Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe Shares

I would like to share a few great recipes I have found online with you. As you may know I have 4 kids and a husband and each one of them has their own quirks and eating habits. None of them seem to like the same things unless it is a frozen pizza pop lol But after making the tried and true dinners every night for months I have been on a search to switch it up a bit.

The first one I want to share is the No Peeking Beef Tips that you can find over at Mommy's Kitchen. We had it tonight and let me just say how friggin awesome it is! Each one of the kids ate it with a smile (Hallehlooooooyah!) Hubs hates cream of mushroom soup but he had no idea it was even in there! This one is a keeper for sure.

The next is from The Domestic Momma & Villiage Cook It's little hashbrown breaky cups. They are great when you are cooking for a lot - like my kids and a sleep over party. I would like to try them with chopped sausage next time in place of the bacon though. I'm sure they would be just a nice.

This one really isn't a dinner, more like an appy or party treat. But baby, these be gooood! Hope on over to this Flickr account and see how to whip up some mini taco's and salad for dinner! These are also great for bringing to school and for taking to parties etc.

I hope to find some more excellent recipes to share with you all (all 2 of my faithful readers lol)
Until then, happy munching :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Egg Drop Noodle Soup - Starving College Kid Style

Here is a post for my friend who is a starving college student...ok not really starving but I told her the recipe and she makes this for herself all the time and I thought I would share!

1 package of Ramen or Mr. Noodles
1 or 2 eggs beaten
Choice of veggies

Cook your veggies in water on the stove. Frozen is fine if you have them. Add your Ramen or Mr. Noodles with the packaged stock. Beat your egg(s) and once veggies and noodles are done pour your egg into the pot slowly but steadily (make sure water is boiling). Stirring clockwise until all egg is in the pot. Let cook for 1 more minute and you are done!!

Staring Student Egg Drop Noodle Soup :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My kingdom for a recipe with no canned or frozen food!

Quick post...why does every recipe call for frozen food or canned food ingredients?  Can we not get off our asses and cook some real food from scratch? Stop opening cans! Stop buying frozen crap! Buy fresh! I just can't stand seeing people open can after can of veggies and soups and putting them together for their meals. It doesn't take a chef to cook from scratch. You just have to follow a recipe...if you can find one that doesn't use prepackaged or frozen crap that is!

Steps down from soap box, puts it away, heads into kitchen shaking head :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Realistic school lunches please!!

Honestly I have spent hours searching online for school lunch ideas. I used to have 4 kids eating lunches 5 days a week, but thankfully we are only down to 2 now. Two with very different likes and dislikes.

I am also trying to not to use so much packaged crap. The amount of waste from prepackaged lunch food is amazing! I worked for 2 years as a public school custodian for all grades and believe me I have seen so much garbage that just gets tossed, it would make you sick. Unless your school is heavily into recycling, the packaging creates too much waste.

So on my quest to find realistic lunches my ten year old twins would eat, I found a lot of web sites with food that would never pass my kids palate! FFS! Honey Ricotta Fondue? Herbed (Liver) Pate with Parmesan crackers? Turkey, Brie and Apple Sandwiches on Raisin Walnut Bread? Oh my! If I gave these lunches to my kids, they couldn't even trade them!

Don't get me wrong, I am all for healthy. But Holy Crap, let's be realistic! What kid eats that stuff? And if they do eat it, imagine the smell of the liver pate in the lunch room? Yummmmeh! lol My kids are not too picky, they like veggies and fruit and most sandwich meat - except bologna (yucky! I agree). 

So here we go again, It's the first week of August and Momma's on a mission to get the shelves stocked with school lunches in mind. I like to make things in August and test run them to see if they would be a good for lunches. I can usually tell when I am cooking or putting together a lunch how interested they will be in it in about 5 seconds. Twin #1 will stick his finger into any kind of food and try it, he's got a stomach of steel and the curiosity of a cat! Twin #2 is a picky little one, she usually goes by look and smell. If it looks good but smells crappy, there is a good chance she ain't gonna eat it lol!

First off, last year I bought a couple of divided plastic dishes with tight fitting lids. They were perfect for sending stuff with out packages. The only thing was any kind of wet food ran over the "tight" fitting lid (which wasn't very tight after all) and into the spot beside it. So this year I am on the look out for a better dish. I have seen a few that I really want to check out. Lap Top Lunches is my first choice. I am loving that some of them come with lids for wet or juicy food and some come with out for the other type of food. But it still doesn't help me by what to actually put in them!

