Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tastefully Simple "Garlic Garlic and Fiesta Party Dip" Giveaway!

Enter below for your chance to win two AWESOME products from Tastefully Simple! My friend Sophia is generously donating a Garlic Garlic seasoning dip and a Fiesta Party dip for my readers! If you've never heard of Tastefully Simple, it's a company that sells delicious seasonings, dips, foods, and recipe books! Please check out her website for more info on these great products and more! Sophia Whalen- Independent Tastefully Simple Consultant! This giveaway is valued at 25 dollars! Good luck!!


Garlic Garlic
A garlic lover's dream.  Keep on hand for garlic toast, a dip, just add mayo and sour cream, or use it for everyday cooking.1 tbsp or cap full is equal to 1 clove of garlic, there are 33 cloves in one 4.5oz shaker. Kosher.

Fiesta Party Dip
Authentic spices with flavor create a dip worthy of the best Southwestern cooking.
Mix with mayo and sour cream, serve with tortilla chips or as a topping for Mexican food.
Add a little or a lot to spice up any dish.  All natural.
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grocery List for March 3, 2012 Class

Below is the list of ingredients you'll need for March 3rd's Freezer Cooking Class and live chat. I recommend buying the ingredients no more than 2 days before. If you want, you can buy all the ingredients except the raw meat now, and pick up the meat a few days before. Letting raw meat sit in the fridge for more than two days is a no-no. I'd hate for anyone to get sick!

This is how it will work. Around 11am (Central Time) on March 3rd, I'll begin the class on my Facebook page with a status update. Everyone who is participating in the cooking will "like" the status. Once I get a general idea of how many people are following along, I'll start posting each step in a comment. Once you have completed the step, you'll "like" the comment. Once it looks like everyone is ready for the next step, I'll post it, and so on. Each meal will be a separate status update with steps in the comments. Any questions you have can be asked under that meals status and I'll answer them as we go. For those who can't participate live with us, I'll take the questions from the live chat and turn the class into a detailed blog post.

If you have any questions about this list, please message me on my FB page or email me. This will be my first class so I may need help in making sure everything is clear and concise. 

Besides the actual ingredients, you will need gallon-sized Ziploc FREEZER bags, Saran Wrap, and a cookie sheet or baking pan to freeze on.

BBQ Chicken (crockpot meal)

Pack of Chicken drumsticks (2 per person- family of four would need at least 8 drumsticks)
Onion
Small bottle of BBQ sauce

Pot Roast and veggies (crockpot meal)
3-4 lb beef pot roast
Bag of baby carrots
Celery
Onion
Small container of mushrooms
Onion soup mix
Cream of Mushroom soup

Turkey-Ranch burgers (makes 4-6 burgers)

1 lb ground turkey
1 pack of dry Ranch dressing mix
1 egg
Hamburger buns

Cheesy Fried Chicken breasts

Boneless, skinless Chicken breasts (1 per person- family of four would need 4 breasts)
2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese (more if you are doing more than 4)
Italian bread crumbs
1 stick of butter

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
Onion
Garlic
Egg
Italian bread crumbs
Fresh parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese
Ketchup

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Birdseed Biscuits (Kid Craft)

My daughter June loves watching the birds outside the kitchen window so I thought she'd like making these birdseed biscuits. Hang them from the branches of your trees to feed the birds during the winter.


Birdseed Biscuits

Supplies

1 1/2 cups of birdseed
2 Tbs flour
4 Tbs water
Cookie Cutters
Wax Paper
Plastic drinking straw
Yarn

Instructions

Step 1

In a bowl, combine the birdseed, flour, and water. Mix well.

Step 2
 
On a wax paper lined cookie sheet, pack the cookie cutters with the birdseed mixture. Once the cookie cutter is full, use another piece of wax paper on top and push down with your hand to make sure the seed is compact. Put a piece of a straw in the center to make a hole for the yarn.

Step 3



Bake the biscuits (WITH cookie cutter and straw) in a 170 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove cookie sheet and let cool. Then pop out the biscuits, remove the straw, and add yarn to hang from your tree.




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Orange Chicken (FREEZER MEAL)

We don't eat a lot of Asian-inspired meals. I don't know why. They're delicious. I guess it's because I don't really have any experience cooking it. I really love Orange Chicken and I was desperate for a little Asian kick in my freezer cooking. 

