Showing posts with label money saving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money saving. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

tractors and ice cream

Dairy Store Employees/Students circa 1950s

Last week, we finally had a sunny day so Mike and I took the day off and took our kids on a road trip to Lincoln. I wanted to find the Backyard Farmer's garden. We never found it, but we did see the show's host! And we found lots of other cool stuff on East Campus.
First, we saw some signs directing us to a tractor museum. The Larsen Tractor Museum showcases antique tractors. It is in a very modest building, but the kids LOVED it. It's also a free will donation to enter. The staff was SUPER kind, too.
Then we got a free tour of Nebraska Horsepower Testing Site. I learned that Nebraska is the only place in the Western Hemisphere that tests ALL the tractors that are made here. It was a great tour given by a UNL student. This student then sent us to the Dairy Store. Did you know that UNL has a working dairy farm? And they make ICE CREAM and CHEESE with the milk??? I did not. And I went to school there. Needless to say, we all got ice cream. It was delicious. You can even watch them make the products!
We ended the day at a new park development (where I say the BYF host!) with an amazing Children's Garden.  It was a great end to a great day. Please check these places out. You won't regret it!

Friday, September 12, 2014

a gift to my future self

The children of my future self ALWAYS want a snack. The minute I sit down. Or when we are in a hurry to get out the door. Or anytime when I REALLY do not want to make a snack. Sure we have designated snack times at our house. Growth spurts and incessant whining don't care about the clock, though. Also, my kids LOVE prepackaged snacks because they are fun and at their eye level in the grocery store. I like them because they are easy and (sometimes) good portion control. I hate them because they are more expensive.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a box of Ziploc snack size bags. Then I divided the boxes of goldfish crackers, Graham crackers, and almonds into the bags. I cut up all the fruit and vegetables and did the same. I ordered some Squooshi bags from Amazon, too. Every few days I fill them up with applesauce and green smoothies. (I also use them for oatmeal and savory purees, too.) And, guess what? My future self loves it. It takes me about 20 minutes every week and is priceless when my kids (or me) are DYING for a snack. It has made packing lunches and after school snack a breeze. Also, kids are kinda gullible. Mine are, anyway. So guess what snack size Ziploc bags are in my house?? Kid Size Bags. Duh.
Green Smoothie for Squooshi
2 cups of frozen berries
1 banana
1/2 cup of chopped kale
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of OJ
Squirt of honey
Blend until smooth. Divide into Squooshi bags. Serve or Freeze for future self. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

one pot wonder | black beans and kielbasa

This is one of those recipes that I don't make enough. It is always a winner and calls on ingredients I always have in my house. Luckily, my people like beans so I incorporate those cheap suckers into any meal I can. I came across this in an Everyday Food magazine years ago and have been making a variation ever since. This will take you about 35 minutes from start to finish so it's a perfect weeknight pantry meal.
Black Beans and Kielbasa
Olive Oil
1 lb of beef or turkey kielbasa, cut up
3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (15.5 oz) cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
2 C chicken broth
Small handful of chopped parsley
Plain Greek yogurt, for serving
In Dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook until onions are soft. Add sausage and brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour beans and broth into mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and enjoy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

farro with sausage and apples

Happy New Year! Turns out, transitioning from one to two children is more difficult than none to one. It has been for me, anyways. Ha! Also, time seems to be on fast forward with Violet Alice. She's already standing and cruising. That among other things explains my lack of posting.I'm still figuring out what to make of this space. I also received an email from a disgruntled reader while I was pregnant. It left a bad taste in my mouth and forced me to review how I handle criticism. I ended up deleting a post. Which I now regret. You can't make everyone happy. In the end, I decided that this space is mine and what I want to say, how I want to say it, and what I want to share is my business. And I like sharing. The Internet is awesome and it allows you to connect with way more awesome people than not.  People keep linking back,so I must be doing something right. For the most part, though, I've been spending time with my family. Which has been so, so great.  Also, in the end, this space is a record of my family's life and it gives me great joy.

