Friday, June 20, 2014

Asian Glazed Carrots

We love Japanese hibatchi chicken and steak.  However,  like everything else, my family gets tired of the same ole thing.  So,  to change things up a bit, I change out the veggies.  I remembered one time getting glazed carrots at a Japanese steakhouse and they were yummy!!

I found this recipe and just tweaked it a bit.  Here's what you need:
(As usual, I forgot an item in the pic. Can you guess which one?)

                1 pound of carrots (sliced into 1/2 inch rounds)
                2 TBSP butter
                1 cup chicken broth
                1 TBSP maple syrup
                2 tsp soy sauce
                1/2 tsp garlic powder
                1 tsp olive oil
                1/4 tsp ginger powder

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add the carrots and stir around in butter until coated.
3.  Combine chicken broth, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic powder, olive oil, and ginger powder then add to the skillet.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and let cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.  The carrots should be soft and the liquid should be reduced to a syrupy glaze. 

You can use these as just a side dish,  or I combine them with my hibachi chicken.  Either way,  they are good.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Smashed Potatoes

My family is a meat and potatoes type family.  They try my pasta dishes and for the most part like them, but they prefer MEAT and POTATOES.  I have to be honest though baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and French fries get OLD!!  I threw in these roasted potatoes a few years back and they were a big hit, but it was time to add a new potato dish.  Hubby had seen smashed potatoes on facebook and asked for them. So, of course, I went to my favorite recipe source, Pioneer Woman, and found a recipe for crash hot potatoes.  I had to modify it a little because the kiddos are not fans of cayenne pepper.

These were an instant favorite.  They are now on the boys' birthday menus and frequently requested by hubby.  Here's all you need:
                              small round potatoes (I used petite red)
                              olive oil
                              kosher salt
                              garlic powder
                              onion powder

First, you need to bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes.  You want to be able to easily stick a fork in them.  (I didn't take a pic of potatoes boiling, oops.)

While the potatoes are boiling,  drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Place the potatoes on the baking sheet leaving room between, they will spread out when you smash them.

Now, using a potato masher or just a big fork, smash the potatoes.  Then, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle some kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and pepper on them.  You can adjust the spices and use whatever you like. 
Throw them in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.  They are crunchy deliciousness!!

Yum, Yum.  Once again,  my hungry stomach took precedence over my picture taking.  I didn't remember to take a pic until they were almost gone.  This was what was left of two baking sheets full of smashed potatoes. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Menu Plan Monday June 9, 2014

Last week was a disaster!!  I got a BAD sunburn on Tuesday after just sitting outside for 1 hour watching the little ones play in the pool. OUCH!!!  I wore my swimsuit top for the next three days because I couldn't stand any clothes touching my shoulders.  THEN,  I discovered one of my little angels had taken a permanent black marker and scribbled all over my antique secretary's desk.  I was LIVID!!!  Fortunately, my calm hubby took control of that situation.   That's just to name a couple.

Enough talk about last week, let's move on!!  It's a birthday week!  My firstborn turns 16 on Wednesday.  Where has the time gone??? 

We will be looking into learner's permits this week and he's been saving money for a car!!  Too much for my mommy mind to handle right now.  So,  let's get on to the menu!!!

MONDAY - steak on the grill, grilled sweet potatoes, watermelon

TUESDAY - chicken in a crock pot, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls

WEDNESDAY - Birthday Boy's choice, but he hasn't decided yet.

THURSDAY - hamburgers, French fries, fruit salad

FRIDAY - chicken casserole, butternut squash, peas

SATURDAY - grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob

SUNDAY - spaghetti and meatballs

Hope everyone has a blessed week!!  For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Best Lemonade

It has definitely heated up here in the south!  Summer time is upon us and I have proof -

OUCH!!!  Just one hour sitting outside watching the kiddos in their little pool and I am a lobster!!!  I didn't even show my face cause I look like a raccoon.  Good grief!!  I have had to wear a bathing suit top for the past 3 days as I CANNOT have ANYTHING touching those shoulders. 

When this kind of weather hits,  it's time to keep this perfect lemonade in the fridge.  I've tried a few recipes, and this one has become my favorite.  Not only is it delicious (just the right amount of sweet and tart), but it's easy!!  All you have to remember is 1 - 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup of lemon juice.  How easy is that? 

