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, 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!