Tuesday, December 29, 2009

YAY! If you are reading this it means I can know blog from my cell phone... This could be fun lol.

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The perfect gift??

I'm sure you all know I love to cook and bake, and you can probably imagine that I have tons of cookbooks.. This is all true, but there is one that was given to me that is my favorite. At my bridal shower my than future MIL and SIL's gave me a cookbook. Not just any cookbook, it's my favorite cookbook. The perfect cookbook. I don't know where they got it, but after all these years, i've finally found one.

Mine is worn, to say the least, but it still has lots of life left.

When they gave it to me, they had it filled with many family favorites for cookies, salads, pies and even a few main dishes. They had taken the cards and had Grandma Dugan fill many of them in herself. There were also room for more. I was able to fill it up even more with favorites from my family. When I'm in the mood to cook, it's the first thing I grab. When we discover a new favorite of our own, I add it in there so I can find it quickly again. So I wanted to pass this on to my daughter, who loves to bake and cook as much as myself. Sooooooooo I'm so excited I found one. I got it in the mail a few weeks ago and have been busy filling it up, Amber doesn't know about it. I'm going to try to fill it up and give it to her for her 10th birthday in March. She can than put it away and save it for when she is grown up. I'm sad to think she'll grow up, but it's bound to happen.

Here is where I found it..

It was brought to my attention, after I posted this, that they no longer offer these books, BUMMER!!.. I've been searching online and the closest I can find is making your own. One point I will make about that is, if you can find the plastic protectors that holds the 4X6 photos, 2 to a page you will be much happier. It's nice being able to pull the recipe out sometimes, and saves room putting 4 per page (2 on front, 2 on back). This site offers them, but they cost 1/2 what it cost for my whole book EEK! If I find a new source for these books I promise to post it)

I will try to take some pictures of the new one to post of here. It holds a 4x6 index card and is protected with plastic..

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My freezer dinners!

So i've gotten some more meals put in the freezer. Actually I have a list of 14 meals i'd like to have ready, i've got 6 done so far. Not bad. I'm not trying to cook them all in one or even two days, i've given myself a week.

First I made a list of the dinners, after scouring cookbooks and websites. Than I made a grocery list and went to Meijer and Sam's club. Here's my list. I'll put the one's I've finished first and link them to the site I found them at if possible.

1. Bean & Pasta soup

2. Lemon chicken: I make this up, and froze them in bread pans, THAN once it was frozen, I removed them and put them in a vaccum packed bag. (Frozen liquid doesn't get sucked out and prevent the whole vaccuum thing LOL)

3. Chicken Manicotti: I didn't freeze it with the sauce, but rather just ran the pre-frozen chicken tenders under warm water enough to cut in half, seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic and stuffed them into the shells. They are pretty tough, i didn't have any break. I than used the plastic package them came in to store them in, just wrapped them in tin foil than a plastic gallon bag and wrote directions on top.

4. Stew meat: I just seasoned it, browned it and threw it in a freezer bag, ready to throw into a crock pot.

5. Beef roast: Put some garlic cloves in side, salted and peppered and vacuum sealed.

6. Meatloaf: dinner tonight lol. Instead of making once loaf, I made 3. 3 pounds of burger, 1/2 pound of sausage, some homemade breadcrumbs (Abigail can't have crackers), some canned mushrooms with the juice and beef broth. Oh and salt and pepper, onion and garlic too. I made 2 loafs in a bread pan, and froze them raw. Once frozen I popped them out (a little hot water on bottom helps) and vacuum sealed them.

Here's the one's I still have to make

7. Chicken Pot pie: no recipe really, just some dough, pot, cooked chicken cubes, frozen mixed vegi's flour to thicken, I freeze them raw.

8. Beef Noodle Supreme:

9. Lasagna: I've done this many times. I make a HUGE pan, cook it, cut it into single meal size portions, once it's cooled. Vacuum pack it, it's GREAT warmed up!!

