Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving and Family

Hello there.  We have been super busy here in the Silva house.  Girl scout cookies and Cub Scout popcorn had us out and about.  Delivering most of our cookies today and then we should be done.  What a relief. 
I have been getting the holiday spirit lately, have you?  I listened to Christmas music and already want to decorate!  We are having some wonderful company for Thanksgiving and are getting really excited.  What a great time of the year!  I am trying to come up with a plan for the time they will be here.  As always my thoughts are on what everyone is going to eat and how to have it easily prepared.  My thoughts are turning of course to normal family favorite dinners.  I love to cook new things, but now is really not the time to try something new.  You should usually test on your immediate family!  So I think we are going to have:

Stir Fry with rice
Chili on Black Friday
Black Bean Enchiladas

I am still trying to add some more.  We are having company for around 10 days.  I know that we will have quite a bit of leftovers from Thanksgiving.  That makes the end of the week easier for us.  I did end up buying a 24+ lb turkey and a nice ham.  So I might make my Potato Soup with some of the leftover ham.  I did something a little different this yr with my company.  Normally we all cook together and to be honest it gets a little frazzled.  So this yr I asked my sister-in-law Maile to make the desserts.  I also asked my mother-in-law to make appetizers.  I am in charge of the main meal.  This is what I am going to make:

Broccoli Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes

Maile is also going to make sweet potato casserole.  She has a great recipe and her husband loves it and it is like a dessert ;)!  So that sounded good to me.  What are you guys making for the holidays?  What is your favorite dish to eat?   As I said before we are really excited to spend time with them.  It is so fun and relaxed.  We also have a tradition to go out Black Friday shopping.  We normally leave extremely early.  The grandparents watch all of the little ones, which total 7 this yr.  We shop and have fun and go to breakfast.  I just love it!  So many memories we create every year.  And do you know what? Even if you aren't spending the holidays with your extended family this year, make it SPECIAL.  Make memories that will last a lifetime!  And throughout the holidays, don't forget to smile and breathe. It isn't the perfect that makes good memories it is the fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday and Warehouse Clubs???

I know it is nasty out, rainy and just plain yuk.  So instead of putting up the fall Menu Plan Monday I wanted to pretend it is still summer. That is OK right?  Just a little bit of tricking the mind.  After all tricks are what this week is about.  Trick or Treat! 
Are you guys all ready for the little scary people to come and want your candy? I am.  I did not wait until the last minute, I bought all of our candy Fri night.  Now lets just honestly hope that we don't eat it all before Halloween.  Don't laugh, I know you have done it before too! 
Anyway.  We are trying to eat a little more healthy and a little more budget friendly of course.  So I went to BJ's Warehouse Club on Sat with my little fam.  I told myself: "Self" if we are going to do this we must only buy our meat and salad there today.  "self" listened.  We did good.  We got a great price on chicken breast,  fresh salmon and sweet potatoes.   Do you guys shop at big warehouse stores?  Do you find it helps with your budget?  Which one do you frequent most? Let me know as we consider buying a membership.  We have been members before at diff clubs, but we always were a little scared of the scenario: you just can't get out of there without spending $250.  And then of course you just have to go the grocery store to get some stuff.  Anyway here is my menu for the week.  Pretty basic, but hopefully pretty yum.  Take care.  And stay tuned as I have a new name for my blog coming soon.

Monday: Salmon with brown rice and a salad
Tuesday: Hubby is gone: Crescent roll somethings.......;)
Wednesday: Friends coming over: Pizza for the kids and Salads for the adults
Thursday: Chicken with sweet potatoes and salad
Friday: Enchilada Casserole
Sat: Chicken with corn and salad
Sunday: Salmon with sweet potatoes and of course salad!

If you have any great recipes for healthy salmon or chicken please let me know. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple Dumplings

Here it is.... Apple season.  As many of you know we went and picked a bushel of apples a couple weeks ago.  We really have done nothing super special with them other than snack on them.  We have about a 1/3 left.  Well this past weekend my church, Crossbridge, had an apple carry in.  So needless to say I had to use some of these babies up.  So began my search.  I must confess I don't really care for apples.  I like a few varieties of them to snack on, but apple desserts aren't my cup of tea.  So I scanned some of my cookbooks and came upon this super simple apple dumpling recipe.  It takes probably 10 minutes to prep and then it is baking and you are done.  It also takes some quick convenient foods from the grocery.  I did get alot of great reviews at church.  I think you will really enjoy it. 
(Also this can be done in the crock pot.  I have never liked baking in mine, but go ahead and try it.  Just load everything up and turn it on high for 4-5 hrs with the lid cracked open.)

Apple Dumplings:

2 cans of refrigerated crescent rolls
2-3 apples, I used 3 diff apples to mix up the texture and taste
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of Mountain Dew, yep that is right.

Peel and thinly slice apples.  Unroll crescent rolls and roll inside 3 pieces of thin apples, using the diff kinds.  Place in a greased 9x13 pan, can crowd if needed.  Melt butter and add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  Pour over each crescent.  Now pour over your Mountain Dew.  Put in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.  I served these at room temp and they were great.  I also for my church made them smaller sized by cutting the crescent rolls in 1/2 and then rolling up the apples.  Seemed to be the perfect size when you are feeding a large crowd.  Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Menu Plan

Here is my menu plan.  Starting tomorrow I am reviewing recipes, I have some yummy ones, plus getting my house together after a busy weekend!

