Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 1/31/11

Menu Plan Monday

Baked Ziti w/ Spinach and Turkey Sausage, Homemade Bread sticks

Italian Roast Wraps, Salad

Buffalo Chicken Sliders, Carrots and Ranch Dip

Cabbage Soup, Bread sticks

Tuna Melts, Kettle Chips

For breakfast I'm going to be making a baked oatmeal. I'm looking for a particular recipe that I found one day last week and I cand find it... yet. The link I have is for a different recipe, but similar. I'll try it if I can't find the other one! We'll also have cereal and pancakes with the usual yogurt/cheese/fruit options!

Last week I promised a review of my sister's Chicken Pesto Pizza!! It was really yummy and I'm sure I'll make it again! Here it is!

Anyone else totally freaked out about the dangers of GMO's? I am!!! SO, I'm making small changes to get rid of them! One of the biggest percentage of genetically modified food is corn! And we eat a lot of frozen corn and tortilla chips.. so that is where I'm starting! The way to avoid GMO's in your corn products is to buy organic. Yes, it's more expensive so my plan is to eat less corn/tortilla chips (wow, that last one will be hard! We love chips and salsa!) and when I do buy them I'll buy organic. I've said it before but I have to watch myself to not go crazy and feel horrible that I can't change everything! But I can make small changes that will work with out budget! It's my job to feed my family well!

I'm linking up with!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday $ense...

Clever, huh? Ok, maybe not.

So, are you wondering how I did with my grocery shopping? Here is my menu, so you can see what meals I had planned for this trip. I spent a total of $90.24 this week of my $100. Below is how it was all spent. I did have a pretty large expense that you'll see in the "household" section. Here are the items that we already had on hand that helped complete our meals*:

3 large chicken breast (freezer)
organic blueberries (freezer)
sour cream
Colby jack cheese
frozen spinach
ricotta cheese
black beans
Snacks: granola bars, Cheerios, string cheese, raisins, Annie's Bunny Grahams, crackers

Here is the breakdown of what I was able to purchase. Over all I am please with my trip. My goal is to feed my family as healthy as I can. Healthy meaning, as little junk, mostly from scratch, real foods. Our resources are somewhat slim around here as far as produce and meat goes and at this point in our lives we take advantage of WIC and that helps greatly.


Household Items:
Dish washing Detergent ~ 2.74
Trash bags ~ 3.34
Baking Soda ~ 1.00
Vinegar (Gallon) ~ 2.32
Razor Cartridges (4) ~ 15.97 (the Hubby likes the good stuff. I get these about once every 2-3 months)

Tangerines (6) 1.68
Apples (3#) 3.67
Ice burg Lettuce Salad 1.50
Spring Mix Organic Salad 2.78
Onions (WIC)
Bananas (WIC)
Organic Baby Carrots (WIC)
Broccoli Crown (WIC)

Pantry Items:
Sugar 2.08
Whole Wheat Tortillas 2.00
Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil 3.64
Bertolli Basil Pesto 1.98
Pasta Sauce 1.33
Community Coffee 4.50
Polaners All Fruit Grape Jelly 1.93
Sara Lee WW Bread (WIC)
Juicy Juice Apple Juice (WIC)

Dannon Yogurt Drinks 2.46
Oikos Organic Yogurt (4 pk) 3.98
Disney Cheese 1.78
Dried Pineapple snack (2) - 1.56
Gal 2% Milk (WIC)
16 OZ Mozzarella Cheese (WIC)
Barbers Whole Buttermilk (WIC)

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot Mix 1.58

Total: $71.77

Local Dairy

Local Honey (20 oz) 6.50
Ground Beef (primarily grass fed) 4.00
3 candies 0.90

Total $12.42

Winn Dixie

Organic Tortilla Chips 1.99
Bananas 1.67
Bimbo WW Bread 1.89

Total- $6.05

Grand Total- $90.24

So, do you have any tips for me? The only coupon I used was for the coffee. I bought Community Coffee @ $5.50 with a $1 off coupon. Because I don't buy many processed food items, I don't use many coupons. I know that I need to get back at my bread making attempts. The boys and the Hubs eat a lot of sandwiches. And even though we get a loaf on WIC, I had to buy an extra at my mid week trip (Winn Dixie). I'd love to hear any tips or thoughts on ways to cut this down!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I mentioned on my menu plan Monday that I was going to be trying a new recipe that I got from my sister! I made it Wednesday night and it was soo good! Here are the measurements I used (it's really a non recipe and more of a method!).

