Showing posts from June, 2011

Pantry Challenge - July 1st and getting prepared, sort of

So I plan on going home from work on Thursday night, determined that I will eat a real meal for dinner and THEN attack the pantry. The whole thing. Darn it, it needs to be done and I just need to do it.

Of course, it's been raining all day. Wind. Lightning. Special Flood Notices. The works.

It's the last day of the month. A BUSY month I might add.

I leave my office at 6pm. An hour later than normal, 2 hours later than I wanted. Ok, who am I kidding, I would have loved to have left at noon but there was no way that was going to happen. Granted, the last 30 minutes was spent reading a funny, and I mean, funny, as in laugh til your mascara is running down your cheeks funny, email. OMG. It was a goody. Nothing like reading an email at your respective desk and shouting back and forth through the walls (Joseph Mother Ducker) ... but anyhoo....

I get home. I'm hungry. Sonny Boy looks depressed. Princess is heading out to work. Hubby is STILL gone. My truck was giving me a red lig…

Making Time

I remember staying home with the kids when they were younger (I've only been working full time since 2002) and the days where I could not wait for Hubby to come home and give me a break. Now days, I can't wait for SATURDAY to come around.  I work HARD during the week, most times, and yeah, it's a law firm and it's a small law firm (meaning no pressure to meet billable hour quotas and such) but the days can be long and mentally exhausting. Plus talking to people on the phone all day long is draining in itself :)
So I try to be sure to make time for Myself! Where no ONE will bother me and I'm perfectly content. Enter the pool. Yes. The Pool. If I get my raft out of the garage, and grab my book, towel and sunscreen, the whole household knows that Mom has a 1 hour break ... doesn't take a whole lot of effort, and it's only ONE hour, SIXTY MINUTES ... the world will not come to a screeching halt, trust me!

And of course, I need to make sure I'm safe so I use my …

Costco Trip

I disclosed over here that a Costco trip was coming up this week ... and yeah, it could sort of, kind of, maybe go against the Pantry Challenge BUT there really isn't a whole lot of pantry items.

I wanted to list a side by side of my shopping list and my receipt but I believe the receipt made it to the trash to the street already ... I can be too efficient apparently.

Ok. Here we go (and remember, everything is COSTCO SIZE):

Papertowels $14.99
Sunny D x 2 $9.79 less $3 each
Sunchip (24 pk) $8.79 less $2
Kirkland brand Fabric Softner
360 piece plastic cutlery set $10.99 (I've been delaying way too long in buying more and the last bbq we had to use REAL stuff)
3 dz xlarge eggs x 2 $3.69 each
24 pk Kirkland variety beer $18.99 (I've heard real good things about the ales so I'm excited to try)
6 pk romaine lettuce $4.29
5 lbs of large tomatoes $6.49
Organic baby spinach $4.29
Big stack of half steam trays $6.49 (these are party bbqs and part of  our hurricane supplies)

July - Pantry Challenge?

I've been reading rumours about an upcoming Pantry Challenge for July.

This should not be mistaken for a No Spend Month, or perhaps, even a Severely Restricted Spending (SRS) month.

Ummm. I think I may qualify to do this:

(yeah, excuse the crappy pictures ... the kids are messin' with my stuff again and the settings on the camera were all for night shots)

This here is the bottom part of pantry. On my To Do List, I've got a shelf to organize ... that would be that 2nd shelf down, which is my baking shelf and the bottom shelf which is suppose to be condiments, salad dressings, etc. but everything else ends up there too...and seriously, I have every shelf listed (and an extra one apparently??)

And this here is the top part of the pantry. I think I called for the 2nd (which is really just the middle shelf?) to be organized. Um yeah. I think I need to do the whole thing!

Can you tell that I constantly have kids rooting around in here? I mean seriously, Hubby and I wouldn't …

Nachos My Way

Yeah, I know. It's not the healthiest thing. But I do make it 'better' by using my fresh tomato mix to top it off with.

Ummm, I also know it's not a real recipe so much as a process...but hey, I stunned my girlfriend the other night when I told her what I was eating :) Here she thought I had a vat of melted cheese ... uh no!

Tortilla Chips (I love the blue ones)

cheese of choice, shredded (Ummm, did you forget that we are the CHEESE family?)

Lay chips out on a microwave proof plate.

Top with cheese, doesn't really take a whole lot to satisfy.

