Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I've had strep throat and Monkeyface has bronchitis so there's been a lot of sleeping on my part and very little sleeping on his. Last night was a dream b/c we both simultaneously slept through the night together.
My dad has been keeping him at home since Tuesday. I'm so thankful that he is retired b/c I have certainly needed him this week. He's happy too though with good food in his belly.
I have a whole chicken in the crock pot today stuffed full of garlic, onions, and a random orange covered with herbs de provence and the juice of one lemon. I've been reading cookbooks lately and really wanted some rosemary lemon chicken but that's nearly impossible without rosemary. Luckily I'm good at improvisation.
I don't post here nearly as often as I would like but I've been without a computer at home for about 2 weeks now. Hubby took care of that last night & with the help of one SuperAsian I am now back in business. Granted...I am posting this from work :)
I have a new nephew that I will hopefully be meeting soon. I get to hold baby fingers and toes again. I miss that. Not that 2.5 isn't wonderful in it's own right but boy oh boy do I miss rocking and cuddling for hours on end. I don't even complain about getting up with Monkeyface when he needs me b/c it means that I get to hang out and rock in the glider with him. I'm such a sap.
I've been thinking of making a new mixed CD. I haven't made one in over a year now and do believe that it is time. However, all I've been listening to is what I call porch music. Low key, soft spoken, background to my thoughts kind of music. I need a front porch. I really do.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
There are some things in this world that you are not allowed to do. This is the first one.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecake Bars
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened **
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/3 cup chocolate topping
1/3 cup caramel topping
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, crushed cookies and pecans. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. (I used a food processor) Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. (I used my kitchen aid stand mixer) Add remaining filling ingredients; beat until well blended. Pour over warm cookie base. Sprinkle with reserved topping.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.
4. Before serving, drizzle with chocolate and caramel toppings. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
**I prefer to use Neufatchel cheese. It is just as good as regular cream cheese with the same texture and 1/3 of the fat.
For more recipes, check out Gayle's website.
Friday, November 21, 2008
One package of box scalloped potatoes – can be cheesy, or whatever you like best.
One cup of diced ham. I like a bit more.
Four cups chicken broth.
One or two stalks of diced celery.
One diced onion – whatever size you like.
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups half and half (I use lowfat)
1/3 cup flour
Mix potatoes, sauce mix, ham, broth, celery, onion, pepper in crock pot. Cover and cook on low heat 7 hours. Mix half and half with the flour, gradually stir flour mixture into chowder until blended. Cover and cook on low one more hour stirring occasionally until thick.
My 2 year old slurped this up and said "ahhh!" after almost every bite.
**Compliments of the Flylady.com website**
For more recipes, check out Gayle's website.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Apparently my son's memebership card to the Ministry of Silly Walks finally came in the mail. (That and a pair of big boy pants) His sense of humor is taking over and he's getting bold. It's cracking me up that he follows me, his dad, and apparently Karla around and does a funny walk behind our backs.
We've also been rocking out to the new Led Zepplin & Elvis channels on XM radio. I know he hears a song he likes b/c he will start thrashing his head around and slinging his hands wildly. So apparently he dances like his dad but can at least keep a beat like me :)
Lately we've been taking walks, talking about the different letters of the alphabet, pureeing pumpkins, doing "artch", and counting to 8 (1, 2, 8, 2, 8, 9, 8). I miss the dandelions but we've been loving the leaves. Especially the ones that people sweep out into the street. Sunday we finally did this and he pulled out his little bubble lawnmower and "helped" us. It was actually kinda fun cleaning the yard. I'm an immediate gratification kinda girl and loved watching the leaves pile up as the yard was cleared.
OH and the eating lately has been insane. Two people came up to us while we were dining out for Sunday's lunch and commented that they had never seen a child this small eat that much food. He was eating like I hadn't fed him all day. He's been eating like that every day. He gets a banana as soon as I pick him up from daycare, then he eats a snack of yogurt or similarly healthy when he gets home, then he eats all of his dinner about an hour later, and sometimes he'll keep snacking until bed time. This doesn't count the breakfast that he now eats before going to school, the breakfast once he's at school, plus lunch and two snacks. Do I hear growth spurt?
Whew! So what do I do with my time? I shop Etsy for Christmas presents, I plan our meals, clip coupons, save us money, and am slowly building a stockpile of food for pennies. I do laundry and relax in front of the TV. I plan things for the weekends but we just never find time to do it all. I obsess over a dozen eggs for $.99 and then I get excited b/c I actually made a special trip back to the grocery store to buy them and they were there. About an hour after the trip, I tell the hubby, "I'm so glad that I went back to get those eggs so that I could stop thinking about them." Yeah, we're still laughing about that one.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Basically this asks for you to cancel subscriptions that you don't need. I have already covered this one by canceling my gym membership & what I didn't need on cable and cellphone.
I'm going to try really hard with this one but as it is getting closer to Christmas, I find I am spending more frequently than normal, but I spending less than normal. I will try to buy nothing at least one day this week. I really don't know how much I spend on average per day, but for this experiment, let's say $30.
Total savings: $30
Week #1-Lunch one time was $9, breakfast was $2.16, and I did not go out to dinner.
Week #2-Lunch was $9, I did not go to a fast food joint for breakfast, and I did not go out to dinner. However, I was lazy this week so I ordered pizza one night and picked up burritos the next. This cost me $23 for my share.
I had allowed myself $50.78 for two weeks. I actually spent $43.16.
This is an additional savings of $7.62
**After I typed this I remembered that I spent $3.50 today for coffee and lunch. So my additional savings was only $4.12
The idea behind this one is to save the money that you were spending on gas. So let's see how this breaks down. I buy gas approximately every 10 days. When gas prices were at their highest, I was spending $65 per tank. Now that gas prices have gone back down, I'm looking at less than $35 per tank with prices still dropping. That's a savings of $30 per tank or about $90 per month.
