Friday, October 29, 2010

Freezer Foods Friday Guest Post - C. McKane

My guest today is C. McKane of opinionated ant.  She has some great tips, and has given you a few good resources at the end of her post.  She calls herself a "lazy blogger", but I'm not exactly sure any blogger can really be called that LOL.  Her site, Opinionated Ant, is her glorified concoction where two fictional characters blog.  Interesting, isn't it?   Be sure to check out her blog and say "hi"...  Without further adieu, here she is!

Hi, I'm C.McKane and I'm a lazy blogger. I'm not a food blogger, although I absolutely love food and love reading food blogs pretending that I'll attempt some of the truly scrumptious recipes on them. I'm so excited to guest post for Sweet Jeanette today...my first time! If you like bizarre or mundane tidbits check out my site Opinionated Ant where two fictional characters blog, bicker and rarely bake.
Bulk cooking for the sloth in you

Working nights, when every week is a different schedule, leaves me little time or energy to cook, day in and day out. Okay, it is mostly laziness but now that I’ve been following a specific food plan I’ve found a way to reward the sloth in me. Bulk cooking. Although bulk cooking can be very time consuming in its own right, I find it takes the stress out of making my brown bag while flying out the door and will continue to use it whether I’m on my “specific” food plan or not.

Some Foods I Cook in Bulk

RICE     POTATOES     CHICKEN      EGGS

These are main staples in my diet I cook up enough to last a week although the eggs and chicken are usually gobbled up by family members long before that. I also make batches of salad and side veggies every 3-4 days.

At first I was worried there wouldn’t be enough options and that it would get really boring, very fast. Instead, I found myself trying combinations I never thought of before and loving them, mostly. Here are a few ideas to add bulk cooking into your weekly routine.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces for on the go protein.

I usually cut chicken breast into 2-3 oz. pieces and after marinating broil or cook on the stove. This is a lifesaver in my house because it is so versatile. Shred it for a taco or add it to soup. Put it over pasta, make it a sandwich, top a salad; see the list goes on. I love it with a dipping sauce and potatoes.

Boil a dozen or two eggs.


Another quick protein source, I usually boil 3 dozen a week. They are perfect on their own but added to salad, magical. If I’m really ambitious I’ll peel them all at once, typically while watching TV, so it really is just a grab and go snack later on.

Rice.
I always make too much rice but instead of wasting it, recently I started freezing it into smaller batches and defrosting as I run out. Add it to soups, stir-fry’s, beans, scrambled eggs or as a side to your main dish.

Potatoes

A 3 pound bag of red potatoes goes like French fries in my house. Originally, I was boiling my large batches but it took too long, made my kitchen hot and that makes me cranky. Now, I microwave them, it still takes a while but I’m washing dishes or chopping vegetables while I wait. Home fires, roasted root vegetables, French fries, baked, in a soup, mashed… I’m getting very hungry.

All in all, these are basic ways to add some variety to your diet. It is also a great way to avoid the fast food and takeout route because you’ll always be able to whip something up.

These will get you Bulk Cooking

Don’t have hours free on the weekend to cook? Read Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us.

http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us


Like challenges? There are plenty online like Two-Week Cooking Project or you could make up your own.

http://www.savingandgiving.net/category/two-week-cooking-project/

Brave enough to try once-a-month cooking? Freezer Cooking Basics is a good place to start.

http://lifeasmom.com/2010/02/freezer-cooking-basics.html

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AAACK! How did I NOT know this?!?!?

So, I'm sending messages back and forth on facebook to my friend Tara and she makes the comment about being queasy in the evenings.  To which I send a message back  "queasy???   Is there something I should know?"  To that, she sends back a message (I know, why didn't someone think of picking up the phone, right? )  "How could you not know...and gave me a link.

This link lead to here:


WaaaaaaaHoooooo!!! So happy for you Tara and Angel!!!!! (I decided not to type that on all caps, but yes, I'm yelling!!! :-)

Love you guys!

Monday, October 25, 2010

PRAYER REQUEST TUESDAY

Today is Prayer Request Tuesday


This is the day set aside for prayer for you.

