Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Morning! I am back for the day!

I saw an article back over the summer that showed what people all over the world ate and how much they spent in a week on food. It was shocking and intriguing! I am pleading with everyone of you who read this blog. Even if you have never left a comment. PLEASE! I know with Christmas and all the extra baking (or not) and eating (or not) we do it is not a good week to try this. Maybe take a week in January and write down everything you buy for food and the cost. Come back here and leave a comment under the title I will leave later for this. Tell me what you bought and what it cost to feed your family. Then after you take a look at the book or article tell me what you see in the pictures.

I am reading a book right now called, The Diet Alternative by Diane Hampton. It is so good. Did you realize that when God feed the Israelites manna it was in the morning and at night. No lunch! Do you think we as Americans eat to much? Forget Americans, humans! I want to be a good steward of even what I eat this next year. I just want to be hungry for all things. I want to feel full from all things.

Think this over with me and let me know what you find! PLEASE!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Today is the beginning of our Christmas break. And by that I mean break, from everything that has become routine for me. So I WILL see you again in the new year. I am just on vacation!

Have a blessed Christmas, eat with gladness and give thanks always!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday Plan ~ 12/18

Chicken Orzo Soup

Tip* Orzo is a tiny rice shaped pasta, which is found in the pasta section of most grocery stores.
I also cook my chicken in the crock pot on low overnight, keeping the dripping for the broth.

1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano

Add & bring to a boil:
broth from cooked chicken
3 c water + more as needed
salt & pepper

2/3 c orzo pasta
stir occasionally, cook 8 minutes or until pasta is done.

2 c cooked chicken
1 c chopped zucchini

Cook for several minutes, remove from heat add 2 tbsp lemon juice. Top with feta cheese and parsley.

Wednesday Plan 12/17

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Soak 2 c dry peas overnight. Drain and add to crockpot.
2 cans beef broth
1 lb. cooked crumbled bacon
1 onion cooked until soft
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
water to desired consistency.

Cook on low 6 hours or until peas are soft. Add a little water while cooking when needed.
Add a loaf of bread to dinner and your set!

Monday, December 15, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Cookies ~ Days 6-12

Seriously I am going to make everyone of these cookies and I will let you know how they turn out. Here you go!


Tuesday Plan 12/16

Beef Barley Soup

I won't have time to give you recipes for fresh homemade bread but I encourage you to seek some out and try them with your soups this week. It is quite easy and so very satisfying both nutritionally and emotionally. If you just don't have time try some on the weekend and freeze them for the week. If you just still don't have the time, Stack's does have some nice artisan bread that are great heated up.

1 lb stew meat, I also cut it up smaller than how it comes and brown it good

1 chopped onion
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

2 medium carrots, diced
3/4 cup barley
1 bay leaf
6 cups beef broth
1 tbsp salt

In crockpot, combine everything. Cook beef and barley soup on LOW in crockpot for 6 to 8 hours.

Week Plan 12/14

So Sunday we had leftovers. We also went to our church's live nativity drama. What an awesome thing! I mean until you go and see what goes into everything to tell the true story of Jesus birth, you won't understand. I am so thankful to be a part of such an awesome church family! What a blessing and encouragement they are to me and my family.

Monday I have been invited to go out to dinner with some friends I haven't seen in a few months. At Olive Garden! How could I say no? I mean come on, friends and Italian food? Tom has offered to fry up some potatoes and eggs for him and the boys! What a husband! I think I'll get him an extra stocking stuffer for Christmas for this one! I am thinking that new Love Dare book? Thanks for the suggestion Becky.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday I will give you some new soup recipes and Friday we are having company so I will give you my Italian Beef recipe. Dessert? Yes, but I am not sure what yet! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Cookies ~ Day 5

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are from another friend~Diana back in Michigan. These are the best ever!

Set oven to 350.

3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c sugar

1 TBSP vanilla
2 eggs

Stir in~
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Mix in~
1 bag 60% cacao bittersweet Ghiradelli chips

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

I do have to say after your first batch if they seem to melt because of the butter (depending on how soft it is) just add about another 1/4 c flour. Sometimes I need to do this and other times I don't.

Thursday Plan ~ 12/11

Zesty Mexican Soup

1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, diced
Saute in butter until soft in a soup pot.

2 TBSP chili powder
3 c broth
1 zucchini, chopped
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 c finely chopped spinach or other green
Add to sauteed vegetables above, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

15 oz can of black beans, drained and washed
1 c corn
4 oz can diced green chili
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Add to pot bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and leave uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add 1/4 c pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/2 c parsley or cilantro
salt and pepper

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Cookies ~ Day 4

I can't take credit for these but I will give credit to whom they come from~ my friend Heide!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredient list 1:
2 sticks of butter Yes 2!
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Ingredient list 2:
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 c oatmeal

Beat first 3 ingredients until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix. Add ingredients list 2 together in a separate bowl. Now add this to the creamy mixture. Add 1 c raisins, mix. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Can I Share?

So maybe I will name anything to do with what I learning spiritually, Can I Share? I have a lot to ask of you today! I want to know from others your answer to...

How would you describe a true Christian?

This is a hard question to me. Well, maybe not hard but I DO want to put some thought behind it. I want to be straight in my own mind and heart about this. We are doing a year long study of Romans in our Sunday school class and this in one of the Living it Out questions. So here is some of my though process~

Webster's dictionary defines Christian as adhering to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. A person who believes in Jesus Christ, an adherent of Christianity. A person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ.

So a basic answer would be a Christian is a person who believes in Christ and shows by example His teachings.

I think where I am being questioned in my own mind is in my earlier post about not being brought up in a Christian home. Yes my mom and dad believed in Christ, yes I remember going to church a few times and my parents were good people. So I guess we were missing the showing by example.

So if you believe but don't lead by example does that make you not a Christian? I mean a true Christian? Is there anything but a true Christian? You either are or you aren't. I hear so many times, "Oh so and so said they were a Christian but they sure aren't living that way." Or another one I hate to hear, " Oh they really weren't serious when they gave their life to Christ, they were just fooling themselves and they really aren't a Christian at all." I mean do people really believe that as soon as we give our lives to Christ we will never fall? Do people really think that if we do we really aren't a Christian? That we lose it?

What are the ramifications of not being an example? What examples are we to show?

Monday, December 8, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Cookies ~ Day 3

No Bake Chocolate Cookies
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2-1 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

1Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil.
2Cook for 1 minute.
3Remove from heat.
4Add remaining ingredients.
5Mix well and drop by teaspoon onto wax paper.
6Let cool.

So who has memories of these when they were small? I do!

Christmas Rum Cake

Darn this woman! Here is another Pioneer Woman recipe. You know if I wasn't a nice person and I didn't like this ladies recipes so much I would rename my blog Pioneer Woman's Stolen Recipes! Seriously, I love everything I try of hers except the pound cake. And she has a great humor in her writing.

All I can say is Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Can I Share?

I started to begin another blog account. Instead I am just going to share with you what I am learning from time to time. Really as a way to "write" down on paper what I am learning to help me to remember. To help me solidify what I am learning, what He is teaching to me.

I have shared this with some friends here lately, but as I sit here and type I am still learning more. I use to worry about raising 3 boys. I really didn't grow up in a Christian home. I mean I think my parents have put their faith in God. I think my sisters have. But the things I remember about growing up and church were very few and far between. I am not sure why. Maybe it was because we moved often with my dad in the Army. Maybe it was because I don't have a good memory. But the fact remains that what and how I have learned about God is from Him. And really shouldn't it be that way? I mean whether you grow up in a home that goes to church or not God calls us to himself and teaches us. He is the Great Teacher.

