Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Butter

I was making cinnamon roll pancakes (which are now a family favorite for weekend breakfasts) and I realized that we are running super low on butter.  (Side note:  I know that Lynn and Acacia just flipped out a little because the last time that they saw my butter drawer, it was totally full and we had a long conversation about how couponing leads to buying too much but I promised that I was going to use it all and not let it go to waste.  I swear we are down to the last three tubs of butter and we did use them for cooking, baking and my son's great toast habit).  I had a tub of Country Crock pumpkin butter that I haven't used and could never figure out how I was going to use it.  Well, I found the use!!!


I melted it down and it was a little more pumpkin-y thick than normal butter but it still looked good and melted down to over 1 1/2 cups so I doubled my normal cinnamon bun filling recipe.


I added in the brown sugar which filled the measuring cup a little full.  I was starting to think that I needed a bigger container but it mixes in really easily and makes sure that I only dirty one container :)


Then I used the last of my cinnamon from Amish country!!!  I am going to have to dig in the cupboards and see if there is anymore but I think that was the bottom of the stash.  I was doubtful that there was a difference between spices but using Amish cinnamon changed my mind.  I am addicted and I love this stuff!!!  Check out that empty container :(  Of course, it lead to the wonderful mixture sitting next to it.


I also had the whole family in on the help.  The little man got a little too excited so Daddy had to help so that the counter wasn't covered with the yummy mixture.


I highly recommend trying it because it added little more flavor even though the pumpkin was barely able to be tasted.  It was still super cinnamon-y.  Three thumbs up from our house.  I hope that you try it out soon.  To find the pancake recipe and more details, check out the original post here.  I hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine did.

Notes:

*This recipe can be used to add directly to any pancake mix.  Just make sure that it bubbles and is almost ready to flip before adding the cinnamon butter or you will have a bigger mess :)  We use the pancake mix when I get it super cheap and just adding water makes it a fast alternative to making the pancake mix from homemade (although the homemade is better tasting if you have never tried, check out the recipe)

**Any leftovers can be put in a sealed bag and frozen until the next time you want these yummy treats.  It heats up even better the second time around so I like to make a double batch if I have the supplies.

FILLING RECIPE

1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and add to pancakes!!!

Happy Halloween


I hope that you have a great Halloween!!!  We are going trick or treating tonight so we will have lots of fun :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Nanny Diaries Book Review

The Nanny Diaries: A Novel by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus was a book that I picked up many moons ago at the library book sale and I never got around to reading it.  In my recent search through my shelves, I discovered it and put it at the top of the stack.  I am glad that I did because it the perfect light read that I needed while I was sick!!

The book starts with the interview process and goes through the life of the Nanny (named Nanny which makes it easy to follow).  The boss, Mrs. X (and Mr. X) are interesting characters and probably not far off of many well to do city dwellers.  Mrs. X is a stay at home mom who doesn't stay home with her son, Grayer but rather hires a nanny to do it for her (in case you were wondering, there is also a housekeeper who cleans up and does the laundry... so much like my life right? NOT).  I sympathize for the nanny and I know that she is continuing to work at the job for the paycheck and to make sure that the child knows that someone loves them but the stories through out the book show how selfish and mean Mrs. X is to her and all others around her.  I was glad to get to the end and happy with the ending!!  I don't want to give away the whole plot but I hope that you check it out because it was an entertaining read to take you out of your own life for a little bit and put everything in perspective.

I hope that you pick it up at your local library or bookstore.  It will no doubt entertain anyone who has ever spent the day with a child (or even those who have not)!!

Month End Coupon Printing



It is already that time again- the end of the month and Halloween is only a day away!!  Can you believe that we are already starting fall and cooler weather is coming (or already here depending on what part of the country you live in)...  Time to total those receipts and make sure you clean out your coupons to make room for the new ones.

Check the following sites:
Make sure you don't miss a coupon!!  Keep this list for next month too because the new coupons are normally loaded at the beginning of the month so it is a great time to go back and check.  Please let me know if there are any other coupon websites that you like to visit and I will gladly add them to the list.  Hope you all had a wonderful month and I look forward to hearing all about it!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 10/29


Monday- Sloppy Chicken Joes
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday- Frozen Pizza before Trick or Treating
Thursday- Olive Oil Spaghetti
Friday- Steak and mashed potatoes
Saturday- leftovers/??
Sunday- Soup and Sandwiches/Whole Chicken

Trying to clean out the freezer so that I have enough room for a turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! I hope that I will magically get it clean enough so that I can defrost and have a clean freezer but it isn't looking good because we are packed to the gills with lots of things that don't make meals.  More creative meals coming in the next few weeks to use up some of the freezer stuff!!!

Happy November everyone!  I should have been expecting this but I guess we were more focused on the end of the month and Halloween in this house :)  It is a big holiday for us and with a little one, it takes on a whole different meaning and list of things to do!!

