Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Plan January 28

Last week was an awesome week.  I was able to go back to my part-time hours, which meant more time at home.  Hubby and I did our weekly date-night/grocery shopping run (so romantic) and was under budget by  $50.00!!  YES!!!!!

The best news however came Friday morning.  My 8 year old was scheduled to have an abscessed lymph node biopsied and drained.  Long story short (because it deserves it's own post): right after Christmas, she showed us a large lump under her right arm that was very painful to her.  Two pediatricians felt it,  the surgeon felt it,  and I felt it just the night before surgery.  It was also still very painful to touch just Thursday night.  Friday morning when the surgeon came in before surgery,  IT WAS GONE!!  Check back to get the whole story.........

Now,  I'm ready for a normal week!!  PLEASE????

MONDAY - Leftovers pieced together: juicy chicken tenders,  fried pork chops, green beans, and fresh fruit

TUESDAY - Crock pot Chicken Noodle Soup

WEDNESDAY - Traditional roast, potatoes, and carrots in the crock pot

THURSDAY - Ham, roasted potatoes, mac n cheese, cheesy biscuits

FRIDAY - Shake n Bake (homemade) chicken,  mashed potatoes,  corn, and rolls

SATURDAY - Spaghetti and meatballs, Garlic Parmesan bread       

SUNDAY - Lasagna and salad

For more meal planning ideas,  visit Menu Plan Monday at Organizing

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Menu Plan - January 21

Always a day late and a dollar short.........   Yesterday was somewhat of a blur and late at night I remembered,  I didn't blog my menu.  I was too tired at that point to think anymore about it,  so here it is today.  Better late than never,  right??

Last week was rain, rain, rain which resulted in a mess in my basement which I am still dealing with.  This week brings cold, cold, cold.  Time to wrap up and stay inside for a week.  On a brighter note,  I'm back to my part-time schedule,  more time at home!!!  I'm happy,  the kids are happy,  all is well!!

On to the menu:

SUNDAY - Chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and bread

MONDAY - Steak, honey roasted sweet potatoes (recipe to follow), glazed carrots, and green beans

TUESDAY - Crock Pot Chili

WEDNESDAY - Chicken Gravy Biscuits, mashed potatoes, corn, and peas

THURSDAY - Veggie Soup, Grilled Cheese

FRIDAY - Baked Chicken, roasted potatoes, carrots

SATURDAY - BBQ Pork Chops, Mac n Cheese, Broccoli n Cheese, Corn Bread

I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing  I'm a little late this week,  but I'll just get to browse more blogs before me:)

Friday, January 18, 2013

PUB Style Chicken

I am fortunate enough to have a Publix very near my home.  I LOVE PUBLIX!!  It is my absolute favorite grocery store; awesome buy one get one deals, best meat in town,  awesome deli, and just a nice, clean store. 

One of my other favs is their Aprons Simple Meals.  If you go at the right time,  there is a lovely person near the front of the store fixing something very tasty.  Whatever they fix is usually from items they have on sale and so far I haven't tasted anything I didn't like!!  Last week was the Pub-Style Chicken.  Of course, I had to make a few changes to accommodate my picky eaters,  but even my version came out very tasty!!  The original recipe can be found here, but I'll show you my version.

Here's what you need:
     3 oz Cheddar cheese
     1/4 c soy sauce
     1 tbsp molasses
     1 tbsp garlic powder
     3/4 tsp pepper (divided)
     large ziploc bag
     1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
     5 oz package pre-sliced onions (about 2 cups)
     1 tbsp canola oil
     1/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and shred cheese.

2.  Combine soy sauce, molasses, garlic powder, and half of pepper in ziploc bag.  Add chicken and turn to coat.  Let sit for 30 minutes (or overnight) to marinate.

 3.  Toss fresh onions with canola oil, salt, and remainder of pepper.  Place onions in bottom of 13x9 baking dish, top with chicken and bake 20 - 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  

About halfway through,  I cut the chicken into smaller pieces since I started out with large chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders.

4. Top chicken with cheese and bake an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.  

I only topped half with cheese since not everyone likes cheese in my house!!

I served this over rice with some green beans and crescent rolls.  It was a hit and will be served again.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Painting With Pudding

Baby Boy is using a spoon, sometimes with success,  sometimes with......................

