April 30, 2010

Homemade Crackers

I haven't tried these yet but have a few friends who have and they love them. I have a busy next couple of weeks. More birthday celebrations and the oldest three girlies have dance recital practices all next week with three performances. Then Mother's Day/2 year old birthday celebration here. I'll breath a sigh of relief when the next week is over! I plan on making these some time after crazy week!

I think I found a new favorite blog to read. Gumbo-Lily.blogspot.com Unlike myself, she actually made these! I was going to type it all out and since it's the beginning of a crazy week and then some and I have other posts that I want to share with you this week I'm going to send you over to her for the recipe here. Tell her Carmen at Old House Kitchen sent you!

*that's her pic by the way!!

April 29, 2010

Queen (or King) of the Castle: Intro (Week 17)

I have a few gentlemen readers...hence the title. ; ) Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse suggested a book the I've been reading. I thought I'd share it with you!

Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker is written by Lynn Bowen Walker. "When Lynn began searching for a general book of family and homemaking tips, she quickly discovered that while there were hundreds of titles on meal-planning, organizing, decorating and parenting, there was no ONE book that acknowledged her job included literally zillions of tasks. And like every woman with a family, she didn't have time to read more than one either. ... So she wrote the book herself!" -- back cover quote
I thought I'd take you through, week by week with a glimpse of each chapter. Since it's not January we're not starting at the beginning of the book, but that's o.k., I hope you'll get a lot out of the bits and pieces that I share with you. I also hope that you'll check this book out yourself. You can purchase it here or borrow it from your local library.

We're starting on week 17 because it's week 17 of the year. Can you believe it?! Wasn't I just packing away all the Christmas decorations just yesterday? Wasn't I just relishing the fact that I had all lazy winter long to get some crafting done? Wasn't I just...well I digress...you get the idea. Time flies when you're having fun and I am having fun with my family at the Old House Kitchen. Anywho...where were we? Right. Week 17...

"So You're a Sidetracked Home Executive?" is the title of week 17. This week we are to focus on getting back on track. Years ago when we didn't have any children I was o.k. at organization. As we increased our family size my abilities to organize and maintain peace and order in the home had to increase or we were going to crash and burn! Lynn gives you ideas of places to seek help in the organization process. From the Flylady to The Messies Manual to the Sidetracked Home Executive sisters Pam and Peggy you'll find ideas for "help".

She also offers ideas for clearing the clutter from your home. The favorite and most used around our home is the Three-Bag Method. Work room by room, sorting what you find into bags or boxes marked "throw away", "give away", and "put away". Set the time and work for thirty minutes at a time. (I work until a room is clean so I can cross it off my to-do list!). When the timer goes off, the throw-aways go straight into the garbage, the give-aways go straight to the car for delivery to the nearest Goodwill (or to someone you know who needs it and you will see in the next few days), and the put-aways go back where they belong (books to the bookshelf, toys to the toybox, etc.).

It may take baby steps to get your house decluttered but you will be so happy that you did it!

Lynn ends this chapter with a prayer and a verse. "There is an appointed time for everything. An there is a time for every event under heaven. ... A time to keep and a time to throw away." (Ecclesiastes 3:1,6)

Next week I'll share tidbits from the next chapter!

April 28, 2010

Apple Puff Pancakes

This is yet another Gooseberry Patch recipe!! I just love Gooseberry Patch! Can't you tell? This is more of a desserty addition (yes, I just said desserty!) to our breakfast dinners that we have regularly. It's in the Farmhouse Christmas cookbook, the very first GBP book I ever bought! Again...love it!!

Apple Puff Pancakes

6 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 c. all purpose flour
3 T. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter (the recipe calls for margarine but we use butter)
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 to 3 T. brown sugar
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In blender, mix eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon until blended; set aside. Pour margarine into a 13"x9" pan and add apple slices evenly to the dish. Return to oven until butter sizzles. Do not let apples brown. Pour batter over apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake on the middle oven rack at 425 for 20 minutes or until puffed and brown. Dust with powdered sugar to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 6-8 servings. (Fed our family of 10 fine as a side dish.)


April 27, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Odds and Ends

I thought I would share with you a few odds and ends of kitchen-y tips that work for me at the Old House Kitchen.

If you over-salt your soup, drop in a peeled potato.
The potato will absorb the excess salt.

