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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Grain Free Biscuits

I remember the first time I made these biscuits ... I had them on my radar to make for a few weeks ... I priced almond flour. All I wanted was one measly cup of almond flour. And it was going to cost me like $10. Yikes. In case you forgot, the name of the blog is FRUGAL in Florida. $10 for one pound of flour is NOT frugal. But a little research, and checking the post over and over and drooling, I finally thought "heck, I've got almonds coming out my ears in this house!" ... and then I found that I could MAKE MY OWN ALMOND FLOUR! I was so excited so I hopped right to it and got baking!

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup butter, cut in small cubes
4 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium size bowl, mix the flour and butter and mix with fork until you have little pea size crumbles of butter and flour. Add egg, salt and baking powder, mix to combine. Divide in to 4 portions, try to keep them mounded as they will want to spread (thin mixture) and place on a baking sheet that is either well oiled or use a silpat mat.

A little 'soupy'

Bake at 350 til golden brown, about 20 minutes or so.

The results? Impressive. Ummm, I don't think I will be buying bagels any more for my breakfast sandwiches. They were a little 'nutty' and a tad bit 'grainy' ... if only I had a Vitamix! (I do now!)  But still good. I'm actually thinking of making some mini hot ham and swiss sandwiches with these bad boys. Or just layer it up with some guac and call it a day! They were that flavorful!

UPDATED: So, I got a little curious ... and broke down and bought a one pound bag of almond flour. The difference in the 'real deal' and mine was like night and day. Fine, not dark (mine had the skins still on which made it look speckled) and just BETTER. Yeah, seriously BETTER. If only I had a Vitamix! (I do now!)  Anyways ... tweaked the recipe a little bit:

1 cup of almond flour
1 tsp baking powder, slightly heaping
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg whites (extra large)
1/3 cup of butter, COLD and cut in cubes

Mix first 3 ingredients and give a good stir. Add in the butter cubes and mix up til little pebbles/peas start to form.

Give egg whites a little whipping and stir in to the flour mix. Mix well. Using just 3 extra large eggs made the batter a little thicker.

Make 4 piles on the baking mat. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Ohhh and Ahhh and think, wow, the REAL DEAL does make a difference!

Dough/batter was much more manageable than first time

See how they wanted to spread real fast first time?

Yes, now I feel the need to find a good deal on almond flour OR buy a Vitamix  NOT. They really did taste like biscuits and were nice and flakey moist. Next time I think I'll bake them a few more minutes as they are NOT hold in your hand material if you cut in half and layer with anything (fried egg and bacon for breakfast and italian beef for dinner). SO much better the 2nd time around!

Now ... the next time I make these? I'm going to try and use the egg whites only that come in a carton ... I'll let you know how it goes!

Looking forward to sharing over at some of these GREAT Blog Parties! Go check some out!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Guaranteed Juicy Chicken Breast

Guaranteed. Juicy Chicken Breast.


Really. I did type that up.

Really, I made that the title.

That's how certain I am that this is GUARANTEED to give you juicy chicken breast~

Would you like to come over and see Hubby roll his eyes when I tell him we are having chicken breast for dinner?

He's tired of chicken breast. Even more so, tired of the dried out pieces of fowl because Hubby likes ALL his meat well done.

Ahem. Might as well drag that chicken breast down the road and back up a few times and do a couple of burnouts over it.

Ok. So let's not be so dramatic. However, if this was a Scat Pack, I might even donate a whole chicken or two .. just because ... 

OH. Wait. You are here for the yummy, yet simple recipe, not car tips, huh?


I love chicken breast. But Hubby, he has this odd notion that flavors need to be concentrated, and the only way you can get that is when you cook something on low heat for a looooong time. 

Can I just tell you, concentrated meat is not all that, in my opinion.

So, slowly, not Super Bee or Scat Cat style, I'm changing his way of thinking. It's taking a LONG time, but we are getting there. I try not to be judgmental or condescending (a filet mignon WELL DONE? WTF??) ... and like all things, repeat, repeat, repeat and eventually, it just falls in place.

So this recipe? It's simply the basis for my BLT Inspired Chicken Salad meat. I've had this on the menu numerous times, and a few times (more than I want to admit publicly) we ended up just having the chicken by itself with some veggies (or rice, for "those" people) and called it a meal.

