Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You like me...you really like me!!



It was like Christmas came early when I found I had been awarded the Stylish Blogger Award! Many thanks to Wanda at www.beautyandthegreen.blogspot.com for her encouragement and kind words of praise! Visit her...you'll love her blog, too!

As part of accepting this award, I am required to share 7 things about myself ( I could cheat and just name each of my children....).  So here goes...seven things that will never be answers on Jeopardy!

1. I'm a SUPER dork...just ask my kids...they love me anyway.

2. I still believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and do all I can to keep them alive for my children.

3. I go to Chick fil-A four times a day....my daughters work there and can't drive yet (you'd think I'd get something free to eat out of the deal!).

4. I was a seafood chef and I really, really don't like seafood.

5. I want to be a writer-illustrator-designer-doctor-ballerina when I grow up.

6. I struggle and strive every day every minute to know God's will for me and walk with Him.

7.  I married my best friend and wouldn't trade one minute for anything in the world.

Now, I would like to pass The Stylish Blogger Award along to some of my favorite blogs....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

End of Year Menu Plan


In preparation for the new year I am trying to get use up everything in the pantry and freezer. Then, my daughters and I (and any of our friends who want to join in!) will have a big freezer stocking weekend. Last year, we spent an entire 2 days making casseroles, soups, meatloaf, waffles, pancakes and muffins. It lasted us the rest of the year! It was great to always have something ready to pull out of the freezer when we were short on time or when a friend needed a meal. In the meantime, we will be eating creative combinations of the bits and pieces of things we have left. Wish me luck!

Monday: Buttermilk batter fried chicken drumsticks, french fries, mixed vegies

Tuesday: Stromboli - Pillsbury canned french bread stuffed with bell peppers, pepperoni, Italian sausage, cheese and sauce.

Wednesday: Chicken pot pie - throw all of our leftover vegies in with some chicken, cream of chicken and cream of onion soup; throw a pie crust on top of it and bake. Yummy cold weather comfort food!

Thursday: Turkey Chili

Friday: Family Fun Night! Pizza and some Christmas movies

Saturday :Beef Stroganoff served on wide egg noodles, glazed carrots

Sunday: We're going to doing our Christmas baking: cookies, candy and other gifts from the kitchen today!
Sandwiches (grilled turkey and cheese and reubens) and tomato soup

For more menu ideas check out www.orgjunkie.com. Happy Eating!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's beginning to look ALOT like I own a Christmas store!

Our Great Room Tree otherwise known as the Memory Tree- 12 feet tall and filled with every ornament our children have ever made as well as hand-me-downs and keepsakes from our mothers.
We've just returned from a wonderful trip to Washington D.C.. Lots of Irish dancing, friends and excitement! We braved a snow storm to get home and now I've got to get busy! Let me just be real honest when I say I get a little carried away at Christmas. I am very careful that the meaning of Christmas is not lost in our home....it screams Happy Birthday Jesus!! I am nearing Clark Griswold proportions only on the inside of my house....at last count we had nine Christmas trees (I know, I'm trying to figure out where to put the other 5 : ) )and an obscene amount of nutcrackers strewn about.  I'm building a Santa to sit on my porch next!
I hope your Christmas season is full of family, friends, love, sharing and joy.

6 For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this.

 Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV

...and I hope He likes Christmas trees!!!
Miles of Stiles

This is our Game Room Tree.  






The Kitchen Tree - Counter space? I don't need no stinking counter space!                              
 
         

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If you bring your crockpot to a high end hotel in Washington D.C....you might be a redneck

We have survived Thanksgiving and managed to stay out of the Black Friday chaos.
This week our children are competing in the regional Irish dance competition in Washington D.C.. Needless to say, we won't be eating at home much this week! However, have crockpot, will travel! Feeding 9 people in D.C. is no affordable task so we will be slow cooking some of our dinners in our room while the kids dance and enjoy the local fare for lunch when prices are lower! I know...I sound like a redneck but the aforementioned pot was carefully concealed in a stylish suitcase!
We were guests at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland; a fabulous hotel with amazing and vast amenities...and $9.00 hot dogs! Now, we did not travel all this way to eat hot dogs but price-wise, you get the idea. Having done my pre-trip investigative work, I made the rogue decision to bring along my crockpot and the ingredients to prepare 2 dinners and one breakfast in our hotel room. I brought crockpot liners for easy clean up and made sure the recipes had few ingredients and required no chopping, peeling, etc... We made onion Swiss burgers, Enchilada casserole and apple cinnamon oatmeal with great success and we saved approximately $250 - 300!
Here are my recipes for the Amazing Traveling Crock Pot!!

Onion Swiss Burgers

1 pound lean ground beef
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can beef broth
Hamburger buns
Swiss cheese slices
Shape ground beef into patties and place in crockpot. pour onion soup mix and beef broth over patties. Cover. Set crock pot on low and cook for 6 hours. Serve on buns with Swiss cheese and favorite burger condiments.

Crockpot Enchiladas

1 package corn tortillas
1 pound lean ground beef, browned and crumbled
1 can enchilada sauce (we chose mild to suit kid palates)
1 can corn, drained
1 can sliced black olives, drained
Cheese (we used grated Mexican blend but you can you Velveeta since it doesn't require refrigeration before it's open)
You're supposed to layer the ingredients into the crockpot like a lasagne but I was busy and texted the instructions to my husband who decided it was much easier to just dump everything in. It was ugly but quite tasty.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
I premixed all of these ingredients at home in a baggy. Pour into crockpot .
Add 1 envelope powdered milk and 3 cups of water.
Stir in dried fruit. I chose a bag of dried apples and berries. You can choose dates, cranberries, raisins, apricots, etc...
Cover and cook in crockpot set to low over night. Yummy hot breakfast that you don't even have to be all the way awake to enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving at The Stilish Family Table

Cute Thanksgiving banner compliments of dimpleprints.com
Cheese appetizer to tide everyone over...hurry before the "mice" eat it all!
We never had kid's tables like these when I was little!
The devastation...post-gorge
Bread cornucopia holding...bread
My daughter/photographer didn't make it to the dessert table before everyone starting digging in!

This was such a special and fun Thanksgiving! The first in our new house, it was a challenge to find everything. Once we did, it came together pretty well! We had family, friends and lots to be thankful for. What made all the pre-dinner chaos worthwhile was when my friend Mary walked in and said she felt like she had just walked into Thanksgiving-land! ...I think that was a complement...in my Martha-esque world it is!! I am thankful for a couple of awesome websites for some wonderfully inspiring ideas...dimpleprints for the free Thanksgiving downloadable decorations (we made the banner and decorations for the kid's table napkin rings and crayon jars) and Party Animal for the great turkey party favor and Indian corn cupcake ideas! Check them out...they'll inspire you to create your own Thanksgiving-land, too!