To clean crevices and corners in vases and pitchers, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. The bubbles will do the scrubbing. When I was a teen and wore a retainer, that's what the orthodontist recommended I use to clean my retainer.

To remove a splinter that you know is there but just can't see. Put a piece of packing tape on the area and then pull it off to remove the splinter.

If two glasses become stuck together after stacking... Put ice inside the inner glass and dip the outer glass in warm water. The warm glass will expand and the cold glass will contract. Voila!

To help old wooden drawers (without runners) open and close better... rub a candle or bar of ivory soap on the tracks.

*picture from stowstudio.com

April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of April 26

Monday (April 26)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrots, apples
Dinner: Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (we didn't have it last week --again!), bow tie pasta, Potato Skins, salad, rolls

Tuesday (April 27)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over chicken in sandwiches
Dinner: Pancakes, Sausage Rolls, Baked Eggs, fruit

(April 28)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: breakfast food leftovers
Dinner: tacos, refried beans, carrots, apples, tortilla chips

Thursday (April 29)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over tacos, carrots, chips (or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner: It's Noah's birthday (he'll be 13 -- eek!) so it'll be his pick!

Friday (April 30)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Grilled cheese or left overs?
Dinner: We'll be celebrating Noah's birthday with the grandparents and a friend of his. Pizza, of course! : )

Saturday (May 1) -- my Mom's 68th birthday!
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, Potato Skins, corn on the cob (couldn't do that last week because of rain)

Sunday (May 2)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: chicken sandwiches, chips, fruit salad, veggies and dip
Dinner: clean out the fridge night!!

April 25, 2010

Birthday's Galore!!!

Friday was our middle kiddo's birthday and today is my husband's birthday! We have about 3 more birthdays to go in the next few weeks! Phew! Here are some pictures I thought I'd share with you! : )

Isaac is now 8 years old. Seems like yesterday he was 1 1/2 and sitting at the campground in northern Wisconsin eating red clay dirt -- loving every minute of it!

This is me and my honey. This was taken almost 3 years ago...I think it's time for an updated picture of us together, don't you think? I was pregnant with Abby in this picture. I can tell I didn't feel too great.
I love him so much! We were high school sweethearts. We got married while we were still in college and enjoyed every minute of it! My grades actually improved after we married! He's a loving and caring husband and a wonderful father! He's so hard working and his abilities never cease to amaze me. He's an awesome teacher and pastor. I'm so thankful for his love of Jesus! I am very blessed!

April 24, 2010

Everything Cookies!

My cousin made these for a Christmas gathering and they were YUMMY!!! She gave me this recipe from her friend and I promised to give her the props so... Suzi Stokell ...thank you very much!! : )

Everything Cookies

1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 c. butter (softened)
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. smooth peanut butter
2 c. quick oats
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag peanut butter chips
1 bag Heath bit o' brickle

Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter and mix well.

Add dry ingredients and oats and stir. Mixture will be very stiff. Add chips. Drop by globs. Yes, that's a technical term! ; )

Bake at 350 for 10 min.

Let cool on cookie sheet 1 to 2 min. before putting on rack.


April 23, 2010

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Another yummy recipe from Gooseberry Patch. I've made the same type of pizza off the cuff before and it's so yummy. Here's their recipe for it!

13.8 oz. tube refrigerated pizza dough (I use my homemade dough.)

2/3 cup barbecue sauce (We like Kraft original bbq sauce.)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips (I use chicken made this way.)

8 oz. package shredded mozzarella cheese (I use some colby-jack, too.)

1/2 c. green onions, chopped (I omitted this.)

Spray a baking sheet with no sides with non-stick veg. spray; roll dough into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread sauce over dough; arrange cooked chicken strips on top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Spray cold grill with non-stick veg. spray; preheat grill to medium-low heat (275 - 325 degrees). Place baking sheet on grill; grill, covered, 3 minutes or until dough begins to set (no longer doughy). Slide dough onto grill and continue grilling, covered, 10 more minutes. Use baking sheet to remove pizza from grill; sprinkle with green onions. Slice into squares. Serves 4.

*Obviously we need more than this amount to feed our large family. And since we need more I bake it in the oven instead of grill it. But...I have to say that grilling it sounds sooo yummy!

April 22, 2010

We Have a Winner!

The winner of the Mom's Busy Bible and Spiced Chai giveaway is...

Miss Liz!


E-mail me at c a r m e n @ c h r i s t i a n . n e t so I know where to send it!