 See Daddy, I can do it when I want to.  Here,  you taste it!!

 You wanna bite???

 See, I can even get it to my mouth!!

 But,  this way is MORE fun!!  Who needs a spoon??

Do I get a bath now Mommy???

I think it was all a scheme to get into the tub.  This baby loves a bath, and he usually gets messy enough to warrant one.  He sure is a lot of fun to have around.  You never know whats coming next.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

As you know,  in my recipe searches,  one of the requirements is EASY!!  I do not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.  So,  I'm always looking for ways to make what I fix happen easier and faster.  Fajitas were one of those issues.  I had to stand at the stove browning the chicken and sauteing vegetables.  I always had two or three large skillets to clean up after dinner, plus the time lost with family.  I found this oven baked recipe at Real Mom Kitchen and was super happy!!!  I didn't even have to change anything for my picky family other than to double the recipe!!  

Here's what you'll need:
      1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
      2 tbsp vegetable oil
      2 tsp chili powder
      2 tsp cumin
      1/2 tsp garlic powder
      1/2 tsp dried oregano
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
      1 medium onion, sliced
      1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I used a red and orange)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degress.  Place the chicken strips in a greased 13x9 baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.
3, Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.

4. Add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.

5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. 

6. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

I loved the fact I could mix it all together, put it in the oven and have 20-25 minutes to do other things (set the table, make some tea, cut up the lettuce and tomatoes for toppings, etc., etc.).  It was a win - win recipe for this busy mom!! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday January 14

Our first full week of  no fast-food was successful.  We managed to avoid any and all restaurants.  Plus,  we saved about $50 and I've lost 2.7 lbs.  YAY!!!

The weekend was BEAUTIFUL and I hate to see it end!  However,  it's time for another week and back to cooler temps. On a brighter note,  it's the last week this part-time nurse has to work full-time hours.  ANOTHER YAY!!! So,  with all that in mind,  it's an easy meal week.

MONDAY - Tacos (didn't get to this last week)

TUESDAY - Pub style chicken (new recipe),  fried rice

WEDNESDAY - Maple Orange Glazed Pork chops,  roasted potatoes, peas, cornbread

THURSDAY - Crockpot Chili, grilled cheese sandwiches

FRIDAY - Breakfast for dinner: waffles, eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes

SATURDAY -   homemade pizza

SUNDAY - chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls

For more meal planning ideas,  head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vegetable Beef Stew

I will warn you,  this recipe takes most of the day to cook,  however,  the actual prep time is minimal.  PLUS,  it's worth the effort. This was my mom's recipe, or at least how I watched her make it growing up (I'm not sure she ever used a recipe).  

This is the only bowl I could catch a picture of. The others were gulped down too fast.  I have to admit,  I didn't take pictures of the process.  I have to get better at that.  The process is easy enough though, that you can follow without pictures.  

So,  let's get started.  Here's what you need:
            a small roast (I try to use a 3-4 pound)
            garlic salt
            onion powder
            6-7 medium potatoes
            2 lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables
            2 cans tomato soup
            beef broth (I use the broth from the roast)
            beef bouillon cubes

1.  In the morning,  put the roast in your crock pot. Mix 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp marjoram, and pepper to taste and pour on top of the roast.  Then,  pour enough water to cover the roast entirely (this is going to be the broth you use later).  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  The roast will just fall apart when you try to get it out of the crock pot.  

2. Once the roast is done, dice your potatoes and place in large pot.  Cover with water, add a pinch of salt, and low boil for 15-20 minutes.

3.  While the potatoes are cooking,  remove the roast and set aside to cool so you can cut/shred it to add to the stew.  Strain the broth and set aside.

4.  Once the potatoes have cooked, add the tomato soup, beef broth, 2 beef bouillon cubes, 2 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and 4 cups of water.  Stir all that up to melt the bouillon cubes and bring back to a boil.

5. Now,  add the beef and mixed vegetables (if you need to add more water here to cover the veggies, do so).  Bring back to a boil and let low boil for a 10-15 minutes,  then reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least an hour.  

Serve with some homemade bread, crackers, or your favorite sandwich. 