LoMein + Taking an extra dish to a friends.
Kale, Pink Beans and Ham
Grilled Chicken and Veggies
Curry and Rice

I will post again on Friday for my upcoming week.  Take care guys.
Recipe review this week for Apple Dumplings.  So quick, easy and delicious so check back!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Menu Plan

Here I am again.  Don't worry about the look of the blog, I am just fiddling around.  I am trying to make it suit me better.  I also am trying to come up with a catchy name for the blog. Any ideas?  If so please let me know.  This week is going to be all about family favorites.  Here goes:

Grandma's Sloppy Joe's! Yummy!
Pork Chops with Gnocchi
Chicken and Rice
Jeannie's Chicken and Rice Casserole

Very easy meals and some comfort foods make a good week for me.  Roman has started selling cub scout popcorn and Caitlin starts selling girl scout cookies tonight .  Yikes!  Tomorrow starts a ladies bible study so I am making a treat to bring there.  Plus, I am trying to add in canning this week.  Really hoping that I can get that done and over with so I won't worry about it anymore.  Easy and yummy foods that I know my family will eat is sometimes the best way to go when you are crunched on time.  Hoping you all have a blessed week. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe Reviews!

I have been really behind on writing about all of the recipes that we have been making.  I always like to let people know when it failed or when it was a success.  Here they are:

1.Blender Fudge Pie:  Now the name is really ridiculous. It must have a better name.  It is really good.  The recipe does make 2 pies.  I made one fresh the first night and then I made one cooked it and then froze it wrapped in tinfoil.  That was the best one!!!  It seemed to thicken up a little and have a more refined taste.  Kind of like my jar of last yrs canned apple butter.  Tastes better later.........  If you want something really and I mean really east then by all means make this.  Don't scrimp on the crust though.  I bought Wegmans rolled pie crust and that was yuck, must buy a good one or make a good one.  Here is the link:

2.Homemade Chili Seasoning:  Normally I buy the little packets of seasoning. I realized the other day that I was out and was making turkey chili. Oops, so while searching I came across this recipe and it is wonderful.  I am sure that you have everything in your cupboard to make this.  If you don't have every little spice mix it up. Just don't leave out the main seasonings: like chili powder.  Also you might want to cut the red pepper flakes in 1/2 if you have little tots in the house, it was a tad bit spicy. Here is the recipe and I will add underneath it my recipe for chili that was so easy and delicious.
Sorry I didn't save the link so if this is yours please take credit and thanks for a great keeper.

Chili Seasoning
1/4 cup of flour
4 t chili powder
1 T red pepper flakes
1 T garlic powder
2 t white sugar
2 t cumin
2 t parsley
2 t salt
1 t basil
1/4 t pepper

Mix all together.  I added in my recipe of turkey chili about 3-4 T of this mix.  Just do it to your taste. Save the rest in a baggie or Tupperware.

Turkey Chili:
1 T oil
1/2 diced small onion
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cans of chili beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes
3-4 T of chili seasoning
water if you like it thinner

Heat oil in skillet and then add onion and celery.  Cook for 3 minutes on med and then add turkey, breaking up with back of wooden spoon.  When cooked through add your chili beans undrained and your tomatoes undrained.  Add 3-4 T of chili seasoning from above and cook on med for 1/2 hour.  If you like your chili thinner then add a little water.  Your choice.  We like our chili on rice so it is nice when it is thick.

That is all for today. Hope your week has been wonderful and will see you back here Fri for my menu plan.  Take care!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Menu Plan + Apple butter link with additional link to applesauce recipe! ENJOY!

I can't believe it is Friday already, but I am prepared!  It does feel so good to have a menu, grocery list and to come home after the grocery store with exactly what I need for the week.  This week I have decided to do easy and yummy family favorites.  No muss no fuss here. 
Tomorrow we are going apple picking!  We are so excited.  We started this last year with the kids.  Hayride and then picking.  It is lots of fun.  Last year I canned apple butter and it is delicious.  We just opened our last jar and it tastes even better!  I also made applesauce and froze some too.  I really do enjoy making it.  It is not that hard and the kids really enjoy it.  The plan is I am going to do the same things this yr.   I am going to pick a bushel this yr maybe 2.  They really do last a while in the garage when it is chilly. 
So on to my menu plan:

Chicken taco salad with oven crisped corn tortillas
Chili with rice
Apple pork chops
Baked chicken with a salad
C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night
Chicken and dumplings
Pork fried rice
Saurkraut and sausage in the crockpot

*Sometimes I don't put my side dishes down.  I will choose that day what I want.  I always have some frozen and fresh veggies and rice and potatoes.  I just do what I feel like.

