Monday, June 8, 2015

Meal Plan Monday 6/8/15

The kids' last day of school is FINALLY tomorrow.

Let the crazy begin.

I'm cutting back on the number of cake orders so I can spend more time with the kiddos during June and July.  I'll still be busy every weekend but not overloaded like May was.  Phew!

This week I'm working on a special request wedding cake flavor with Adjuki Bean.  I'll let you know how that turns out.

So here's the plan:

Monday:  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas and salad.

Tuesday:  Traditional Dessert for Dinner Last Day of School treat (Ice cream cake from DQ this year) Scrambled eggs and toast

Wednesday:  Asian Chicken Dump in the crock pot, with broccoli, green beans and carrots over rice

Thursday:  Fish Tacos*

Friday:  Greek Lemon Chicken in the crock pot with lemon pepper broccoli, salad, baked potato (in the crock pot)

Saturday:  Meeting in Atlanta for a cake tasting and Hubby has a meeting in Atlanta so we will eat dinner out..woohoo!  Date Night!

Sunday:  Lunch:  Tuna Sandwiches with applesauce and carrot sticks (I'll be doing tuna and avocado mash and dipping carrots, celery and cucumbers)
Supper:  We try to eat out with some friends.

This is how I make our Fish Tacos.
Preheat oven to 450.  Sprinkle thawed fish fillets (I've been using Swai, but you can use any mild fish) with a mixture of lemon pepper seasoning, old bay seasoning, oregano and cumin.  Bake on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, flip and cook for another couple of minutes until the fish flake.  It really depends on the thickness of the fish so keep an eye on it.  I also make a Mexican Cole Slaw to top them.

Mexican Cole Slaw
Finely sliced green cabbage
Finely sliced purple/red cabbage
julienned red bell pepper
lime juice
finely diced fresh jalapeno
salt and pepper

I just mixture this up. It's very colorful.

Hope you have a great week!  Let Summer begin!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Meal Plan Monday 4/20/15

We have our circuit overseer this week so my week is going to be crazy!

Low carb meal planning again this week...

Monday:  Slow Cooker Mozzarella Meatballs over spaghetti and broccoli

Tuesday:  Turkey Taco Salad with rice and corn

Wednesday: Parmesan Crusted Chicken with bacon, salad and green beans

Thursday: Greek Lemon Chicken - I'm doing this in the crock pot, rice and salad

Friday:  Cheap Korean Beef with rice and lettuce wraps

Cheese Omelette with applesauce
Raspberry Smoothie (80 calorie greek yogurt, frozen raspberries, almond milk and sugar free jello powder)

avocado and tuna salad
leftovers on a salad

Monday, March 30, 2015

Low Carb Meal Plan Monday 3/30/15

The Memorial of Christ's Death will be on Friday April 3rd.  If you haven't received your invitation, you can visit to find out the closest location to you and the time.  Last year there were over 20 million in attendance.  We hope everyone will make time to show their appreciation for Christ Jesus' sacrifice.  

So back to meal planning.  The low carb meal planning has been fun.  I didn't weigh this morning, but I don't feel lighter.  I do feel better.  My tiredness isn't so bad after I eat and that's an improvement.  So I'll keep working on this for a few more weeks.  I have a goal to lose 12 more pounds by June 15.  That's roughly a pound a week.  Totally reasonable and doable.  My friends have been "cheering" me on with the fitbit app.  That's so sweet.  I feel like such a loser when I check my steps and they are at 15K and 20K for the DAY and I'm killing myself to get 9K.  Changing my routine during the week will help me achieve more steps and activity.  I'm trying to walk at the park for 45-60 minutes 2 days a week.  I'm still trying to get my goal of 50 hours a month in the ministry.  Some months I'll take advantage of the 30 hour requirement, like for the month of April.  On my ministry days, I seem to walk less and ride more.  I'm still trying to figure out how to add more activity to those days.  Maybe we should sprint to the doors or even dance to the doors.  LOL!  Maybe I'll post a "day in the life of" and get your opinion.  Could be that I'm not using my day to the full.  We'll see.  