But I feared raising 3 boys. How do I do it? How do I make them stay on the Way. How do I build strong christian character? How do I let them go? What if they choose wrong? I feared the future for them. Mainly because I did not want them to go down the way I did. I want to help them find the Way and stay on it! But the world is closing in on all four walls. They are so against us. I will loose one of them, the odds are against me. I feared. You know those silly 30 questions that go around that ask you things about yourself? The one that asked what do you fear? Well my answer was always that I fear loosing one of my children. Not to death but to the world.

I spend most mornings getting ready and that is my most quite time so I pray. I was praying recently about 2 friends that have chosen to homeschool. I hadn't spoken to them in a while so they came to my mind. I like to hang scripture on our bathroom mirrors as a way to memorize and the one that hangs now is
Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
So I was praying that during the day the Spirit would give my 2 friends a home filled with those things. Then it came to me!

I was so worried about the odds that I couldn't keep 3 boys. I have a house with 5 people filled with God's Holy Spirit. 100% always good, always for us Holy Spirit! What odds!!! I forget who is on my side, who has my back. Who has theirs! Then as I am reading tonight for Sunday school tomorrow morning in Romans He reaffirms it for me. What a teacher, one I hope to be to my own children. But I can trust that when I fail He will not.
Romans 8:31
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Father forgive me when I forget and when I have such weak faith. I love you.

Tuesday Plan 12/9

Breakfast Night
Sausage Egg Muffins

1 pound sausage of choice
12 eggs, beaten
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
Brown sausage and onion in a skillet. Divide meat into 12 muffin cups after cooked.
In bowl mix everything else and using a measuring cup divide egg mixture among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until egg is set and done.

Monday Plan 12/8

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

1/4 c butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, diced
8oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 c whole wheat or spelt flour
6-8 c stock
2 c dry wild rice, cooked according to pkg and drained
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c milk
1/2 c parsley, chopped

In large saucepan melt butter and cook onions for about 5 minutes.
Add carrots, mushrooms, celery & cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in flour, then add stock stirring for 5 minutes on high heat.
Stir in wild rice and spices.
Reduce heat and stir in milk. Heat.
Add parsley and serve.

Sunday Plan 12/7

Okay so we are slowly getting back on the wagon. The health wagon that is. Now I will continue to give you the 12 Days of Cookies and I will continue to eat them but for dinner we are back on! I like to cut down on costs by doing one bean dinner and one vegetable dinner during the week. Here is your vegetable dinner and if you feel like adding some chicken to it go ahead.

Broccoli Mushroom Penne Pasta

1 pound penne pasta cooked and drained
1/2 c butter
2 garlic cloves minced
4 c mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
4 c broccoli florets
4 c spinach
2 c peas, thawed or even soy beans
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 tsp each thyme, basil, oregano

Heat butter and saute mushrooms, garlic and onions for about 5 minutes.
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain.
Add broccoli, spinach and peas to mushroom mixture and cook until heated through.
Combine oil, cheese and spices in a bowl, whisk and add to vegetables.
Toss vegetables with pasta and serve with some crusty bread & butter.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chocolate Crinkles ~ Day 2

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Peanut Butteriest Cookies Ever ~ Day 1

1 1/2 c p.b.
1 c butter, soft
2 c sugar
Mix until smooth.
1 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Dip a fork into sugar and make a criss-cross pattern and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Well, every where I look and read confirms it is here! CHRISTMAS. I don't know many people who don't like this time of year. Well, now that I think about it, I don't know of anyone. Does that mean good cheer attracts good cheer??? I going with it!!! I am tired, remember I was up at 5:30 and I DO help shovel. I can't just sit there and watch. And I actually enjoy shoveling. So I am tired and hungry so I say to myself, "Self, how about some cookies?" I reply, "Sure, sounds good, who is going to bake them?" "You."

Okay, okay enough. Did I mention how sleep deprived I am. How many of you talk to yourself? Come on now, I know you do!

Cookies, that's it. I am going to give you my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies. Starting today. I know it isn't the 12 Days of Christmas yet but I talked myself out of giving you 24 Days of Cookies. Only because I DON'T want to have to run that much during the winter. It is all about maintaining right now. And the cost of making cookies everyday, the flour, the butter, the eggs, the vanilla, it adds up.


Good Morning!
Well, this was our first morning up bright and early. Well not so bright at 5:30 in the morning but early. The boys have a snow shoveling business and I am the one responsible for everything behind the scenes. In other words I am the one to get up, start the coffee and hot chocolate and get them out of bed in time to get everyone shoveled before they leave for work. I am also the one who drives said children to the places that need to be shoveled and I am also the person who dries all the wet clothes after we come back in. Well at least I won't have to buy the Xbox they are looking to replace!

On to food. I know I have been MIA but I have all the confidence you all can handle leftovers. Then there is baked potato night when the hubby and I get to go out for dinner! That leaves us at Thursday. Soak white beans overnight and cook them the next day in pure turkey stock and plenty of sea salt. Yes, I did make turkey stock. Didn't you????

I will be back for burritos and movie night. I will also have to remember to tell you about our new movie night plan! The kids will love it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Meal at Home

I love roasted turkey so though we have Thanksgiving at a friends home we are also cooking one the day after to have leftover. And hey, I like to cook so why not take advantage of the sale on turkeys at $0.69 a pound?? So early Friday morning when some people will be out shopping I will be up cooking. I am going to make this a short menu and short directions. Instead of typing out what and how I do most things I am going to take what I think is the best and "copy". Understand I don't mean copyright copy. I will direct you to the site. Have you checked out Pioneer Woman Cooks? She is great!

Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Now I do have to tell you that I leave the skins on my potatoes
Carmel Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Honey Yeast Rolls

Happy shopping, eating or whatever you are doing today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we will be at our friends home. It promises to be a delightful day. They are frying a turkey. It will the first time I have had it this way. I can't wait! I am taking:

chicken dressing which is in the archives
pumpkin walnut bread which is here
deviled eggs
cranberry sauce which is here

I CAN NOT wait to eat! We are also taking some games, though I am not sure we will get to them with all the talking and the meeting of new faces. I do want to mention the new game we had the pleasure of playing with our neighbors and now we are hooked. It is Christmas time you know! It is called
Ticket to Ride and you can find it here

Have fun today, be thankful and enjoy yourself!

Wednesday Plan

Today I am making another double batch of chicken dressing. It is in the archives, go find it. It is good. One to eat tonight and one to take on Thursday. We are also having the warm applesauce with cinnamon. So nice,w arm and filling. Yummy. I will also be back later to fill in all the details of what else we are having on Thursday and Friday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday Plan

Breakfast for Dinner #2

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

First I must confess, I do not know how to make a proper country biscuit. I have tried. So I do use those uncooked ones you get in your local grocery stores freezer section. They are the best! So go ahead and get those going.

In a cast iron skillet or a skillet brown up your sausage, about a pound. I like the maple syrup flavored kind. Break it up into tiny bits. Now remove the sausage and leave the grease in the skillet. Add about 1/4 c - 1/2 c all purpose flour. Keep stirring this over low heat for a few minutes to cook it. Now I mix up half milk half water in a glass. Get ready about 2 c to begin and add about half and then 1/2 c at a time until it is as thick as you like. The more you heat it the thicker it will get. Add the sausage to the gravy and pour it over you biscuits.