Indian corn cupcakes and M&M turkey favors 




Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Thankful for...Menu Planning


At this time of year I am extra thankful for so many things...my husband, my children, family and friends, turkey gravy in a jar.  Seriously, do you want to have to cook those giblet things?
I will be preparing the exact same menu my family has been enjoying my entire life. As a chef, I have tried to interject a little culinary finesse, a little something new and different and fresh to our menu over the years. One thing I have learned from doing this? Don't! My family does not appreciate change when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. They have learned to embrace the addition of gruyere to the mac and cheese but brie and artichoke dressing? Politely declined. Pineapple in the sweet potatoes? Ignored. Orange zest in the REAL, FRESH cranberries? Flat out shunned. But I will not give up. I just know if I keep on trying, someday we might have something new on the table. This year I'm going crazy and serving.....A CHEESE PLATTER!

I pray that you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

P.S. - We didn't exactly follow our plan last week....we ate out . So, this week we will be catching up! Here is my plan...
Monday: BBQ chicken stuffed baked sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Baked potato soup

Wednesday: Meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, peas

Thanksgiving Day:
Turkey (duh) one roasted, one deep fried
Cornbread sage dressing - my grandmother's "recipe" - basically a pinch of this, a handful of that...
Stinky Mac and cheese (my sister's name for the version I make that has cheese other than Velveeta in in) I use this recipe as a guideline only I add a few more varieties of cheese.
Green bean casserole - try it with Cream of Onion soup instead of mushroom...you'll love it)
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows - my mother-in-laws contribution
Orange jello salad - yes I know, we're just old-fashioned like that besides, where else can you put mayonnaise, pecans, cheese and pineapple together and have a yummy dish/entertaining plaything?
Corn casserole - melt two packages of cream cheese with one stick of butter, add 4 cans corn(drained) and 3 tablespoons minced jalepeno. Place in baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly.
Mashed potatoes
Cranberry sauce - open can, slide out onto serving plate. Careful! Don't let it roll away! All of your guests will admire it's perfectly round shape all of the pretty ridges!
Rolls
Chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chocolate-pecan pie, buttermilk pie, pumpkin roll, chocolate cake, anything else I might think of.

Friday: Family Fun Night!! Let the Christmas decorating begin!!! Pizza and the first Christmas movie of the season. I wonder how turkey pizza would taste...

Saturday: Leftovers! Our favorite is a turkey-fied version of Welsh Rabbit: cold turkey on toast covered in a hot cheddar cheese bechamel sauce.

Sunday: Turkey Benedict: English muffin smeared with cranberry sauce, turkey, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.

For more menu ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner or what to do with those pesky leftovers check out www.orgjunkie.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spring Cleaning...a little early

The day I have been loathing, dreading and generally avoiding is almost here. The day I have been working toward my whole life (a lifetime of collected...for lack of a better word...crap) is coming this Saturday. I am having a garage sale. I am amazed by the amount of useless or unnecessary stuff I have been lugging around from house to house for the last 15 years! Now that we have finally settled into our own home after all those years of renting, I can avoid the task no longer! I have to open every box and face the fact that I have pack-rat tendencies...hoarder potential!! I decided I need help. Through self-imposed, intense therapy that mostly involved watching multiple episodes of "Clean House" for inspiration, I have decided to cut through the foolishness and mayhem.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting Neicy Nash to ring my doorbell any time soon, I just want to lighten my load and get organized.  Making a few bucks in the process certainly wouldn't hurt either. So, wish me luck on a successful sale and a lot of extra room in our house!
I've got to stay motivated while I'm getting ready and good food is just what I'll need (with liberal doses of chocolate, of course)! Here's my plan....

Monday:
Crockpot spaghetti with meat sauce
Green beans
Garlic bread

Tuesday:
BBQ chicken stuffed baked sweet potatoes
Corn bread (do double duty - bake some extra for Thanksgiving dressing)

Wednesday:
Creamy onion gravy smothered pork chops (in the crockpot)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Peas

Thursday:
Chicken divan - held over from last week

Friday:
Family Fun Night - My daughter is coming home from college for the holidays so we'll probably go out to dinner to celebrate!!

Saturday:
Meatloaf - not just any meat loaf - my husband's favorite mixed with bleu cheese and wrapped in bacon and brushed with our family's secret recipe BBQ sauce.
Mashed potatoes (again!)
Glazed carrots

Sunday:
Cajun chicken pasta
Vegetable medley - that's the restaurant term for "I don't know what vegetables we're having but we are indeed having vegetables".

Find a jillion great ideas for dinner at www.orgjunkie.com. Try menu planning for the holiday season...dinner will be one less thing to stress about during this hectic time...it's like an early gift to yourself!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday November 7-14


Dance like you have to go pee no one's watching

It's going to be another busy, Irish-centric week. I know, not something the average family can relate to. Sometimes, I have trouble with it, too. We are a family with 5 Irish dancers. When we started out, I thought we would go to dance class, have a year-end recital and be done with it until the next year...you know, like ballet or tap dancers. Little did I know that Irish dancing is a thriving sub-culture that would come to consume our lives (and most of our bank account!). Actually, we happily dedicate a great portion of our time to the dance school, our dance friends and the addictive nature of this type of competition. No, it just looks like they need to go to the bathroom...they're Irish dancing! My children LOVE to dance. They dance in the grocery store, for the dentist, at church...pretty much anywhere, appropriate or not. I'm not sure who, but someone thought it would be a great idea to have one of the biggest Irish dance competitions of the year, each DECEMBER. So, we spend pretty much the entire autumn season preparing. The kids practice, I write checks for dresses, wigs, socks and more socks, ghillies, blister relief products, etc...and try to come up with meals that can cook while I play shuttle bus driver to and from practice.  Here's my plan....SLAINTÉ!

Sunday
Portable food - green chile chicken empanadas - crockpot cream cheese chicken with a can of chopped green chiles and Monterey jack cheese added. I use canned crescent rolls, add the chicken filling, fold over and seal with a fork. Brush with butter, sprinkle with taco seasoniing and bake according to can directions.

Monday
Autumn sausage casserole - another recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking...I'll let you know how it turns out!

Tuesday
Baked ziti - take your favorite lasagne recipe and mix it with cooked ziti noodles and bake. Yummy!!
Green beans
Garlic bread


Wednesday
Mongolian beef and vegetable fried rice - I love, love, love A Year of Slow Cooking. I think it actually has a decade's worth of recipes which is great when you are having an affair with your...uh...crockpot.

