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Sunday, March 29, 2009

His Holy Name - Holy page

Here's the first page for my book! I'm so happy with how it turned out! I pulled out some old tools/supplies for this one, which is always nice. The small dragon fly stamp is from and old Stampin' Up set. The body is colored in w/ chalk and the wings w/ Caspian Sea Radiant Pearls. Then I stamped the dragonfly again on vellum w/ Versamark and some heat & stick power, and covered it w/ Diamond Dust so that the wings looked shimmery and transparent. I painted the back of the wings w/ the Caspian Sea Radiant Pearls. I also painted the letters for HOLY with Oyster Shell and Caspian Sea Radient Pearls, so they are shimmery and pretty as well. I had the evening sun coming in on my dinner table so I was able to get some good pics w/ the wings sparkly. Now to work on the next word: SOVEREIGN

God Bless!

His Holy Name - book cover

I have had this project on my mind since December when I first found out about this weekly project at Faith Sisters. You can learn more about this wonderful, year-long project here. It's taken me this long for it to finally come out of my mind and become the front of my book. I know it sounds silly, but things like that can kind of stew in my brain for awhile and when it's finally time for it to be made, it just happens. That's what happened today and I'm really pleased with how it turned out! There are many times when my husband will come in my scrap area and I'm busy working away late at night and I have to tell him, "I have to get this out of my head or I'm not going to be able to sleep!" lol Usually good things happen then, when I'm not forcing things and let them finally just happen. Now I get to start working on the pages that will go inside. I can't wait! I'm planning on adding lots of ribbon for the "binding" of the book, so that will have to wait until the end of the year when all is finished with this album all about words that describe the greatness of God.

God Bless,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Favorite Recipe - Cucumbers in Sour Cream

This is a wonderful recipe that a dear friend gave me when we were stationed at Mather AFB in California. I believe that she told me that she got the recipe while stationed in Germany. Either way, it's a great spring-time side dish. Well, anytime actually!

Cucumbers in Sour Cream-

2 large cucumbers, peeled
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 cup sour cream

1. Slice the cucumbers as thin as possible. Place in a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt; stir well.
2. Let stand for 1 hour or over night.
3. Rinse in a strainer. Squeeze the liquid from the cucumbers by hand and place back into bowl.
4. Combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl and mix with the cucumbers.
5. Chill well and serve.

Enjoy and God Bless!

Family Favorite Recipe - Seafood Cakes

This is another recipe that I've been making for years. I actually lost it for a long time and was thrilled to stumble upon it in a huge stack of recipes I had in a box. This recipe was originally from Miracle Whip and something I probably clipped from a magazine, because we don't ever buy Miracle Whip! I use regular mayo. This is for dinner tonight w/ some mixed vegetables and cucumbers in sour cream (another family fave that I need to share!)

Seafood Cakes-

1 - 12 oz can tuna (or 2 five ounce sized cans. I actually double this recipe for our family of 6 & use 4 five ounce cans. My big kids eat several patties.)
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup each finely chopped celery, green onions, green bell pepper and red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

1. Mix tuna, mayo, mustard, chopped veggies, seasonings are 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs.
2. Shape mixutre into 2-inch balls, roll in remaining bread crumbs; coating well. Flatten balls into small patties.
3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Add tuna patties and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
6. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Yummy! I like to dip mine in Dijon mustard. :-)

Enjoy and God Bless!

button closure for reusable bags

I absolutely love the little, reusable bags that Whole Foods has come out with! It's about a quarter of the size of a regular, reusable bag and actually holds quite a bit. I love mine so much that I keep it in my purse so that I always have it with me to use. The only problem is that it kept coming unfolded in my purse, so over the weekend I sewed some buttons on it and a ribbon, loop closure. I'll to my best to explain what I did here!

basic sewing supplies (needle, scissors, etc.)
fray stop or clear nail polish
floss to match
2 buttons - I used a button w/ a shank for the button that the ribbon loops around that is sewn at the bottom of the bag

1. I just eyed this part, but if you want to you can measure to the middle of the top your bag and then down a couple of inches and mark w/ a pen. Do the same on the bottom on the same side. Fold up your bag just to make sure that when your bag is folded in half, you can see a button on each side. When the bag is open, the buttons will be on the same side of the bag. Hope that makes sense! Fold your bag in half and take your ribbon and hold it at one marked spot on the bag, loop it up and around to the other side of the bag (like if you were actually going to loop it around a button) and back down to where you started. Add about 1/2 inch and then cut. Sorry. I didn't measure! I just eyed it and made it work. lol Put fray stop or clear nail polish on each end of the ribbon and let dry.

