Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Shopping Sales to Stock up

I had yet another conversation with my mom about getting medicine for my dad and her because they were out again.  I have told her that I usually buy his aspirin when it is on sale and it is double coupons so that I only pay $0.99 for one month supply at the most.  My mom's medicine is from CVS and goes on sale less often but she doesn't by enough to last to the next sale.  My mom asked me to get some and I laughed.  I did give my mom a bunch of coupons to get the aspirin that she needed though.  I don't shop like that I have tried to explain that to her for years!! 

What do I mean by that?  Normally people go to the store and get the items that they want.  Sometimes every week or sometimes not until they are out of items.

How do I shop? I go to the store when there is a sale and there is a coupon to get items at the rock bottom lowest prices.  I fill my pantry, fridge and freezer as well as under the bed boxes so that when I need the items, I pull them out.  Even if you don't use coupons, there is an easy way to save money by stocking up at the low price.  If spaghetti sauce or pasta is on sale for $1 then get how much will last you to the next sale.  If there are other items you use, get them at the lowest price and set them aside for when you need them.

What did I do? I went to the store to get my mom's medicine and there was a 30% coupon and $2 off any allergy medicine so I got the 60 count for $8.65 each for four bottles.  I also got two reusable bags free with purchase!!  Then I went to another store and got three more at $9.65 because I didn't have any more of the $2 off coupons but I did get another free bag.  Instead of the shelf price of the 30 count which is almost $11, I got twice the amount for less money.  Now she has 14 months of medicine for much less money!!

It got me thinking!  After going through the cupboards, I realized that this is what has been helping my budget for this year.  I bought so much flour when they were on sale during the winter months around the holidays that it is going to last me through most of the year until it is time to get those sales again. I bought them at $0.99 per bag instead of the normal $3-4 per bag.  I bought bread flour for under $2 per bag instead of $4-5.  I bought sugar when it was on sale and there was coupons so they were as low as $0.25 for a 4 lb bag instead of $4.  Each time I pull out one of those to refill my container, I know that I have saved at least $2 on each. 

The even better deal is when I get to pull something out that I got for free.  I have a stockpile of Mahatma Saffron rice, House Autry Corn Bread Mix, House Autry Biscuit Mix, Spaghetti sauce, and Pasta in the pantry.  I have a freezer full of free corn, green beans, cheese ravioli and chicken nuggets.  I have a few things left in the fridge that I got for free like coffee creamer, yogurt and some shelf stable milk.  Whenever I get to pull those things out and use them, there is no cost out of my pocket and I can add to the meal.  It always helps to make a meal that uses a few free items to make it much cheaper on the budget.

Have you ever shopped sales to get a few extra of the items that your family always has in the pantry?  The more you get at rock bottom prices, the more you save from your budget!!  Try it and hope you save lots!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kids Wednesday: Getting Ready for School Books

My son is starting Kindergarten this year and I know that he loves school and will enjoy it once he gets there.  He loves learning and socializing with kids and adults a like but we are going to a new school this year.  Because of this, we have been reading a lot of get ready for school books.  We even have a few of them for our own collection which will be helpful to pull out each year.  I hope that you pick up a few good ones for you to enjoy!

by B. Wiseman

Corduroy Goes to School
by Don Freeman 

Clifford's First School day
by Norman Bridwell

Biscuit Goes to School
by Alyssa

Curious George's First Day of School
by Margaret and HA Rey

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
by James Dean

Llama llama Misses Mama
by Anna Dewdney

by Kevin Henkes

The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
by Mo Willems 

Not that this has anything to do with going to school but it is amusing about getting on a bus!

No matter who your child's favorite character is, there are tons of books about going to school.  I hope that your kids are ready for going to school!!! 

Stay tuned for the list of starting Kindergarten books next week!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Sacrifice Book Review

The Sacrifice (Abram's Daughters #3) by Beverly Lewis was the third book in the series that I picked up as soon as I finished the second book.  So quickly that I didn't write the review for the last one because we were away on vacation so I wanted to make sure that I got this review posted before going on to the next book which I really wanted to pick up.  I had four books in my pile that I had read and not reviewed!!  Getting worse after vacation with me being behind in my blogging work.  I am trying to work on catching you up on all of the great books that I have read this month.