Thursday
Parmesan chicken - This is a wonderfully grown up dinner that my kids never leave a bite on the plate. Ina Garten has a great recipe if you need one (you don't). Just pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts to an even thickness (pounded...should that be thinness?) anyway, dredge in beaten egg and a mixture of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Fry (I know, just do it) them in olive oil. I always serve it with fettucini alfredo. Homemade alfredo sauce is so easy. I've always made it from the recipe out of my old, worn, stained and loved Betty Crocker cookbook.
Fettucini alfredo
Glazed carrots

Friday
Family Fun Night!! Not sure what the plan is yet..I'll update when my thinking cap is recharged!

Saturday
Grilled cheese with spinach and pancetta - saw this on Giada de Laurentiiseseseses show and my 7 year old daughter thought it looked yummy. She saw that it had spinach in it and she still wanted it! So we'll give it a try.
Tomato basil soup - canned diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, heavy cream, food processor, easy

Sunday
Paula Deen's Chicken Divan
Apple dumplings and vanilla ice cream

Have an amazing week and happy eating!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday October 25-31

Here we go! The beginning of the whirlwind of holidays! We've come up with our own way to celebrate this time of year. Here in Texas, we had always gone to a Harvest Festival hosted by our church. However, we lived in an Amish town in Indiana a few years back where trick or treating was impossible. The closest neighbor was about a mile away and I'm pretty sure, while incredibly hospitable, the Amish do not have bowls of candy waiting for trick-or-treaters. Seclusion became the mother of invention!  Sometimes we dress up, sometimes not but our Harvest Feast has become our yearly tradition! We just stay home, watch movies and EAT! Definitely a family theme, huh? We make mummy dogs, eyeball soup, orange or root beer floats, cupcakes, caramel apples, pumpkin roll and any other kind of treat we can think of and then we eat ourselves into a sweet, sugary oblivion.

However you plan to celebrate the season, my family wishes you a safe, happy and delicious holiday!!!

Since the kids will probably want to eat the rest of the week, too here's my plan....

Monday:
A picnic dinner since we're out late for dance and then scouts.

BBQ rib sandwiches
Cheese and fruit

Tuesday:
King Ranch chicken (from the freezer)
Creamed corn
Salad

Wednesday:
Ice cream! Yep, it's 99 cent waffle cones at TCBY...our after dance class tradition.
If we're still hungry we'll work on the leftovers in the fridge.

Thursday:
Dijon mustard glazed pork tenderloin with cabbage and apples

Friday:
Family Fun Night!
Homemade pizza and boneless teriyaki wings

Saturday:
Chicken and dumplings

Sunday:
Harvest Feast!
Mummy dogs - hotdogs wrapped in refrigerated bread stick dough (leave a little gap near the top for eyes), bake according to package directions. After removing from oven add mustard or ketchup dots for eyes.
Eyeball soup - tomato soup with "eyeballs" floating in it. To make eyeballs, hollow the center of a mozzarella pearl and insert a Spanish olive.

For more great menu planning ideas check out http://orgjunkie.com/

Happy eating! Wait til you see what I'm up to my eyeballs in this week from the garden!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday October 11 - 17


HELP! I'm drowning in cucumbers! As I've mentioned before, we inherited a vegetable garden when we bought our house in June. Well, the wild bunnies ate the strawberries, the watermelon never happened, the tomatoes were teeny and the bell pepper break out in brown spots long before they mature. However peppers...cayenne, jalapeno and giant marconies are growing like crazy. We've frozen 3 freezer bags full so far and are harvesting more every day. But cucumbers are like bunnies..there are more every day! Did I mention I don't even really like cucumbers?! I like them in stuff but not alone (I like to forget that I ate them dipped in peanut butter when I was pregnant). I picked fourteen cucumbers just last week! so in an effort to not be wasteful, I have become a pickle and relish making fool ( I do love pickles!).  If you happen to be suffering from excessive cucumber syndrome as well, here is my fast and easy recipe for yummy garlic dill pickles.....

Easy Garlic Dill Pickles
4 quarts water
1 quart vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Minced garlic (I used jarred)
Dill
6 cucumbers

Wash and slice cucumbers. I used a wavy cutter from Pampered Chef that made my pickles pretty.
Pack cucumber slices into jars...all the way to the top. Here's where it gets fun. You can add as little or as much of the garlic and dill as you want...it just depends on how bad you want your breath to be. I added 2 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic and a bunch of shakes of dries dill (probably 2 teaspoons worth) Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Pour over pickles and cold pack 5 to 10 minutes. The result is delicious crispy pickles that even my kids who hate pickles will eat!


Now, in spite of our cucumber abundance, we cannot exist on pickles alone. So here's my plan...

Monday:
Cheesy bacon dogs - an on the go dinner for busy Irish dancers!

Tuesday:
Rice
Peas

Wednesday:
Bracciole - held over from last week - darn that Irish dance! I'm just winging it this time. I making a bread stuffing, rolling it in pounded steak and tossing it in the crockpot with marinara sauce for 6 hours.
Spinach fettucini
Green beans

Thursday:
Cream cheese chicken - haven't tried this before but OMG does it sound good. there's pretty much nothing that cream cheese can't improve AND it's made in the crockpot. Can't get much better than that (unless someone else cleans it up...oh wait, sorry I was daydreaming)
Egg noodles
Glazed carrots

Friday:
Family Fun Night! 
Pizza and Teriyaki chicken nuggets

Saturday:
Boy's are having a sleepover so Build your own nachos (this didn't exactly get made last week either...we had pizza out instead), fizzy pineapple floats (Pineapple sherbet topped with pineapple soda) and peanut butter cup s'mores.

Sunday:
Extra Irish dance practice so I think we'll eat out...probably BBQ at Dickie's (great pork BBQ)

Have a great week and happy eating!

PS: Last week's surprise hit - Spinach pesto lasagne made in the crockpot (I love the recipes on A Year of Slow Cooking blog). My pickiest eater who hates eating anything green, snarfed it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Autumn Inspiration! and Menu Plan Monday for October 4-10

 I pretty much just endure the rest of the year in order to get to the best part...October through December! Face it, the best holidays occur during this time, the air is crisp, the mosquitoes have gone to bed, I don't have to cut the yard and I can break out the cute boots and sweaters! But most of all, I can decorate the entire house and cook all my favorite cool weather recipes (maybe I'm weird but I have recipes I only cook in the summer and others I only cook in the fall/winter months)...you know, all those yummy apple and pumpkin desserts, stews, soups and turkey!!!
Here is a little of what I've been up to....





I thought since I have a formal dining room now, it would be fun to keep the table set all the time! I found the dishes at...ssshhhh!....Walmart! as well as the chargers. We had the Irish crystal and the table runner and I made the floral arrangement out of silk flowers I use every autumn. I have a box of summer-type flowers, autumn colored flowers and Christmas flowers...I use the same ones over and over every year just in a different arrangement.
I'm just getting started. I am still unpacking and discovering things I forgot I had! It's like Christmas every day!!