Put in microwave on high for 45 seconds.


Top with salsa and sour cream if desired. Best IF you have fresh salsa or tomato stuff that you made (NOTE: I can totally recommend that stuff at Aldi's in the refrigerator section, it's all fresh stuff, no preservatives whatsoever, I'm addicited to the garlic artichoke stuff!)

Grab a fork (for scooping) and a napkin.

Sit at a table.


Fend off the animals (and …

The To Do List

Hubby is gone all week again. And you know what that means? The BIG To Do List reappears!

1. Closet floor. OMG. Yet again.
2. Closet rack. Ummm, somehow I've acquired a lot of clothes that do not quite fit. I appreciate the gifts from friends but need to make an effort to try on before hanging up. Way too cluttered and tight right now!
3. Garage freezer
4. Guest kitchen freezer
5. Main kitchen freezer
6. Grind coffee (breaking things up here)
7. Garage fridge
8. Guest fridge
9. Main fridge
10. Top pantry, bottom shelf
11. Baking shelf of pantry
12. Canned good corner
(these last 3 are needed for inventory purposes, as are the next 4)
13. Top shelf (pasta/rice)
14. 2nd top shelf
15. 2nd bottom shelf
16. bottom shelf (bottom part)
And then we move on the rest of the funnnnnnn stuff!
17. Laundry room, dust and mop.
18. Guest kitchen, dust and mop.
19. Guest bedroom: change sheets, dust and vacuum
20. Space bag extra pillows in guest room
21. Organizing goodwill pile. TAKE to goodwil…

Menu Plan Monday - June 27th to July 2nd

Is anyone else freaking out that it's almost July AND the 4th is this weekend? I feel a small case of anxiety comin on!

Hubby travels all week, just left, matter of fact. Gets home about midnight on Friday. Uggg.

However, this does mean an easy as I want it to be week for feeding since it will be me and Sonny Boy for the most part ... woohoo!

Sunday - Grilled chicken breast (marinated in italian dressing) and tossed up some sweet vidalia onions and asparagus on the grill pan (this was the best asparagus I've had yet)

Monday - Chicken (leftover) with pasta for Sonny Boy. May make a few garlic bread sticks with the leftover hot dog buns to get them OUT of here. Hoping to get to the gym after work.

Tuesday - Baked potato bar. I'm betting the girlfriend will show up for this. (got a 10 lb bag of spuds at Aldi's for $2.99 ... best deal in a while). Hoping to get to gym again after work which means I need to remember to set up the oven to turn on by it's lonesome at 5:30…

Easy Summer Dinner

I live in South Florida and we pretty much grill all year long. Except of course, when there's a hurricane coming (we do that like the DAY the warning comes out to cook up all the meat 'just in case') ... but I guess because we both grew up in the Midwest, Summertime definitely equates to more grillin'.

Lately, it seems every Friday, I am making the same thing, which is not to be confused with the same 'old' thing ... because most of us (ahem, with the exception of one boy) enjoy it and we eat it all up.

Chicken and grilled veggies.

Specifically, boneless, skinless chicken thighs AND onions, peppers and mushrooms.

Uh huh.

And if I'm really on top of my game, I go for the skewers ... because everything taste better on a stick, don't you agree?
Oh wait, do we need a recipe? Really? Ok. Here it is:

Boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into about 2 inch pieces
Handful of mini sweet peppers, sliced in 3 pieces (cuz they are small)
Onion, cut in 2 inch piece…

Mass Cooking for the Week

I work full time and then toss in the gym a few nights of the week and it's pretty hectic at times around here. Granted, the Animals are old enough to fend for themselves, Hubby knows how to cook and well, if you are that hungry, MAKE SOMETHING.

But, I'm still a mom at heart and WANT to feed the kids a nourishing meal at the end of the day. Plus I still like the thrill of feeding Hubby something he enjoys ... what can I say. Off subject: just what the heck will I do when they move out (kids)???

Anyways. I don't do freezer cooking per se because I don't have any room in the freezers to really do so. Trust me, once those babies are near empty, that will be my next project!

I AM a big fan though of pre-planning and prepping.  You know, prepare salads for the week, prep the rest of the veggies and so on. Menu Plan.

One of my favorite things is just fill the grill up.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of grabbing a few packages of meat with a small variety like the flank s…

Inspiring Reading

Ahhh, I'm in for such a RUDE awakening tomorrow afternoon.