Chicken Pesto Pizza

2 chicken breast, cut into strips
4 whole wheat tortillas (I used 8 inch)
1/2 onion, sliced
8 TBS pesto (a little more than 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

Preheat oven to 400. Cook chicken in butter (or olive oil) with a little salt and pepper and cook through. Remove chicken and saute onions in pan with chicken drippings for about 5 minutes. While onions are cooking, place tortillas onto cookie sheet (can brush pan with a little olive oil, I didn't) and spread a thin layer, about 2 TBS, of pesto onto each tortilla leaving about an inch around the outside of the tortilla. When onions are cooked, mix onions, tomatoes, and chicken (I shredded mine further) together and top evenly on each tortilla. Top each pizza with cheese. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until edges are crisp and turning brown.

Print Grocery List!

These were so tasty!!

My sister also used asparagus and broccoli on her pizza but I (as you can see) didn't. I actually had broccoli but was in a hurry and didn't want to chop and wash the broccoli (so we're having steamed broccoli tonight). I would just use small florets and chop the asparagus and add to the chicken mixture. You really could add any kind of veggies. I think some spinach would be great!

I'm linking up with Feasting in Fellowship Friday at Comfy in the Kitchen!


Raising Homemakers

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Works for Me: January 26, 2011

Ok, so this topic may seem gross but I wanted to share! I have horrible sinuses. I typically have several sinus infections per year. I'm certain they all stem from allergies gone bad! So, back during the fall decided to try to be proactive about it! So, I went to my local drugstore and looked at the different types of sinus cleansing products. I decided to stay away from anything that looked like a tea pot! I picked this up (pictured above) and have been really pleased with it! It was around $8-10.

I don't use it everyday, although I probably should. I start using it when I first feel the signs of sinus trouble. Like, ahem, right now. My husband is not a fan, though. He tried it and said he tasted salt water all day! I haven't had that problem. It's easy to use although, the first time you use it, it's pretty strange!

A while back I found the comments in this Raising Homemakers post on home remedies to be really helpful!

I'm linking up with Works for Me Wednesday at

Monday, January 24, 2011

White Turkey (or Chicken) Chili

(I didn't think about snapping a picture until I was almost finished! It was yummy! And we have leftovers!!)

I have put this on my menu several times but never made it! So, finally, this weekend I decided to take a few recipes that I had been looking at and come up with my own! It turned out great! Here is how:

White Turkey Chili

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken)
1 onion, chopped
1- 4 oz can whole green chili's, drained and chopped (I used mild)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans white beans, drained
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 cup water
2 TBS butter
1 TBS flour (I actually used about 1/2 TBS)

Monterrey Jack Cheese, Sour Cream & Tortilla Chips for serving.

Heat 1 TBS butter in large pot/dutch oven. Add ground turkey, onion, garlic and chili's. Cook until turkey is no longer pink and veggies are softened. (I add garlic in the last 2 minutes so it doesn't burn.) Next add water, broth, cumin and drained beans. Stir and heat to a boil. While soup is heating make a roux with remaining butter and flour. Melt butter and add flour, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Add a ladle full of stock from the soup, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Pour mixture into your soup pot, stir and bring to a boil. Gently boil and allow to thicken for a few minutes. Turn heat down and cook for 15-20 minutes for flavors to meld. Serve with Monterrey Jack Cheese, Sour Cream, and Tortilla Chips;

Print grocery list for this recipe!

I use roux's to thicken my soups all the time! Here are a few pictures I took while making the roux:

I didn't use a lot of flour this time because I didn't want it to be super thick. For instance, I would have used more for something like potato soup! And, the roux would have been the beginning of a potato soup, rather than something mixed in. I used unbleached AP flour but I have used whole wheat flour successfully, too. I compromised and used white flour since it was so little! When I make potato soup I use wheat flour for the base.

Stirring constantly is key! Here is my roux after about two minutes before I added broth. It would look more pasty if I had added the full amount of flour. I used about 1/2 TBS flour to 1 TBS butter.

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship explains roux's much better and gives a great method to making your own 'cream of' soups (so, you can throw those nasty MSG and gunk laden cans out of your pantry!). I used her recipe for my most recent batch of potato soup and it was yummy!

*Disclaimer: My photos are not professional and never will be. This is what my food really looks like in my light-lacking kitchen at about 6:30 pm. :)

Menu Plan Monday 1/24/11

So, I mentioned last week that I was going to be trying something new this week. I always try to keep my budget around the same price every week. I would like to keep my groceries in the 80-100 range (and when I say groceries, I mean groceries and household goods, minus diapers) but that almost never happens. So, this pay period I'm taking out cash.. exactly $100 for my weekly shopping trip. I know this is not a new idea and it's something I should have been doing for a while now! My goal, of course, is to spend less than this! I'm hoping this will help me avoid 'extras' that we really don't need. So, after grocery shopping (hopefully today) I'll come back and let you know what I spent! Here is what I'm hoping $100.00 will allow us to eat this week!