Storm Update:  I am changing the menu a little because we are getting the brunt of the storm tonight so instead of standing out at the grill in 60 mile in hour winds, we are going to have an inside meal tonight with hopes of finishing more in the freezer.  I think that the whole week's plan goes out the window if we loose power but I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  I hope that everyone else keeps their power through the storm!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two more trips to Harris Teeter... It pays to be prepared!

I went to Harris Teeter with the little man in tow to get Triscuits with my Free Triscuit coupon which got in the mail recently (I think that I requested it from Facebook).  I was super happy to see that Harris Teeter had them on sale Buy one, Get one so that I could get two with my handy dandy coupon.  I also had some coupons left for the Gerber products so I grabbed those since they were on surprise sale!!  I didn't have things prepared for a big shopping trip and the little man was not really in for any longer in the store so we left and he fell asleep in the car so I guess leaving was good timing.

Total OOP $0.60
Total Savings $13.10

I got the nifty Evic specials on my card and there was a Saturday only deal so I turned around to go back to Harris Teeter to get milk for $2.47.  There is a threat that we are going to loose power with the coming storms so I was having a hard time deciding whether I wanted to buy one milk or two but I got two just in case.

I also went with the hope that without the little man in tow, I would get more deals and I really did.  I got three cases toilet paper which were nearly the last left because of the coming storm and there were only a few on an end cap.  After much thought, I used my rain check since it was for $5.99 which was $1 less than the current sale price and I had a $0.55 printable coupon that was expiring on 10/30.  After all was said and done, they were $4.89 (or $0.40 per roll).  Can you believe that Cottonelle normally goes for over $11 (which is almost $1.00 per roll !!!).  I used to try to get toilet paper for $0.25 per roll but I think that those days are gone :(

I got some stuff for free which is always a great deal!!  I used the Nivea rain check that I have been holding on to forever to get six lipglosses for free after coupon.  I got the Wholly Salsa for free after printable coupon.

I got some other great coupon and Evic deals with Pringles for $0.97 which was $0.22 each after coupon.  The Hillshire Farms Turkey was on sale for $1.97 and there were no coupons which made me super sad.  I grabbed the Mazola Spray which was $0.89 each after sale and coupon.


I really wanted to get the Kleenex but they were out of almost all of the boxes... assuming since there was a limit of 2 boxes at $0.97, that the shelves were cleaned out in storm preparation too!!  UGH!  I did get a rain check and I hope that I can get a good deal on them before the coupon that I have expires in November.

They were also out of the baby food that I wanted to get so I still have one coupon left which I need to redeem soon!!!  Here is hoping for one more trip to Harris Teeter before the storm hits the east coast.

Total OOP $26.25
Total Savings $33.77 +$8.94 (Nivea raincheck)+ $16.50 (Cottonelle raincheck)= $59.84

I linked up at some great sites so you should check them out to see their deals too!!  I love to see how other people do with shopping trips :)

Pounds 4 Pennies
Frugal Follies
Nanny to Mommy
Couponing Couple
Homemaking Mom
Couponing Away Debt

Weekly Goals 10/28

It was another long week with both of the parents sick and a little guy with a ton of energy.  I am hoping that this lingering cough is going to take a vacation so that I can get some stuff done and get ahead.  It is already getting to the end of October and I haven't even thought about the holidays yet.  Of course, many people think that this isn't a bad thing but it is very unlike me.  I know we are having Thanksgiving and Christmas here but that is as far as the planning has gotten.   First step, get better... second step, plan the holidays!!!  I hope that you had a great week and have a great plan for next week.

This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family- We had a great weekend and enjoyed our evening dinners.
  • Get to Preschool on time- We had a pretty easy week getting to school... sadly the construction is on the way home so it takes a million times longer to get home.
  • Storytime at library- Getting the little man out of the house for storytime is the new fight but he has such a good time when we get there and he has made a new storytime friend so he even sits on the carpet by his little friend.
  • Playdate at our house with friends- We had our friends over to play and my little guy was so eager to have people over that he was dressed and ready to play at about 8 am... sadly, friends weren't here then so there was a little disppointment, until everyone got here.  He was a wild man when everyone left and I wasn't enough entertainment to get through the crazy of the afternoon.
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons- I actually got this done early!!!  I figured while I was still cutting last weeks that I should get ahead and push through this weeks!!  Super glad that I did.
  • Get coupons at library on Friday- I went on Friday and they hadn't gotten the paper yet.  My husband went on his way home and didn't see any either.  The boys went on Saturday morning when the library opens while I cook lots and they had some so I luckily got my papers.
  • Get last minute things for Halloween party- I bought chili sauce at the store on Monday while grabbing a few other deals.  I got some crackers and other stuff at Harris Teeter on Friday.  I don't know what else will pop up but I know that it will so I am prepared to head back to the store again before the party..
  • Take stuff to Salvation Army- Done!  They wouldn't take the shower curtain rod.. weird right?
  • Doctor's appointment- Done and it took less time then I thought so I had time to do everything else on my to do for my "free" morning.
  • Dentist appointment- I was glad to be over with these appointments until the new year.  My mouth needs a break.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- I shut off the computer all but one night that I forgot.
  • Pick a new book to read- I am reading The Nanny Diaries: A Novel by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus which I just finished...review coming soon.  I have a few books that I got from my neighbor that I am going to read next.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the weekThis seems to be the challenge of the week but I more or less got it done.  It is impossible to be sick and motivate myself to get the kitchen clean every day.  I have done my best and cleaned it up as much as possible.  Here is hoping that I feel better next week and so does the kitchen :)
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- I did the dishes on Wednesday night so that there wouldn't be anything in the sink when I had to start getting ready for our playdate.  It was nice to get one thing checked off and out of the way since I knew I had to finish laundry and a few other things in the morning.  I had plenty of time before people came over by planning ahead :)
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday- Done
  • Make a new recipe and post- I made a few recipes this week and posted at least two
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family- Done
  • Review book reviews completed during the week- Done
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- Done
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family
  • Halloween party
  • Get to Preschool on time
  • Music class
  • Storytime at the library
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons
  • Get coupons at library on Friday
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Read books
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday
  • Make a new recipe and post
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family
  • Review book reviews completed during the week
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sourdough Tomato Amish Friendship Bread