Here is the recipe that I had great success with for apple butter.  It also has a link for the applesauce.  I did peel my apples for the applesauce and I did NOT use a special gadget like a sieve to make mine smooth.  It just gradually cooked down and we do like our applesauce just a little chunky.  If I would use something to make smooth I would use an immersion blender.  So easy.  Give it a try.  I think you will love both recipes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review on the Escarole with Pink Beans and Ham


Last night I made a new recipe and I wanted to let you know how it turned out.  Once I got home from the grocery store and realized that the recipe said kale and not escarole I just went with the punches.  I saw the kale at the grocery store and thought no that can't be right, it has to be escarole.  I was wrong, but it still turned out really good.  Escarole has the texture of a lettuce, so it did seem to look like I put lettuce in there, but it is a much stronger flavor.  Kale looks to be more substantial and hearty even though I have never tried it.  I have to say that the taste was really great and it was so simple to make.  For you that are on low carb diets this is a perfect meal.  I added baked potatoes to our dinner to make it more filling and in case the kids didn't like the "lettuce" ;)  I would say that I am definately going to make this again.  The longest part of this meal was chopping the ham up and crisping it.  The rest took 5 minutes.  So I would say a prep of 5 minutes and a total cooking time of 10.  Sounds good to me.  How about you?  So here is the recipe:

Braised Kale ( Escarole ) with Pink Beans and Ham
Robin Miller
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced lean baked ham,  I used a ham steak.
1 pound kale, chopped  (escarole)
1 (15-ounce) can pink beans, rinsed and drained, I found this in the mexican section, Goya brand.
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, I had beef on hand.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ham and cook 2 minutes, until golden brown. Add kale, beans and broth, cover and steam 5 minutes, until kale is tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
Try it and let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Late Menu Plan

Greetings everyone!  Sorry to have been so late posting my menu plan but we had quite a full week here in New York.  My mom flew in for a visit and 2 of my 3 children were really sick.  They are pretty much all better,  the parents are still feeling a little down.  I had a wonderful visit with my mom and was sad to see her go.  I know that I have to get out of my funk and start back on my routines.  So here is my menu.  Last menu I put was until Tues so this will pick up today until Fri.  I know that is short but I will then post on Fri for the following week.  Did I lose you?  Hope not, so here it is:

Wed:  Escarole with pink beans and ham
Thurs: Fluffy pancakes with turkey bacon: First cub scout night so I am making it easy!
Fri: Crispy Taco Salad

 I hope you guys have a wonderful couple days and enjoy the fall weather.  I just love autumn.  I think this week I am going to start getting my decorations out.  Do you guys have yours out already?  Well have fun and see you Friday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday! Mom's Coming!

This week I am getting ready for my mother to fly in.  She is getting here late Wed night.  So we shall eat easy foods up until that point.  I am making some of our favorite foods while she is here and 2 new ones.  Hoping I get to them otherwise they will carry over to next weeks plan.  Here it is starting of course from last Fri:

Fri: Pizza
Sat: Wings and Salad
Sunday: Caitlin's Favorite Potato Soup
Mon: Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese ( Jack's Favorite )
Tues: Friendship Casserole, carried over from last week.
Wed: CORN, Clean Out Refrigerator Night
Thurs: Black Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Roll
Fri: Chicken Lasagna Florentine with Garlic Bread
Sat: Date Night, Free Babysitter!
Sunday: Black Bean Soup requested by Mom
Monday: Hearty Beef and Noodles with a Raspberry Tart
Tues: She leaves so I am going to be depressed and not making dinner ;)

Now normally I only post Fri-Fri, but since I have it planned out while she is here I am posting until Tues. 
I have to link some of these recipes because they are delicious!

Black Bean Enchiladas by Sandra Lee Money Saving Meals!

Raspberry Tart is Divine!!!!!!

I hope you guys can try these recipes.  They are phenomenal.  Just a heads up the black bean enchiladas is a round 2 recipe from her Money Saving Meals.  I did not really think the 1st recipe black bean burgers would work.  They were kind of mushy, so I skipped that and used it all for the enchiladas.  I am glad I did, so delicious.  This dish is also easily frozen.
I hope you all have a wonderful week I know I will!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thrifty + Bonus Crockpot Recipe!

 I like to be thrifty sometimes.  I get a little chuckle when I know that I have saved us some money.  It's fun and rewarding.  Today I have made homemade chicken noodle soup.  I spent alot of time on it.  I started with a whole bird.  I have extra chicken for a really yummy chicken pot pie or chicken n dumplings now too.  I feel good when I have extra things in my freezer.  I also cut some extra celery and onions and put them in freezer bags for my soups in the winter.  It really didn't take me any extra time or dirty anymore dishes and it used up some veggies that might of fallen into the black hole.  I was already using those ingredients in my soup.  I also had some fresh cherry tomatoes from my garden that have been eyeballing me.  So I washed and froze them whole.  I read online that you can do that with small tomatoes.  Another thing I did is make an extra broth from the bones of my chicken.  Now you are probably thinking that is gross. Have any of you made it before? Let me know.  I have not tried it because it went in the freezer for my next batch of soup.  I read about bone broth in a book about fibromyalgia.  It said it is extremely healthy for you.  We shall see ;).  I baked banana bread today because some sad looking bananas were peeking at me.  And the last thing I did was make bread pudding.  I was a busy mom but did I forget to mention that my kids went back to school today.  Oh I forgot to mention that part earlier.  Sorry.  I did take my little pumpkin for a nice long walk today too.  What did you do today?  Did you tackle being thrifty just for the fun of it?  Let me know your ways of being thrifty.  Lets be the nifty thrifty's!

Here is a delicious crock pot recipe for you.  Take care!

Black Bean Soup with Crab and Andouille Sausage
Thanks, Robin Miller


2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound diced andouille sausage, I use kielbasa or polish sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper

2 cups lump crabmeat, picked for shells and cartilage
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


In a slow cooker, combine beans, broth, tomatoes, sausage, onion, celery, carrots, cumin, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Mix well. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crab and cilantro.