Total savings: $90
Friday, November 14, 2008
Caribbean Black Beans from the Moosewood Cooks at Home Book
1 1/2 Chopped onions
3 Garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 T Olive oil
1 T Fresh grated ginger root
1 t Fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried
1/2 t Ground allspice
4 1/2 c Drained cooked black beans (three 16-oz cans)
3/4 c Orange juice
Salt and black pepper to Taste
Saute the onions and garlic until barely soft. Add the spices and saute until very soft. Stir in the beans and orange juice and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mash a few of the beans with a fork or that back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Coconut Rice-from my kitchen
1.5 cups basmati rice (be sure to wash and soak for 30 minutes prior to cooking)
2 cans coconut milk (I use lite)
1/2 stick of cinnamon
Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (use to taste)
1. Discard water rice was soaking in
2. Saute rice with curry paste until coated
3. Add coconut milk, cinnamon, and cloves and bring to a boil
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
5. Remove from heat and stir
6. Allow it so sit uncovered about 5 minutes before you serve it
(I topped w/cilantro b/c I had some left over-up to you though)
Mango Salsa from my chicken
1 Ripe mango, peel, pit, dice
1/4 cup Red onion, minced
1 Habanero chile
2 tbsp Lime juice (I just squeeze half a lime)
1 tbsp Fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 tsp Ground cumin
1/4 tsp White pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2 Refrigerate for 1 hour.
For more ideas, visit Gayle
One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain
Friday, November 7, 2008
6 cups water
2 cups uncooked grits
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided*
1 pound ground pork sausage
1/2 cup milk
Green onions to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish.
2) In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned. Set
aside and drain grease.
3) Beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl, and pour into the skillet. Lightly
4) Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Reduce heat,
cover, and simmer about 3-4 minutes, stirring occassionally, until liquid has
been absorbed. Mix in 2 cups cheese until melted.
5) Mix together grits, eggs, and sausage.
6) Pour the grits mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese
and season with salt and pepper.
7) Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.
*most of the time I mix 2 cups of cheese into the mixture and do not top it with the remaining cup of cheese. This recipe also called for the use of a stick of butter which I have eliminated b/c it is not needed. I use 2% cheese all the time and the Jimmy Dean lowfat sausage so that I don't even have to drain the sausage. No one can tell the difference between the original and the lower fat version.
For more recipe ideas, check out Gayle's recipe swap.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Well, I already did this tip back in September and decreased my bill by $7 a month. I have also tweaked my cable bill for a savings of $46 per month, daycare went down by $60 per month in August, and I just cancelled the gym membership for $56 per month.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Done and done just by simply typing it here. However, I'm going to take this one step further and figure that I spend anywhere from $16-22 for Friday night dinner. I'm going to try to be more cost concious and spend half that.
$22x4dinners per month=$88
I think I may have to develop an envelope system for this one b/c I tend to overspend on these dinners. It may be time to pull out some 2-for-1 dinner coupons or the restaurant coupons I bought that allow me to save $25 off a $35 dinner at Johnny Carino's. This sweet deal only cost me $2 when restaurant.com was having their 80% off sale last week.
Well I've been meaning to do this anyway so I will actually take some pictures and post on ebay tonight. I have a pair of green Chuck Taylors that the hubby has only worn 3 times so I'm hoping to get $20 for those and I have a beautiful plus size black shirt that never fit me properly so I'm hoping to get $15 for that.
Earnings b/c this isn't really saving:
$35-I will have to update this one when they actually sell.
**IF I get super motivated then I'm finally going to sell the old record player that's in my house taking up space. Maybe I'll get $50 for that??**
I'm already taking this challenge with Crunchy Chicken so this one is easy. I will tell you that since we've owned our house, every summer we spend well over $200 per month in the summer months for A/C. This year I was very careful to rarely, if ever turn our a/c down below 69 degrees. Most days it was kept at 72 degrees with ceiling fans and floor fans running. This is the first summer that we did not go over that $200 so I know it's working. Right now I'm keeping the thermostat on 68 degrees if we are up and moving around and 65 degrees when we are away from home or sleeping. I think this is going to be easier than in years past b/c I finally hung up some curtains in the living room that block the cold air that comes in through the old windows.
I'm guessing that for every 3 degrees you turn it down, you save 3%, so if I'm trying to beat a $200 bill then I will save $18.
Tip #1-Pack lunches this week
I normally dine out at least 2, sometimes 3 lunches per week and then at least 1-2 breakfasts. This month I'm only going to do 1 of each per week.
If I eat at Ruby Tuesday's, I am guaranteed to spend $12. Since this is my dining option of choice, I'm going with that cost.
12x3=$36 per week for 4 weeeks or $144 is what I would normally spend
2.39x1+5x1=$7.39 for 4 weeks or $29.56
So far so good this week. I will figure out how well I did on Sunday.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I'll do the big butt dance for you.
2) Sour Cream Chili Bake with Fritos
3) Top baked potatoes with the chili, cheese, and some sour cream
6) Make Tex-Mex pasta. I'm doing this from memory so bear with me.
1 box fusili, prepared as per directions on box
1 jar salsa*
Leftover chili (maybe 1 lb or so)
1 box Stouffer's spinach souflee**
1 8oz box of Neufatchel cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheese
Preheat over to 350 degrees
Combine leftover chili with the jar of salsa and heat through
Microwave spinach until almost cooked and mix with cream cheese in a microwaveable bowl
Heat until cream cheese is melted and you can easily stir to blend
Place a small layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish
Top with half of the noodles
Top with half of spinach mixture
Top with half of meat mixture
Top with half of the cheese
Bake for 45 mintues in a 350 degree oven
*If I'm not using chili I will use a blackbean/corn salsa. If I'm using chili, I will use a medium salsa such as Paul Newman's
**Make sure you are using the Stouffer's spinach souflee and not creamed spinach. It makes a huge difference
My 2 year old devours this.
Visit the recipe swap over at the Grocery Cart Challenge for more ideas.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
When I went to help a friend the other night, it was my turn to do the dishes. I told him that I was sorry that I hadn’t done them and that I would do them when I got home. He did them for me. When I got home I almost cried. I don’t think I have ever loved him more than in that moment.
He is actually going out of his way now at the grocery store to use coupons and save us money instead of buying the first thing he sees so that he can get in and out.