Now don't forget that OJ and if you have it on hand add 1/4 tsp vitamin c to give you that extra boost.

A Year of CrockPotting: CrockPot Mulled Wine Recipe

A Year of CrockPotting: CrockPot Mulled Wine Recipe

If you enjoy a glass of wine or two on special occasions, this is the one to put on for this entire week of Thanksgiving. It is nice to sip on after the kids are in bed and you and hubby are relaxing on the couch snuggling up!
Happy Thanksgiving~

Monday Plan

Today is all about the boys cooking for us. Every so often they will ask me if they can come up with the meal plan and cook for the night. Every so often I will let them. I know...I know...believe me I know what you are going to say. And to that I will say, cooking is my time. I invest my whole day to them and so cooking is my time! I will scream this every time you try and tell me to let them help in the kitchen. So this is one of those ever not so often times I give in. I DO love to see them enjoy planning and cooking. But...you know. Well, I am cooking dessert, shoot they thought of that too!

Their plan

Hamburgers with bacon and grilled onions

Onion Buns ~ see when I cook hamburgers I don't do buns, they may be trying to tell me something???

French Fries ~ see when I cook I would use sweet potatoes but they want regular french fries, they may be trying to tell me something???

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar with Ice Cream ~ I would so do this! But they thought of it first!

Sounds good boys, I have taught you well! Love, Mom

Menu Plan - Winter 11/23

Sorry to be late, we had Shepherd's Pie again with corn

Today is all about the boys cooking for us!
Join me later as I let you know all about this.

Sausage & Gravy biscuits

Dressing & Warm Applesauce

Woo Hoo it is a Thanksgiving Party at my BFF's!
I will let you know what I am taking later!

Thanksgiving Dinner at home so we can have leftovers!
Will let you know later what the plan is

Sandwiches and leftovers ~ what else!?

Friday, November 21, 2008

A quick break for comedy

Who remembers this episode?

Chicken Broth

So I need to put up some chicken broth for all those yummy soups I get to make during the winter. It will take 2 nights but you will be well stocked. I have a regular sized crock pot so I have to do this is 2 batches. If you are lucky and have a nice big double one, keep it to yourself! So at night right before you go to bed, unless you stay up late, in that case around 9p.m. Put in a crock pot 1 whole chicken minus the innards. Add the bag of carrot, onion, celery, garlic skins, and pepper tops from your freezer. Now if you don't have any just add a couple shredded carrots, onion, green pepper, a few celery stalks cut up and a few garlic cloves minced. Add water to top and sprinkle in some herbs. Turn this on low and let it roast up its own goodness overnight. The next morning around 10 strain and add about the same amount of water as you have broth. Bag this in quart bags and freeze. Start over again the next night. If you are limited on freezer space you can keep the broth concentrate and add water when thawed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sickness = Chicken Noodle Soup

Well, it is the middle of November. Our first colds of the season have hit, not hard but enough to be aggravating. So what does that mean to you? Why have I told you we are sick? For your sympathy? For meals to be brought to us? No. I have a gift for you!

Chicken Noodle soup
Buy a whole chicken, if it has the insides tucked away untuck them and throw them away for all I care. I can eat many things but not organs. Put this in a big pot and cover with water a couple of inches. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium. Now you don't want to cook this more than an hour or the meat will get tough. So after that take out the chicken and let cool. We are having to make stock quickly unless you have some in the freezer already. Oh but wait I still haven't told you how to make and freeze stock yet. Shame. So we will have to make the chicken water taste like it has been simmering for a while. Okay if you have a bag of frozen vegetable and bones already going in the freezer put this in the pot along with the bones and skin from the chicken you just cooked. Yes I did tell you to start the vegetable and chicken bone bag! Now add some salt, pepper, any spices you have on hand along with some garlic and a little soy sauce. You can even add a little apple cider vinegar. Let this simmer for a couple hours. When done strain and keep the broth. This is different than what I will eventually tell you how to make stock but it will do today when you are running a fever and the kids are hacking away from that darn dry cough. Now add about 6 carrots, diced; 3 celery stalks, diced; 1 onion chopped and sauteed. Let this cook a while. Add 1 pound mushrooms cut up in a skillet with some butter and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a big splash of lemon juice at the end and add this to your pot. Add the chicken back, shredded with your hands. I use the wide Healthy Harvest whole wheat noodles because they are hearty. I also boil them separate in another pot and add them after drained. After many times of making this the noodles don't get mushy and hold up for the next day even. Now 1 more thing. Did you know I love garlic? I also love the antibacterial properties in garlic, they work great for the sinus cavities. Get down, in my case, 5 bowls and get out 5 cloves of garlic. Mince one into each bowl raw. Cover with soup and they will never know but you will ;o)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pound Cakes for Roxanna

So I belong to a group of ladies who read and study Christian books. I say belong because the definition of belong is~to be properly or suitably placed or situated~and that is what this group of women are to me. We are suitably placed together as women seeking to know ourselves better in Christ. Anyways, I didn't mean to get all theological on you. There is a lovely lady who loves pound cake and I have told her I would bake her one for the holidays. So this is my attempt to find the best one. The first one is a blueberry one as I still have some from when we picked them this summer. The next one will be an old fashioned pound cake. We meet this Tuesday night. My plan is to have 1/2 of each to take so they can all try them. If my plan is thwarted I will at least let you know how they are. I do have 3 boys and it really depends on how hungry they get.

*** Update~ I didn't like either of these recipes, sorry.

Blueberry Pound Cake
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 oz vanilla yogurt
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in 1 cup blueberries. Do not overbeat.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
1 lb butter (2 cups)
1 lb sugar (2 1/4 cups)
9 eggs
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1Cream butter and sugar until very light and creamy.
2Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
3Gradually add cake flour, blending thoroughly. (Use a medium speed for this.).
4Add lemon rind and juice.
5Bake in 2 greased and parchment paper-lined or waxed paper-lined 9x5" pans at 350º for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6Frost or glaze, or leave plain.
7*If wanting to make a half a recipe, use 5 eggs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

C'est Moi ~ It's Me

I interrupt the regular blog cast to recommend a fantastic salon.

C'est Moi Salon
316 E Commercial Ave
Lowell, IN

No I am not getting a discount to promote them. They are not even aware of my posting of them. Seriously, it is like NO other salon I have been to, ever, period! They are an upscale but NOT pretentious salon. The owner is lovely, Lori. She did a color for me once. Today I got Amy, so sweet. I kid you not I went in for a much needed hair cut and an HOUR later I came home ready to do everything that needs to be done today. I can not express the care and professionalism. They have a blue room. It is the shampoo room. Let me just tell you it is at least a 10 minute shampoo and massage. With blue lights around the room for light, music and these intoxicating candles burning. Oh, and they have stools for you to put your feet up on while getting your hair washed and massaged. The bowl comes up to you rather than your falling back into it. Did I mention the massage? Never had anything like it before. Then after all that they cut your hair. They take their time and I am sure cut every single hair on your hair exactly the way it was meant to be cut. Then the products and style. Your hair will smell the best ever. Okay so for this hour hair cut and massage, style and relaxation it only cost me $30. If that is more than you are use to paying I highly recommend you plead with you husband to let you splurge and see the difference. Let me know if you go and how you loved it!

Plan for the week

Okay I again got the whole week plan done for you. Yeah!!!
If I get around to it I will try and post homemade chicken and beef broth.
Have a good week and enjoy dinner together!