This sounded like such an interesting recipe (and the added benefit that it uses 2 cups of the Amish starter and I am starting to get overwhelmed and I end up with something that isn't a dessert or breakfast bread)!! 

I don't ever have tomato juice so my first step was to google how to make tomato juice from scratch :)  Check out this recipe in case you don't have tomato juice either!!  I used a can of tomato paste which I got for free a little while back on a stock up.  I mixed one can of the tomato paste with four cans full of water.  I only needed 1 1/2 cups for this recipe so I sealed the rest to store in the fridge.  I have enough to make another loaf if this one is super yummy!


First I mixed the starter, tomato juice, and sugar in a bowl.


Then I added in the spices.  I decided to try Mrs. Dash's seasoning since I don't always use the mixed ones.  Plus, I thought it might be a good addition to the flavor.


I mixed in the seasoning per the recipe to the liquid ingredients.


Then, I mixed in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook.  Adding one cup of flour at a time.  The beginning seemed so slow but I added in the flour quickly as soon as the previous one was mixed in.  The dough formed very quickly on the dough hook.  I took it out and worked in the last cup by hand on the counter.  It was a lot of strength to work that bread over and over.  It is my first attempt at making a bread without the bread machine.  I thought that I would try it and see how it worked since I have never done it before! 

I kneaded lots and then put it in a greased bowl and covered the bread dough with oil.  I covered the bowl with a towel and let it rise.  I was less than patient because it wasn't rising but the 12 hour suggestion would be at 11 pm but I let it sit until the next day.  It still didn't rise so I put it in the oven to proof.  Still nothing so I put it in the oven that was preheating for dinner.  I figured at this point that I wasn't getting anymore so I formed it into two loaves and baked.



It turned out to be tasty but it never got the fluffy texture from the rising.  I was sad that my first attempt at bread by hand didn't work but I think that it had more to do with the recipe, then the cook... I hope!!  I would not recommend this recipe but I wanted to let you know that you should keep using the Amish starter for the quick bread recipes.

Sourdough Tomato Amish Friendship Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Servings: 16
Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients
2 cups Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 1/2 cups warm tomato or V8 juice
2 teaspoons sugar
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings (optional)
Grated cheese (optional)

Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the starter, tomato juice and sugar. Add optional ingredients.
  2. Add in 1 cup of flour at a time and stir well to develop the gluten.
  3. When the dough is stiff, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Add the last 1 cup of flour as you go.
  4. Add to a greased bowl and lightly grease the top.
  5. Cover with a towel and place in a draft free area over night or for 12 hours.
  6. Punch down dough and divide into two.
  7. Form into rounds and place each on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled generously with cornmeal.
  8. Let rise for 1-2 hours, covered with a towel.
  9. Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
  10. Rub tops of loaves lightly with flour and slash with a sharp knife.
  11. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.
Kitchen Notes
It works best to use a stand mixer and dough hook to mix the dough up to the kneading. For a soft crust, cool bread under a clean dish towel. For a harder, European type crust, let cool without a dish towel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

That Summer Place Book Review

My mother gave me a book years ago (I say five, she says less than that) and I finally got to reading some of the books that I had in a pile at the house.  Well, my piles moved because I got rid of my old night stands by the bed and got a "new" lawyers bookcase from my grandmother.  I have always wanted one because I love the glass fronts and it just looks so neat to me!!  We are super lucky that my grandmother gave us her antique one and I moved books from different piles so that they are all in one place now.  When I was done with the library books, I grabbed one off the shelf and it happened to be That Summer Place: Old Things\Private Paradise\Island Time by Jill Barnett, Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs.