I chose to cook this in the slow-cooker but you could cook the defrosted meat in a skillet, add the sauce, and heat through.

Orange Chicken

Ingredients

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1/3 cup flour
1/2 Tbs salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs ketchup
3 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (little or no pulp)
4 Tbs brown sugar
A pinch of red pepper flakes (1/8 of a tsp)- you can always add more after it's cooked

Step 1



In a bowl, combine the raw chicken and flour. Toss to coat. Pour into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

Step 2



In a small bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, salt, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Pour sauce into a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Seal.

Step 3

Place the bag of sauce into the gallon bag of raw chicken. Seal and freeze flat.

Step 4

To reheat, take the meal out of the freezer the night before and let the chicken and sauce thaw in the fridge. Once thawed, pour the raw chicken into the slow-cooker. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Serve over rice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake Tutorial

Is Bisquick your "go-to" pancake mix? Think it takes too long to make homemade pancakes? These homemade pancakes will make you turn your nose up to store-bought pancake mixes...and it takes about 3 minutes to get the batter ready for the pan. The batter will be thick but the pancakes cook up tall and fluffy.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

3/4 cup of milk
2 Tbs white vinegar (OR exchange 3/4 cup of buttermilk for the milk and vinegar)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbs melted butter

Directions

In a measure cup, combine the milk and vinegar, let sit for a minute.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.

Whisk egg and melted butter into the buttermilk mixture.

Add buttermilk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients, whisk together until lumps are gone.

Cook on a non-stick pan at medium high heat, about 2 minutes on each side until it's golden brown.


These also freeze well. Double the batch and let the leftover pancakes cool. Put the pancakes on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze. Once frozen, pop them off the cookie sheet and put them in a labeled Ziploc bag. To reheat, microwave the frozen pancakes for 1-2 minutes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Turkey Meatballs (FREEZER MEAL)

Don't waste your money on store-bought frozen meatballs. These will be a staple in your freezer cooking menu. (Sorry, I'll add pictures next time I make them).

Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4-1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (or 1 Tbs dried)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey

To assemble:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well. (Start with the 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and if it's too wet when you mix it all together, add another 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs).

Using a medium scoop or a tablespoon, scoop some of the mixture and roll into balls.

Place the raw meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Once frozen, put in labeled Ziploc bag.

To reheat:

Take out the desired number of meatballs and let them defrost on a plate in the fridge.

Once defrosted, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Add them to your favorite spaghetti sauce, toss with pasta, and dinner is served! Also makes great Meatball Subs!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom's birthday was this week and she drove in from work today. I had her and my dad over for dinner and surprised her with a cake. Triple Chocolate cake, dark chocolate cream cheese frosting, and dark chocolate covered strawberries. I don't have any idea where I get MY love of chocolate...





Happy 57th birthday, MOM!

Tambourines (Kid Craft)

I try to do at least one craft a day with June. I figured I'd start posting our crafts in case someone needed inspiration in that area.

Today, we made tambourines and marched around outside with them. They are simple to make and the girl's loved them.

Supplies

2 paper plates
A few small rocks or beans
Yarn
Markers and ribbon to decorate

Instructions

First, decorate the two paper plates with markers.



Next, turn one of the paper plates over and put a few beans (or rocks) on it.


Then, place the other paper plate on top, and using a plastic needle , sew the plate shut around the edge with the yarn (or punch holes around the plate with a sharp pencil or with a hole punch).


Decorate with ribbon to finish it off and let them go at it...until you can't stand it anymore and you hide the tambourine and hope they forget about it. I wouldn't know anything about that...I'd NEVER do that...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bible Devotionals for the Family

If you follow along on my Facebook page, you know that my family does daily Bible Studies and devotionals. I've gotten a few emails asking which books and Bibles we have so I thought I'd link them up for you.

My husband and I have the NIV New Women and NIV New Men's Devotional Bibles. It gives you a section to read everyday and at the end of each section is a short devotional. Then it gives you three questions to answer that help you apply what you read to your own life. They also have a Couple's Devotional Bible but we sometimes read independently from each other and I like how my Bible tackles issues that Christian women deal with and his is geared toward his issues as a Christian man. We each read our own Bibles in bed, answer our questions in a notebook and then exchange books to read each others answers. Then we discuss what we read and offer advice or just talk about issues and support each other.