In this book, there is a lot of pain for the Ebersol family.  Leah is working on fitting happily into her life and enjoy her role working in the house and helping her mother.  This is a big switch from her life before working outside with her father doing the manual labor but with the loss of her sister to the Bann, she has to chip in where she is needed.  She is enjoying the closeness to her mother and her baby sister, Lydiann.  Her sisters, Hannah and Mary Ruth are working through lots of their own problems at the same time.  The family is falling apart in the process dealing with all of the bad news.  It is a tough story to read but with every passing page, I wanted to find out how things were going to get resolved.  I hope that you pick up this book and see how everything turns out for the Ebersol family and it may surprise you.

I had trouble putting this book down just like I did the last two.  It is a great series and I had two pages to read before dinner so I asked if they would wait for me to finish.  Another great book and another great series but Beverly Lewis.  I am super glad that I have the fourth book to read right after finishing this one.  I hope that you enjoy it after reading the other two in the series.  Make sure you pick it up at your local library or bookstore when you get the first two in the series so that you can read through the whole series together.  Trust me that you won't want to stop when you start!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 7/28

Monday- Chicken Paninis with mac and cheese
Tuesday- Chicken Nuggets with homemade fries
Wednesday- Grilled Chicken with herb rice
Thursday- Olive Oil Pasta with garlic bread (finally using some of my fresh basil)
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Leftovers/Grilled Chicken Sausage, Brats, Chicken and Hamburgers
Sunday- Leftovers/???

I am again rooting around the freezer and the cupboards to figure out what I can make.  I came up with two meals that I wanted and they are both wintertime meals so I scratched those ideas because the oven on for an hour seems to be a waste of all the air conditioning :)  I am hoping for an easy week for the end of the month so I am looking for the meals that will be quick and easy so that we can enjoy the summer weather.

I hope that you have a great week planned too!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Still Life with Chickens Book Review

I had seen this book on Amazon and quickly added it to my list of books to read but some how I put my list aside and hadn't been reading it.  I finally got back to that list and got Still Life with Chickens: Starting Over in a House by the Sea by Catherine Goldhammer from the library.  I was excited when it came in because it seemed like a good summer read.  I was excited to find out what it was about since I didn't remember from all the way back when it was added to the list.

The author, Catherine Goldhammer, gives you an insight into her life and all the ups and downs while going through a divorce and starting a new life.  She finds a new house in a neighboring town in order to live within her new means as a single mother which means that she is moving her daughter out of the area where she has always lived (but only for 5 miles) but to a much more rural area.  The big change includes her daughter asking for chicken which her e-husband would never agree to before.  In order to keep her daughter happy, they were the owners of chickens and figuring out how to do it as they went along.  They learned lots about chickens and themselves through the process.  In order to find out what they learn, you need to pick up the book and check it out for yourself.

I enjoyed the homesteading story about how the suburban mom and daughter moved to a more country house adding chickens to their family.  The story was funny and heartwarming with all aspects of their lives which was centered around the chickens (and their move to the new house).  I got the book  because I would love to have chickens but it was much more after starting to read the book.  I hope that you check this book out of the library or bookstore near you and see what it is all about.  I had trouble putting it down and really enjoyed the story from start to finish.

Friday, July 25, 2014

When I Fall In Love Book Review

I got a book review book in the mail and I put it in my pile of books to read.  I didn't remember anything about why I picked it but the cover looked really fun.  When I Fall in Love (Christiansen Family) by Susan May Warren was the next book for me to read so I picked it up and found out that it was in a series of books and this wasn't the first one.  It jumped right into characters that I hadn't gotten a chance to know but I met them quickly and came to understand all of them and look forward to reading the beginning of the series of books with the Christensen family!!

Grace Christiansen's family surprises her with a cooking retreat in Hawaii, she is pulled away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.  Since she was hesitant to go, she wanted to make sure that she enjoyed this vacation to the fullest and she had the perfect companion in the seat next to her on the plane, Max Sharpe.  They became instant friends talking about where they were going and the trip they were going to have while in Hawaii.  Max Sharpe is a pro hockey player but he feels most at home in the kitchen. He lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace gets serious, Max pulls away and leaves Hawaii without a note.  Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. Both Max and Grace fight to choose between the easy and safe lives they have always known and what their hearts most want.  You have to read it and see how the ups and downs go and where they both land!