10. Beefy Rice Casserole:

11. Cheesy Ham & Hashbrown casserole:

12. Chicken Fahita Meat: Just pre season and cut chicken into strips, freeze.

13. Stuffed burgers: Well i don't have a recipe exactly, but basically make two patties, make a mixture of butter, garlic, cheese, onion, or whatever sounds good, put a blob in the middle and put the patties together, smoosh the edges together and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Than you can put them in a bag together (freeze separate, than you can get them apart to cook w/o waiting for them to thaw)

14. Chicken Broccoli Bake:

Just a tip, make sure you label everything. If you can put cooking directions on them. You may remember now, but in a month or so, you may not!!

I did put some cooked chicken and broth in the freezer too, and some cooked burger for spaghetti.. Now for the rest of my list lol.. If you have idea's about some recipes, lets hear them. And that's it!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bean & Pasta soup mix

I've been seriously considering the whole Once a Month Cooking idea. I did this on a short term while I was pg for my last two kids, and it was SO nice. Dinner was easy, quick and not much fuss. Sooo I've been looking for recipes to make up ahead and store in the freezer. I have a list of 13 whole or partial meals to make up. I went shopping and got most of the stuff. Here is the first one I made. It smelled really good, even tho it wasn't even cooked lol.

Here is where I found the recipe (and several others I'm going to use too)

Of course, you know me, i changed it a little. First off, it's not in a jar. Jar's take up more space and i'm not giving them as gifts, sooo I just used a quart size freezer bag, used a small Ziploc for the seasoning and placed it inside the bag with beans. I also left out the pasta. It only amounts to less than 1/2 cup in each bag, so I will just add it when we make it. I buy my noodles in large bags, so it won't matter if I only need a little amount. The other thing I changed is the bouillon cubes. Abigail can't have them and they have way to much salt in them anyhow, sooo I just left that out and will use broth instead of water. I than printed the instructions on a 3x5 card and put it inside, zipped up the bag, folded the flap over and used tape to keep it from coming undone. I than put all 6 bags in a gallon size bag and put it in the freezer. Space is limited so my chest freezer gets LOTS of use. lol

Here is what my index card says:

Bean and Pasta Soup mix

Sort and wash beans.
Combine the following in crock pot or Lg casserole pan
seasoning packet
3 quarts of beef broth
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup of cooked meat (ham, bacon, sausage)
1 (14 ½ oz can) can diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook till beans are soft
add ½ c. uncooked noodles. Cook till done.
Makes 9 cups.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I found some awsome sites for baking!!

Ok, so i'm always on the hunt for new recipes to try. Esp since we have food allergies to deal with. If I can make a 'convenience' food, homemade I'm SO happy!!!

So I was just searching for cream of mush soup. I've made it of sorts in my pork roast. Just used a can of mush and flour and water, but what if I want it for other recipes and what about cream of celery, chicken etc. well, I FOUND A RECIPE for ALL of them.. YAY!!!!

I'm SO excited, having a recipe means I can substitute milks and butters for Abigail friendly foods. Here is the link and I copied and pasted it below.

Ingredients (recipe is equal to 1 can)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper (optional)

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I use homemade)
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon diced onion
1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped mushroom
1 tablespoon onion
1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup tomato juice

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and saute veggies (if using).
2Whisk in flour, salt, and spices (if using).
3Let cook 1 minute, stirring often; slowly add liquid(s). Whisk continually until bubbly and thick. (If making cheese soup, stir in cheese here).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Cake

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe. For all you peanut butter lovers, I'm sorry, you really don't know what you've been missing. This is hands down the BEST cake you will ever taste. It's moist, rich and so very versatile. I LOVE peanut butter, as a matter of fact, my nickname growing up was peanut butter lol. This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Matter of fact it was the cake my MIL made for my baby shower lol, and we also used it at our 10 anniversary party too, and various birthdays thru the years. YUM!! My only warning is, it's big, so make it when you can share it, because you WILL want to keep eating it lol..

The PB cake we decorated for our 10 ann. party. They said to decorate it to reflect us, so we chose a pond setting, with our little turtle kids heading to it, and one still hatching (I was pg with Abigail).. It was a great celebration with my inlaws celebrating their 30th and grandparents their 50th..

