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, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 12

I love this time of year. Although here, in our part of Texas, the weather hasn't shown even the slightest sign of turning, the word "September" puts me in a whole new frame of mind. I start thinking of changing leaves, pumpkins (obviously I have an active imagination!) and heartier meals. 

Last week brought good news and bad news. The good news is my husband got a start date for returning to work after being on leave while caring for his mom after her stroke and we made it through our hectic schedule alive (!).

The bad news is I fell short when it came to following my menu plan...wait! Silver lining alert! That means I don't have to work quite as hard this week to come up with my plan! Here goes...I'll be sure to post some new recipes as my schedule allows this week.

Happy eating and have a blessed week!


Breakfast - Sausage rolls, juice
Lunch - Grilled apple, bacon and peanut butter sandwiches
Dinner - Sausage and pepper kebabs with Parmesan risotto


Breakfast - Bagel breakfast sandwiches
Lunch - Asian chicken noodle salad
Dinner - Italian stuffed flank steak, mashed potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash


Breakfast - Ham, cheese and spinach quiche
Lunch - Taco burgers, salad and fruit
Dinner - Stuffed muffaletta sandwiches, chips, raw veggies (we have a long evening of dance lessons so we'll pack this to take along)


Breakfast - Fruity breakfast shakes
Lunch - Croque monsieur and homemade veggie chips
Dinner - Cajun chicken pasta, green beans, salad


Breakfast - Blueberry waffles, bacon
Lunch - Hotdogs, tater tots, yogurt
Dinner - Family Fun Night! Homemade deep dish pizza and root beer floats


Breakfast - Cinnamon rolls, fruit and coffee milk
Dinner - Taco ring, corn and black beans


Our church knows the way to get a teenager out of bed early on a Sunday morning is to feed them so most of our kids get a full breakfast when we arrive. The rest of us enjoy the kolaches, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee the church so graciously provides.

Dinner - Crock pot beef burgundy with egg noodles, glazed carrots

Monday, September 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Back to School!

We're headed back to school.....pretty ominous sounding except we homeschool so it only involves heading to the dining room table! We're pretty P.J.'s please! One of the blessings of homeschooling (at least here in Texas) is being able to set your own schedule. We start the day after Labor day and take off most of December.
This year, I only have 5 students (my two oldest girls have graduated) 1 high schooler (yah...Algebra again), a 7th grader, 1 5th grader, a 3rd grader and a first grader and a list of extra-curriculars about a mile long....Cub and Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls, 4H, Civil Air Patrol, ballet, National Charity League, Student Council, ballroom dancing and the ever-present Irish dance. Whew! It's going to be a busy year! The only way I can have an semblance of sanity is to cling to any organizational tool I possibly can. Meal planning is one of my mainstays. The last few months, we have had quite an upheaval in our household when my mother-in-law suffered a stroke and subsequently moved in with us. All forms of schedule or organization pretty much went out the window. I think I've got my footing again (plus Grandma is moving into an assisted-living facility) so let's get this show on the road!!!

Here's my plan.....

Brunch - Hash brown casserole with sausage and biscuits
Dinner - Brisket,  BBQ baked beans and grilled corn

Breakfast - Free breakfast at Chick Fil-A (look online to make your reservation!)
Lunch - Monte Cristo sandwiches
Dinner - Italian flank steak and garlic mashed potatoes 

Breakfast - Secret toast with scrambled eggs (a la Nanny McPhee)
Lunch - Taco burgers
Dinner - Fajita steak salad

Breakfast - Mini wheats with strawberries
Lunch - Grilled peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches
Dinner - Cajun chicken alfredo, carrots and salad

Breakfast - French toast and bacon, fruit
Lunch - Asian chicken noodle salad
Dinner - Family Fun Night!  Pizza, boneless wings, ice cream floats and a movie

Brunch - Red velvet pancakes
Snack - Carmel apple nachos
Dinner - Thai style ribs, peanut noodle salad, spring rolls

Breakfast - treats at church
Lunch - Sandwich stuff - everyone makes their own
Dinner - Chicken and dumplings

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wow! How did that happen?! Menu Plan for June 13 - 19

It's summer already and all of my organizational, planning, etc... resolve has completely derailed!! Why? In a word (or three hyphenated words) mother-in-law. The end of the school year was pretty packed out with one daughter graduating from high school and all of the surrounding hub-bub related to that; end of the year scouting activities; trying to tame our wild and crazy puppies and wrestling with ongoing homeowner duties (trying to get the pool blue again!, leaky pipes, etc...); throw in a couple of snake bites in the backyard and it makes for a busy day! Then, Grandma had a stroke. Actually three. So our house hold has grown from 9 to 10. And my plate juggling act? Needs a little re-working. So, slowly, we are acclimating to a new normal...I hadn't really mastered the old normal so this shouldn't be too hard! So, in my effort to reclaim some normalcy, I will start meal planning again. Otherwise we may starve!!