Breakfasts: Blueberry Banana Muffins, Cold Cereal, Fruit, Cheese, Yogurt

Lunch: Leftovers, Sandwiches


Tonight: Leftover White Turkey Chili

Chicken Pesto Pizzas on WW Tortillas (new recipe from my sister, will share later!)

Spinach Lasagna Rolls, Salad

Taco Salads

Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit

Yep, I planned too much last week so the last two meals were moved over. We had family in town and I didn't think about that when I was planning last week! Like always, I only plan five dinners because we usually have enough leftovers for two nights. If we don't, then we always have grilled cheese/tuna/egg sandwiches.

I'm linking up with!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Thorn: Part 2

After posting about my thorn a few weeks ago, a friend directed me to the Girl Talk Blog. I've been there before but it's been months since I've visited. For the past few months they've had a series of posts on fear. I have read through many of them and found so much wisdom and truth there concerning fear and anxiety.

I'm going to spotlight a few of the posts that I really liked and share a little bit about how it helped me.

Here is the first one that really caught my attention.

One afternoon, after much inner struggling, the Hubs and I talked. Ok, he listened and I poured out my heart and tears. I remember telling him that I knew these fears weren't from God. God is not the author of this kind of fear and anxiety. Scripture says,

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

I know this. Yet, I fear.

So, I must choose to not listen to the lies. I must remind myself of the truth. Yes, fear feels so real and sometimes it swallows me whole. But Who is trustworthy?

Every time we are tempted to fear, we have a choice. We must choose between believing our own fickle, sinful, "sense" or God's faithful, righteous Word. If we trust our fears, we are calling God a liar. Girl Talk Blog

Part 3

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pause and Listen.

Today started off like most days. I woke up later than I wanted. I would love to blame it on the 2 1/2 year old who was laying next to me... who happened to wake up too early around the time his daddy was leaving for work. But, I was the one who turned off the alarm, instead of quietly slipping out of the bed.

We finally did get up... I got breakfast for the boys and they watched a little Blue's Clues. I thought, perfect timing for a moment with Him...

I sat down at the table with my bowl of Cheerios and looked at my Bible Reading Plan. I'm using a the year reading plan from Bethleham Baptist Church but I'm trying to do it in 90 days. Remember, I said trying. I decided to start in the Psalms this morning. Psalm 25 to be exact. I got here and I couldn't go anywhere else....

4) Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5) Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

I was meditating over these words, praying over these words when Luke came to me and asked me to read him a book about the five senses. This is life. And honestly, I was frustrated. I wanted time alone with Him. But, who was the one who turned off the alarm. Oh, that was me.

As the day went on, I felt the frustration build. I felt like a failure. I had gotten almost nothing accomplished. Toys were everywhere.. the sink was full.. laundry mounted. What had I been doing all day?!

Then I read this and I knew I needed to pause.

So, after lunch I got the boys busy playing and I sat down again.

I prayed. Hot tears fell.

Lord, how do I teach them to pick up those toys.. this house is a disaster, I am a failure... and on and on..

And it was as if He whispered...

Do it with them. You must go to them and do it with them.

And then in those same words, He answered a prayer I hadn't yet prayed. And I echoed...

Lord, go with me. Do it with me. I fail and I need you so. You must do life with me.

With my Bible opened to His Words, again I read...

4) Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5) Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

And I failed today. And I will fail tomorrow. But I must meet Him. I cannot do it without Him. This journey I am on with Him.. oh, I am a slow learner. But He is so good and so patient with me. And I echo her words... I want Jesus more than anything else.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Menu Plan monday 1/17 & Recipe Review

Last week I skimped on the menu mainly because of the winter storm that we had! It was fun but I was ready for everything to melt (and some areas are still thawing out!). I decided to try a new recipe that I read on Rachael Ray's blog. It was one of her top ten recipes of 2010. I decided to try her Cheeseburger Chili Mac and Cheese because it looked easy and like something we'd like. It was easy and really good! It tasted similar to Hamburger Helper but is WAY better for you considering you are using real food. The only changes I made was that I only used 1 lbs of ground beef (and it was plenty) and I used water instead of beef stock. Unless you have homemade beef stock, I wouldn't recommend using store brand (most contain MSG and this sodium is out the roof!). I also used whole wheat spiral noodles because I couldn't find whole wheat elbow macaroni! All in all it was yummy! Next time I will definitely freeze half! It made a huge 9x13 pan and we just couldn't finish it. The boys weren't interested in it at all! They had buttered noodles sprinkled with cheese. I served it with a side salad.