If you have a prayer request, please list it in the comments below. You don't have to give any information you don't feel comfortable with (a simple "unspoken" comment is sufficient). If you would like to pray, please pray for the comment above yours.

Also, if you would like to share a "praise" for a blessing you have received, please feel free to list those also! I'd love to hear of it so I can rejoice with you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Something New! Get featured!

If you've been following my blog, and have been visiting on Fridays during September and October you've noticed that I've been having guest bloggers for my Freezer Foods Friday.  I wanted a way to honor my guests so I asked Mary, my uber talented blog designer for a cutsy button.   She totally did this blog for me, just the way I love!  Don't you?  

There's no way I'd attempt my own button...why would I anyway?  I mean, when Mary totally rocks!  So, she made this button for me (there's a smaller one in my right sidebar)

Lovin' it!!!

If you see someone with this button on their blog, give 'em some bloggy love.  Because I think they're cool and deserve it.  (smile)

And while we're speaking of "bloggy love",  if you're thinking about having someone design your blog...who knows what they're doing, (ahmmm... NOT me), or toying with the idea of changing your look, you should totally check out Mary's site Blog Rock !  (her button is on the left side bar too!)   She can even make you an avatar too.  I like mine!  I totally heart her!!!


Friday, October 22, 2010

FREEZER FOODS FRIDAY - Guest Post Alexis

Hi, all!!  My name is Alexis, and I'm a crazy Kentucky gal. 
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I'm a Christian above all else, and wife to my wonderful Jared.  We walked the dark road of infertility for two long years, and then we were blessed with our precious little boy, Matty.  He's 20 months old now, and we're expecting our second son in January.  I'm extremely disorganized and scatter-brained, but I make up for it (sort of) by being equally creative and crafty.  My blog is the perfect picture of my life--I mean to do so much more, but I'm lucky to get anything done at all.  I'm insanely in love with all things Christmas, and this recipe is one of the greatest things that Santa has ever brought me.  :) 
When I think about Christmas, this pie is one of the first things that comes to mind.  My aunt made this several years ago, and it's been a holiday staple ever since.  It's like my grandmother's death-by-sage dressing; we just can't imagine the holidays without it.  It's the most perfect combination of pecan pie, a creamy dreamy yummy white fluff, and sinfully delicious chocolate.
Actually, it's nothing at all like my grandmother's dressing.  That would be weird.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it makes six pies at once, and they freeze beautifully.  They're great for last minute invites or even gifts.  I tried to keep a few in my freezer all the time for "just in case", but they never made it anywhere because we ended up eating them before anybody else ever saw them. 
Wow, that was a great week!
Kidding.  Maybe.
So, before we get started, you need to know that you can't decrease the recipe.  For some reason, the chemistry of the chocolate layer doesn't like being tampered with.  The pie isn't difficult by any means, but the chocolate layer can be a bit fickle if you don't do it just right.  Also, it works really well if you pop the pies into the freezer while you're working on the next layer.  It helps to keep the layers from bleeding into each other.  I wish I had pictures to share with you, but I can't be trusted with making these babies this far in advance.  They'd never survive to see Halloween.
French Silk Pecan Pie
(aka Heaven for the Holidays)