I enjoyed the book and was sad that I didn't start at the beginning of the series.  But the good news is that was two more books to add to my wish list to start reading next.  The characters and situations were very entertaining.  I knew that this was something that could be happening to anyone with the twists and turns and surprises around every bend so I totally related.  I loved the book and can't wait to pick up a few more in the series and I will keep my eyes out for the new ones that I coming out after this too!  I hope that you pick this up at your local library or bookstore and check it out for yourself.  If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so here.  Enjoy this great summer read while meeting the family in this book series!!!

If you want to learn more about the author, Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Find Susan online: website, My Book TherapyTwitter, Facebook

** Please note that I was given a copy of this book from the publishers for my honest review.  All opinions shared are my own.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Peasant Bread or Herb Focaccia

I was excited to find this recipe and see that I had all of the ingredients in the house.  I love the blog Yummy, Healthy, and Easy and I thought that this would be a great yummy, healthy and easy bread to make.  I had to make a yummy bread to take with me to a girls lunch so I thought that this recipe sounded perfect.  It could be used to make sandwiches. eat on it's own or dip in olive oil.  Make sure you check out her blog and recipe here.

 I am normally a bread machine girl because you put everything in and forget about it until it is done but this seemed easy enough and I thought that I would have enough time to do it.  The dough came together easily but it looked a little floury but I wasn't worried because I was sure that it would turn out well no matter what.  Things change when the dough sits for a little bit and this dough did as well!

I put a wet cloth over the bowl and let it sit.  It doubled in size and got big and spongey.  I split it into two loaves and put it on my cookie sheet.  It was really sticky and a little hard to handle which was funny because just a little bit ago it was too dry.  Good thing that I didn't add any additional liquid!!

I covered it with the same cloth and let it sit until with doubled in size again because it lost a lot of good air bubbles with the handling.

Then, I took the cloth off and saw that it was huge.  I don't know if I used a pan that was too small or let it sit a little too long but I cleaned up the stuff that went over the edge of the pan so that it was nice and neat again.  I separated the loaves just a little so that I would have two nicely cooked loaves.

I topped with two different seasonings.  One was my favorite which was garlic my family you can't go wrong with a little garlic salt on top with a little of some other spices.  The other was for my girls lunch so I used a mix of spices since I have one friend who is on a low salt diet.  I baked them and they came out looking great and smelling even better.

Check out this really cool looking top.  I was so excited to try it and so was my husband.  He was worried that I was taking everything with me and he wouldn't get any.  I told him that I needed him to taste test (his favorite job) and we ate most of the one loaf before I even left the house.

I used a dry cloth and packed up my hot loaf of spice topped bread in a basket.  Doesn't it look pretty!

Check out the fluffy inside with the big pockets of air in the bread.  It was so light and fluffy that I am amazed that it didn't get bigger then the loaf actually became after it rose.

We enjoyed some bread plain but it was great dipped in olive oil with spices. I can't wait to make this again and enjoy the bread hot out of the oven.  I have a feeling that we are going to do it a lot more in the winter months but it is easy to do in the summer as long as you are going to heat the oven to make something else too :)  I hope that you try it out and see how tasty this homemade bread is.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!!

Peasant Bread or Herb Focaccia

  • 2 1/4 tsp or 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg white OR melted butter for topping
  • garlic salt or other seasonings (basil, oregano, ect)
  1. Mix yeast and warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, pour the yeast and water mixture in a mixing bowl with the sugar, salt and flour. Do not mix too long. Do not knead. Let rise until doubled.
  3. After rising, split into 2 rounds and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise again until doubled. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  4. Brush tops of bread rounds with egg white or melted butter and then sprinkle with garlic salt or other seasonings.
  5. Bake at 425º F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375º F and cook additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kids Wednesday: Thank You, Miss Doover and writing thank you notes

I found a book in the library that I thought would be really fun to read. Thank You, Miss Doover by Robin Pulver was a great book to read.  My mom and I read it to my son on the way to school one day but we didn't have time to finish before he was picked up.  Funny thing is that we both wanted to see how it ended so we kept reading!!  We had to read it to him again later.