2. Fold each end in about 1/4 of an inch and loop the ribbon so that the two ends are together. Hand stitch about 1/8 inch from the end.

3. Place ribbon on top of your bag where your mark is and stitch into place.

4. Just for fun, I added a button on top of the ribbon! It's purely decorative. :-)

5. Stitch the button with the shank to the bottom of your bag.

6. That's it! Fold your bag in half and loop the ribbon around the button and there you go! Nice and neat and really cute!

7. Here's what it looks like from above so you can see both buttons. And a closer show of the just-for-fun button on the ribbon. :-)

I hope this made sense! I am by no means someone qualified to instruct people on how to make something. lol Especially when I just made this up as I went a long! I used my buttoned bag the other day at Whole Foods and my cashier really loved it. I do too!!!

Enjoy and God Bless!

Family Favorite Recipe - Country Chili in a Crock-Pot - Vegetarian

I have been making this chili for years! I found it in a book called "The TVP Cookbook" by Dorothy R. Bates that I picked up in an awesome health food store when we lived by Little Rock called "Beans & Grains & Things". This chili makes A LOT! It fills up my big crock-pot. The original recipe calls for cooking it on the stove, but I love having it cook all day so that the flavors can develop. I think that the TVP needs that, since it's basically flavorless. Simmering all day in a crock-pot full of yummy goodness could fool most meat-eaters. I'm guessing. lol It's been so long since I've had red meat, I don't remember what it tastes like in chili. But, either way, I have had friends try this chili who eat meat and they all loved it! If you have any questions, please ask. I make this totally different from the instructions in the book so I'm trying to remember how I do it step by step!

Country Chili-

2 cups boiling water
2 cups TVP flakes
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, or more or less to taste (the more the better!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayeen pepper
2 - 28 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use petite diced)
2 - 16 oz cans red beans - undrained (I sometimes substitute one can of the red beans for a can of Great Northern beans or black beans)
2 cups vegetable broth

1. Pour the boiling water over the TVP in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. In a large crock-pot, add the diced tomatoes and beans with their liquid. Turn crock-pot on to medium/low heat or 8-10 hour cooking time.
3. Over medium-high heat, saute the onions, green bell pepper and garlic until they soften. Remove from heat. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Put the onion mixture into the crock-pot with the tomatoes and beans and stir well. Add the rehydrated TVP and stir well.
4. Pour the 2 cups of vegetable broth into the pan that you were sauteing the onions in and stir to loosen up all of the spices and flavor that has stuck to the pan. Pour the broth into the crock-pot and stir well.
5. Cover and let cook for 8-10 hours on med/low heat.
A before and after photo of my chili. The TVP is very light and not to yummy looking but after cooking all day, it soaks up all of the flavors anda colors from the other ingredients and makes a beautiful and hearty chili!

This is great served with some sour cream, Fritos and shredded cheddar cheese on top! And, of course plain, saltine crackers are awesome with it also. Leftovers can be frozen. Or, a favorite way for us to use them is to mix some chili with 4 oz of Velvetta cheese to make chili cheese dip to eat with tortilla chips. Yummy!

Enjoy & God Bless!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Family Favorite Recipe- Golden Corn Bake

This yummy recipe was given to me by a dear friend and quickly became one of our favorites. Since I tend to eat A LOT of it and it's not easy on one's waist-line, I fix it for holiday meals, like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. lol It's so simple to make, too. I have some cooking in the oven right now to take to church for a funeral meal tomorrow.

Golden Corn Bake-

1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 - 8 1/2 ounce package corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1 - 17 ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 - 17 ounce can cream-style corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grease pan. In a large bowl, combine butter, both cans of corn, eggs and muffin mix. Mix in sour cream and cheese. Bake at 350F degrees for 50 minutes or 325F degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

This smells so good when it's cooking! Enjoy!
God Bless,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Family Favorite Recipe - Salmon Loaf with Cucumber Sauce

Salmon Loaf with Cucumber Sauce:

Salmon Loaf-
1 cup saltine cracker crumbs
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash of ground black pepper
14 3/4 ounce can salmon - drained and flaked

Cucumber Sauce-
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl coming crumbs, milk, egg, onion, butter, lemon juice, and black pepper. Stir in salmon. Spoon into a greased 8 1/2"x4 1/2" loaf pan; smooth top. Bake at 350F degrees for 35-45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with cucumber sauce.

