Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freezer Pleaser #4

"Left Over Stew"

Basically, we keep any leftovers from meals that we won't be using for the next day in a quality freezer bag.

*Any vegetables: corn, peas, broccoli, green beans, onions, zucchini, tomatoes going ripe, etc.
*Any meat: hamburger, taco meat, bacon, sausage, chicken, etc.
*Any 1/2 used cans of food: stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream of corn, green chilis, olives, beans, whatever!
*You can also keep chicken & ingredients that would go well with each other, in a different bag, and have another one for more of the red meat.
*Just keep adding ingredients and when there is enough to fill two - quart size freezer bags, then place it all in the crock pot.
*Depending on what has been collected, add more veggies or meat. But typically there is plenty of each.
*Then add any type of canned or cooked bean. Last time we added 1 can of Northern Beans.
*Lastly, add a can of stewed tomatoes and some Italian seasoning.
*Cook in the crock pot and serve with WARM CORNBREAD and HONEY.

Turns out great every time!

This meal cost less than $1.00 to make for a family of 4.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blessings in the Mail...

Just the night before, I went to Walmart for some shopping and to peruse the garden section. I came away bemoaning the fact that I had wanted more color around the house with blooming flowers, but that buying flowers was such an expensive venture.

So then "lo and behold", in the mail today, I found a box full of bulbs! They were sent over from Oregon from my husband's parents who had gotten the tip from my sister-in-law that Home Depot was giving them away! I felt so blessed that they shared those with us and that the Lord had met this desire of my heart.

Here is what was in the box with some of the helpful suggestions for growing them:

30 corms of Pink Gladioli, 27 Matchpoint Red Gladioli, 28 Trader Horn Red Gladioli
(*plant at bi-weekly intervals for continuous color)

8 tubers of Lavender Perfection Dahlias
(*Pinch of the first flower buds on the main stems for greater flower production and a fuller-looking plant)

35 bulbs of purple Liatris
(*they are hardy and reliable and require little or no care - loving this one!)

3 pink Begonias, 4 white Begonias
(*Low medium flowering plant)

7 Assorted colors of Lilies
(*plant where there is some shade during the hottest part of the day so that flowers will hold their color)

Can't wait to start digging in some good old dirt!


Today, was our last MOPS meeting of the year. The theme for this one was "Tea & Testimony". The leaders served tea and finger foods of petite sandwiches, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries on those tiered plates that one would see at a Tea House.

The great discovery was the Trader Joe's Herbal Tea they served. I tried the peppermint (my favorite) and it had such a substantial taste to it. I am now thinking about doing a Google search to see if there is a store in this city. Although, I have so much tea right now, that I'm not sure if I can justifying getting some more. :)

Has anyone else tried this tea before?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Freezer Pleaser #3

A great way to stock the freezer - Buy Hamburger in Bulk - On Sale.

Recently, we purchased 10 pounds of hamburger on sale. When we got home from shopping, I took some time to especially prepare this hamburger for future meals. I cooked about 2 lbs of taco meat, 3 lbs of regular ground and then left 3 or so pounds of non-cooked meat for whatever other meals may come up. The meat was then flattened in quart-size Ziploc bags for maximizing storage and also helps with quick defrosting.

We also do this, now more often, with Turkey meat that we find on sale combined with coupons of course!

We were able to purchase this Extra-Lean Hamburger on sale from one my favorite Albertson's stores. Every day the Butcher Block grinds up fresh hamburger and then in the evening or the next morning they reduce it for quick sale. This particular Albies had theirs on sale for.99 /lb. Typically, other stores reduce it from $1.29 - $1.69.

So regularly this 10 lbs of extra-lean hamburger would go for $3.49 lb.,costing $35.00.
Then with buying it at reduced rate this same 10 lbs. at .99 cents lb.,costing $10.00
A savings of $25.00

This works great for us:
Saving money, not having to go to the store so often & pay the higher prices, and then already having hamburger, prepped and ready to go for future meals.

For more Works for me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Freezer Pleaser #2

Lisa's Special Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my favorite meals to make!
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie is 10 times better than those from the store freezers. This recipe uses a little rice to help make the pie more substantial.

Prep: 40 min; Bake 35 min
Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each

*1 package (10 oz) mixed veggies or what's on hand
*1/3 cup butter
*1/3 chopped onion
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon pepper
*2 cups chicken broth or broth from 2 Bouillon cubes
*2/3 cup milk
*2 1/2 to 3 cups of cut-up cooked chicken or turkey
*1/4 cup rice
*(optional) 1 small can of mushrooms
*Pastry for 9-inch Two-Crust Pie (Homemade or from the box!)