My boss comes back from being OUT for over 10 days.

The other boss has been gone since last Thursday.

I've really enjoyed the QUIET time (at the office no less!) and have gotten a LOT of work done without interruptions ... ahem.

Seriously, lots and lots of work. It's been nice to see progress.

And of course, I've been able to leisurely surf the net and browse at my convenience.

And I found a pretty neat, informative, motivational and inspiring blog ... I'm only on page 14!

Mom On A Mission.

Seriously. The chickens. The camping. The cooking. The FREEZER cooking. The recipes. And on and on!

I want to go home, whip out the stockpile of ziplocs and have at it! Woohoo!!

Yes. I know. We all do little things with the freezer to get a little ahead of the game. Yes, I am having Tacos tonight. It's in the fridge, thawing.

But she has a PLAN! A real bonafide plan!

:) I'm thrilled .... I can't wait to follo…

Vanilla Ice Cream

A few years back, we got a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Nothing fancy. Plug and play type thing. EXCEPT you have to stick the canister in the freezer for about 24 hours BEFORE making ice cream.

Since we've been working real hard on clearing the freezers, there was FINALLY room to put the canister in! Woohoo!!

Of course, the Animals just use it all summer long for slushies, be it sodas, koolade, gatorade, whatever they can get their hands on ... its in!  I want to try the Orangy Glad things ... I think that would be even better than trying to crush the ice in the blender!

Anyways. For Father's Day we wanted to make Hubby a shake. His favorite is Peanut Butter and chocolate chip. Regardless, we didn't get to the shake mode. But after a near disaster, we did make ice cream (see below for Sonny Boy's close call ... and my solution to scolding for not reading directions!)

2 cups cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar (I think this is TOO much)
1/2 tsp vanilla

With a mixer, mix sugar …

Menu Plan Monday - June 19th to 25th

It's Monday which means time to link up over at Organizing JunkiesMenu Plan Monday! If you haven't checked it out before, you should, 100's of bloggers link their menu plan up and it's really interesting to see what other are eating (plus access to GREAT recipes and blogs you'd normally not come across!)

Sunday - Father's Day - made ice cream in the ice cream maker (watch for upcoming recipe, easy peasy), hot dogs and brats on the grill with some chips and mango salsa on the side.

Monday - Italian beef using some excellent crusty cubano rolls (Gym so everyone will fend for themselves but it's already cooked and ready to go!)

Tuesday - tacos (salad for me) with the works! These keep getting rolled over week to week but I'm determined! (Gym again, everyone fends for themselves, but it's all cooked and ready to go!)

Wednesday - leftovers of some sort or just soup and sandwiches

Thursday - Pizza Bread! This should make the Animals happy happy happy! (Gy…

It's Not Easy

Being married.

I've been married going on 21 years (October) and I've been with Hubby since high school, so it's not like we don't know each other.

Yet, sometimes, we really don't. Or maybe we DO know each other, perhaps a little too well?

I've been being a snob to Hubby the past few days. There. I admit it. Out loud and in writing.

And I feel that I was within my rights.

He had said something to me the other night. Something totally out of line and for no 'apparent' reason that I could see.

It was uncalled for.


And I took serious, personal offense to it.

And decided right then and there, that he should KNOW that would hurt my feelings tremendously. How dare he?

After 48 hours of non-committal responses and just plain not speaking any more than necessary, I finally told him that I was DEMANDING an apology for his remark previously.

He said No. That if I took offense, then there was truth to what he said.

HUH? I said fine. Let it be then. But s…

Energy Cluster Balls (Protein bar substitute)

I've no idea where I got this from (if it's yours, please let me know!) I am thinking that these might be an excellent quick snack to eat before the gym for that extra energy boost instead of those protein bars with a gazillion ingredients listed. That's the problem with going after work, been at least 3 hours since a meal and tired from the 8 hours of work.

I figure that since I have everything in house (stockpiled too with the great deals on peanut butter and Cheerios) it would just be a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the Pure Protein bars from Costco (at Hubby's request recently) ... plus I'm a little happier with the fact that it only has 6 ingredients (well, except the extra stuff in powdered milk and cheerios) ... so it's got to be healthier!