Time and time again, I have been told how freakin' juicy the chicken is. Even by that man, Hubby.

It's simple.

And does not require any funky ingredients or long @ss marinading and procedure. That alone is a BIG hit in my mind!

Here's what you need:

3 pounds or so of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
fresh basil chopped
black pepper to taste

Measure your oil and vinegar in a measuring glass. Add the basil and then grab a fork or whisk and whisk til combined. Don't worry, you arent' emulsifying it, just blending it. Toss in the basil and give it one final stir.

Toss your chicken breast in a ziploc (or shoebox) and pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the top. Flip (shake) the chicken around to coat all the pieces.

Let marinate UP TO one hour. Any longer than that and I think your chicken will get funky, and no one likes Funky Chicken!

When ready to cook, fire up your grill and take the chicken out of the marinade, putting it on a platter to drain a little.  Oil the grates of the grill and then put the chicken on, cooking over medium heat til cooked through, flipping half way through.

TIP: If you want the pretty grill marks, the grates gotta be HOT when you first put the chicken on. IF you oil the grates, you will be able to turn each piece 1/4 counterclockwise without sticking or tearing the meat.

Serve up with a side of green beans or roasted broccoli and ENJOY!

Looking forward to sharing at some of these AWESOME PARTIES! Go check them out!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bread Dipping Stuff

*I plan to dip with my grain free biscuits in order to stay on track with my eating habits!)

I try so very hard to stay away from grains and such, specifically, BREAD ... I love bread but it doesn't necessarily share the same affection for me ...

But if I'm going to any Italian restaurant, you better believe I'm eating ALL the bread they bring to the table. Hubby knows that too ... so he grabs his single piece to set aside while I seriously stuff my face. How embarrassing it must be for my table mates ...

Take me to Carrabbas and don't worry about feeding me anything BUT the bread and that dipping stuff ... OMG ... I've died and gone to heaven.

I make a version of this for parties ... but it's not real heavy on stuff, just a lot of olive oil, a dash of red pepper flakes, a dash of garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. If I'm up to it and have it, I will also add a small amount of shredded Parmesan cheese, but most of the time, not. All ingredients are eyeballed and we are good to go. Not really a party friendly food in that everyone is dribbling but ohhing and awwing while they stuff THEIR face, much in the same way I must do!

Then, when I saw this recipe, I thought ... hmmm .... I need to give this a shot ... and I did.

The good thing is that this keeps in the pantry (or fridge if you use the fresh garlic) so hey, you can have a small batch of the herb-y stuff just waiting for you to say "CRAVE TIME" and whip up a small batch ...

Go ahead, gather up the following and indulge:

1 tablespoon of EACH:

black pepper
red crushed pepper flakes
garlic (I used fresh stuff since it's hanging out in the fridge)
and 2 teaspoons of garlic salt

Mix all together in small container with a tight fitting lid (a small canning jar works great!) and stick in the pantry/fridge.

When you are ready to have a little something special grab yourself a small dish, add 2 or 3 tbs of the mix and then top with olive oil, as much or as little as you like, stirring well to combine. Slice up some crusty bread (baguettes are perfect for this) and dip away, remembering to wipe your chin of any dribble so as not to embarrass those around you ;-)

Go ahead and dig in ...

*Can I just tell you something, real QUICK? This makes a GREAT mini marinade for chicken ... brush it on and then grill it up ... oh yum!*

Looking forward to sharing at some of these GREAT PARTIES!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Menu Plan Week 138 - Using What We Have

Hi hi .... it's that time of the week again! Time to Menu Plan and Meal Prep for the week ahead!

I know some of you caught my little ending note on last week's menu about going Paleo ... I've eaten along those lines for a while but still had the occasional dairy and grains mixed in just to be a "part of the group" and well, sometimes, because I just wanted it!  It's not that EASY to give up the stuff that you've eaten for years and years, even if I know that some of it creates the issues I'm dealing with ... it just taste damn yummy ;-)

Last week? Went pretty well. The menu plan was NOT followed 100%, or even 80%, truth be told!  BUT, I did have all my meals from home, with the exception of Friday's office lunch out ... and I did fairly well with the eating ... except for the booze (beer, classic margaritas) which I know is going to be my downfall. And by the way, for those of you who have not noticed yet: booze leads to horrible eating ... just saying.