To make cucumber sauce- Mix all of the ingredients for the cucumber sauce in a bowl and chill well before serving.

I usually serve this with a potato dish of some sort or a veggie, a lettuce salad and some bread, like biscuits or corn bread muffins.

God Bless!

Meal Plan Monday

From Country Life in the Big City

Here is my menu for this week:

Monday- Stuffed jumbo shells, steamed cauliflower w/ cheese sauce, French bread w/ garlic butter (Note: I substituted Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles for the ground beef.)
Tuesday- French toast (using leftover french bread), fresh fruit
Wednesday- Slow-cooker shrimp creole, rice, cornbread muffins
Thursday- Loaded baked potatoes, fresh fruit
Friday-Salmon loaf w/ cucumber sauce, Provencal potatoes, steamed veggie
Saturday- Vegetable tortillas, Mexican rice
Sunday- Roast chicken w/ rosemary, oven roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, salad

I will be working on posting some recipes from this weeks meals soon!

Quick update: We had the Stuffed Jumbo Shells tonight for the first time and it was a huge hit! Really, really good, even w/ substituting the veggie "beef" for the ground beef. Made a lot, too! And was a great way to sneak in some spinach! Yum!

God Bless!

how i plan my weekly menus

I thought that I would let you all know how I plan my weekly menus. It is something that I've been doing off and on for years. When I'm on; things are awesome! When I'm off; things don't go so well!

First of all..... It is late! And I'm tired, so please excuse any and all type-o's! lol If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll respond as soon as I can. :-)

Here are some positives that you can have by planning you weekly menus:
  • less stress when dinner time rolls around - I can't think of anything worse than worrying all day what I'm going to fix for dinner.
  • less time wasted- Fits into what I said above. How much of my time do I waste on days that I don't have a meal planned? A LOT! I fret all day about it! Then I either have to make a special trip to the store to buy food for a meal that day or spend a lot of time in my kitchen looking through cupboards and the fridge trying to figure out what I can make with what I find inside.
  • less money wasted-When I have my meals planned, that's what we eat that week. That's it. No running to the store to buy things & probably more expensive things because I don't have the time to fix things from scratch (ready-to-make/pre-packaged foods are expensive!), and no eating out even if it doesn't fit into the budget that week.
  • less food wasted- We are eating foods that taste good and are good for us, so less food is left over and if it is, we eat them another day for lunches or after-school snacks. (My big kids tend to eat leftovers when they get home, instead of munching on chips and other snack foods.)
  • you have time to fix wonderful and healthy meals for your family and yourself to enjoy at the dinner table together each and every night! Nothing is more important than sharing dinner together as a family!
I know that I could come up with more reasons why planning your weekly menu is a good idea, but I think that the positives listed above speak plenty of the benefits!

The first thing that I did was to sit down with my planner. During the school year, my kids are pretty busy. One daughter has dance twice a week and it tends to interfere with meal times. Every year, the day she has dance on changes, so I sometimes change what meal I have planned for that night. If you have one evening that is very busy for you and your family, maybe that's a good time for a meal from your slow cooker. If you have an evening where you don't have any commitments, maybe plan an easier meal, like breakfast, so you don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and so that you can enjoy your night off from running yourself or your children around. Think of this things as you're looking at your calendar. If you evenings are open, then you are lucky and can plan your meals how ever you please!

I use the following categories for the next step in my menu planning:
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast
  • Slow Cooker/Freezer Meal
  • Sandwich w/ Soup (cold months) or Salad (warm months)- Or Vegetarian Meal
  • Fish or Seafood
  • Ethnic
  • Chicken/Pork/Beef
You can substitute any category that fits your tastes, but be sure to choose something because this is one step that really makes planning your menu easy!