The book went through the process of writing a really thoughtful thank you note with Jack and the help of his teacher, Miss Doover.  Jack decides the perfect recipient of his note is his Great-Aunt Gertie, who gave him boring stationery. But Jack has been using his stationery for other uses like housebreaking Puddly, Jack's new puppy! With Miss Doover's help, Jack revises over and over, adding details until Great-Aunt Gertie knows exactly how he's used her special gift. But for some reason Miss Doover doesn't look too happy. Will his do-over ever impress Miss Doover?  He wrote a quick note to Miss Doover at the end and told her that he realized that her name should be Miss Do-over.

It was a great start to have my son work on a thank you note because it showed another kid doing it.  I hope that you use it for a great start to your holiday or birthday thank you cards.  It is always great to start kids on this practice early and it take a little more time with kids.  Hope you have lots of fun and send lots of thanks!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Betrayal Book Review

The second book in the series was one of the books that I put in the bag for vacation.  I finished one book on the ride there and go to read this book while I was on vacation.  The Betrayal (Abram's Daughters, No. 2) by Beverly Lewis was the next book in my pile and therefore quickly into the bag with beach packing.  I know that this isn't a beach read but it was a great book so it was entertaining to me.

In this book, Sadie Ebersol is dealing with the draw of the English world when she falls in love with an English boy.  She has a relationship with him even after she joins the church which could get her into really big trouble if anyone found out.  When Sadie's relationship goes wrong, her sister Leah has to keep Sadie's secret.  At the same time, the twins are having fights because of the difference that they are finding they can no longer live with.  The family is having lots of turmoil in a short time and trying to find the best way to deal with it.  To find out how they deal with the problems and work to get stronger, pick up the book and read it for yourself.

I loved this book and had a hard time putting it down.  I went to the beach with book in hand.  It might not be the typical beach read but I couldn't put it down long enough to read something different on the beach.  It was a page turner from start to finish.  I enjoyed it and I hope that you do too.  Make sure you pick it up at your local library or bookstore soon.  Remember that this is the second in the series of 5 so you might want to start with the first book in the series (which was also great).  Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 7/21

Monday- Chicken Nuggets with mac and cheese
Tuesday- Salsa Sloppy Joes with homemade rolls and french fries
Wednesday- Crunchy Taco Rice
Thursday- Grilled Chicken with herb rice
Friday- Chicken Tacos with saffron rice
Saturday- Leftovers/??
Sunday- Leftovers/??

I have had a hard time getting back on track with meal planning since vacation.  I moved one meal forward but then never made it to the store to get corn shells so we scratched Friday's dinner in favor of easy with leftovers and some mac and cheese.  The weekend was crazy busy with house hunting (we found a great house and lost it with other offers).  Now my stomach is totally upset for having gone through all that stress and I need another vacation!!! I have no idea what we are even doing this weekend so I am leaving it up in the air so that we can figure it out when we get there.  I hope that you have a relaxing and yummy week.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Chance Book Review

In case you haven't read a series of books by Robyn Carr, she is a wonderful author.  The Chance (Thunder Point) by Robyn Carr was next on my list.  It was on hold at the library until they got it in and I am not sure if I just put it to the back burner with all my other long list of hold books but I finally decided to work through my long list of books that I was from the library and this one appeared on my shelf.  I was happy to see it and even happier to start reading it and be reminded of all the great characters in the last book.

In this book, Laine Carrington decides to move to Thunder Point to recuperate from a gunshot wound that she got in the line of duty as an FBI field agent.  She decided to move from the east coast to the west coast in order to get farther away from her father and try to figure out what she wanted to do for her future.  When she moved to town, she got a rental for a year while she was on leave.  She picked the town because it was where one of the people that she saved while getting shot had settled and they had become friends.  She didn't want people to know about her past because she wanted to be free while staying in the small town of Thunder Point.  She met Eric Gentry, a mechanic and body shop owner, who immediately had a connection with.  Eric moved to town recently to reconnect with his teenage daughter that he didn't know that he had until recently and he was trying to start up a new business.  Neither of them wants to get attached and distract from what brought them to Thunder Point but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.

