Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Menu Plan Monday


Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by $5 dinners this week. Be sure to check out all the great frugal dinner ideas over at her site!

Here’s the menu for this week:

Monday: Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli

Tuesday:ST Patrick’s Day Extravaganza – not really – just some Corned Beef in the Crock-pot (with Guinness), Potato’s and Carrots

Wednesday:Soup and Salad Night, this week it will be canned soup and Caesar salad

Thursday: Sausage, Rice and Lentil Skillet

Friday: Date Night

Saturday: Leftover Buffet

Sunday:Stuffed chicken, cheesy rice and spinach casserole and green beans

 Help me please!!

I’ll be going away in a week leaving hubbs all alone for 6 days so I’ll also be making some single serve meals for him. I want to make some meals that he can take out of the freezer for dinner. I’d love some ideas! Any suggestions??


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Breakfasts: Cereal, yogurt, pancakes (from the freezer)

Lunches: Soup, Sandwiches

Snacks: Granola bars, cheese and crackers, yogurts and apples.


Monday: Taco Salad Bar
Tuesday: Steak, Baked Potatoes, veggies
Wednesday: Salad and Soup Night
Thursday: Freezer meal (Sausage Cassarole)
Friday: Chicken Stirfry
Saturday: Dinner out at friends

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I think I will use SNOW as my excuse for not finishing my filing, if you don’t believe me look at these pictures of our 2 year old playing in the foot of snow that we got last week.

Claire was fascinated with the snow she kept scooping it up and throwing it in the air!

You really shouldn’t believe that the snow caused me to slack on the filing really I just got busy and FORGOT!

Well the files are, well still in a pile. We’ve had a few unexpected distractions this week and I promise that by Monday I will continue the filing excitement. While you wait I’ll share what I spent my day doing yesterday:
Making these cute and yummy Valentines snacks!

I used the technique from Bakerella.

Aren’t they cute???

They were really yummy!!
You have to check out www.bakerella.blogspot.com – she makes amazing cupcakes too!

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I have been having a hard time finding label refills for my P-Touch label maker, so I’ll be postponing my great File Overhaul for a few days. But I’m getting ready, the piles of paperwork are ready too!

I wanted to share about a nice little product that I was introduced to by Money Saving Mom . It was a great deal last week at my local grocery stores so I thought I’d give it a try.

I love using fresh herbs when cooking but in the winter it’s sometimes hard to run out to get the herbs that you need for a recipe. Well I was cooking one of my favorite recipes Farfalle with Zucchini. It calls for some fancy lemon basil, which I did not have. I didn’t even have any fresh basil so I popped out this new product:

Dorot Frozen herbs.

These are cute little cubes of frozen herbs. 1 cube = 1 tsp of the herb. They have a variety of herbs to choose from. For this recipe I needed Basil.

I plopped in 4 cubes (4 teaspoons) into the recipe

And the final product – see those pretty little specks of basil. The flavor was great. I’ll be stocking up on these for wintertime cooking!

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Christmas Blessings 


This Christmas was very different for many reasons. Every Christmas since being married we’ve spent Christmas morning at Kevin’s parents house, they always do a great job of hosting Christmas and we love celebrating with them. This year I knew my brother would come down from CT and that my dad might come down for Christmas day. We didn’t really expect to change our plans.



My sister called about 3 weeks before Christmas and told me that they had discussed it and really wanted to join us for Christmas.  My sister is newly married with a beautiful little girl who I haven’t had enough time to snuggle, so this was welcome news. This also meant that I had better start getting things ready for their arrival.



The original plan was that they could stay at a hotel and my brother and dad could crash at our apartment on the couch or air mattress. Well it didn’t quite work that way. After doing the math my sister realized that a hotel stay was out of the question. Adding an extra week on to our rent and “moving in” early was 1/3 the cost of the hotel, so that’s what we did. Our new landlady is amazing  and gladly agreed.



At this point we were not living in the new house, nor was it adequately furnished for other people to stay there. So we got busy. We brought over pieces of furniture that we knew we’d need, bought some folding tables for  Christmas dinner. Broke out the air mattresses. Then came planning Christmas dinner, which I was eager to do. This also meant that I had to go through my kitchen digging out every utensil that we might need. Into boxes knives, spoons, whisks, Pyrex dishes, pots pans, towels, tablecloths and the kitchen sink (well, not the kitchen sink, we have 3 in the new place!)



I realized a day or two before everyone arrived how crazy this was!! Luckily my brother was there all week and helped out so much.


We moved in the necessary furniture, food, cooking supplies and everything came together just in time and we had one of the best Christmases in a long time! I do think that this might become a new tradition, and next year it won’t be quite as stressful and no one will be eating gas station subs for lunch!



There were some moments that made this Christmas memorable


  • EARTHQUAKE!! – On Saturday morning (12:04am) we had an earthquake! I didn’t know we could have earthquakes in PA but I guess anything is possible. We heard a loud noise and then everything shook. I don’t think any of us would be too proud to say that we were pretty frightened by it!



  • FOOD,FOOD,FOOD – I wouldn’t say that the food Christmas night was my best, it was far from my most creative cooking and I hope to do better next year. HOWEVER my brother rocked in the kitchen! We had a delicious breakfast on Christmas morning and he made an amazing tortellini, spinach, sausage and fresh mozzarella dish!!! He’s a great cook! Someone marry him already!



  • NO THANKS – my favorite response to a gift this year would be Claire’s over dramatic tossing of the potty book we got her – obviously it’s just not time for potty training yet!



  • NO FIGHTING?!? – This is probably the first time in years that my sister and I spend more than a day together and did NOT fight. Yes, we’re adults but we have very different views and both have strong opinions and personalities – let’s just say I hope it stays this way. We had the best time together, even when doing dishes!



  • CANDLES ON THE TABLE – I’ll have to go in to this more later, I loved that we had a semi-formal dinner. I’ve really missed one thing about our family holiday meals and that is the formalness – not to sound stuck up or like “one of those Connecticut girls” ( this is something my friend Daireth called me a lot when we were in New Zealand and I ate a lot of bruschetta and brie cheese). I really think that the holidays are a time to break out the FANCY!! Use your formal dishes, light some candles, make a special meal, have some wine and spend a nice long meal with family! This is something that I am looking forward to doing more of now that we have a large enough home! 

   What do you think?? Formal? Casual? Fast Food?? How does your family spend the holidays?



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