So this week? Going to be much more F.O.C.U.S.E.D.  Hubby's home for the week (at least, at this moment he has no plans to travel) and I'm going to make this week work for me, and pull him in alongside.  He's not going to give up his grains .... BUT I will make better choices for him when I'm cooking ;-) That's what a good wife does, right? The kids? Well, I can't make their choices for them as they are young adults now ... the Boy is pretty health conscious (but does believe in whole grains and dairy) and the Princess has her own odd eating habits. We are a fine bunch!

Half the problem (ok, the majority of the problem) with Paleo is that a lot of time can be spent in the kitchen which can get frustrating.  I plan to try and be a little proactive on this front and will focus on meal prep when I can to give me a leg up on those evenings where I just want to crash on the couch with a bag of chips.  So, Sunday, I am aiming to make me some Grain Free Biscuits (will share my proposed modification if it works out) to stash in the freezer for those days where I just feel I must have some bread-like stuff, will roast some broccoli, steam some cauliflower (coincidentally, I avoided Costco - and paying the renewal fee - since Publix had broccoli and cauliflower on sale!) and make some mayo. I'd like to steam/boil some eggs and make some tuna salad also for quick lunches this week too. Oh, I picked up some more green beans because I really enjoyed them for breakfast with eggs (sounds odd but it was pretty tasty!) and may just make them all one morning before going to work because the above meal prep looks to be alot ;-)

Oh. Yeah. I'm also going to let the crock pot do a little work this week too!

Here's what we are looking at for the week ahead (when I know exactly what I plan to swap if necessary, I'll note, otherwise I will be winging it as we go!)

Sunday - Chili Cheese Dogs ... obviously, I will skip the bun and cheese but better believe I will have mine with some spiralized zucchini, onions, chili, cut up hot dog and a little bit of diced avocado. The rest of the gang will have it the standard way. The ONLY reason this is on the menu is because we took out the hot dogs that were picked up at the German market to take on the boat Saturday ... no boating due to heavy lightning and Hubby is adamant that we not lot these go to waste! Chili is from the freezer (already grain/dairy free so it's a winner and its the last I have in the freezer). Buns and zucchini were picked up at Aldi's earlier this week

*Sorry, no tater tots today*

Monday - BLT Inspired Chicken Salad. Believe it or not, this is already perfectly dairy/grain free ;-). Chicken in freezer, salad stuff in fridge (bought butter lettuce from Aldi's), bacon in fridge and rest of stuff in fridge/pantry

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday (surprise!) ... as always, mine will be a salad sans cheese and I will have some diced avocado alongside. Beef from freezer (although, thinking of stopping at Fresh Market for the $2.99 per pound beef), balance of ingredients in pantry/fridge

*Need new picture here too

Wednesday - Smokey Crock of Pork (this is already grain/dairy free!) ... will offer those who prefer, kaiser rolls and I will most likely just eat mine with some mashed cauliflower. Will use the pork chops in freezer (Costco), balance of those ingredients in pantry. Cauliflower head was picked up at Publix on Sunday

*So need new pictures of this!*

Thursday - fingers crossed that we have leftovers to consume ;-) If not, we will have soup and sandwiches (deli roll ups for me!). Really want to make the broth-y onion soup like Benihana and I have everything on hand to do so (plus, I realize, I've never re-done the recipe and posted with pictures!). Lunch meat in fridge and freezer and if necessary, I will make some more ranch dressing

Friday - Looking forward to HOPEFULLY making some meatballs and will serve with Victoria's Marinara Sauce (Costco find, sugar free and 100% real ingredients) and zucchini noodles (for me) and pasta (for those who prefer it that way) ... new recipe and fingers crossed it's as good as it sounds. Veal is in freezer, rest of ingredients are in the pantry/fridge

Saturday - Hubby's choice which will most likely be chicken thighs on the grill in some shape or form ;-)

I have SO MANY recipes I want to try and must refrain from doing so!

What are YOU looking to make this week? I'm sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Party ... go check it out!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review of Flexible Wire Skewers

A while ago, I ran across these at Bed Bath & Beyond and of course, I had to try them out. No, this is not a paid review or sponsored in any way. I am NO WHERE near that big or on any one's radar (but hey, feel free to send me free stuff to try, but I am brutally honest!)


Now that we have that out of the way ... here's what I think.