I hope that you have had a chance to read Robyn Carr.  If you aren't much of a romance book person, don't be turned off that hers are found in the romance section.  I wouldn't categorize this as a romance novel but maybe I haven't read enough of the genre to know the difference.  There is love as a theme through the book but there is only one bedroom scene and most of the books are about the characters and all of the things going on in their lives. This book introduces some new characters as well as bringing back a few of the other ones that we loved in previous books.  I enjoyed reading it and wish that I had saved it for the beach because it was such an entertaining read.  I picked it up in the morning around 10:30 to start reading it and I went to bed after finishing it at 12:10.  I couldn't put it down and enjoyed the entire book!  It is going to be too long before I get to the read the next in the series!  Here is hoping that you can pick this up at your local library or bookstore and enjoy a great book and a great series!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Covenant Book Review

I hadn't read Beverly Lewis in a few months so I knew I needed to pick out another one of her series so I looked at my list and found that I hadn't read Abram's Daughters so I put the first one on the reserve list at the library. Covenant, The (Abram's Daughters) by Beverly Lewis was the first in the series. 

In this book,  all of Abraham's daughters are introduced.  Leah is dealing with growing up being an all girl Amish family.  There are usually boy children who help out in the fields and with the farming but Leah is the one in the family that gets to help her father outside.  Sadie is going through her lessons to be a member of the church but at the same time is rebelling and seeing an English boy.  The twins, Hannah and Mary Ruth, are younger and still in school and one is covering for the other because she is taking on extra work because she wants to be a school teacher but extended school is prohibited by the Amish.  There is lots of ups and downs with the characters and their relationship with the other people in the town.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens because I don't want to ruin the surprises, although the end is what made me look for the next book in the series because it leaves you wanting more. 

I love that the book tells you right on the spine and front what series and book number it is so that you can make sure you have the book you are looking for without even knowing the title.  What is great is I went into the library after finishing the first one and found Number 2-5 and checked them out.  I know that I am going to read through the whole series quickly so I grabbed them all so that I could move on the next book in the series without even a break.  I need to be better about getting the reviews up online before I start the next one or I would  give away the next book.  I am not sure why I have a pile of books sitting to get reviewed but I think that means that I am reading too fast :)  I am going to try to catch up and get with the program before vacation starts.  I hope that you pick up the books in this series starting with this one....possibly all at once so that you can read them straight through and see if you enjoy them all.  The writing is great and the characters are even better!!  I love this book just as much as all the other Beverly Lewis books.  If you like her writing, you better check out this series.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Lots of Ways to Save

Some weeks it is very hard for me to come up with more thrifty ideas to share that might be helpful.  I have already shared 100 different posts on how to save money and even more additional posts that weren't in my normal thrifty Thursday posts because they were recipes or other ideas.  I have already tried to share all of the things that I do to save money in order to try to come up with more.  One of my most visited posts was my How to Reuse Plastic Bags with over 800 views.  There were two other high view posts about what I did during a week to save money including planning ahead.

In the Kitchen

Grocery Shopping with coupons (grocery posts and budget updates)
Making My Own Mixes like scones, corn bread
Making Biscuit Mix
Making My Own Pancake Mix
Making Bread Crumbs from leftover bread
Making Stuffing from leftover bread
Cooking and Freezing Food Ahead 
Making Chicken Broth from leftover chicken
Cutting and Freezing onions
Making Nearly Meatless Meals


Determine Bills
Figure out Income
Track Spending
How to Make A Budget
Setting Your Budget and Spreadsheet
How to Avoid Budget Busters
Take the Emotion Out of Budgets

Making Money or DIY

Selling on Ebay (and here)
Making Your Own Reusable Bags 

Things for Kids

Making Playdough
How to Deal with Expensive Habits 
IPad Apps for Preschool Kids 
Dry Ice Experiments for Kids
Making Homemade Paints
Making Homemade Baby Wipes 
50 Things to Do with Kids for the Summer
Staycations and Activities for Kids
Entertaining Kids the thrifty way
Kids Coloring Pages 

What do you do to save money?  Any ideas that you haven't seen above or would like to hear about?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kids Wednesday: Made to Play Book Review

I had this book on my list for a long time and I figured that it would have something in it that my son and I could make over the summer because we are always looking for crafts to entertain us over the summer months before school starts.  Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations
by Joel Henriques was not what I expected.  The book was mostly things that parents made for kids to play with but not with the kids help. 

