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Monday, October 27, 2014

Freezer Cooking Under $50 and it all can be made Gluten Free


This is from a cooking night several months ago, I have not been able to get them planned lately and I am really missing them. It seems my son keeps having ball practice or games on Friday nights and that time works best for the ladies that comes since some work full time as well. 

This Night in about 2 -1/2 hours and under $50 dollars  we made several meals and dishes to stock our freezer. 

  • Freezer Pizzas  (meat cooked and have dough rising before evening,  make and frozen whole) this was also a repeat from month 1 but since we had sausage, cheese, and hamburger already it made for a cheap extra meal, we each made 2 large (or more smaller ones) 
  • Twice Baked Potatoes -- potatoes baked before evening,  once put together and cooled place in freezer bags. 
  • Dirty Rice (rice and beans cooked prior to cooking night)
  • House Seasoning in the pint jars in the picture above and also had some in zipper bags
  • Chicken Poppy seed Casserole (everyone took home 2 small casseroles so some would use both for one meal and some would use as two depending on the size of their family). Chicken was cooked like This  the day before then over night I did broth like This and we used some of the broth for the soup and divided the rest and sent home with everyone. (we used plain potato chips to make this dish Gluten free and my casseroles we used GF cream soup.)
  • Favorite Broccoli two of these were dumped into to plastic bags for each lady (use gluten free soy sauce to make gluten free)
  • Chicken tortilla Soup… I lost the recipe before posting but very very similar to This and the chicken was cooked before as described with the casserole. 



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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wonderful Spaghetti Squash Dish with Extra veggies.

A friend made a dish similar to this and was telling me about it and since we have an abundance of spaghetti squash from the garden I thought I would give it a try and LOVED it.


Spaghetti squash
chopped fresh spinach
diced fresh tomatoes
red paper flakes
olive oils
shredded Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, garlic

Cut the squash in half and bake like This until when you press on the the skin it begins to give. I cooked mine at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then spoon it into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and add salt, pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes to your family's liking.  Next add a layer of chopped spinach, then tomatoes, and top with a little Parmesan cheese. Put the whole thing back in the oven for until the cheese begins to melt and the spinach begins to wilt.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wine Mushrooms AKA The Pioneer Woman's Burgundy Mushrooms

So this is NOT my recipe is is The Pioneer Woman's  recipe and you can find the recipe HERE but I wanted to share them because they are just so so delish. Yes there is a ALOT of sodium in them and they are NOT CHEAP to make and they do really take at least 9 hours to cook, yes you read that right it takes 9 hours to cook them. But they are so worth the wait. I only make these when I have having a big crowd and the bonus is the house smells AMAZING! So try them the next time you want to wow someone. I do add more dill than the original recipe but that is about all that I change.




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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Disney Tips:Things to pack and take with you

Let me start off by saying My husband and I are NOT DISNEY people, we will not be going every year or two to Disney so we knew this may be our son's only trip and we wanted to make sure we did as much as we could. My son is 7 and we took our 10 year old nephew with us who also had not been to Disney. 

If you plan far enough a head of time you will feel prepared and have your bases covered and will be able to enjoy your trip and not break the bank while you are there. We stayed on Disney property which to me is a MUST!!!!! We stayed 4 nights we had 3 whole days at the parks and 2 half days. If I was planning this trip again I would plan to have at least 5 days at the parks to get everything in. We also had a meal plan which did not really save us money but it was nice to know it was already paid for and was one less thing to deal with while there.  Since this was our first trip we also got the memory maker  photo plan, I don't regret the choice but we were disappointed in the lack of photo opportunities at the parks, but we LOVED having all the ride pictures. I will also state up front that neither of our boys had any interest in meeting any of the characters or seeing any of the shows. 

Since our son is an only child and our nephew is almost ( he has a 2 year old brother) we wanted to try to eliminate the boys asking for stuff at every turn. With these tips they felt spoiled and treated and it costs us much less than if we had done all of this at the park. And I will say neither boy asked for anything while we were at the parks no toys, extra ice cream, shirts, etc. it was great. 
For a few months leading up to our trip I collected goodies without the boys knowing about it.  So here are some of the goodies that I collected leading up to our trip. My plan was to stock up on goodies before the trip so the boys had something new and something Disney each day.

We drove from Kentucky to Disney so I made sure we had activities  for the car ride and wrote about that HERE


Below you will see glow sticks that I got from the dollar store to have each night at the parks instead of buying them there . And these have 2-4 per pack for $1!!! The yellow packs at the bottom of the pictures are rain ponchos from the dollar tree too which is better than the $12 you would spend at the park.  I would get 2 per person. Our boys also used them on the rapids ride at Animal Kingdom and rode the ride like 5 times in a role and enjoyed not being wet the rest of the day.
I also picked up some cheap goggles and pool toys  to have since they never seem to make it home in one piece.
For the picture below from left to right. I got some cold n' hot patches for the grown ups I also got these at the dollar store, then I got 3 first add kits from the dollar store, one for my bag and one for each of the boys. Hand sanitizer, and corn pads in case of blisters.
Next I have pins ready for trading, I ordered from ebay but made sure the pins in the listing were the actual pins that I would receive. I also wanted to make sure there were some I thought the boys might actually want to keep and tried to get several that were in the same set etc to show them what to look for etc.   I will write another post about this fun activity which the boys loved.
The watch below I ordered from walmart.com and the lanyard for their pins was an add on item on an amazon order and was like $2 each.  The Mickey shirts I ordered from Walmart.com and they were $6 I also ordered some almost just like them for the grown ups from Disneystore.com when they were on clearance. I also watched Disneystore.com clearance section and got stuffed animals for $1.99 each, and reusable grocery bags. Then each night as we where leaving for dinner I would send the boys to the car and put that day's prize on the boys' bed and they when we returned they thought it was from Disney and a part of the trip. They knew they were getting something each day so they did not ask for things in many gift shops we walked through.