I do not add the crab.  This is a delicious soup without that addition. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Sept. 6

I can't believe it is here already, Labor Day.  Back to school in this neck of the woods this week too.  I have made an easy and inexpensive menu plan for this week.  Here it is....

Fri:  Pizza, bought from the store fresh.
Sat: Steaks and baked potatoes
Sun: Hamburgers and green beans
Mon: Hot dogs and gourmet potatoes with strawberry nilla dessert
Tues: Friendship casserole
Wed: Homemade chicken noodle soup and fresh baked bread
Thurs: CORN  clean out refrigerator night

I hope you guys have a wonderful blessed week.  Take care.....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Pot Sticker Soup

O.K. by now you are figuring out that I am all about yummy, quick and hopefully inexpensive meals.  Well here is another one that my family likes.  I know this is a soup and some of you think that is just for fall and winter, it is almost fall here guys!  Here it is:

Pot Sticker Soup

2 large boxed containers of chicken broth ( about 8 cups )
1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
1 small clove of minced fresh garlic
1 -2 TBSP soy sauce
1 bag of frozen pot stickers
Veggies:  this is your choice here.  Here are some suggestions if you want to add veggies
Celery, thin sliced carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts......

Boil the chicken broth then add in ginger, garlic and soy sauce.  If you are adding veggies the time for cooking them depends on when they will be tender.  So add them in and then account for the time of the pot stickers in your veggie total.  Look on your pot sticker bag and see how long it takes them to cook.  Normally I just boil them until they float.  The biggest time factor would be if you added carrots.  They would take longer.  Once your pot stickers float then the soup is done.  You could serve this with whole grain bread and butter.This is a 15 minute meal.  Hope you enjoy......

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week of August 27

Welcome everyone.  We sure have been busy around here trying to get ready for school in a week and a half.  Most of you have already been there and done that this year.  Our school starts later than I am used too.  This weeks meal plan is going to be easy.  I am also changing my menu to go from Fri-Thurs.  The easier the better in our household since we are going to start putting up all of the pool toys and get ready for fall.  It is getting a little chilly here in the evenings so I am sure we are going to close the pool in a week or two.  Hope you guys have a wonderful week and see you back here soon.

Menu Plan Monday

Friday: subs
Sat:  kids night in parents out, mac and cheese
Sunday: steaks and sweet potatoes
Monday:  chicken and broccoli
Tuesday: garlic bread sammies
Wed: spaghetti with homemade sauce
Thurs: terriyaki chicken and rice

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quick and Delicious Garlic Bread Subs

Good morning!  This is just such a perfect day!  The weather is wonderful and my family is happy. What more could you ask for?  I hope your day started out just like mine!
I am going through all of my recipes and making my menu plan and grocery list.  I asked my husband what he would like on the menu this week.  Luckily he said my garlic bread subs!  So easy and quick to prepare.  Here is the recipe......

Garlic Bread Subs

1 loaf of garlic bread from freezer or fresh
1 pkg of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. of butter
1 1b. roast beef from deli counter
6-8 slices of provolone, or your cheese preference

Preheat oven to 400.
Bake bread for about 8 minutes.
Saute mushrooms, garlic and onions in your butter until nice and soft.
Take bread out of oven and on each half press your mixture on top.  This is an open faced sandwich.  Now put your slices of meat and then top with your slices of cheese.  We like roast beef and provolone, but use your families favorites.  Now put it back in the oven until the cheese is melted and everything is nice and toasty.  Slice and enjoy.  Everyone in my family loves this.  For Roman I will just make a little section without the mushrooms.  This last time I used the garlic toasts in the freezer.  It worked good too. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grocery Budgeting

Here I am.  I got lost for a little bit, but I am back.  To tell you the truth the last 4 weeks have been very filled and I have been exhausted.  Hoping to get back to normal here for a while.  Lately I have been doing some cleaning and getting things ready for the start of the school year.  My kids don't go back to school until Sept 8.  Seems like we are all ready to get back in the school year groove.  The kids are missing there friends, who unfortunately go from one parent to the other at odd times.  So hard for them to keep in contact with them. 
We have also decided to start budgeting.   I know that we can do this.  Our money just flies out the door the minute that we get it, or else we spend it on junk.  Do you guys have that problem?  I would just love to know where are dollars are going.  We have decided to really hunker down and pay off some bills.  My main concern is how much I have for groceries.  It is really hard for me as a stay at home mom to not go to the store when I need something.  Fortunately and unfortunately I live about a block from Wegmans.  When I need milk I go to the store and come home with a bunch of other stuff that cost me about $20.  
Now I have a budget.  I need to really try and have all the food and paper goods that I need for 1 week.  Do you guys do a plan for 1 week or 2?  I know that for Menu Plan Monday I post for 1 week but really I write it out for 2 weeks.  I go to the store thinking that I will get most of what I need.  I don't.  I fail miserably.  Some days I (we) am not hungry for what I have on the plan.  I believe that if I started planning for just 1 week instead of the two it would be easier.?.  That way I could tell myself  " I can wait until Sunday for that particular item."   And I am going to also take the cash out of the account and put it in a envelope for groceries.  When I am out, I am OUT!   Think I can do it guys?  Any suggestions on grocery budgeting would be great.  Any great healthy meals would be awesome too!   Have an awesome Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homemade Cake Batter Ice Cream Recipe! YUM!

