Friday, September 30, 2011

Another big cooking day on tap. Not as big as I would like it-I want to do more monthly cooking but my finances are more the day to day type! But still, this is what I plan to do today: Applesauce, french bread, more cookie dough (for church Sunday), Cinnamon bread, taco soup for the freezer and anything else I can find to make. I REALLY need to get some stuff put up in the freezer. It is looking mighty bare in there! General gun season is almost here and it can't come soon enough. I have been coveting the 2 remaining packs of ground venison. I bought some ground beef at the store to supplement and, lo and behold, I would rather have the venison! I couldn't believe all the fat piling up at the bottom of the pan. So gross!!!! I told Bryan as soon as he can, get me some deer in the freezer! I am sure he is all too happy to comply :)

This is what our menu will look like today, just in case you are so fascinated by what we are eating:)
Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles w/homegrown blueberry sauce

"Healthier" homemade pigs in a blanket
carrot sticks
golden kiwi (the boys didn't like it yesterday but us girls loved it)

This is the stumper. Normally our date night but too broke to date so I have to come up with something. Maybe hamburgers????

Last night I told you about the Mexican Stuffed Shells I made but I neglected to tell you about the most wonderful broccoli we had.  I know, how wonderful can broccoli be? I will tell you. I cut up fresh broccoli into large-ish chunks and put it on a cookie sheet. Then I drizzled olive oil over it and added salt, pepper and garlic powder. I put it in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes and, although broccoli has the distinctive "fart" smell when it's cooking, the taste was out of this world! So light a very strong candle and roast up some broccoli. You will NOT be disappointed!

The weather is getting so nice out. Our highs have been in the mid 80's and lows in the lower 60's to upper 50's. Tonight, the low will be 48 !!!! I am sooooooo happy. Next week they are calling for low 40's!!! I cannot contain my joy! Fall, winter and spring are our reward for toughing out the summer. I think today I may even open the windows for awhile. Fresh air AND a reduction in electric bill!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I am sitting in the parking lot of the local coffee den using up their free wi-fi. Very unethical, I know but the twins are at a 4H meeting and I have nothing to do for the next hour so here I am. I have spent most of the day cooking. This morning I made big batches of waffles and pancakes and put enough leftovers in the freezer for at least 3 meals out of each. I love having something like that to just pull out and stick in the toaster oven. Nice quick and healthy breakfast without having to spend money at the store on the frozen versions that have nothing but junk in them. Anyway, I also made homemade chocolate pudding for dessrt tonight. has awesome recipes for pudding and they only take about 15 minutes to make FROM SCRATCH!!!! The taste is nothing like instant pudding. It is infinitely better! Since we won't be home until about 5:30 tonight, I also premade a batch of Mexican Stuffed Shells for dinner. All I gotta do is pop it in the oven and make a vegetable. I am also toying with the idea of making applesauce when I get home but not sure if I will have time as it cooks for about 45-55 minutes and I take f o r e v e r peeling and chopping all of those apples!!!
Lunch today was a little experiment that turned out pretty tasty. I bought some croissants. Now I NEVERbuy croissants because they are sooooooo bad for you (but they taste sooooooo good!) but this week I did. I swear Satan was just whispering in my ear ***buy croissants****no one will care**** Then I took a little cream cheese and whipped it with some apricot preserves and spread it on the bottom of the croissant. Then I put some ham slices in a skillet and crisped them up a bit and put them on top of the cream cheese and, viola! Delish!!!! I ate 2...I am so ashamed :( I guess I will need to get some good exercise cuz I also ate fast food (YUCK) yesterday afternoon on the way to the grocery store. Couldn't risk being hungry and then trying to shop. That would have been more horrendous than it was! I REALLY

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looooong day today...Dropped off clothes at the Salvation Army, hit the bank and CVS, stopped at Walmart for some pet food and then finished off my trek at Kroger where I FINALLY got some food!
We were so out of EVERYTHING that I ran out of money before I ran out of grocery list!!! Oh well, at least I can throw together something to eat that doesn't consist of stale cheerios and a stray cracker found under the couch.  I am helping to provide the supper for our church Youth and Edge groups Sunday night and with everything I bought, I feel like I am feeding an army! We're doing 6 taco casseroles, chips and salsa, cookies and soda for 35. Ok it IS a small army!!! I don't mind though, I'm doing it with a buddy that I haven't seen in awhile so it will give us a chance to catch up.