Today he calls me b/c he went to Sam’s and they had pumpkins for $.89 so he bought me one. I’ve been wanting more pumpkin seeds. They taste like popcorn and are totally delicious.
This may all sound silly, but I’m telling you that this is how my man shows me he loves me.
Friday, October 24, 2008
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
6 chicken breast halves (about 4 pounds), cooked, boned, and chopped
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (we used crushed Ritz crackers and I think it made it better)
2 tablespoons butter
Remove the outer wrappers from the box of spinach. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the spinach and put into a large bowl. Add the chicken.
In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the spinach and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.
Place the mixture into an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish or 2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Dot with the butter.
Wrap the uncooked casserole securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil. Place each pan into a plastic freezer bag and seal. Place into freezer.
Allow casserole to thaw 24 hours in refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and foil. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes until bubbly.
For more recipes, visit The grocery cart challenge.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 2 tsp apple pie spice or a combo of the 3 spices below
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup melted butter
* 1 cup canned pumpkin (I used my pumpkin puree)
* 6 oz pkg butterscotch chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Sift together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together the eggs, butter, and pumpkin in a separate bowl. Mix the flour mixture with the egg mixture. Stir in the butterscotch chips; pour into each cup of the muffin pan to about 3/4 full.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
**Recipe modified from this one
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
1 1/2 cups yellow or white cornmeal (I used stone ground)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice (or a combo of 1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
3 tbs canola oil (you can also use corn or vegetable oil)
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (you can use canned pumpkin too)
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well to remove any lumps, sifting if necessary.
Beat the egg lightly in a mixing bowl. Add the oil, pumpkin, and milk to the egg and beat together until well-combined.
Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Some lumps may remain; this is okay.
Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to see if they are done. They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.
*This recipe has been modified from the original that I found on Kidscuisine*
**For more pumpkin ideas, please visit Life as Mom**
***For more recipe ideas head over to the recipe swap***
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Ground Beef $1.69/lb.
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast $1.99/lb.
Pork Chops $1.99/lb
Can of Tomatoes $.40/can
Box cereal $.80
Box Kashi cereal $1.50
Yogurt $.40 each
8 oz. Cheese $2
Dishwashing Soap FREE
Dishwasher Soap $.50/box
canned cream of soup $.65
Body wash FREE
Children's medications $1
Hand soap $.25
Salad Dressing $1.25/bottle
Frozen Veggie side dishes $.77/box
White or brown rice $.50/lb
Shredded, bagged cheese $1.50/2 cups
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Makes 40-48 cookies
Mix together 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup honey until smooth. Gradually add in 3 cups old fashioned oats and 1/2 cup ground flaxseed. Add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup any combination of nuts and soft dried fruit(try 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts and 1/4 cup each of raisins and dried cranberries) and mix gently in your stand mixer or smush together by hand.
Roll into Ping-Pong-size balls and, for maximum presentation value, put in paper mini muffin cups. You can eat them right away, but they'll be less sticky after a night in the fridge. They freeze well too, layered on wax paper in an airtight container.
For more recipe ideas, go visit the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Thursday, October 9, 2008
List 7 random and/or weird things about yourself:
1) I love Duke's Mayonnaise. I mean, like, LOVE it. When I was younger I used to eat Mayonnaise sandwiches-not because we couldn't afford meat but b/c I love Duke's Mayo so much. Seriously. This is the one thing I will buy w/o it being on sale or having a coupon. I don't compromise...ever. I switched to diet Mt. Dew but I will not ever switch to low-fat, reduced-fat crap b/c Duke's is the best. Convinced yet?
2) I rarely clip my fingernails. They are a perfect shade of french manicure. I really don't know how else to describe them. They are perfectly pink with white tips and they look like they are professionally done. They are strong and I hate to file them. I also hate manicures because you have to have your nails filed. I rarely paint them but my toes are almost always painted and I love pedicures.
3) I love tomatoes and I love fried chicken but if you put the two of those on the same sandwich, I will not eat it. I love milk and I love chocolate, but not chocolate milk.
4) I find it deeply satisfying to pick my nose w/o a tissue. Don't worry you can still shake my hand b/c I am also always washing my hands. Besides, you know that you enjoy it too.
5) The other day my son took an infant pool float that has a place for your kid to put their legs and turned it upside down over his head. It looked like a giant space ship. He then proceeded to chase me around the house with his hands in the shape of lobster claws about to pinch me, screaming "I'm gonna get you!" (yes not about me, but he is my kid and I love that he is so weird).
6) Remember those 3-D pictures back in the 90's that if you stared at long enough and crossed your eyes just a little, you could see a picture within the picture? Well, yeah, I couldn't do that b/c I'm already cross-eyed and see perfectly fine with my eyes crossed.
7) Farts are funny.
Friday, September 26, 2008
exican pasta salad recipe.
1 pound fusilli pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large tomatoes, seeded, diced (4 cups)
3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
3 large carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal, slices cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Cook fusilli pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool. Drain pasta. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and mix thoroughly to coat. Add diced tomatoes, corn kernels, carrot strips and chopped onion and toss.
Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and fresh lime juice in small bowl. Mix in minced jalapeno chilies, chili powder and ground cumin. Add dressing and chopped fresh cilantro to salad and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
**I added more mayo cause it's just better and more of the dijion mustard. I think i pretty much added more of all the spices to. I didn't put the hot peppers in cause i figured kids would be eating it.**
For more recipes, check out the Recipe Swap
Monday, September 22, 2008
It seems only right that I dive right in today and welcome you with my favorite things...sitting outside and a cup of vanilla decaf chai. It's a little ritual that you and I share every year. It's our little one on one at the end of a busy day. It's the time when we just sit and enjoy each other's company. I love the silence that you bring. The neighbors go back inside and take their dogs with them. All I can hear are the leaves falling and the crickets chirping.