These cost a mere $9.99. Of course, I used my 20% off coupon which made them a magical number of $7.99 ;-) ahem, a quick look at Amazon shows me they have them at $7.19 IF you are a Prime Member! *yes, THAT is an affiliate link!*

I wasn't really SURE what to expect when I opened the package.  Certainly not this:

They reminded me of cable wires ... like what we have on the boat lift. Hmmm...

The cool thing was the tabs on the end, although, in the end, I did not use them the way the instructions told me to ;-)

So, I had all these peppers that were going down hill fast and I wanted to grill them babies up ... my original plan was to make chicken, pepper and onion kaboobs ... but ...

I was too lazy and didn't feel like cutting up all the chicken too ...

So, instead, I only cut up the peppers and sweet onions and threaded them on the skewers.

I really liked the feel when I was threading the veggies on ... the tips are sharp but not dangerously so and they are nice and smooth. Once it got to the cable area, even better as the tips are a tad larger so the food threads on really easy!

I drizzled a little olive oil and salt and pepper and then tossed them on the grill. Let them cook a little and grab the loop end with tongs and just move around.  *Ok, so here's where you are supposed to let the loop ends and tabs hang off on the outside of the grill so the tabs are "cool to touch" and such, but heck, I just wanted to grill and eat, not mess with strategic handling of the skewers!

These got a nice little char on the edge but not over cooked ... dare I say, borderline perfect?

Pulling the veggies off the skewers was super easy too! Just hold the loop end up in the air and push the veggies off the open end! Yes!

I chopped up the chicken, tossed with the veggies on a platter and dished up. I opted to drizzle mine with some dairy free, grain free ranch dressing and garnished with some fresh parsley since I finally had some!

Would I buy these again? For $7.99, or even better, $7.19, yes! There is a LOT of space for food and you don't have that flimsy falling off the end of the skewer issue since the cable and the tip are a good size.

What do you think? Would YOU buy them?

Looking forward to sharing my review and simple recipe at some of these great parties!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Menu Plan Week 137 - Using What We Have

Hi hi ... it's that time again, ALREADY! Sunday Funday and time to get ready for the week ahead!

Can you believe it, the 2nd week of August. Those of you with school age children have got to be sad that, already, summer is coming to an end way quicker than years past, it seems.  The tax free shopping week is here and that means I need to stay away from the stores, more so than usual, as I don't want to get in the middle of those who NEED to be buying supplies and those who WANT to buy supplies ... hmmm ... it's that Want vs Need thing again ...

Hubby's traveling again this week from Tuesday to late Thursday. We've got friends coming in for a week on Tuesday so Friday and Saturday should be fun entertaining nights, hopefully.

I need to get seriously get focused on my eating, drinking, living habits. Exercise? Yeah, that too. Doing 50 crunches, 50 squats and 50 walking lunges is nice and all, but not if it's only 1 day a month, you know? The weight is creeping up, the mid section is getting larger and softer and well, I feel like CRAP physically and mentally. Inflammation? We won't talk about that as it's become something that is just in the background constantly. I KNOW I can make it better and I just need to get focused. So this week, that's what I'm aiming for ...

Even though we plan on boating today, I'm hoping to get some food prep out of the way today before the week ahead, even though the week looks light at work, I've got stuff I'd like to be doing at home. So I'm hoping to make some mayo, grain free biscuits, and prep some salad stuff. I cleaned all 3 refrigerators out last Wednesday night and pretty much am down to very minimal veggies as some things were just hanging out too long so I'm looking at making ONE stop only this week at the store for salad stuff and milk for the family. It would be nice if that works out for me since I've done really well the past few weeks (since Costco) with shopping ;-)

*Update - we are under a boil water alert (lovely!) so things are going to be interesting after all on the cooking front. Luckily I had bought a 36 count water bottle flat from Costco for boating purposes that I tapped in to ... dishwasher is getting filled up quick though with breakfast. By the end of the evening, the dishwasher is tapped out and there is a full sink of dishes to be washed. Not a single thing was done food prep wise except removal of protein from the freezers. Boo.

I am aiming to eat ALL meals from home ... last week had ... THREE nights out! That was a little excessive, don't you think?? Granted, we had leftovers that fed lunch the next day, but still! Even with friends coming in, I'm going to shoot for patio meals!