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup dry milk (oy, another recipe to use up this dry milk I have!)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup Cheerios
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
Mix all everything except the Cheerios and su…

The Brown Derby - Vintage Old Fashioned French Dressing

I've got this cookbook that belonged to my Hubby's grandmother.

The Brown Derby Cookbook, circa 1949. She got it for her birthday from the wife of the owner of Silvana Electric Products, Inc. Hubby's grandfather owned an appliance store outside Detroit MI back in the day. Wow. That would explain the pretty pink oven and stove we had for so many years in the house we live in now. How I MISS that oven :)

Anyways ... I love cookbooks. And most folks who know me know it's almost always a perfect gift. I can forgo the cheesy little cupcake books, but give me a genuine cookbook with a variety inside and I'm good to go ... I will sit and read it as a regular book...sort of embarrassing!

Anyways, here's the recipe from the Brown Derby. It should be noted that they use this dressing as the base for a bunch of other dressings which I hope to get typed up and posted soon ...

1 cup water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 tbs salt
1 tbs black pep…

Crunchy Granola

I've been making this recipe for years ... but it's been a little while since I've made it lately ... so it's on my list of June recipes!

I've tried to reduce the sweetness (I think it's a little too sweet) by reducing the amount of brown sugar, but then it doesn't want to hold together all that well, so I recommend the full amount as listed.

This stuff is GREAT over yogurt ...

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups oats (not the quick cook type)
1 cup nuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 275. Line 2 cookies with parchment paper (or wax)

Mix sugar and water, microwave for 5 minutes til sugar is dissolved. Mix well. Add vanilla and salt to this liquid.

Have oats in large bowl, add liquid and nuts, mix well. Spread evenly on cookie sheets as thinly as possible. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour til golden and crunch BUT still a little pliable (don't CRISP it!)
Let cool, then add dry fruit if desired. Store in tightly sealed glass jar(s)…

Summertime and feedng Teens

Seriously, I sometimes think these other kids don't have food in their house. I say that jokingly but then again, maybe not.

Anyways. Summertime is upon us. That means kids are in the house. And for me, that means older teens.

Teens that should know how to prepare something healthy to eat instead of a bag of chips.

I do try to make it a little easier. Afterall, I am a full time working mom AND dedicated to being healthier with trips to the gym (although not as consistently as I'd like) ... so here are a few things that I try to keep on hand:

Fruits - strawberries, blueberries, grapes, melons, whatever is on sale. I don't do a whole lot of apples (most kids don't like them "as much") ... if I get good oranges, they will be devoured, but we are picky on oranges around here.

Veggies - lettuce (if I'm ahead of the game, shredded/sliced thin for sandwiches encourages them to use it), sweet peppers, sliced, celery, carrots (sticks), pickles and other hotter peppe…

Homemade Burger Buns

I got the recipe from Pennies on a Platter and she got it from Smitten Kitchen. Here's the link to Pennies On A Platter ... if you have bread issues, then be sure to check out this link ... pretty helpful!

and here is how I made them:

1 pkg rapid rise yeast
2 1/2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
3 tbs milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tbs butter, unsalted and room temp

Mix everything but milk and butter in the big kitchen aide mixer using the paddle. I had to dig mine out of the laundry room cabinet and then dust it off and wash the bowl and all. But that's ok, I love my kitchen aide and am very sad that I haven't used it much lately. It's currently on the kitchen counter in it's new home.

So. Add the flour and mix. Once all combined, replace the paddle with the dough hook and let it go for 6 to 8 minutes to knead.

The dough is very very soft. Spray large bowl with non stick spray and dump dough in and turn over to coat. Cover t…

Menu Plan Monday - 06/12 to 06/18

Time to get the Menu Plan in gear! 

Sunday - ribs, hot dogs, baked beans and cole slaw (which we are rained out so this is being moved! Ended up eating leftovers and Orange You Glads :))
Monday - Chicken marsala and noodles. Will prep all in the morning to reheat after the gym
Tuesday - Fish and rice. I've got these Starkist Seasation things in the freezer to try out. Rice from the rice cooker
Wednesday - Tacos .... these are bumped from last week, ground chicken in freezer already seasoned and cooked
Thursday -  Asian Shrimp stir fry and potstickers (freezer)
Friday - Chicken thighs and peppers and onions skewers
Saturday - JIB Room ... gotta use up my $40 LivingSocial coupon ...