There has also been a lack of Trader Joe's in my life until recently. Over the Holidays I took a job as a fragrance rep. It put me near TJ's. We have been reunited and it feels so good. Let's talk about the 10 minute farro packets. They also have bulgur and barley. I realize I am late to this party, but better late than never!! I bought the farro one and gave the recipe on the back a whirl. I have been trying to add more grains and variety to our dinner plate.  I like to have a protein, starch, and veg on the dinner plate.  So I have been trying to replace the usual starches (potatoes, rice, pasta) with different grains. This recipe was great, easy, and budget friendly. I estimate the whole thing cost about $10 to make. That is including the cabbage I served alongside.
Farro with Sausage and Apples
1 packet of farro from TJ's, prepared in broth according to package directions.
1 onion chopped
1 large apple, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 package of chicken sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
Olive Oil
In dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and apple until soft.  Add sausage and cook through. Stir in farro and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.  We had sauteed cabbage as a side. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chicken Taco Soup + Six Months

last night, we had our first annual halloween party.  it was so fun to see the kiddos in their halloween costumes and have our first hurrah as a family of four (even if violet was ms. crabbypants). violet alice will be six months this friday and i haven't even written about her, yet.  this has been the fastest six months of my life. soon i will share more about her, hendrix's love for her, my fascination with having a daughter, and all the wonderful changes our family has undergone.  to the readers that kept checking in...thanks for checking in and waiting while i got used to two kids. xo!
i made this soup yesterday and it turned out to be quite a hit with our guests. it's super simple and delicious.  also, the smore candy you see all over pinterest?? make it. now. so good.

chicken taco soup
2 - 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 c. chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1/2 T cumin
1 t. minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste
combine ingredients in crockpot.  cook on low 8 - 10 hours.  shred chicken before serving.  serve with avocado, shredded cheddar, cilantro, limes, green onion, tortilla chips, and/or sour cream.

sneak peek of the cutest baby

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

march: month of meals

printable found here

i have no idea what happened to the month of february.  all i know is that is almost over, i only have 10 weeks left of this pregnancy, and it's time to go to the grocery store again. february was weird in the dinner department.  i had a lot more leftovers then i thought i would and was lazy (think frozen pizzas and ravioli) more than normal. also, we had a few family dinners and events that i forgot to factor into my planning. i am growing a human, so that is my excuse.  so some recipes did not get made and that is why you see them on this month's meal plan, as well.  looks like my grocery bill will be quite cheap this month! speaking of, in case you missed it, the lincoln journal star interviewed me about my grocery shopping habits.  you can read the article here.

1. stout corned beef with roasted potatoes, cabbage, and carrots (st. patty's day)
2. slowcooker potato soup (lenten dinner)
3. chicken and sausage pot pies
4. fish sandwiches with sweet potato fries + coleslaw (lenten dinner)
5. spinach + shroom lasagna (lenten dinner)
6. beef + scallion skewers with bok choy
7. crockpot salisbury steak with potatoes and veggies
8. spaghetti + meatballs with salad and garlic bread (hendrix's birthday dinner)
9. crockpot asian pork + mushrooms
10. crockpot stuffed peppers
11. tortellini soup (lenten dinner)
12. white beans with spinach, shrimp + feta (lenten dinner)
13. baked sausages + latkes
14. parmesan chicken cutlets with salad
15. rueben bake (use leftover corned beef)
16. yogurt marinated chicken + creamy greek sauce
17. chicken enchilada puffs
18. steak salad
19. sloppy joes with zuke fries
20. meatball subs with salad (use leftover meatballs)
21. grilled pork tenderloin with black bean salsa
22. vension roast with roasted veggies + mashed potatoes
23. macaroni + cheese 