Breakfast - Homemade croissants and fruit
Dinner - Pierogi with ham and peas in a bechamel sauce; salad


Breakfast - Breakfast pizza - easy pizza crust with scrambled eggs, tomato, cheese, bacon
Dinner - Chiles Rellenos, crunchy beef tacos, avocado salad


Breakfast -Dutch Baby with berries and syrup
Dinner - Crockpot beef and chicken fajitas with onions, peppers and zucchini served on flour tortillas


Breakfast -Breakfast burritos
Dinner - Thai Beef Salad with Crispy Noodles


Breakfast - Sausage cheese bread
Dinner - Family Fun Night!!


Breakfast - BLT and fried egg and cheese sandwiches
Dinner - Monterey Chicken, rice, creamy corn casserole


Breakfast - Donuts at church
Dinner -Hot dogs on the grill

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday February 21 - 28

Busy, busy, busy! This week has my husband fulfilling his rodeo committee duty for the year, preparing for our dance school's fundraiser (collecting donations, extra dance practice, baking cookies, making desserts for auctioning, teaching my husband to Irish dance....don't ask...)  my younger girls are hosting and Irish dancing at a tea party, my boys have their Blue and Gold Banquet for Boy Scouts and my 17 year old gets her braces off! Whew!....I'm really looking forward to coming up for air next week!
Despite the frenzied pace, we still gotta eat. Here's my plan....

Monday -
Breakfast - white chocolate macadamia and coconut muffins my daughter made...yum!
Dinner -  Creamy parmesan dijon chicken with penne(hopefully third time's the charm! This dish keeps getting held over), green beans, salad

Breakfast - egg, sausage and cheese quesadillas
Dinner - Meatballs stroganoff with egg noodles and brown sugar glazed carrots

Breakfast - Pigs in pancake blankets
Dinner - Dance night - dinner out

Breakfast - yogurt and granola parfaits
Dinner - Boy Scouts Blue and Gold Banquet

Breakfast - Biscuits and sausage gravy, bacon (yes, we love our pig!), oranges
Dinner - Family Fun Night! Pizza, boneless BBQ wings, chocolate milkshakes

Breakfast -Oatmeal, toast, fruit
Dinner -Mexican shepherd's pie, rice

Breakfast - Kolaches on the way to church
Dinner - Irish dance school fundraiser

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday February 14 - 20

In our house, we take Valentine's day very seriously! It starts on February 1st when the kids put out their mailboxes (cute little tin mailboxes I found in the dollar bin at Target and then embellished with the kid's names). Cupid then visits each night and puts a little treat in the boxes. Sometimes it's a little candy, sometimes a note but it definitely gets the kids out of bed each morning and reminds them of how much they are loved.
This year is also my first Valentine's in our house so I had fun creating a tablescape with what I have (translation- yes, honey, I'm buying more dishes before next year!). I did make some topiaries, though. I carved a heart out of green styrofoam and covered it in sheet moss and faux ivy and set it atop a stick I found in the yard. The rose topiaries are just silk roses stuck in a styrofoam ball again on a stick from the yard.

Simple, easy and fun crafts!

Monday: Happy Valentine's Day!!
Breakfast - Heart shaped red velvet chocolate chip pancakes dusted with powdered sugar, strawberries

Dinner - Heart shaped personal sized homemade pizzas, chocolate lava cakes
Looks like I'm running the line at a resataurant...nope, just dinner
They didn't make it long enough to photograph the gooey"lava" inside!

Breakfast - Spinach, bacon and Swiss cheese omelets
Dinner - Creamy parmesan mustard chicken with penne, glazed carrots, salad

Breakfast -Homemade doughnuts
Dinner - Portable dinner - Shredded chicken sandwiches with white BBQ sauce, veggie sticks, apple sauce

Breakfast - Cuban breakfast wraps - eggs, ham, provolone cheese, a little mustard and a pickle rolled in a tortilla.
Dinner - Stir fry beef with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and water chestnuts in a peanut sauce (I'm using this peanut sauce recipe because it has no sugar in it) on a bed of noodles.

