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Saturday, April 23, 2011


Yum, I made the best enchiladas today!  I had grilled chicken a couple of days ago for fajitas, and had some chicken leftover that I used for this meal.

1/2 lb cooked chicken, shredded or diced
pkg corn tortillas
Philly cooking creme santa fe flavor
2 pkg shredded cheese
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cups of spinach, chopped or pureed

This was so easy!  I had spinach from the garden in the freezer, so I thawed it a bit in the microwave, then pureed it in a food processor.  I stirred together the spinach, onion, 1 bag of cheddar, the chicken, and half of the Philly.  I heated the tortillas so that they were soft and easy to roll, then added a big spoonful of mixture to each tortilla.  Atop the rolled tortillas I put the remainder of the Philly, and used my spoon to spread it out.  I then spread the other bag of cheddar on top, covered with foil, and baked at 200 for about 40 minutes.  Two bags of cheese isn't required, but I love cheesy enchiladas, so that's what we did!

Target diaper deal week of 4/24

Did you print your Huggies $3 coupons?  At Target the week of 4/24, there is a diaper gift card deal, Pampers and Huggies are 8.99, buy 3, get a $5 gift card.  I am pretty sure I have some Target coupons to go along with this deal from my baby registry, so I think I'll do the deal once.  This is a decent deal, especially for moms who prefer Huggies.  There is also a $2 Huggies coupon here.

Garrett is turning two!

I finally got to use these

Wilton color mist sprays on a cake today.  Garrett's 2nd birthday is next Wednesday, but we are having family over for Easter tomorrow so we are celebrating with them early. 
I made Garrett a cake complete with dinosaurs in their land of volcanos, grass, and a lake.  For a first-time decorator, not to mention having to cuddle Jackson while working on it, I don't think I did a horrible job...I can't wait to show it to Garrett!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Farewell to a dear friend.

Jackson woke up around 2 this morning...he likes to keep things interesting around here. Since I was up and playing with and nursing the little cutie, I turned on the laptop to catch up on emails and facebook. I had a message from an old high school friend's sister. Apparently he had been battling depression and had taken his life, they just found him last night. My heart is breaking for his family, for his son. I hadn't kept in touch with Kevin too much, life, work, school. I didn't want his wife or him to feel I was intrusive, so I didn't try very hard to stay in contact when he was slow to respond to my messages. Maybe I should have. I had a group of friends that I ran around with, but I consider Kevin to have been my closest, best friend in school. We didn't date each other, but we often did date-type things...the fair, football games, movies, etc. It was a great relationship! I loved his family and him. He will be so missed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Print these coupons!

Free floss at Target or Walmart with the Reach floss coupon here.

Free floss and toothbrush at CVS this week with the coupons here.

Free Dove men's deo at CVS next week with the coupon here.

Save $3 on any size Huggies with coupon here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

mmm, coffee!

I got a good deal on coffee at last night...3 bags of Community Coffee free! I used amazon gift cards I earned from swagbucks, but without the gift cards, it would have been under $7. Here's how:

Find and click two different $3 Community Coffee coupons here, then find your Community Coffee 3 pack (I got the one shown above, use my link to find your coffee, too), and check out under Subscribe & Save, the 6 months option. You can cancel the S&S after you receive your coffee. Hope you get a good deal on coffee, too!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Target ad for 4/17-4/23

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Whole White Mushrooms, Package (8oz.) $1.49
Fresh Asparagus, Bag (12oz.) $1.49
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Fresh Strawberries, Package (1lb.) $1.99
Fresh Golden-Ripe Whole Pineapple $2.49
Green Giant Fresh Baby-Cut Carrots, Bag (1lb.) $1.49
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Market Pantry Frozen Cooked Tail-On Shrimp, Bag (16oz.) $5.99
Archer Farms Spiral-Sliced Honey Ham $1.99/lb.*

Market Pantry Frozen Turkey Breast $0.99/lb.*
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★FREE $5 Gift Card wyb Any (3) Feminine Care Products Listed:
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*Limit 2 per customer, except in ID or NM

Thanks to Ai Mei at SSB!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Make ahead French Toast Bake

I've been watching some recipe videos on Swagbucks TV to earn swagbucks toward amazon gift cards, and many of Paula Deen's recipes look wonderful. Her banana french toast caught my eye, so this French Toast Bake is inspired by her.

French Toast Bake

In bowl, mix together:

8 eggs
2 cups coffee creamer (I'm using Coffeemate French Vanilla)
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 t each nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe even ginger...we'll see
dash of salt

Grease a large baking dish and slice a loaf of french bread or texas toast and lay the slices out in the dish. Pour the egg mixture on top and bake for 40 minutes at 350.