Let's just start off being honest here.  I have not made much ice cream.  I just always thought it was so much easier buying the containers at the store.  I have never been a huge fan of ice cream and the kind you buy at the grocery store is just not that great.  On the other hand I adore Coldstone Creamery's Ice Cream.  I just love the mud pie mojo.  Yum!  So I decided to start off small and make this cake batter ice cream.  It is creamy and decadent.  You could add all of the yummy stuff after you freeze it to have your own creamery concoction!  I am sure that you know buying your family ice cream at a creamery is going to cost about $5.00 per person.  No guilt here guys! This batch costs roughly around $3.50!  This is a win win scenario here people!  Just go now and make it, hurry up!

Cake Batter Ice Cream in a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 3/4 cups whole milk

3/4 - 1 cup of dry cake mix,  I used a yellow cake mix.

WHISK all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher or large bowl until blended, it still will look chunky at this point. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

POUR milk mixture into freezer container of a 1 -quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. If you like soft serve than this is for you, otherwise read on....
REMOVE container from ice-cream maker pour in a Tupperware container and place in freezer until firm, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: August 16th

I am back from vacation and we are not feeling up to par yet.  We have all been sick for the last week.  So this will be short and sweet.  Hope you all are having a fun summer. 

Amish Chicken and Steak with Baked Potatoes
Friendship Casserole
Bacon Onion and Tomato Sammies
Chicken Bombay with Rice
Hamburgers with Squash Casserole
Garlic Bread Sammies

My husband is on vacation this week so we are eating mostly cookout foods and summer favs.  I am going to be making ice cream this week with my ice cream maker.  I am trying out cake ice cream.  I will let you know how it goes.  Take care everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Freezing Fresh Corn

I worked on freezing 65 ears of fresh corn last Sat.  I first heard about freezing fresh corn from my sister-in-law Maile.  Her husbands family does this.  It sounded like such a fun and easy way to have great tasting corn in the yucky New York winter months.  I had arranged with a farmer's stand 2 weeks in advance to call me on Fri evening if they had 5 dozen ears left.  She did and I ran over.  I got 5  baker's dozen and they were delicious.  She cuts them every morning for her stand so I knew they were fresh.  It took me at most 1 hr to clean the corn.  1 hr to blanch the corn.  1 hr to cut and bag up the corn.  So at most this project took me 3 hrs.  Here are the basic directions.
1.  Clean the corn.
2.  Blanch the corn for about 5 minutes.  Different blogs or websites tell you diff times.  I felt that this was the right time for me and my corn ;)
3.  Cool.  I immediately placed them on some newspaper to soak up all the hot water and cool.
4.  Cut off the cob.  I used a big bowl and then put a measuring cup upside down in it.  I put the ear on the little cup and cut.  Most of the kernels fell into the big bowl.  I made sure to get the good stuff even some of the milk.
5.  Bag it up.  I put it in freezer bags.  Roughly 5 ears of cut corn in each bag.  I did throw in some diced red and yellow bell peppers into a few bags.
That was it.  I hope you get to try this sometime.  Can't wait to grab a bag when we have lots of snow and are really missing the tastes of summer.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Never Run Out of Gas!

OK folks.  I must admit that I was so close to running out of gas on the highway in the mountains on my way to NC.  You would of thought that I would of learned my lesson.  Oh no, not Kim.  I totally ran out of gas going to the store here in Charlotte today.  Totally ran out!  Here is the story.  We went to dinner and then decided to quickly go into this thrift store that my mother-in-law had heard about.  I had my father-in-law and my kids in the car watching a dvd.  All of a sudden here comes Caitlin and her cousin running in and telling me that I ran out of gas.  I just laughed and said no way.  Ha. Ha.  I went outside and it wouldn't start.  We rolled it to see if tilting it another way would start the car.  My idea guys.  Didn't work.  So Jim and I walked to the gas station.  As I am paying for the gas a sheriff comes in and looks at me all sweaty and knows that I am in trouble.  I ask him if he would give me a ride to my car, he only had room for 1.  So he takes me back to the van.  I put in the gas and it still won't start.  Jim comes up, my father-in-law from walking back from the gas station.  Tries to start it and another older man comes up all gruff and says "What is going on here folks?"  So I tell him and he looks at my 1 gallon gas can and laughs and says "that isn't going to cut it."  He says he will take us to get some more gas.  Jim is kind-of in his own world and doesn't really respond.  I feel weird because the guy grabs my gas can and Jim is doing his mechanic thing.  So I get in the truck WITH HIM............ So I know where the gas station is and he is not going to that one.  He says that he likes the one down another block.  I start to freak out a little.  Grab my purse tight and think how dumb I am.   So we do get to the gas station and I pay for the gas.  Get in the car and he is driving back.  I feel my pocket and realize that I have Kathy's cell phone.  It starts to ring....... It's Jim.  "Where are you?"  " We are on our way back to the parking lot."  He says they got the van started and they are looking for me at the gas station that we didn't go to.  The guys that is helping me is really persistent now and kind of gets gruff  "Where are they?  What gas station?  What? Which one?"  I felt really weird, but we get there.  I tell him "Thanks, and keep my can and the gas."
Needless to say my in-laws and my children were freaking out!  Kathy is all weepy and Jim is all huggy.  My kids are relieved.  I am just so feeling like I am just the biggest "dumb-ass" alive.  I just did something that I would NEVER want my kids to do.  I don't want to say too much on the guy.  I did feel weird.  He was very pushy and very lengthy in his stories.  You just don't ever know.  Was I extremely lucky that I got out of there in 1 piece?  You just never know.  But I do know this.... I sure did learn my lesson!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Caitlin's Amazing Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I just can't believe it. Really. My husband came home the other day with the cooking ds recipe game thingy. As you can tell I am not into all the lingo or the original names. ;) Caitlin just loved it and was so excited to start using it. We did not have much in the house because I was trying to be good about my meal plan, thus not going to the grocery store and satisfying my cravings. Needless to say we had all of the ingredients for Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread so she got to work. I am not kidding this bread was AMAZING. Better than the stuff you buy at the store. She really did it all by herself. Yeast bread mind you. Yeast bread. Ryan and I were just talking the other day how I can make great rolls, but I just can't get the yeast bread thing down. It always comes out cakey and not anything that you would want to toast and slather with butter and jelly. This was absolutely like that. I took a picture and am so proud of her. Thank you Caitlin for your amazing ability to bake bread.