This is probably not something that I would pick out at the library but it was a good book.  It was broken down into three mini-books written by each of the three authors.  The great thing about it was they were writing about the same place over different times.  It was a summer house called Rainshadow Lodge, outside Seattle.  I would like to put a disclaimer that they are all a little bit steamy love stories so if that isn't your thing, you can move on now. 

The first story was called Old Things and it was my favorite story about Catherine revisiting a childhood vacation spot with her kids.  She reconnects with her kids and her old teenage boyfriend.  Private Paradise is about Beth who is staying at the summer house with her son but her friends are supposed to be joining and it turns out she is going to spend a month with a stranger and his daughter.  The third story called Island Time what was about Mitch and Rosie who were working on a project to build a new marina on the island and they spent a month at the idyllic summer house.  Following through the stories left me wanting a little more of the story with each set of stories but I enjoyed the relaxing summer place and it makes you wish that you had a place like that to share with your family.

It is a nice light read that I would suggest picking up if you are at your local library or bookstore.  Have you read any other books by these authors?  I guess I will have to check them out and see if I like some of their other books too (after I get rid of the pile of books that are now neatly arranged on my new bookshelf).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Liebster Award Part 1

Guess what?  I was nominated for an award!!  Can you believe it?  Another blogger, Nanny to Mommy, liked my blog and nominated me for the Liebster award.  I didn't have a clue what is was (and since I assumed it was a blogging thing and I am new to this blogging world).  I saw her new post and there are questions for me to answer and I have to pass it on so that everyone can find out all of my favorite blogs!  First to the rules:

Liebster: (der) n. sweetheart, beloved person, darling

- Rules -

- Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you've nominated to answer.
- Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
- Go to their page and tell them.
- No tag backs.

About myself:

1.  I have a 3 1/2 year old son.
2.  I am married to my best friend and the most wonderful man that I have ever met.
3.  I am a stay at home mom.
4.  I like to bake and try new recipes but cooking is a chore.
5.  I like to read and sometimes loose track of time when reading.
6.  I love to watch movies but I don't really like to go to the movie theater :)
7.  I dislike doing dishes (a lot) but seem to keep making them!!
8.  I don't iron!!  If something is wrinkled, it goes back in the laundry or waits for my mom to iron it because she wouldn't want to be seen in public with someone in wrinkled clothes.
9.  I am not allowed to vacuum anymore because I cut open my foot on the vacuum (years ago) which is nice because I don't like vacuuming so my husband does all the vacuuming.
10.  I love ice tea!!! I drink a lot of ice tea and might be a little addicted :)
11.  I drive a blue car because I was too stubborn to get leather seats and get the gray car that I wanted.  I am the worst decision maker ever and it might take me another 10 years to buy a car.

Answers to questions:

1. Do you have any nicknames? Where did they come from?

My son calls me Momma and Mommy- Does that count?  My husband makes up lots of names but it is usually based on whatever I am doing right then.  Currently his calling me Cookin' Momma Cook Off but it will probably fall off when I stop cooking so much :)

2. What is your favorite eyeshadow color to wear?

I don't wear eye shadow nearly ever but I have a container of gray when it is a really special occasion which is about 10 years old and looks brand new.

3. How many times in your life have you moved and where to?

I have moved a few times since I was born starting in Syracuse, NY where I was born.  We moved from an apartment to my parents first house in Syracuse (which they still own).  Then we moved to Auburn (outside of Syracuse) before kindergarten.  We left there when I was in the second grade and moved to Webster and lived in a townhome until our house was built in Gananda.  We lived in Gananda until I was in 9th grade and then we made the big move to Maryland.  (Running total 4 moves in NY)

Starting in my "adult" life, it is much easier to say that I moved a lot through college but I won't count the times that I stayed at my parents house but only when I rented from someone else over the summer.  I counted 10 moves between the Eastern Shore of MD and VA and I have been in my current house for 10 years!!  That brings me to a total of 14 moves with a hope that we are going to move in the next few years to another house in VA but you aren't going to catch me with over 15 moves so it better be the best house ever!!

4. Have you ever done any martial arts or do you want to?

Nope.  I had friends who did when I was younger and I would sit on the side of class and watch them but I never had the want to do it myself.

5. What is one of the first memories you have from childhood?

I don't know if it is the memory from childhood or stories put together with pictures but I remember playing in my kitchen with pots and pans but I think that is mostly from the pictures and my mom's stories.  Without pictures, I remember the trauma of going to kindergarten and the teachers pulling my hand apart from my best friend and spending the first day under the desk until they put me back in the class that I was supposed to be in.

 
6. If you could go to any year, when would you go to and why?

My first thought was right now because I love enjoying time with my son.  But I might go back to when I was still working and kick myself in the pants to quit my job sooner.  I had so many reasons why I shouldn't quit but it was the best decision for my family but hindsight is 20/20.