For now, here's the plan:

Monday:  Baked Sticky ChickenSouthern Collard Greens, Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday:  Roasted Turkey dinner, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, salad

Wednesday: Crock Pot Indonesian Chicken, sauteed peppers and zucchini, parmesan noodles 

Thursday:  Grilled Pork Chops, Apple Poppy Seed cole slaw, green beans, rice

Friday:  Dinner out and Memorial

Saturday:  Wedding Cake delivery in Atlanta...Date night with my hubby - frozen pizza for the kiddos

Sunday: Leftovers and clean out the fridge

Berry Smoothie with egg white omelet
Turkey Sausage, Egg and Cheese wrap

Leftovers on salad
Taco Bell Soft Taco
Tuna Avocado Salad

Dark Chocolate Candy Bar - recipe coming soon
Blue Bell Dream Bars
Sugar Free Jello

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Meal Plan Monday 3/23/15 Low Carb Menu

Low Carb meal planning has been going great.  We've been able to eat some new recipes and some have been fantastic, others not so much.  None of us really cared for the spaghetti squash.  I thought I would give it another shot after years of abstinence hoping for a change of heart, but it was still not palatable.  Oh well.  We tried.  This week I'm cleaning out the freezer and fridge.

Monday:  Grilled Cuban Pork Chops with mexican cole slaw and rice

Tuesday: Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf (using ground turkey and beef), Bacon & Cheese Cauliflower, green beans

Wednesday:  Citrus Cumin Crock Pot Pork Roast with rice and beans and salad

Thursday: Pulled Pork Tortilla Pie (using leftover pork roast from Wednesday) - corn on the side with tomato salad

Friday: Dinner with Family

Saturday: Turkey Dinner

Sunday: Dinner out

3 egg white scramble with Orange-Peach Smoothie
Turkey Sausage, egg and cheese wrap with apple

Salad with leftovers
Tuna Avocado Wrap (has become a favorite!)

Hope y'all have a great week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meal Plan Monday 3/16/15

Low carb meal planning has gone surprisingly well.  I've stuck to it pretty good.  Eating out has been interesting to say the least.  Buffets tend to be easier.   I'm loving the new recipes and everything has been super yummy.  No complaints from the family, so that's good.  I ate an ice cream from McDonalds over the weekend.  It was really good.  I also made some dark chocolate candy bar pieces using cocoa powder, coconut oil, stevia and honey.  Not loving the stevia.  I can taste it.  I really do not like fake sugars.  I'll try it again without the stevia and use the honey.  I also saw a new stevia in the coupons.  I might try it.  Not holding my breath though.  

This week will be week 3.

Monday:  Mock Lasagna and salad - I've tried spaghetti squash a few years ago and really didn't like it, so this will be a trial.

Tuesday:  Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Bacon, (I'm baking these all the way, not pan frying at all) roasted green beans and rice

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas with low carb tortillas, avocado, lettuce and rotel

Thursday:  Cheesy Buffalo Chicken (baking), salad with bleu cheese crumbles and tomato, potato wedges for the family

Friday:  Baked Ranch Parmesan Pork Chops (omitting the bread crumbs in the recipe, might sub quinoa flour or almond meal), mashed potatoes, broccoli and salad

Saturday:   Cleaning the kingdom hall and probably will eat supper out with friends. Thaw my turkey and bake for Sunday lunch...

Sunday:  Turkey for sandwiches, salad, etc...

2 eggs and a berry smoothie
2 egg veggie scramble with apple

Tuna Avocado Salad in a wrap, apple
Buffalo Chicken Salad in a wrap, grapes

I haven't really needed a whole lot of snacks, so I'm just going to keep my water with me and an apple just in case. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Low Carb Meal Plan March 9, 2015

Last week went surprisingly well!  I felt full and didn't cheat.  I planned my calories for an anniversary party we went to and I ate a little bit of the gluten free spicy carrot cake I made.  It was SO sweet!  I could barely eat it.   Everyone said it was tasty, so I'm guessing I just weaned my taste buds from the sugar.  

This week I'm trying a couple new recipes.  If you are reading this and have some great low carb ideas, I would love to see the recipes.

Monday:  Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza Chicken, Salad with avocado and dressing

Tuesday:  Green Chili Turkey Taco Salad

Wednesday: BBQ Meatloaf ,Salt & Vinegar Roasted Cauliflower, Mashed potatoes, Peas

Thursday:  Cheap Korean Beef over rice for the family, over broccoli slaw for me

Friday: Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin, mashed potatoes, salad,  roasted parmesan green beans

Saturday:  Dinner with friends

Sunday:  Cauliflower Pizza (didn't get to try it last Friday, it was too busy)

2 eggs with Berry Smoothie or Veggie Scramble with apple

Tuna Avocado Wrap with tomatoes
Spicy Asian Meatballs (leftovers from last week) over a salad with sesame oil and vinegar dressing
BLT and avocado salad