Simply pour the 1 cup of sugar in the 1 cup of water and heat until sugar is completely dissolved.  Then mix that with the 1 cup of lemon juice (you can use all fresh squeezed , lemon juice from the store, or my method - a combo of both).  Now, 1+1+1=3 right?  Add 3 more cups of cold water and stir it all up.  PERFECT!! 
If you have a bigger family (as I do), just double the recipe,  still easy 2+2+2=6!!
Grab a glass with some ice and enjoy.  Oh,  and don't forget the SUNSCREEN!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Menu Plan Monday May 12, 2014

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. I know I did.  You can check out some of our fun here, if you're interested.  

It's hard to believe we are wrapping up our school year again.  Time just seems to go by faster each year.  With the wrap up of the school year comes spring football practice.  It keeps us running 4 nights a week.  So,  my menu usually gets tossed aside for convenience sake and we end up grabbing Chick-Fil-A or Joy of Tokyo.  That however, is very tough on the budget.  Since, I have officially booked our Christmas Disney vacation,  the budget has to stay TIGHT!!!

This week,  I'm making a better effort to get dinner on the table BEFORE practice. I will be going back to some crock pot meals in order to help this happen.  Here's the plan:

MONDAY - Amazing crock pot pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, carrots

TUESDAY - Whole chicken in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread

WEDNESDAY - Roast, potatoes, and carrots

THURSDAY - Homemade pizza

FRIDAY - Crock pot Chicken Giardino

SATURDAY - Grilled salmon and rice

SUNDAY - Spaghetti with meatballs, garlic parmesan bread

For more meal planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Fun Mother's Day May 11, 2014

Mother's Day is such a bittersweet day for me.  I love being a mommy and having hubby and the kiddos love on me for the day, however it is a day when my mom's death is very much on my mind.  Most other days I'm so busy it's a passing thought,  but Mother's Day is much harder to let the thought pass.  I should be calling her, sending her cards and little coloring pages from the kids, but she's not here.

This year, just like last year, after church we headed up to Table Rock State Park for a day together.  We don't get these kind of days very often, and I must say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them.

We had so much fun! The kiddos enjoyed sliding down the rocks in the stream.  I took some videos and will try to upload one or two of them.

 It is a joy being a mommy to these 6 blessings. I used to say little blessings, but some of them are not so little anymore :-(

Mother's Day was a blast!!  This is our new family tradition for Mother's Day!!  I loved it.  One of these days,  maybe I will get into better shape and join in the fun of sliding down the rocks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

With a family of 8, laundry is an EVERYDAY chore.  I'm talking 2-3 loads EVERY DAY!!  Now,  a moment of honesty - I HATE laundry!!  I don't mind throwing the loads in the washer, or even switching it over to the dryer.  However, folding and putting them away are not on my list of fun things to do (of course, I don't think any household chores are on that list).

Let's do some math now!  The average bottle of detergent that does around 80 loads costs between $10-$15 depending on what kind you buy (of course you can use coupons and B1G1 deals, but I'm just going with the normal/average cost). At my rate of doing laundry, I was buying one of those bottles about every 2 weeks. I would spend around $20.00/month (I did use coupons and looked for B1G1 deals).  

Now,  another moment of honesty, I was a bit leery of using a homemade detergent.  We live in the land of red dirt, and my kids like to get DiRtY!! Oh, did I mention my boys play football, and I'm responsible for cleaning their jerseys?  Yeah,  that can be a job sometimes!!!  So,  I went into this fully expecting to have to go back to my normal detergent.  I am happy to say that NEVER happened!!  I made my first batch on November 16, 2013 ( I only know this because I wrote the date on the top of the bucket, I do NOT have that good of a memory)  and am using the last of it this week.  That is 5 months for a family of 8.

What did it actually cost?  I spent around $27.00 (that included the one time cost of the 5 gallon bucket to store it in).  Not bad, huh?  If you google homemade laundry detergent,  you will find several different combinations.  This is the one I used this first time, and I love it.  

Here are all the ingredients you need.  The step by step instructions with pictures are on the website I linked you to earlier.  Simply put,  using a kitchen grater, grate the bars of zote soap and then mix all the ingredients together in your 5 gallon bucket.  After it is all mixed together, you can scoop out enough to fill up the purex crystals bottle to sit on you washer for use.  The lid for the crystals is what I use to measure the detergent.

I love the detergent and I love the money I save with it!! I will be looking for other things I can make myself around the house to save me money!!!