As a side note on this game thingy. I made chocolate chip cookies last night for our trip. I am not a cookie maker. I just never thought I had it in me. I AM A COOKIE MAKER NOW! These were delicious.
I am leaving with the kids for a week or two. Hope you all have a wonderful week. I won't be so religious, I don't think, at posting every day during my trip.  Sometimes you just never know though.
Take care!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review on the Thai Chicken Curry

Here I am at 5 pm and I haven't even started dinner! I always start dinner before
5. I wanted to stick to my meals for this week. So I got my cookbook out Family Feasts for $75.00 a Week written by Mary Ostyn. This meal is start to finish 15 minutes. It is delicious. Nothing fancy mind you, but tons of taste. My husband really enjoyed this. I did not add the jalapenos to the whole skillet, I just served it as a garnish. They made a really nice kick to this though. I sent my husband out to pick one off of our jalapeno plants. Here is the recipe:

Thai Chicken Curry
serves 6

2 cups of canned or Homemade Coconut Milk
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in chunks
3 Tablespoons Thia Red Curry Paste
3 Tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce ( I used fish sauce )
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut in SMALL pieces

Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cut chicken in to chunks while you wait. Once coconut milk begins to simmer, add curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir. When mixture begins to boil add chicken. Takes about 10 minutes stirring every couple of minutes. Can speed cooking by placing a lid on pan.
Near the end of cooking add butter and jalapeno. Serve with rice.

You must serve this with rice. Delicious. I am telling you it took me 15 minutes to make this. You can't even go through the McDonalds drive thru that quick!
Hope you get to make this soon and let me know what you think.
As a side note I am really enjoying the cookbook that I mentioned earlier. It has a ton of really simple yet yummy meals and even gives you ways to make your own sauces and coconut milk. I picked mine up at Wegmans for maybe $10. Good read!

Serving at the Mission

Hello everyone. Last night I went to help at the Open Door Mission. I have always wanted to volunteer do something like this. Well the time had come and my hubby was home to watch the kiddos. So I signed up on Sunday. I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew that this was something I needed to do. So I met everyone at the Wegmans parking lot and we carpooled to downtown Rochester. The others that went were trying to give me some pointers on what to expect. That helped tremendously, I just wished they had told me prior to dress lightly. ;) Anyway, we walked in and there was about 74 men there. The first part of the night while the men were gathering we started to prepare the salad. It was nice to visit with the other volunteers and get ourselves ready to serve. It was a very small kitchen for all of us in it. We had very few good utensils to cut with and only 1 big cutting board and 1 very small one. We sadly had to go through a bunch of older veggies. Cut out the bad parts and try to use what we could. Lettuce was the worst part. Luckily it turned out to be a very decent looking salad. Then they started the sermon and a few hymns. The sermon was good. The songs were just very old hymns that we used to sing back in the day. One thing I wish is that they had more upbeat, ALIVE, music there. I was told that it is the same music every time we volunteer, which is once a month. During the sermon we had to prepare the food and get ready to serve. Now, one criteria is that they must be sitting down to get served. Otherwise, I am told, they will come and just stuff it in there pockets. That really got me thinking about how much I take food for granted. So they rushed to get there seats, Rushed..... We started serving them the salad and their drink of bottled Pepsi. While they were eating that we started getting their dinner on the plates to pass out. It consisted of ziti with meatballs, collard greens, a little bit of squash. Once they were done we called for seconds. Some had containers that we could put the seconds into. There was no desserts for them that night.
This was a bittersweet experience for me. I felt that at least there are some organizations that will help our neighbors who are hungry. There are people out there who want to help too. It felt nice. It wasn't so nice to see how hungry they were. I just wish there was more that we could do. It is hard to think that alot of people help out children in another country, which is an awesome thing to do, but forget the ones here. Right in front of us. Our friends, our neighbors needing help. I also learned that when I don't have that one thing I am craving for it is no big deal. We don't need crazy snacks around our kitchen. The basics are ok. My hope is to bring my daughter after a while to see what it is like. To teach her that other people go through hard times, have less and just need a kind smile. This is a long post. I just needed to get this off my chest. Thanks for lending your ears......

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fresh Vegetable Soup Recipe

This is a wonderful recipe to use up all of the veggies you have just laying in the back of your crisper drawer. You know what I mean, all the stuff you just throw out at the end of the week. Well, now you can make a wonderful soup with it.