Hope it goes well this week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Meal Planning for Low Carb

I had my yearly physical a few weeks ago.  It was depressing.  It's the same story really, lose weight, eat right, exercise.  But this time the blood work showed a slight increase in my cholesterol.  The good was good and the bad was just slightly bad.  My blood pressure was up more than normal, although it was still good.  Then I visited my ob/gyn.  She too said the same song and dance...lose weight, eat right, exercise, blood pressure slightly higher than last time.  When I mentioned my depression issues, she proceeded to tell me that glucose intolerance can make a woman feel their hormone fluctuations more than a woman who doesn't have problems with her sugar.  She said eating low carb lifestyle will improve my weight and help my sugar.  Apparently, higher protein will help your glucose levels.  I have tried to understand insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, pre-diabetes...but I truly cannot wrap my head about the whole business.  There's so much information out there.  Maybe that's the problem.  Too much info.  Overwhelming.   Anyway, low carb does not mean NO CARB.  Which I absolutely refuse to do.  I refuse to not eat any one particular thing, accept white sugar.  And it's the devil.  I love it and it hates me.  So I'm good with it.  I hate artificial sugar, but have finally, after all these years, decided to eat a few treats that have fake sugar.  I prefer natural sweeteners like honey, dates, prunes...  But sometimes I just don't feel like being in the kitchen for a couple of hours making something.  (I mean, I bake and decorate cakes in the kitchen and I'm pooped for anything else.  And for those times, I decided for the sake of my sugar...and I better not get some wierd cancer from these foreign sugars, for which I still hate...I will indulge in sugar free jello and sugar free greek yogurt now and then.  I will continue to make naturally sweetened baked goods, because I really really do not like the flavor of fake sugar in cake, brownies or cookies.  This might change over time though, so never say never.

So here's the plan...trying to eat less than 150 carbs a day.  Which seems very reasonable to me.  My sparkpeople app had advised a 180-230 carb daily, so it's really not that much different.  Increase protein, but at the same time eat my fruits and veggies.  I love my apples and applesauce.  Protein tends to have a constipation affect on me...maybe a little TMI, but oh well.  So an apple a day keeps things running along as normal.

From what I've read, it's very important to drink lots of water.  So I'm trying to stick with my 100 ounces of water daily.  It's harder when I'm in service, so I'm going to have to work extra hard to keep up with it.  And it's also important to take a multivitamin because for some reason, calcium seems to be depleted when eating high protein, lower carb which leads to osteoporosis.

I've pinned several ideas for meal plans, and will be incorporating them here so I can make a better grocery list.  At least for now.   I like to plan my meals so I'm prepared, we spend less money eating out and I spend less time standing in front of the fridge wondering what we're going to eat that night.  It also helps to plan meals when you're trying to lose weight.  It helps me feel like I can do this.  Even when I'm feeling "no way"...the meal plan says "here's the way".  I don't need a lot of variety for breakfast and lunch.  I can eat the same things rotated, so that's what I'm going to do.  Dinners are a totally different story since my whole family isn't eating low carb, I will need to get creative.  Thankfully my husband doesn't read my blog and if any of my friends are reading this, you better not say anything to him about what I'm planning to do to them.  LOL!!

3 egg white omelet with mushrooms, spinach and peppers topped with Swiss cheese
Smoothie - frozen berries, sugar free Greek yogurt, protein powder, almond milk

Green salad (includes tomato, cucumber, carrots, purple cabbage) 4 oz boneless skinless baked chicken, shredded with my homemade vinaigrette dressing
Tuna & Avocado salad

24 almonds
Turkey wrapped mozzarella stick
broccoli spears and ranch dressing
celery with peanut butter
apple with peanut butter
celery with ranch dressing


Monday:  Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie - the family thought it was yucky. It was a little strange, but I liked it.

Tuesday:  Cheeseburger Pie with salad and baked potato wedges

Wednesday:  Grilled Cheesy Buffalo Chicken, Garlic Parmesan Green Beans, mashed potatoes

Thursday: Spicy Asian Meatballs  rice, carrots gone wild and steamed broccoli with lemon pepper (I'm using turkey instead of chicken and making my own almond flour/meal with raw almonds in the magic bullet)

Friday: Trying a cauliflower pizza with salad

Saturday:  Dinner Out

Sunday:  baked turkey with fixings.

Hope this works and it's not hard.  I'll let you know.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 9/1/14

It's been months since I've taken the time to update the blog.  Let's see...