noodle soup (ramen noodles without the gross flavor packet amped up with shredded veggies)
greek couscous salad (couscous, tomato, cukes, scallions, feta, olive oil, and lemon)
cabbage, apple, + walnut salad

breakfast tacos
granola + yogurt

cut veggies
goldfish crackers

* if there is no link that is because i either just make it up or figure it is basic enough for everyone to figure out (i.e. spaghetti + meatballs)
** for more dinner ideas or monthly meal plans, check out the what's for dinner page.
i'll (hopefully) be back later this month to talk about hendrix's john deere birthday party, easter dessert ideas, and how our cooking class at the heart ministry center goes next week.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

resolve to be good

so.  i am guessing we all have some sort of food resolutions going on in our head.  it is the new year, after all.  i don't really have one since i am pregnant and have been eating pretty well.  i've already gained less weight then when i was prego with hendrix.  the first time i really thought i was eating for two.  turns out, you're not.  so.  my only resolutions are to mentally list every night (or morning if i was too tired the night before to think)  what i am grateful for and what i did RIGHT that day.  as well as, to commit to completing something creative every month.  i know, as a mother and wife, i put myself on the back burner. a lot.  then i start to feel guilty or short tempered.  then it is a domino effect of bad decisions weather with my eating, sleep, money spending, or how i am talking to others.  so, i am going to try to be kinder to myself and to do things that bring me happiness.  i am confident that this will spill over into all the facets of life.  the first half of this year will be growing this baby.  the second half will be taking care of newborn and introducing a new person to our family of three. i am going to take easy on myself.  because you know what?  most of us are doing good.  there's nothing wrong with wanting be better, but sometimes "good enough" needs to be enough.
HOWEVER.  we all have some food battle we want to win.  mine is my battle with sugar.  i love it.  the good thing and the blessing in disguise is that this baby does not.  if i eat sweets, i get sick.  baby does not like.  hendrix loved sweets and still does. i pretty much lived on apple fritters and cherry pie when i was pregnant with him.  healthy, i know.  so, i thought i would share some yummy and pretty darn healthy recipes & ideas with ya'll.  as well as, a cake recipe.  because who can resist?

my new favorite salad.  cabbage, apple, and walnut salad.  we made out on NYE.

got clementines? make this cake.  it's actually not the most unhealthy cake.

take the 7 day challenge.  7 new recipes in 14 days.  jump start dinner and get out of the rut!

make $20 stretch and help folks with real food problems

start planning.  month of meals.

this is the next salad that i'm going to make out with.  i love salads that can hold their own in the fridge for a bit.

finally, breakfast tacos!  i crave protein like nobody's business with this baby.  i made these up earlier and have been eating them for breakfast, lunch, and snack time.

breakfast tacos
1 egg, scrambled
1 fajita size tortilla, whole wheat ot whatever your prefer
1 1/2 T. salsa
small handful of shredded cheddar
2 T. smashed black beans or refried beans
dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt
avocado or cilantro, optional
in toaster oven or microwave, melt cheese on tortilla.  fill with beans, eggs, salsa, and sour cream. enjoy! 

Monday, December 31, 2012

january month of meals

last month, i planned our dinners out for the month.  it was the first time i had done it and i have to say i really enjoyed it.  we did save a bit of money, ate out less, and always had a quick meal to make.  most of the dinners i chose i could buy the ingredients for once, while others required perishables, i just had mike pick them up on our weekly milk + bread run.  i did find that i over planned a bit and did not end up needing as many dinners.  so you will see some repeats and less dinners this month.  what i did do right was picking up some frozen things like veggies, cheese pizza, and ravioli.  they really helped on those days that i was super tired.  and, frankly, if you are making dinner from scratch most of the can give yourself a break and throw a frozen pizza in the oven.  this isn't food network.  it's just dinner.  so, here's the plan for this month.  i hope it helps with any new year's resolutions you may have...