Thanks to all who entered!

Chicken Chimies

This is a new recipe from Gooseberry Patch's latest bookazine. It's a magazine but without ads. Love that!

Chicken Chimies

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste
1 T. butter
10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
8 oz. pkg. shredded Monteray Jack cheese
6 green onions (I used a some chives from the herb garden.)
1 T. vegetable oil
Toppings: sour cream, guacamole (wouldn't use that...the kids hate it), salsa
Optional: lettuce leaves

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and saute about 3 minutes.

Spoon chicken evenly onto tortillas. Top with cheese and green onions (or chives or sprinkle some onion powder); fold up sides and roll up, burrito-style. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add rolled-up tortillas and saute until golden. Serve with your choice of toppings and over lettuce leaves, if desired. Serves 6-8. (We doubled it for us.)

We served these with tortilla chips, mexican rice, refried beans, sour cream. Deeelish!!!

April 21, 2010

Don't Forget...

...to enter in the GIVEAWAY going on until 9:00 PM, EST tonight!!

Yummy Pretzel Recipe

A friend passed this on to me a long time ago and my kiddos have enjoyed making these yummy pretzels.

Pretzel Recipe

4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (Active Dry) -- or 1 packet
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T baking soda
Coarse salt

In a mixer mix 1 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1 1/2 cups very warm water. Beat 3 minutes at medium. Gradually add the rest of the flour. Turn out onto floured board (I use my counter top) and knead 5 min.. Place in a greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover, let rise 45 minutes to an hour. Punch down, turn out onto board. Roll pieces of dough out into ropes and then pretzel shapes. Cover, and let rise on floured board for 30 minutes. Boil 1 quart water and the baking soda in a skillet. Put each pretzel in the water and simmer 20 seconds. Place on well greased cookie sheet, salt and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.

When they come out brush them with melted butter and add whatever toppings you choose. Some ideas are parmesan and garlic or cinnamon and sugar. You can dip the pretzels in cheese dip or make this dip with cream cheese:

Cream Cheese Pretzel Dip
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons butter

Blend well together and serve with cinnamon & sugar pretzels. Yum!


April 20, 2010

Pasta Machine Giveaway!

Go visit The Happy Housewife to enter for a pasta machine!

Don't Forget...

...to enter in the GIVEAWAY going on until 9:00 PM, EST Wednesday.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: My Favorite Things

There are a few things in my kitchen that I could never live without. I thought I would share them with you.

My KitchenAid stand mixer is a must! It's always out on my counter ready for whatever I need to whip up. Usually my Sour Cream Blueberry Bread and my French Toast mix!

I use several Pampered Chef items on a regular basis...the apple corer/wedger...the chopper...the large scooper (for my muffins!).

I could not live without my rolling pins for pie crust! I have one that was our wedding gift and one that was my mom and dad's wedding gift. They both sit in special places around the kitchen...within reach to use, but prettying up the kitchen as well!

Another must have are my many crock pots!! I have several small, a few medium, and a large one that is perfect for double batches of Creamy Chicken & Stuffing, Easy Peasy Chops, or Chicken & Rice Soup.

I also can't live without our extra refrigerator and freezers. They are so helpful for stocking up on frozen foods, meats, dairy, etc. And since they are kept in the basement where it is generally cooler it helps on the electricity bill!

Those are some of my favorite things! I would love to hear what yours are! I posted that question on FaceBook a while back and enjoyed reading the comments. I love to read comments here, too! Please share with us what your favorite kitchen item is...something you can't live without!


April 19, 2010

Don't Forget...

...to enter in the GIVEAWAY going on until 9:00 PM, EST Wednesday.

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of April 19

Monday (April 19)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrots, apples
Dinner: Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (we didn't have it last week --tweaking again!), bow tie pasta, Potato Skins, salad, rolls

Tuesday (April 20)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: breakfast food leftovers
Dinner: BBQ Chicken Pizza, chips, fruit

(April 21) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: breakfast food leftovers
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, carrots, apples, pretzels, cheese and crackers

Thursday (April 22)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over sloppy joes, carrots, chips (or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner: Chicken Chimmies, mexican rice, chips, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Friday (April 23)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Grilled cheese or left overs?
Dinner: Order Pizza? It's our smack-dab in the middle child's 8th birthday...

Saturday (April 24)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, Potato Skins, corn on the cob

Sunday (April 25)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Sandwiches?
Dinner: Not sure...it's hubby's birthday! It's up to him!