I can't wait for all the memories we'll build this year. I look forward to crunching leaves, the books I've fallen in love with recently, and the art projects you've inspired. We've been walking a lot more around here lately. We've been spending afternoons in the park and we've been to baby blessings. We've been running with cousins and I just can't think of a better way to greet you.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Apple Pie Pancakes
1 large baking apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into thin bits
1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice**
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, divided (use more or less depending on the sweetness of your apple)
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
Place chopped apple in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle with the apple pie spice and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Toss gently to coat and let sit while you prepare the batter.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, oil, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Beat with a whisk until well blended and foamy. Add flour and baking powder and whisk quickly to combine, beating until most of the lumps are gone. Fold in diced apple.
Spray griddle or electric skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Scoop about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto the skillet. Cook until golden brown and bubbles on the top burst, then turn and cook the other side. Keep warm on a platter in the oven until all pancakes are done. Serve with butter and maple or caramel syrup, if desired.
Leftovers can be cooled, wrapped in plastic with waxed paper between the layers, and frozen.
**I didn't have any apple pie spice on hand so I made some using this recipe.**
For more recipe ideas check out the Grocery Cart Challenge recipe swap.
Monday, September 15, 2008
One of These Things First Nick Drake
Cello Song Nick Drake
You Really Got a hold on me She & Him
Sex on Fire Kings of Leon
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa Vampire Weekend
Electric Feel MGMT
Mr. E's Beautiful Blues The Eels
Man Must Dance Johnossi
Pink Light Laura Veirs
Uh-uh-uh Hey Willpower
Modern Guilt Beck
What's on repeat for you?
Friday, September 12, 2008
Make this today!
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter — softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana — 3 to 4 medium
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries — washed
1 cup walnuts — chopped (optional)(I use pecans)
Move the oven rack to a lower position so that the tops of the pans will be in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350ºF. Grease the bottoms only of two 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans.
Beat the sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the eggs, banana, buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Gently fold in the blueberries and walnuts, if using. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans on a cooling rack.
Gently loosen the sides with a knife and remove from the pans. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Alternatively, wrap well and freeze the bread, removing from the freezer the evening before serving.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 90 Calories; 4g Fat (36.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 13mg Cholesterol; 96mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
the name of his best friend
Susan (his teacher)
over there? (pronounced o'er der?)
I'm so proud of my little list maker.
Every morning when we go out to the car and every afternoon when I pick him up from day care, he points to various cars and asks me.."Where's mommy's car?" "O'er der?"
"no..." "O'er der?" "no..."o'er der?" "Yes!" He will then walk over to car. I love the little games he plays.
Just tonight he asked his dad to bring him his markers and when he did, he smiled up at him with this face and said "Thanks Daddy!"
I love the sense of humor that is developing.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Here's what I did:
3 chicken breasts
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
Juice from half of a lemon
garlic salt (though I think fresh garlic would have been better)*
Italian seasoning to taste
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
I mixed together the yogurt, lemon, garlic salt, & Italian seasoning. After washing the chicken and patting it dry, I rolled it in the yogurt and then the bread crumbs. Place in a greased casserole dish and top each chicken with a pat of butter. The butter is important b/c it helps the breadcrumbs to crisp. If you use drumsticks, just place the butter on the "meatiest" part of the chicken.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and then uncover for another 15 minutes.
My little one was yumming his way through the meal.
*If you use fresh garlic, be sure to use salt on the chicken.
To see more recipes visit the Grocery Cart Challenge.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
baking apparently...banana blueberry bread, banana pudding, cheese biscuits...
unpacking the 2 boxes that were never emptied when we moved in 4 years ago
finding "new" clothes in those boxes
sleeping in on my day off
taking my son to see the monkeys in Costa Rica
playing on the beach
watching my 2 yr old be fearless-he has no problem holding his breath underwater and loves riding on escalators
hearing him sing the theme from Batman
the approaching weather of autumn. I'm ready for chai
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
In the meantime, just wanted to mention that I picked up my addiction (Diet Mountain Dew)today at CVS. After coupons and ECBs, they paid me .64 for 4-12 packs of the stuff. Paying me to drink something I would drink anyway? Bring it on!
Also..To get really cool info on coupons and deals of your own...visit The Coupon Coup
Friday, August 22, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Monkeyface was really excited about the plane and did a beautiful job until we had to wait to get off the plane in Costa Rica. By that time he was done waiting and wanted to go. He let everyone know how he was feeling and cried until I actually stepped off the plane with him. The boy has lungs! Our hotel is lovely and the people are especially friendly. I haven't gone in the pool yet because we just returned from a jungle boat tour where we saw tons of monkeys. Monkeyface loved it and now knows how to talk to the howler monkeys. He did a great job. I'm impressed by how adaptable children are while traveling. He is crying more than usual, don't get me wrong but all it takes is a decent distraction and he's back off to having fun again.
Today while we were out on the boat I was watching the hubby and Monkeyface play at the front of the boat. Something I would never have allowed if I had been sitting up there but I knew that the Hubby would take care of him. I kept thinking about how blessed I am to have married the man I did. So we're back in the room now winding down and trying to keep cool. I have a sunburn b/c I had the boys put on sunscreen but I failed to put it on myself. I think a trip to the pool is in order b/c we are sweating buckets in here.
Friday, August 8, 2008
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
4 chicken drumsticks (4 ounces each), skin removed
4 bone-in chicken thighs (6 ounces), skin removed
3/4 cup egg substitute
Drizzle butter in a 13x9x2 baking dish
In a shallow bowl, combine the cornflakes, flour and seasoned salt
Place egg substitute in another shallow bowl
Dip chicken in egg substitute, then roll in cornflake mixture
Arrange chicken in prepared dish, meatier side down
Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 180°
Friday, August 1, 2008
Black-eyed Pea & Tomato Salad
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, washed and picked over
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
1 qt water
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 to 2 green chili peppers (to taste), seeded and minced
5 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1/4 tsp ground cumin (to taste)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 heaped TBS chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
handful fresh spinach, chopped (optional)
lettuce leaves for the bowl
Prepare the salad:
Combine the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, water, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 to 35 minutes until the beans are cooked through but not mushy. Add salt to taste halfway through the cooking. Drain and discard the bay leaf. Toss the beans with the tomatoes and chili peppers.