I quit working at the Blue Eyed Daisy to work from home providing decorated cakes.  I secured my license, set up my website, and have been taking orders.  So far so good.

We attended the International Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Atlanta in July.  What a treat!  We met brothers and sisters from all over the world...Ukraine, Russia, England, Japan, Finland, Bahamas, Croatia, Ecuador, Mexico...I could go on.  It was so memorable, I truly hope my children know how special it was.

We moved to another congregation to help out with territory.  They have a large rural area and we are loving it.  I signed up to auxililary pioneer until whenever and it feels great.  I'm nervous about our financial situation, but I know Jehovah will take care of us.  That's one thing I got from the convention, seek first the kingdom and Jehovah will do the rest.  

We are working on a 15 year plan.  More about that later.

The kids are finally enrolled in the new charter school.

Wooley is a senior this year.  Woah!  How did that happen?!?

We are planning a camping trip with some friends and family.  We haven't been camping in a couple years and looking forward to it.

Well, I think that's pretty much it.

Here's the plan.  I'm thinking of going back to once a month cooking.  It helped out so much when the kids were smaller.  I think it will be great to get back into that.

Monday:  Chalupas with homemade salsa

Tuesday:  Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, garlic rolls (kids requested spaghetti)

Wednesday:  Breakfast for dinner

Thursday: Cheap Korean Beef with rice, honey carrots and roasted broccoli

Friday:  Pizza, Salad

Saturday:  Grilled Balsamic Chicken with salad

Sunday: Leftovers, if we have any (remember we have a teenage boy under the roof) and fend for yourself day

Hope y'all have a great week!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 5/5/14

Starting off the month right with my meal plan for the week!

Over the weekend, we had our annual arts and crafts festival at Serenbe called May Day.  Local artists come out and bring their wares.  This year we were so busy, I wasn't able to walk around to the booths.  Very disappointed!  But the glassblower was set up right outside our shop so we could peek out the windows and watch.  He was amazing! Janke Studios.

We made some lemonades and sold them in pint mason jars.  They looked so cute.
I was super proud of the sign.  I took part of the kids' playset and wrote on it with some chalk.  I didn't know if it would work, but it turned out pretty cute.  Then we filled the jars with our lemonades and displayed them in a galvanized bucket.  We sold out by 2:30 so next year, we'll know to make more!

We left at 3:30 to deliver a wedding cake to Foxhall.  The bride wanted to add blue to her cake.  I've never done a colored wedding cake, but I loved the way it turned out and so did she!

Now on to the meal plan!

Monday:  Cheap Korean Beef over rice with steamed broccoli and green beans (I've made this before and will be using only about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar but adding about 1/2 cup ketchup. We like the saucy look of it.)

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner:  Waffles with strawberries, scrambled eggs with cheese.

Wednesday:  Traditional Pork Roast with carrots, celery, potatoes and onions (leftovers for soup)

Thursday:  Parmesan Tilapia with rice and veggies (probably green beans and peas)

Friday:  Pizza Night with salad

Saturday:  Lunch:  Nachos;  Supper:  Leftover Pork used for Pork Posole

Sunday: We will be at the Ren Fest, so I'll be eating a turkey leg!

Sunbutter sandwich with strawberry banana smoothie
Egg White sandwich with cheese and applesauce

Ham and cheese roll up with applesauce
Almonds and cheese stick with pears

Weekly lunches:  I'm making Christina's Split Pea Soup (using some yellow split peas I found at the international food market) for lunches this week.  I'll freeze any leftovers for later on.

Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Meal Plan 4/7/14

Okay, so I'm falling behind the last couple of weeks.  It's been crazy busy around here and now we're on Spring Break.  But if I don't have something written down and planned out, we eat out way too much and go over budget.  Not good.  So here's the the plan:

Monday:  Sloppy Joe Casserole with steamed broccoli.  Everyone loved this and we will probably eat it again.  I just used my sloppy joe recipe and topped it with Jiffy cornbread mix in my cast iron skillet and baked it off in the oven.

Tuesday:  Baked Penne with Parmesan green beans, Ranch & Iceberg lettuce wedge and garlic cheddar drop biscuits

Wednesday: Fluffy Pancakes, bacon, fried taters and fruit

Thursday:  Potato Soup and bloomin biscuits

Friday:  Pizza

Saturday:  Chicken of some sort - I'm thawing it out now

Sunday:  Hot Dog roast, cole slaw, oven fries

This weekend, some friends and I are participating in the Dirty Girl Mud Run at Lake Lanier.  I'm so excited!!!  My husband and I are also staying the night at a hotel nearby so my parents are staying with the kids and cooking dinner Friday and Saturday night.

