Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the Menu

I really should come up with a permanent name for my menu postings. I don't think I've named it the same thing twice. Maybe I just like to keep you on your toes! Or maybe I should do a contest and YOU can name it! Oh, but then I would have to give you a prize, and I would certainly stress about what to give you. So, nevermind. Just be suprised whenever I post menus. Variety is the spice of life right?!

I didn't have much to report this past week cause we did a lot of leftovers and squeezing out what I could find.

I did however, make 4 lbs of this taco meat for the Taco Filled Pasta Shells. We ate one batch and I froze the rest for this coming week.

Tonight we are having this Enchilada Casserole.

Some other things for this week are:

Homemade Pizzas- Don't be afraid, pizza dough is very easy.

This is my sisters recipe for Homemade Pizza dough, and since she is the Domestic queen of things homemade (you know you have to be when you live in the bush of Africa), you know you will love it! She even makes her own Pizza Sauce! How cool is that?!

Pizza sauce
1 can Tomato paste/water
I have no measurements, I just cover the top.

Pizza dough
1TB yeast
1 1/4 c warm water
2TB oil
1t salt
3 1/2 c flour

Dissolve yeast, stir in oil and salt. Mix in flour. Knead. place in oiled bowl and cover. Let raise until double. Divide into 2 parts and put in pizza pans. Should be enough for 2 9x13 pans.
Bake around 425

Steak Bites from the one and only Pioneer Woman- The most amazing woman on the planet!

Baked Mushrooms, eggs, and Orange/Chocolate Scones ( I made those mushrooms a few weeks ago and they were so good that its already time to have them again!)

Chicken Ranch Casserole (thanks Amy Thompson!), that you KNOW is going to be good because its got Doritos in it. And you know what they say about Doritos don't you? Oh, you don't...well I'm not gonna tell you!

1 Whole Ckn (cooked and cut up)
1 Can Rotel
1 Can Cream of Mushroom
1 Can Cream of Chicken
Half bag of Doritos (crushed)
Shredded Cheese

Combine the soups and rotel.
Layer, Chicken, Sauce, onion, Doritos, and Cheese. Then Repeat.
Bake @350 for 30 minutes.

Now just for an added bonus, cause I love yous guys...I am going to share some goody recipes with you.

If you haven't discovered Bakerella yet, then go....right a new window...check her out!
She has a post about this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies.
However, if you look at her post about them, you will see, that Betty Crocker SHOULD pay her to advertise this product because her pictures make you want to lick the screen.

I will prove it too you...take a close look at Betty Crockers Picture...

Yep, that looks good. You are possibly salviating slightly. You at least have licked your lips a little bit.
But now my friends...
Wait for it....
Wait just a little bit longer....
Yes, yes, good things come to those who wait...

Embrace it, go ahead! It's perfectly OK that you have just jumped across your desk to lick your computer screen! Do not feel embaressed that you are taking in deep sniffs trying to catch a wiff of what is surely heaven!
I tell you, this woman is a genious.
I love that instead of plain ole Betty Crocker frosting, she kicked it up and went with homemae Ganache.
You cannot beat homemade Ganache.
I dare you to try.

All I can say is WOW, I sure can't wait to make these for Brush Arbor on Sunday.

Now for something a little less sinful, but good nonetheless.
Monkey Muffins.
It is a good idea to buy bananas simply with the intention of letting them go bad. Cause then you can make things like this little bit of yummy goodness.

Lana and I made them the other night and they are most scrumptious. We used Crunchy PB cause thats what we had in the house + I didn't have mini Chocolate Chips so we used regular.

And that my friends are the things that we will be partaking of this week.
Hope you find something good in your pantry!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Me OH My

Monday is the day. The dreaded day. The day that I have look forward to and yet fall into a glazed over trance when I think about it. The day that ushers in routines and the "D" word.
Yes folks, that day would be our official first day back to school.






Why oh why can't I just be a normal person? I ask myself this every day.
We may never know the answer.

But alas, it is here. The day that I over analyze and plan for. I promise you, I do.
In my mind our first day back to the homeschool way of life has to be PERFECTION. ( Chandler Bing once said, "That would be perfection", when a supermodel asked him if he wanted some gum. I just thought you should know that I am not the only person to use the word.)
Back to the subject at hand....
I have these visions for our first day back ( last week we had a couple of trial runs with some busy work). I invision the children sitting nicely at their respective desks, clean new shirts on (yes, I bought them each a new back to school shirt...its part of my visions of sugar plums), pencils freshly sharpened, eyes filled with wonder...."Teach us Mother. Let us glean from your wisdom. Help us soak up all the knowledge that is stored away in the text books, waiting for us to explore."


This is the reality...
"I got syrup on my shirt, can I go wash it off?"
"My pencils won't sharpen, can I get a new one?"
"I don't understand!!! Do I have to do all this work today? Can't I just finish it tomorrow?"