April 18, 2010

Don't Forget...

...to enter in the GIVEAWAY going on until 9:00 PM, EST Wednesday.

My Daffy Little Daffodil

The daffodils were a bloomin' last week around the Old House Kitchen.
Again...I give to you pictures of my youngest cutie-patootie!

Have a beautifully bloomin' Sunday!

April 17, 2010

100th Blog Post Giveaway!

In celebration of hitting the 100th blog post I thought I'd give away a little sumpin' sumpin'...

*1 Busy Mom's Bible
(Includes one-minute Thought-Starters the let you dip into God's Word for a minute of refreshment. ... along with five-minute and ten-minute studies to help you learn more about God's Word. Pretty pink leather cover and in a box. Perfect for yourself or for gift giving.)
*1 package of my very favorite spiced Chai in the whole wide world (To enjoy while reading your new Bible.)

You can enter as follows:

  • 1 entry for commenting on this post (i.e.."Enter me please -- Jane from Omaha, NE")
  • 1 entry for being a fan on FaceBook and leaving a comment here about it -- If you're already a fan just let me know. (i.e. "I'm a fan on FB -- Jane from Omaha, NE")
  • 1 entry for blogging and linking about this on your blog and leaving a comment here about it-- please leave the link so we can visit! (i.e. "I just posted about this giveaway on my blog here XYZ.Blog -- Jane from Omaha, NE")

** Please post each comment entry individually!**
We need to be as helpful as possible to the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche

Drawing begins now and ends at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, EST. I'll let ya'll know Thursday who the winner is!

April 16, 2010

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER!!

I found this many years ago, of all places, on the back of a store brand bag of chocolate chips! These cookies bake so moist and chewy. My family loves them and pretty much eat them as they come off the cooling rack! Even when they've been in a container for a few days they are still scrumptious!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture mixing until blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons (I use the P. Chef medium scoop) on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen 3" cookies.


April 15, 2010

Creamy Fruit Dip

Since Meijer has a great sale on strawberries this week we are eating lots of strawberries. We LOVE strawberries (or any fruit for that matter) with this fruit dip! It's soooo yummy! Enjoy!

Creamy Fruit Dip
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
8 oz. Cool Whip
2 c. confectioners' sugar (or 1 cup granulated sugar) -- or 1/2 cup or so of pure cane sugar

Blend together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in Cool Whip. You can also add a little almond extract or vanilla extract if you wish. Enjoy!

*image from http://janabouc.wordpress.com

April 14, 2010

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

I found this recipe in a magazine a few years ago.  We love it! Perfect for grilling weather! I've tweaked it to suit our family size.

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lbs.) -- I butterfly them or trim them into smaller pieces.
1/2 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, divided
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella Cheese
2 tsp. dried basil

Heat your grill to medium heat. Cover half of the grill grate with a sheet of heavy-duty foil (don't use the el cheapo...bad things happen!). Place the chicken in a large baggie along with 1/4 cup of the dressing; seal the bag. Massage the bag to evenly coat. Refrigerate it for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and discard the bag with the dressing. (Icky!) Place the chicken on the uncovered side of the grill and cover with the lid. Grill about 6-8 minutes. While that's cooking combine the remaining dressing (the fresh stuff...not from the bag...eew!), tomatoes, cheese and basil. Turn the chicken over onto the foil. Top with the tomato mixture. Cover (with the lid) and grill 8 more minutes or until the chicken is done.

We serve this with garlic bread, bow tie pasta, some corn on the cob and some steamed or grilled veggies. I warm up a little bit of the dressing (again...the fresh stuff!) if anyone wants to toss it with their pasta. Enjoy!

April 13, 2010

An Interview!

I was e-mailed from BlogInterviewer.com and asked to answer a few questions about my blog. Go HERE to read it!

I Couldn't Have Said it Better!