dinner ideas
1. roasted veggie tacos with vigo brand rice + beans (add meat for mike's tacos)
2. salmon burgers with salad
3. tomato glazed meatloaf with mashed potatoes + spinach (smitten kitchen cookbook)
4. baked sausages with colcannon + applesauce
5. korean ribs with rice + cabbage
6. sausage bean + kale stew
7. ham + bean soup
8. refried bean enchiladas (vension for mike)
9. spaghetti with caramelized onion, spinach, and parm
10. beef stroganoff with noodles and roasted broccoli
11. crockpot chili with cornbread
12. beef shortribs with polenta and veggies
13. crockpot jambalaya
14. sweet + sour chicken with rice (time for dinner cookbook)
15. chicken + sausage potpies (i just use storebought pie crust)
16. sausage + latkes
17. frozen cheese ravioli with veggie sauce and sausage
18. pizza pockets with salad
19. italian sausage + peppers
20. grilled cheese with tomato soup
21. chicken cutlets with arugula salad
22. red lentil soup

breakfast ideas
yogurt + granola
huevos rancheros
sweet potato hash
whole wheat waffles
whole wheat muffins
whole wheat bagels
cinnamon raisin french toast (sundays)

lunch ideas
quinoa + fried egg

snack ideas
cottage cheese
hardboiled eggs
granola bars
goldfish crackers
veggies + dip
chips + salsa

Friday, December 14, 2012

boredom busters

cloud dough

tis the season for stir crazy kiddos.  either it's too cold, windy, or rainy out or worse...the kids are sick AND the weather sucks. anyone knows that oftentimes when the kids are sick they are still mobile and extremely stir crazy.  which makes parents crazy. at least it makes me crazy.  enter my tried and true ways to bust boredom in the balls.  i'm sharing them with you today, but also recording them for i can look them up and implement them instead of having a meltdown.

cloud dough 
slightly messy, but worth it. store it on one of those "under the bed" storage containers. (found here)

fish for letters
fill the tub up and throw a bunch of those magnetic numbers or letters in it.  have your kid fish the letters or numbers out with a kid fishing pole that has a paperclip attached to the end of the line.  older kids can spell stuff out or practice math.  younger ones can identify the numbers or letters.

shaving cream
this cheap stuff is your friend.  in a tub, cover a toy in it and have your kid shoot water at it until they find their "prize".  OR put some on baking sheet and let them add color with those water tubes that come with flowers.  just dilute food coloring in some water.  then let them go to town.  very easy to clean up.

tub painting
strip the kids to their underoos.  cover the tub walls in paper and make some edible finger paint or just color some cool whip with food coloring.  let them create a masterpiece.  when they are done, remove the paper and start bath time. OR make your own bath paint by coloring shaving cream with food coloring and let them paint during bathtime.

rice game
fill a bowl up with uncooked rice and hide things like magnetic letters in it.  have the kid dig around until they find all the treasures. give them some smaller containers and let them transfer the rice from container to container.  keep it all contained on a large, rimmed baking sheet for easier clean up. (i used this one for all of hendrix's 2nd year so that i could get dinner made)

pompom game
find some unbreakable container with a lid and preferably clear.  cut a smaller hole in the lid.  give your kid some pompoms and have them stuff the pompoms in the container.  use different colors and sizes then have them practice colors and sizes.  (this was also great when hendrix was about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2)

balloon pong
things can escalate quickly but it gets a lot of energy out. see here for how to.

make granola or animal cookies
easy recipes for kids to help with and they freeze for up to 3 months.  granola recipe is here and animal cookie recipe is here.

clean up relay race
at my house, everything that is supposed to be upstairs is always (somehow) downstairs.  so i get a tub and set it by the bottom of the stairs.  i go through the downstairs and collect everything that needs to go back upstairs.  while i do it i have hendrix RUN the items to the box.  gets energy out.  sometimes he falls, but he loves it.