Backpacks… this was THE BEST IDEA I HAD!!!! I got the boys these neon drawstring back packs to carry all week. Neon is cool, Under Armour is cool, so they loved wearing them. I loved them wearing them so I could spot the boys easily and told them if they got separated from us to stand still and hold the bags up in the air so we could spot them.  In a plastic bag I put a change of clothes, just in case ( and my son actually needed a change of clothes one day) and a pair of plastic flip flops for water rides. Who wants wet tennis shoes all day. Each boy had 2 $25 gift cards for anything extra they wanted, so those ponchos, sunscreen wipes, tubes of sunscreen for the face, and any snacks that they wanted for the day. They were responsible for their bags having them paced and they did great with this. This made it were I was not carrying stuff for everyone.


I put this bag in my backpack to have on just in case.



Also don't forget lots of sunscreen. I got the sunscreen sticks for everyone's bags for fast application for faces. And I have never seen the sunscreen wipes before bur read about them on another blog and ordered some from amazon HERE and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. The boys could put them on themselves and was great for the back of necks and arms.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Freezing Zucchini to use for bread all year long


When the garden is providing lots of zucchini I freeze a little for later. I shred the zucchini and let it drain for a few minutes to get any extra liquid out of it then freeze in zip top bags in what ever amounts you use in your favorite recipes. I use 2 cups of shredded zucchini in my zucchini bread so I freeze 2 cups in a bag. 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adding Veggies to Your Breakfast



I will will tell you the truth, I am just not a breakfast person and would prefer dinner leftovers over breakfast food anytime. But I feel so much better and eat less during the day if I have a good breakfast without carbs. This is one of my favorites. 

I sautee what ever veggies I have on hand, pictured is green peppers, spinach, a little onion, carrots, and red cabbage. Once the the veggies are just starting to become tender then if I have any leftover chicken, steak etc I dice it up and throw it in the pot just until warm ( pictured is chicken).  Then I Scrabble with one egg the top with diced avocado and tomatoes if I have it.




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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Packing Lunches (reposted)

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These were pictures from the newspaper interview and my son would not eat everything in this picture. 
Packing your kids a healthy lunch is not hard but here are a few tips and tricks to make it more  fun for you while packing and more fun for your child when they open up their lunch boxes.  For me packing a lunch is a must since my son has food allergies, but I really want to know what he is eating, so even without the diet limits I would be packing a daily lunch.

Recently a friend of mine and I did an interview about school lunches for our local newspaper, some of the information in the article is not completely accurate so I wanted to share some more information and tips here. You can see part of the newspaper article HERE.

Tips to help with Mama (or  Daddy) guilt... 
* If you don't' have the want or time to pack a lunch IT IS FINE DON'T STRESS about it.
* Lunch is only ONE MEAL A DAY.
* A healthful breakfast and after school snack is the BEST way to help your child have a great day.
* Don't spend the time and money packing stuff they WON'T EAT. 
* Be willing to comprimise, which may mean finding a "better" option for your child's favorite treats.

When I asked my son what was the MOST important thing to him for his school lunch and his answer was "cool lunch box containers"  and I will list some of our favorites at the bottom of this post.  So here are a few our lunch box goodies.
There are ALL KINDS of accessories  to make the lunch more fun you can search amazon for Bento lunches and you will see ALL KINDS of things. But I keep an eye out at the dollar store and the dollar rack at target for cocktail forks and pick etc. 
Things to work HARD on keeping OUT of your child's lunch and diet in general -- these things are not good for anyone but also have been linked to behavior issues with children and who needs that while trying to work at school?
* MSG
* High Fructose Corn Syrup
*NITRATES in lunch meat, bacon etc.
* artificial food colorings
Here are some Nitrate Free lunch meats that are easy on the budget 

The red circles are Baby Bell Cheese with some of the wax cut off. 
Kids LOVE to dip so I send homemade salsa, Hummus, and  Homemade Ranch Dressing, to dip whole grain chips and veggies in.
Half of  EVERY meal should be fruits and vegetables so lunch is no different so don't for those goodies in the lunch box either but remember send stuff they will actually eat. My son like raw spinach but he won't touch peppers or cauliflower. We use Juice Plus to help bridge the gap in all the fruits and veggies we should eat and what we actually get in daily since getting 7-13 servings a day is a feat for anyone.
Dried fruits, trail mix, and nuts (if allowed at your school) are also great to have on hand to fill in  with for lunches.
Healthy lunches can include "convenience" foods, fruit leathers, yogurt, apple sauces, real fruit snacks etc can make easy fill ins for the lunch as well. Just  try to buy items without loads of sugar, MSG, food colorings, etc.


A cocktail pick or toothpick and can wonders to make the lunch more fun. Fruits, veggies, cheese, chicken, shrimp, or lunch meat all go on very easy.
And you can pack a few lunches at a time so your not doing it daily.
salsa, and chips, fruit, and leftover grilled chicken and cheese with a little ranch dressing in a lettuce leaf. 

chicken & cheese, fresh fruit, hummus (in the what box) fresh veggies, dried fruit, a 100% juice box, and fruit snack. 

applesauce banana, shrimp & cherry tomatoes, carrots, pepper & Hummus.

Cheese stick wrapped in nitrate free turkey, trail mix, corn chips, sliced apple held together with a rubber band, and a few chocolate chips. 

cheese, veggies, chips, chicken, figs, fresh fruit, and hard boiled egg. 



   
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