Sunday, January 24, 2010

I want my daughters mindset

I am always amazed at what my children truly know. There are somethings that my mind cannot fathom, but to them- it is a given. We discuss Heaven a lot in our family. The kids are always curious about what it will be like, and every time we pass a cemetery, they are quick to say "that is where people are buried, but it is only their bodies, they are really in Heaven". Every time Riley sees clouds, she exclaims that when she is in Heaven she will sit on a cloud, but always wants me there to hold her hand so she won't fall. :)

At least once a week, if not more, My insightful daughter will exclaim " I want to be in Heaven right now so I can see God and my Pop". ( Now for those of you who don't know, Pop was Matt's grandfather. He passed away when Caleb was about 9 months old. Ian and Riley have never met Pop, and for that matter, really Caleb has no memory of him. They know that he died and is in Heaven. ) But what is amazing to me, and what I need to grasp from her proclamation is wanting to be in Heaven right now! There is so much that I want to see and do, watch my children grow up have families of their own, grow old with Matt, ect. I do want to see God and "be in heaven", but I still want that in the future...not now. Why is that? Why do I not long to be in Heaven as my little girl does? Is it because I know what I would be missing out on? Is it because I think I have so much more to do, and I need to be here? Am I scared? Is it because I know what it means to die? I am not sure....I just know that every time she says it, I wonder and I pray. I pray that God grants me the clarity to have her thoughts, to want what she wants. Out of the mouths of babes.....I am taught.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So I did another recipe tonight and man was it good. The kids had seconds, Matt had seconds...and if I had the room, I am certain I would have had seconds! :)

Cranberry Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 envelopes dried onion soup*
1 16-oz can whole berry cranberry sauce*

Freeze chicken breasts in bag. When ready to serve- thaw. Mix 2 onion soup mix and cranberry sauce. Put chicken in greased baking dish and spread cranberry mixture over the top of chicken. Cover with foil and Bake 40 min at 350 or until done. Bake the last 15 min uncovered.

**I made several modifications to this one to start off. I put the chicken and the berry mix all in a freezer bag and froze it so that the chicken would absorb it. I also kept it covered the whole time. This seemed to lock in the flavor and it was DELICIOUS!!! I served it with a spinach salad and mashed sweet potatoes. It was yummy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Few more recipes to catch up :)

Well, if you scroll down you will find 4 more recipes that we have tasted and my reviews. One thing I have discovered after starting this, is that I have spent more than our grocery budget. If youhave a stockpile of meat than I think it would be better. My plan for next month as I am off from work is to take a few of the recipes that we are trying and to make them. But for our budget that we have was extremely difficult. But I also think I had to get a lot of the mixes/items for the marinades that I don't normally keep in my cupboards.

Here are a few more of the meals:

Green Chille Enchiladas

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 1/4 finely chopped onion
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese (1 cup)*
8-12 four tortillas
1 10 3/4 ounce condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 4-oz can green chillies- diced

Cook ground beef and saute onions until meat is brown (about 15 min). Drain off the fat. Combine with Chilli powder, cumin, salt and pepper. reserve one cup cheese in a 1 qt freezer bag for top. Spoon enough meat mixture and cheese onto each tortilla and roll. Place in 9x13 baking dish (coated with non-stick spray) with seam side down. When tortillas are completed, combine soup, sour cream, milk and green chillies to make sauce, pour over tortillas. Cover dish with foil and freeze.
To prepare for serving: Thaw enchiladas and cheese. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 375 for 20-25 min. In the last 10 min of cooking, sprinkle remaining cheese ontop.

***We liked this one. For us, I think I would add a little more spice as it needed more for our taste.

Joes to Go

1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 chilli sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
6 hamburger buns*

In a large skillet cook and stir ground beef and onion until beef is brown, about 15 min. Drain fat- add garlic salt, pepper, chilli sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar, mustard and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Sinmmer uncovered 10 min, stirring occasionally. Cool and freeze. Keep with hamburger buns.
To prepare for serving: Thaw hamburger sauce and buns. Heat sauce till bubbly and serve on warm buns. Makes enough for all 6 buns.

**We thought this one was pretty good. I would do this again.

Playoff Burgers

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp steak sauce
1 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Salt and pepeer to taste
6 buns

Salt and pepper groundbeef to taste and mix with chopped onion and A-1 sauce.Make 12 thin patties. Sprinkle cheese over 6 of those. Top with remaining 6 patties and press rdges together. Wrap each patty in wax paper and seal in a one gallon freezer bag.
To prepare for serving: thaw patties and place on the rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3-4 inches from heat for a total of 12 to 14 min, or until done. Turn once half way through. Serve on bus- toast if you wish.

**We loved the tast of these and the kids gobbled them up. The only thing is that we are trying to eat less red meat. So these were prety meaty.

Recipes are here!! Hip Hip Hooray!

I received the cookbook back from m y co-worker this week (She wrote down almost all the recipes I believe...) so I can now post the ones we have eaten in the last few weeks. Several the kids had "ok'd" and some they have really liked. My kids are somewhat hard to please- they are not to adventrous in the food department. But they are getting better! Here are the first few that we did after the Mexican Lasagna:

Fiesta Shrimp (YUM!)