Aunt Ruthie over at Sugar Pie Farmhouse has a great post HERE on spring cleaning; our home and our hearts. She shares some beautiful pictures of her home and some wonderful insight. You'll want to read alllll the way to the bottom! Enjoy!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Spring Cleaning

I thought I would share with you my spring cleaning list. It seems to be a theme in the 'ol blogosphere lately. I'll list it just like I have it in my computer. If you want to copy and paste it and make your own tweaked version, feel free! I try to get the items done with-in two weeks. Usually I start in March before our crazy month of April begins but this year April kind of caught me by surprise. I started last week. I also have to add that there are several items on the list that (thanks to the Motivated Moms planner) I do more like monthly or weekly. Those items are on the list just to add to the overall completeness of a cleaned room. Make sense? So...go ahead...clean something! : )

declutter room
clean ceiling fan
wash bedding/turn matress
vacuum corners/ceiling (closet)
vacuum valances
clean closets
clean off and dust furniture
vacuum under bed and furniture, baseboards
vacuum lamp shades
wash windows
vacuum floor
wash marks from walls

GIRL'S & BOY'S BEDROOM (I make a separate list for checking-off purposes.)
declutter room
clean ceiling fan
wash bedding/ turn matress
vacuum corners/ceiling (closet)
vacuum valances
clean closets
clean off and dust furniture
vacuum under bed and furniture, baseboards
vacuum lamp shades
wash windows
vacuum floor
wash marks from walls

vacuum ceiling and corners
wash lights
dust pictures
vacuum hampers, baseboards
vacuum floor and landing
wash walls

declutter room
vacuum ceiling and corners
vacuum valances
wash lights
wash window
wash walls
wash rug and decorative towels
scrub tub
vacuum floor edges and baseboards
scrub floor

declutter room
clean light
vacuum corners/ceiling
dust greenery
wash windows
clean china cabinet
dust mantle, bakers rack and piano
vacuum lamp shade
vacuum floor/ baseboards
spot mop

declutter roomclean light/ceiling fan
vacuum corners/ceiling
vacuum valances
dust hutches and desks
wash windows
vacuum floor and baseboards
wash walls

declutter room
clean light/ceiling fan
vacuum corners/ceiling
vacuum valances
vacuum lampshades
dust bookshelves
clean out armoire
dust top of armoire
dust lamp/ stand
wash slipcover
vacuum recliner
vacuum couch
wash rocking chair
vacuum in bench
wash quilts
sort through magazine rack
wash walls where needed

declutter counters
clean light/ceiling fan
vacuum corners/ceiling
vacuum valances
wash cupboards
wipe down appliances
clean out fridge
clean top of fridge
clean mixer
organize appliance cupboards
organize container cupboards
organize food cupboards
organize dish cupboards
clean through drawers
clean microwave
clean cookbook shelf
clean shelves by window
wash trim
wash walls where needed

vacuum ceiling and corners
sort through drawers
wash sink, toilet
scrub tub
vacuum corners/baseboards/floor
scrub floor

vacuum ceiling/corners/lights
dust cabinet
vacuum hamper tops
wash cabinet and walls/trim
sweep and scrub floor

declutter room
vacuum light, ceiling, corners
vacuum top of cabinet and walls
vacuum floor edges and around appliances
wash walls
wash appliances off

clean out the pantry
vacuum floor under shelf
clean shelves
vacuum curtain

vacuum ceiling corners and corners
clean ceiling fan/light
clean off cabinets and dust/wash
vacuum futon
vacuum recliner
vacuum under furniture
vacuum corners and floor
clean out game cabinet and organize
clean out art cabinet and organize
clean off bookshelf, dust and organize
wash windows
wash wall spots

clean ceiling fan/light
sort through coats
sort through shoes
vacuum corners/cobwebs
sweep and mop
wash windows

April 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of April 12

I have to let you in on a secret... I rarely stick 100% to the menu. I know...how horrible! I tweak the menu here and there...I switch nights, etc. You all probably think I serve the Parmesan Crusted Chicken every week! I think I've had it on the menu for three weeks now and never got to fixing it! I finally made it last week so you needn't worry about it being on here this week! Since my personal shopper (hee hee) was on spring break last week we didn't do much grocery shopping so we kind of just went with what we had on hand. Let's see if I can stick to the menu this week, shall we? Then again, I just received Gooseberry Patch's "Our Best Quick & Easy Recipes" filled with lots of yummy recipes that I plan on sharing with you! So I just might be tweaking the menu once again!

(April 12)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrots, apples
Dinner: pancakes, Bake Eggs (with bacon), Cherry Cheese Braid, Sausage Gravy and Biscuits (I know this is a lot of food, but my plan is to make enough that there is plenty for a couple of day's worth of lunches.)