I haven't really prepared for the race, but it's all good.  I'll share pictures afterwards!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meal Plan Monday...or Tuesday 3/25/14

Monday:  Chicken and Rice with leftover roasted chicken

Tuesday:  Baked Lemon Pepper Fish, cole slaw, oven fries

Wednesday:  French toast casserole, strawberries & mangos

Thursday:   Chicken Fried Rice (one pot wonder)

Friday:  Pizzadillas with marinara

Saturday:  Dinner out?

Sunday:  Lunch:  Sandwiches Supper: BBQ Chicken, roasted potatoes and green beans

peanut butter sandwich, yogurt tube, apple
egg white omelet with cheese toast, apple sauce

turkey, tomato sandwich, apple

turkey wrapped cheese, applesauce

parmesan popcorn
eanut butter sandwich

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tackling Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

These are so soft and delicious.  They are not low-calorie, but they are a yummy treat.

If you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment, they work lovely.  If not, you can use a food processor to combine everything together.  You'll need to knead (haha!) the dough if you are using the food processor.  Only don't knead with flour, use vegetable oil. 

Cinnamon Roll Dough (adapted from What's Cooking America)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dry active yeast

In the mixing bowl on your Kitchen-Aid or the bowl on your food processor, mix milk, water, butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar.   Now add flour, salt and yeast.  Mix until a ball forms.  In the Kitchen-Aid, keep mixing for about 2-3 minutes.  Remove the dough ball from your food processor bowl and pour onto an oiled surface.  Knead for about 2-3 minutes.  Roll the mixture onto an oiled surface, press into a 15 x 24 rectangle.

Cinnamon Roll Filling
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter

In a bowl,  combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  I usually rub the mixture through my fingers to make sure it's completely combined.  It will feel like dry sand.  Pour melted butter over the cinnamon roll dough rectangle and then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over it.  Spread it to the edges, making sure it soaks up the melted butter.  Roll up the dough and then slice into equal portions.  I make 12 rolls.  Cut the dough log in half.  Then cut each half into half.  You should have 4 smaller logs.  Now slice those into 3 equal slices. You can freeze them at this point.

If you want to bake them, place into a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees F for only 10 minutes.   
(after they have risen, before baking)

Cinnamon Roll Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

In a bowl, mix and stir everything together until smooth and creamy.  Immediately spread onto each cinnamon bun hot out of the oven.  

These are so yummy!

I made some Caramel Apple Sticky Buns for the bakery a few weeks ago.  They were a huge hit.  So yummy and soft and sticky and good and delicious and well, I could go on...

Caramel Apple Sticky Buns:
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 apple, finely diced*

Melt butter in skillet, add brown sugar.  Bring to a boil add corn syrup and apples.  Cook for another minute or two, stirring to coat the apples and making sure everything is melting nicely.
Line a 9" cake pan with tin foil and then place a 9" circle of parchment in the bottom.  Then pour the caramel apple mixture into the bottom.  Arrange cinnamon rolls over the apple mixture and allow rolls to rise for an hour or so.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  When you press on the center of the rolls, it should sink a little.  That's good.  

Flip them onto a serving plate and then peel the tin foil away and parchment circle.

*I've also made these with pears.  

They are so yummy and gooey!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 3/17/14

We went to the Dekalb Farmer's Market over the weekend.  It was so crowded!  I forgot how busy they were on the weekend.  We picked up some golden beets, their sweet Italian sausage, and lots of dried spices.

We are going on a field trip to the Noah's Ark animal sanctuary on Saturday.  A group of us are going to get together.  It will be tons of fun!  We've never been, but I've heard lots of great things about it.  
Monday:  White Bean Chili (adding some salsa verde and whole jalapeno) with quesadillas

Tuesday:  Lasagna (using sweet Italian sausage) - didn't get to this last week, salad

Wednesday:  Breakfast Burritos, strawberries

Thursday:  Russian Chicken Dump, quinoa pilaf (using pecans)

Friday:  BBQ Chicken Pizza with salad

Saturday: Lunch: sandwiches, fruit and chips; Supper out 

Sunday: Lunch: Nachos, guac and salsa; Supper: Roasted Chicken, oven roasted potatoes, green beans and golden beets

100 calorie Greek yogurt, peanut butter toast, applesauce
scrambled egg whites with mozzarella cheese wrap, applesauce

turkey wrap with lettuce and tomato, applesauce
pimento cheese dip with crackers and celery, applesauce

100 calorie Greek yogurt, almonds, apple
turkey wrapped mozzarella cheese stick, peaches

Monday, March 10, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 3/10/14

Busy busy busy.  Aren't we all?  Spring is in the air and the sun is shining today.  It's so pretty outside and I have to be cooped up cleaning house.  Oh well, maybe I can get done early and enjoy the day.