I have tried. Honest I have. I have planned. I have prepared. My ducks are in a row.
I have such high aspirations for what this year will hold. I have goals for each of the kids in their studies. I have goals for myself as a more disciplined person (there goes that "D" word again).
I have some cute little things planned, like Brain teasers, Fun Facts, Limericks, Silly States. And not just once. ONE FOR EVERY WEEK!
I've got a Psalm and a Proverb of the week. Even a missionary of the week.
I mean come on now people, this is going to be great.



And all of these things are contingent on one day. One measly day. Monday August 17th.
The day that will go down in our homeschooling history as the day that we make it or break it.

Why OH why do I put so much stock into this one measly day.






Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Epic Cupccake Fail

It started out as a good idea.
Back to school cupcakes for a little back to school pool party.
It seemed simple enough...cake, frosting, m & m's, chocolate covered graham crackers, good and plentys, more icing. Check, check, check, check, check, and check. Yes, I can SO do this.

See lookey how cute!

But OH NO, mine did not turn out like this....not even close...

Why yes, yes these do look like "Back to the GRAVE", cupcakes and NOT Back to school.
Or maybe they are "Back to the TOILET", cupcakes with the very large suppository's resting on the side.
Or maybe they are "Sorry you have the chicken pox, or whatever that red sore is that is apparently going to KILL you", cupcakes.

Lets back track. Where did I go wrong?
Mistake #1: Trying to save a buck or 2 I got Wal-mart brand Chocolate Covered Graham Crakers, as opposed to the Keebler ones that are in fact perfect little rectangles.

Mistake #2: I saw Mike and Ikes before I saw Good and Plentys, therefore, Mike and Ikes it is!
Oh and look, who needs white when they have all these lovely tropical colors.

Mistake #3: And speaking of tropical colors, I'm going to get Neon gels to write everones names with. Hey, they'll match the Mike and Ikes and how cute is THAT going to be?!

Mistake #4: Actually taking them and serving them to people. One child (Ellas of course) looked at me and said "Why are we having tombstone cupcakes?"
Why Ellas? Why? Because, I am a failure at Back to school cupcake making! That is why!
And well, dadgummit, because I just wanted to remind you that there are indeed worse things than going back to school! Yes, yes, thats right. That really was the point of these cupcakes.

Well, at least my homemade icing was good.
Oh my, and there is some a my fridge...excuse me ple

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Money and the Gospel

I love it when I've been thinking about things, and then I see a clip of someone waaaayyy smarter than me, actually articulate through the scriptures, what it is that I've been thinking.
(This is a clip of John Piper entitiled "Wealth is almost always a curse, not a blessing", and whether you "like" JP or not, he is passionate about this filth we call the "Prosperity Gospel")

Money, Money, Money. I hate money. Really I do. It probablly has to do with the fact that it is yet another area in which you have to have discipline. And discipline with money is much more nebulous than discipline in other areas, cause we "need" stuff. Now granted, we are in a place of life right now that we don't have any money. We don't have any "wealth" stored up anywhere.
I am not complaining. We have a house, we have a car, we have food for the week and money for next weeks food. We have clothes on our back, in our drawers, and quite frankly, on our floors, and in our washer and dryer. We have a computer, and a TV, and internet access, a couple of CD players, some MP3 players, and dvd player or 2.
There is nothing wrong with these things, I don't think. I like my computer and my internet access. I like being able to keep up with people this way. I like being able to talk to my sister 8000 miles away, and let the kids Skype with their grandparents whenever they want to.
These are not bad things. These things honestly make me thankful for God's provision, but I still have to be a good steward of them.

The problem as I see it, is that the more we have, the more we want, or "need".
Where is the line? At what point do we fall into bad stewardship?
I always think that if I could just fall into a large sum of money, then I could do so much for other people. I sincerely mean that. But would I actually do it? Would my "needs" out way my goodwill? How would I decide what causes are worthy? Would I just give up and keep it all to myself?

If we came into a large sum of money I think I would like to sell the house we live in, and buy a house with some conveniences we don't have now. Why? Really, there is nothing wrong with my house. I mean there is, but does that matter? There is good stewardship, taking care of the things God has blessed us with, but then there is excess. Do I really need a better house? Nope. My house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and living room, a den, a school room, a garage, an eat in kitchen, and a large fenced in back yard. There are things about it that I don't like, and things about it that I need to improve, in order to be a good steward of what God has blessed us with. Is it Ok for be to want better, when God has given me enough?

I would like to think that if we came into a large sum of money, we would pay off our debt, put a little away, and give the rest away.
If God was to bless us in that way, I don't think He would be blessing on the fact that I am such a worthy person and deserve the best. If God blessed us in that way, I would like to think that its because He sees us as a faithful steward that is going to use the bounty of our blessing to further the Gospel for His glory and not our own.

"He who is faithful with little, is faithful with much."
How are we doing now with little?
How are we doing in deciphering our needs from our wants?
Am I doing what I can do to further the Gospel for Gods glory without money?
If it does not require money to reach out to those around me, then why don't I?
How do I take a burden I am feeling, and turn it into a practical outpouring of the Gospel at work?