Tuesday (April 13)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: breakfast food leftovers
Dinner: Taco Soup (recipe forthcoming)

(April 14) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: breakfast food leftovers
Dinner: tacos, refried beans, sour cream, chips, carrots

Thursday (April 15)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over tacos, carrots, chips(or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner: Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (recipe coming Wednesday), bow tie pasta, Potato Skins, salad, rolls

Friday (April 16)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Grilled cheese or left overs?

Saturday (April 17)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches, chips, carrots, fruit salad

Sunday (April 18)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Easy Peasy Chops, smashed potatoes, veggies, rolls
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!

April 11, 2010

Easter in Pictures

Here are a few pictures from our Easter weekend...

We had a little bit of rain and then this pretty rainbow appeared!
Wonderful reminder of God's promises!

We had fun making Resurrection Rolls!
Abby enjoyed eating the marshmallows more!

They really were hollow inside!

Abby's Resurrection Egg was an empty reminder that He is risen!!!

April 10, 2010

Mandarin Orange-Pineapple Cake

My mother-in-law makes this cake! It is sooo yummy!

Mandarin Orange-Pineapple Cake

1 yellow cake mix
3/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1 small can mandarin oranges with juice

Combine cake ingredients. Bake in two 9-inch round pans at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When cool, cut into 4 layers using dental floss.

16 oz. Cool Whip
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice

Fold together icing ingredients. Ice cake layers and stack. Tastes best if this cake sets for 24 hours before serving.

*Note: My mother-in-law bakes it in a 9x13 cake pan. Super easy -- the way I like it!

April 9, 2010

Potato Skins

This is an appetizer that I make a lot with grilled hamburgers! I make it in the oven, but I suppose you could try it on the grill in a pan?

Potato Skins

12 medium baking potatoes (I use russet or Idaho)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
garlic powder
bacon bits!

Scrub clean and prick potatoes. Microwave on a plate for about 8 minutes, flip and repeat until they are done. (Poke them with a fork. If they are soft in the middle, they are done.)

Cut into halves or quarters (depends on how big they are) and scoop out the insides (I save them and add to mashed potatoes). Leave about 1/2 inch thick skins. Brush both sides of potato skins with butter. Place, cut side up, on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper (how much is up to you!).

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until they are crisp. Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 2 minutes more or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve with sour cream and salsa.


*image from rusticoakrestaurant.com

April 8, 2010

Old House French Toast

I've revamped one of our favorite family breakfast dishes, again. It was good before, but this time it has a secret ingredient! Brown sugar!  It adds a delicious flavor to the french toast. It's so scrumptious! 

Old House French Toast

1 loaf buttermilk bread (approx. 18 slices)

8 eggs beaten
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)

Mix everything (except the bread!) together well. I use my electric griddle to cook french toast. I set it between 375 and 400, but use the temp you think is best and keep your eye on them! Lift up a corner...when the one side is done...flip 'em!  These are really good with Old House Baked Eggs, but we often have them all by themselves.  Enjoy!

April 7, 2010

Old House Baked Eggs

I've taken several recipes I've found and tweaked them into one that we love. Our family likes this dish with french toast or pancakes, and fruit. Everyone enjoys it. Even those who don't like sour cream. Shh! Don't tell them! ; )

Old House Baked Eggs

8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup crumbled sausage or bacon (bacon is our favorite!!)
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/3 cup sour cream
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 T melted butter
salt and pepper as you wish

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 7x11 baking dish. (You can double the recipe and use a 9x13...I would but, what I make is just enough for us.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (until it is set and golden on top). Enjoy!

April 6, 2010

A Boost of Motivation!

I started out the day a little unmotivated. I decided to look at my Motivated Mom's list for the day and it gave me the boost to get started on my chores today.

Since it helped me I thought it might help you today, too!

Get Motivated in the Kitchen (and other rooms, too!)

I have found it! (Well, actually Kendra found it and I got the idea from her.) The perfect system...for me, anyway. Unless your name starts with 'M' and ends in 'artha' you probably need a little help staying organized and motivated. Motivated Moms has come up with close to the perfect solution! For only $8 you can be motivated for a whole entire year!!

What you do is click on the red box down there on the right side of my blog and it'll take you to their page. Or click on this LINK. You pay for the planner, download it, save it to your computer and print it out at your leisure. I use the top one, the 8.5" x 11" regular planner. I print out one month at a time and put it on my clipboard. I can NOT live without my clipboard!

