Apple corers also work.
- Pre-package dry ingredients for recipe mixes that you use often. Put in ziplocks and label with instructions including what additional ingredients to add. This makes morning pancakes and waffles quick and easy without buying the overpriced, overprocessed, store-bought mixes.
- To minimize the tears when chopping onions, put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes before chopping. Don’t forget about them, though!
- To get the onion smell off of your hands, I rinse them with a bit of lemon juice after chopping the onion. It doesn’t even have to be fresh lemon juice. The store-bottled stuff works too.
- When you’re forming hamburger patties, rinse your hands with cold water, but do not dry them. The cold water prevents the fat in the burgers from sticking to your hands. Be sure and thoroughly wash with warm soapy when you’re finished.
- Here is how to cook beans: Soak beans over night (1 lb beans in 6 cups water). The next morning rinse beans and add to 8 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 to 3 hours depending on the beans. Don’t ever boil your beans you just want them to simmer. Once beans are cooked they should be soft. Put about 2 cups in a bag which is about the amount in a can. Then you can pull them out and throw them in your soups or add them to salads.
- Overnight beans: Put dry beans in your crockpot on low all night with enough water to cover them. They’ll be soft by morning.
- Keep a garbage bowl on your counter for your food scraps while you’re cooking. It’s amazing how much more efficient this is than going back and forth to the trash can, and it’s such a simple idea.
- To get the most juice out of a lemon or lime, zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, let it sit for a minute, and then roll it around on the counter a few times.
- When reheating bread goods (such as muffins, pancakes, and the like), put a cup of water in the microwave with it. It adds moisture to the air and keeps the bread soft.
- To peel a whole garlic clove, place the flat side of a knife on top of the clove and give it a good whack. The skin should fall right off.
- Get the smell of garlic or onions off your hands by “washing” them with water and baking soda. The odor slides right off when you rinse. I’ve also heard you can rub them on a stainless steel spoon under running water, but I haven’t tried it yet.
- To double the amount of your butter used for spreading, simply whip it with a small amount of warm water until it’s light and fluffy. This isn’t ideal for baking recipes that need a specific fat amount, but it’s great for spreading on your bread or corn-on-the-cob. Just keep it in the refrigerator, and it should stay light.
Disclaimer: buy this book! I promised I'd re-cap the highlights, but this is going to be really tough. There is SO MUCH I'm not including here. There's just too much to re-type, so I'm going to whet your pallet a little to try to convince you that this book could help you. Each "step" goes on for pages and pages about how to institute things in your family, examples by age group and for-instances to aide in the process. It's not easy to condense a 300 page book into one blog post!
* "It isn't always the big things that wear you down. It's the constant battles." (Can I get an amen?)
* "Homes should be based on the cornerstone of mutual respect, love and accountability." If you end up with kids who think they're in the driver's seat in life, they'll think their happiness is what's most important and that they are entitled to what they want, when they want it.
* "If you want your child to emerge as a healthy, contributing member of your family and society, [this book] is a game plan guaranteed to work. Every time."
Day 1 - "Why do your kids do what they do...and continue to do it? Your response has a lot to do with it."
What to do on Day 1:
1. Observe what's going on in the house. What areas in your relationship with your child really bother you?
2. Think about how you'd like things to change.
3. Decide to take the bull by the horns.
4. Expect great things to happen.
* "Kids do what they do because they've gotten away with it."
* "All children are attention getters. If they can't get your attention in a positive way, they'll go after it in a negative way."
* Power Struggles - "When you choose to do battle with your children, you'll never win. You have much more to lose than they do. Your teenage daughter couldn't care less if her shirt is too tight, but you care and she knows it. "
* If you want your child to take you seriously, say what you need to say (calmly) once and only once. Turn your back and walk away. If they don't do what is asked of them, there will be consequences. (B doesn't happen until A is completed - specifically discussed in the book)
Day 2 - Disarming the attitude
What to do on Day 2. Ask yourself:
1. Why is your child doing what he's doing? (is it for attention, etc.)
2. How do you, as the parent, feel in this situation?
3. Is this a mountain or a molehill? (there are examples of what to make a big deal of and what to let slide)
* "Attitudes are caught, not taught...The key to changing your child is changing your attitude."