1 1/2 lbs frozen shrimp (cooked)
12 oz wide egg noodles (I used linguine)
4 oz fetta cheese
1/2 cup swiss cheese,shredded
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 oz mild chunky salsa
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup plain yogurt

Cook and drain noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, measure the 3 cheeses, salsa, parsley and spices into medium bowl; add noodles and stir. In a small bowl mix well the eggs, half and half and yogurt. Add to noodles. Label a 1-gallon ziplock bag. Tape frozen shrimp to bag and freeze.

When ready to cook- Thaw completely. Blot thawed cooked shrimp with paper towel. Add shrimp to noodles and place in greased 9x13 inch prepared dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 to 30 min. Let stand 5 min before serving.

***We really loved this one. We all loke shrimp as it is, and I actually added 2 lbs of shrimp since we had gotten that size from Sams. It didn't change anything, we just had more shrimp in our portions.

Sweet Soy Marinated Chicken

2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breasts and or thighs)

1 cup Honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground ginger

Warm marinade ingredients together in microwave untill the honey is melted, about 1 1/2 min. Pour over chicken in freezer bag, label and freeze. When thawed, pour into baking dish, cover with foil bake for 30 m in at 350. Uncover, turn chicken and bake an additional 30 min. Serve over Rice.

**Both Matt and I agreed that this one has been our fav by far. Next time I am going to double the recipe, since we barely had enough left over for both of our lunches. The kids liked this one as well.

Meal-on-the-Run Pork Loin

1 3 1/2 lb pork loin
5 oz soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup red cooking wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups water

Trim fat off pork loin. Place all ingredients in bag and seal well. Freeze. Thaw and place in crock pot. Cover and set on low. If possible, turn several times to coat meat with sauce. When done, shred meat and return to sauce.

**We really liked this one as well. We even had enough leftovers that I plan to make bbq pork sandwiches.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recipes are comming!

I got the book back from my co-worker and so I will be posting the recipes from this last week on here tomorrow. Some have been really good ) such as tonight's! It was super yummy and if I hadn't been pregnant I am quiet certain that I would have eaten a bunch more! So check back for the last 5 meals tomorrow!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I have not forgotten...

to post about our meals. I let a co-worker look at the cookbook and since we are having a snow day today (yes- laugh with me....yup! No snow yet!) so I was not able to get it from her. She is loving it though and I plan to spread the wealth to as many people want to try it! So as soon as I return to school, I will post the recipes of the following meals:

Fiesta Shrimp
Taco Soup

And I am sure that I will have a few more to post by Monday. I really don't want to attempt from memory, as it would be very unfair to you! I also plan to post pictures if I have them. I keep meaning to take some, but everyone is starving that the stomach takes over before the camera! :)

So we are enjoying the "we-have-yet-to-see-snow" snow day and to be honest.....I am hopeful that the supposed wind chill tomorrow in the am will cause us to not have school. I know...very bad of me huh?? :)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday Meal #1

I would love to say that today I had a wonderful freezer meal tonight, but the reality is that Life happened! :) We started back to school today I had a late dr's apt and the boys started basketball practice, which all left us with an hour after I got home to the Dr to the time the boys practice this evening became a pizza night! But I do have the entree that we had last night to review!

Our first trial with the freezer meals was Mexican Chicken Lasagna. To be honest the name is a tad misleading. Yes it is made in lasagna style and with lasagna noodles, but it tastes nothing like what you think lasagna should. :) Matt and I really liked it, and the kids did as well. There are tomatoes in the recipe so the kids had to pick that out. And since I was not sure how the kids would handle the green chillies, I only put them on half the lasagna so that Matt and I could have them, but the kids wouldn't freak out. :) An added bonus? It re-heats well and tastes even better the next day!

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

16 oz Ricotta Cheese
Garlic powder (about 1tsp)
1 egg
10 lasagna Noodles(UNCOOKED)
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 cup mild salsa
1 packet Taco seasoning
3 cans stewed tomatoes
about 3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (I sprinkled with paprika before baking)
1 4oz can green chillies
Monteray Jack Cheese- shredded

Mix egg, ricotta and garlic- set aside
In a bowl put tomatoes, black beans, salsa and seasoning- mix well

Start with a shallow layer of tomato mixture (should just cover bottom of dish), place 5 lasagna noodles on top. Spread half the Ricotta mixture over noodles and top with half the chopped chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat steps for second layer. EXCEPT: sprinkle chillies before adding cheese.

Cover with foil and freeze.

When ready to bake- thaw in refrigerator for at least one day (may take longer depending on your freezer and length of time frozen. Bake at 350 for 45-60 min or until noodles are tender. Let set for about 5 min before slicing and serving.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Once a Month Cooking

I decided to try something new this month. For Christmas, my MIL had given me a cookbook with the above title. Basically it gives you choices or 4- 15 day menus and 2-30 day menus. In the book are the basics of how cooking once a month works and how you can tailor the recipes to fit your family. Basically the goal is to take one day to make all 30 meals. You then freeze them to be pulled out on what ever day you choose, thaw, cook and enjoy.