This book was well written with great instructions on how to make a variety of different projects including:

   • Modern Doll House and Doll House Furniture
   • Portable Zoo Animals
   • Abstract Vertical Puzzle
   • Wooden Nature Scene
   • Bottle-Cap Tambourine
   • Exploration Cape
   • Modern Alphabet Game
   • Shadow Puppet Theater
   • And more!

The projects were detailed and involved and explained step by step.  Although this wasn't the book that I was looking for, if you read the description on the page and not look at the pictures on the cover then you will get what you are looking for.  Although the picture on the front looks like toilet paper animals, they were finger puppets. This is an adult craft book to make things that your kids can have hours of fun with but not a craft book to make with kids.  If you are interested in making some toys at home, pick up this book and check it out.  I loved the animals made out of wood but my son is past being interested for me to put in that much effort to make them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sausage Lasagna

I have been wanting to make lasagna for years and I have never done it.  I am not sure why it was one of the things on my list that I thought would be really hard to do.  Let me be the first to tell you that it is easy!  If you can make spaghetti, then you can make lasagna.

I started by pulling everything out of the freezer.  I cooked the sausage ahead of time and froze it until I had time to make everything.  I usually keep a few bags of cooked sausage in the freezer because they are great on pizza or to have on hand to throw into any meal.  I cook it in the pan and then towel the grease off and put it in a plastic bag to freeze.  If you lay it flat when you are freezing, then you can stack the frozen bags like books on a shelf to fit lots in the freezer and always have access.  I also had the fresh Mozzarella shredded and frozen in addition to the pre-shredded cheese.  I got my homemade sauce out to defrost too!

I put the frozen sausage and some of my homemade sauce that I made and froze awhile ago into a pot to simmer.  I added a little sugar, fennel, and oregano for additional flavor based on three or four different recipes that I was looking at online.  Do you see the frozen chunk in the middle?

I put 2 containers of ricotta in a bowl and added one egg.

I added the Parmesan cheese which took a lot of the container of cheese.

I stirred it together with the spatula and added some parsley for flavor and color.  I thought it looked pretty good.

I decided when I was at the store to try both the cook and the non-cook noddles to see if they were different to work with and if they tasted different.  We did a head to head comparison with two small casserole dishes and we found that they tasted very similar.

I started the bottom of the pan with the sauce.

I did the noodle layers.  Are you noticing that the pans are different?  I made four casseroles- two to eat for dinner that night and two to freeze so I had out a lot of pans which I was doing at the same time.

The next layer is spreading the cheese mixture on the noodles.  I think that if I was going to make lasagna all the time, I would probably use the non-cook noodles because they were easier to work with and held together better.  Plus, it was easier to spread the cheese on the harder surface and get a more even layer.

I topped each cheese layer with my sausage sauce again.

Then I repeated until the pan was full to the top.  I started and ended with sauce but the pattern was sauce, noodle, cheese and then start again.  It was great to make the layers and see how quickly the pan filled up.  I topped with shredded Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.


It was easy to bake and I put the pan in the oven while it was warming up so that the pan could come up to temperature gradually with the oven because I didn't have enough time to leave it on the counter to come up to room temperature before baking.  The two different casseroles cooked a little differently and the one had to be cooked longer.

It was great and we all enjoyed it!  I will make that again the next time I get a great deal on ricotta cheese.  It was super tasty and great for dinner and leftovers.  I hope that you try to make this for you and your family soon.

I am excited that I have two waiting in the freezer because they were great for dinner and I am going to enjoy having them for a quick and easy dinner in the coming months.  This was something on my list of things that I wanted to make and was always avoiding because I thought it was too hard.  I am no longer avoiding this because it was quick and easy!!  Hope you enjoy it too.