In between opening boxes I guess I should cook dinner, too. Here's my plan...

Monday:

Spaghetti and homemade meatballs with chunky tomato sauce (I doctor up Ragu onion and garlic sauce with sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, olives and Parmesan cheese)
Garlic bread

Tuesday:

Cuban grilled sandwiches with garlic mojo sauce
Potato and plantain chips

Wednesday:

Dessert first! .99 waffle cones at TCBY on the way home from dance!

Buttermilk fried chicken with southwest cornmeal waffles
Salad

Thursday:

Bracciole - yummy braised, stuffed beef roll ups with tomato gravy (in the crockpot)
Mashed potatoes
Green beans

Friday:

Family Fun Night!
Make your own nachos
Pineapple soda floats

Saturday:

Baked potato soup
Homemade rolls

Sunday:

Pesto spinach lasagne (in the crockpot)
Homemade parmesan garlic breadsticks

Recipes to follow next week. Breakfast will be back then, too.  Have a great week and happy eating!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Menu Plan Monday August 9 - 15

I'm back! Well, sort of. The summer kind of got away from me! I'm still wading through boxes and trying to turn our house into a home (ok, ok  I have taken a few short breaks to enjoy the new pool and have a little second honeymoon in Florida but I have more stuff to go through than the average Walmart! A situation I'm not proud of but am definitely working on : ) ) .  Amidst all of the chaos I've got to create a little bit of order! I think getting back to meal planning is a good start.  Our new house is a lot bigger but, unfortunately our pantry is much, much smaller. Therefore, I am working to plan meals that use up our vast stores of bulk shopping so everything will fit in the storage space I have! Here goes!

Monday:

Crockpot roast beef with potatoes, peas and carrots
Homemade bread

Tuesday:

BLT salad - I harvested some green tomatoes from my garden (yes! This house came with a vegetable garden!) and I'm going to dredge them in cornmeal and fry them,  serve them on top of crisp, cold lettuce and top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese. I'll let the kids decide what they want to dress it with: Balsamic, ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

Wednesday:

Make-them-yourself beef tacos - we always set everything up as a buffet so everyone can make their taco their way.

Thursday:

Chicken pot pie - my favorite way to use up leftover vegetables!

Friday: Family Fun Night!

I think we'll watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid and I'm making homemade Chicago deep dish style pizzas and root beer floats.

Saturday:

Giant sub sandwiches and chips

Sunday:

Summer spaghetti - Toss cooked spaghetti noodles with mozzarella cheese pearls, chopped fresh tomato, fresh torn basil with sea salt and olive oil. Serve it warm, room temp or cold. It's super yummy and refreshing and doesn't heat up the kitchen!

Happy eating!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We're Home!


Here we are! After months of nail-biting, praying and providing every document my name has ever appeared on, we are finally homeowners! Now after 9 (yes, you read that right....NINE!) long days of moving....I am too cheap and too much of a control freak to hire anyone....everything is finally in the house. Now, finding homes for everything will take a little longer.  I cannot believe the amount of junk I have been lugging from house to house up until now. I definitely see a garage sale in my future.

Well, I am not in any shape to plan my meals this week seeing as how I can't even find my counter tops! Next week, I hope to be back on track and start sharing my home improvement projects with you.

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday June 28 - July 4



There's nothing like bragging about yourself..."I've been so good about following my meal plan"...blah, blah, blah... for things (like life!) to happen and make a liar out of you. Well, I got thrown off a little bit last week. I can't really recall why but a couple of my meals didn't happen so onward they go to this week. I especially dropped the ball on breakfast last week. As I've mentioned before, I try to make breakfast everyday and not buy cereal. I bet I forgot to mention the exception to this self-imposed rule.....summer. Summer ushers in fun and relaxation of not only our bodies and minds but our cereal rule. In the summer I buy chocolate cereal, cereal shaped like aliens, princess cereal, cookie cereal and all must contain....gasp...marshmallows! Pop tarts are also a summer treat as is the occasional ice cream sundae for dinner. Come fall and the beginning of school (mind you, we homeschool so school never really ends) all is back to business....homemade-as-organic-as-possible-breakfast.

We need to be flexible this week...I'm planning but expecting the unexpected (we are eating from the pantry and freezer, trying to use up as much as possible) as we are supposed to close on our house on Wednesday and will be moving the rest of the week. Hopefully!

Have a great week and happy eating!!

Monday
Breakfast - Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from the freezer

Dinner - Beef stroganoff, glazed carrots

Tuesday
Breakfast - Homemade cranberry granola bars

Dinner - Fried fish, macaroni and cheese, peas

Wednesday
Breakfast - Orange cinnamon rolls (from last week's menu)

Dinner - Smothered pork chops with long grain and wild rice, green beans

Thursday
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs on toast

Dinner - Chicken a la king on homemade buttermilk biscuits, salad

Friday
Breakfast - Cereal!

Dinner - Family Fun Night! Pizza, root beer floats

Saturday
Breakfast - Doughnuts (I know, I know but we are moving! We'll get back to nutrition and lower carbs next week!:) )

Dinner - I have no idea...all I know is I'm not cooking it

Sunday
Breakfast - Kolaches

Dinner - Fourth of July Cookout!

For more meal ideas check out www.orgjunkie.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Anniversary and a PSA...Trust God and Buckle Up!

                               Crash sends family of nine to hospital


June 22 is a date that no one in my family will forget. It is a day that held the greatest horror of our lives yet became a defining moment in a million other joyful ways, Today is the one year anniversary of the car accident that changed our lives.

We (myself, my husband and our 7 children) were traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas where my husband worked during the week. We looked forward to this trip and had several fun summer activities planned to fill our days while my husband was at work. The day was beautiful, sunny and clear and we had just commented on how there were very few cars on the road. No sooner had those words left our lips than a white Firebird traveling in the opposite direction came careening across the median, hitting us head-on at 70 miles per hour. When a little car wedges itself under a very large van, it cause the very large van to somersault over it. We flew through the air end over end, rolled several times and came to rest on the driver's side...and then caught fire. Then, the moment I feared most...turning around to see if all of children were still there....and alive. Their cries were the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard. There they all were. Scared, banged up but securely belted in their seats...all seven of them. Thank you God! Then, angels descended upon us in the form of a guy with a fire extinguisher who put out the fire and pulled my children to safety, doctors, nurses, firefighters, EMTs...and these were just the passers-by! They brought blankets, water and comfort to my children. Meanwhile my husband and I were still trapped in the van. I was suspended by my seatbelt and had a broken arm and several broken ribs. My husband was much worse...his door had been peeled open and his leg was trapped between the van and the ground. He leg was shattered from top to bottom as well as several of  his ribs being broken. I just remember a man appearing, he had a white ponytail. He climbed into the van with us and stood next to me and stooped over. He instructed me to rest on his back. I was hanging by my seat belt and it was slicing into my hips and he stood there for probably 30 minutes hunched over trying to alleviate my discomfort...I'll never forget him.
Anyway, here we are a year later. My husband ended up being in the hospital for a month and unable to return to work for almost 12 months. But God loves us and we have experienced the fullness of His grace. Our scars are fading, our life is still slowly returning to normal and we have forgiven the young man who caused this (by the way, he walked away without a scratch). We received an outpouring of prayer and love from people and churches from all over the country. I am grateful beyond words to everyone who stopped and helped us, the bystanders, the police, firefighters, hospital staff and all of those who I will never know. We have grown closer as a family, realizing how precious each day...each moment is because in the blink of an eye, it can all change.