****You can of course adjust the spices to your liking.  I only "measured" them once. Usually,  I just add what looks right.  Also,  keep in mind,  this makes a very large pot of soup since I am feeding 8.  You can half the recipe,  or fix as is to have leftovers,  or even freeze some.  I personally think vegetable soup is better the second time warmed up.  I unfortunately rarely have leftovers of this recipe.  I would have to double this to have leftovers.  GOOD GRIEF!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday January 7

Obviously,  I've been slack on my menu planning.  I had a run of illness and then we were out of town for Christmas.  Now, it's time to get back to planning and routines.  It's going to be our standard busy week: school starts back up,  two more weeks of more than usual work for me, and getting all the Christmas stuff put back into storage (the stuff is down and in boxes, just not put back into storage), and getting this house back into some sense of order.  Oh, and of course there is the NO FAST-FOOD rule, UGH!!!!!

So,  let's get to it!!  

MONDAY - Veggie soup

TUESDAY - Roast, potatoes, and carrots
WEDNESDAY - Oven baked chicken fajitas (recipe to follow)             

THURSDAY - Hamburgers, homemade fries, mac n cheese

FRIDAY - Potato soup


SUNDAY - Spaghetti and meatballs,  garlic parmesan bread

Head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more meal planning ideas.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Fast Food Free Year???

One of hubby's requests for this year was no fast food. PERIOD!!!  While I have serious doubts about this resolution,  I'm trying to comply.  Hubby does have a couple good reasons for his request, and they are something to think about.  

Diet Icon Clip Art

# 1  The cost - The average family eats out 4-5 times per week.  At an average cost of $30 per meal (which is really low for our family, I'm basing on a family of 4 or 5) 5 times per week, in a year, you would have spent $7800. That's a good bit of money.  


# 2  The Health Factor - A lot of places have a healthy alternative, but how often do you order that over the fried chicken sandwich, the double stacked hamburger with bacon, or the loaded up baked potato??  I know for my children and myself,  it's usually the fried chicken and burgers with a side of fries.  So, obviously eating a bowl of veggie soup at home is a better option, cheaper too.

So,  here we are in a new year with what I think is a BIG resolution.  I'll be honest,  I see FAILED written all over this one.  He even included pizza!  Now,  I'm hoping we still have the "non-fast food" options available on occasion.  I haven't asked for fear of the answer!!!  I mean,  every  once in a while I need a break!!  

So,  last night,  hubby and I headed off to the grocery stores (fabulous date-night idea).  We had the ad papers in hand along with a couple coupons.  Our goal was $200 for the week, which includes diapers and cleaning supplies.  We only purchased items that were on sale, and we still went over $20:(  However, we determined when we arrived home that what we purchased should do us for 2 weeks, rather than one, with only having to pick up a few essentials in between.  Here's the main things that helped us out: 8 lbs of hamburger made a meatloaf, meatballs,  8 hamburger patties, and 2 taco meals; 3 packages of chicken to do chicken fajitas, bbq chicken, and a Chinese style chicken (new recipe); a large sirloin roast cut in 2 for veggie soup and a roast. 

 As soon as we got home,  I made the meatballs and hamburger patties and froze them.  I made the meatloaf for today and divided up the chicken into each meal serving and froze them.  I think all in all,  we're ready for at least the next two weeks to be "fast-food free".  Though, I think the hardest meal will be lunch, Little Caesar's was my go-to lunch.  My kiddos get so tired of soups and sandwiches and we rarely have leftovers!  Any and all ideas will be greatly appreciated.  

I'll keep you posted on how we're doing with the resolution and the grocery budget!!!  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Our Week in Review

Well,  the first full week of the new year is almost over and what have I accomplished???  When I look around my house, it doesn't seem like I've accomplished much at all.  The laundry mountain is still there.  There are ALWAYS dishes in the sink.  The girls' bedroom looks like a hurricane has went through. The  toys and clothes need to be gone through again and thinned out.

With all that I didn't get done,  I still seemed to accomplish a few things:

        1.  We cleaned up the school room and are ready to get back to school work since the break is over.

        2.  I took 4 bags of clothes the kiddos can't wear anymore to our local thrift store.

        3.  Of course we celebrated the New Year with our little family.  We let everyone stay up to ring in the         new year, but the two little ones just couldn't make it.

        4.  Everyone had three meals per day plus multiple snacks.

        5.  No one had to wear dirty clothes, though I think sometimes my boys do just to irritate me!!!

All in all,  a job well done, I think.

