Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nina's latest cake and other weekend stuff

Nina made this cake for us this weekend. It is white cake with lemon filling and a chocolate Marine Corps emblem on top. I think this might of been her best cake ever, both how professional the decorating was and how good it tasted. Thank you Nina!

Nina and her Daddy
Dilly Buns
1 package yeast
1/4 C warm water
1 pinch sugar
1 cup cottage cheese
1 T butter or margarine
2 T sugar
1 t dried dill weed
1 t dried minced onion flakes
1 t salt
1 egg
1/4 t baking soda
about 2 3/4 - 3 cups flour

Stir the yeast into the warm water with the pinch of sugar in a large mixing bowl. Set aside to proof.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the cottage cheese just until the cottage cheese is barely warm. Remove from heat.
To the yeast mixture, add all the ingredients and stir till a dough forms. Knead on floured surface until sort of smooth - you will still see the cottage cheese though.
Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Let rise until double, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough. Roll out on a floured surface about 3/4 inch thick. Cut with a 3 inch round cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet.
Let rise again, about 20 minutes
Bake at 350 degrees, about 15-20 minutes.
brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.
These are great as sandwich buns. We had them with smoked pork loin for Saturday lunch.

This is what my family looks like after a big meal - relaxing on the sofas and watching football.
Does your family look the same?

Weekly Menus - starting Sept. 1

Last week, I cooked exactly what I had on the menu plan from Monday through Thursday. But Friday through Sunday, we ate some different things. Since we did not eat what I first planned, I am going to carry over some of those dishes to this coming week.

Chicken Strips with mashed potatoes and gravy

Pinto Beans with Mexican Cornbread

Chili Dogs with oven fries

Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken with rice and a big salad

Salisbury Steak with mushroom gravy and baked potatoes

homemade Pizza

lunch - Asian Chicken Wraps
supper Grilled hamburgers

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today's deals

I got off work early and needed a few things at Wal-mart.
The Easy Mac is 75 cents each, this past Sundays paper had $1/2 coupons so they came to 25 cents each. I don't eat them but Jimmy says he can cook them on campus when he stays there all day.
The sand paper is for refinishing project I plan to do, I am inspired by the great instructions on the Screaming Meme's blog. I'll let you know if works out. Her stuff is great but my history with faux finishes is pretty laughable.

Then to Dollar Tree where I got foil, plastic wrap and markers.
Next stop was Big Lots. Their summer merchandise is 75% off so all this plant food and garden cloth was $7.25 - and I have a head start on next year's garden!
Also at Big Lots, this canned fruit is 90 cents, the same thing is $1.44 at Wal-mart. We eat lots of canned fruit so this is a money saver for me.

The little bears are tiny containers of honey, 25 cents each! Aren't they cute?

It was still cool enough outside so I thought I would try the thrift stores. I went to all 5 in my town but only found 3 things.

A pretty blouse, a roll of very wide ribbon and a tiny, brand new crock pot, I spent $6.25 on all 3.
By now it was getting hot. So my last stop was Ross Dress for Less. I don't really like our local Ross, the staff is less than wonderful and the store is usually so messy. I was looking for some bowls and lamps and thought they might have them. I did not find either but I did find this cute top for just $8.99. I think I will wear it a lot this fall with black pants or a black skirt.

Ross had lots and lots cute clothes, all at good prices. It looked like they had just got a new shipment in.

This pretty much explains how I shop. I try to just buy what I need but I do stock up when a sale is really a sale.

Tonights supper

I learned how to make chicken tacos from another Marine wife years ago and have made them many times since. A whole chicken works great but I have bags of chicken breasts in my freezer so that is what I used today.
Before I left for work this morning, I put a whole bag of frozen chicken breasts with a few stalks of celery, some dried chopped onions and enough water to half way cover the chicken into the crock pot. They cooked on high until I got home 5 hours later. I drained and shredded the chicken and put it in a pan with 1 chopped onion, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic, a little red pepper, salt and pepper to taste, 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and 1 can of water. The cumin is really essential to giving it that Tex-Mex taste.
Stir well, cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. This will fill lots of tortillas or taco shells. It is great on taco salad and nachos too.

I like to make a big batch and freeze the extra in meal size portions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An award from an old friend

I've talked before about YahooGroups. I joined one list about home living about 10 years ago. The main group is still active and it has several spin-off lists about specific topics. It is just the nicest group of women and that is where I met Heidi.

Heidi was born in the states and has been living in Holland a number of years. She is an amazing needle artist and has the most interesting blogs.