Here is my list of lunches that I made and sent last year. I think they were pretty healthy and the kids ate them up, which is better than I could say for the liver pate hahahaha!

*Home made fruit salad always goes over well as I can put in the fruit that they will actually eat. 
*I always send fruit and/or veggies in with the lunch. Carrot sticks, apple slices, oranges, cucumber etc. 
*Deli meat or veggies in tortilla wraps. These can be cut up into bite sized pieces as well as stuffed full of what they like. You can even make a fake sushi roll with the tortillas.
*Pasta salads - add some pepperoni chopped up into bite sized pieces as a little treat mixed in with the pasta. Also don't forget to mix up the dressing. There are hundreds of different home made dressing ideas for pasta salad.
*Speaking of pepperoni. Add some along with cheddar chunks to a wooden skewer for some kabobs. Add french bread chunks or crackers.
*French toast and pancakes cut up with maple syrup dip
*Potato cakes, salmon cakes or tuna cakes with some cucumber dip
*Meatballs or meatloaf with sweet n sour to dip it in
*Perogies and cheese dip
*Home made chicken strips. Chicken breasts, cut into strips, dipped in egg and panko or crushed corn flakes and baked until crispy. Throw in some BBQ sauce or salsa for dipping
*Bisquick cheddar n weenies. Take bisquick and make the dough for buns, throw in some shredded cheese and chopped hot dogs. Put in muffin cups and shred some more cheese on top. Send some tomato sauce for dipping
*Another bisquick idea is to make it and roll it out, cut into circles and put a dob of tomato sauce on it, a pepperoni or salami slice and some cheese. Put another circle of bisquick on top and pinch together. Bake and send home made pizza pockets to school :)

There are many other ideas that we have but I think these are the best. I hope I have helped someone with ideas for school lunches. If you have any ideas yourself, please leave a comment :)

It's about time Harper!

Just a quicky post to say that even though I am NOT a fan of Steven Harper, he finally has done something I can totally agree with. EI benefits extended to families of seriously ill children.

Now hopefully this will let both parents concentrate on the health of their child!

Bumping Along

     I think I have come a long way from, let's say, 5 years ago. We made a huge 3500 mile move, we downsized, we reconnected and we lost a few along the way. The one thing that sticks out in my mind though is the way I personally have changed. Of course my kids have changed, hubby has changed and places have changed, but my own thoughts and feelings have changed the most I think.

     Things are slower now. Life isn't the hustle and bustle it used to be. I'm sure the kids would see it differently because they hustle and bustle more then ever. But for me, life is taking a few small steps instead of running now. I can sit and read for hours and be perfectly content to do so. Before I always had some nagging thought to bring me to put my books down and go do something. Maybe I am getting lazier now, I don't know. But life just seems to have slowed to a nice leisurely pace rather than the roller coaster ride it used to be. The same things that bothered me to get done right away before, just float through now. Eventually they get done and some times half-assed, but they get done. I spend more time connecting with people than rushing around with a quick hello. It's almost as if I have learned what is important and what isn't in life. And it's not too shabby :)

     On another note, my 19 tomato plants aren't doing to badly this year. I have a lot of plum tomatoes coming along and there is going to be a lot of salsa and freezer tomatoes going to be had when it's all said and done! My little pecker pepper plant is plodding along...only 1 blossom so far but it's getting there. I bought  a plant from BackYard Diva this spring at the artisan sale and I can't wait to see my first "pecker" pepper! They are supposed to look like this when they are done -

Let's hope I at least get one this year! It's quite a novelty to grow penis' in your garden you know :)

     Lately, along with being lazier, I have become quite a fan of the "free" list on kijiji and craigslist. I am always searching there to see what I can pick up! I have been a member of freecycle for awhile now and encourage everyone to join the one in your area! It's nice to pick up something you had been looking for on there for free and save it from the dump. Also it is a good way to get rid of things that you don't have a need for anymore as someone is always looking for something that you have. Currently I am searching for a old kitchen table and chairs that I can re-do and so far I have been beaten out on a couple but the one I want and am really looking for will come along soon, I know it! I'm in no rush...



Monday, May 7, 2012

Shopping tips to save money!

I know so many people who have had to cut down on spending lately. Whether it is due to less work, no work or things just getting too expensive. My family consists of 6 of us. My husband is disabled so our money is tight right now. But I have come to realize with a little pinching here and there we can get along pretty good every month, with only a few days of stretching.
I know you are probably thinking coupons, but I'm not very good at it and frankly can not waste my time searching for them and cutting etc. Also couponing isn't a huge money saver in Canada as in the States. We don't seem to have those awesome coupons here, ours mostly are good for 1 item not unlimited as they are there.

