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.