Saturday Plan

Now a few weeks ago I was going to post our homemade pizza but then got invited to a dinner and movie night. Before something else comes up here is our plan for pizza night. We may even get Kung Fu Panda! One night soon I plan to have a movie night of my own featuring One Night with The King. My favorite, anyone seen it?

Pizza Dough~(Diana's)
2 pkg or 1 1/2 TBSP dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 1/4 c warm water
3 1/2 c flour, all purpose
1 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil
Sprinkle yeast and sugar into 1/4 c water, stir and let sit for 3 minutes. Combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, 1 c water and oil. Mix dough until all flour is absorbed. Knead until smooth, cover and rise until double. Makes enough for 2 pizza's. Make 2 balls and roll out to cover pan. When done adding toppings you will bake at 450 for about 10-15 minutes.

Toppings for pizza 1~
No tomato sauce
rub olive oil and minced garlic over one crust
add cooked chicken
cooked bacon, chopped
mozzarella cheese
red onions, chopped
When it comes out of the oven drizzle ranch dressing on top.

Toppings for pizza 2~
again no tomato sauce
mashed potatoes as a base
cooked bacon, chopped
mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
When it comes out of the oven drizzle with thinned out sour cream or ranch.

Next time we will do a more traditional tomato based pizza.

Friday Plan

Fish Tacos
4 pieces white fish like Mahi Mahi (6-8 ounces each)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1 lime, juiced
3 small or medium ripe Haas avocados, pitted and scooped from skins with a large spoon
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
green onions, sliced
romaine lettuce
12 soft flour tortillas

Bake fish with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the fish after cooked. Flake fish into large chunks with a fork.
While fish is cooking, in a blender or food processor, combine avocado, lemon juice, red pepper, yogurt and salt. Process guacamole sauce until smooth. Remove guacamole sauce to a bowl and stir in diced tomatoes and chopped scallions. Shred lettuce and reserve. To assemble, break up fish and pile some of the meat into soft shells and slather with guacamole sauce. Top with shredded lettuce, fold tacos over and eat!

Coconut Rice
Make rice normally but replace some of the water or broth with 1 can of coconut milk.

Thanksgiving Prep

Here you go.
No really go...


You're Welcome!

Thursday Plan

Pumpkin Stew
Lightly flour, salt and pepper 2 lbs. stew meat cut up small.
Throw in crock pot.
Brown 1 onion, 2 stalks celery and 2 garlic cloves, minced.
Throw in crock pot.
Add 4 small cans beef broth.
Cut up 2 carrots, throw in crock pot.
Cut up 2 potatoes, with skin left on, throw in crock pot.
Peel and cube 1 small pie pumpkin, throw in crock pot.
Cook on low for about 4-6 hours.
Serve with crusty buttered bread.

Wednesday Plan

Wednesday will be a regular date night for Tom and I. They go to AWANA and we are going to make it a dinner date! This last week we went out and had a good time.
I am making it a regular baked potato night for them. They like them and you can leave them plain or add things like left over Chili (it will be a while before we have chili again), cheese, bacon, ground beef, roasted chicken. The toppings are endless.

Tuesday Plan

Who doesn't like breakfast? We love it. Who gets to sit down and eat a good, full, hot one everyday? Sure we eat some eggs here and there. Some yogurt, oatmeal, bacon...but not all a once! I am going to give you a run down of what we will have and I will leave the rest up to how your family likes to cook them.

Thick sliced pepper bacon, the star of the show (I never said I didn't like pork)
Fried potatoes in the bacon grease
Fried eggs on top of the potatoes so the yolk runs all in them
Toast & Homemade Apple Butter
Applesauce warmed with a little brown sugar and cinnamon (anyone else have that when you were little)
Fresh ground coffee with a holiday creamer (I normally drink black coffee, but not today)
Hot Chocolate for the boys and I will get the canned whipped cream too

Now I do realize that Cracker Barrel would also bring the grits and gravy but who has room for that? So next week breakfast on Tuesday night is gravy & biscuits!

Man to bad today is only Saturday when I am typing this. I tell you what no one better mess with my Tuesday! I am looking forward to it!

Monday Plan

Caesar Burgers
I use 2 lbs meat for 5 steak sized burgers
3 cloves minced garlic
sea salt & pepper
Mix all this together and bake 5 burgers until done.
Pile up romaine lettuce on a plate top with burger and fresh Parmesan cheese. You can squirt some caesar dressing on top if you like.

I think that one beat Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals!

Menu Plan - Winter 11/16

We are having dinner at a friends home
Got any leftover Chili?

Caesar Burgers & Salad


Baked Potato for boys
Out to eat for us

Pumpkin Stew

Fish Tacos with Coconut Rice


Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (4 oz. by weight) cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a loaf pan, 8½ by 4½ by 2¾ inches. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, and oil. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices and stir just until batter is smooth. Stir in cranberries and spoon batter into loaf pan, spreading evenly. Bake bread in middle of oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and cool completely. Bread may be made 4 days ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 1 loaf.

Zucchini Bread

5 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
5 eggs
1-2/3 cups vegetable oil
3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups grated zucchini
1-2/3 cups chopped walnuts

Grease and flour three loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Plan

As you will notice I got the whole week plan done on Saturday morning. What else can you do on a cold rainy day but relax, drink coffee and plan???

Mixed Meat Chili

Cook in crockpot for 3 hours in 1 inch of water 2 cups soaked beans of choice and 1 tbsp salt.

Add to skillet and brown:
1/2 lb. andouille or chirizo sausage, uncased
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground chicken or turkey
Add to crockpot.

Brown in skillet:
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Add to crockpot.

Add to crockpot:
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp paprika
2 c broth of choice~more if needed
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 large can tomato puree or sauce

Cook another few hours until thick and beans are done. Top with a sharp cheese.

Friday Plan

We are gone to Cincinnati Ohio for Dalton's 2 year MRI check up. Please cover us with prayer as we travel. We are confident God is healing Dalton and hope to also see the doctor while we are there to read the results. It is only a 4 hour drive so we plan to drive there in the morning and come home that night.

We have to leave our house around 4 in the morning, they are an hour ahead of us and he has to be there at 10. He of course can't eat. But that is okay. We have 2 stops to make while we are there. There is a great little hamburger joint inside an old train car. They are awesome and we are some hamburger loving people. Then there is Grater's Ice Cream. It is like nothing we have had before or since. We always get dry ice and bring some home. It is always a special treat after having an IV and laying in a tunnel for an hour!

Thursday Plan

White Bean Chicken Chili

2-3 c cooked chicken, off the bone
1 large can chicken broth~more if needed
1 can diced chilies
2 c soaked overnight white beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp salt
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
cilantro or parsley

Cook beans in 1 inch water and 1 tbsp salt for 3 hours on high.

Saute celery, onion and garlic until soft. Add everything except cilantro or parsley to crockpot. Cook on high another 2 hours.

When done stir in cilantro or parsley. Top with sour cream and monterey jack cheese. You can also add some chopped green onions on top for crunch.

Wednesday Plan

We are taking a break, sort of. If there is any leftover chili you can always top your potato with it!

Baked potatoes~

Pretty simple girls.

Tuesday Plan

Black Bean Chili

Add to crockpot 2c soaked overnight black beans and cover with 1 inch of water. Cook beans and 1 tbsp salt for 3 hours on high.