Fresh Vegetable Soup:

1tsp of oil
4 potatoes peeled and cubed (for some variety why not use a sweet potato too?)
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 onion diced
1 massively large zucchini or 2-3 small ones
3 carrots diced
1/2 cup of leftover, fresh is best, corn

(Now here is where you can add what you like or whatever is about ready to go to the compost bin. Ideas would be yellow squash, tomato, peppers, herbs. Anything goes.)

1-2 small cans of tomato sauce ( if you only have tomato paste then just dilute it )
salt and pepper to your taste
3-4 Tbsp of SPIKE
Once off the heat add 1/2 cup of evaporated milk for creaminess.
Saute onions, garlic, potatoes until potatoes have a nice brown look. Crispy looking. Add carrot and cook 4 more minutes. Now add in zucchini and corn and any other veggies you are adding here. Stir to coat with all the goodies and then add the tomato sauce. Then add as much water as you want. If you want a thick soup don't add so much. I believe I add about 4 cups. Now season. I must say that the SPIKE seasoning is wonderful in this. It just really makes it taste great. If you don't have it then just season with whatever you like. Now let cook on medium until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Pull off heat and add evaporated milk. That is it. So easy and so delicious.

I hope this finds you well and helps you actually use up some of the fresh veggies you bought. Take care friends....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caitlin's 10th birthday! Wow!

As I am typing this I feel such a difference of emotions. My daughter is turning 10! I just can't believe it. I feel very blessed to have her in my life. She is such an amazing daughter, so loving and sensitive. I am so glad that God chose me to be her mother. But, on the other hand I can't help but feel a little sad. She is closer to leaving the house for college, or whatever her heart desires, than being my first infant. I was so nervous to have a child. What am I talking about, I still am. She has been the child that we have learned through. You know what I mean, she was and is our trial and error child. So sad that it is that way, but honestly that is just the way it is. You learn through your children what works and what doesn't and then that passes on to your next child, and your next. Anyway I digress. I am so proud of the lady that she is becoming and so proud of the child that she has been. I couldn't imagine my life without her in it. She is wanting to go out to eat and have someone sing to her. I really just hope that in the years to come, I can be a blessing to her life as much as she is to mine. Happy Birthday Caitlin!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday!

Here it is, the infamous menu plan. Ha! I just know that you all have been waiting patiently. I am giggling as I write this. I have been trying to think of a daily meal that we will enjoy. As I write out this I will not be putting days on here. My goal is for my family to eat all of the meals each week. We have to be hungry for what we are eating so I will make that assumption each day. Another goal is for us to eat out at MOST 2 times per pay period. This is a big stretch for us. We always seem to find a way to eat out...ALWAYS.... On days that my husband will not be home for dinner or will be on trips I will put that. You would probably be able to tell though. ;) We don't normally eat mac and cheese or C.O.R.N. for dinner when he is home. As I said in my prior post I bought a bunch of chicken Fri. so I am trying to incorporate this in to the meal plan. We will be out of town the following week so I must use up some things. I will post this meal plan, but the following week I will not be posting one. If my mother-in-law who has invited us to her house for the week wants to she may post one on my blog. We shall see. Now without further ado............Still laughing..........

Amish BBQ Chicken with Fresh Corn
Pesto Chicken with Linguine
Thai Chicken Curry with Rice
Steaks with Fresh Corn and Salad
Homemade Vegetable Soup with Homemade Rolls
Hubby's Gone: CORN _Clean_Out_Refrigerator_Night
Caitlin's 10th bday: Her choice, will post when she decides!

I hope you all have a wonderful week. If you are doing your own menu plan good luck and let me know how it goes for you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pre Menu Plan Monday

I have done menu plans before. Yes, I have. I have not always stuck with them, but they have been on my fridge. They are a good reminder of why I bought certain things. Now that I have publicly said that I am posting on Organizing Junkies Menu Plan Monday it puts a little pressure on me. I know that I went to Walmart today. I did say Walmart. I can't believe that I am saying Walmart. I have not been there in about 4-5 months. It is just too much for me. With my 3 kids in tow I thought I could do it. I couldn't. I know there are alot of people that love Walmart. I just can't do it. More power to you if you can. Anyway. I bought a big pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts along with some chicken quarters. I love chicken quarters on the grill. Yum. So I know that I am OK for next week. I might have to buy a few things here and there to fulfill my menu plan, but I think I am good. Now I must sit and write down everything and plan out my week. We do have a very special event on Tues. My daughter is turning 10! So that will be her pick. Hope you guys plug in on Monday for my plan. Have a wonderful weekend and see you back on Monday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zucchini, that tastes like an oatmeal cookie, Muffin Recipe

Thursday's I have my friends over for a bible study. It is a great opportunity to talk to others and just realign myself for the weekend. I made some yummy zucchini bread. I know you guys are thinking enough with the zucchini already! Sorry I just have to use up some. Well this is supposed to be a zucchini bread, but I made 1/2 the batch into muffins. I must say that my muffins were over filled. I could not serve them to my friends, never! So my family snacked on them and everyone loved them. I gave my friends slices of the bread to take home and enjoy. I must suggest that you make them as zucchini muffins. They were fabulous. Don't overfill though.
This tastes like an oatmeal cookie!
Yes, an oatmeal cookie!
Should I say it again?
Nope, I think you got the point.

Here is the zucchini, that tastes like an oatmeal cookie, muffin recipe....