Looking for ideas or just want to know what others have on their tables? Hop on over to Organizing JunkieMenu Plan Mondays and check out 100's of others!  hehe...I'm like 178 or so at 12pm on Monday ... oh my!

Pizza Bread

I hate that I forget some of the easiest meals that please the masses ... Pizza Bread is one of them ...

Surely you've made this before ... it's been awhile but it's definately being added back on the rotation list ... another thing I'm teaching Sonny Boy how to make for his future as a college student.

Loaf of French Bread (or Italian, whatever you can find!)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded (or sliced)
Jar pizza sauce (or canned, or homemade)
a little bit of parsley (fresh or dried)
dash of garlic powder
dash of onion powder
Red pepper flakes *optional
Parmasan cheese (green can is acceptable for college kids) optional*

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut loaf in half diagonally. Spread sauce evenly on cut sides of bread. Top with cheese and sprinkle with seasonings. IF you have, top with pepperoni if desired.

Bake 10 minutes or til cheese is bubbly and melted. Careful when you eat, nothing is worse than burning the roof of your mouth!

This is assuming that they are sti…

Orange You Glad (treat treat!)

*NOTE: Made this again and this time put 2 scoops of vanilla whey protein in (after a workout) and eliminated the vanilla ... yeah baby, that was an EXCELLENT post workout treat!*

Yeah, yeah, I know, my naming of thing stinks. Tell me about it.

But this is de. li. cious!  Got the recipe from Lynns Kitchen a while back, had written it down on a piece of scrap paper and tucked it away in the little recipe pile (you know the one!)

Hubby's driving me NUTS for ice cream. But um, I really don't have a whole lot of room in the freezer to put ice cream. Well, WHEN I get around to reorganizing the freezers, then I probably will as we've made good progress lately in eating stuff out of it (plus the kids took a 5 lb bag of wings and a 2 lb bag of fries on Friday for a fry fest at a friends house ... Hubby wondered if that was ok and I was like, HECK YEAH!).

Anyways, I remembered I had this so pulled out the massive Misc. file and sorted through 200 plus pieces of paper to find it ...…

Frugal Entertainment - Movie Watching

We are Frugal, for the most part. Of course, I confessed over here how easy it is to fall off the wagon and have spent the better part of the week beating myself up over it. Seriously. But it is time to move on ...

I mentioned that some things I do, others would think were frivolous. And I also mentioned that each family and budget are completely different.

We have cable. Just basic cable, none of those movie channels that will bring your bill almost as high as your mortgage payment if you aren't careful.

We also have Netflix. Yes, Netflix. I get the DVD's in the mail AND can watch on the computer AND we also hook through the Xbox and/or Wii.

It cost me $16 (give or take a few pennies) a month.

And I say it's well worth it.

The kids and friends will plop down in the Florida Room and watch movies all night long. Some are funny (to me) and others are, well, ::shudder:: freaky. But hey, they are all grown kids now and if they want to sleep fitfully because of that scary st…

Receipe Review - HG Hot Wings

I've had these on my to try list for a while and finally made them this past week.

I had to go buy FiberOne, and it was on sale b1g1f AND I had some decent coupons ... so I had it!

Can I just tell you....they look like Kibble ... as in animal food. No. I don't mean TEENS, but real live furry food.

AND, for some odd reason, the package contains TWO bags. Hmmmm

OK. So I'm off to do this ...

I had to hurry up and grind the kibble before anyone saw it...they certainly would have made comments and been a little less inclined to try the new recipe, so I grabbed the Magic Bullet, and had to do a quick wipe down as it was all sticky from one of the two legged animals...

I've got my 2 (plus, because I'm doubling the recipe) ounces of chips. Ummm. Do not feel like spending that kind of money for fat free chips ($3 for a can of pringles??)...again, Make Do!

Trust me, crush them in the bag (after you open bag), much easier...

Franks. Need to buy more Franks ::adding to list,…

Making Do

I came across this description of a sandwich:

Herb Roast Chicken Breast sandwich, with fresh mozzarella, portabella mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and a pesto sauce.

The picture showed it as a pressed sandwich.

Yummm....I so see this in my very near future!

Now, to just find an acceptable pesto sauce. Oh wait, I do have a small mini jar in the pantry that I could use. I probably WILL use that as I have almost everything else to make something like this, except for the yummy bread ...