So, even if your state doesn't have a mandatory seat belt law (Texas, where we're from has for years but Arkansas' law didn't go into effect until July 1, 2009...9 days after our wreck) WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT, keep your kids in child safety seats as long as possible (my nine year old is still in a booster...it saved his life) and don't use your cell phone while you are driving....you could be saving your and someone else's lives.

Oh yeah, here's the other guy's car....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday June 21-28

Well, after a wonderful weekend with my husband and a great Father's Day, he's on his way back to work and we're back to our summer fun. This week is vacation Bible school and...God willing...our closing (although I really think it's going to be next week...I can still hope!).

I've been extremely diligent in keeping with my menu plans and in turn I've been saving lots of money! I'm feeding our family of 9 minus 1 for approximately $90.00 per week. And we are not eating beans! No offense to bean growers and lovers everywhere....we love 'em but don't want to have to eat them for every meal. We did end up ditching the bleu cheese burgers because we ended up eating out instead. However, our star of the week was the meatloaf sandwiches with asiago cheese sauce and sundried tomato mayonnaise. I ended up serving them on a garlic parmesan bread I found while shopping for the sourdough...it was so good!

Here is our plan for this week....Happy eating!

Monday:
Breakfast -
Cinnamon toast
Dinner-
Chicken alfredo,
Glazed carrots,
Garlic bread

Tuesday:
Breakfast -
Breakfast pizza
Dinner -
Thai noodle bowls (saw this on 30 minute meals and thought it would be yummy...I'll let you know)

Wednesday:
Breakfast -
Orange cinnamon rolls
Dinner -
Corn dog casserole

Thursday:
Breakfast -
Pancakes ( check out Jim's Pancakes...we may not get that elaborate but talk about inspired!)
Dinner - Grilled chicken quesadillas with watermelon salsa,
Rice pudding

Friday:
Breakfast -
Cheese omelets
Dinner-
Family Fun Night! Pizza, fruit skewers with chocolate fondue

Saturday -
Breakfast-
Homemade jelly filled doughnuts
Dinner -
Coconut battered chicken tenderloins - mix bisquick with enough beer or tonic water to make a thick batter; dip chicken in and then in coconut; fry in hot oil until golden),
Tropical luau rice - add pineapple chunks, black beans, roasted corn and green onion to white rice, Orange lime dipping sauce

Sunday:
Breakfast -
Ham and cheese kolaches on the way to church
Dinner -
Summer spaghetti - toss cooked spaghetti with diced fresh tomatoes, torn fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and cubed or pearl fresh mozzarella. It's light, refreshing and filling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

R.I.P. Darth

Death is never an easy issue but when you are responsible for that death, it's a burden almost to great to bear. That's what I've been dealing with since I accidentally killed my son's frog, Darth Vader. I really, really didn't mean to. I was trying to be helpful and clean it's tank. I didn't know I was supposed to put "spring water" into the tank. I thought the frog was just being pretentious so I used tap water. Darth Vader became really active... I thought he was happy because his tank was clean, I didn't realize he was trying to escape the toxic tap water! Goodness, we drink this stuff!  We woke up the next morning and ole Darth wasn't looking so, well, alive. I feel so awful.  At least we still have our other frog, Luke Skywalker, to keep us company. The worst part is this is the second pet death we've experienced in the last 2 months. Our dear hamster, Ham and Cheese died in Grandma's care while we were out of town. He had lived to the ripe old age of 2 1/2 and died peacefully in his sleep. We're going to have to invest in some sturdier pets with longer life expectancies! My poor sister, in an effort to spare her children the heartbreak of loss (they have a bird, fish and hamster) is on a first name basis with most of the staff at her local Petsmart.  I think she' s in there about once a week replacing some dearly departed creature.
Fortunately for me, my son is a wonderful, forgiving soul. He says he doesn't blame me (a new Stars Wars action figure helped heal the wound, too).


Well, Darth, may the force be with you....you will be missed.


I think I'm going to go buy a water filter......

 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This week...

June 14 - Flag Day
June 15 - My wedding anniversary!!!
June 16 - Fudge Day
June 18 - International Picnic Day - go out and enjoy the day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday June 14 - 20

                This image is, of course, a dramatization...it only feels like my house!

Why have I been lugging all of this junk around?!  That's the question I have spent the last week asking myself...over and over and over. As I am going through drawers, files, cabinets, etc...I am overwhelmed by the amount of paper we accumulate! In the fourteen years we have been married, we have moved a lot. Our new house is the first house we're actually buying and I am determined not to drag all of this with me!! So far, we've filled 5 7 garbage bags with papers we've shredded and emptied 3 bookcases...YAH! More of the same to come this week.
This week is also our wedding anniversary...the first one we'll spend apart (at least until Thursday) since my husband just started a new position in Florida. We really miss him but I sure get a lot done when he's gone (only because I don't have my best friend to hang out with). Speaking of that..gotta go pack! Have a great week and happy eating!!!




Monday:
Breakfast -
Cereal....I know.....it is summer vacation....
Dinner -
Meatball Monday! Polynesian meatball and sausage skewers, rice, sesame green beans

Tuesday:
Breakfast -
Sausage and egg bagels
Dinner -
BBQ baby back ribs
Baked beans (see recipe below...going to make enough for tonight and Thursday breakfast...my boys love them...you know, the musical fruit:))
Mac and cheese...oh yeah....it's (almost)  all frozen...