1. Rinse frozen veggies in cold water to separate; drain
2. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook; stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken, rice, (mushrooms), veggies, and remove from heat.
3. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
4. Prepare Pastry.
A. I use the Pillsbury Crusts in a box that now simply unroll. I take them out of the fridge before this whole process is started to allow them to warm to room temp and make easier to roll out with a rolling pin. I just do a few rolls to make the crust bigger so that I can have more dough to work with when fluting the edges.
B. Use a homemade pastry of your own.
5. Ease into un-greased round pie pan or square pan. Pour chicken mixture into pastry-lined pan.
6. Roll remaining pastry into pan. Cut 2-3 slits into pie or make your own cut out designs.
7. Turn edges of pastry under and flute.
8. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Let set 10 minutes to cool and serve.

*For Lighter Chicken Pot Pie
410 Calories
Use margarine, decrease to 3 tablespoons and use skim milk.
Pour chicken mixture in a greased pan (not pastry lined).
Substitute Pastry for one 9-inch pastry only on top.


Here are the two pies I made:

One for the freezer and one for dinner.
Having an extra meal ready to go is such
a help on those busy days, or when someone
has a special need for a dinner to be provided.

One of my favorite "Kitchen Helps" is this Pie Shield.
Simply put it on the pie crust up until the last 10 minutes of
cooking to prevent excess browning of the edges.
Works great!

Mmmmm... Ready to eat! Anyone have a fork?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Freezer Pleaser #1

Beef 'n' Rice Enchiladas

This dish is a snap to make and goes a long way!

You Will Need:
1 package (6.8 ounces) Spanish rice and vermicelli mix
1 pound ground beef
2 cans (10 ounces each) enchilada sauce, divided
10 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

What to Do:
1. Total Prep Time: 45 minutes or less

2. Prepare rice mix according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in Spanish rice and 1 1/4 cups enchilada sauce. Spoon about 2/3 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top each with 1/3 cup cheese; roll up.

3. Place in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Yield: 10 enchiladas

Other notes:
*For the kids, I roll up their burritos up seperately, without the enchilada sauce, and set aside. The sauce is a little too spicy for their palates.

*Depending on how much meat/rice mix and burrito shells are left, I can often make up another 8x8 pan or larger of enchiladas to freeze with cooking instructions attached. Then I can later just pull it out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge for 12-24 hours ahead of time. Then cook for 8-10 minutes and dinner is served.

From: Quick Cooking Magazine

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I will be taking a short break from blogging. See you soon!
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Books we're reading

Here are two library books we are reading right now:

The first one is "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Rosen/Oxenbury. This book is a childhood favorite of mine. I have memories of my Grandma telling us this story. She lives in Lake Tahoe where there are lots of trees and occasionally a black bear that comes to check out the neighborhood garbage cans. So this story always came alive for me when she shared it.

Now, my kids are enjoying this classic book. It teaches about doing things as a family, not being afraid, having a great day, action words like: over, under, going "through it", speaking quiet/loud and slow/fast, lots of action words and rhythm. Our kids know this book by heart. Lots of fun at reading time.

Then there is this book called "Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z" by Ehlert.

This is a great book for learning ABC's and encouraging eating our fruits and vegies. Which is a must for picky toddlers in our house. We are having fun tasting and preparing different foods they are learning about.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Ah, I had one of those moments today, that I wish could be done over again. One of those, that I didn't realize my failing until the moment was completely gone.

Oh yes, the excuses are definitely there, "I was feeling a bit tired today, my head wasn't connected because of the sinus cold, or I was meeting a new person and was a bit nervous".

So what! I should have been present. Been in the moment. Not thinking about me.

It should have been about connecting and introducing two people to each other that could have brought about a very positive outcome.

But now, I am left to regret, ask for forgiveness, and pray that the Lord would redeem this lost opportunity. And pray that next time, I would get out of the way, that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit, ready to do His work.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Website to check out

Teaching Children Instrument Sounds

Teach your children the different sounds in the orchestra!
At first you will need to explore this site with your child. Then he/she can work on it on their own. It's really cool to view all the instruments, hear the sounds they make, and even make your own music.

My little boy loves music and so the other day we had this conversation:
He asked, "Mom, which is your favorite? The trombone or the guitar?" I said, "The guitar". So he says, "Mom, you play the guitar, I play the trombone and Baby plays the drums. Ready, 1,2,3, Go!" And then we played our mini-airband together. Lots of giggles.