Prepare the dressing:
Mix together the lemon juice, cumin, garlic, yogurt, and s&p to taste
Toss the salad with the dressing and refrigerate for several hours.
Just before serving, toss the parsley or cilantro and the spinach if desired. Adjust seasonings. Line a bowl or platter with lettuce leaves, top with salad, and serve. The salad will hold for 2 or 3 days w/o the fresh herbs and spinach, which should be added just before serving.
**I normally make this the night before and then toss in the fresh herbs before walking out the door**
Sunday, July 27, 2008
*pool parties with the little one and a few good friends
*planning my packing list to travel with Monkeyface for the first time
*painting and coloring with Monkeyface
*Popping giant bubbles outside
**This post has been brought to you by the letter "P"
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I love lists so I'm going to break it down as easily as I can.
1)Get the Sunday paper, join coupons.com to print coupons, and sign up for free samples b/c a lot of them come with coupons.
2)I read a couple of different blogs that help me decide what the good deals are and which coupons to use.
Money Saving Mom
Making CVS work for you
Be Centsable (people post their deals)
3)My sister in law sums it up nicely here.
4)Get a CVS Extra Care Bucks card and a weekly sales paper and figure out how you can combine it with the coupons you have on hand.
5)The first time I went I bought a Soliel razor and a pack of 4 blades for $6.99 each. I had a $4 off coupon for each product so I paid $2.99 each. CVS gave me $5 ECB that I could use like cash the next time I purchased something. The next thing I did was buy 2 sunscreen products. I bought the least expensive item I could find (2 face sticks at $4.97 each) and I got $10ECB back. Now I had $15 that I could spend at CVS that was basically free money. The way that I got the deals on my original post are as follows:
CVS sent me a sheet of coupons for $5 off any $15 purchase, free 2 liter Pepsi product, and $3 off any CVS pharmacy product. Gain was on sell for $2.99 and you got back $2ECB. Excedrin had a deal where you would get back $10ECB if you spent $20. I stacked my coupons.
First I had them total everything and it was right around $30. Then I gave them the $5 off $15 coupon (we're down to $25), then I had $6 worth of Excedrin coupons($19), then the $3 coupon for the antacids ($16), free Pepsi coupon ($15), and then I used my $15 in ECB to pay for the rest. The only thing I paid out of pocket was the tax of $.47 give or take a little. After my transaction I still had $12 in ECB to use the next time I shopped at CVS. It's a great thing and once you get the ball rolling, you aren't going to be able to stop.
This totally kills my need to shop bug and I get so excited by what I can actually get basically for free.
The next thing I did was use Rite-Aid's rebate program.
The shampoo you saw was on sale, buy one get one free, and I also had 2 BOGO free coupons so all that shampoo was free. The toothpaste was on sale for $2.49 and I got $2.49 in rebates plus I had a $.50 coupon. The Electrasol was $2.99 with $2 in rebates and I had 2 $2.25 coupons. Even though I had to pay approximately $4.75 out of pocket at the time, I just submitted for my rebate check last night and I'm getting back $4.49 in the form of a check which I will deposit in the bank.
So there you have it...hopefully this is not too confusing. The main thing is to clip coupons and sign up for blogs that will tell you which coupons to use and what the sales are. I work full time so there is no way that I could do this w/o the blogs. If you don't have Google Reader, I suggest you learn how to use it. I just go there and read the blogs I've subscribed to instead of having to remember to go to each individual blog each day. My best friend, Google Reader
Friday, July 25, 2008
You can use as much chicken or as much broccoli as you like. I happen to like broccoli a little too much. I also use reduced fat soup and 2% cheese
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 32 oz bag frozen broccoli or 2-3 boxes of frozen chopped broccoli
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (Duke's is my preference here in the South)
1/2 tsp of lemon juice
curry to taste (or not)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3.Place broccoli in the bottom of baking dish.
4.Layer cooked, cubed chicken over broccoli.
5.In a med bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, mayo and cheddar cheese.
6.Spread over chicken mixture.
7.Sprinkle with more Parmesan, paprika, salt and pepper.
8.Bake for 30 mins, or until hot and bubbly.
Sometimes I just stir everything together and throw it in the casserole dish if I'm in a hurry. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or nothing at all.
Friday, July 18, 2008
HAM AND POTATO CASSEROLE
2 lbs. Southern style frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. melted butter
16 oz. sour cream
2 c. cubed ham
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. butter, melted
Combine all casserole ingredients and mix well. Place in casserole dish. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle on casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Ultra Gain 32 load laundry detergent
2 liter Diet Mountain Dew
2 20 packet boxes of Electrasol
2 24 count Excedrin PM
100 count Excedrin migraine (not pictured b/c I already gave it away)
2 L'oreal Hydra Vive shampoos
2 L'oreal Hydra Vive conditioners
1 tube Crest toothpaste
1 bottle CVS antacids
Friday, July 11, 2008
They have pretty pictures on their website if you want to bookmark the link. However you choose to read the recipe, I reccommend that you cook this now. As in today, not tomorrow.
Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb bacon (or bacon bits)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet, heat oil & butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with teriyaki sauce and dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and top with bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I'm totally flashing back to childhood road trips, chopping wood with my dad, and pretending to drive the tractor.
I miss living in the country every single day. I miss my wide open spaces. I miss not hearing my neighbors argue, party, and slur curses at one another. I miss star gazing b/c I could actually see the stars at night. I miss the migrant worker's festive music blasting on the weekends over the open fields. I miss my favorite spot by the horse pond where I would sleep and dream.
I think having a kid has brought out things in me that I tried to run away from so long ago. I am so sentimental and hate that Monkeyface is not growing up the way I did. I have to remind myself constantly that this is his childhood, not mine.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Oral-B will donate one foot of dental floss to Operation Smile for every visitor that clicks through this link on their web site. No strings attached, no personal information required. It takes less than 5 seconds. Operation Smile is an organization that helps repair facial deformities in children throughout the world.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
I feel like I haven't done an actual update in quite some time. I've been busy piddling around with Google Reader and reading what other people have to say.