Here's what I'm looking forward to making this week:

Sunday Funday - boating floating earlier in the day so something simple ... pork chops grilled on the grill with some green beans on the side. Chops are from the freezer (Costco) and green beans are in the garage fridge (Costco) ... I'm going to be upset if i have to throw the 2 bags of green beans out because I let them sit for too long!

Monday - Steaks and roasted broccoli on the grill ... yes, steaks on a Monday. Steaks from the freezer, broccoli in the fridge. The broccoli will be roasted on the grill this week as we have FINALLY gotten rid of the funky smell in the kitchen (not sure if it was Snuffy or another 'friend' of something we were cooking) and I really don't want to stink up the house again, so soon! Gosh, I'm really hoping TODAY the boil water alert is lifted so I can get back to washing dishes ... not to mention, I want to make some mayo and biscuits!!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday ... will have mine as a taco salad. Beef in freezer (relocated to fridge to thaw), toppings in fridge. Will have the Boy make me some guac using the Wholly Guacamole (Costco) package in the freezer (I've got lots in there!)

Wednesday - chicken on the grill ... looking forward to a nice quiet evening ... will just do a quick olive oil with salt & pepper and a salad on the side

Thursday - leftovers and/or soup and salad/sandwiches ... Hubby comes in late (10ish) so I'll have a sandwich set up for him to eat. I will just have deli roll-ups ...

Friday - friends over for dinner, most likely, burgers on the grill (beef from freezer) with street fries (again, still waiting to make this recipe!). Will need to check the status of the potatoes in the fridge and will need buns also ... may serve up a side of cabbage salad. At some point this weekend ahead, I'd like to make some Salt & Vinegar Wings since I have everything on hand, and yes, I have a little craving for them!

This time, though, I will cook them in the oven and be in control ;-)

Saturday - most likely friends over again and I'm going to let Hubby make the call. Hopefully we will go boating with our friends and order out (pizzas, which I will need to avoid if that's the case)

What are YOU making this week?

Looking forward to sharing over at the Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday and some of these other great parties! Go check them out!

*So ... I think I'm finally going to take the plunge and go Paleo. Well, mostly Paleo. I can't do it 100%, I like booze ... I love beer! But I do know that cutting out the grains really helps out with my hands and since I'm starting to get some digestive issues to boot (not sure it that's part of that "change" that's happening or food related, but do know that what I eat does effect me!) ... and of course if I could lose a little of this fluffy sh*t, I'd be thrilled. I'm trying to decide if I want to share a page on this site or if I want to start another page with a daily food journal ... what do you think?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sticky & Sweet Chicken Wings

I still can't believe all those years passed me by where I turned my nose up at chicken wings ... what the heck was I thinking??!! Now, it seems, I can't get enough of them!

I made this recipe a while ago when I had a girls night ... they were pretty tasty and I've made them a few times since, but the Salt & Vinegar Wings have made an appearance more often than these. Time to fix that slight snub ;-)

I had said the last time, when I posted the recipe, that I would probably skip the "sticky" addition and not baste and cook the wings in the sauce, but you know what, they are called Sticky & Sweet for a reason ... so I still swabbed them and cooked them with the sauce ...

Here's who I did it:

30 wings (I took the plunge and learned how to break down the whole wing here ... easy!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (um, I actually did a few shakes and *may* have added a touch too much)

For the sauce you will need:
1 cup of hickory flavored bbq sauce (I just use whatever I have, including Hubbys sauce)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs Srirarchi (or other hot sauce you have on hand)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Turn oven on to heat to 375. I used my convection roast option.

Rinse and dry wings. Generously spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Lay wings out on a baking tray. Sprinkle the seasoning over them. I should have flipped and seasoned both sides but I didn't.

Bake wings 25 minutes and then flip them all over and bake another 20 minutes. I like mine well done.

While the wings are cooking, make your sauce. Just mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

After wings have cooked for the 45 minutes and they are done, use a brush and brush the sauce generously over all the wings and put back in oven for 10 minutes or so. Flip them again and sauce up the naked backsides. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, stand back, admire, and taste one. Yummm ...

If you are serving at a gathering, you can toss them in a crockpot on warm if desired.