This week we are going to be eating:

Monday:  Lasagna, steamed broccoli (Italian-ish meal)

Tuesday:  Chicken Fried Rice (one pot wonder)

Wednesday:  Breakfast burritos with turkey sausage, fruit (breakfast for dinner)

Thursday:  Creamy Italian Chicken (crock pot meal) over pasta with oven roasted green beans

Friday: Friday Night Pizza Night using homemade pizza crust (pizza night)

Saturday: Lunch:  Nachos;  Supper: Crispy Fish, oven baked fries, cole slaw

Sunday: Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches; Supper: BBQ Chicken, roasted potatoes and green beans

peanut butter sandwich, yogurt tube, apple
egg white omelet with cheese toast, apple sauce

turkey, tomato sandwich, apple
sweet potato topped with black beans and cheese, applesauce

apple, cheese, almonds
yogurt, strawberries, almonds

parmesan popcorn
buffalo popcorn
peanut butter sandwich

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reading in 2014 - February Update

Last month, I read a couple of books.  Not as many as I had hoped for.

I really enjoyed this book One Second After.  I was worried because my husband had warned me about the emotional and psychological effect it had on him.  I was brought to tears about 5 or 6 times.  There were slow moments, but they were far and few between.  It was definitely worth reading.  I wouldn't consider myself a "prepper", but after receiving information from the branch about being prepared for natural disasters, you can never be too prepared.  This book gave me much to think about.

My friend Donna, told me about the book A Girl of the Limberlost.  She loved it and suggested I read it.  I loved it.  The story line was good, slow but good.  There were moments when I thought the author was going in one direction, only to head down a completely different path.  Time skipped and dragged.  The author would dwell on an incident for chapters then quickly dismiss years within one paragraph.  If you like Anne of Green Gables, you would probably like this book.  I'm going to read Freckles next, I wonder if it should have been read first, I'll let you know. 

Tea with Emma was an especially fun read.  The character returns from a trip to England and decides to open up a tea room "a la Jane Austen-esque".  It was a free kindle book and I'm going to buy the next books in the series.  It's a sweet, clean romantic novella.  

I'd love to have a minimalist home.  I hate clutter, and I'm sentimental.  Catch 22 I know.  It's hard for me to throw things away, so 9 times out of 10, I donate things to Goodwill.  But it takes me weeks to donate something.  My friends laugh at me, and it's okay, I know I'm nuts.  The other problem I have is keeping things with a view of turning them into a DIY project.  Good grief, my garage is a nightmare.  I found this free kindle book Organize - the secret to a spotless life.  Most of the information was very practical and I have tried implementing the tips already.  I didn't find it extremely eye-opening, but for a free book, it was worth reading.  I skipped the suggestions about personal organization referring to my life (friends, family, religion...).  I learned a while ago to keep my life free of "drama" friends.  I just don't have the temperament to keep their life together and mine.  I have learned that "drama" people, while I love them, are more emotionally draining than upbuilding.  We all have moments when we are downers, but when your negativity starts to wear on me, I have to take a step back and limit my association with you.  Call it my age, I don't know, but I just don't have time for it anymore.  

Currently, I'm reading Fire in my Belly by Chef Kevin Gillespie.  I can't wait to tell you about it.  

What are you reading?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 3/3/14

Monday:  Stacy's Southwestern Beans & Rice, corn on the side with sliced tomatoes

Tuesday:  Parmesan Baked Fish, rice and roasted green beans

Wednesday:  Scrambled egg and sweet potato hash with fruit

Thursday:  Quesadillas and Vegetarian Chili

Friday:  Pizza and Salad

Saturday:  Lunch: Sandwiches; Supper: Chicken Fried Rice with broccoli and ginger honey carrots

Sunday: Snacky Sunday, leftovers 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DIY: Upcycled Laundry Hamper to Jewelry Organizer

I don't have a beautiful laundry room.  I envy those who have an actual room where you can hide your dirty and clean laundry.  I, on the other hand, have a laundry closet.  The washer and dryer are hidden behind two doors.  No frills.  I do have a wired shelf above them for extra storage.  One day, I want to update it with another shelf and maybe a cabinet.  I even have a Pinterest board for my future Laundry Closet ideas.