I'm going to fix this up tonight and leave it in the refrigerator so it is ready to go in the morning. I'm thinking you could mix in some pumpkin with the egg mixture for pumpkin french toast, or add cocoa and instant coffee for a mocha many things you could do!

can't wait for breakfast...

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

It works beautifully, by the way!

1lb ground beef
1/2 box Stovetop dressing(or breadcrumbs or crackers plus thyme, oregano, garlic, whatever)
1 onion, chopped
a shake of ground mustard
2 eggs
several splashes of worcestershire

Mix all of this together in a bowl, then form into a loaf. Cook on low in the slow cooker until ready to serve.

Vince and I took the two littlest kids to the zoo, so I startted this around 830am. At around noon, I squeezed ketchup on top of the loaf, then sprinkled on some brown sugar. I let this cook on low until 530pm. I'm certain it was ready before that time, but that's when I was ready to serve dinner, and the meatloaf was fantastic! It was browned just as it would have been if cooked in the oven, and moist and tasty! I think I love my slow cooker so much because I've never overcooked anything in the slow cooker...always great, even if you are busy all day with kids and chores!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garrett's 2nd Birthday

Garrett will be turning two in two weeks!  I am making him a dinosaur themed cake...will post pics when it's made, but the plan is to make a grassy scene with a volcano and dinosaurs.  I have looked at several ways of accomplishing this, and I think I want to spray the colors in with Wilton color sprays...check them out, I am really excited to get them and start practicing!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Slow cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole

I love cabbage rolls, but I don't have the patience time to roll them perfectly, so I make a casserole in the slow cooker...tastes great!  A very easy meal:

Cut the core of one cabbage, wash cabbage, and microwave several minutes until leaves are softened.  You may want to do this in several batches.

In a mixing bowl, stir together 1lb  uncooked ground beef or turkey, 1 cup uncooked rice, salt & pepper, a big dash of cinnamon, and about 8oz of tomato juice or veg juice (I use spicy v8).

Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with more tomato juice, then line the botton with several cabbage leaves.  Layer some of the meat/rice mixture, then more cabbage.  Repeat until you are out of ingredients.  Pour more juice until all is covered.

Cook on low until the rice and meat are cooked...I've never really timed it, I usually simply leave my meals in the slow cooker from about 9am until 5pm and it is always great, never overcooked.  With this dish, you may want to stir it up a bit, or at least loosen the bottom layer once...sometimes it likes to stick to the bottom.

I don't like spicy things, but my husband does...he still adds hot sauce to his cabbage roll casserole even with the spicy v8, but the kids and I can eat it...not too spicy, just enough zing!

Broccoli, chicken, cheese, and rice casserole

Big name, eh?  This is something I make every couple of weeks for dinner, and it isn't exactly difficult to make, but I wanted to test out freezing it when we were planning meals for when the new baby was near arrival.  As it turns out, it freezes fine!  I froze each part separately, but I'm sure it would be fine to pre-make it if you wanted to.

What to do:

Make rice according to package directions, enough for 4 servings.

Cook and dice chicken, anyway you wish.  I alternate between the slow cooker, the oven, and the grill.  I cook 3 or 4 lbs of chicken at a time and dice and freeze into 1 lb portions for later use.

Cook 16oz broccoli according to package directions, or steam fresh broccoli!

For my freezer version, I stirred together the rice and broccoli, then placed that into a large zippered bag.  In a smaller zippered bag I had 1lb of cooked, diced chicken.  When ready to prepare the meal, I placed the rice and broccoli, the chicken, a bag of shredded cheddar, and a can of cream of chicken soup into a bowl and microwaved until heated through.
If I were making this for dinner tonight, I would just toss everything together in steps, then bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, with a little extra cheese on top!

So, the lesson here is you can make ahead and freeze rice dishes.  I know rice isn't difficult, but brown rice often takes awhile to cook, and this way you can have a casserole almost ready!

Some older recipes

For those of you coming here looking for recipes, here are a couple of older postings...feel free to search around!

Slow cooker chicken and dumplings

Southwest Eggrolls  this recipe is definitely one that will give you plenty to freeze!  After baking to a light crisp, place on baking sheet in the freezer.  After they are frozen, you can place them into a zippered bag to store until your next meal.  You can do about anything you want with these in the way of fillings or toppings...very versatile!

Don't buy meatballs.

Make your own.  I know alot of people buy meatballs from the freezer section, but I can't do it.  Here is what I do:

In a mixing bowl, mush together 1 lb ground beef or turkey and 1 lb of italian sausage, 2 eggs, salt & pepper, oregano & basil & garlic, and breadcrumbs, crackers, or something similar(not sure on the amounts, I add stuff until it looks good).

Form meatballs and place in baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through(taste one, just because they smell so good).