paper highway
tear off a big piece of kraft paper.  draw roads and a town on it.  give your kids some crayons and cars.  have them add to the town and go for a drive.

what are your boredom busters? let's all share so that we have some arsenal this winter and upcoming rainy (hopefully!!) spring.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

a month of meals

i've either entered the nesting phase or have WAY too much time on my hands.  however, i have read on quite a few blogs lately and talked with a few friends...apparently planning meals out and doing the shopping for a month of dinners is a money saver/time saver.  i already spend very little on groceries, but lately we have been going over our budget.  mostly, because with this pregnancy comes pregnancy brain, morning sickness, and "ohmygodiamsotired i can't even make a sandwich". it all leads to eating out more and/or prepackaged dinners bought at the last minute. both not all that delicious.
also, i think by not really planning out snacks and lunches and times that i can't bear to prepare food, i end up leaving myself with a kitchen with no back up plan.  supermom isn't making as many appearances these days. hence, the frozen pizza and ravioli on my grocery list.
so....i went down the road of crazy and planned a month of meals. feel free to poach any or all of these for your own planning purposes.
a few things... this plan took me about an hour to do.  i stuck with mostly staple dinners and threw a couple of new recipes in there. i typically have a pretty well stocked pantry so i just needed to replace a few items.  it may vary based on your pantry. the meat, frozen food, and pantry items will be purchased once this month.  some of the produce that keeps well, like carrots, potatoes, onions, and sugar snap peas, will be purchased once. the same with the dairy...some like shredded cheese i can buy once and freeze or some like buttermilk have a long shelf life. otherwise, i will (of course) be making small, short trips to the store weekly based on what perishables i need to stock up on. or telling mike to do it. finally, i  did 26 dinners instead of 31 to allow room for leftovers and the holidays.  also, i will be picking 4 - 6 dinners from the list weekly to make instead of planning every single night of the month. the bulk of my shopping is done at costco, aldi, and fareway.

here is the meal plan:

cut veggies + dip (ranch seasoning with yogurt)
quick bread gone healthy (check pinterest)
granola + yogurt
bean dip
hard boiled eggs
cottage cheese
smoothies (i just buy a bunch of cheap frozen fruit and wing it)
granola bars ( we love these nature valley brand protein bars they sell at costco)
goldfish crackers (i'm succumbing)

grilled cheese
noodles or cheese ravioli

whole wheat pancakes
french toast
eggs + breakfast meat
biscuits + gravy (clearly reserved for the weekend. i'm not that much of a fatty.)

1. crockpot chile colorado burritos with rice
2. chili rellano casserole
3. lasagna with salad
4. crockpot chili
5. crockpot beef stroganoff with salad
6. beef satay with ramen in peanut ginger sauce
7. baked sausages with apples, onions, and potatoes
8. italian sausage meatball sandwiches with salad
9. sloppy joes with baked fries and cut veggies
10. baked penne with salad
11. crockpot stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes
12. sausage, bean, and kale stew
13. (venison) steak salad with tomatoes, onion, and bleu cheese
14. tuna noodle casserole with salad
15. venison roast with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots
16. shepard's pie (with leftover roast & potatoes from #15)
17. crockpot korean ribs with rice and braised cabbage
18. baked sausages with colcannon + applesauce (use cabbage from #17 for colcannon)
19. greek burgers with pita, cukes, tomatoes, feta, and onion
20. sausages with latkes + applesauce
21. braised short ribs with polenta and roasted veg (christmas dinner?)
22. venison enchiladas with rice
23. crockpot chili
24. baked fried chicken drumsticks with rainbow salad
25. macaroni + cheese
26. black eyed peas with leeks and kielbasa and cornbread (new years eve)

so far, i have spent about $100 - 150 less than i typically would for the whole month. we shall see how the rest of the month goes...i will give updates.  also, let me know if you all try this or already do it.  i'd love to hear your thoughts.  so far, i really like having a fully stocked kitchen with all the ingredients to make over half of these meals. now if only we could get a massive snow storm...
check out january's month of meals plan and to read more about what i learned by planning dinner out for a whole month!