In the meantime, we have two laundry hampers to help sort and hide the clothes neatly.  One in our bathroom and one in the kid's hallway.

Recently, (actually it's been about 3 months ago) our laundry hamper died.  The screws broke that hold it together.  Poor thing, there was no hope in repairing it.  I loved the bottom wire rack and decided to keep it in the bathroom next to the shower.  Why next to the shower?  I couldn't think of where else to keep it.  The garage is full of other things for future DIY projects and I didn't want to forget about it by placing it in the black hole a.k.a. garage.   

My husband ignores my hoarding until it gets out of control.  Thankfully, I decided to use it before he decided it was in the way.  Initially, I thought about turning it into a burlap wreath like this.

But I'd have to cut the wire with a wire cutter and frankly, that seemed a little daunting.

Then I saw this jewelry organizer and thought, bingo!  I can use my fancy-schmancy wire rack and hang all my $5 Paparazzi jewelry instead of it cluttering up my dresser.

This is how I made mine:

DIY Jewelry Organizer
wire rack - free
length of ribbon - free
sheetrock screw
s-hooks $1.50 per pack of 4 (5 packs)

Find a place you like on your wall that would be appropriate for said jewelry organizer.

Tie ribbon at the top of the rack to create a hanger.

Screw the screw into the wall where you want to hang it.

Hang the rack from the ribbon on the screw.

Hang the s-hooks on the rack and hang the necklaces and bracelets on the s-hooks.

When you buy Paparazzi necklaces, you receive a free pair of matching fishhook earrings.  So I hung all of those on the rack too.  It turned out adorable and I am so happy about it.  My jewelry is neatly hung up, no worrying about it becoming tangled or mangled.

And I can actually see what I have!  And my dresser is back to being nice and neat. 

This makes my hubby happy!

Super simple!

That's it!

What kind of DIY projects are you up to?

Visit these linky parties to see how others have been crafty lately!

Skip To My Lou
The Girl Creative

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 2/24/14

What a week!  

We had a corporate team building exercise (cupcake decorating) last week.  

Last minute cupcake order.

Trying to keep up with "100 Day Challenge" (being active for 100 days even if it means only doing a 3 minute plank).

Tummy trouble...I think I had a bad salad from a restaurant and was sick all day Sunday.

I'm ready to start a fresh week!

This week should be pretty low key.  Going to help with some payroll this morning (we have a new system and we both have to figure it out).  Calling the doctor to see if I can get Sissy in for her nagging asthmatic cough.  Ministry Tuesday.  Work Wednesday - Friday (I have a baby shower cake due Saturday).  Working Saturday night for a wedding cake tasting on Sunday.  Sunday afternoon have the cake tasting.  That's pretty much it.  

On the food front, I saw a couple of recipes on pinterest that I'd like to try this week:

Monday:  Ravioli Bake with oven roasted broccoli and green beans

Tuesday:  Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger* (inspired by this recipe), parmesan cheese noodles, butter peas

Wednesday:  Blueberry muffins, scrambled eggs, oranges

Thursday:  Crock pot something - maybe a chicken dump

Friday:  Thai Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice*, steamed broccoli

Saturday:  Pizza and Salad

Sunday:  Sandwiches and leftovers

*These are new recipes and I'll probably tweak them to suit our family.  If they are yummy, I might blog about it in the future.

Hope you all have a great and productive week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Do you use Groupon?

Do you use Groupon?

I love to buy specials on there.

(this was us before the movie started)

My favorite Groupon is when they offer the Studio Movie Grill passes for $5.  Even if you don't purchase a meal, which is extra, you can still watch a new movie for $5!  A new movie nowadays is running around $9-12 depending on the theater.  Usually once every 3 months, my husband and I will do a date night.  We love going to the movies and this is one of favorite ways to spend the evening.

(one of the waterfalls we walked to)

Groupon occasionally offers special rates on hotels.  Last year for our 15th wedding anniversary, we stayed on the north side of Atlanta at a hotel with the best breakfast buffet we've ever enjoyed.  I found the hotel on Groupon and figured out the time frame to stay during our anniversary weekend.  It worked out perfectly.  It was close enough to the mountains, yet close enough to Atlanta so we can eat out at some yummy restaurants.