Gonna do the final mowing of the season soon. Kinda sad-I love mowing grass. It's my ME time. No one bugs me and I can just zone out or think through all the problems of the world. Our pecan trees have started dropping pecans early so we'll be out picking those for the next few months. They usually don't start falling until mid to late October so I don't know if this is good or bad. I'm gonna go with good cuz that's just how I roll!!!

Chickens STILL have not laid any eggs. I don't know what their problem is but they need to get over it quick. They have it pretty good in the chicken condo. Plenty of food, water, grass, bugs, attention from everyone...I had to buy eggs today and everytime I do, I wanna bring out the stew pot!

I have been doing a lot of reading about sugar and artificial sweetners. Everyone has a different opinion about which should be used. It kinda makes my head spin. What I have gathered so far is white sugar is to be avoided. Ok, I get that. I only bake with white sugar. My question is, what do I put in my coffee and tea??? We use Splenda right now. I have tried Truvia because I was told it was better than sugar but I don't really like it. I like the taste of Splenda but it is a chemical and I want to avoid that. I looked into raw sugar and it is a step above white sugar but still not perfect. A blogger I follow uses Sucanat which is dehydrated cane juice. I don't know how that is different from regular sugar but apparently it is. I really cannot handle all of these options. Way too many. Would someone just please tell me what to eat??? Or not to eat!

Monday, September 26, 2011


We have been home for a little over a week now and in that week's time, we have all been sick (still trying to quit coughing!), our lab, Lilly, got a UTI while being boarded and diarrhea AND my little Bichon, Baby, got really sick. Lilly got some meds and has healed up quite nicely but poor Baby has been struggling. She is 14 years old and not really into her routine changing. She was fine when we picked her up but the next day, she stopped eating and started having diarrhea. Then she started REALLY having diarrhea, like all over the place. We called the vet one night and he had us check her for some other problems and she was fine on those fronts so he said he was pretty sure she was stressed from being boarded. STRESSED! So he told us if she wasn't better in the morning to bring her in and he would check her out. Next morning, she perked up a little bit. She begged for a treat (she hasn't done that in a looooong time) so I figured she was  "relaxing" a little bit. I took her out to go potty and, dang it, she had blood in her diarrhea!!!! So, a trip to the vet later, we find that not only was she stressed out BUT she ALSO had a bleeding stress ulcer!!! Geez!!! The only thing that made it any better was the fact that the "hottie" vet took care of her :) At least I got a thrill for all my trouble. So apparently, my dog needs Xanax if I even think of going out of town again. Hottie Doc said I could always take her with me on vacation....then I would need the Xanax! So anyway, we get her home, give her meds and just let her basically do whatever she wanted (pretty much what she does on a regular basis anyway minus the meds). Now, Baby is not the easiest dog to give pills to. She only weighs 11 lbs. but she is mighty in spirit when she doesn't want something done to her. So we were on the floor and I was trying to POLITELY give her a pill. Each time, she spit it back out. Put it in food you say??? Still no money for groceries so lunch meat has been wiped out for awhile. We had to stick to the ole put it as far back in her mouth as possible and hold her snout shut till she swallows routine. Each and every time she spit that doggone pill out. So I put it in again and waited...and waited...still waiting...was that a swallow I felt???? I let her snout go, she spits out the pill AND A TOOTH! She has always been a little drama queen but this takes the cake! I finally did get that pill down and hid away a little hunk of cheese to hide the future pills in. As for the teeth, well not much I can do about that. She won't allow brushing and she's too old for cleaning them at the vet. Trust me, she still has quite a bit of "bite" left!

I have been reading a bunch of other blogs lately. I am very interested in the ones concerning getting back to the basics. We have been s l o w l y changing our diet to exclude processed foods, fast foods, white flour/rice/sugar foods and include only whole foods. It hasn't really been very hard (just a bit time consuming) and we have lost a couple of pounds without even trying...YAY!!!!! I have found some great recipes that are completely cooked from scratch. It has been going so well that, this morning, I received the biggest compliment I could get from an 11 year old boy. My son told me that he thinks it's cool that I make all my own stuff. How sweet is that ?:) It could also be the fact that I found recipes for homemade versions of pizza rolls, donuts, pop tarts, etc. and he is REALLY happy about that! But I will just happily believe that it is because he is proud of me! AND I am cool!