After 3 hours heat oil in skillet and brown 1 large onion, 1 large bell pepper, 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, and 2 garlic cloves minced. Add to crock pot.
Add 1 large can refried black beans, 1 can broth of choice(if needed), and 1 tsp cumin.
Cook on high for 2 hours.

Top with Queso fresco and the juice of 1 lime. Meijer carries the cheese in the speciality cheese section.

Monday Plan

I am not posting 7 days of chili recipes. I am not sure we could all handle that much. I am however posting 5 and you can still choose which ones you want to try.

Texas Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 beef brisket (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
3 jalapeno chiles, halved, seeded and finely, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 can (13-3/4 ounces) beef broth
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer
1 bay leaf
Lime wedges for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, saute brisket until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add onion, jalapenos and garlic to drippings in pot; cook over medium-low heat until onion is very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, and red pepper; cook 1 minute. Return meat to pot. Stir in broth, tomatoes, beer and bay leaf. Heat to boiling. Lower heat; simmer with cover slightly ajar until meat is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. For last 20 minutes, uncover to thicken chili. To serve, ladle chili into bowls. Garnish each bowl with lime wedge.

Sunday Plan

This recipe compliments of my friend Tricia~Thanks!
Zac added my homemade mac n' cheese to some left over chili today and it was yummo!!

My mac n' cheese is simple:
1 box elbow macaroni
3/4 to 1 loaf of Velveeta
3/4 stick butter
some milk
cheddar cheese, if desired
Boil noodles til tender. Drain and set aside. Chop up Velveeta into pieces and put in microwavable bowl w/ butter. Melt down, stirring frequently. Add cheese mixture to noodles, adding enough milk to make creamy. I also use some shredded cheddar cheese to give it a sharper taste.

Simple crockpot chili
soak 2c pinto beans on Saturday night, drain, add back to crockpot.
1 lb cooked ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

Menu Plan - Fall 11/9

* If you choose to use dry beans make sure each night you plan ahead to soak your beans for the next day.

Chili Mac 'n Cheese

Texas Chili

Black Bean Chili

Baked Potato & Salad

White Bean Chicken Chili

~ out of town~

Mixed Meat Chili

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saturday Plan

Italian Beef

4 to 4 1/2 lbs. beef bottom round roast
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 jar pepperoncini peppers, chopped
4 large green bell peppers, chopped
olive oil to keep stuff wet
2 pkg dry italian seasoning
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 C. water
12 (6-inch) slices crusty Italian or French bread, split

Put everything in a crock pot turn on low at 7:00 a.m. and cook all day long. When ready pull beef apart with forks.

Easy huh?

Friday Plan

Okay guys and girls!
I was going to post on how I make homemade pizza BUT... we have been invited to a chili and hot dog supper and movie with our Sunday school class. So you are on your own. I will suggest Edwardo's in Munster, IN though. Excellent!

See you later, have a fun Friday night and if you think of it pray for Tom's son Jon and our new daughter-in-law Karen who are getting married on Saturday!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Extra! Extra!

This is a request: Here you go Tricia!

Blue Cheese dressing for Carrots ~
One pkg blue cheese or Gorgonzola broken up in a big mouth mason jar.
Add about 12 oz sour cream.
Add about 1/4 c mayo.
A little milk, salt & pepper.
I use one of those cool stick blenders, add milk a little at a time. Blue Cheese dressing is thick.

That's it!

Thursday Plan

Pasta with Chicken
olive oil
3 boneless chicken breasts cubed
2 carrots, sliced
2 pkg broccoli cut off stalk
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz spaghetti noodles
2/3 c water
1 tsp basil
Parmesan cheese
serves our family of 5 with NO leftovers

Start water for noodles and finish them.
Cook chicken in oil until no longer pink.
Cook carrot for 5 minutes in oil. Add water, broccoli and garlic cook another 5 minutes.
Drain pasta in a big bowl mix everything together. Add basil, salt and pepper and top with Parmesan cheese.

Okay, this does require crusty bread and butter.

Wednesday Plan

Drain your soaked beans. Add to a crock pot:
1 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp basil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Tabasco
1 big can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
water to fill pot
Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
Make rice and put this it in the bottom of your bowl and ladle a spoon full of beans on top. Top with cheese, sour cream or nothing at all.

Tuesday Plan

Okay...who is thinking about Thanksgiving already? I am. So are the boys and Tom. He will talk about our Thanksgiving dinner now until the day! I also have a friend (you know who you are) who is cooking her first family invited Thanksgiving dinner. I have told her she will do a great job and that I am here to help. So this is for her, me and everyone else who wants a dish up on Thanksgiving.

My mom, aka Nana, makes chicken dressing for Thanksgiving. Actually she makes it on demand when we go and visit. They live in Alabama so she does have a heads up when we come. It is a known meal that we WILL have. Right mom? I love it so much (notice how I love a lot of things food related? The reason I have now taken up jogging as a hobby) that when I make it I make 2 pans of it. One for us and one for the freezer. This is where the extra one will come in handy right now because you will have one to eat for dinner tonight and one to reheat for your Thanksgiving meal. How is that for help?

So here we go...

First the night before or the morning of, roast 2 small chickens. I put them in a crock pot overnight on low and then in the morning take them out to cool. Pull all the meat off the bones and PUT THE BONES IN A FREEZER BAG IN THE FREEZER FOR STOCK! I mean it!

1. Make 2 pans of cornbread, I do use a cast iron skillet and swear by it but a regular pan can work.
2. When it is cool coarsely crumble them into two casserole dishes.
3. Toast 4 slices of bread or as my mom does use a couple day leftover biscuits, crumble this into the 2 pans evenly divided.
4. Divide meat up between the two casserole dishes.
5. In a skillet with butter slowly brown 2 onions and 4 celery stalks. Divide this up too.
6. Cut up 4 boiled eggs and divide these.
7. Add some poultry seasonings, sage, salt and pepper as you like it, and I like a lot of it!
8. In a bowl combine( I grimace as I type this next ingredient but his time it is okay) 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, a can of milk. Mix with your hands everything in the casserole dishes. Add the milk mixture and slowly fluff it through. Yes you can do that! If it is not moist enough add chicken broth, it will dry as it cooks so don't be shy with it but don't let it get soupy.
9. Cover and bake one of them at 375 for 45 minutes.

Now don't cook the second one, cover it will foil and stick it in the freezer. On Thanksgiving day put it straight in the oven for about an hour or until hot.

Don't forget we are doing black bean and rice soup tomorrow, soak your beans overnight tonight.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monday Plan

Tomato Bisque
4 tbsp butter
2 slices bacon
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 rib celery chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
5 tbsp all purpose flour
5 c chicken broth
1 big can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dry basil
1 c heavy cream
sea salt & pepper
Cook bacon until crispy, set aside. Brown onion, celery and carrots in bacon grease about 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in broth and tomatoes,whisking until it boils. Add spices, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool a bit and work in batches to blend until smooth or if you have one of those cool immersion blenders that will work better. Return all to pot and warm up. Whisk in cream.

Grilled cheese
Okay so my tastes have changed. Now if the kids still like Velveeta grilled cheese then by all means us it. I on the other hand am hooked on Havarti on whole wheat. I am assuming you all know how to make grilled cheese ;o)

Sunday Plan

Beef & Potato Stroganoff

5 large russet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound ground beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave on high until cooked through, about 9 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onion , garlic and 3/4 cup water and boil to reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes; stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat.
3. In a medium saucepan, brown the ground beef over high heat, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the mushroom mixture; season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Slice one-third off the top of each potato and chop the tops. Using a spoon, hollow out each potato, leaving a thick wall. In a microwavable bowl, mash together the chopped potato, potato centers and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and reheat in the microwave.
5. Return the beef and mushroom mixture to a simmer. Stuff the hollowed potatoes with the beef mixture. Serve with the mashed potatoes.