Our oldest daughter just turned three and she has her own devotional book called God and Me. Each day there is a story to read, a verse to learn, questions to answer, a prayer, and an activity to do. We start by reciting the verse for the day, then we find the verse in her Precious Moments Bible and underline it. She loves the stories and especially the activity. Then we follow up our Bible Study with some coloring pages from Biblical coloring books. This child's devotional is one in a series of books dedicated to young children on up to teens.


On Sunday nights, after the girls go to bed, my husband and I like to listen to a sermon before bed. We really love Paul Washer's sermons (we burned them on a CD and listen to them and my husband listens to them in his truck on his way to work). He's powerful and his sermons really convict you. My husband and I are routinely crying after one of this sermons and spend several hours after just talking to each other about things we can change or make better. It's really a powerful bonding moment for us and keeps our priorities in check. You can find his sermons here.

I hope this helps you if you were looking to get more into the Word of God!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Freezer- 2/20/12

Here's my freshly stocked freezer for the rest of February and all of March. I stretched out the work over several days. 2-3 hours of work for 3 days and now I'm free every night to spend time with my kids and husband instead of standing over a hot stove. 

Click here to see my post on Getting Started with Freezer Cooking!
Click here to see my post on Freezer Cooking Tips!


The list of dinners is as follows:

Enchiladas (2)
Chicken Crescent Bundles (2)
Cheesy Fried Chicken Breasts (2)
Lasagna (2)
Orange Chicken (1)
Meatloaf (2)
Meatballs (2)
BBQ Chicken (2)
Pot Roast (2)
Italian Tenders (1)
BBQ Pulled Pork (1)
Plain Pork Tenderloins (2)
French Dip (1)
Turkey Burgers (1)
Chili (1)
Stuffed Bell Peppers (2)


I also blanch fresh vegetables and freeze them. I have bags of broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and green beans. Then I can take as little as a handful for the kids lunches or an entire bag for dinner, and microwave them in a covered dish. I also freeze homemade chicken stock in muffin tins for throwing into recipes. I freeze fruits too for snacks. Sliced grapes and strawberries are my kids favorite to munch on.

Stuffed Bell Peppers (FREEZER MEAL)

This is my newest addition to my freezer meal repertoire and I'm loving them!

Stuffed Bell Peppers


Ingredients

8 bell peppers
1.5 lbs ground beef (cooked and drained)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup instant brown rice (Minute Rice), uncooked
Shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Step 1


Cut the tops off the peppers, taking out the seeds and as much of the white part as you can. Cut a bit off the bottoms so they sit flat. ( I cut up the left over pepper from the tops and bottoms and stir it into the stuffing later- don't want any of the edible part going to waste). Place the peppers on a clean baking sheet.

Step 2


In a bowl, combine the beef, onion, garlic, rice, tomato sauce, and extra bell pepper bits. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3


Stuff each pepper with the beef mixture, almost to the top.

Step 4


Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, packing down lightly. Move baking sheet to freezer and allow the peppers to freeze completely. Then put them in a labeled Ziploc bag.

Step 5


To reheat: Take out desired number of peppers, and allow to thaw in a baking dish in the fridge overnight. Once thawed completely, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Pot Roast (FREEZER MEAL)

This freezer meal is one I do EVERY month. I make two at a time. It's easy, it's satisfying, and it's delicious.

To assemble: Put a whole raw pot roast (4lb or so) in a Ziploc bag. On top of the roast, layer 1 cup of chopped onion, half a bag of baby carrots (or 3 large carrots, chopped), 3 stalks of chopped celery, and half a container of mushrooms. On top of the veggies, sprinkle a pack of Onion Soup Mix and add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Seal and freeze.


To cook: Take out the bag the night before and let thaw overnight. The next morning, pour the roast/veggies in the slow-cooker (it's okay if it's partially frozen). Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Season with salt to taste and serve over rice.



BBQ Pulled Pork (FREEZER MEAL)

A simple and delicious freezer meal. Pork Tenderloins routinely go on sale, keep an eye out and stock up.