Breakfast - Homemade cinnamon bread French toast, sausage links
Dinner - Family Fun Night!! Chili Frito pie and hot dogs, The King's (yes, I mean Elvis) s'mores - Peanut butter, chocolate,  toasted marshmallow and banana on graham crackers

Breakfast - Homemade chocolate croissants and coffee milk
Dinner - Crockpot onion, Swiss, mushroom burgers - mix ground beef with onion soup mix, form into patties, put in crockpot, cover with another packet of onion soup mix, sliced mushrooms and a cup of water and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve on toasted buns with Swiss cheese and sweet potato fries.

Breakfast - Kolaches on the way to church
Dinner - Crockpot stuffed bell peppers, salad

For hundreds more meal ideas and recipes go to Have a great week and happy eating!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine Door Decor

Thanks to my friend Mary, I was inspired (ok, I totally copied her) to decorate my front door for Valentine's day. She found these super cute heart-shaped floral wreaths at Big Lots and had one on each of her beautiful double front doors. Well, I only have one door and it's not so beautiful so a little embellishment is always in order. So I trotted myself over to Big Lots and bought two wreaths ($10 each) and this is where my copy-catting ways end. I then found some pretty wire-edged red ribbon at Walmart ($1.46), measured and cut a length that suited my door, sewed the wreaths to the ribbon using a little piece of felt  to reinforce each one on the back and finally, thumb-tacked it to the top of my front door.

Voila! Cupid should feel right at home! (better picture tomorrow when it's light!)

I was kind of on a roll at this point so I decided to decorate the gate to my backyard as well.

One heart shaped grapevine wreath ($4.99 at Michael's)

and a trip to the backyard to clip some berries off my shrubs..
and I am all done....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday February 6 - 12

We have been huddling for warmth for the better part of a week now. Fires in the fireplace, soup on the stove, lots of hot chocolate.... Temperatures have been reaching lows we haven't seen in a long time, if ever. I'm not a big fan of the sweltering summer we suffer through each year and always look forward to winter. I guess the saying, "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" applies here! Maybe if we had some pretty snow to show for it.....

Due to the weather, which has brought with it icy roads and rolling blackouts, all of our extra-curricular activities were canceled last week. So, a few things on our menu were substituted and carried over to this week.

Breakfast - homemade pop tarts - cinnamon brown sugar, strawberry and pineapple (check out my tutorial!)
Dinner - Super Bowl loaded nachos, BBQ boneless wings, root beer
Tortilla chips loaded with black beans, corn, chili, queso with ground beef, black olives and sour cream.

Breakfast - Breakfast pizza - sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, carmelized onions on a pizza crust

Dinner - Extra dance class - Apricot pork chops in the crockpot, long grain and wild rice, green beans (held over from two weeks ago)

Breakfast - Vegetable and cheese frittata - I love this because it's a great way to clean out your produce drawer. I just kid of made it up - 6 eggs, whisked with a little milk, salt, pepper and garlic. Pour into a screaming hot oven safe pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Layer in tomatoes, bell pepper, squash and cheese. Let cook for about 5 minutes then transfer to a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until set and slightly golden. Remove from oven. Loosen edges with a spatula and it should slide right out. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
 Sorry about all of the dark pictures...I've had to take them with my phone!

Dinner - Taco salad

Breakfast - S'mores malt o meal
Dinner - Dance night so we'll eat a portable dinner(the one we didn't have last week) -  chicken, bacon and ranch wraps, chips, yogurt

Breakfast - Homemade English muffins, jam, eggs

Dinner - Chicken manicotti with chive cream sauce, salad, homemade garlic rolls

Breakfast - Ham, cheese and egg on homemade croissants
Dinner - Family Fun night! Homemade pizza rolls - egg roll wrappers filled with all our favorite pizza toppings, fruit pizza - sugar cookie crust topped with strawberry cream cheese and an assortment of fruits and drizzled with chocolate

Breakfast - Peanut butter pancakes with warm grape jelly drizzle and bacon

Dinner - Hamburger steaks topped with grilled onions and queso, mashed potatoes and salad

To find lots more menu ideas, visit Have a great week and happy eating!

PopTart Tutorial or I Actually Remembered to Take Pictures!