Wednesday:
Breakfast -
Crepes with Nutella and strawberries
Dinner -
Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy on toast (I'm cheating...it's frozen)
Mashed potatoes
Green peas

Thursday:
Breakfast - Cowboy breakfast -
Ranch home fries - cube potatoes, toss in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil then ranch dressing mix; bake at 425 until middles are soft and edges are crispy.
Baked beans - this is another non-recipe: two cans pork and beans, drained; a few shakes of Worchestershire sauce, a dash of liquid smoke, about a cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, a giant squirt of yellow mustard, a couple of dashes of garlic powder and a big handful of brown sugar. Bake at 400 for about an hour or put in the crock pot on low for about 4 hours.
Scrambled eggs (can you tell this is the only way my kids will eat eggs?)
Buttermilk biscuits
Dinner -
Crockpot sloppy Joes (when we eat these in the dining room we call them by their more formal name "disheveled Joseph's" but we're eating on the floor so they are definitely sloppy Joes...and Williams and Carolines and Quentins......

Friday:
Breakfast -
Monkey bread
Dinner - Family Fun Night!
Pizza
Boneless wings - buy your favorite chicken nuggets I like the Great Value brand chicken fritters from Walmart...they have lots of nooks and crannies for the sauce to nestle in; coat with your favorite BBQ, wing or teriyaki sauce or any other sauce for that matter and bake on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray at the recommended temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Banana boats - we're going to make these but add marshmallows, too and individually wrap them for individual messes!

Saturday:
Breakfast -
Huevos rancheros with homemade pico de gallo (chop sweet onion, tomato, jalapeno pepper and cilatro. Mix in the quantities to suit your taste. I like it heavy on the tomatoes and cilantro but my husband likes it hot so we add more jalapeno)
Dinner -
Meatloaf sandwiches on toasted sourdough with cheese sauce (here comes that ever-morphing bechamel recipe again this time I'm adding parmesan and gruyere) and sun dried tomato mayonnaise


Sunday:
Breakfast -
Can't tell...it's a Father's Day surprise!
Dinner -
Bleu cheese bacon burgers and seasoned steak fries with garlic aolicarrot cake with cream cheese frosting (Dad's other favorite beside Key Lime pie which he may be a little tired of since he's in Florida now!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday June 7 - 14


Wow! Things are starting to happen fast! It looks like we're closing on a new house in the next couple of weeks and I have a million things to do...and a million things to pack! Fortunately, the house is less than five miles from our current abode and I have lots of helpers. In the midst of all of  the chaos and excitement that comes with a move it's nice to know I have my meals planned! Otherwise, we probably would  be eating sandwiches or takeout every night. It's bad enough I've packed the dishes already so we're eating off of styrofoam plates and cups...on the floor. I got carried away and took apart the dining room table...whoops! So here's my plan....


Monday: Breakfast - yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits
Dinner - Meatball Monday! Meatball pizza ring (Check out my Chicken ranch ring and substitute meatballs, pizza sauce, cheese and black olives)

Tuesday: Breakfast - Grilled peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches
Dinner - Pineapple glazed ham steaks, hash brown casserole, green beans

Wednesday: Wacky Wednesday! - (Like our normal life isn't wacky enough)                
Breakfast - Hotdogs,  baked beans, chips
Dinner  - French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit

Thursday: Breakfast - Breakfast nachos - Tortilla chips topped with scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage, sauteed onion and  bell peppers, diced tomato and avocado,  cheese and sour cream. Click the link for an "official"-type recipe...I'm just winging it.
Dinner - Baked tortellini and cheese (like mac and cheese only with cheese tortellini), garden salad

Friday: Breakfast - Blueberry Buckle
Dinner - Family Fun night! Pizza, Purple Cows

Saturday: Breakfast - Bagel bar - Bagel with a choice of toppings cream cheese in various flavors, jam, smoked salmon, strawberries, etc...
Dinner - Grilled turkey and cheese and creamy garlic potato soup

Sunday: Breakfast - Donuts and kolaches on the way to church
Dinner - Grilled Kabobs - beef, zucchini, grape tomatoes with a dijon marinade, broccoli cheese rice

Find more menu ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie...Laura's got a great blog!

Happy eating and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This week...

June 1 - Donut Day
June 2 - National Rocky Road Day
June 3 - National Egg Day (check out my Eggs Benedict recipe!)
June 4 - National Cheese Day ....I thought this was every day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday May 31 - June 6

We have a busy week ahead, then again, when do we not have a busy week! It's just a new, different kind of busy. After being home full time for the better part of a year, my husband has returned to work leaving me to tame the wild beasts alone! Actually, Dad is usually the instigator when it comes to wild behavior in our house so maybe things will settle down just a little...we'll see...
Well, I can't feed them Purina Wild Beast Chow so here is my plan.....

Monday:
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon and toast
Dinner - We are reviving my kid's favorite - Meatball Monday! It'll be Italian meatball subs tonight with veggie chips and fruit

Tuesday:
Breakfast - French toast, sausage
Dinner - Grilled lime chicken and peanut noodle salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast - Apricot Crostata (I saw this on Everyday Italian and thought it would be a great breakfast treat. Giada's recipes are always wonderful!)
Dinner - Pierogi (frozen from Costco...they  were sampling them and they were so good and I'm a total sucker for those little ladies samples!) in bechamel with ham and peas

Thursday :
Breakfast - Hash brown casserole and biscuits
Dinner - Cheesy beef enchiladas, corn, watermelon

Friday:
Breakfast - Muffins (from the freezer)
Dinner - Family Fun Night! Homemade calzones, antipasto and  root beer floats

Saturday:
Breakfast - Easy eggs Benedict, fruit
Dinner - Inside out cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries

Sunday:
Breakfast - Kolaches and donut holes on the way to church
Dinner - Salisbury steak with gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday, May 28, 2010

These are a Few of Our Favorite (Summer) Things....


Ah, Summer....school's out, road trips, swimming....I don't know where ya'll are from but here in Houston summer means all of those things plus Texas-sized mosquitos, heat like you've never experienced in your life (except if you maybe work in a crematorium) and fire ants with attitude. But we don't let that stop us from having fun! We stay really busy but always make time for our favorite traditions that make summer feel, well, like summer!
1. Popsicles  - Push-ups, bomb pops, fudgesicles...when I buy the first box of these the kids know it's summer!
2. Playing in the Sprinkler - It doesn't matter that we live an hour from the beach or have a pool at our disposal; nothing beats watching a bunch of squealing kids running through the sprinkler (except doing it while eating popsicles!).
3. Summer Reading Program at the Library - All year I have to beg the kids to finish their reading assignments for school but come summer, they become voracious readers. The library puts on a summer program that includes prizes for number of books read, fun enrichment programs (a few examples have been magic shows, puppet shows, Texas wildlife demonstrations, Opera Cat read by a member of the Houston Grand Opera, etc...) and a wrap party at the end...all for free!
4. Cheap movies - Our local theater has $1.00 kid movies two mornings a week throughout the summer. Even though we have most of them on video it's still fun to sit in the theater and see them on the big screen...did I mention they're only $1.00?!
5. Vacation Bible School - we never miss this one (this year my three oldest will teach while the four youngest are attendees). One week of fun, fellowship and character building lessons for the kids...one week of shopping with my sister for me!
6. Cooking/Eating Outside - In the summer, we cook outside because we don't want to heat up the kitchen...yes, I know, it's a twisted mentality (must be the heat!) and then we eat outside, too! We break out the special outdoor dining dishes, tablecloths and decorationsEven though we're dripping with sweat and smell of Deep Woods Off!, we love it and look forward to our outdoor dinners every year.
7. Family Reading Time - The kiddos read their library books by day but each night I read them a chapter of one of my favorite books from when I was growing up. Some of our favorites have been From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time, The Narnia series, The Little House series, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc...(Oh, yeah, we read Lord of the Flies by candlelight after Hurricane Ike....fortunately there were few parallels....). This summer's list includes Black Beauty, White Fang, Around the World in Eighty Days....
If you haven't already, start a new tradition. Even if it's something as small as a popsicle, your kids will look forward to it and they will become some of their fondest memories. I know....these are all of the things my mother used to do with me!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This week...