Peanut Butter Cake

You will need a jelly roll pan, or a sheet pan with sides 17" X 12" ish and at least 1" deep. If you want to half the recipe, it would probably work in a 9x13, but I've never made it that way.

in a sauce pan heat
1C. water
4 T (heaping) Peanut Butter
1 1/2 t salt
1 c marg.

once melted slowly incorporate
2 eggs
1/2 c sour milk
1 t vanilla

being careful not to cook your eggs in the mix (you can let it cool slightly first, or just blend your eggs and warm it up slowly by adding some of the warm mixture to the eggs, than mixing it all together)

mix in

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. soda

Bake in 375 oven for 20 min. Do not over bake it. It will be soft and spongy..

While it's baking, make the frosting using the previous saucepan

melt together

1/2 c marg
1/3 c milk
4 T peanut butter (heaping)
1 t. vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar

Pour over the cake while they are BOTH still hot. TIP: use a spatula to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan first, so the frosting goes down the sides rather than outside the pan. It will be runny.

than let it cool as long as you can stand to wait and try some!!!

I know the recipe sounds complicated, but really it isn't. The basic idea is to melt the PB and marg so it mixes in better. Besides once you try it once, you find it VERY worth it..


Oh I want to add, this cake freezes well too. Just cool it completely, than either freeze it in the pan for a day, than removed and wrap well, or take out in pieces and freeze. Be sure to frost it first..

Friday, December 4, 2009

The snow has arrived!

My kids have been looking forward to snow since, well since summer lol.. So when they seen less than 1/2" on the ground before bed last night, they made plans to get up early and go out and play. As I put David to bed last night he told me..

"Mom, when I get up, I'm going to get dressed and get my breakfast and go outside and make a snow angel" lol.

So here's the conversations that went on this morning when they woke up. So much for Yahoo's prediction of less than one inch accumulation over night..

Marky "this is the BEST DAY EVER!!"

David "Abigail, look there's snow outside"
Abigail " Uh-huh, I see snow"

They rushed thru breakfast and getting dressed. David didn't even need the usual "encouragement" to get dressed. They were outside around 10 am, a record for even being dressed (we homeschoolers don't hop out of bed as early as the rest of you, and can do school in PJ's lol)

Here are a few pictures I snapped this morning..

The first time she wore her snow pants, the was SO happy to put them on and they looked quite funny going almost clear up to her arm pits.

Pretty in Pink

Sled rides YAY

His first snow angel of the season.

The pond on our patio in under there somewhere

And of course we had to have some warm hot cocoa when we came in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

my oldest wants to know!

OK, so it's been a while since I've posted on here, sorry. I seem to be on my facebook page alot more often lol. So if you know me, you can find me on there and keep up with me. We've had a lot going on, and Dec and Jan will be very hectic..

I just had a quick thought for here today.

My 9 yr old asked me yesterday, "Why do people idolize Santa?" We've been learning about the fruits of the spirit and flesh in our Bible study we have here. We also just got done studying about halloween, so it's all still very new and interesting to her.

So why do we idolize Santa? How, you may be asking me.. Well think about it, what do the songs that we sing over and over say??

"He knows when you are sleeping,
He knows when your awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
so be good for goodness sake"

We don't just sing this over and over, we hear it in the stores, on the radio, even in the cartoons and movies we watch. And we want them to believe it. How is God suppose to feel about that?? We put more effort into making them believe in Santa than him.. On top of all that, it's all a lie..

Out of the mouth of babes, it's no wonder he wants us to be like children...

(In case you didn't already know, we don't celebrate Christmas, as a matter of fact the only "holiday" we celebrate is Thanksgiving. If you know me, this doesn't come as a surprise, if you don't well, sorry for the shock, you can breathe now. We celebrate God and all his truths, the KJV Bible way, and celebrating a Pagan filled holiday is NOT one of his commandments. If you want to know more, here's a post I made a few years ago about Christmas. I make no promise that you won't see more or less on here about my beliefs, but I do promise that if you ask me, I will tell you. I'm not ashamed for how and why we believe, but I want to be a postive example, not a cram it down your throat kinda person.)

So pray for us these next few months, we have some things going on that are going to make us VERY busy.... I will try to post a little big more often, I just don't want to bore everyone and repeat everything all facebook lol..