First of all I have to thank my infinitely patient 17 year old foodie daughter for lending her photography skills. I have been seeing recipes around blogger-land for homemade pop tarts for a while. Well, I finally broke down and tried them and they were, not surprisingly, a hit! Since I don't own any unpronounceable additives or preservatives, I don't feel guilty about letting each of the kids eat three!!
I adapted a recipe I found on the Crepes of Wrath blog. By adapted I mean I combined a few steps and wasn't quite as fussy with everything. I made the dough in the food processor and I didn't cover my baking sheet with foil or spray it, I just put the tarts straight on it with no problem.

The crust is a basic recipe: simply flour, salt, butter, shortening and cold water.  I made the dough in the food processor. No ceramic chickens were harmed in the making of this recipe.
3 cups flour

Add 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter and 1/2 cup shortening and 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse until combined and dough resembles small peas. Add 6-7 tablespoons cold water and pulse until dough forms a ball.

Flour work surface so your dough won't stick.

Roll out your dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Trim the rough edges.

Cut into rectangles - size is up to you. We thought it might be fun sometime to make a gigantic one!

Now it's time for fillings and toppings. We chose raspberry jam with chocolate sprinkles, pineapple jam with yellow sugar sprinkles and sugar and cinnamon filling with cinnamon icing...yummers!

Spread 1 or 2 tablespoons or jam on the bottom pastry layer of each pop tart.

Cover with top layer of pastry dough and crimp edges with your fingers or, our chosen method, a fork.

Poke holes in the top of each pop tart (for steam to escape) and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Remove to a cooling rack. When completely cool, mix together a cup of powdered sugar and a tablespoon or so of milk. I always eyeball this until it reaches the consistency I want. Ice the poptarts and add sugar or sprinkles while the icing is still wet (in other words, don't ice them all and then think you're going to come back and sprinkle all of them...the sprinkles will just roll me, I did it that way at first!)
Here is the inside...flaky crust, sweet filling, a dose of requisite chocolate.

This recipes made 12 poptarts. Next time I will probably double it again and add more filling. I was a little skimpy on it this time (erring on the side of caution!) Thanks to Crepes of Wrath! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eat more Ground mean Chicken!

Happy Ground Hog Day! For the first time in my life I am hoping there will NOT be six more weeks of winter! Here in Houston, usually, we are not even starting to get cold until February so I always wish for more. This year we have had a series of freezing days and this morning it's 19! The only positive thing that might come out of this is fewer mosquitos this summer.

To warm us up and to celebrate Ground Hog day, Chick Fil A is giving away free spicy chicken biscuits this morning (we eat em with some bleu cheese dressing). It's not an advertised special so you'll have to ask for it. Thank you Chick Fil A! I'll go out in the cold for that!

Stay warm and have a great day!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Jan 30 - February 5

This week is clouded by the passing of my grandfather. We are rejoicing that he will be rejoining my grandmother whom he has missed so very much...but selfishly, of course, we always wish for one more day. In an attempt to stay sane and keep things as normal as possible for my kiddos, I'm meal planning. Having things planned out really helps provide a little balance amongst chaos. Remember to love each's too short to waste it....

Sunday -
Breakfast - Donuts from our favorite shop
Dinner - Philly cheese steak sandwiches and chips

Breakfast - Cheese omelets carried over from last week
Dinner - Chicken and dumplings

Breakfast - Muffins on the road
Dinner - Crockpot pork chops with apricot sauce, long grain and wild rice and green beans almondine

Breakfast - Creme Brulee French toast made in the crock pot
Dinner - we're at dance class for 4 hours so it has to be portable so it's chicken bacon ranch wraps, yogurt and vegie chips

Breakfast - Homemade pop tarts
Dinner - Broccoli cheese soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - Family Fun night! Pizza and breadsticks, root beer floats

Breakfast - Breakfast burritos
Dinner - Meatball subs, crinkle fries

For more menu ideas go to Have a great week and happy eating!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday January 23 - 29

I don't know why, but when I'm starving on a diet I am the most creative in the kitchen. I watch cooking shows's like my eyes are cheating on my stomach...and I become super-inspired! My super new recipe that I am in love with is a stuffed jalapeno recipe I saw Sunny Anderson make on Food Network. I personally don't eat stuffed jalapenos, although 5 of my 7 children do, but it's the stuffing that I am in love with. It is made with chorizo, smoked gouda, cream cheese, sour cream, red onion and hot sauce. I had some left over after making the peppers and used it to stuff a thick pork chop. After that, there was still some left so I mixed it with scrambled eggs and rolled it in a tortilla for breakfast burritos the next morning (7 out of 7 children liked these!). That's a lot of yummy bang for my buck!