Well I think hubby has found a little money for some grocery shopping so I will trek to my favorite Kroger tomorrow morning and get some very much needed food. They have a Starbucks there. It's a good thing. I guess I need to make my menu and list, get my coupons ready and prepare my checkbook for the grocerypalooza. Hope I have enough gas to get there because I want to gas up at Kroger and use my Kroger points to lower my price/per/gallon on gas. I LOVE saving money!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm baaaaaaack....

We are home from our glorious, wonderful vacation!!! YAY!!! I love vacations but after awhile I am ready to be back in my own, familiar surroundings. PLUS, we ALL came home sick! Next time we get the bright idea to bring our grandkids on vacation with us, we will just stay home! I love my granchkins but, honestly, they are little petri dishes brimming with germs. All 3 were sick even though their moms ASSURED us they weren't. Hello, green snot does NOT freely flow from the noses of healthy children! Anywho we are home and back to our routine...sort of. Both of my dogs are sick too. I swear, we need to just stay home from now on because traveling is not good for any of us apparently!
Since I wwwaaaayyyyyy over spent for and on our vacation, we have no money for grocery shopping. We also have no food because we ate it all before we left so I have been very ingenius with our meals. I absolutely LOVE the recipes from the Heavenly Homemaker. I have been making a couple of the recipes that I had the ingredients for and they have been outstanding. Last night I impressed myself with our very first "whole food" only meal. I made pork chops, real hand grated hash browns (I got the scrape on my finger to prove it!) roasted carrots and homemade applesauce. If you have never made your own applesauce and rely on the gunk they sell in the store, you have not lived! It was so good and so yummy that I could not stop myself from eating it! So easy too-Peel, core and chop 3 lbs of apples (I used Gala because they are my favorite apple). Put them in a pot over med-low heat. Add 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Cover and cook for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The smell filling your house will cause you feelings of euphoria....just go with it....Once the apples are soft, mash them up a little and add 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. I forgot that step and my applesauce was totally divine without it. You now hold in your hands the secret to happiness...You're welcome :)
This morning I made pancake-sausage muffins and they were unbelievable. Then for lunch I made Taco Corn Fritters. Oh the yumminess!!! Only problem is that I have no idea what to make for dinner! I am down to a little ground venison, which will be lunch tomorrow, and a little salmon, which will be dinner tomorrow for me and hubby. Oh lordy, I need some groceries!!!
In other news (dontcha love the segue???) hubby got him a new truck today. Not exactly brand new but new for him. He has been struggling to do the farm chores with his itty bitty Toyota Tacoma but, since we aren't taking on new debt and have NO cash saved up AND his lease was running out in February, we had to do something pretty soon. He has been scouring the internet for a couple of months, searching for the best deal he could get. In our neck of the woods, people hold on to their pickups until there is nothing left to hold on to so finding a decent used one was going to be rough. He found one that seemed really good and he prayed about it until he thought he had his answer. He called the dealership and the salesman told him he was watching that truck drive off the lot as they spoke with its new owner. Not meant to be. However, hubby don't give up easily. He called another dealership on a whim and they had an even better deal on the "truck of his dreams". We went to the bank, got a cashiers check and the dealership delivered the truck this afternoon. They drove that thing 75 miles one way to make a sale. Now THAT is service! Our son pointed out to his dad that we weren't taking on new debt, so why did he borrow money for that truck (He actually paid attention to the financial seminars we are making him and his sister watch with us!!!)Hubby explained to him that he actually lowered his debt because the new truck cost less than the buyout of his leased truck, so, even though we borrowed money, we lowered our debt overall. I wish we could have paid cash for it but that just wasn't possible right now. Remember, I'm broke, no money, no food....but we got a kick butt truck that will do anything on the farm we need it to do!
My chickens seemed to have survived our absence pretty well but the little boogers still aren't laying any eggs. They should have started the week we were gone but nothing. I am about to resort to chickie massage to get them eggs flowing! Every time I have to buy them at the store it makes me want to put the chickens in a stew pot! Ok, not really. I did do that once with a mass killing of roosters (who knew they were so territorial??)It was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. Yuck! But the girls really need to start earning their keep! Or no more goodies...I found they LOVE peaches and watermelon. yeah, I will withhold peaches until I see some egg production!
Alright, now I must go and forage for food for dinner. I am so full that even thinking about more food is gross but, alas, the family likes being fed on a continual basis so I'm off to the freezer!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2 More Days....