Friday, November 16, 2012

homemade runzas

an actual runza.  

last week i posted runzas on my must haves for the freezer and had a few folks ask me what a runza is...besides telling them that they are bread stuffed with deliciousness, i thought i would share my go to recipe.  these are definitely a weekend kitchen project. however, they freeze/reheat great and are pretty fun to make. kids can easily help fill and fold the runzas, too.

homemade runzas
2 lbs of ground meat, preferably beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
american cheese, optional
4 1/2 c. flour, divided
1 /2 c. sugar
2 pkgs. (4 1/2 t.) of active dry yeast
1 t. salt
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs

{make dough} combine 1 3/4 c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.  heat milk, water, and shortening to 120 degrees.  pour over flour mixture and add eggs. beat with standing mixer for 4 minutes.  stir in remaining flour. knead, with standing mixer,  until smooth and elastic. about 6-8 minutes. cover for 1 hr.
meanwhile {make filling} in large dutch oven, saute onion in a bit of oil or butter.  add meat and brown.    add cabbage and cook until wilted.  season very well with salt and pepper.

{assemble runzas} on a large floured surface, roll out dough.  you want the dough to rolled out to a little more than 1/4 inch thickness.  this is where it can get now need to divide your rolled out dough into a even number, same sized rectangles. they should be about 8" x 6".  fill half of the long side, of each rectangle, with your meat filling.  add cheese if you so desire. fold the dough over the meat filling and pinch the sides to make sure nothing delicious escapes. repeat.

{to eat immediately} place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

{to prepare for freezing}  place on a baking sheet and  par bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for no more than 10 minutes.  cool completely and individually wrap in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer bag.  good for up to six months.

{to heat from freezer} wrap runza in foil, bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

whoa baby. here we go again.

hendrix made this in preschool

well, it's official.  we're expecting.  for those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile you know that i have been baby crazy since about hendrix's first birthday.  i am happy to say that shortly after hendrix's fourth birthday in march we will be saying hello to another baby.  baby #2 is due may 7th.   i'm getting pretty excited now that the morning sickness is starting to go away and my energy is coming back.  also, if your morning sickness is real bad....zofran is your friend. for reals. hendrix is pretty pumped too and has been pretty great on the days i am feeling especially gross or tired.  mike is like a deer in headlights, but what can you expect?
which brings me to the story i promised to tell all of you...the one about how we brought hendrix home and we had no food in the house.  hendrix was born about 2 1/2 weeks before his due date and i was on bed rest the week before he was born. silly me thought you actually went around your due date and that i had time.  i did not.  also, mike can not be trusted at the grocery store.  i remember coming up with a list of a few things for him to get based on a few quick meals i figured i could throw together.  he came back with cans of chef boyardee. gross.  see why i insist on giving new parents food, slow cookers, and recipes? i did, however, have my slow cooker that my girlfriend, becky, had given me at my baby shower.  becky has five boys...i think she understood the need for a momma to have some arsenal and how great it is to receive something non-baby related at your shower.  because many blankets and hats does one baby need?  i broke that slow cooker out and used it all the time.  it was a few weeks though before i could really come up for air and go to the store for what i really needed....easy snacks + meals. let's face it, actual meals don't always happen in the first few weeks. so, that brings me to what i think you really need to stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with before the baby arrives....

snack time!
granola (loose and bars)
hummus + pita chips
black beans, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips
cut veggies
dark chocolate

homemade freezer meals!
pizza dough
pizza pockets
sliced meatloaf for sandwiches
pot pies
rainbow soup
quinoa pancakes
whole grain muffins
chicken hand pies

store bought freezer meals!
trader joe's gyoza dumplings (so good!)
trader joe's burritos