Here is how I plan my week for meals:
  • Monday- Pasta (It is an easy night for us with nothing going on so I picked Pasta for this night, because it's usually pretty easy to put a pan of sauce on the stove and boil up some noodles. If I'm making a sauce from scratch, I can start it earlier in the day before my children are home and things get hectic.)
  • Tuesday- Breakfast (My daughter has dance on this night. Stirring up some pancakes or a hash brown quiche is easy and a nice, filling meal.)
  • Wednesday- Slow-Cooker/Freezer Meal (My daughter has dance early on this night, so I chose a slow-cooker meal for this evenings meal. That way I know dinner is done as soon as my husband gets home from work, we can eat and then they have plenty of time to get to dance.)
  • Thursday- Sandwich with Soup or Salad or Vegetarian Meal (No activities on this night. We enjoy sandwiches and soup/salads so I thought this would be a good night for some comfort food. I also do not eat chicken/beef/pork, so it's nice for me to have an all veggie meal once a week that I really enjoy instead of eating parts of meals that feature meat.)
  • Friday- Fish or Seafood (I like following the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays, all year long.)
  • Saturday- Ethnic (Some Ethnic foods can be a little time consuming to fix, so by saving these meals for Saturday, I always have plenty of time to make a delicious meal.)
  • Sunday- Chicken/Pork/Beef (You can't beat a home-made Sunday dinner, just like Grandma used to make on Sundays.)
On Saturday, every other week, we eat out. Since there are 6 of us, eating out can be quite an expense, so we try really hard to stick with this. Three pizzas from our favorite, local pizzeria is over $40. That's a pretty good chunk of money! Another thing to consider is any extra activities that might be happening that week that will effect your meals. A school program, special church activity like a Pancake Breakfast, or even a special holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Even the smaller holidays are fun to plan around. Hoppin' John on New Years Day, Corned Beef & Hash on St. Patricks Day, etc. And don't forget those extra special days like your anniversary and birthdays!

So now that I have figured out what type of meal that I'm going to make each night, I sit down with my grocery stores sales flyer and my recipes & menu cards(more on that in another post!). I look at the ads to find items on sale that would for for a meal and I try to plan my menu around those items. Right now I'm looking at our sales flyer and here's some of what I see:

  • whole chicken for $.69/pound
  • 2 pound bag of frozen tilapia fillets for $5.99
  • 12 oz. frozen vegetables for $.88
  • 5 pound bag potatoes for $1.88
  • 26-30 count shrimp for $5.99
From that I can go to my recipe books & menu cards and decide on meals to make. The first thing I write down on my paper is:


I start with Friday because since the weekend has the most days where I am preparing some sort of meat, I know that it will be nice and fresh. Especially if I buy fresh fish for Friday.

Then looking at my list that I made by looking at the sales flyer I start writing down meals:

Fri- tilapia, frozen veggies
Sun- whole chicken, frozen veggies
Wed- slow-cooker shrimp creole
Thur- loaded baked potatoes

So my list is almost filled up just by planning meals from the sales flyer! Sometimes I have almost every day planned from the flyer, sometimes I have a lot less. If I decide to splurge a bit (like the $5.99/lb of shrimp!), I plan a cheap meal on another night (pancakes and fruit, for example). This way things stay pretty well in my budget. Now I know that I just need to decide on a meal for Saturday (Ethnic), Monday (Pasta) and Tuesday (Breakfast). So I go to my recipe book & menu cards and plan the remaining days and fill in side dishes for all of the meals.

Fri- tilapia, frozen veggies, fresh salad, drop biscuits
Sat- veggie quesidillias with salsa and guacamole
Sun- whole chicken, frozen veggies, roasted potatoes
Mon-manicotti, salad, french bread
Tues- french toast (using leftover french bread), fresh fruit
Wed- slow-cooker shrimp creole, rice, cornbread muffins
Thur- loaded baked potatoes, fresh fruit

Then I go through each recipe (or look on the back of my menu card- I promise I'll explain this part soon!) and write out my grocery list. I'm afraid to admit that I have a master grocery list that I made in Microsoft Publisher awhile ago that is divided up by what is in each asile of our grocery store. We have since moved and I need to redo my list because this really helped me out a lot! I just check items on my list and how many I might need of each. When I get to the store I start with the first asile on my list and go from asile to asile, getting what I need and checking it off my list. This has saved me a lot of time back-tracking throughout the store getting things that I forgot! It takes a bit of time to make up your first list on the computer, but once you're done, you're done and the time it will save you at the store is amazing! Just have a notebook with you the next time you go to the store and jot down what you buy from each asile. Or, if you're lucky, you're store might have a map already printed. Be sure to ask first!

So after all of that planning is done, my list is written out, I take my planner and write down each meal for each day. If I have a slow-cooker meal, I make a note to myself in my "things to do" section- Start Slow-Cooker Meal!!! Or, if we're having French bread that night, I'll write "Make French bread for tonights dinner!!! I need these little reminders to help me on track and to not forget to do them all.

I hope this helps you out some. It has made such a difference in my life as a homemaker. I will share with you my menu cards soon!

God Bless,