Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Galatians 6:4

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have another quick, easy and oh so YUMMY recipe to share with you... I also took this recipe from the OAMC recipe book by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. My hubby's cousin and I decided we would take a Saturday and make a couple weeks of menus ahead of time and freeze to help her stretch her budget and save time since she has two little ones at home and works FULL time. I stumbled upon this recipe and thought I would give it a whirl.. I didn't think it would have the robust flavor that it does.. and it's now become one of my hubby's FAVORITE chicken dishes!
Teriyaki Chicken
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 tsp Vegetable oil or sesame seed oil
1 small minced garlic clove
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup regular, uncooked rice

Now.. before I go any further.. remember I was telling you we were eating better?? I made a few adjustments... I used a LOW SODIUM soy sauce, I used SPLENDA instead of sugar, and I didn't have any red wine vinegar so I substituted with apple cider vinegar. I also doubled the recipe so I could have a second meal the next day.

To Make:
Mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic to make marinade. Freeze Chicken in marinade in a 1 gallon bag. ( Obviously I didn't because we were eating it that night.. I made it first thing in the morning and let it marinade in the fridge all day)Here it is marinating.
When preparing to serve, thaw chicken. Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Prepare rice according to package directions. Serve Chicken over rice. Makes 4 servings
As you can see below.. I don't bake mine.. I grill mine even when it's -2 degrees outside.. because I LOVE the grilled flavor....

Another hint or *tip* I will tell you.. I bought my chicken breasts on sale so all this chicken cost me $5.00. I then took the thick chicken breast and sliced it in half length wise.. so I made one breast into "two".. which helps on the eating better and stretching your $$ worth. I served this meal with rice and sauteed veggies ( red onion, zucchini and summer squash)
The next day I took the left over chicken, rice and veggies and "fried" them up in a big skillet. I threw in a little bit of butter... the rice and some chicken bouillon and seasoned it up adding a smidge more salt and pepper... I browned it a little and then threw the veggies and cut up chicken into it to warm it up... It tasted FABULOUS and was quick and easy on a busy night for me!!

I didn't map out the TOTAL cost for the entire meal because I tend not to add in the cost of the soy sauce or any ingredient I have purchased to use several times... but with all the fresh ingredients the meal probably cost around $10... which averages out to $5.oo per meal.. and it fed 3 people with still a bit left over!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's not easy to cook cheap AND healthy as most of us know.... I'm trying to cut back on my food budget in 2010 and so far I'm not doing great.

Here's my problem.... we don't eat out... so we don't waste money eating at other places... we don't use credit cards for lavish wants vs needs.. ( we learned that a long time ago)... we don't run to new stores... we don't have to have the latest things...BUT where food is concerned I'm addicted to going to the grocery store almost daily! I LOVE fresh veggies, fresh meats, and other items.. I can't help it.. but I'm realizing that it's hurting our budget... BADLY.

Heck.. I got a Pandora bracelet for Christmas.. and I have no beads to go on it.. and I'm not sweating it... not a priority to me and in fact.. I love the plain silver chain if I do say so myself... as I find some of the beads to be... well... not my taste...

But.. back to the topic of food...
My Monday night Library Date nights have enticed me to grab more and more cookbooks for more frugal, happy meals. Now throw in the challenge of me working... gives me less time to whip up the meals it use to take me all day to make sometimes... I'm not complaining and enjoyed those days.. but now I need something quicker.. yet still inexpensive...

I found this recipe in one of the Once-A-Month Cooking Cook books I grabbed at a Yardsale last summer... as you guess from the title it's a FABULOUS recipe to make a head and freeze for later... so if you find you LOVE this recipe.. you can double it up and freeze for a later date!!

Super easy to make.. here.. I just browned up some ground beef with garlic... while preparing the base of the soup here...
Now.. to share the recipe... This literally took about 40 minutes to make and throw together... NOW.. if you're going to FREEZE this recipe... DO NOT make the Ravioli's until the day you want to serve it... You can also make this a meatless dish and serve with plain cheese ravioli's..I didn't have any tomato paste so I cut the water in half. I did double this recipe so we could have left overs for another day this week

1 pound ground beef
1/ 4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves (2 cloves)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 28-ounce can Italian-style crushed tomatoes in puree
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 14 1/2 can beef broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 12-ounce package plain ravioli without sauce
Parmesan cheese for serving