Menu Plan - Fall 11/2

Beef & Potato Stroganoff

Tomato Bisque
Grilled Havarti Sandwiches

Nana's Chicken Dressing

Black Beans & Rice Soup

Pasta with Chicken


Italian Beef Sandwiches

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday Plan

Stuffed Cabbage
This is a long day for me. I do these about once a year and make tons of them to freeze for the whole winter. I do so love them. The boys even eat the whole thing now too. After working on them all day it is such a comforting dinner to have. My stomach is already growling just anticipating tomorrow.

You will need to start a big pot of water to boil. Also go ahead and make rice. However you make it. I am sorry for not giving amounts, I just make a lot and if there are any leftovers I just save it for later. This needs to cool so you can mix everything together with your hands later. Once the water boils you will add a head of cabbage to it. As you are standing over the cabbage you will watch it for a few minutes and cut near the stump a layer at a time as it softens. You want it soft so you can roll it but not cooked. Lay them off to the side, they can cool too. If there is a piece here and there with a lot of hard gristle stuff at the end I kind of shave it. Okay so this is all a little hard to explain. It is so much easier to show you. I can't believe no one took me up on my offer to cook together tomorrow??? As the rice gets done and cools and the cabbage gets done (I do about 3 or 4 cabbages depending on how big or little they are) put into a big bowl or a big pot the rice. I start out with a few pounds of hamburger meat and a few pounds of mild sausage adding it to the rice. Add salt and pepper and that's it! I put garlic in it one time because I love garlic and my Polish mother-in-law said that was a no no. So...I will leave that up to you. Now roll the cabbage rolls, add a tooth pick, wrap in freezer paper, and freezer bag them. I bag enough for a whole meal in each bag.

When you are ready to cook them I buy a big can of tomato soup add a little water not all of it. Because I use the soup as a gravy for the smashed potatoes. Add a sliced onion and pepper on top. Put a lid on it, bake around 300 for about 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally. So good and simple. Even though it is time consuming you now have dinner in the freezer for those cold wintry nights ahead when you don't feel like doing anything but drinking hot chocolate and reading.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friday Plan

Spinach Pie. I LOVE it! LOVE it!

1 stick (4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
Three 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 pound cottage cheese
12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
One 1-pound box phyllo dough

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Wipe out the skillet.
2. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess water. Add the spinach, cottage cheese, feta, eggs and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the onion and stir to combine. Set aside.
3. In the reserved skillet, melt the remaining 1 stick butter. Using a pastry brush, coat a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with melted butter.
4. Unfold the phyllo dough and line the baking dish with 1 phyllo sheet, gently pressing into place and letting any excess hang over the sides. Brush the sheet with more melted butter. Repeat until there are 8 layers of buttered phyllo in the dish. Cover the remaining phyllo sheets with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out.
5. Fill the phyllo-lined baking dish with the reserved spinach mixture. Fold in the overhanging phyllo, sheet by sheet, brushing butter on each sheet. Place another phyllo sheet over the filling and brush with butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and butter, brushing the top layer generously with butter. Using a sharp knife, trim the overhanging phyllo sheets to fit the baking dish. Score the top to mark eight servings.
6. Bake the spanakopita until golden-brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thursday Plan

I know what you are thinking, fried potatoes? How healthy can that be? Well, if you don't do many fried things and you use the right kind of oil, then it can be healthier. So to fry with you can use:
canola oil
olive oil, not virgin with some butter to make smoking point higher
canola/olive oil blend
coconut oil
I will leave the choice up to you.

Fried Potatoes & Eggs
Wash and cut potatoes into small cubes. Fry in oil until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. In a little left over oil fry each egg individually. Lightly fried eggs with the white cooked, the yolk runny, is the healthiest way to eat eggs. Besides raw. (disclaimer: If you choose to do the raw egg thing they should be organic free range)

Now if you feel you need some more protein add some cooked sausage or bacon.

Now to serve this all you have to do it put down some potatoes, add the meat if you so choose on top of the potatoes. Add the fried eggs on top of that and sprinkle with some nice raw milk cheese. Salt and pepper it all. When you cut into those eggs the warm yellow yolk will run all over everything. This is another Czepinski favorite!


Wednesday Plan

Polish Kraut & Apples
1 lb sauerkraut
1 lb polish sausage
3 tart cooking apples, sliced thick
1/2 c packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp caraway seeds-optional
3/4 c apple cider or juice
Squeeze dry sauerkraut. Place 1/2 of it in a crockpot.
Cut sausage into 2 in sliced. Place in crockpot.
Layer in order:
Top with remaining sauerkraut. Add apple cider or juice. DO NOT STIR.
Cover and cook on high 3 to 3 1/2 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours.
Stir before serving. Serve with butter and rye bread or small boiled potatoes.

Stuffed Cabbage day is getting close. Do I have any takers for a class on stuffed cabbage for Saturday?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Your chili recipes.
Starting the week of 11/9 I will post a week's full of chili recipes. I am looking for tried and true recipes. All are welcome. Anything goes, Texas, Bison, Chicken...even those weird ingredient ones. Leave in the comment section or email me at
Now it will be up to you if you are as brave as we are and try the chili recipes every night for a week ;o)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesday Plan

Crockpot Beef with Black-Eyed Peas
NOTICE: Soak these beans overnight, so start them on Monday night.
Soak 2 c peas drain and add:
1 can diced chilies
1-2 qt broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp paprika
2 carrots sliced
1 1/2 lb beef roast
2 tbsp sea salt
Cook on high until beef can be shredded with a fork. Make a pan of cornbread and enjoy.

With the cold weather setting in and the less sunshine we have I want to give you a link to why we should all take a big heaping dose of Cod Liver oil. I will also include a link to the kind we use that is lemon flavored and the boys don't mind it at all.


This is half the price you can get it at any store!

Monday Plan

Meatloaf can be good. Forget the frozen pressed meat, or should I say pressed ??? log. We are using real food here.

for 1 loaf
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c ketchup
onion, finely chopped
green pepper, finely chopped
1/4 - 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c oats
1 c bread, torn up
1 1/2 tbsp sweetener of your choice I like agave or honey
Add all this to a bowl and well, mix it up but a rough mix. We don't want it all mixed up good or mush. Bake at 350 for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Top with this the last 10 minutes:
1/2 c ketchup
3 tbsp sweetener of choice
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder

High Fructose Corn Syrup. Know what it is? Well look it up and all the bad things it does to your body. Now look at your ketchup bottle. See it? Why oh why do they have to put it in ketchup? I make my own now. Here is the recipe. You are very welcome.

12 0z can tomato paste
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Whisk all together. If your family is hooked on the sweetness of bottled ketchup you can use some maple syrup or some other sweetener. Each time you make it use less sweetener and they will eventually be use to it with out any at all.

Sunday Plan

Well here we are at the beginning of a new week. Can you see the theme for the week? Polish comfort food. My oldest son said the "w" word this morning. Winter. We have had to turn on the heat, which I hated. But we are keeping it at 63 at night so in the mornings it is a little chilly. We normally are out and about by this time on a Saturday morning but we slept in and are cuddled up on the couch with blanket in hand watching I Love Lucy. He then says it, "Mom It feels like winter is here." I do look forward to the many sledding days we will have and of course the big pots of chicken noodle soup, chili, tomato bisque... With the change of seasons there is a change in food as well. It becomes heartier, more filling. It makes you rest even. Know what I mean, it warms you and relaxes. Time for a good book and a cup of coffee and, "Hey kid get off my end of the couch!"

