Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Sept. 20

I finally got around to making homemade granola. It turned out pretty well, except I baked it a little too long. Every few bites has a bit of a burnt taste! Otherwise, it wasn't too hard and I like the way it tastes. It made the house smell delightful as it was baking!

It's nearing time to go grocery shopping again, so this week we're going to be scrounging around and using what we have.

Breakfast and lunch won't be anything special this week. Cereal, toast, fruit, oatmeal, bacon for breakfast. Sandwiches, left overs, and soup for lunches.

Supper -
Monday: Crock pot chicken and dumplings

Pork spare ribs (didn't make last week, so carrying over), mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas

Chili dogs, macaroni and cheese, vegetable


Friday: BBQ Chicken, grilled potatoes, spinach

Saturday: To be decided

Sunday: Frozen pizza or sandwiches

See more menu ideas here!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Odd Household Tasks

Every Wednesday I do one of the oddest household tasks I might ever have to do. I have to defrost and scrape ice out of our refrigerator.

This is our trusty refrigerator. It's about a thousand years old, but still works like a dream. Except that ice builds up around the "ice box" part. I've tried to ignore it, but then it just gets so bad that the door will barely close. And when that happens, it's a real pain in the derriere to defrost. You have to scrape, chip, bang, and even pull out the hair dryer for hours.

So, to avoid having that big mess, I've just decided to clean it out every Wednesday. This is what it looks like before I begin. Lovely!

Here I am with the necessary tools. I'm thinking of purchasing some gloves to help in this process. My hands sure do get cold!

I scrape.

I chip.

And 30 minutes later......

And now I must mop the floor!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living Vicariously

I was working on some sewing projects today and remembered that I never got around to posting about a few sewing projects I finished a while back.

On days when I don't feel like mopping the floor, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or chipping ice out of the refrigerator (more to come about this later), I sit on the couch and browse the lovely world wide web for crafty projects. I'm not ashamed to admit that I "stalk" a few handfuls of blogs. Most of the projects that I end up falling in love with involve making things for children. Well, since there definitely aren't any of those around, I just make things for other people's children.

One of my dearest, sweetest friends has 2 adorable little girls. Adorable little girls deserve adorable little gifts.

First, I made a crayon roll. I had seen these around on different blogs and just thought they were genius. I used this tutorial to make mine. It was a lot of fun to make, even though I had to take out a few seams here and there!

Here it is all rolled up. I used a hair-band and a button to hold it closed.

Here it is opened up. I wanted to use crayons in a variety of sizes, because it was for a toddler.

Then, I made this little taggie giraffe. Do you know about taggies? They are mostly seen as blankets, but I thought this giraffe was cute. It's simply a stuffed animal (or blanket if you choose to make that) with different textured ribbons around the edge. Apparently, babies love to touch the different ribbons. It's a great sensory toy! I used this tutorial for my taggie giraffe. This took me a while to make. The first one I put together had a really skinny neck. So, I made another one, but it's body was really skinny. Finally, I was able to make one that was reasonably proportioned and somewhat resembled a giraffe.

The fabric on this side is a knit and the other side is a minky micro-fiber fabric.

Ironically, while I was in the middle of making these two projects, my dear, sweet friend asked if I would make her a bag to go over the handle bars on her stroller. I was a little bit intimidated by this, because I couldn't find a tutorial or directions. I overcame my fears and set to work creating something. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned it out. Now I'm thinking of how I can change it a little to make it a purse or bag of some sort that I could use.

I'm linked up at:

Today's Creative Blog

The Girl Creative

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Sept. 13

Reviews from last week:

The jalapeno popper chicken was awesome! I've recently found the pleasure in jalapenos and have this strange desire to put them in everything. The jalapeno popper chicken was a good combination between spicy, creamy, and salty. Perfect!

The crockpot peppercorn steak was pretty good. I wouldn't say it was my favorite meal of the week, but it wasn't bad. I put red, yellow, orange, and green peppers in it and I think the peppers gave it too much of a sweet taste. There was a lot of the sauce part left, which I froze to use as a base for soup later.

The stuffed shells were very good. The recipe calls for a 9X13 pan. I made two 8x8 pans and froze one. It took me about 30 minutes to prepare and cost around $5.50. That's pretty good for two meals!

I didn't make the crockpot buffalo chicken lasagna last week, but I will try it soon!

I made tuna salad for lunch one day last week and made the most delicious tuna melt out of mine. I toasted tuna and shredded cheese on some bread, then added extra mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Topped with fresh spinach leaves and red onion. The tuna salad also had jalapeno in it. It was amazing!