Here is our menu for the week:

Pancakes, Bacon, Oranges


Chicken Fried Steak Strips, Green Beans, Potatoes

Chicken Chili, Corn Bread

Chicken Parmesan, Salad

I'm trying something different with our grocery budget next pay period! Hopefully I can share about it soon and also let you know how it works out! I've got to get a handle on what I spend and learn to be more creative!

Have a great week! Remember to feast on the Word this week! Jesus is the Bread of Life!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Papa's Fruit Salad

The Hub's grandfather, who we call Papa, makes a yummy fruit salad! So, this year I asked him how to make it and he shared the recipe with me.

Papa's Fruit Salad

1 large (10-12 oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 large can pineapple chunks, drained
2 apples, peeled and chopped (I like Granny Smith)
1 cup (or so) of tangerine/tangelo slices
1 cup of grapes, cut in half
1-2 bananas, sliced
chopped pecans
shredded coconut

This recipe is really not a recipe because you can actually have as much of one thing as you want and leave things out if you want. I just kind of guessed at the amounts. You can also use fresh pineapple for the canned (which is what I use most of the time) and canned Mandarin oranges, drained, for the tangerines.

After draining and chopping all of your fruit (minus bananas), mix together gently in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight. When you ready to serve (or get in the car to head to a get together!), slice your bananas and gently stir them in. Make sure to get some of that yummy juice that's accumulated on the bottom and coat the fruits! Last, get a handful of pecans and sprinkle over the top and do the same with the coconut! Yummy! This makes a great light dessert for a special dinner and it is so pretty to look at!

I'm participating in Comfy In The Kitchen's brand new, Feasting in Fellowship Fridays! If you haven't checked out Comfy In The Kitchen, you definitely should! I've found some GREAT recipes! (Love her chicken & dumplings!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Thorn

Around the blogging community that are tons of posts up about the new year.. goals, resolutions, or the boycott of the two. I don't do resolutions but I have been thinking the past week of things that I would like to see changed. Things I want to become new.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 1 Corinthians 5:17

The new has come. And I want more new.

I want to love more. I want to love those closest to me more. I want to love strangers more. I want to be an extension of love.

But to do that, I must work on my fear. I struggle... I wrestle with fear. It is crippling. Some times are worse than others. But all times it is present.

Maybe one day I'll share more because I know I'm not alone. But I will share, this fear is greater than normal day to day worries or fear that comes from normal anxious moments in life. It is a thorn in my flesh.

My hope:

This fear is not greater than my God. And this fear did not come from Him.

"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

We are all weak, but His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Part 2

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Preschool Letter O

Yes, I know!! I had mentioned in my Letter N post that I was going to catch up with all of our letter of the week posts! But when I went to do letter O, I couldn't find any of the pictures!! Finally, I found a memory card that held the pictures, so here we are! We're starting Letter W this week! So, I'd say I'm a little behind on my posts!

We started out the week, as usual, with a collage of different things that start with the letter O by Homeschool Creations.

Next we did a Ocean scene and talked about ocean creatures and plants! We also watched several videos on National Geographic Kids about different kinds of sea creatures. I know we watched a few about Octopuses (Yes, I looked it up and it's a legitimate word for the plural of octopus!)! They are amazing creatures!

Luke made an owl out of a letter O. We got the idea from No Time for Flash Cards and we watched this video. It's an animated video and reading of the book Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.

Next Luke made his very first lapbook on Ostriches! We found the ostrich lapbook on Homeschool Share. I just used what I thought Luke would enjoy and could understand.

And while Luke and I put together the lapbook, Eli colored an ostrich coloring page!

Our scripture verse for the week was:

"I will Obey your word." Psalm 119:17

Letter O was a fun week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday ~ January 3, 2011

Much like I thought, I didn't cook much of what was on last weeks menu. Actually, I only cooked one thing! Vegetable Soup! We ate dinner at my parents a few times since my sis was home and had leftovers the other days. The great thing about that is that my grocery list will be shorter this week! So, if you read my menu last week, it hasn't changed much! So, here's what we're eating.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (I use the recipe as a method but I add some spices to the flour mixture because the original recipe is a little bland. I'm attempting to tweak it until I have it tasting like Chick Fil A!), Annie's Mac and Cheese, Green Peas

Mexican Tortilla Pie, Spicy Brown Rice

Spaghetti, Salad

Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Broccoli and Ranch Dip

Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (new recipe from the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Everyday Food magazine), Potato Salad, Green Beans

I might try my hand again at this recipe for homemade buns. The last time I tried them it was a total flop but I've gotten a little better at yeast recipes. I don't think it was the recipe... it was either me.. or my yeast! Also in the works are homemade banana-blueberry muffins (you should see the almost black bananas on my counter!) for breakfast and snacks.

Here's to feeding your family well on a budget!