I feel very honored that she wrote about one of my blog posts on her blog and she gave me this award.
If you want to see some some beautiful quilts and cross stitch, wonderful pictures of Holland and darling ideas for holidays, travel over to see Heidi
Like my friend Joanne did, I am giving this award to the Creative Home Life blog and all the blogs of the members of Creative Home Life.

Menus for this week - just a little late!

Monday Jeff's grilled chicken with baked beans and green salad This was all leftover from Sunday lunch, but it was so good, we were happy to eat it again one day later.

Tuesday Shepherds Pie

Wednesday Spaghetti Lasagna this uses cottage cheese and there is a carton in our fridge that really needs to be used.

Thursday Chicken tacos made with Jalapeno Cheddar Tortillas

Friday Hearty Ham Casserole

Saturday lunch Pork Loin Sandwiches
Saturday supper Pinto beans with Mexican cornbread

Sunday hopefully a beef roast with carrots and potatoes if I find a nice one when I shop for groceries later in the week.

Friday, August 22, 2008

free sample of Aveeno Positively Ageless

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

just a little spray paint

I got this little toile egg and stand at a thrift store operated by my parents church in East Texas. It was really cute but seemed a little blah, so I got out a can of black spray paint....


It took one minute to spray paint that clear base and I think it looks so much better. The black base sets off the black toile on the egg now.

Terri over at PennyAnnPoundwise also used a little paint for a quick makeover on a bowl.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekly menus 8/17 - 8/24

Roast Pork with green salad, summer squash and potatoes
Red Enchilada Chicken with a green salad
Mu Shu Pork with rice, more green salad
Chicken Cacciatore with pasta and green beans ( this is a crockpot recipe but I plan on cooking on the stove-top)
Taco Salads
Salmon patties with macaroni and cheese and some vegetables, not sure what yet
BLTS - our menus for last week got switched around and we did not have them
Burgers with baked beans
Our menus are going to my version of low-carb - glycemic index and still low cost.

A Year of Savings - Walgreens and lunchbags

We stopped at Walgreens on our way home church.
Skippy is on sale for 6 for $10 and it gives a $4 Register Reward. Todays papers have 40 cents coupons too.
Garnier hair color is $4.99 and I used a $3 coupon on each.

When I put breading on vegetables, like cornmeal on yellow squash slices, I used to put them in a low-priced Ziploc type bag. But plastic bags are made from petroleum so they cost a lot more and don't seem to be on sale much.

I spent most of last week cleaning out and organizing my craft room. With the gift wrapping stuff, I found this package of brown paper lunch bags, don't know when I got them, and I used one just now for the squash we are having for lunch. It worked great.

It is great to get things you need at great price and it can be even better to just use things you already have. I think both of these are the keys to staying on a budget.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bibs for a baby shower - whadaya think?

I made these bibs for a baby shower later this month. What do you young mothers out there think about them? The colors are a lot different than what my babies used to wear.
I think I like them but I am not sure. The bottom part on all them is a pocket, to catch crumbs I guess.
And do you prefer the ones on the top row with velcro closures or do you like the old fashioned tie at the neck ones?
The 2 zebra ones seem to look really crooked, but it is just something weird about the picture, I double checked it after seeing this and they really are not lopsided like they look here.
These are for a girl baby, according to the ultrasound anyway.

French Puffs

French Puffs - from the Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom gave me when I got married in 1980

1 egg
1 Cup milk
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/3 Cup sugar
2 Cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease well 12 regular muffin cups.
Beat egg, stir in oil and milk.
Stir in dry ingredients just until flour is moistened - batter will be a little lumpy.
Fill muffin cups (use an ice cream or cookie dough scoop if you have one)
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Immediately remove from pan and roll all then muffins generously in
1 Stick melted butter, then in
1/2 Cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

I have been baking these all of my married life. Jeff and all the kids say this is one of their favorite things for breakfast. I like them when I am craving doughnuts but don't want to drive to a doughnut shop.

They are cheap, quick and very easy to make.
Their downside is they not so so healthy and they are best when freshly made. They are not a do-ahead kind of recipe at all.

See more thrifty recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tonight's supper

We are having one of my favorite dishes for supper tonight, smoked sausage with green beans and potatoes.
Start by cooking about 2 cups of peeled diced potatoes in water. While the potatoes are cooking, saute a small onion in just enough oil so the onion will brown and not stick.
I like this Healthy Ones smoked sausage. It is just 80 calories a serving. Dice the sausage and brown with the onion after the onion is cooked. Light sausage does not need to be cooked very long , it seems to break down if over-cooked.
Drain the cooked potatoes and green beans. Add to the skillet with the sausage and onions. Cover the skillet and cook on low just until heated through. Add pepper and just enough salt to taste.