On top of the daily grind,  we added an eye appointment on Monday, Bible Club on Wednesday,  and CrossFit of Thursday.

I have to say though, the most interesting part of the week involved Princess #2.
Shortly after we got home from visiting family,  she complained about a knot under her arm that hurt.  I checked it out and sure enough,  a pea sized lump could be felt.  Being the nurse mom I am,  I figured it was a swollen lymph node left over from the week of illness we suffered before Christmas.  We'll just keep our eye on it!!!  WELL,  that pea sized lump turned into a ping pong sized knot and we decided it was time to get a MD's opinion.  Off to the pediatrician we go ---------  Diagnosis : Cat Scratch Disease!!!  Yep,  it does really exist. I had heard of it before,  but can honestly say had never known ANYONE who had been treated for it until now, so  I didn't know a lot about it.  The pediatrician made comments about the bacteria sometimes getting in the blood stream and  affecting her liver, etc. , etc..  Now,  being a nurse and a mom is sometimes a bit difficult.  The pediatrician always tells me like it is and I appreciate that,  so he laid it all on the table and very promptly ended with  being the normally healthy little girl she is, a round of antibiotics should take care of it.  So, of course,  we're checking that knot out EVERY day.  

These little cuties are the culprits!!!
 Princess with her Snowball kitty and notice Smokey in hubby's pocket.  Two spoiled kittens.
 See the love there.  

Hubby and I have had a cat since we were married.  This is our first experience with Cat Scratch Disease.  Hopefully with some constant griping about washing their hands and cleaning any and ALL scratches received from those cute little kitties it will also be our LAST!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

MIA and Happy New Year!!!

Well, needless to say,  I have been missing from the blog world.  It started with pneumonia for me.  Then,  5 of the 6 kiddos got the flu.  By the time we all got over all that,  I was SO FAR behind on my Christmas preparations it wasn't even close to funny.  Did I mention I had two days to catch all that up, work, pack, and head to WV to visit family.  So,  unfortunately, blogging was not high on my list of things to do.  So,  here is a wrap up of our Christmas in pictures:

 Our Christmas Tree with presents waiting to be opened.
 The best picture I got during our Christmas tree card picture session.  The most dreaded event of the season for the kiddos.
 The flu virus was so bad at our house that our elf got it.  Poor Elvin.
 The elf wanted to go with us to visit family.  
 Christmas at Pappy's house with my brother (in pic) and my sister.
 We got to play in snow while visiting family.  Here's daddy and baby Samuel.
Sled riding in WV at grandma and papaw's house!!!
 Samuel's tricycle
 After,  what a mess!!  Even though there were only a few presents a piece, with 6 kids that's a lot of wrapping.

Did I mention it was daddy's birthday?  What's a birthday without birthday cake?  Samuel sure enjoyed it.

With all that said/showed,  it is a new year.  Of course, with the  new year always comes things we want to change.  I have a few goals and hopefully will be able to keep them.

              1.  I want to have a stronger relationship with God: read my Bible, pray sincerely, converse with my                                            Saviour like I would my spouse or earthly father.

              2.  I would like for my house to get clean, get organized, and stay that way.  While I have a fairly good size house,  I also have 8 people living here and it shows.  I would like for each of us to do more to put our things away and keep them up.  That means we will ALL be helping to pick up after the little ones and hopefully teach them to LOVE a clean house.

              3.  Hubby has declared it a "fast-food" free year.  I don't know how this is going to work out,  but I know that puts a lot of work on me to plan, prepare, and budget!!!!  So,  I hope to have more "easy" heat up things in the freezer for lunches and prepare enough for leftovers for lunches.  

              4.  I also want the children to be more considerate and thoughtful of the things they say/do to each other.  I know that siblings bicker and fight,  but it seems that's all mine do sometimes.  I want to find some things that bring them together where they actually enjoy each other and help each other. (I'll take suggestions)

              5.  Here's one of my BIG ones.  Hubby and I work very hard to provide for our children.  That means that we often do not have a lot of "free" time to spend together as a family.  We also don't have a lot of "free" money to spend either.  However,  I want to make more family time.  Our little one is getting bigger so it opens up more that we can do.  I would like to plan a couple things, save some money and have some fun family time!!!

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year!!  May 2013 bring you much happiness and blessings.