Pecan Layer

6 deep dish pie crusts
9 eggs
3 cups white corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
3 cups chopped pecans
Poke a few holes in the bottom and lower part of the sides of the crusts with a fork.  This will keep them from bubbling up as they bake.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, vanilla, and butter.  Divide the mixture equally into each pie crust.  Then, measure 1/2 cup of pecans for each pie and sprinkle over egg mixture.  Pat the pecans into the egg mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Watch your pie crust carefully.  If it looks like it's going to get too brown, loosely set a piece of tin foil over the pies, or use pie shields...if you have six of them.  (Or three.  I have to cook the pies in batches because they won't all fit in my oven.)  Cool completely.
Cream Layer
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Cool Whip
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Beat all ingredients until smooth.  Divide over pies and spread. 
Done.  That one was way easy, right?
Chocolate Layer
6 sticks margarine, softened (Remember?  I told you it was sinfully delicious.)
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 egg yolks
6 whole eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 1/2 squares melted semi-sweet chocolate
Take all the ingredients to your mother-in-law's house...your mother-in-law who majored in home economics...your mother-in-law who is a home economics teacher....your mother-in-law who would give Martha Stewart a complex.  Take all your ingredients there because she has a Kitchenaid mixer.  If you happen to have one, you can stay home, and call me because I'd love to come over and make this layer at your house sometime...just for a change of pace, you know.  My super-organized mother-in-law would never make me feel inferior or anything.  Never.  Never ever.
Okay, moving on...
Combine margarine and sugar in a stand mixer (That part's important.) and mix well.  Add egg yolks two at a time and mix well.  Then, add eggs two at a time and mix well.  Add vanilla and chocolate, mix until well blended, then set your timer for 18 minutes.  Scrape the bowl often while the mixture is whipping, but always stop the timer.  This layer will grow quite a bit, and will probably come close to the top of the bowl you're using.  Do not under any circumstances under-beat this layer.  It makes the pie the heavenly delicacy that it is, and you don't want to rush it.  Once it's done, divide the mixture evenly over all six pies, but leave a tiny bit in the bowl for you to enjoy by yourself.  You'll thank me for that.  :)
Stick all the pies in the freezer and wait until they are set.  Then, slip each pie into a gallon-sized freezer bag and seal, getting as much of the air out as possible.  Keep some extra Cool Whip and chopped pecans on hand, and when you decide to get one of your pies out, cover it with a little Cool Whip and then sprinkle lightly with pecans.  The pies will last for six months in the freezer, but they'll never make it that long.  You'll have people inviting you over just so you'll bring them pie.  I'm serious.  I'm talking typing from experience here.
This may seem like a complicate thing to do, but it's really very simple.  The only part that is a drudgery to me is all the dishes that you're left with in the end, but the first bite more than makes up for that. 
If you have any questions about it, or if you just want to visit me for the fun of it, you can find me here at my blog. And, starting in November, I'm helping run a Christmas themed blog.  You can help us out if you're interested.  You can find more information here.  For now, happy Friday to you all, and I hope you enjoy one of my favorite, favorite things about my favorite, favorite time of the year.  And thanks, Jeanette, for letting me in on the fun!!!
Oh, and this might be a secret family recipe, so please don't tell my mom that I posted it on the internet for all the world to see, okay? 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Happens When Men Lack Supervision - Funnies

My husband, of  all people, sent me an email with these pics.  It was titled "Men Who Lack Supervision".  Thought I'd share with you so we both could have a little "giggle time"! 

So, as part of "my" Wordless Wednesday... enjoy!



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PRAYER REQUEST TUESDAY

Today is Prayer Request Tuesday


(Sorry this is "live" late... I've been battling a nasty cold and this is the first I've been "up" to even be at the computer)
This is the day set aside for prayer for you.

If you have a prayer request, please list it in the comments below. You don't have to give any information you don't feel comfortable with (a simple "unspoken" comment is sufficient). If you would like to pray, please pray for the comment above yours.

Also, if you would like to share a "praise" for a blessing you have received, please feel free to list those also! I'd love to hear of it so I can rejoice with you.




Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freezer Foods Friday Guest Post Audra from Rediscovering Domesticity

Today on Freezer Foods Friday it is my pleasure to introduce you to Audra from Rediscovering Domesticity.  She's just the cutest thing... a mom of two and what she didn't mention below is that she taught music K-12 for 9 years!  Really girl, when you have talent like that, you should be telling people!  LOL   I only took piano lessons for ever, not a drop of talent in me though!  LOL    Anyway, you guys should really check out her blog.  She's got some great tips.  I'm going to head back over there and check out her post on making pages for your blog here.   

So, I'm going to turn it over to Audra now and let you fall in love with her too!



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Oh - I am positively excited to share my story with you! I am thrilled that Sweet Jeanette invited me to share on her fabulous blog! Honestly, Sweet Jeanette is the one who inspired me to jump in and try my hand at batch cooking.

So, who am I?  My name is Audra.  I am a 30-something wife and mom of 2 sweet boys under the age of two.  I was a public school teacher for nine years and recently made the move to stay at home just before having my boys.  I am learning how to not just STAY at home, but to THRIVE at home!