This is me doing something I rarely do, cooking without an apron!


We went to the small town south of us Saturday and bought some homegrown produce. The sellers were a very nice retired looking couple with a pickup full of fruit and vegatables. We bought a great big watermelon, a big cantalope and 3 bags of okra.

We have already ate all the okra and cantalope and they were so good.

We left the watermelon in the fridge for a few days to chill and cut it last night after supper. It tastes great but we were really surprised to see we had yellow meat, instead a red meat, melon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My version of Jalapeno Poppers

We are jalapeno fans and we like jalapeno poppers a lot. We have tried wrapping them in bacon but the bacon does not cook crispy like we like it. So after several experiments, this is my favorite way to make and eat jalapeno poppers.
Take fresh jalapenos, cut them in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon.
This batch of jalapenos is from my brother, Rex's, garden. He has red and green jalapenos but they pretty much taste the same but the red ones are really pretty.

I also use grated cheddar cheese and bacon that has been chopped, cooked and drained.
Put a few pieces of bacon in each jalapeno. Then top with a big pinch of cheddar. Don't put in too much cheese or it will leak out when it cooks. Just try to put in as much as will melt down and fill each pepper.

I line the baking pan with foil so I don't have a baked-on cheesy mess to scrub afterwards.

Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

Then, serve them to your family!

Weekend breakfast

Fresh cantaloupe
Homemade biscuits with apricot and strawberry jam

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menus for last week and this week

My menu planning is off track because we were traveling for a few days so this week, I planned for about 10 days. I try to keep our pantry, fridge and freezer stocked so I usually have the ingredients for lots of meals. But menu planning makes it all so much easier. I don't have to cook the planned menus and can change the order around. But having a game plan takes the decision making stress way and I am enjoying cooking even more.

I make old-fashioned mashed potatoes instead of the way the recipe suggest though, and add more vegetable to the meat mixture.
Pizza on 1/2 recipe of focaccia bread crust with a big green salad
Burgers with fried okra
Crispy Lemon Chicken with rice, and more fried okra, cucumbers and onions, cantalope and cinnamon rolls
Nina and John will be here for this Sunday evening meal
Pork Roast with cabbage and hot rolls
Mexicali Pie
Pinto Beans with Mexican cornbread
I use this recipe, but I don't brown them. I just put them the meatballs in the baking dish, cover with the tomato mixture.
Jimmy requested meatloaf sandwiches before he goes back to law school.
Quiche Lorraine

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Christmas in August

I just finished a Christmas swap with Sharon, an online friend I met on YahooGroups. com Christmas list. My box came today and Sharon really spoiled me! She is a very prolific cross stitcher and she made this great ornament with my initials at the bottom.
The cardinal is a rubber stamp and Sharon did not know that both my grandmothers were fond of birds and one was especially fond of cardinals.
A group picture of part of it, sweet smelling Santa sachet, leather bookmark, Santa stocking with 2 skeins of DMC, a needle punch kit, Christmas purse tissues, ribbon, stickers, a candle, vintage cards and a peppermint ornament

A beautiful Christmas pillow, stitched my Sharon. It looks perfect on our green sofa too.
Gorgeous Santa toile fabric - I love toile, and have toile in every room in my home! Everything in the box was wrapped in toile tissue paper too.
Thanks so very much, Sharon!
more about swaps, I have only participated in swaps with people I "know" and they are really fun. (not frugal, just in case you think I only do frugal things, but so much fun) I have read about other swaps online that sound great too if anyone else is interested.
Jenny has been talking a fall swap at her blog, Lipstick and Laundry.
I've also read about some great swaps from Leigh Ann at No Place Like Home

Paper organizer for the kitchen

I belong to a few discussion - friendship groups on On one of the lists geared toward homemaking, we talked about recycling trash into useful home items. I told them about this organizer I made years ago and Tracey want to see pictures. It is a very low-cost craft. Start with a large flat style Priority Mail carton. Cut it diagonally through the middle and seal the ends. Glue the 2 box pieces together and that will be the base.
Side view
Cover the outside (I used fabric)
Cover the inside (I used scrap book paper)
Put 4 feet on the bottom (I used wood door handles)
Now, you are ready to organize your papers!