Cook the ground beef in a large pot until browned, about 15 minutes. Drain the fat. Combine remaining ingredients except frozen ravioli and additional Parmesan cheese. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thaw and cook ravioli according to package directions until just tender. Drain ravioli; add to soup. Salt to taste and serve with Parmesan cheese.Here is the final outcome... I'm even practicing putting my names up on my pictures ( I've been noticing some family members are snagging pictures that I take off my facebook sadly...)
I have to cut this blog post short.. as my daughter is headed back to college... it was nice having her home for a month.. and now I feel like I have to get use to her not being here all over again... :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's COLD here... not ARCTIC cold... but cold enough that while I'm typing this short blog post my hands are FREEZING! I know there are a million other places on this earth that are cold tonight.... but I just had the need to whine about it! Not that it will do me any good and not that I ache anytime soon to live in a warmer climate.... that's just not me... but I figured as a New Englander... I'm allowed to whine about it once a year... so this is my official once a year whine...
This is our snowman.... with all the snow we received the Christmas week.. the kids went out and brought a little life to the yard!!
Now... this is left over Christmas junk... ummm I mean... candy.. mmm... I've been having Candy withdrawls.. I packed ALL of this up and brought it into work... we spent so much $$ on Christmas Candy only to turn around and give it away.. seriously.. what were we thinking?? I'll be honest.. I've cheated a few times.. the past two days.. terrible... but I have to get back on track for the sake of everyone here at home.. I have to be an example... right?? Sorry this post will be short.. I'm headed out to run a Daisy Troop.. so I have to take over where someone gave up... and guess what I'm grabbing... Girl Scout Cookie Order forms.... Heaven help me!! I'm not buying ONE box... NOT ONE!!!See... even my pooch thinks it's cold... she was begging for me to bring her back inside! I mean.. how could you argue with this face... Ü
Here's the next book I've dived into.. I'll be honest.. Karen Kingsbury isn't one of those artist that I have to run to the store for...infact I tend to push her books to the side.. but when I read the description of this book I KNEW I had to read it....
Here's the description:

Brad Cutler, twenty-eight, is a rising star at his New York ad agency, about to marry the girl of his dreams. Anyone would agree he has it all … a great career, a beautiful and loving fiancée, and a fairy tale life ahead of him—when memories of a high school girlfriend begin to torment him. Lost innocence and one very difficult choice flood his conscience, and he is no longer sure what the future will bring except for this: He must find his old love and make amends. Haunted by the past and confused about the future, he turns to God seeking forgiveness and redemption.

It's a sensitive subject.. and it's nice to see a mans perspective on this subject ( you'll have to check it out more to see the topic.. )
I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.. but so far.. so good!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Back in November... right before Thanksgiving I decided to make a Bread Machine Recipe that I had been holding on to...literally for years! I was a skeptic.... The Recipe.... Homemade Dog Treats. Now... I've seen people make these and sell them... the hard flat bones that look all the same to me...I thought that was how these would turn out... but I was WRONG... WAY WRONG... These looked so good that I had to WARN everyone in the home... that they are NOT people cookies... well technically you could eat them... but I'm sure they wouldn't taste as good to us as they did my dog.... The VERDICT.. she LOVED them!
I just love this little tin stand that they are setting on too.. another great find at the Salvation Army....And.. for the recipe...


3/4 cup beef stock
1 egg
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in bread pan according to manufacturers directions and
press "Dough" cycle. When machine beeps, remove dough to lightly
floured countertop and with a rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/4"
thickness. Using a dog bone cookie cutter (or any small seasonal cookie
cutters), cut out dog biscuits and place on a lightly greased cookie
sheet or one sprinkled with cornmeal. Re-roll scraps and repeat till
all dough is used up. Place in a warm location and let rise 30 minutes.
Bake at 325 for 30 minutes until brown and no longer soft. Place on a
rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

The weather has been FRIGHTFUL here for the past couple of days... the snow is falling at a light rate... but every time I peek outside... it just gets higher and higher.... so if you are were it's snowing... keep warm... or go out and build an amazing snowman... Ü

Friday, January 01, 2010

I love the New Year... I promise myself NO New Year Resolutions.. I've just never been that kind of girl. Probably a good thing I'm not a Catholic Girl either... because Lent would be out the window for me....
Instead I focus on dreams, desires, and where the Lord wants to take me... sometimes I battle with HIM because *I* have better ideas of what I WANT from life..... He has other plans almost always... Ü
This year... I would like to focus on my photography.. and learn more of my camera and to take better photos. ... I think I've gotten MUCH better... but there's always room for improvement!
I would like to put more effort into my dreams of becoming a nurse....I know what to do... I just need to stop believing I'm going to fail before I start!
This year I would like to become healthier.. and lose another 10lbs.... I want to be the example for my family to follow!
There's three... anymore and I think I would be setting myself up for failure.....
I however would like to blog more...I am missing it.. and I'm missing all of you that read! For that I thank you!!

I'm adding just a couple photos to share... ( to me ... I have to have a picture for each post!)....
Here are a picture of my crazy kiddos.. the day we went out looking for our Christmas Tree.

Here is the Tree Farm in Vermont....slim pickings this year.. but we found the BEST ONE!!
And a quick photo of my neighbor... she facebooked me for three weeks to ask me if I would "hurry" and take her photo for Christmas.... So during the busy week before... I took a bunch for her.... I actually liked this photo of her.... it captured her personality well!
I hope you all had an AMAZING CHRISTmas.... and a HAPPY New YEAR!!!