Just some thoughts I've been thinking. What do you think about this subject?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dinner Time

I have a goal for this week.
Would you like to hear it?
NO return trips to the store.
Say it with me now.
"NO return trips to the store."
Return trips to the store kill me.
First they ruin my budget, and 2nd they just annoy me.
And considering this next week is the first week back to school for many kids, plus this weekend is the "tax free holiday", (which btw is a joke if you shop in jeff co, since they are not participating. Braving crowds of half crazed school shoppers, just to save 4% is not my idea of savings at all.) the stores will be crazy this week.
So I went today to Aldi and Walmart. $80 at Aldi and $20 at WM. And if anyone in this house needs anything between now and next Friday, they will just have to live without it or starve.
There, that is my small rant. I am done.

On to dinner for this week: (btw...Friday is always fun night at my friend Crissy's, so I usually just take whatever I have on hand, or leftovers, and we all pull together our stuff. This is why there is usually no dinner plan for Friday.)

Saturday- We are FINALLY going to eat THIS Salmon.

Sunday- You know I don't cook on Sundays.

Monday- Chicken, Bacon, and Mushroom Alfredo with Wheat Rotini Pasta & Brocolli on the side
Alfredo Sauce
1 block of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup or so of milk
1/2 cup of paremsan cheese
S & P to taste
Melt cream cheese and butter with milk. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted. You can add more parmesan if you like. Add s & P to taste.

Then I add some cooked chopped chicken breast, some bacon, and some sauteed mushrooms to the pasta, toss with the alfredo, and waallaa (is that how you spell that?) yummy yummy yumminess!

Tuesday- Enchilada Casserole ( I will use enchilada sauce instead of tomato sauce, just because I'm cool like that) Chips and Salsa, and Corn

Wednesday- Italian Pineapple Chicken, ( I don't add the cheese to this, and today I found "Parmesan Light Italian Dressing" at Aldi that I will use)
Rice a roni (The Alabama Treat), Peas

Thursday- Worscesire beef and mashed potatoes, Green Beans

This is a recipe that my sister made while I was in Africa, and I really like it.
1 lb ground beef
Onion and garlic (as much as you like)
Worscesire Sauce
(I don't know a measurement, but a good amount. You really want to taste it!)

Saute beef with onion, garlic and worscesire.
Make mashed potatoes.
Place mashed potatoes in the bottom of greased 11X9 dish.
Top with beef mixture.
Top with about a cup of shredded cheese.
Bake 2o minutes at 350.

Lunches this week:
Grilled Cheese
PB & J
Lunch Meat
Buffalo Chicken Wraps ( I have been craving these, and found some grilled buffalo ckn strips at Aldi today...MMMM)
Pizza Quesedillas

Cinnamon Raisin Toast

Bing Cherries
Graham Crackers
Pop Ice

So, what are YOU having for dinner this week? Enquiring minds want to know. I want to know.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yes, we still eat

I am commited to posting my menus every week.
I am. I am. I am.
I just had a busy weekend, and didn't do it Saturday as per my plan.
Friday night I went to my friend Crissy's house for the whole night.
Whole night as in, period of 24 hours.
I took all of my homeschooling stuff and planned like a fool for the upcoming school year.
Like a fool, like a fool. (sorry, I digress into a little Phoebe Boufee)
I did get a lot done, which makes for 1 happy Mama, and hopefully some very well educated chillens come August 13th.
Why August 13th? Its the Last quarter moon that day. Duh.

OK, I digress. Some of you just want to know what we're eating this week, so I will shut up now.

I will back track so as not to hurt your feelings:

Saturday- Well, I planned on the Salmon that we never ate earlier in the week, but I was so pooped when I got back from my planning session, that my nice husband said "Don't worry about fixing dinner, we'll fend for ourselves." AH, nice husband!
Anyways, one of these days we will have Salmon. I promise.

Sunday- Don't even....

Monday- Baked Mushrooms with Crispy Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Monkey Bread
OK, I have to tell you, (cause it is Monday night at 11:00, so obviously we have already eaten dinner) the mushroom bake was REALLY good. I mean REALLY good. Even the children ate it. Of course, throw a little bit of bacon on anything and my crew will eat it.

Also, the monkey bread was the perfect thing for my 7 year old to make.
Since this recipe calls for bread stick dough, it was easy for her to cut, dip, and dip again, and place in a pan. She was very happy to have made this all by herself.
Some modifications. I just had her cut each bread stick in half, and we placed it in a round cake pan instead of muffin tins.

Tuesday- Logan and I are going to a ball game, so Stacy and Lana will be having bean burritos.
That should be pretty self explanatory, but in case its not:
Tortilla shells
Refried Beans

Wednesday- Lemon Shrimp with Parmesan Shrimp
This has become a family favorite and is so good.
And I might add that this, as well as the mushroom bake, called for fresh parsley.
Get it? Thats right, I used 2 recipes needing parsley, so as not to waste.
Yes, I am a brilliant chef.
Oh, except I always add mushrooms to this, and I just remembered that I used all of my mushrooms in the mushroom bake.
Uh, we should strike the brillant chef comment from the record.

Thursday- Happy Birthday to Me! The question now is, what is the family going to cook for dinner?

Friday- PAY DAY! Start over!

Hope you all are enjoying your week!