7. What was your favorite subject in school?

In elementary/junior high, I loved Home Ec because I had the best teacher ever.  Then, I liked math because I had another great teacher.  In college, it was psychology because of the great teacher and interesting subject matter.  I don't want to slight my accounting teacher in college because she was great but I looked at the other things that I needed for that major and I didn't have enough time to take them all.  I think that I am a sucker for a good teacher and it might have even changed my major in college!!
8. What is your favorite kind of scent?

Baking bread and cinnamon!  YUM!

9. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you chose?

This might be the hardest one because I am horrible with eating the same thing two days in a row.  Right now I am leaning towards Baked Potato soup but that would be tough in the summer months so I might go with chicken if I can prepare it different ways :)

10. What would your preferred weapon be for the Zombie Apocalypse?

I don't know if I could pick this without multiple choice.  I know how to kill vampires and werewolves but I don't know what to use against Zombies so I think that I would pick a good hiding spot!

11. What kind of pet is your favorite?
On that I am not allergic to and that doesn't shed (including snake skins)... I guess fish if the only thing left.

I wanted to get this part posted since it has taken me so long to get to it but I did not nominate anyone else or make questions up for them so stay tuned for post number 2 when I get it done!  Thanks again for the nomination!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mexican (Spanish) Rice with Rotel Grilled Chicken

I decided to try something different and I pulled up a ton of recipes on Mexican (Spanish) Rice off the internet.  I mixed a few different recipes to make a kid friendly and tasty rice creation.  I pulled out all of the ingredients to get ready.  The broth was a little frozen so it took a few times of microwaving to defrost it.


I put the oil and the rice in the pan to cook.  It starts to turn white quickly but it takes a little longer to actually start to brown so make sure you wait for the color.


I used the microplaner to add the garlic to the dish and stirred quickly.  I added the tomato sauce and the chicken broth and it looked really soupy but I had faith that it was going to turn out okay.  I added the spices and brought this to a boil.  I put the lid of the container and let it simmer for 20 minutes.


I marinated chicken in Rotel tomatoes and then put them on the grill.  See the yummy grill marks already on the chicken.


Then, top the rice with chicken and cheddar cheese.  The cheese melts nicely and adds a great flavor to the rice and chicken.  The flavors nicely compliment each other and make for a yummy dinner.  If I were to make it again, I would make the rice a little spicer with some additional spices.  I hope that you try this new recipe and let me know how you like it for your family. 


Below is the recipe that I made but feel free to adjust based on your families favorite flavors.  Some suggestions are 1/4 of onion, 1/4 of green pepper, cumin, and additional seasonings. Make sure you add the veggies at the beginning to cook before adding the dry rice but add any additional seasonings with the liquids.  

Easy Mexican (Spanish) Rice

Ingredients:

·                        2 tablespoons oil
·                        1 1/2 cups rice
·                        3 cloves finely chopped garlic (I used microplaner)
·                        2 1/2 cups chicken broth
·                        1 cup plain tomato sauce
·                        1 tsp onion powder
·                        1 tsp chili powder

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add dry rice and cook for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Lower heat to low and add in the garlic to the rice and saute for one more minute.
Add in broth and tomato sauce. Add onion powder and chili powder.  Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork. Make sure you don't cook past when the liquid is absorbed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Momfidence Book Review

Momfidence!: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting by Paula Spencer  was a funny book that I picked up off the shelf at the library.  I was not disappointed because it was a laugh a minute and there were so many stories that I could totally relate to as a mom :)

The chapter titles speak volumes on the content of the book.  Check out this list to start:

Make Way for Momfidence
Don't Cry Over Spilt Guilt
No Experience Necessary
Too Much Advice Spoils the Confidence
You Can Lead a Child to Carrots, But You Can't Make Him Crunch
You Can Run, but They Will Find You
An Ounce of Prevention, Not a Ton
A Oreo Never Killed Anybody
Bless This Mess
Silence is Fool's Golden in a House with Kids

The author talks about her experiences raising her children and there are so many things that I can relate to (and I assume most mom's can).  I only have one so some of the stories aren't totally the same because she has four.  I am exhausted with one so I can only imagine how much it is with a house full.  She said that she has a 5th child named Hans.  He was the mystery child that was blamed for everything from all the other children.  Her stories made me laugh out loud! 

"An hour with a small child can sometimes drag like a whole day, and a day can sometimes feel like a whole week."  Isn't this something that all moms feel?  Sometimes spending another five minutes listening to them cry or whine about not getting their way seems like a lifetime.  Then, we think about how quickly they have grown and how it seems like only yesterday that we brought them home from the hospital and we start to get sad that we don't enjoy every minute of motherhood.  This is the rub in why we question ourselves and have guilt about what we are doing.  Every mom feels at the end of their rope and then they look at their adorable sleeping little ones and their heart melts all the tough times away.

If you want to hear more of the author's amusing stories, I highly recommend that you pick this up at your local bookstore or library.  It is a funny and light book that is bound to entertain!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

More shopping for things we were out of... mostly!