Granola and yogurt (Didn't make last week)
Eggs, fresh pears, toast
Bacon and fruit
Cereal and fruit
Toast and fruit

Chicken salad
Frozen pizza

Monday: BBQ Chicken Quarters, green beans, okra

Tuesday: Crescent Taco Bake

Wednesday: Fellowship supper at church - taking Buffalo Chicken Rice casserole (make Buffalo Chicken Dip and add to rice)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Spaghetti

Saturday: Pork Spare Ribs, black-eyed peas

Sunday: Leftovers or Pizza

See more great menus and recipe ideas here.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Sept. 6

I tried several new recipes last week. Some we liked and some we didn't. I would highly recommend these breakfast cookies. I mean, who doesn't like eating cookies for breakfast? These were so yummy! I also made this baked oatmeal that was very tasty. I'm actually having some still this morning.

For suppers, I made ham kabobs and country ham and macaroni casserole one night. They were both very delicious.

One new recipe that we didn't care for was smashed potato cakes. I didn't like the flavor of the greek yogurt in the potatoes and making them cakes was one extra step that I didn't think was necessary.

I didn't get to make either of the quinoa recipes last week. The grocery store was sold out when I went shopping! I couldn't believe it! So, I'll try again another time and hopefully make it soon.

On to this week -

Breakfast Options:
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins and fruit
Eggs and toast
Cereal and fruit
Bacon and eggs
Oatmeal and fruit
Granola with yogurt (*I found out last week that Grandma does not like yogurt! So, I will be making this for myself!)

Lunch Options:
Tuna salad
Frozen pizza


Monday: Jalapeno Popper Chicken, black-eyed peas, cornbread

Tuesday: Crockpot Peppercorn Steak, corn

Wednesday: Brats, grilled potatoes, okra

Thursday: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Lasagna, green beans

Friday: Chris is going to the football game, so Grandma and I will probably just do something easy.

Saturday: Dinner at church

Sunday: Stuffed shells, garlic cheddar biscuits, peas, lima beans

Go here for more menu ideas!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Only in Texas...

As I went out to check the mail this morning, I questioned whether I was having hallucinations. No, I was indeed seeing a massive Longhorn in the road. But that wasn't the extent of it. There was a lady riding the Longhorn down the road. With a calf tied to it. I couldn't believe my eyes!

In true Northerner fashion, I quickly went inside to grab my camera. I did my best paparazzi moves and snapped a few pictures.

A few weeks ago I saw a goat walking down the road in front of our house. That was unusual, but not too surprising. This, however, really had me speechless. I wonder if it's a pet? Or maybe it's going to be supper sometime down the road? Either way, it would save on gas!

Welcome to Texas!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How I Plan a Menu

I'm a bit crazy about making lists. I make them all the time. It's just how my brain works. It helps me to be more organized and productive. I make lists of things to do, things to buy, things I want, things I don't like, and even lists of things to make lists about. It's an obsession.

For me, menu planning involves a lot of lists. It's a bit of a tedious task, but one I enjoy very much. Here's a little look into how I go about planning a menu and grocery shopping.

First, I make a list of all the meals that I want to make. I've been planning for a month at a time, but this month I decided to only do 2 weeks at a time. I make a list for breakfast, lunch, and supper, sides, and snacks. Some of these are new recipes and some are old tried-and-true recipes.

Once I have my list compiled of all the recipes I would like to use in the two weeks (or month), I start planning them out by day. Sometimes I use an actual calendar, but this time I just use a scratch piece of paper. I try to include a variety throughout the week: chicken, beef, pork, grilled food, etc. I also try to plan the meals so we don't have the same kind of meat two nights in a row. That doesn't always work, but I do my best.

Once I have the meals assigned to specific days, it's time to make a grocery list. I go through each meal, check the recipe (if I need one), and write down everything I'll need for that meal. I do this for each meal and just keep a running list. If something is a repeat, like cheese or meat, I make tally marks by the item on the list to indicate how much of it is needed. You can see this next to the cheddar cheese on my list.

Now, I could call it done at this point. However, if I did, I would be one disorganized, stressed, and chaotic woman at the grocery store. (Please be aware that this is usually the case regardless.) Once I have my master list of groceries needed, I start organizing it into categories. I created this handy-dandy shopping list that is broken down by aisles at the grocery store. This took a few weeks of going to HEB to get everything in the right category, but it makes life at the grocery store so much easier!

The final step is to go through my coupons and highlight the items on my list for which I have coupons. I have found that once I'm in the store and focused on trying to get everything, I usually forget that I have coupons. By highlighting the item, it causes me to pay extra care to actually use that coupon. I clip all my coupons to my list and as I put the item in my shopping cart, I put the coupon with my wallet.

And that, my friends, is how I menu plan and make a grocery list. Aren't you glad you know a little bit more about how crazy I am?