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

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....

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

BBQ rib sandwiches
Cheese and fruit

King Ranch chicken (from the freezer)
Creamed corn

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.

Dijon mustard glazed pork tenderloin with cabbage and apples

Family Fun Night!
Homemade pizza and boneless teriyaki wings

Chicken and dumplings

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

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)
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 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...

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


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

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

Family Fun Night! 
Pizza and Teriyaki chicken nuggets

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.

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) 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...


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


Cuban grilled sandwiches with garlic mojo sauce
Potato and plantain chips


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

Buttermilk fried chicken with southwest cornmeal waffles


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


Family Fun Night!
Make your own nachos
Pineapple soda floats


Baked potato soup
Homemade rolls


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!