In 48 hours, from this moment right now, I will be officially on vacation at my destination. I REALLY cannot wait!!! I just found out that we will be having another little one tagging along. I had asked my middle daughter MONTHS ago if I could take her little girl to Disney with us and was basically told "no". Not a problem. I planned the whole vacation around what the 4 of us wanted to do and hubby and I decided to ask our oldest daughter if we could take her 2 little ones with us for a few days. She said yes right away! So our plan was to do all the park stuff we wanted the first 5 days we were there, pick up our grandkids, spend a couple days with them and drop them off on our way back home. Everything was all fine and dandy, all plans had been made and finalized. Then I get a call a couple of days ago, "Mom, do you still want to take Ella to Disney?" Guess who talked to her sister and found out the other 2 kids were going???? Oh well. Now we will be taking two 11 year olds, one 33 month old, one 2 year old (just turned 2 today :))and one 20 month old to Disney....Oh boy, what have I gotten us in to???? At least we will be in a 2 bedroom condo (we are DVC members) and we have a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a full size laundry room. I have been running around the last 2 days trying to get all the things we will need for the little ones. I am so not used to doing that on a grand scale! Between strollers, clothes, shoes, sippy cups, diaper bag, DIAPERS(!!!!) I have completely blown our spending money! I told hubby to NEVER complain that the twins are expensive! Little ones have a lot of STUFF! Thank goodness I have a Suburban. Every seat will either have a rear end or a car seat occupying it. The cargo area will be stuffed to the gills with a suitcase, gear for the babies, gear for the not-babies-anymore, pillows, blankets, groceries and a cooler. Gotta have the cooler. May even need to bring the big one. I hate having to grocery shop out of town so I tend to pack stuff and bring it with me. I have a bunch of stuff going. Probably too much... Nah. We got the Dining Plan so I don't have to worry about meals except for breakfast and we are an easy bunch to please for breakfast. AND we will be taking the Keurig!!! I absolutely will NOT vacation without my coffee maker!!! The condo has a coffee pot but I adore my Keurig coffee maker! It is an addiction for me!!!
I hate all the work that I talk myself into doing before a vacation. I hate coming home to a dirty house so I have to clean RIGHT before we leave! For some reason, I even decided that all the throw rugs, shower curtains, dog bowls and cat bowls have to be cleaned before we leave. Who the heck needs to do that????   ME! Plus the truck has to  be washed and cleaned out even though it will be trashed 5 minutes into the drive! I think I have a sickness...Man I hope there is a cure because my butt is tired!!! My crazy cooking session last week has been a real blessing though. I really haven't had to cook anything other than thawing something and sticking it in the oven or crockpot to reheat. Everything has been REALLY good too! Especially the Taco Soup last night. Sometime I will post the recipe because it is a keeper! Tonight is lasagna. I only premade the sauce so I had to layer everything and cheese it up but I just pulled out a loaf of French Bread that I made and froze and that is our side dish. Does that count? There are veggies in the sauce and fruit in the oatmeal raisin cookies I made for dessert so I think I have all the food groups covered:)
My oven beeper will be going off soon so, until next time.....Oh yeah, funny little thing my son said the other night. We were in the truck and I turned the radio down so hubby and I could talk, twins were watching a movie in the back anyway. So a few minutes go by and my son says "Hey, did you hear that?" I said "What". Smart aleck son says "My point exactly. Turn the radio back up".

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Aftermath....