  • if you are still building your pantry, check out my pantry checklist.  to spread the cost out when building your pantry just add a few items every week to your shopping list.  you'll get there in no time. 
  • to see more tips on prepping food for a new parents, check this post out. 
  • to see what supplies i think a new baby and parents actually need...check this post out. 

anything i am missing? let me know.  be kind, though.  remember i have pregnancy brain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

diy hot cocoa

it was the para-teacher's birthday at our preschool this week.  so hendrix and i put together a quick, season appropriate gift for her.  i typically give hot cocoa to our friends and family during christmas.  usually i do it in brown bags or waxed bags tied with baker's twine and a tag with the prep directions. this time, since i was only doing one, i took a cue from pinterest and used a mason jar and added some marshmallows.  this recipe makes about 1 1/2 pint jars.

clementine's hot cocoa mix
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of salt
whisk and combine thoroughly.  store in an container.

to prep...
1 tablespoon of hot cocoa mix
8 oz. milk
warm in pan until hot and mix is dissolved. ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

rainbow soup

garden tomatoes from earlier this year.  now my garden looks like the apocalypse hit .

when i posted the top ten slow cooker meals, i heard from a lot of new mommas and soon to be new mommas.  (remind to tell you all about the time i came home with a new baby and no food in the house. it was my first and i apparently thought i was going have time to cook.)  this recipe is for you's easy to make, freezes well, can be made in the slow cooker or on the stove top, is super healthy for growing babies in the belly, super great for recovering new mommies, and if you use a little clever marketing...a toddler might like it.  hendrix calls this rainbow soup and loves it.  oh, it's pretty darn cheap to make too! i posted about it a few years ago, but i figured it was worth sharing again. it's basically a very versatile minestrone recipe.  feel free to add some cooked, sliced italian sausage if you like. always add parmesan cheese. xo!
i love this twist on the traditional minestrone. it is so colorful, versatile, and delicious! don't have butternut squash? use potato. or sweet potatoes.  don't like yellow squash? use green beans or zucchini. you can use kale or spinach instead of cabbage, too. cannellini beans, pinto beans or chickpeas would work in place of the kidney beans, as well. get creative!  this works especially well if you froze any of your garden's bounty earlier this year. 

anna's minestrone
3 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 -2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 t. dried
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained (or fresh, chopped)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 lb. shredded green cabbage
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 c. yellow squash, chopped
1 c. green peas, frozen
1 minced garlic clove

7 c. water
shredded parmesan for serving

STOVETOP: in large pot, heat oil over medium - add onion, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, rosemary, s&p (to taste) - cook until onion begins to turn golden (5-8 mins.) - add tomatoes, cook 1 minute - add butternut squash, cabbage, beans, and 7 c. water - bring to a boil  - reduce to a simmer and cook until all veggies are tender (15 minutes) - stir in peas and cook 5-10 minutes - season with s&p, stir in garlic - serve with parmesan on top - enjoy!
SLOW COOKER: omit olive oil.  combine everything BUT greens and peas.  cook on low for 6-8 hours.  before serving, turn to high and add greens and peas.  cook until greens are wilted. serve with parmesan on top - enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

GSW {menu plan} :: thirteen

elegant dinner at our house

1. grilled chicken with avocado & grilled corn salad

2. pork ragu over noodles serve with green salad topped with apples, almonds, and bleu cheese tossed in a simple vinaigrette {weekend dinner alert!}

3. salmon with chickpea, feta, and parsley salad {salad keeps well in fridge for lunches or snack time}