 myspace layouts

May 24: National Escargot day
May 26: National Blueberry Cheesecake day
May 27: National Grape Popsicle day (if that doesn't signal the start of summer I don't know what does!)
May 28: National Hamburger day
May 29: National Macaroon day (but what nation....?)

Menu Plan Monday May 24-31

I'm back! We are going through some transitions...all good...that have kept us on the move this past week. Not to be mysterious or anything, but I don't want to give anything away until everything is for certain. However, we are getting our menu planning back on track!  We're eating from the pantry and freezer cause we've stockpiled too much! Also, hurricane season is upon us and for those of you in the Gulf Coast region who have experienced a hurricane and the extended power outages that can follow, this is not a time to keep a full freezer!  Here's my plan...

Monday:
Breakfast - Omelets, fruit
Dinner - Swedish meatballs served on a bed of egg noodles, lingonberries

Tuesday:
Breakfast - Breakfast pizza (English muffins with scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, cheese, pizza sauce)
Dinner - Chicken and Parmesan stuffed ravioli (Costco) florentine: going to add spinach and garlic alfredo sauce on my own to jazz it up; glazed carrots, salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast -  Kiss my Cheesy grits and toast
Dinner - Falafel, pita, tzatziki sauce and hummus, Greek salad

Thursday:
Breakfast - Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Dinner - Crockpot spaghetti, green beans, salad

Friday:
Breakfast - BELTS - Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich
Dinner - Family Fun Night! Homemade pizza and boneless wings and a movie (TBA)

Saturday:
Breakfast - Donuts and milk
Dinner - Sesame orange chicken, rice, vegetable egg rolls

Sunday:
Breakfast - Pigs in blankets
Dinner - Something in the crockpot because we have a ballet recital to go to!

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Friday Already?

What happened? Where did my week go? I miss one week and it's just a downhill slide from there. I think I've hit the proverbial wall that all who run marathons (ok, I don't "run" in the traditional sense, but seven kids do keep me moving in all sorts of other ways!). I go through this phase a couple of times a year where I'm just so tired of cooking and thinking of things to cook that all I want to do is eat out or basically eat anything that I don't have to make or clean up after. I think it's spring fever left over from when I was a kid. This time of year is when all kids get a serious case of short-timers...I guess I still haven't out-grown it! Anyway, as my grandmother used to always say, "This too shall pass". I'll be back in the mommy swing of things again soon. In the mean time, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself! We celebrated the end of the first round of my diet with a midnight pancake run to IHOP, we celebrated Mother's Day with an amazing Mexican food brunch at Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, we tried out another of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives finds: Hullabaloo in College Station (we try every place he visits in our area...he can sure pick 'em!) and supped on our favorite (and cheap!) local pork BBQ at Dickie's. Oh yeah, I almost forgot...we went to Movie Tavern today and had lunch and a movie (Furry Vengeance and mini Mediteranean sandwiches with artichokes, roasted peppers and aoli on toasted sourdough...yummy!)
Well, it's back to schedules and structure next week!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday May 3 - 9

Sorry I missed last week...first, we were in Little Rock, Arkansas competing in yet another Irish Dance Feis and then it was on to Big Sandy, Texas for a week for our regional homeschool conference! It was awesome! Lots of fun, fellowship and learning. The kids had so much fun with their new friends and activities, they cried when we had to come home today. I did too when I saw how much laundry we had generated. I may finish in time for next year's conference.
Best of all, I didn't have to cook for an entire week! I truly enjoyed being served but am ready to get back in the saddle...er, kitchen. Here's my plan...

Monday:
Breakfast - French toast
Dinner - Asian pork tenderloin (in the crockpot), oops...already had that, we'll have bourbon molasses mustard pork loin instead with baby Brussels sprouts and swiss and bacon mashed potatoes

Tuesday:
Breakfast - Easy eggs Benedict
Dinner - Chicken with lemon and artichokes with angel hair pasta and peas

Wednesday:
Breakfast - cereal...I know, I know...I had a (another) weak moment and a coupon!
Dinner - Amazing turkey burgers with salsa mayonnaise, chips

Thursday:
Breakfast - pigs in pancakes with fruit topping
Dinner - Crockpot stuffed bell peppers, salad

Friday:
Breakfast - biscuits and sausage gravy
Dinner - Family fun night!

Saturday:
Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, hash brown casserole, bacon
Dinner - Salisbury steak, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon

Sunday:
Midnight Pancakes at IHOP to celebrate my being able to eat starch and sugar again! (I've been on a very restricted diet for 46 days and lost 30 pounds so far!)
I'm not worrying about the rest of the day...it's Mother's Day!

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday April 19-25

We had an amazingly fun and busy weekend! On our way to Dallas for an Irish dance competition, we stopped (a little out of the way, but worth it) in Glen Rose, Texas at Dinosaur World. This was a thank you to our boys who endure hours of dancing performances, trips to the mall and the constant girl talk of their 4 sisters and myself. We walked the winding path through the park where we viewed dozens of life size dinosaurs in their natural "habitat". The little sprinkling of rain just led to a more Jurassic-y Park feel. We had a picnic and then did the unthinkable...we bought souvenirs. I never buy souvenirs! In the shop, everything always looks so cool but an hour later, you ask yourself why you just spent $15.00 on an inflatable snake? I have always had a hard and fast "postcards only" rule. My thought is postcards are cheap, they're flat (easy to pack and store) and you you never have postcard buyers remorse. However, my dear husband bought the souvenir of all souvenirs...a mounted dinosaur head. Yes, the perfect addition to his trophy wall that currently only houses a jackalope. This is why the man is only allowed to decorate the garage and under the beds.
We finished Saturday off with a trip to the American Girl Doll store at the Dallas Galleria. It has become our tradition to go there and have dessert every time we are in Dallas (dessert buys the patience of little boys while their sisters shop for doll clothes!). Last time, we enjoyed their amazing milk and cookies (you'll just have to go there to see how they can make something so simple, so great). This time we had the super banana split and the fondue sampler. ooooh yum. Can't wait until next time when we try the banana marshmallow crepes!
Saturday the kids danced and came away with an armload of medals and a trophy! They are so amazing and talented. Next weekend, we do it all over again....
We're back home and back to normal (at least our normal!)for a little while so here's my plan...
oh, yeah...I'm just cooking for the kids this week...