Last Monday, I opened the cupboard and looked around but there was no other bags anywhere!!  What was missing you ask?  I was totally out of sugar in my Tupperware container and I thought I had another bag but there were none in the cupboard.  That came as a huge surprise to me so I had to figure out where to grab a bag of sugar for a reasonable price without going to far from home. 

I went to Safeway and they had their brand for $2.69 and I was going to check out with it but I decided to head to Giant instead.  They had Domino's on sale for $2.69 and I knew that I had a coupon somewhere in my bag so I phoned my husband to look on the computer while I searched through all the coupons in my trunk.  I actually beat him and found it at nearly the same time.

Total OOP $3.94
Total Savings $2.15

Today, I went to Giant to see how much chili sauce was because I needed it for my cocktail meatballs for the Halloween party.  I saw that they still had Chi-Chi's tortillas on sale for $1.50 and they had the ones that I like finally.  They also had yogurt on sale that I know that I had some coupons for so I went to the car to grab some coupons.  I got what I needed and went back in and got 4 yogurts, 2 Chi Chi tortillas, and one Giant brand chili sauce.  My self scanner popped up and said that I got a free Pepsi Next so I was super excited to grab that so that we have some soda for the Halloween party (It will go nicely with my free Sprite Zero from the coupon I got from My Coke Rewards).  After coupons and bag credit, I had a great total that put a smile on my face.



Total OOP $1.80
Total Savings $9.03

Then, my son and I headed to Target to get milk and lettuce.  It was the last two things on my list that I needed to get (or so I thought until I looked in the cupboard and realized that I still need shortening and ground pepper so I will add those to the list but they can wait until the next time I make it to the store).  A trip to Target is not complete without spending a large amount of time in the toy section checking out all the new toys so it was a long trip even though it took ten seconds to grab our two items.



Total OOP $3.98
Total Savings $0.60 (off Target prices but $1.80 off the grocery stores that I was at in the morning)

I also had a uneventful trip to Safeway which renews my vow that I don't want to go to Safeway ever.  I never have great luck with their computers, their coupon policy/enforcement, and the staff.  I left everything at the register and left the store (AGAIN)!  I am not sure if it is my store or all of the stores but I have problems consistently with my store.  Going to grab my list and add the shortening and pepper to the list... and as I am making rolls, I realized that I am almost out of bread flour!  Goodness, this cycle never ends :)  Hope that you are having a good month and getting great sales.

Menu Plan Monday 10/22

Monday- Sloppy Joes with baby cakes and smiles
Tuesday- Rosemary Balsamic Chicken with rice
Wednesday- Taco Rice with corn chips
Thursday- Buffalo or Leftover Chicken Fingers
Friday- Sausage Penne with garlic bread
Saturday- Leftovers/Pizza or Pizza Roll
Sunday- ???

Can you believe how much of October is gone already?  I am amazed at how quickly the month goes by when it takes me so much time at the beginning of the month to plan what we are going to have for the month.  It seems like we just started and not that we are at the end!

Above is the picture of my calendar with the list of the things in the pantry and the things in the freezer.  I look at all the lists and try to figure out what to eat.  I had a lot of freezer food this month to eat through so I am going to have to take a look at the pantry and see what is left to plan for next month! 

I hope that you have a yummy week planned and I hope to hear about it!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekly Goals 10/21

What a week!!  I got sick and my throat hurt in addition to being exhausted.  I didn't want to do anything except lay on the couch or in bed and curl into the fetal position :(  I am super tired and had a tough week getting through everything but I did it!!  Hoping to feel better next week with lots of appointments and not a lot of free time.