They also have other types which include appointment sections, Bible reading plans, etc. I got the same version last year and loved it! It's not just a place to write things you have to do, but it keeps you motivated with certain house chores for each day so that you don't have to spend the whole day cleaning and so that you don't have to remember to do things like check the furnace filter, refill the toilet paper in the bathroom, etc. They remind you! Wonderful!!! I love it! Now go on and click on that button and take a peek!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Homemade Finger Paint

This recipe falls into the kitchen tip category since it's an inexpensive money saving recipe for you and your children to enjoy!

Flour Finger Paint
What You Need:
  • One-cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Two-tablespoons salt
  • Food coloring or tempera paint
What You Do:
  • Mix the flour, salt, and cold water in a saucepan. Beat the mixtures (with whisk or rotary beater) until smooth. Add the hot water and boil it until the mixture is thick. Beat until smooth. Add food coloring to add color. Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

April 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of April 5

Monday (April 5)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: grilled cheese, carrots, apples
Dinner: Chicken Burritoes, Mexican rice, refried beans, sour cream

Tuesday (April 6)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over chicken burritoes, Cheese Quesadillas, nacho chips
Dinner: Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Smashed Potatoes, corn on the cob, raw veggies rolls

(April 7) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: Chicken wraps using left over parm. crusted chicken, carrots, apples, pretzels or chips
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, chips, carrots

Thursday (April 8)
Breakfast: eggs and toast or bagels
Lunch: left over sloppy joes, carrots, chips(or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner: I'm trying to find something different. I guess it depends on what's on sale this week!

Friday (April 9)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Grilled cheese or left overs?
Dinner: Ceaser Chicken Pizza

Saturday (April 10)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: Grilled burgers, hot dogs, Steak Fries, baked beans, chips, carrots

Sunday (April 11)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: Creamy Chicken and Stuffing, smashed potatoes, veggies, rolls
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!

April 4, 2010

He Is Risen Indeed!

May you all have a blessed Easter day!

April 3, 2010

Easter Menu Plan

Our family started an odd tradition a few years ago. We go out to a Chinese Buffet for dinner on Easter. I know...you would think we'd have ham or lamb or something with all sorts of side dishes. Since I have to get up super early (to me anything before 7 is early but we're talkin' before 6!) to get everyone around for church activities I don't cook a meal. At. All. So we go out to lunch or is it considered dinner? Of all places to go on Easter for lunch-dinner-maybe supper(?) the Chinese Buffet is the least crowded! It's so nice! So the point I'm making is that I've got nothing for you. Nada. No big fancy menu for Easter (we usually eat PB & J that night-- if we're even hungry at all!). Zippo. But I'll link to some of my favorite dishes that, did I ever happen to cook for Easter, might make my list. ; )

Ham and Popeye
Grandma Fray's Mac-n-cheese
Smashed potatoes
Cherry Cinnamon Applesauce

April 2, 2010

Huntington Chicken

A friend gave me the In the Kitchen with Mary and Martha: A Cookbook Featuring Oodles of Inspiration, Recipes and Tips (Cookbook Series)
cookbook. We had Huntington Chicken for dinner last night and it was delicious!

Huntington Chicken

4 cups chicken broth
8 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound grate cheese (Colby)
2 cups cooked macaroni
1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken, stewed and deboned
butter crackers crushed (1/2 tube)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat broth. Take 1 cup of broth and blend with the flour to make a paste. Add to pan of broth to create a gravy. Stir in cheese until melted. Add macaroni and chicken. Place in a large baking dish. Cover with cracker crumbs. sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

*Note: you can freeze this casserole without the crumb topping.

April 1, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I got this recipe from a good friend back in Maryland. It's one of my favorite fruity desserts. If we call it a salad it's automatically healthy, right? ; )

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cup crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted margarine
3 T. sugar

Mix and spread in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Cream layer:
8 oz. cream cheese -- softened
8-10 oz. Cool Whip
1 cup sugar

Mix together in a stand mixer until smooth. Spread over (cooled) crust and place dish in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until chilled.

Strawberry layer:
2 cup boiling water
2 small boxes strawberry jello
2 10 oz. boxes of frozen strawberries (thawed). (I usually used sliced strawberries that we picked in the summer and froze in syrup -- about 2 1/2 cups.)

Boil the water, add jello and stir until dissolved. Add the strawberries and stir. DO NOT add cold water like the jello directions instruct. Carefully pour over the cream cheese and place in the fridge to chill. (About 3-4 hours.)

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