Looking forward to sharing these at a few of these great blog parties ... go check them out!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

No-Bake Salty & Sweet Treat

*Hubby's traveling this week so I want to make him something sweet to eat when he comes home on Friday. Since I have everything on hand, I'm making this and wanted to share the recipe again!*

We usually watch FoodTV in the morning both Saturday and Sunday as we putz around getting the bedroom cleaned up and in the kitchen doing stuff ... sometimes I get a little inspiration and other times I get a complete recipe ;-)

Another keeper that I picked up from FoodTV's Trisha Yearwood show ... most of her recipes are super simple to make and use everyday ingredients that you probably already have in stock!  That's what makes this one another winner!

I'm trying really hard to NOT buy premade sweet stuff for the house as I have a HARD time saying no ... but if I have to mix up a bunch of ingredients and PREPARE the sweet treat, I'm ok with that ... at least I know exactly whats in there!

This recipe is really simple, and chances are,  you have everything to whip up a batch right this second

1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
2 cups of pretzel sticks, crushed (um, I tossed mine in the Vitamix and gave it a quick whirl)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup peanut butter (not chunky)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used regular, whereas she suggest milk chocolate)

In a medium size bowl, mix the melted butter, pretzels, sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter. Stir til well combined. Press into the bottom of 9 x 13 dish.

Combine the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of peanut butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time til melted. 2 rounds should be enough time.

Mix well to blend, then spread over the top of pretzel mix layer.

Place in fridge and allow to chill at least 1 hour before cutting into small squares.

Go ahead and give this a try, it's pretty yummy!

Looking forward to sharing at some of these awesome blog parties ... go check them out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Frugal Tip - Freezing Bread

It's been a while since I've done a Frugal Tip ... so here you go!

I bought a large loaf of UDI's gluten free bread from Costco a while ago knowing full well that no one but ME would most likely be eating it ... and of course, I try not to eat a whole lot of bread ... so what's a girl to do?

Freeze it!

But, oops, have you seen the insides of my freezers? No way a whole loaf was going to get squished in any of them, not to mention, I sort of wanted to protect this pricey bread from freezer burn AND be able to use a little as I go along ... not the whole loaf.


Remember those sandwich bags I picked up to freeze the chicken breast?

Remember the concept behind freezing the chicken breast individually?

Yup, applied the same thought process to freezing the bread.

I simply froze 2 slices in each baggie. Folded them close and stuck them in a LARGE freezer style ziploc bag and stored that bag in the door of the garage freezer.


So now, when I get the urge to have toast, generally after a night of drinking unhealthy beverages, I just grab a little baggie, toss it on the counter for about 15 minutes and then toss it in the toaster while my eggs and bacon are cooking away .... 


Honestly, this is really a no-brainer and I would highly recommend it for those of you who have bread that goes bad in the pantry (here, here, it seems no one eats bread and then when they DO want some, it's a science project gone bad) ... I can't believe I didn't think of this before!

*This was great when I was doing the Pantry / Freezer Challenge in July as I had bread!!*

Do you freeze your bread?

Check out some of the parties I'm looking to share this great tip with!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Menu Plan Monday Week 136 - Using What We Have

Ugh. Can you believe it's AUGUST?? I mean, seriously, where has the time gone??

The week ahead should be an easy week ... Hubby travels on Tuesday and comes back Friday night. I'm dealing with allergies which is new to me but now I realize it's not the onset of a vicious cold, just a serious allergy to something ... I've no clue what but seems that whenever we get a sprinkle of rain, the flood gates for the sinuses open up. Must be pollen related, I'm sure.

Food prep was a slight miss this weekend ... I boiled 10 eggs. Cleaned a head of butter lettuce.

That's it. Whoops. Blame the sinuses.

I'd like to stay out of the store this week after breaking the Pantry / Freezer Challenge with a stop at Costco ... and, quite honestly, I should be able to feed whoever is around this week with what we have on hand (mental note to self: cook green beans!)

Here's what I'm looking at:

Sunday - Flat Bread Pizzas on the grill ... the boy and Hubby found some pepperoni in the freezer and I think this will be the last of the flat bread in the freezer. I may just make myself a Margarita Frittata if I've got the energy (blasted sinuses) since I have a few more eggs than previous weeks. If I do get around to this and it's yummy, will share later

Monday - ahem. 4 Way Chili using the leftover pasta from Saturday night's spaghetti and meatballs and chili from freezer. I'm sort of glad I've not pulled the chili out beforehand all these weeks! I will use zucchini (like I did on Saturday night too!) in place of pasta for myself

Tuesday - most likely will take the Boy and Princess out for dinner. I will let them make the call and knowing those 2, they will choose Chipotle which is fine by me ... will have the Boy make the guac here at home to save a few bucks

Wednesday - BLT Inspired Chicken Salad ... it's been a little while since I've made this ...