It is 4:45 pm and I am too pooped to peep! In the last 24 hours I have put the following in the freezer: Tortilla Lime Chicken, Beef Stew, Bean soup, Mexican Stuffed Shells, Chicken Almondine, Taco Soup and Sweet Potato and Sausage casserole, and a big helping of peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough and baked the following: 4 loaves of french bread, one loaf whole wheat bread, 1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread and a dozen chocolate peanut butter cups. I am honestly sick of my kitchen right at the moment! I am glad though that I won't be having to cook anymore til after we get back from vacation. Oh I long to be enjoying you...soon...very soon....
This morning got off to a weird start. I got up to *ahem* use the facilities about 4:30. I couldn't fall back asleep so I decided to check on my stew that was cooking in the crockpot. It is a little disorienting to wake so early and smell food cooking! So I walk to the kitchen in total darkness because, honestly, who wants lights at 5 am???? I check on my crockpot and glance out the kitchen window and notice that my son's lawnmower headlights are on in our garage. My oldest keeps his mower here (he lives across the road) because he doesn't have a garage. He doesn't have a car OR a drivers license either but that is ANOTHER story! Anyway, I knew he wouldn't be up at that hour and, since it was dark when we got home last night, I knew we didn't leave them on accidentally. So I wake up hubby and tell him about it. He gets up and we go outside to investigate. Then he tells me to get the pistol out of my truck and I am thinking " It's 5 am! What could he possibly want to shoot?" (in my defense, it was early and I never even thought of someone actually being in our garage) but not wanting to argue when he so obviously did NOT want be up, I got it. He searched all over the property and even went driving in his truck down the road. Now, where we live is out in the middle of nowhere, way in the country. He didn't see anything but some thing got the dogs around us all riled up (except for the Lab sleeping on my bedroom floor who was completely unaware that ANYTHING was going on! Nice guard dog). He tried to make the lights on the mower come on without using the key (it was still in the office and hadn't been taken) and nothing made them come on so he is convinced someone was out there. Nothing is missing but it really gives me an uneasy feeling. We have sort of been lulled into a false sense of security out here in the woods. We have never had a problem nor has anyone around us. I would hate to think that that is changing. Hubby has been working on the barn to get it enclosed so we can secure it but it will be awhile before that gets done and we leave for vacation next week. Glad my in laws live across the road. I know they will keep an eye on things for us but they never would have seen the mower lights on at 5 in the morning. I am still surprised I did-I NEVER get up that early but for some reason I just could not go back to sleep. So long story short, I have been up for more than 12 hours and I am E*X*H*A*U*S*T*E*D!!! I still have another 4-5 hours to go before I can go to bed...WWWWAAAAAAAAAAA!!! But, hey, I don't have to cook ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marathon Cooking Day....

I am rubbing my aching feet as I try to type this. I got the "bright" idea to cook a weeks worth of dinners all in one day and put them in the freezer. It really isn't my fault, though. I found a couple of blogs that I just love and they were talking about once a month cooking. I wasn't quite ready to tackle that job just yet so I figured, hey, I could manage a week right? Well, I did it. Five meals in the freezer, one cooling on the counter enough to pack it up and put into the freezer and the last one will go in the crockpot tonight to be put in the freezer tomorrow morning. Wanna know what we are having for dinner???? PIZZA!! I told hubby I didn't want to see my kitchen for at least 12 hours! It wasn't really that bad. I did learn a few tricks that I will incorporate into my next weekly (maybe longer) cooking session. It is all about organization. Pre-chop, thaw, organize anything you can before you take this on. I didn't do much of that and it slowed me down quite a bit. However, the smells of the food while it was cooking was simply amazing! The twins, who normally spend Friday night with grandma and grandpa informed me they were staying put and we were going to be eating one of the recipes I cooked, Mexican stuffed shells.My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Tomorrow is going to be bread making day. French bread, artisan bread, whole wheat bread, and maybe, just maybe, a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. I LOVE the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. There is truly NOTHING in this world like it. Unfortunately, I am equally fond of eating all of that wonderful bread...Spandex really is an amazing fabric dontcha think????? Anyway, if you want to check out some of my favorite blogs, they are and At heavenly homemakers, check out the soaked pancakes. I made them this morning and they are out of this world. Try them, even if you think you don't like whole wheat. These could change your mind....

We have some friends who live in Iowa that are down here for a visit with their sweet lil angel, Grace. Her mommy once told us that she wasn't getting married for a VERY long time, if ever, and that she wasn't having kids...She gave birth last December and got married in May (or June, I can't remember!) Funny how God has absolutely no use for "our" plans! I am trying to nudge hubby out the door to go visit but work seems to be getting in the way...AGAIN!!!! I really wish we could just win the lottery and be done with work but they tell me that you actually have to PLAY the lottery to win...Who knew....Hopefully we can get out of here soon.

I'll try and post some pics tomorrow of the bread making, BEFORE I eat it all!!!