4. grilled pork tenderloin with peaches

5.  black bean stuffed peppers

going to a party? bring dessert and a hostess gift...
fruit crisp + place mats

put aside cleaning your house and freeze some tomatoes...
how to freeze tomatoes
we'll be finishing our {play}barn this weekend and hoping for rain.  thankfully, our friend, tony, is coming to help and his daughter will be here to play with hendrix.
if you are looking for something to do this weekend in the omaha metro, try...millard days, shopping the furniture sale at oh darling!, dundee day on saturday, take a road trip to the nebraska state fair, or go to the world O! water festival at chalco hills on saturday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

placemats repurposed

once upon a time, i collected strawberry themed stuff.  oftentimes, collections lead to bad choices and hoarding. like these placemats. 

so, i revamped them with a little help from hendrix. the idea came from the say yes to hoboken blog. i love how they help hendrix set the table at dinner time.  you can read all about how to do it here.


if kids are helping...i would go ahead and cut out the stencil ahead of time.  also, make the stencil one sheet of freezer paper that is slightly larger then your placemat.  that will help keep the paint only where it needs to be.  

really make sure your paper is ironed on and stuck on your placemat before you start painting. otherwise, the paint will bleed.

you can only cut one sheet of freezer paper at a time.

i used this for my utensil template and just traced my plate. 

iron the waxed side of the paper onto the placemat.

use fabric paint.

let dry completely and wait a few days before you wash it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GSW menu :: twelve

if hendrix can make dinner. so can you.

it's thursday! which means that it is one more day until friday and the weekend! it also means it is time for next week's menu plan.  this weather is making me want to give mother nature a big ol' wet one.  right on the lips.  if only she'd send {more} rain...
onto the menu.  we're going to still celebrate summer's bounty, but we're going to add some fall flavors, too.  because why not?  some kids are already in school and this summer was one giant heat wave. here it goes...

1. shrimp tacos with spiced peach jam
2. slow cooker jambalaya
3. eggplant stuffed with couscous + pine nuts (sub other nuts if you like)
4.  chicken, butternut squash, and quinoa stew (weekend dinner alert!)
5. quick miso glazed salmon with your freshest veggies on the side

make a pie because the weather is nice....

salad for lunches...

herb garden going a little too crazy? start freezing!
how to freeze herbs

kids already back in school and you are frazzled?
top 10 quick {DALS} weeknight dinners

Thursday, August 9, 2012

GSW menu plan :: eleven

tomato, corn, + basil salad and cucumber salad

happy thursday!  it rained and is so cool this morning...we are loving it!!  last week, there was no menu plan, but we are back.  i figured you had leftovers. ha! also, i got too busy.  to find more dinner ideas and the other {garden says what?} menu plans go to our what's for dinner page.  in zone 5, we are still celebrating all of summer's bounty and there is a huge variety to pick from, but with the constant sunny, dry, and hot weather i am a little sick of it.  hence, the casserole and summer stews on this week's menu plan.  let's get started.

1. chicken, sausage, + corn summer stew
2. fish BLTs with avocado and a summer salad of your choice
3. chili relleno casserole
4. slow cooker eggplant + chickpea stew
5. caprese tart (for a big meat eater...serve some grilled italian sausages on the side)

preserve your tomatoes.  an easy and delicious way (yields 6 pints)...
tomato + basil simmer sauce

plan ahead and make your own yogurt to go pouches....
homemade gogurt

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

repurposed style

picture found via pinterest
 you know you're cheap when you are spray painting your shoes.  also, you are know you are a genius when you are spray painting your shoes. remember last week how i told you was going to show you my new silver shoes?  inspired by j crew. well, better late than never. 
i don't know if you noticed, but the silver shoe is showing up everywhere for fall and so is the chunky heel.  since, i happened to have a pair of chunky, black heels that i got for free (!!) laying around...i decided to experiment.  and, i have to say...i am pretty happy with the results.  i am looking forward to wearing these with jeans or perhaps like above (don't you just love that look?).  best of all, the total cost was $3.27 which is much better than $300.

black patent leather heels that i got for free.
i did a couple of coats.  you want to go with the super shiny paint.

taping off the bottom of the heels with painter's tape

finished product.