I LOVE to make homemade, healthy meals, but due to the fact that I do not get home from work till close to 4:30, it makes it a little difficult. I manage to do it but then we eat late and it feels like the kids go straight to bed after dinner. We were sacrificing family time that I so desperately wanted to cook. So I decided to be adventurous this month and test it out. Now I modified it a bit to fit our needs. We like to have pizza every now and then, so I made sure that we would still have our pizza nights and I also made sure that we had some of our favorites through out the month. I also left days for leftover nights. That way, we could eat a hodge-podge of leftovers and it wouldn't crowd the fridge. So I went through the cookbook and picked out 15-20 recipes and made my list. Now if you follow the meal plans they have in the book, they give you the shopping list. Since I chose meals from each of the menus, I made my own list. Then we hit Sams. I will have to admit- we spent much, much more that I normally would on the first shopping trip, but I had to remember that I was cooking a bunch of meals at once.

I also broke my cooking up into several days. This way I wasn't taking a whole day away from the kids. I will say I drove Matt nuts during this time. He had to smell everything I made, but couldn't taste it! :) I also cleaned dishes as I went- I probably did about 5 loads of dishes over the 2 days. But in the end it was worth it. So you ask....what did I make? Each night I will highlight the meal that we had and will post the recipe. I will give you a hint that this time I did many meals that are either a casserole in a bag, or have meats in a marinade that will go in the crock pot.

Check back tomorrow for my first review: Mexican Chicken Lasagna!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year....New Blog

As the new year comes and I realize just how many changes are on their way, I have to sit and re-arrange my thinking. For so long I feel as if I have been struggling to do every day things. I feel that Satan has used these thoughts to his advantage and I haven't been the person that God has designed me to be. There are so many days that I feel so inadequate in my tasks as a child of God, Wife, Mother and Friend. I struggle to feel as if I am getting it all done and doing a good job of it.

Working outside the home has restructured out life in so many ways, as well as the kids being in school. Now that the boys play sports and Riley will be starting this spring, our lives get so hectic. And now that we are adding #4 into the mix, I struggle to see how I can continue to be good at it all. I am not a perfectionist, but I certainly want to do things well. I want to be everything for everyone. It not only wears me down, but I tend to leave me out of the equation. Please hear me when I say that I do love my job and I am in no way complaining that I am working. The students I work with can wear my patience on any given day, but I do enjoy it. There is part of me that would love to keep working, and there is part of me that would love to stay home. As I have been contemplating the upcoming year, I have decided to make several changes and carry a few over from last year that I started but need to take them to a higher level.

I am going to start with my goals for this blog. I am a sporadic blogger. I haven't been consistent, and I use to be. I get so caught up in the business of life that I don't get to express my thoughts or share my family as much as I want to. I hope to make this more of a priority this year. It will change in nature a little bit as I would love to continue to post about my family, but I also want to post my thoughts and struggles. I know this blog can be an outlet for my thoughts and that I can offer encouragement and receive it as well. And many times, just getting my thoughts out and in words help me to sort through them and gain a better perspective.

I also want to make sure this year that I am truly taking time for my relationships. I want to take time everyday to spend time with my Father. Not only to read uplifting books, but to read the Bible and truly study his word. As my children grow older I want to be able to set an example of spending time daily in the Word and I want to be as knowledgeable as I can to help them understand. I also want to make sure that I have time for Matt. We usually try to snag time after the kids go to bed, but he needs to be a top priority in my life. He is my best friend and he is an amazing father to our kids. I am so blessed to have him in my life and want to make more time for him- to give him my undivided attention. I also want to spend time with my children one on one. I love to read to them and spend time doing things with them, but often we are rushing through the evening and after they are in bed I wonder what time I was truly with them. I plan to use my time more wisely with my family.

I also want to take time to keep me healthy. I would be lying if I said that I am as healthy as I should be. Honestly it is not about the weight that i have gain over the years, or the fact that my body looks nothing like it did 9 years ago. There are times I wish that I looked that way again, but my main goal with eating healthy and exercising is to be strong and healthy. If I never get to my pre-kids weight and size, that is ok. I want to make sure that I am healthy so that I can spend a lifetime with them (Lord willing). I know that means making better food choices, and portion sizes, but it also means exercising. Making time in my day for at least 30 min of exercise (more than walking up and down the stairs with loads of laundry). So I am starting simple with 30 min. I know that is attainable and if I can I will add more to it through out the year.

I also want to make the most of everyday. When people see me I don't want them to just see me, I want them to see Christ. I want them to see Him in all I do and I want him to receive all the credit. I want to remember that each day is a blessing and not to waste it. I want Him to use me each day for my family and friends. I don't want to be involved in the politics of school, or in the gossip that happens in the work place.

I know there are more things that I would like to work on and I plan to post about them from time to time. I just know that He has so much more planned for me than I am allowing Him to do with me. I need to step aside and let Him work, mold and create me to be all He has ordained for me to be. Only then will I be able to be all that I can be for Him, Matt and my children.

I pray that you all (however many of you are left reading here) have a wonderful 2010 and that He makes you all to be what He wants you to be!