Sausage Lasagna

2 (15 oz) containers of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
1/2 c Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp parsley
Lasagna Noodles
Cooked Sausage
1 tbsp sugar
Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese

Cook sausage and drain or use precooked sausage. Add spaghetti sauce to sausage and simmer for up to one hour to add sausage flavor to sauce.  Add sugar and season to taste with garlic, basil, fennel and oregano.  Simmer until ready to use.

In a medium sized bowl, mix 2 containers of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, and 1 tbsp of parsley in bowl and combine with spatula.

Cook lasagna noodles or use no cook noodles.  Put sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread.  Put noodles on top of the sauce.  Spread with cheese mixture.  Top with sauce and repeat.  When the pan is full, spread with shredded Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Spray the aluminum foil with non stick spray and cover pan.  Bake at 350 degree covered for 25 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and cook for another 25 minute or until cheese is browned.  Let the pan sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  Use spatula or pie server to get out of the pan to serve.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 7/14

Monday- Yummy Restaurant Dinner
Tuesday- Yummy Restaurant Dinner
Wednesday- Dinner at Friends House
Thursday- Chicken Enchiladas with saffron rice
Friday- Cheese Ravioli with garlic bread
Saturday- Leftovers or Chicken Paninis/Grilled Chicken and Baked Potatoes
Sunday- Noodles/Sloppy Joes on homemade rolls

We are going to be enjoying a few days at the beach with dinner at a restaurant for a few nights and then getting home to some easy meals.  I hope that you have a great and yummy week!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Revealing Book Review

I was so excited to see the newest book in the Eagle Hill series because I enjoyed the first two books in the series.  Revealing, The: A Novel (The Inn at Eagle Hill) (Volume 3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher was the next book that came from the publisher to read to review.  I was waiting to review the book as soon as I heard that it was available and excited when it came in!!!  I might have even cheered when I opened it.

In this book, Naomi King was keeping a secret from her brother, Galen, because she was secretly seeing Tobe Schrock while he was in prison.  Galen is pursuing dating his neighbor Rose Schrock and furthering their relationship which seems to start and stop quickly because they never have the same timing.  Rose is running the Eagle Hill Inn in order to support her family after the loss of her husband.  The Inn gets a new visitor who causes great problems for both families because she says that she is pregnant with Tobe's child.    There is a new family moving in the neighborhood and a long lost messy relative visiting the ladies where Bethany Schrock cleans house which also adds to the excitement of the cast of characters in this series of books.  There are lots of great characters and lots of ups and downs throughout the book.  Make sure you pick up this book to find out what happens and what the big reveal is!!!

I enjoyed this book and I am sad to hear that this is the last book in the series because it was a great series.  My biggest problem was I couldn't remember exactly what I read in the first two books because it had been so long since I finished the first two books in the series.  The great thing was that when I started reading, it was easy to get right back into the characters and remember all of the history that I had read before.  I am going to have to start reading some more by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  Lucky for me that she has a few other series already published so I don't have to wait for books to be published.  I hope that you check out this book and this great series soon!  It is a perfect summer read and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.

**Please note that I got this book free from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity Group in order to provide my honest review and opinions.  All opinions are my own. Review also posted on Amazon here.

Make sure you enter to win an iPad!!!

Suzanne Woods Fisher The Revealing

  THREE grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • PickPocket Tablet Accessory Pouch (A stylish storage pouch designed to hold all your tablet accessories. Info.)
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing)
Five second place winners will receive:
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 20th. All winners will be announced July 21st at Suzanne's blog. AND ... if you're looking for more in the Inn at Eagle Hill series, be sure to pick up the ebook novella, The Rescue, for just $1.99!


Suzanne is also giving away two 10-book mystery prize packs! 

One of the major themes of The Revealing is learning to trust your intuition and instincts. These are God-given qualities that we sometimes are too timid or unsure of to act on. For a chance to win one of the 10-book prize packs, leave a comment on this blog and share about a time when your intuition or instinct saved the day—or a time you ignored it and missed an opportunity. 

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)