But don't worry, I have some tips on how to stretch and pinch that little bit extra out of the month. I hope you can use some of them to get  more bang for your buck, like we do...

Our grocery store puts their close to end of selling date meat on for 30% to 50% off each morning. If you are there before 8:30 a.m. you can catch great deals! Now some people might be turned off by this but believe me, my husband is a butcher by trade and the meat is NOT even close to going bad. When buying beef, the darker the better and most people don't know this. They like the bright red look when the deeper red, the older cut is actually more tastier! Thankfully my kids go into school earlier then the other two schools in town so I'm in the store by 8:15 usually! I buy as much up as I can and throw it in the freezer as soon as I get home. The funniest thing about it is that I meet the same people there every morning I go! lol We all know each other by name and a couple have even held a few packs of the sausages I like for me until I got there.

The other grocery store in town has a half price dairy and sweets shelf a couple times a week. If your store does, learn the days they put the items on half price. Some may do it daily, but like ours they could put it out only a few times a week. I picked up a birthday cake a couple months ago for $4 which was regularly $24! The date was up in two days but I brought it home and froze it immediately. Believe me, the cake tastes no different once thawed out.  We also buy the left over holiday cookies at a deep discount. Valentines, Easter, Halloween, Christmas...this makes for a lot of discounted cookies and treats! These can be frozen as well. My kids think nothing of having a heart shaped cookie a few weeks after Valentines day :) Just watch for freezer burn and make sure the containers are thick enough for the freezer, or better yet, throw everything into freezer baggies like I do!
We also buy the large packs of yogurt cups for 50% off in the dairy section. They have 3 or 4 days to their date or so and I have four kids...they usually eat at least 1 yogurt cup a day, so we are done the pack the next day. Same as the larger yogurt containers. We can go through them like crazy!

If you can buy in bulk with friends, then do so! If you have a Costco or other price club membership and a couple of friends who like to shop there you can always split on bulk purchases and even the membership cost! The $40 cost of a Costco membership is cheap between a coupe of people in the long run. We buy the 3 boxes of freezer bags and split between us. Same as the three salad dressings and sauces. It is much cheaper to shop in bulk and if you can purchase the items with friends, you are not putting out a huge price.

We also buy our larger meat items there as well. A whole pork tenderloin is about $17 dollars and we can get over 20 chops and a roast out of one. This is a huge savings! We also buy larger beef roasts and cut into smaller sizes, chicken legs and thighs in bulk and repackage into serving sizes. We buy the breakfast sausage links at about $12 and we can get 4 breakfasts out of them feeding 6 people! And we are BIG sausage eaters!

Farmers Markets are an awesome way of getting cheaper veggies and fruits! But beware, a lot of them are tourist traps and the prices are inflated and the items imported. If you have a market that is open all year long and grows their own produce then that is where you should shop! We have an awesome place just a few towns over and it is usually worth the 15 minute drive because of the savings! This market actually grows most of the produce it has on it's shelves. Very little is bought in. I find the prices are so much better and so is the actual item as they are not sprayed or trucked too far. I can get a 40% to 60% discount on what I pay in the grocery stores in my area by shopping at the market. Last week the great find was 2 long English Cucumbers for .99cents at the market. They were going for 2 for $3 in the grocery store.  Thankfully this place is open all year long and not too far away that it is a waste of gas to get there!

Grow a garden! If you don't have any yard to grow it in, grow it in pots on your window sil or on your balcony! This will save you money and you will do will be amazed at what you grew!

My last little tidbit is something I had never thought of but its so darn easy to do! I hate to throw out anything and I am also a soup lover, so you'd think this would have came to me years ago! Leave a plastic freezer bag in your fridge and everytime you have left over veggies, throw them in the bag. By left over veggies I mean the half of the onion the recipe doesn't call for. The two potatoes in the bottom of the bag. The 3 baby carrots left that just can't fit into the pot. You know what I mean. Do not waste or throw out anything that can be used in the soup pot! Once a week (or more if you are like me!) make a veggie soup out of the contents of the baggie! Throw in some rice or pasta and make it a meal. There are so many combo's when making home made soup! Most times you don't even need to follow a recipe, just throw together what ever veggie you like and some broth and you have soup! Easy Peasy! (Remember, most veggie soups can be frozen, so make a big pot and freeze some for later.)

There are tons of other ways to cut corners and save money with your shopping and I hope some of my tips will help you out. Please share if you have anymore ideas, I would love to hear them!!