This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family- Sadly, we spent a sick week together.
  • Get to Preschool on time- We got to school on time all this week and got to pick up on time too!
  • Haircut for the little man- We got it cut and I didn't like it much and made the woman fix some things.  Of well, all hairdressers are not the same and I will be making an appointment with the woman that we went to last time because she was awesome.
  • Storytime at library- Went under protest even though he said that he didn't want to go and he loved it.  We heard Halloween stories and songs, made skeletons, and got "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What did you hear?"  That is our new favorite book and our library didn't have it :)
  • Meetup with friends at the park- We went to the park and had a long day, staying for over 3 hours.  I had a tired boy in the car who was so exhausted, he started to nod off.  I got a little bit of sleep until he realized at home that if he got up, then he got a cupcake!  NUTS! 
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons (if I ever get them)- I got them and I didn't cut anything for most of the week and finally started cutting coupons on Friday and finished the last one on Saturday with next week's coupons too.
  • Get coupons at library on FridayThey didn't have that many left but I got what they had.  Not a ton of great coupons so I am not super sad to get as many as normal. 
  • Go to the grocery store!!!  Must go to store!!!- Went on Sunday and got my shopping on!!  I was super happy to get that out of the way.  I still have a few things that I need to get for the rest of the month but the list isn't really long.
  • Garage SaleHorrible showing today and I made $10.50 but I packed up some stuff to take to Salvation Army and now I have a mess in my basement again!! UGH!!!  Mission not accomplished.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- I know I missed at least one night in my sick fog and I think that I might have missed two but I am not totally sure.  I am hoping I shut it off but after taking medicine, all bets are off.
  • Pick a new book to read- I finished one book and started reading a new book and I blew the light on my nightime light.  Sniff Sniff.  I don't get a lot of time to read in the daylight hour so I am going to have to get a new light soon!!
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- I cleaned up the kitchen at least 4 days this week.  I know that there was one day that I didn't clean the counter and another that I didn't clean the floors but I have been doing dishes at least a few times a day so that I didn't get behind.  Overall, not a bad week for the kitchen.
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morningI did clean up a lot of the dishes but for the life of me, I don't have a clue if I did clean up everything because this sickness has wiped me out.
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday- Done
  • Make a new recipe and post- Done
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family- Done
  • Review book reviews completed during the week- Done
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- Done
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family
  • Get to Preschool on time
  • Storytime at library
  • Meetup with friends at the park
  • Playdate at our house with friends
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons
  • Get coupons at library on Friday
  • Get last minute things for Halloween party
  • Take stuff to Salvation Army
  • Doctor's appointment
  • Dentist appointment
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Pick a new book to read
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday
  • Make a new recipe and post
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family
  • Review book reviews completed during the week
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mississippi Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies

I clicked off a blog that I normally read and I found a new blog!!!  Lorie's Mississippi Kitchen has tons of wonderful recipes so make sure you check them out.  I spent another evening with my face up to the computer because I wanted to eat everything on her blog (Did I mention that she is also a photographer??) 

I wanted to try this chocolate chip cookie recipe from the minute that I read it!!  I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe but my husband and I differ on what makes chocolate chip cookies.  He likes his a little cakier and I like mine a little chewier.  I was hoping that trying a new twist would be just what we needed. 

I got out everything and started trying to make the cookies before my son woke up from his nap.  I creamed together my butter, sugar and eggs before remembering to take a picture.

Then I ran to the basement to grab the vinegar.  Yup, I have my vinegar in the basement.  I read a post on a blog about using it in the laundry to take out the tinkle smell from my little potty trainer who still has a few accidents.  Who knew it would be multifunctional for kitchen and laundry :)  I added the rest of the ingredients with the help of my little one measuring the dry ingredients.  I got a super yummy cookie dough and mixed in the chocolate chips.  The little man stole a few and told me that they were his FAVORITE!  I know...that is why we were making chocolate chip cookies silly!!!


I scooped out the cookies using my medium cookie scoop and put them on my silpat lined cookie sheets.  Normally I refrigerate the dough before scooping the cookies but this recipe tried it different ways and said that they liked them best when they were not refrigerated... I hadn't thought it made such a big difference but check out her blog for more details on the differences in the final cookie.


Look at all those cookies!!!  YUM!  Then I stuck them in the oven for 14 minutes since they were smaller than the original recipe called for.  I got out some yummy looking cookies which I tried to patiently wait for them to cool. 


Tick Tock!!  Okay, can't wait anymore :)  Check out this cookie.  It was really great and I really enjoyed it!!  I might have had to try a second one just to be sure :)


Both my husband and I say that these are going to be our recipe from now on.  He even said that he was over the other recipe so I am super excited to have a new chocolate chip cookie go to recipe.  Hope that you try this interesting recipe with vinegar and cornstarch and check out the Mississippi Kitchen blog too :)  They are both yummy!!  Here is the original recipe below.


1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet, milk, or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixed.  Beat in vinegar and vanilla.   
Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly add to batter and mix just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips by hand until mixed.
Drop dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheet by 1/2 cupfuls.  (I use a large 1/2 cup measure ice cream scoop.)  Leave about 2 inches in between cookies.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until cookies are set and light golden brown around.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decrease time for smaller cookies.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gingerbread Amish Bread

This recipe sounded like a perfect winter treat.  I can't wait to have this with a cup of hot tea!!  Doesn't this sound really yummy!  I luckily got a great deal on molasses that I needed for the recipe so I have two jars and I had all the spices in the recipe.  I didn't have crystallized ginger (which I love in my favorite cookies from a local bakery chain) but I was sort of glad that I tried it without waiting to try to find the ginger because it was super good.  I just heaped a little bit more spices in just in case it wasn't flavorful enough.  Can you believe how much I needed to pull out to make it!  It filled the whole counter :)


I mixed up everything per the recipe.  I used the plastic bowl and not the mixer because I was doing the chocolate chip cookies right after since I already had out all the ingredients.  Plus, you are supposed to mix the Amish starter in the metal bowls so I try to do when I know that it is something I can mix and I don't have to try to cream butter or anything too hard.  Check out the batter with all the little bubbles.