(we ate at Pappadeaux for the first time...oh my word! yum!)

(this was when we did the Dirty Girl in April 2012)

Some friends and I are participating in the Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run in April.  There's currently a Groupon for a fairly nice hotel up there for only $61 a night.  My parents are going to stay at our house while my husband and I head up there for the weekend.  Nice treat!

If you haven't purchased a Groupon before, let me explain a little bit about how it works.

You can choose to log in with your Facebook account or you can sign up using an email address.  Once you've logged in, you select the city where you'd like to see Groupons from.  We choose different cities depending on where we are going to be visiting.  There's also a free app for you smartphone.  View the Groupon you are interested in.  I always read the "fine print" and any questions others have asked.  You can also pose a question if you can't find the answer you are looking for.  If it's for a hotel, you can read the reviews from TripAdvisor or other reputable source to see what others have had to say about the hotel.  Once you decide to purchase a Groupon, select the "BUY" button and enter your credit card information.  Groupon keeps the credit card in a secured file and you only have to key it in once.  Then select "CONFIRM PURCHASE".  This will put the Groupon in your folder "MY GROUPONS".  You can view current Groupons, used Groupons and expired Groupons.

Almost always, if not always,  the amount you paid for the Groupon does not expire.  If the Groupon expires before you use it, you can apply the amount paid on the voucher to a purchase at the place you bought the Groupon for.

For example, I bought a Groupon for $5 for Studio Movie Grill.  It expired.  When I want to see a movie, I can apply the $5 as a coupon to the ticket price of a movie.  The $5 is still good, but only as a coupon or discount off a regular admission.

I have found that Groupon offers great ideas for kids too.  We've taken advantage of Apple Picking, Sky Zone, Bowling, and a Teahouse.  The kids loved all of that!

I have linked to my Groupon referral code, so if you choose to sign up using this referral and make a purchase within 72 hours, I'll receive a $10 referral credit.  Thank you for supporting me and my family!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

RECIPE: Pork Posole

I love "double-duty" dinners.  You know what I'm talking about.  When you cook one thing, have leftovers and can make something else with it?

Last week I did that with a pork roast.  Initially I cooked the pork roast in the oven with only salsa verde on top (one of my new favorite ways to eat pork roast thanks to Donna!).  I made my Salsa Verde but you can buy it fairly reasonably priced.  I like La Constena brand.  You can find it in your Latin food aisle in the grocery store.

After it cooked, we shredded the pork and ate Pork Carnitas.  We used flour tortillas, but you can use corn tortillas just as well.  I like to drizzle a lime crema over them.  YUM!

Lime Crema
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime juice

Mix everything together in a small bowl and add enough lime juice to make it fluid enough to drizzle.  You can add as much or as little as you like.

You might have noticed my wrinkled jalapeno pepper in the above picture.  I put them in the freezer in a zip lock baggie and when I need one, I'll pull it out and use it.

To make the carnitas, I add the shredded pork to a cast iron skillet and add 1/4 cup red salsa and 1/4 cup salsa verde to it.  Occasionally stir it around to get the pork caramelized.  Once it's heated through and browned, turn off the heat and start assembling your carnitas.

I put about 1 oz shredded pork in the flour tortilla, topped with thinly sliced iceberg lettuce, avocado slice, drizzle of the lime crema and fresh cilantro.  That's it.  Super easy and yummy!  We also like to squeeze extra lime on ours.

The second meal we ate from the pork was Pork Posole.  I've made this before, but couldn't remember the exact way I made it.  One of the reasons I like to blog is to keep track of recipes.  So here's how I made it this time.  Using inspirations from these two recipes:  chicken posole and turkey posole.

Pork Posole
1/2 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons oil
2 guajillo chiles, (these are dried and I found them at Aldi)
10 cups water (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon (omit if you are using chicken broth)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
2 cups cooked, shredded pork
1 large can hominy, drained

Heat large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add oil, onion and garlic.  Saute until translucent.  Prepare the guajillo peppers.  Use a pair of kitchen shears and cut the stem off.  Shake out the loose seeds into the trash and pull out the dried membrane.  Using the shears, cut the peppers into 1" pieces; set aside.  Add chicken broth (or water & bouillon) and peppers to the pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Place a little of the soup mixture at a time into a blender and blend until smooth, pour into another pot until all soup is pureed.  Return to the stove over medium heat and add cilantro, pork and hominy.  Cook for 15 minutes until heated through.  Serve with a lime and avocado if you like.

Super yum!


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