The plan today was to go to the pool with the Hubby and Monkeyface but the little one woke up with a fever again. He acts fine despite a 101.5 degree temperature. However, I'm going to have him take it easy. The pool will be there the entire summer so I know we'll be using it another day. I just really wanted the Hubby to go with us since he works on the weekends. Soon enough though we'll be in Costa Rica enjoying the ocean and the pools for a week.
So with my life...I've been working as usual, reading a lot of blogs on my Google Reader, and shopping with coupons. I love to shop but I also want to pay off our debt so I'm using CVS to get what we need for free and I'm using coupons to get as much as I can for free. I've almost become really good at planning a menu each week and sticking to it which helped us to only spend $35 at the grocery store this week for our family of 3. This included all breakfasts and a few lunches for me as well. Another way I've cut costs is to limit the amount of take out I buy. I allocated myself $100 for the last 2 weeks to use for lunches, incidentals, Friday nights (I don't cook on Fridays), and the occasional bout of laziness. Normally I would spend over $200 on this and I kept it at $112 (Hubby wanted ice cream last night). I'm so impressed that I could do it. Hubby also quit smoking so I'm thinking that will be another $200-250 per month that we'll have towards debt. It's amazing how much we were spending on food. Now I just need to battle the Target bug that infects me every time I walk in there. It is so hard to come out with only what you need.
I helped K move into her new place last weekend and it has come together nicely. Her screened in back porch has 2 cozy chairs and plants all over. I visited the other night and couldn't stop smiling the entire time I was sitting out there. The entire place is peaceful and I love it. I know that she loves having a home of her own again.
Other than that, I'm just reading a good book here and there, doing the normal things that a mom, full time employee, and wife do to keep the house running, and taking Monkeyface out on a new adventure each weekend. Life is pretty sweet.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
When your new album comes out next Tuesday, do you think you could tour North Carolina this time? We miss you.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I'll be here
While there I'm going to dabble in a little bit of this
Friday, June 27, 2008
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped onion
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 minced carrots
2 pounds peeled and diced tomatoes (reserve and add all juices)*
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I add more)
2-4 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory, Italian parsley, mint, lavender) or 1-2 teaspoons dried herbs or spices (Italian spices, basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, cumin, curry powder, nutmeg)**
1 cup heavy cream (I use light cream...I've even used soy milk)
In a skillet, add the oil and sautee the onion until soft. Add it to the crockpot with the carrots and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients except for the herbs and spices and cream. Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Add the herbs and adjust seasoning. Cool slightly and puree in small batches. Return to the crockpot and add the cream. Reheat until piping hot, or else cool and chill before serving.
* You can used canned tomatoes but they just aren't as good.
**I add the curry powder for the entire cooking time and I also add Italian seasoning. Then when it's done I take a hand held blender and blend in the cream.
***This freezes well even with the cream. Just be sure to reheat it slowly.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Now there is no way that I'm going to divide the responsibilities equally and create a list and stick to it. I like the flexibility of saying "If you clean the bathroom upstairs then I'll do the 2 downstairs." I just like being able to see what needs to be done and getting it done. I do most of the grocery shopping b/c I look for deals while he goes in as quickly as possible and grabs what he sees first. I solved this by doing most of the grocery shopping myself and asking him to stop on the way home from work to pick up any fillers we may need from time to time. Same goes for yard work. I hate to mow the grass but I don't mind pulling weeds and picking up limbs. He takes care of Monkeyface every Friday night so that I can have a girl's night out and I spend the weekends hanging out with Monkeyface so that he can work and relax a little when he gets home.
Is this radical? I don't think so. I just think it works for us and keeps our house peaceful. I couldn't imagine not sharing the responsibility of teaching our son.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Bedarra Island in the great barrier reef of Australia.
Friday, June 20, 2008
2.6 Yesterday I extended an invitation to another old friend of mine. He and his family are coming over on Sunday for some grilling goodness. Hopefully the rain will be kind to us and the kids will get to play outside. If not, the house is large enough that the kids can still run around and play while the adults do the same. I'm so excited to have another family to hang out with. Just hung up the phone with said friend only to find out that his wife loves to make cakes. SCORE!
I am so amazed by when you get back when you give. Now don't get me wrong, I am not giving to get back, but by giving I have opened myself up to receive. It has been a blessing to learn this.
Five Minute Lasagna
No kidding—this takes just five minutes to put together!
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (your favorite)
1 (30 ounce) bag frozen large cheese ravioli, unthawed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained (optional)
1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and spoon in about 1/3 of the
sauce. Arrange 12 of the raviolis on top; then evenly lay all the
spinach over the top of the raviolis. Top that with half of each
cheese. Now cover with another layer of raviolis, the remaining sauce
and the remaining cheese. Tent with foil (don't let cheese touch the
foil or it will stick) and bake 25 minutes; then uncover it and bake
for 5 to 10 minutes more until bubbly.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Also, you can sign up for a giveaway so maybe you can try it and let me know what you think.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I really wanted to post something lovely about how my husband is a great father on Father's Day. However, he's not used to me being nice to him and always thinks I have ulterior motives. I do not. He is an awesome guy and I am a better person for knowing him.
Today it was back to work. Monkeyface also moved up to the next class in daycare. It was great picking him up this afternoon and hearing that he knew a few of his colors, numbers, and animals. We've been working on them at home but I never know if he's paying attention. I guess I'm a better teacher than I thought. When we got home I immediately started cooking dinner while the hubby cleaned our bedroom. He quit smoking last Wednesday and so far he's cleaned out his car, his office, and now our bedroom. It's fantastic. These are things that I've been wanting to do for months and talk about doing them, but have poor follow through.
Giving today...lots of "thank yous".
OH and the stimulus check finally came today! WOO HOO!!!!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Yes, I'm really going to do this again. I really enjoyed the process and creativity and I'm hoping that it becomes a habit.
Saturday was spent out at Pullen Park in the 97 degree weather. Normally I would not have done this but I wanted to give Monkeyface a chance to ride the carousel. When we arrived he immediately ran to the largest thing he could find to climb. This slide was huge and there were plenty of older kids afraid to slide down. He just climbed over them and showed them how it was done.