Now,  I am intimidated by once a month cooking.  I just know in my core that I am not organized enough to do it!  I have learned, however, that I certainly CAN do batch cooking.  Since being inspired by Sweet Jeanette to keep trying, I am becoming quite good!

My first attempt at batch cooking was nothing impressive at all.  I was making a certain dish for dinner and decided to just make extra and freeze it.  No biggie.  I tell you, that extra meal was a life saver one night when I had two screaming kids and no desire to cook at all!  Could I do it again?

You betcha!

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My next task was to create a meal for a friend who just had a baby.  Why make just one Spaghetti Pie when I can make THREE?  I just cooked extra when I found some spare toddler-free moments.  I had one to take to my friend, one for my family's dinner, and one for the freezer.

Ok - one more scenario for you.

I opened my refrigerator and discovered a big package of ground beef that I had forgotten about.  It wasn't spoiled but it NEEDED to be cooked.  No biggie!



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Isn't my helper adorable?

I divided the meat into four portions - enough for four meals. I put each portion in its own pan and browned.  I ended up with four meals from just a half hour of my time!  I made:
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  • Sloppy Joes
  • Beefaroni
  • Beef Stroganoff
Yes, I used Hamburger Helper.  Do what works for you and your family!


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When I was done, I used this handy pitcher, lined with a freezer bag, to easily pour and store. After I freeze my meals flat, I can stack them upright for more storage room in my regular freezer (oh, how I long for a deep freeze....).  Remember - LABLE YOUR FOOD!!!!

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The countertop full of meals made me smile.  I was able to give one of those meals to a friend who had her toddler in the hospital with an illness.  I didn't have to go out shopping. I didn't have to cook. I just pulled it out of my freezer and put it in hers!

So, as you can see, batch cooking isn't as hard as it sounds! If I can do it with two little ones under 2, so can you!

Thanks Audra.  My hubby would love everything you made!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haiti Benefit Concert

Friday night, we attended a free concert to benefit the victims in Haiti.  There were two bands:  NewWorldSon, and our friends PEAVYHOUSE band.

(Peavyhouse Band)
The concert was awesome.  Bell Shoals Baptist Church (Brandon, FL) has an amazing stage...perfect for concerts!
The lead singer, Andy Peavyhouse, is also the worship leader in the 20/30 service at our church, First Baptist Church (Brandon, FL).  The "20/30" part is the age group, but don't be fooled, there are people of all ages in there.  This service is at 10:30 a.m. and is a more contemporary style of worship.   It's held in the Dining hall, while "big church" is going on in the sanctuary.  LOL. 
While at the concert, (we went with our friends....Andy's mom and dad) we sat at the table to sell ther CD's.   Andy wrote the song "Changed" (it's awesome by the way) and the CD was this song...just one song. 

My hubby is on the left, Steve (Andy's dad) on the right
I'm on the right, Janet (Andy's mom) is on the left

Perhaps the most disturbing thing I learned that night was what their diet mostly consisted of.   What they call "Mud Cookies".  And they're exactly what you think...

That's the "recipe" for Mud Cookies... 1 part mud, 1 part water, 1 part lard and if they have it, lemon juice.   Greg Shepherd, the emcee for the evening, said he had tried it and "you don't taste the lemon".  He said they were nasty, but that's what all they have to "sustain" them.  As you can imagine, dysentery and other stomach problems are a big problem there.

My heart broke.  I remember being glued to the television watching the rescues, the times it was "too late", the triumphs and tears.  I also remember the big names that rallied for concerts and said the loved Haiti.   I don't hear anything much anymore.  It's too easy to get back into our "comfortable" mode.  When I heard that human beings were eating mud just to survive and try to ease the gnawing hunger pains and I just had my pot roast, peas and mashed potatoes I felt guilty.

Greg, his wife and others have been ministering there.  There's no big TV coverage, no appeal-a-thon, he's putting feet to his faith.  He has a website if you'd like to check it out  Florda Synergy .  He's also on twitter @LuvHaitiMission.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PRAYER REQUEST TUESDAY

Today is Prayer Request Tuesday


This is the day set aside for prayer for you.