After cooling a bit, place onto a baking sheet in the freezer.  When frozen, place in freezer bags(I portion them out, enough in each bag for 1 meal).  When ready to cook, I just toss them into a glass dish in sauce, microwave until heated through.  You can thaw them for faster reheating, if you like.  Serve with pasta or on deli rolls for a homemade meatball sub.

Freeze ahead Stuffed shells

This is a great recipe if you like Italian food!  You can change it up by your choice of sauce.  This recipe prepares enough for several meals...cook some for dinner and freeze the rest!

Stuffed Shells

Thaw and squeeze to drain 1 box of chopped spinach.

Prepare 2 boxes of jumbo shells according to the package.  When cooked, drain and rinse in cool water, toss with a little oil or leave in cool water while you work.

While pasta is cooking, brown 1lb each of italian sausage and ground beef(or turkey or whatever).  Drain, add a little basil & oregano if you like.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 large tub of ricotta, 1 egg, garlic, and shredded mozzarella.  Stir in drained meat & drained spinach.

Fill your shells!  If you are cooking tonight, cover a baking dish with your sauce, then place stuffed shells, then cover with more sauce.  Top with cheese if you like.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

For the part you are freezing, place stuffed shells on a baking sheet, not touching each other.  Place in freezer until shells are frozen, then place into zippered storage bags for the freezer.  You do not need to thaw these before baking, just bake as if they were fresh, but for more time.

Your sauce doesn't need to completely cover the shells, but all edges of the pasta should have sauce on them, you may need to spoon it around a bit.  I usually use a garlic parmesan or alfredo for this, but they are equally good with a tomato based sauce.

Crockpot Broccoli Beef

I LOVE Asian food, but not the sodium or fat content in take-out.  I'm trying a new idea today for broccoli beef.

In the slow cooker, I poured in:
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
2 T vinegar(I used rice vinegar, but apple cider would work)
2 T lemon juice (all the recipes I've seen call for white wine, but I don't have any)
2 t olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
dash of red pepper flakes

To the liquid, I added 1lb of beef.  I had some beef strips that were labeled 'fajita' from the store...basically, thin strips of beef.  I stired the beef around to cover it with the liquid, and we are cooking on low.

When the beef is tender in 5-7 hours, I'll add a bag of frozen broccoli florets that I'll thaw in the microwave first.  After stirring the broccoli to coat with the liquid, we'll cook for another 30-60 minutes. 

I'll serve this on brown rice.  If the kids give me some extra time, I'll throw the rice into the wok with some mixed veggies, soy sauce, and olive oil for a nice fried rice. 

Hello, out there!

I thought I would take a minute and say hello to anyone still hanging on to my blog...might not be anyone there, eh?
Well, I've been busy, and I don't see that changing anytime soon...I am slowly adjusting to life with 3 boys, two of which are home all day with me...I keep in mind that plenty of moms have several children at home and they survive, so I can too!  Jackson is now 3 weeks old, and Garrett will turn 2 at the end of this month.  Trenton will be 14 next month, so I get to deal with fun (insert sigh) there as well.  No, my kiddos are generally good, no real complaints from me!

I am on a break from school until August, so I have 4 months to get me daily rituals down...currently I'm struggling with how to clean the house, fix meals, run errands, and keep the children entertained...all in one day.  I was blessed to have a couple of meals brought in from friends or family over the past week, and I had several meals pre-prepared in the freezer before that, so this is the first week I've had to actually plan and cook meals....tonight we are having broccoli beef and rice.  I'm making this in the crockpot...if it turns out ok, I'll post a recipe ;-)

So, question:  how do you keep your toddler and newborn entertained, keep their minds stimulated?  That's my biggest dilemma thus far...I don't want to plop the toddler in front of the tv all day, even if he is watching educational programs.  And the newborn has his fussy moments, so I can't just ignore him for an hour, maybe not even half an hour.  When he sleeps, I try to take care of the household duties that I need two hands for!

Another issue:  how do you run errands or shop with a toddler and a newborn?  Garrett is so unpredictable when I take him out...the last month or two before I had Jackson I didn't take Garrett with me, left him with daddy or grandma...not sure when I'll try taking him again.

So, that's all for are some pics!

Trenton holding Jackson in the hospital:

Garrett realizing there is a baby in the house, and we get to keep him:

oh, how I love funny baby faces:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I just wanted to say...

I am having a baby in 5 days and 7 hours!!  We are scheduled for a repeat csection at 7am on Monday, March 21!  I am nervous, excited, scared, and thrilled!  I am also at that miserable part of pregnancy, so I am hoping that my misery can help me to overcome my fears (of surgery, of having another baby when  the other is not yet 2 yrs., etc).  Despite my anxiety, I am already in love with this new baby...can't wait to meet him!