BUT that's not gonna stop me! I will find something acceptable to replace it ... such as one of these lingering potato rolls (hot dog x 2 and sandwich x 5) ... which is actually sounding pretty darn good right now!

I don't have portabella shrooms, but do have plain white ones and then the canned ones that would fit in.

I also don't have the herb roasted chicken breast. But I have lots and lots of chicken and well, I'm sure I can come up with a suitable replacement to the herb roasted versi…

Breaking the Habit

No, I'm not talking about the nicotine habit. Thankfully, we kicked that habit right out the door about 3 1/2 years ago or so (October 31st, whatever year it was that Hubby flew to Kentucky to the hand specialist for reconstructive surgery).  It's no longer such a big deal (either thing) that I don't remember just how many years it's been.

What I AM talking about is the Spending Habit.  And the need to constantly be aware of the Habit.

I consider myself to be a fairly frugal gal for the most part. Seriously.

Yes, I have certain things that I feel are necessary that others would certainly feel are frivolous ... I say the same about others, but really, each family, each budget, is totally UNIQUE in that regard.

Recently, I rediscovered how EASY it is to fall off the wagon and hop right back in bed with that SPENDING HABIT.

Vegas. Indiana. Woe Me.

First there was that sense of 'entitlement' I felt. I'm going to VEGAS baby! It's my BIRTHDAY! IN VEGAS!

So I…

Baked Potato Bar

I've got one kid who is fairly picky about food. So to find something that HE likes that everyone else will enjoy too, and HEALTHY'ier' on top of it, well, I'm all in!

I buy the potatoes at Costco usually ... a big honkin 20lber. About $8. They are nice and big (size of your hand) and for the most part, pretty fresh and decent ...

Scrub the taters like wild. Um, I hate to say it, but they've been living in dirt for quite a while. Prick them with a fork, or cut an x shape in the skin (don't forget to do this, exploding taters in the oven really is a pain to clean!)

Place them all on a baking sheet and drizzle a little oil over them. Give them a massage with the oil, rubbing it all around.

Sprinkle all with course salt.

Bake at 400 for 45 to 60 minutes, til they squish a bit when you gently squeeze them.

Set up your bar. Go ahead, use some nice bowls ... don't just toss the containers on the countertop :)

Show a little love here:

Shredded cheese of choice

Gardening. The Frugal Way

I know, I know, our gardening season is pretty much over until like, October? Between the heat and the SUN baking everything around it, it's just useless to try and keep anything alive outside of grass. Even that is difficult this year (we are fast approaching severe drought conditions).

BUT I just couldn't help myself. I have no restraint.

I took the tomato seeds from a beautiful, delicious tomato and painstakingly placed them in a few pieces of paper towel. Lined them up. Folded the towel in half 2 times. Dampened with water and stuck in a large ziploc bag.

Added a few drops of water daily and then left them alone for about a week.

I've got sprouts. Woohoo.

I did the same thing with some excellent sweet mini peppers. Only I didn't painstakingly spread the seeds out, but they are sprouting in one large ball.

So this morning, I dug out my lettuce seeds. And the sunflowers, and the sugar snap peas. And the Roma tomatoes and did the same thing.

I also saved the root bot…

Menu Plan Monday

Ok, I'm back in business with a plan this week! At least I hope so!

After going on vacation and then having to fly out immediately for a funeral and THEN getting sick, I'm so very ready to get back on schedule with EVERYTHING in my life!

So first things first: Menu Plan!

Sunday: Shrimp cocktail (for me). Kids are all out and well, I'm taking the easy road!

Monday: Hubby is home at last. Making Sausage and peppers with onion skewers. Using the Apple Chicken Sausage from freezer. No side dish, unless anyone wants a salad too.

Tuesday: Sonny Boy graduation! I'm so excited for him. Unfortunately, it's at 7pm, he has to be at school by 5:30 and we probably won't be home til 9pm so seriously, may just make a sandwich bar up in the morning, stash in the fridge so it's ready at 9 when we get home. Luckily I have everything in fridge/pantry to do this!  I might just make up a small batch of potato salad too with the left over baked taters (2) that I have in the frid…

Herby Rice Pilaf


That's the date stamp on this recipe from Stephskitchen. It's no longer an active website, although I really wish it was! She lived in the upper midwest and Hubby was in the service. But alas, I just googled it and nothing.