If you have a prayer request, please list it in the comments below. You don't have to give any information you don't feel comfortable with (a simple "unspoken" comment is sufficient). If you would like to pray, please pray for the comment above yours.
Also, if you would like to share a "praise" for a blessing you have received, please feel free to list those also! I'd love to hear of it so I can rejoice with you.

 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Freezer Foods Friday - Guest Post Myrtle's Turtles

 Oh Boy!  Today you're in for a treat on this Guest Post!  My blog-friend, Myrtle, from Myrtle's Turtles is sharing a "two-fer"!  And when I think of "comfort food",  one dish I think of is chicken pot pie.  You can serve the "base" for the chicken pot pie as a soup, or chowder, for one meal, and then a pot pie for the next!  I love double-duty dishes!   So, without further delay, let's get right in to Myrtle's guest post!


Hi everyone, I am so happy to visit this yummy part of blog world. Here is a little about myself. I am a former elementary school teacher who has decided to stay home to raise my 4 children (5 and under). Our life is very busy and has it's share of ups and downs. I try to sweeten it by giving my children meaningful experiences that don't cost much and a decent meal made with my own loud-sometimes-messy-always-willing-to-try-something-new kind of love. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
I love having dishes in the freezer for those days of shopping for the holidays and busy weeks with the kids. It is nice to know you have a meal ready to go that everyone will enjoy. We recently made this for our Kitchen Club at church. One of the members called the next day to say how much the family enjoyed it. I try to put as many vegetables as I can for the kids.

Pretty isn't it? I love it when food looks this good!

You can use any kind of chicken you want. We used thighs at the Kitchen Club.

I thought about making a Chicken Chowder and then a Chicken Pot Pie. I use the Chicken Chowder recipe to make my chicken pot pie. Now I have more 'splaining to do because usually I cook/bake from scratch, but sometimes I use a base for my chowder. (Also, they were on sale.) I hope you enjoy making them.

 Ingredients:

The Soup
3 tablespoons of butter
1 large Shallot minced
2 medium carrots diced
1/2 head of broccoli
4 fresh corn (cut)
1 cup of fresh peas
3 cans of clam chowder (buy a good quality one)
2 cups of milk
sprinkle of celery seed (or you can use 2 celery sticks if you like)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove minced
4 Chicken legs or Two chicken breasts


The Pie Part

2 cups of Bisquick mix (I make my own in bulk. I use it for bisquicks, my cowgirl casserole, and pancakes.)
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of grated cheese
1/4 cup of flour

Put butter in a large heavy pot and melt over medium heat. Add shallots, carrots, corn, broccoli, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until tender. Add clam chowder, milk, garlic, celery, fresh peas and chicken. Cook until it has thickened a bit and the chicken is cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and cut it up. Return the chicken to the pot and stir.

Divide the soup into two containers. Serve some of the soup as it is and reserve some for freezing.



Pot Pie Part
Mix the Bisquick mix, flour and grated cheese together. Make a well in the middle and add the milk. Stir with a fork and form it into a ball. If it is very sticky add a little more floor. It should feel soft and a little sticky not wet. Turn dough onto a work surface and shape into the shape of your dish making sure it is not more than 1/2 an inch.

Use a sharp knife (it will make them rise higher) to cut the dough into diamonds. Place the dough on the dish.

Your pot pie is ready for freezing. There are several options when it comes time to bake your pot pie. You can just place the dish in the freezer as is. If you want your dough to rise higher you can half bake them and then freeze. Or you can bake the whole thing and freeze it and reheat.
Let the pot pie defrost in the refrigerator. Don't forget to brush with some melted butter. Place in a very hot oven (425) and bake for 15-18 minutes (until the tops are golden brown.)
From our kitchen to your table.

Heard around the table...

"Mom you are the best maker." Kiran 3 years old

"Amazing." Greg 40 somehting

"Can I have some more biscuits please?" Cohen 5 years old

"Yummy, Yummy for my tummy!" Kiran

Pin drops, crickets chirping, pregnant pauses. Hannah 2 years old (Think she liked it!)

Thanks for the visit Jeanette!

Myrtle from Myrtle's Turtles
 








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