This week we are having....

Breakfast - lemon ricotta pancakes and sausage
Dinner - Cranberry, almond and goat cheese stuffed pork chops, honey mustard glazed apples and butternut squash and mashed potatoes

Breakfast - chorizo, gouda and egg breakfast burritos
Dinner - Stuffed taco burger sandwiches - hollow out individual buns or rolls, saving the plug of bread from the top. Cook crumbled ground beef with minced onion and garlic. Add 4 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup salsa ranch dressing, 1/2 cup sour cream, sliced olives, 1 diced tomato and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and stir until all cheeses are melted. Stuff into rolls and replace top of bread. Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm. YUM!! A great on the go dinner which we are most of the time!

Breakfast - Malt o Meal with bananas and chocolate chips
Dinner - Asian peach chicken with stir fried noodles and vegetables

Breakfast - Blueberry waffles
Dinner - Creamy chicken and wild rice soup and homemade bread

Breakfast - Ham, cheese and egg breakfast sandwiches
Dinner - American chop suey - macaroni noodles mixed with tomatoes, cheese and ground beef; green beans

Friday -
Breakfast - Chick Fil A (hey, my kids work there...gotta show some love...)
Dinner - Family Fun Night!! Nanny McPhee Returns and pizza, boneless wings and purple cows

Saturday -
Breakfast - Cheese omelets
Dinner - Boys are having a friend spend the night so we'll have stuffed cheese burger with a topping bar, fries and tots, root beer floats and homemade ice cream sandwiches (we will have a couple kinds of cookies, a couple kinds of ice cream and some sprinkles, mini m&m's, chopped nut, roll the sides in.

Happy eating!
Check out hundreds, maybe thousands, more recipe and meal ideas at!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Belated Happy New Year from Mother Hubbard!!!

I can't believe it's 2011! I remember when I was a kid and we used to calculate how old we would be in 2000 and how distant (and old!) it seemed. Now we are eleven years beyond that and I don't feel so old after all (well, some days....)!

Well, as expected, I have made some resolutions. Accountablility is key, so I shall share them with you here....
1. I will become more organized; specifically, I will gain control over the suffocating amount paper in my house (I'll also finish unpacking the few boxes left from moving into our house...last July)

2. I will finish writing my cookbook...the one I've been working on for about 7 years.

3. I will restart my business..and become a giant worldwide conglomerate that will take over the world!!! Muuhaahahaha (That's supposed to be a maniacal laugh)

4. I will try all of those recipes I have been tearing out of magazines since I was 15.

5. Most importantly, I will live my life for Christ. I try, but I will work harder to follow His footsteps. I saw a saying today that I thought was great..."Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" -Leonard Ravenhill
It made me stop and think about everything in my life and how I can improve the way I live it. So, no better time than right now, in the new year!

Another resolution I've made is what I'm calling "The Year of Living Frugal". I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to see how little money I can spend and how much I can save this year! I've already started couponing in earnest (have you watched "Extreme Couponing" on tv?...inspiring) and cooking creatively from the pantry and freezer. Fortunately, I'm only cooking for my kiddos (but if you remember, there are 7 of them!) because I am on a restricted diet for the next couple of weeks (weight loss is not a resolution...I've been working on it slowly for almost a year...52 pounds so far!). I'm also planning to sew more and look for creative projects to finish decorating my house. I've already saved quite a bit by being my own plumber when a pipe burst in our yard!

So far my creative cooking has led us to ham and Swiss sandwiches on cornbread with mango jam and chipotle mayo; Cheesy outside-in sliders on dark wheat buns with homemade relish from the garden; smoked sausage dogs on a stick (smoked sausage stuffed with cheese, wrapped in canned French bread dough and rolled in a mixture of paprika, garlic salt and sesame seeds and baked according to the bread directions); my eldest daughter even came up with chickpea and tomato curry on saffron rice! It's just amazing what you can come up with when you think the cupboard is bare!

Today I made Banana, Brown Sugar and White Chocolate mini bundt cakes. The kids loved them. They (the cakes...ok ,the kids, too) are very cute and perfect with hot chocolate on a rainy, cold day.

I wish you all a blessed and happy new year! I will begin posting my menu plan again next week; in the meantime, visit for hundreds of amazing ideas. I'm going to go see what else I don't have in my pantry to make for dinner!