After the slide I took him over to the carousel where we rode it again and again and again. He didn't understand that we had to get off the carousel in order to ride again so I basically had to peel him off of the horse each time, get back in line, and give the lady my ticket again while keeping Monkeyface from writhing out of my arms. It was worth it though. I just hate being the one that everyone stares at but I got over it really fast. I'd never experienced public temper tantrums before and I think I did well. Besides, how do you make a 2 year old understand that he has to get off a ride to get back on a ride? When he was done, he was done and we moved on to the next part of the park.
It was an extremely hot day so the carousel helped to cool us down a bit and I was able to tear him away at one point to take a snack break.
Yes that's Sheriff Taylor and Opie.
After going down the slide a few more times, I was finally able to convince him to take a boat ride.
Then it was off to Locopops for the best popsicles ever. Really...this face says it all.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
We've been having tons of fun this weekend so I'll be sure to write about that soon...just as soon as I can catch up. I'm off to make this Cookies and Creme Freeze for Father's Day dessert.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Today's giving was that I drove K around for her errands today and I loaned out my suitcase for her upcoming trip.
This was my last day of vacation and I let Monkeyface sleep in before taking him to daycare for the day. My parents had to come into town to run some errands. On the way they stopped by a "pick your own" strawberry farm and pick 2 giant buckets. They stopped by the house to clean up the strawberries so I asked them to stay for dinner. I came home and whipped something up from the freezer and it was delicious.
First day back at work :( I was able to give my brother lunch today for his birthday. I missed out on it Monday since I wasn't working but I made sure to take care of him today.
On this day I made sure to smile at everyone that made eye contact with me. It was just a simple gesture but I learned rather quickly that people spend a lot of time avoiding eye contact. I also made muffins Wednesday night to bring into work Thursday morning so that I could provide breakfast for my co-workers. This challenge has taught me that I am obsessed with making sure people are fed.
Recipe courtesy Jenny Flake, Gilbert, AZ
Borrowed recipe from Food TV Episode: Ultimate Recipe Showdown: Comfort Foods
1 pound dry elbow pasta noodles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed
2 cups cooked shredded rotisserie chicken
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes with green chiles, mild version
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups shredded medium Cheddar
2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
1/2 cup shredded smoked Cheddar
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1 cup coarsely ground roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add dry elbow pasta to boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente, drain and reserve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken, cilantro, salt, cumin, pepper and tomatoes; saute for 3 to 4 more minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Remove from heat and whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Place back on medium-high heat, slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil while continuously whisking. Reduce heat and stir in Cheddar, Monterey Jack, smoked Cheddar and cream cheese until melted and smooth.
Stir in cooked elbow noodles and chicken mixture. Pour mac and cheese mixture into a greased 3 quart casserole dish. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and bread crumbs. Toss to coat and sprinkle crumbs and pepitas over top of mac and cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crumbs browned. Enjoy!
***I definitely recommend halving this recipe if you are a family of 4 or less. It was delicious but we ate it for 4 days straight. This would be great for a family get together as the main course if you did not want to half it. I know that we are serving this when I host the next get together at my house. All you need is some bread and maybe a light salad to make a complete meal because this was excessively rich.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I then purchased myself some much needed new work clothes b/c the clothes I had from last summer no longer fit (too big!!) and the ones I bought after Monkeyface was born are just tired. Old, faded, and stained. Now I am broke again and have no fun money left. But it was totally worth it.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I'm amazed how much need is out there once I started paying attention and how little it takes to make a difference.
Friday I made another trip to Goodwill and gave away the rest of the Goodwill items I had taking up space in my bedroom. My room looks bare now.
I then had a friend come into town so I gave him & his daughter a place to sleep. K and her man came over and gave me some help decorating for the party. G strung up streamers everywhere and did a fantastic job. It looked really festive in here and when Monkeyface woke up Saturday morning he exclaimed "WOW! WHOA!" He was totally excited.
Saturday I gave my son a great birthday party. One of my friends showed up that has lost over 50 lbs and I gave her about 1,000,000 compliments. Totally worth it too b/c she looks fantastic.
The gardenia bush finally bloomed this week and the nights smell so sweet. They perfumed the air yesterday at Monkeyface's birthday party. I feel like the party went off really well. I worked the whole time but it was a lot easier this year compared to last thanks to my crockpots. I made creamed corn which was devoured, barbecued beans and weinies, and spinach artichoke dip. It was so easy to serve those along with a Mexican pasta salad that the hubby had whipped up the night before. If I haven't said this before, let me say it now...I love my crockpot. I hate cooking in the heat and this lady has made it easier than any cookbook ever could. I was able to serve 22 adults and 10 kids with minimum effort except for making sure that I spoke to everyone and that the food was being eaten. The hubby has a huge family but I secretly love it. Everyone is very family oriented and I'm glad that I married into such a great family. There is no such thing as a small get together though.
We had a friend videotape when Monkeyface opened his presents and he loved watching it on TV last night. He kept pointing to everyone and naming them and then looking around the room for them. The presents were of course fantastic and he has been running around like a maniac playing non-stop. I actually had to get him out of bed at 10am this morning because he was still sleeping. This is the same kid that is up at 630am every day. Forget a nap! I'd call yesterday a success.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Today I made a donation to the American Heart Association b/c I figure that w/o their research, I wouldn't be here today. They've helped to create miracle drugs that I hate being dependent upon but that I need to survive.
So here's to another year and hopefully the memory gets easier to handle. I look at my son and know that I would do it all again if it meant that I got to be his mom.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
America's Second Harvest is an amazing organization that works with most of the food pantries in the nation. Just click here
Monday, June 2, 2008
I was supposed to sleep in but I was up by 9am. Something told me to wake up and when I checked my email I found that my Canadian cohort was not coming into town :( So I put off the cleaning I had planned and took the day off to catch up on the DVR and to make pasta salad for dinner at the in law's last night. I did a pretty good job with my bacon, green pea, sunflower seed, ranch pasta salad. I didn't give in to my dark side last night when my brother in law said something that really made me want to bite his head off. That right there was a HUGE day of giving. Trust me.