I prefer to make THIS when we have an herby type rice. BUT Hubby, for some reason, really likes that Rice A Roni (the San Francisco Treat) Herb and Butter stuff. Ummm, have you looked at the sodium content? 960 mg, 40%/44% of your daily recommended allowance. No thanks!

This, I think, is much healthier :)

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tbs butter
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (really, any less than reduced sodium?)
1 envelope instant chicken noodle soup (which I never have, so I use a ramen package of seasoning, BUT see the note below!)
1 tbs dried parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup spaghetti or angel hair pasta (or vermicelli IF you have it), broken into little pieces

In large nonst…

Oriental Salad

This recipe has been around forever, and actually, my copy came from my MIL which she had copied out of one of the local women's cookbooks ... I treasure it all the more now because I always think of her when I make it and now that she's passed on, well, it's still hard.

Most people like this, even if it's based on cabbage. Just an absolute delicious salad for those summer bbqs!

Bag of coleslaw (or just plain cabbage, shredded, small to medium size head)
8 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup peanuts (or other nuts you like), toasted and cooled
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled
2 pkgs ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 red pepper, chopped


4 tbs sugar (I've used splenda and equal with no issues)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp salt (I've always used less)
6 tbs rice wine vinegar
*or, you can do like I sometimes do and just use the seasoning packet and omit the salt & pepper*

Place all veggies in a large mixing bowl.

Just before serving, mix in the…

While the Hubby is away

I've gone out with the girls, and now I need to tackle my LIST. Gads, what a list it is!

1. Clean South Windows (and sliding glass door)
2. Laundry: Wash, Dry, Iron, Fold, Hang
3. Grind coffee
4. Publix
5. Clean fridge out (Main, Guest, Garage)
6. Rearrange freezer (Main, Guest, Garage)
7. Menu Plan for week (Hubby home Monday, Sonny Boy graduates Tuesday, gym Wednesday and Thursday)
8. Pull recipes for menu plan
9. Clean closet floor (again?? Already?? Yes!)
10. Clean laundry room floor and countertop
11. Wash bathroom rugs (all 3)
12. Vacuum West side of house
13. Mop West side of house
14. Detail master bath: countertop, tub, shower, toilet, mirror, floor.
15. Clean mirrors on master bedroom closet doors
16. Clean off big table
17. Set postings (um, I never seem to get around to that!)
18. Clean big table. Once and for all
19. Organize those coupons (drats)
20. Make Graduation card
21. Set bill pay
22. balance check book
23. Remove checkbook from purse and stash
24. Remove debi…

Asian Chicken Soup

I got this out of an Everyday Food magazine a while back and everytime I make it, Princess devours it. That is one soup lovin kid. Easy and ready in no time flat. And most of the time, I have everything needed to make it, with the exception of the snowpeas ... but you can always modify it if necessary!

Yeah, I know it's officially summer time and most of us are experiencing high heat, but I'm still fighting a cold and well, this is so yummy ...

3 cans of chicken broth/stock
1 tbs fresh grated ginger (or if you are like me, just use the dry powdery stuff)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups water
4 oz of noodles (whole wheat angel hair, soba, rice, whatever you have)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin (I'm using chicken strips that I have in the freezer already)
1 red bell pepper cut in thin strips (using sweet baby peppers)
6 oz snow peas, trimmed and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1+ tbs fresh lime juice (I believe I still have…

The Beginning of Hurricane Season - a copy of email from the City of Fort Lauderdale

Today Marks the Beginning of the 2011 Hurricane Season.  Are You Ready?As residents of South Florida, we are never far from the possible dangers associated with hurricanes. The most important step everyone can take to survive a hurricane is to prepare. If you have not completed your hurricane preparations, the time to do so is now. Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit Now!Have enough emergency supplies to last for at least 3 days. At a minimum, be sure to include: _ Water (one gallon per person per day) _ Non-perishable, ready-to-eat food (manual can opener) _ Disposable plates and utensils _ Battery-powered flashlight _ Battery-powered radio _ Extra batteries _ First aid kit _ Cash _ Prescription medication (two-week supply) _ Eye glasses or contact lenses _ Toilet paper, soap, wipes, personal hygiene items _ Large plastic garbage bags _ Change of clothes, gloves, sturdy shoes, rain gear _ Blankets and pillows _ Keys (home, vehicle, boat) _ Tools (including rope, duct tape, tarp) _ Unscented bleach _ Supplies …