I am cheating with Pierogies. I do get them frozen. They are good though, I promise. Now the rest of the Polish recipes are homemade. Wanna have a good old fashioned Stuffed Cabbage assembly line going on Saturday morning? You are officially invited, for real! Let me know and we can really plan it.

Fill a big pot with water and bring to a boil. When it does drop about 5 in at a time and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate to drain. Get a skillet going with butter and oil, either a canola or an olive oil, not virgin though. It should be about an inch deep. Brown the pierogies. Keep them in a warm oven and cut up a few onions, add them to the skillet and brown up the onions for about 10 minutes on med. low heat. Add these on top of the pierogies and don't forget the sour cream!

Green Beans
I add some olive oil, Bragg's and sesame seeds to a pot with green beans and simmer away(with a lid). We like our beans soft with no crunch left but cook them until how you like them.

Menu Plan - Fall 10/26

Pierogies & green beans

Meatloaf & corn

Crockpot Beef with Black-eyed Peas

Polish Kraut & Apples

Fried Potatoes & Eggs

Spanakopita & carrots

Stuffed Cabbage & Smashed Potatoes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday Plan

Well here it is, the last day to complete a full week of dinners at our house, plus some sweets! I do have one request. If you like my blog please consider following it. There is a link on the left side of the page that allows you to follow me. There, now I know you really want to see what we are eating and how I am cooking it. Leave a comment too. If you try a recipe please let me know how you liked it or how you would change it. I also like to learn. Have a family favorite email it to me and I will try it and post it when I do. Today's stew is hearty. I do serve it with some french bread and butter. The bulgar actually resembles ground beef and is very filling.

Lentil Stew
3 c dried green or brown lentils
14 c vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp salt
1/3 c olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 c bulgar
I do have chicken stock in the freezer so I will us that and maybe this weekend I will post on how to make your own stocks.

Cook the lentils, stock, and salt on high for 30 minutes. While that is cooking saute the onions in oil until tender. Add the bulgar to onions and cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add onion mixture to lentils and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. If you have left overs it will thicken up so just add some water or more stock.
Possible toppings~
sour cream

How simple was that? Try it and rate it for me under the comment section with 1-5 stars, 5 stars being the best score.

Have a grand weekend!

Friday Plan

Okay we have several things going on today. I can not stress enough to relax and enjoy what you are doing in the kitchen making meals from scratch. I must confess though that one major reason I can relax more in the kitchen is I have a wonderful husband that does the dishes. I was talking with a friend one day when it dawned on me that many times when I think I look like I am doing good or have it all together it is because of him. My husband, he makes me look good. So there, I confessed it and I agree with it. On to the food ~

So today we are:
roasting fresh garlic
making hummus
making pita bread
making spaghetti
making garlic bread

Now that we know what we are doing we can prioritize. First things first, I already have a bag in the freezer of stewed tomatoes from the garden so I need to pull that out to defrost.

Now we need to drain the beans add them to the crock pot and fill with water. Turn on high add 2 tbsp sea salt and turn on high.

You can go ahead and roast the garlic in the morning too. That way maybe the heat from the oven will get the chill out of the air, because I refuse to turn the heat on just yet. Turn the oven on 400 and cut the top off of a whole head of garlic. Yes the whole thing and if they are small do two of them. Just leave the cloves attached and take a little off the top with a sharp knife to expose the garlic. Pour a little olive oil on top and wrap in foil. Set on rack in oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Pull them out and leave them on the counter to cool until later. Simple eh? Wait until you taste it though...

Now if you are able just to take advantage of the heat factor you can do the pita bread. Here is the recipe~

Pita Bread
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Preparation:Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.Combine white flour, wheat flour, and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.Slowly add warm yeast water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough becomes elastic.Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated with oil. Allow to sit, covered, in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat non stick skillet to almost smoking. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Place each circle in skillet one at a time turning once until the bread puffs up.

31 oz. chick peas, drained but keep the juice to use some
1/4 cup Tahini
2 teaspoons salt and a little
3 garlic cloves, minced (I actually like roasted garlic here instead and use a whole head of it)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Add all but a few chickpeas (save a dozen for presentation) and all ingredients into food processor to create a smooth dip. Use some of the water the beans were cooked in if it is to thick. Just add a little at a time. Hummus is thick.
Place mix in serving bowl. Hummus can be served in a deep dish, or more commonly on a shallow dish, spreading the hummus around to cover the plate.
Pour extra olive oil on hummus dip to create pockets (do not cover completely).
Add several of the saved fresh garbanzo beans to the the center.

Garlic Bread
Cut in half lenghtwise a good loaf French Bread. Turn broiler on. Butter lavishly both sides of bread. Take roasted garlic head and squish out the cloves into a bowl. Smash all together and spread on top of butter on bread. Broil for about 3-5 minutes keeping a close eye out not to burn it.

Spaghetti Sauce
Last month when I had some fresh tomatoes I just washed them, took the top off and stuck them in my crock pot. I cooked them for about 8 hours on low skins, seeds and all. I then salted it, added fresh basil and oregano and whizzed it with my handy hand held blender stick until smooth and stuck it in the freezer. For spaghetti sauce I will simmer it with a can of tomato paste more herbs like basil, marjoram, oregano, garlic, thyme. Then I will add to it 1 pound cooked ground beef cooked with an onion and a few carrots sliced thin (cook until soft). Serve it over noodles and grate fresh REAL Parmesan cheese.

Thursday Plan

Shepherd's Pie
This is a favorite in my house we make it every few weeks.

Set a big pot with water to boiling for making mashed potatoes on high when it comes to a boil add diced potatoes to soften.

Brown 2 lbs ground beef with 1 onion diced and sea salt in a skillet. When done pour into a casserole dish. In the same skillet add about
1/2 c bragg's or soy sauce
a spoonful of bacon grease or other grease
1/4 c water
3 carrots sliced
pkg of mushrooms chopped

Simmer for about 10 minutes with a lid on to keep water from evaporating.

Add about 2 tbsp flour and let this cook stirring it for 1 minute

Add about 1/2 c milk mixed with 1/4 c water to skillet and make a gravy. If you need more liquid add water a little at a time. We don't want this to soupy though. Now pour this over the meat in the casserole dish. After the potatoes cook, drain and put back in the pot. Add 1/4 c butter some milk, salt and pepper. Beat until semi smooth top your casserole now with the potatoes. Add some paprika and 1/4 c pats of butter to the top and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Friday night two of the boys have a piano recital and we are taking snacks so I am taking hummus and pita bread so this recipe is a bonus. But first you have to soak the garbanzo beans overnight. So add about 3 c dry beans to a pot in lots of water put on a lid and let sit overnight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wednesday Plan

Wednesday's are our busiest day of the week. We pick up milk every other Wednesday in the mornings. We have music and then the boys have Alive and Awana at church. Wednesday's are our for sure crock pot days but I try to use the crock pot twice a week especially during the winter. I will later teach you how to make homemade stocks in the crock pot. Soon...for now just trust me and start a freezer bag and every time you cut off ends to the celery, onions, carrots what ever vegetable put them into it and place it all together into the freezer. You can even put the garlic skins. Oh, and while you are at it just throw any chicken skins and bones in there raw or cooked. Trust me that is what is in the chicken broth that you buy plus a whole bunch of MSG and artificial flavorings??? Okay back to beans. Now we don't eat a lot of pork simply because it is not all that good for you. But for pinto beans it is a must. Your beans and your taste buds will thank you.