Thursday - Looking forward to making a Shrimp & Avocado Salad IF the Boy isn't home this evening ... if the recipe is as good as I anticipate, I will so be sharing it!

Friday - Hoping to pick up a large pork butt (or 2) at Winn Dixie on Monday ($1.50 a pound!) and will toss it in the crock pot on Thursday night to make Crock Full of Smoked Pork ... yummm .... need some better pics, I think :-)

Saturday - as always, Hubby's choice ... may offer up some of the pork chops that were picked up at Costco last week ...

What are YOU looking to make this week? Go ahead and check out Organized Junkie's party for more ideas!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sausage and Pepper Packets

We love sausage and peppers and I try to always remember to have some italian sausage links in the freezer ...

AND because we are in the Pantry/Freezer Challenge, it's time to pull out the last package of sausage and cook it up! Just a note, I buy mine from Costco, they come in these four packs and cost about $12 or so for xx pounds.  I would much rather buy fresh made links but haven't been able to find an affordable source to do so, which means, for now, it's Costco.


The sausage and peppers.  The sausage typically will flare up on the grill at some point, usually when we've strolled back to the bar to get a drink and that means charred links. Not so very bad except that if it happens more than twice, they are toast. The onions and peppers are generally spread out on a baking sheet and cooked on the grill.  These will inadvertently get a little charred too, which again, is fine, but I H A T E cleaning that pan when we are done cooking.

So ... when I came across this on Pinterest, I thought, what a no-brainer ... except it won't be charry like Hubby likes it ... but I was wrong! It will be a little charry on the bottom! Yeah!

The best part (besides it tasting pretty good!) is the cleanup:

Open foil (carefully)

Dump contents in large bowl

Mix up bowl


Toss foil in garbage.


This is perfect for a quick summertime meal!

2 pounds italian sausage, sliced in bite size pieces
2 red peppers, sliced in bite size pieces
2 yellow peppers (really, color doesn't mean anything, just 4 peppers total, ok?), sliced in bite size pieces
2 green peppers, sliced in bite size pieces (ok, this was probably overkill, but I had 'em so I used 'em)
2 onions, go ahead and guess: sliced in bite size pieces. I used vidalias
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
italian seasoning if you have

Grab a large piece of foil and lay it flat. Do me a favor and spend a few extra pennies and buy the thicker, quality stuff. It won't tear and it will hold the heat way better. Plus, that cheap stuff sometimes feels like it has plastic (!!) in it and you certainly don't want to put that over an open flame!

Dump the sausage, peppers, garlic and onion in the middle of the foil (make sure that you will be able to pull the edges together and be able to fold over before you go any further!)

Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Pull up 2 opposite sides towards the middle together and fold over a few times. Fold the 2 open sides in a few times to seal closed. NOTE: I put the onions on the bottom thinking that would be good for them to get carmalized, but in the end, they pretty much just melted away, so next time I'm putting the sausage down first :-)

IF you are like me, realize that you should have made a little bit bigger square of foil, so tear off another large piece and just wrap on way (opposite of the seams), just to be safe.

Place on preheated grill over medium heat and let sit for about 30-45 minutes or so. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and carefully open to check the sausage for doneness.  I opted to let mine cook for a total of 60 minutes, after 45 minutes, I put the foil pack on a baking sheet and opened the foil to let some of the liquid evaporate out ... it also helped to make everything a lovely brown.

Once cooked to your preference, serve as a sandwich or be like me and just eat it plain with a sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan cheese (no thank you, Grains).

Now. Some people say it must have red sauce. Other's say no way! I like to have a smooth marinara sauce on the side, not drowning the stuff. So go ahead, if that's the way you like it, heat up some marinara sauce while the packet is cooking. I generally have a jar or two in the pantry!

This was really a pretty simple meal to cook and didn't require ANY hands on cooking time. Generally, when cooking italian sausage, you need to stay close by the grill for those pesky flare ups ... not this time!


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