Then I greased and covered with cinnamon and sugar mixture in two loaf pans.  Since I was out of the non-stick cooking spray, I used a sandwich bag to spread the oil in the pan.  It works just as well and I hope to use it going forward instead of splurging on the spray for awhile.


I filled both pans with the batter evenly.  I was super excited to see how dark it turned out because I was certain that it was going to be tasty!


It did turn out great with two wonderful smelling loaves which I was trying to wait to dig into.


I got a few slices on the first night and then had a few the next morning for breakfast.  My husband and I agreed that it was the best bread that we have had with the Amish starter (and maybe at all).  He told me by having one piece and saying that he was going to try one more and then going back for another just one more.  This continued until I started laughing :)  It is worth just one more slice.  Do you want one??  Try out this recipe because it is one of the best tasting bread and perfect for the colder months!  I can't wait to make more because this isn't going to last long.

Update:  I made it a second time and used brown sugar instead of white sugar because I was out of sugar!!!  I wish that I could give a better comparision but since we long since finished the first batch, I thought that they were both good.

Gingerbread Amish Friendship Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16
Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1-2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger, plus 2 tablespoons for topping

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
  3. Grease two large loaf pans.
  4. Dust the greased pans with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans. Top with 2 tablespoons diced crystallized ginger and sugar.
  6. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
  7. ENJOY!
Kitchen Notes
If available, use turbinado sugar (also known as raw sugar, which has larger crystals) with the chopped crystallized ginger to top the batter. Add a dollop of fresh whipping cream for a festive dessert!

From Linda Delescale: “Use dark brown sugar in place of the white sugar, except for the pan coating and add in 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom to give the bread a little extra zing.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Making Your Own Mixes

I love to cook from scratch for many reasons.  Want to read a few?

1.  More frugal:  You can make homemade items for pennies and save lots of money from prepared or boxed items at the store.

2.  More healthy:  I realize that making cookies and cake isn't "healthy" by the normal definition but it is much healthier to eat yummy goings without preservatives and extra ingredients that you can't pronounce so knowing what you are feeding your family.

3.  I LOVE BAKING!!!!  Homemade baked goods taste so much better and are more fun to make!!!

Many people don't cook from scratch because they don't have the time to do it.  I understand that because it gets busy and many people don't have the time to mix up everything but I find that most of the work is dragging everything out of the cupboards and not just making the item.

If I want to make cornbread, I usually take out a bowl and my two mason jars.  Do you wonder why?  I make one batch in the bowl to make now and the other two I mix the dry ingredients in the mason jar.


I make a really cool funnel out of paper because it is way easier to do with a funnel and I don't have one that hasn't been used on oil or stored in the basement so I am not taking any chances (plus the paper works pretty well and you can adjust the opening size).  I look at the recipe and I see that I need to add 1 cup of corn meal so I add it to each jar and the bowl.


Then I look for all other dry ingredients and I add the 1/2 c sugar to all of the containers.


I added the 1 cup of flour for the last level of the pretty layers.  Don't you like how the flour gets stuck in the top "funnel" but just shake it a little and it goes straight down. 


I take out the "funnel" and add the salt and baking powder.


I put the top on and give them a good shake to mix up the ingredients which is even easier then shaking it later.  Doesn't that look great??  On the top of the jar, I put a little sticky note with the ingredients that I need to pull out in order to make the cornbread and what temperature to heat the oven.  It is double great because I don't have to even pull out the recipe.  It is equal to looking at the back of the box to see how much milk, eggs and butter.  Could it be easier??


The great thing is that I have now spent the same amount of time and made one cornbread for dinner tonight and put two other ones in the cupboard so that I don't have to drag everything out again next time.  This is perfect to plan for the weekends when you might have a little more time or before the dinner rush because there is no reason why you can't leave the bowl on the counter for a few hours until you are ready to put it in the oven.


Below is the recipe if you would like to make it for yourself.  If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to fill it in place of this one.  I look forward to stocking up on flour and making cookies and other recipes.  If you don't have wonderful leftover mason jars, feel free to use ziploc bags.  These are easy to keep in the cupboard or the freezer.  The great thing is that they can be refilled over and over so that you always have things on hand to quickly throw together your favorite dishes!!

Even better to make them for gifts for friends to enjoy your great recipes!!!  Here is the recipe on how to make it and you can attach it to a jar if you are giving it as a gift (with or without the dry ingredients listed so that they can make their own).

Cornbread

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
½ c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 c milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put the butter in a 10 inch pie plate and place in the oven to melt.
  2. Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl whisk together eggs and milk.  When the butter has melted, take the pie plate out of the oven and swirl the butter around to coat the pan.  Let it cool for 1 or 2 minutes, then pour the butter into the milk-egg mixture.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Whisk liquid into dry mixture (not to much- lumps are okay).
  4. Pour into the pie plate and bake for 25 minutes.  When it is done, the bread will be slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.  Serve immediately.  Leftovers keep for few days covered at room temperature.