I finally gave the clothes to Goodwill. They've been in my car for about 2 weeks now and I just made the time to get them over there. I am giving my dad a place to sleep tonight. He's supposed to be camping out but he didn't make it in time.
I was the top sales person in my office this month. No congratulations though because I was the only person that actually worked the full month. Everyone else was off a week traveling on business. My accomplishment was just shrugged off even though I only booked my own agents, booked other people's agents for them and gave them credit, and did a mighty fine job of it to. No thanks, nothing. I am so glad I'm taking a vacation.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Today marks the beginning of your second year with me. Every day I am amazed by you. You have developed into this fiercely independent little monkey and I have to remind myself over and over again to give you your space b/c you are like me in that respect. You don't mind taking my hand when you need my help but otherwise you want to run free. When you fall, my initial reaction is to scoop you up and kiss you but I know that you will work it out for yourself. I watch you and admire your strength and your kindness. You are known as the "little helper" at school. Always willing to help the other kids learn to say a word, always ready to show them through example, and always helping the teachers clean up.
You are already becoming a little chef in the kitchen. I make a point to bake something with you every weekend and you just dig in with both hands. Sometimes it's to help...most of the time it's to sample.
And you are so fearless. You climb and you lunge and you do things that make me lose my breath but you don't know that you shouldn't be doing it so you embrace the challenge. I envy that about you. Sometimes I wish I didn't know better.
I love being your guide, your teacher, and your mama. You have brought me more joy than I ever thought I would know. I know that this is what I was meant to do.
I'm giving my older brother a place to lay his head tonight after a long day. We're all heading out to Kanki tomorrow to celebrate the youngster's birthday and to watch him squeal with delight with the chef plays with fire.
Only one more day of work and I get to be stress free for a week. Beach trips, coffeeshop talk, dining, train rides, and giggles will be shared. I'm so excited I could pop.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Right now I'm enjoying the following:
*This giving challenge
*My boy turns 2 tomorrow
*There is a robin's nest right outside my front door and I've watched the babies go from eggs to little birds over the last week. The mama is used to me now and doesn't fly away each time I come outside.
*Knowledge that I will be off work next week.
*Pepita Crusted Cheddar Jack Southwest Chicken Mac
*Finally booking my trip to Costa Rica
*Watching Monkeyface mock me. He puts a bucket on his arm like I hold my purse and says "Bye!" to me over and over again.
Things I am not enjoying right now:
*Stress eating-It has really gotten out of control
*Lack of exercise due to said stress
*Insomnia due to stress
*Lack of time to clean the house properly. I do not function well with a mess.
Here's hoping I have a good weekend. I'm picking up cupcakes tomorrow to take to the daycare. I can't wait to see Monkeyface's face when I surprise him with them. I also can't wait to see him when he gets home and sees that his daddy has put together a new tricycle for him. We are fortunate enough to have an open floor plan so he will be able to terrorize us as he rides around and around.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Nearly 250,000 children in our 34-county service territory receive free and reduced breakfasts and lunches at school. In just a few short weeks, school will be closed for the summer. No school equals no meals.
More families rely on the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC to help them close this enormous gap and provide meals to their children. But, summertime is one of our most difficult times of the year. Food drive and fund donations decline. Additionally, the lasting effects of the drought on produce donations and rising fuel & food costs this year make things especially challenging.
You've seen the issues of hunger in the news lately. Many are calling this dire situation "the global food crisis": not a shortage in food, but one of soaring prices.
I donated a grocery basket of food. It was only $25 but they can turn that into $200 worth of food. I'm amazed and humbled.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
GET MORE AT ManBabies.com!
I was worn out after a long day of Sunday. Dancing and cooking all day. It was great though. It really was. Monday I gave myself the day off. I showered for longer than 5 minutes and buffed, shaved, washed my hair, and just let the water beat down on my aching neck and back. I've really been trying to cut down on the amount of time I spend in the shower but I decided I needed to give myself a break.
My parents came over later in the day and I finally have curtains hung up in the living room. I've only owned these curtains since Monkeyface's birthday last year but I hate to iron and don't even own an ironing board. My mom is an absolute angel for doing that.
I did give my sister-in-law a phone call later in the day so I'm going to count that too. It was tedious but I love her ;)
I meant to go to Goodwill to drop off some items that have been in my car for over a week but I forgot. Luckily I shared my lunch with 2 co-workers so I'm counting that. When I got home tonight I gave myself permission not to cook and just sat back and read a book. I did feed the babe so I didn't neglect anyone in the process. Now I'm going to go to bed earlier than normal and give my body some much needed sleep.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Going to travel agency school (or maybe I had just graduated)
Beginning my second year of dating my now husband
Living in a condo with a pool
Making new friends
Driving an old beat up Volvo
what are 5 things on my to-do list for today:
buying party invitations
making phone calls
snacks I enjoy:
tomato basil amish cheese
nekot cookies (or any form of nabs)
Diet Mt Dew
Doritos (so yummy and so evil)
fruit of any variety
things I would do if I were a billionaire:
pay off debt of my entire family and closest friends
give away money like Oprah
places I have lived before:
This morning I gave Monkeyface dance lessons at our dance party to the Juno soundtrack and then we made Rice Krispie treats.
After his nap, we are going to go pick up some books about Elmo b/c today he has been obsessed with Youtube and Elmo. I suppose I gave up a little of my sanity as well this morning. What's up with kids and Elmo? Elmo has never been in our house. I can count the number of times on two hands that he has actually watched Elmo here (maybe even 1 hand), yet he loves Elmo. How many more times can I say Elmo in this paragraph? Elmo.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Does giving in the bedroom count? I think it should ;)
Friday, May 23, 2008
I donated this in honor of someone close to my heart for a place they hold close to theirs.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Later I put a note with pics of Monkeyface into the mail for my grandma. I actually talked to her for a while last night which was fun. She keeps reminding me over and over to cherish each moment b/c they don't last and having a child is a wonderful thing. She keeps telling me that they are a pure joy and a light. I can actually hear her swooning. I think my grandma and I finally agree on something.