* "If you have a 'This is what's best for you, and this is what you're going to do - and God help you if you don't' attitude, you're just asking to butt heads with any child who has a strong temperament."
* Sometimes parents make too big of a deal out of every little thing. Decide what's worth correcting (disrespectful attitudes and behavior) and what's potentially just a phase.
If you want your child to have a respectful, kind attitude, to have behavior that you'll be proud of and to have character that reveals itself even when you aren't watching, do 3 things:
1. Let reality be the teacher. Basically, don't "save" or overprotect your kids from life's consequences. (ex: staying up until midnight helping them finish a huge project because they procrastinated)
2. Learn to respond rather than react.
3. B doesn't happen until A is complete. If the child doesn't do what was asked of them, nothing else happens. No matter what the event is.
Day 3 - It's All In Perspective. Take a look down the road a few years. Who do you want your family to be?
What to do on Day 3:
1. What kind of parenting style do you have? (permissive, authoritarian or authoritative/responsible)
2. How does your child respond to this parenting style?
3. How can you adapt your parenting style to be more balanced?
4. In what ways can you emphasize relationship in your home?
* "What's Important to you? What 3 qualities do you want your children to have? What steps can you take now to encourage these qualities in them?"
* "If you are calm, you are consistent and you always do what you say you're going to, you will earn that respect and trust."
* "Your child wants to please you...They want to know you are a team...So much has to do with you and how you treat your children."
* "What kind of legacy are you going to leave your children? If you want them to be healthy, independent thinkers who are kind and giving to others, now is the time to start."
Day 4 - Your job as a parent isn't to make your child happy.
How to respect your children:
- Never do for them what they can and should do for themselves.
- Don't repeat your instructions.
- Expect the best of them.
- Don't praise them, encourage them. (he goes into a lot of detail about praising your kids vs. encouraging them and increasing their self-worth. Praise links a child's worth to what he does, encouragement emphasizes the act.)
The 3 pillars of self worth are:
1. Acceptance - your children deserve your unconditional love
2. Belonging - every child longs to belong somewhere. Will it be in your family or in a peer group?
3. Competence - empowering your children requires giving them responsibility. When they take initiative to get a job done, say, "Good job - I bet that made you feel good inside." That feel-good feeling will end up being the motivation for them to do something again, not their desire to please their parents.
Day 5 - Time to make some changes
Top 10 list of what to do to get ready for the big day...
10. Be 100% consistent with your behavior.
9. Always follow through on what you say you will do.
8. Respond, don't react.
7. Count to ten and ask yourself, "What would my old self do? What should the new me do?"
6. Never threaten your kids.
5. Never get angry.
4. Don't give any warnings.
3. Ask yourself, "Whose problem is this?"
2. Don't think the misbehavior will go away.
1. Keep a happy face, even if you don't want to. Go do something else.
Ask Dr. Leman - there are about 200 pages of situations and advice covering 100 hot topics parents face for kids of all ages.
I haven't read all of the situational stuff yet, but I wanted to get my notes to you before I forgot some of these highlights. I hope this was helpful for you in some way!!!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (light works, too)
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. chopped pecans (about 1 cup) - optional
9 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (about 1.5 cups)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
This morning (after sleeping in until 8:30 - woohoo!) we took advantage of the free time and did some bedroom renovations. We were recently given some bunk beds from friends who are moving out of state, so we decided to move Kaylin into a big girl bed (Ryan's old bed) and assembled the bunk beds in Ryan's room. It went so quickly without kids underfoot! I still need to get bedding for Kaylin and some matress covers to protect the matresses from nighttime accidents, but that didn't stop the kids from begging to sleep in their new beds when Grandma brought them home at naptime.
Kaylin's room after (can you see the passed out princess?)
Ryan's room before
Ryan's room after
I took one last picture of Ryan
Both kids were SO excited about their new rooms. As soon as Ryan climbed onto his top bunk, he said, "Hey guys - I'm as tall as the FAN!!!" And even though they were exhausted after an eventful sleepover at my mom's house, it took them quite a while to fall asleep at naptime. I could hear Ryan going up and down from one bunk to the other and Kaylin was singing, "Happy Birthday, dear bed" over and over again at the top of her lungs.