Pinto Beans & Pork
Drain the beans you soaked last night~
You did right? I reminded you!
Add them to the crock pot and place about 2 ham hocks in the middle of them. Now add 2 tbsp sea salt and fill with water. You can also add some thyme, rosemary, basil, 2 carrots sliced, and onion diced before filling with water. Turn this all on low if you are an early riser and get it going about 9 if not and it is around noon no problem turn it on high. Around dinner it will all be ready all you really have to do is take out the ham hocks and take off any meat that may still be on them and put the meat back in the beans. Top with sour cream or cheese and enjoy. You can also make a pan of corn bread that is a nice accompaniment to beans.

My dad would have to have a pan of cornbread made in a cast iron skillet, that is how he taught me. But then he would fill his glass with piece of cornbread and pour buttermilk over it and have it with his beans that way. Sometimes it was just the cornbread and buttermilk for dinner for him. So what things did your mom or dad teach you to cook? What do you remember them eating that is weird now adays? Leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday Plan

What a wonderful fall day. We went on a good old fashioned hay ride. I have hay on my bathroom floor from changing into my pj's tonight. It is falling out everywhere! Tuesday's dinner is a favorite of ours. It is from a cookbook titled, From the Kitchen of Two Sisters. They eat meat but the whole cookbook is only using vegetables and fruit because we just simply don't get enough of them. They feel we all know how to cook a piece of meat but need more recipes for vegetables as sides and main dishes. I also have a reminder for Wednesday that will have to be done before going to bed on Tuesday night.

Oriental Lemon-Honey Pasta
Cook 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles according to pkg and drain
In a jar combine:
1 c olive oil
1/2 c lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c braggs or soy sauce
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 c warm honey
Add 1 cup of this to a skillet and saute 3 carrots julienne or sliced very thin for 5 minutes
Add 1 c mushrooms, sliced and 3-4 c broccoli florets and cook 5 minutes more
Toss now the remaining sauce, the vegetables in the skillet and the noodles, serve.

This recipe is so filling and makes enough for us 5 that we eat nothing else with it but maybe a slice of buttered bread.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Tomorrow's dinner is Pork & Beans so tonight you must soak your dry beans. Add 2-3 c dry pinto beans in a big pot. Add water, lots. They will soak it up and to much is okay they don't over soak (for lack of a better way to say it). In the morning you will drain them. See you in the morning! Good night!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Monday plan

So who all has the Pampered Chef stones? I have the medium bar pan. Actually I have 2. I use them for everything. No I don't sell Pampered chef (but I am having a party in February so friends this is your invite). I do sell Mary Kay though (so that was a plug). This past year we tried Brussels sprouts and the boys love them. Who knew? Now I do put a whole stick of butter in them but I am one of those weird butter eating, raw milk drinkers. So I say the more animal fat the healthier you are. (disclaimer, I may be wrong here but I don't think so ;o) We are trying to eat less bread needlessly. I say needlessly because some meals just require bread but I say save the bread for those meals and throw the hamburger bun out.

Hamburger patty
2 lbs meat for 5 patties
shape into patty and place on a stone or oven proof pan. Top with salt (sea salt) red pepper flakes and bake until done at 350. Top with your favorite cheese and melt.

Black Forest Brussels Sprouts
(courtesy of the new Rachael Ray magazine)
3 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving the bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, then stir in the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, tossing, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the onions and half the bacon; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bacon.

Sunday plan

I will try to post several days in advance what the plan for the day is. If I'm lucky and I have a free Saturday I will try to do the whole week.

So this Sunday is a special day. I plan to start going to the ladies Sunday school class at Lake Hills Baptist Church. This is new to me because I usually go to Sunday school with my husband. No, I am not mad or making a point. I am looking forward to learning from our music Pastor's wife who teaches the class. She is so funny and full of wisdom. So I am taking a treat ~ my remake of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Some of you may not know this but I briefly ran a Saturday only bakery out of my home a few years ago. It went very well and one of the things that brought people from all over was my cinnamon rolls. I sold them by the dozens!

Cinnabon Remakes
Add to a big bowl:
2 stks butter
1/2 c sugar
2 c hot water
Blend and add 3 tbsp yeast, let rest for 5 minutes.
Add 2 eggs
1 tbsp salt
6-8 c all purpose flour
Knead for 10 minutes, place in bowl and let rise until double. Roll out into 2 logs and top each with melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll up and slice into rolls about 1 in. thick or more with either waxed dental floss or thread. Place on a stone or a greased cookie sheet and let rise until double again. Cook at 400 for 10-20 minutes.
Frosting ~
2 stks butter
3 c powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Blend until smooth and top warm rolls.

That takes care of breakfast now onto lunch. We are having a picnic with some dear friends and I plan to take 2 sides and the cookies. I will give you the recipe this time for the Ramen Salad.

Ramen Salad
2 pkgs vegetable flavored ramen noodles
3/4 c safflower oil
1/4 c sugar
8 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 c sunflower seeds
1 c sliced almonds
1 c green onions, chopped
2 pkg broccoli slaw
Break noodles up with hands into a large bowl. Add broccoli slaw, sunflower seeds, almonds and green onions. Add remaining ingredients in jar that has a lid and shake. Pour this over mixture, toss and refrigerate for a few hours.

Now dinner! We are meeting some new friends and reacquainting ourselves with some friends we lost touch with this past year. They are cooking up some chili, soup and cornbread and I plan to bring apple pies.

Apple Pie with caramels
I do not do pie crusts. I have a dear friend back in Michigan (Hi Diana! if you are reading) that tried to teach me but I just can't do it so I cheat!
2 pie crusts
Combine in a bowl:
1/2 c flour
6-7 c mixed apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Add to one crust this mixture. Add 2 tbsp butter cut up and a few caramels cut in half. Top with 2nd crust, seal, make hole in top of pie to vent. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, place foil around edges and cook another 25 minutes.

I normally don't have this much "sugary" food in one day but this Sunday will be a party all day and I can't wait! Food, God, friends, music and a glass of wine to end the day. Does it get any better? I say NO.

Menu Plan - Fall 10/19

Cinnabon remakes
Ramen salad
Blue cheese dressing with carrots
Apple pie with caramels

Baked hamburger patty
Black forest Brussels sprouts

Oriental lemon honey pasta

Pinto beans & pork

Shepherd's pie
Green beans

Spaghetti & fresh roasted garlic bread

Lentil stew

What's for dinner?

Good Morning!
I am so glad you have decided to read my blog journey with food. Everything will be basic to start but I am now dreaming of owning one of those cool cameras so I can post step by step directions to this blog. A little history first. I wrote a "book" a few years ago journaling what was for dinner and a little about our week. I have never attempted to publish it but I love to look back and see what did we do for Harvest Week at our house? What did we have for Thanksgiving dinner? What cake did I try for Easter? What did Bryce pick out for his birthday meals? I love to cook and I love to try new recipes. Don't expect grammatically correct or superior posts on food. That won't happen. As a matter of fact if you know me you will know I hate writing. If however you are looking for weekly dinner plans that a mom has time for, recipes with everyday ingredients, and fun then that is what I will give you!