Makes 24+ muffins

Preheat oven to 325

3 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup walnuts

Grease muffin tins.
Combine dry ingredients, not sugar, set aside.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together. Add dry ingredients slowly and cream together. Now stir in zucchini and nuts.
Please only fill 1/3 way full. If you tend to always do your own thing when following a recipe don't fill more than 1/2 full. Please, for the sake of your muffin tin.
Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. These do sink a tiny bit in the middle. Cool on wire rack, wait a minute just go ahead and attack them fast. Before the little kids come and get them all!

Frugality: Aldi's, Ingredient Re-Runs and the Infamous Eating Out!

Frugality. That is a really hard thing to wrap your mind around. I have researched it for quite a while. I have tried diff ways for us to save money. Some failed and some passed. Here are some ideas that work for us.
Sometimes I try so hard to be frugal and out the window it goes. If I am too frugal with my meals my husband will come home and say "yuck lets go out to dinner!" That is frustrating sometimes, but I must say that I kind of agree with him. If we are not eating what we enjoy then my frugal attempts are worth nothing. 1 meal out, even at Chipotles, will cost us $40.00 for a family of 5. That is way too much. I want to be a good stewardess of our money and home life. That is important to me. I am going to tell you some of the ways that I think are important to be frugal.
Here in Rochester the price of groceries is crazy. I noticed a complete difference when I came back from vacation. We have Wegmans, which is very nice. Topps, so so.. Aldis, awesome but you really can't buy everything there. I just have to be mindful of making a list for my groceries. I try to stay on my list with just a few add-ons. It is hard. Some frugal blogs have a list of prices from diff stores. Wow I commend you. I just don't have the time or patience. I wish I did. Maybe as I get more into this endeavor I will reach that point. My memory just helps me here. One good thing about Aldis is that they are starting to carry more items. I went the other day to Wegmans wanting to buy a can of particular beans. I was going to Aldi's next but did not think they would carry them. I bought them at Wegmans and went to Aldi's and there was the beans for 1/2 the price. I was bummed. So I mentally noted on the rest of my trip what different things they had. It used to be you would go to Aldi's to get your basics. Not anymore friends. If you don't have an Aldi's then just being deligent on making a menu for the week will help. Make a snack, baking, breakfast, lunch and dinner list for you. Then you know what you need to do and what you have to eat.
My next frugal attempt is too make sure I do an ingredient re-run. I like to buy meats that I am going to use at least 3 times a week. Like tonight we are having Beach Shrimp with Coconut Rice and Black Beans. Delicious. I am not going to use a whole big bag of shrimp tonight. So I planned to have Shrimp Pad Thai another night. It is cheaper to buy a big bag of shrimp then a small bag, right. This is a Delicious recipe but alot of the ingredients are in other dishes I am making this week. That saves me money.
In this household we don't like to eat mexican every night. I try and make a diff type of meal each week. I will get bored as the cook and my family will get bored eating it. Then we would run out to eat. Not good for at least $40.00 a pop. Think of that, if we eat out 2x a week that is $80.00 Wow. I could get alot of good food at the grocery store for that amount. We are starting to just eat out 1 dinner a week. Keep me accountable people. This is a hard one for us. We like to eat out, but we would like to pay off some bills too. I wouldn't mind being frugal for a year to be free from debt. Is this why you are trying to be frugal? Is it a necessity? I just think if we work on this endeavor together we can do great things. If you have a good frugal way you save money at home let me know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Gift of Zucchini

Good morning everyone! It has been a crazy fun filled week here. We are back from Paradise PA. It was Paradise! Pardon the pun. I just started this blog and have not even picked a name for it. If you have any cool suggestions please let me know. While I was in PA at my sister-in-laws house, Maile, she gave me quite a few zucchini. I brought them home and lo and behold, my zucchini crop has grown crazy.... I knew that I needed to use these up and that I had hardly any food in the freezer or fridge. So here is the recipe that I came up with and that my family enjoyed.

Zucchini and Sausage Kaisers

1 extremely lg zucchini, cut up in chunks
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pkg of Portuguese sausage, or is substituting kielbasa or smoked sausage
1 cup of marinara sauce
1/4 cup of parm
6-8 good kaiser rolls

Preheat oven to 350.
Get out your nice saute pan and turn the heat on medium. Add 1 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Cut up in nice chunks your giant zucchini and add to the glorious garlic. Salt and pepper here guys. You can't forget to season...Saute for about 15minutes stirring occasionally. Now sprinkle in your crushed red pepper. I like to press them into my hand before sprinkling them in to release there oils. While this is bubbling away cut up your sausage into thin slices and drop them in. Cook until completely done and then drain any extra oil or zucchini juices out of your pan. This is your choice right now, add in the the marinara sauce now or fill your kaisers and then put 1 TBSP of marinara on each one. See I give you choices. Now go get your tin foil and cut off 6-8 squares. Cut your kaiser rolls in half and start putting the filling in. Make sure you have decided on the method of marinara. Then on top of your filling sprinkle however much parm on it and place the top of the roll on it. Wrap in tinfoil and place in oven for 10 minutes at the most, you are just warming this folks. Everything is cooked already. My children thought this was good as well as my vegetable picky husband. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Now onto my day as a stay at home mother of 3 wonderfully wacky children. I hear my laundry and ironing calling me. If I am not back on with a new post tomorrow please send the rescue squad. Also look for next Monday's post. I am going to start joining Menu Plan Monday with recipes.... Take care everyone.