Monday:
Breakfast: (Gasp) Cereal...yes I has a weak moment...don't judge me
Dinner: Beefy mac and cheese, green beans and salad

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Bacon, egg and cheese taquitos and fruit
Dinner: Chicken soft tacos

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Pancakes and Bacon
Dinner: Mini burgers, macaroni and cheese and tater tots

Thursday:
Breakfast: Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Dinner: BBQ rib sandwiches, baked potatoes

Friday:
Breakfast: Hit it Willie! "On the road again..."
Dinner: Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock...the best pork BBQ anywhere

Saturday and Sunday
:
Breakfast: Hotel food
Dinner: out

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This week...

Here are a few fun "holidays". Plan accordingly...
April 12 - National Licorice Day
April 13 - National Peach Cobbler Day
April 14 - National Pecan Day
April 16 - National Eggs Benedict Day
April 17 - National Cheeseball Day
April 18 - National Animal Cracker Day

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week 15

I've got a question for you...how come people only throw up at night? Specifically children who somehow forget their way to the bathroom at the crucial moment? Are tummy bugs nocturnal? Do they first feed on your sense of direction? Well, they do at our house. We had two sick boys last night. I should give them credit for improved performance while nauseated...this time they didn't come scare me out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night to announce, "Mom, I feel like I'm gonna throw up" and then proceed to do so on me. In light of that memory, I guess I shouldn't complain! I probably only have myself to blame anyway. I was so tired of looking at the piles of Easter treats that I allowed them to have an all-you-can-eat buffet. You gotta let loose sometimes! Besides, there won't be any more candy until October.
I get a few days off from cooking this week while we are traveling to yet another Irish dance competition. However, I am trying several new recipes that I will post as they are deemed successful. We also have a super fun surprise day planned for Friday on our way to Dallas...we're going to Dino World (for the boys)and picnicking for lunch and then going to the American Girl Doll Store (for the girls).
Here's the plan...have a great week!

Monday:
Breakfast: Piggies on a stick (pancake wrapped sausage on a stick)
Dinner: Sour cream salsa chicken (made in the crockpot) and fettucini, confetti corn, salad
Tuesday:
Breakfast: Bacon, cheese and tomato quiche and cantaloupe
Dinner: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (both from the freezer, English peas
Wednesday:
Breakfast: Sausage biscuits and pepper gravy
Dinner: After homeschool roller skating day, dinner at a friend's. I'm bringing lasagna (from the freezer), homemade bread and a German chocolate cheesecake.
Thursday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs on toast and fruit
Dinner: Cheese ravioli with homemade pesto and peppers, salad
Friday:
Breakfast: on the road, probably kolaches and yogurt
Dinner: Family fun night
Saturday:
Breakfast: Hotel buffet
Dinner: Out
Sunday:
Breakfast: Hotel buffet
Dinner: BLT wraps, veggie chips

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week 14

Easter was great! Now I just have to figure out how to incorporate all of the leftovers into meals for this week. Let's see...Fried peeps and mashed potatoes? nah. Malted milk eggs and noodles? nah. Guess I'll have to go to the store and get some real food! Actually, our pantry, freezer and fridge are well stocked. I just need a couple of odds and ends to round out the week. Oh, and I'm working on 101 uses for hot cross buns. My recipe made a few more than I thought it would. I'm still on my diet so I'll only be cooking for eight.
Here's my plan...

Monday:
Breakfast: Cheese omelets and fruit
Dinner: Hamburgers, baked beans, waffles fries

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Pancakes and sausage
Dinner: Baked potato soup in a bread bowl

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Apple pie baked oatmeal
Dinner: Tamale casserole

Thursday:
Breakfast: Sausage egg and cheese croissants and fruit
Dinner: Meatballs with chile peanut sauce and saffron rice, peas

Friday:
Breakfast: Muffins
Dinner: Family Fun Night and Gillian's birthday! This means hot dogs (her favorite), tater tots and at her request..pudding...don't ask, I have no idea...and of course, cake

Saturday:
Breakfast: out for something yummy!
Dinner: Taco ring (my chicken club ring turned out so well, I've got to try another variation!)

Sunday:
Dinner: BBQ brisket sandwiches, cole slaw and chips

Monday, March 29, 2010

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...





Traditions are important for a family and if nothing else, our family has traditions! I keep thinking that someday, I will write them all down so I don't forget one. There's nothing worse than waking up the day after a holiday and having your child wistfully reminiscing about something we "used to do"...only it wasn't supposed to be just a fond memory, Mom forgot because that's just what she does sometimes! Well, I've been cruising along thinking, "I've got this Easter thing taken care of". I've already bought new baskets, grass (which I always forget), more eggs because the 1500 (no, I'm not kidding) we already have are in storage, invited ourselves over to my mom's for brunch and an egg hunt (I bribed her by offering to bring all of the food...oops, let me add that to the list). Then I realize, my girls have nothing to wear, we have not yet made the white shoes pilgrimage...yes, I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny and that white should not be worn before Easter or after Labor Day; and I have no peeps....!!! The kids could probably overlook a lot but not having peeps would probably push them over the edge, not to mention what my marshmallow-lovin' mother-in-law might think!
We have established some really fun and meaningful traditions, in spite of my occasional absent-mindedness. Two of my favorites are Resurrection eggs which tell the story of Easter and Easter cookies which offer another create (and edible) telling of the story of Jesus crucifixion and ressurection.
I've got to go hit the fabric and dollar stores but I will leave you with this recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy it!

Easter Story Cookies (by Wanda Long in Home Life magazine)

Begin on Easter Saturday

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
ziploc baggie
wooden spoon
duct tape
Bible

We gather around the kitchen island and Dad reads each scripture as we go along. Place pecans in ziploc bag and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to until they are broken into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19: 1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19: 28-30
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10: 10-11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the mixing bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing are they? Add 1 cup sugar to the mixing bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3: 1-3
Fold in broken nuts.
Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Explain that the mounds represent the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27: 57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matthew 27: 65-66
Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight just as Jesus' followers were in deep despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read 16: 20 and 22
On Easter Morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matthew 28: 1-9
HE HAS RISEN!