To assemble: Cut a raw 4-5lb pork tenderloin in half and put in a labeled Ziploc bag, sprinkle a pack of Pulled Pork seasoning over the pork, and pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over it. Seal and freeze.

To cook: Take out the bag the night before to thaw in the fridge. The next morning, pour the tenderloin and BBQ sauce in the slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours until pork is done. Take the pork out and shred it with two forks (I just throw mine in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it to low and it shreds it for me). Season the BBQ liquid with salt to taste and return the shredded pork to the sauce, mix well. Serve the pork on good hamburger buns with mayo and bread-n-butter pickles.



Italian Tenders (FREEZER MEAL)

Italian tenders are always a big hit with the kids and one of the easiest freezer meals to assemble.

Put raw chicken tenderloins in a Ziploc bag and pour half a bottle of Italian Dressing over them. Seal and freeze flat (on a baking sheet). To reheat, take bag out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the fridge. Remove the tenders (discard the marinade) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or grill them. This is a great meal to round out with a veggie and mac-n-cheese.



June's 3rd Birthday

June's birthday party was supposed to be more grand than it turned out. I had an entire menu planned for 30 people but the day before her party, she came down with a bad cold. I cancelled her party out of respect for the other mothers and kids.

The party continued, only the guest list had changed. I still decorated the house and got up early to create her DREAM monster cake she picked out on Pinterest. The original can be found here. I used four 6-inch rounds of chocolate cake, filled with homemade caramel sauce, vanilla buttercream frosting (using the grass piping tip), the mouth is black and red felt that I just stuck on the icing, and the eyes are wooden discs I painted and then glued to wooden dowels.

 

We also served "Monster Potion" to our party guests. June loved it and it was really simple.

I used a small unsweetened pack of Koolaid (I used the blue/green color- not sure what flavor that was). I mixed it into four cups of water and poured it into ice cube trays. I stuck a gummy worm in a few cubes in each tray and froze them. For the party, put a few cubes in a clear plastic cup and pour Sprite over it. The cubes will melt and flavor the drink, turning it a wonderful green color...and what kid wouldn't like gummy worms hanging out of their drink?



June got a LeapPad for her birthday, which she loves. And her favorite character from her favorite movie: Pascal from Tangled. She carries him on her shoulder like Rapunzel does in the movie.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Weekly To-Do List

For those of you interested in what my weekly "chore" list consists of:  

"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

Monday:

* Do all the laundry (includes clothes, towels, bed sheets)
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)
* Hang the clean clothes

Tuesday:

* Vacuum the couches and chairs
* Vacuum the carpet
* Dust
* Collect all the garbage in the house and bring the can to the road
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)

Wednesday

* Any quilting or sewing to be done
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Mop the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)

Thursday

* Make my dairy items for the fridge (butter, yogurt)
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)

Friday

* Sweep and mop the bathroom floors
* Clean the toilets and tubs
* Wipe down the bathroom counters and sinks
* Change out the towels in the bathrooms
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)

Saturday

* Bake all the breads for the upcoming week (two loaves of wheat bread)
* Sweep the kitchen floor
* Do the dishes
* Wipe down the kitchen counters
* Pick up toys at the end of the day (kids usually do this)

Sunday

* Rest on Sunday and enjoy my family- dirt can wait until Monday.

 









Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flour Tortilla Tutorial

 I'm always looking for recipes to make my grocery store staples from scratch. I make my Enchiladas several times a month and I was always needed flour tortillas. So one day, when I didn't have any on hand, I decided to make my own. It's amazing how simple they are and how much BETTER they taste than store-bought.


Homemade Flour Tortillas (makes 8-10)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Crisco (vegetable shortening)
3/4 cups hot water

Step 1


In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Step 2


Cut in the shortening until it resembles cornmeal.

Step 3


Add the hot water and mix until the forms a ball. Turn out on a floured surface.

Step 4


Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.

Step 5


Cut the dough into 8-10 sections.

Step 6


On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick.

Step 7


Heat a non-stick skillet on high heat. Spray with cooking spray, and cook each side of the tortilla for 1-2 minutes until it bubbles up and turns golden brown.Stack them on a plate with a damp towel over them to keep them soft.

Step 8

Continue with all the tortillas. Use them in your favorite recipes!