Monday, November 30, 2009

Berry Cobbler

I've had a couple of bags of blackberries and dewberries in the freezer for awhile and finally decided to make something with them today. I don't eat fruit so I had to wait for James to get home to taste it. His response was "Mmmm". I guess that means the cobbler is good. I modified this recipe from the new Costco cookbook.

Berry Cobbler:
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
2 c blackberries
2 c dewberries
1 c sugar and extra for berries
1/4 c Splenda
1/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c flour
2 t black powder
1 c milk

1. Put the stick of butter in a 9 inch deep pan (mine was a little too shallow) and put it in the unheated oven. Turn the oven to 350° and let the butter melt in the pan.

2. Mix the berries in a bowl with sugar. I had to use about 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 c Splenda because my berries were tart (I remembered James told me that awhile ago), but you might be able to use less.

3. When the butter is almost melted, mix the flours, baking powder and 1 c sugar in a bowl. Add 1 cup of milk and stir well.

4. Remove the butter pan from the oven and pour the batter on top of the butter. Add the berries and any juice that formed to the batter. I sprinkled them around to disperse them evenly.

5. Put pan on a baking sheet and put back in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is nicely browned.

If you try this please let me know how it turns out for you!

Menu Plan Monday

We did okay last week, even without a menu plan. Last night through us for a little loop (Fancy's ER trip) so we ended up eating out. Another boot camp starts this week so there are a couple of quick meals planned.

Monday - Baked potato soup

Tuesday - Tamales and rice
Wednesday - Taco Corn Bread Squares (new recipe)

Thursday - Tilapia tacos

Friday - Taco soup using LO items from Wednesday

Saturday - Chicken Ole (new recipe)

Sunday - Grilled hamburgers and home fries

I need to use up a couple of lemons given to us so I might make a lemon dessert.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What does $505 look like?

Mary and Fancy got in a tiff when Fancy tried to eat some of Mary's food. Fancy lost and this is what happened. Yep, that's a big gaping hole on her snout.

$505, 5 hours, and about 11 stitches later this is what my precious Fancy looks like. She is definitely working the pitiful look.

And she finally laid down. Now we are just waiting for the pain pills to kick in to knock her out so she'll get some rest instead of fighting the E-collar.


I have been out of it the last couple days. I've only cooked one new thing this week and I forgot to take pictures. I'm hoping to start up again tonight with my version of baked potato soup.

We did get a couple of good deals shopping on Friday, but since they are gifts I can't really post about them!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What the drought did. . .

Here's the view from my front porch on Friday morning.

Here's the view from my porch about 20 minutes ago.

Here's what's left of the trees.

The stupid drought killed off my beautiful trees in the front yard. I am not happy about the changed view and losing my beautiful loblolly pines, but on the upside, we didn't have to pay for the trees coming down. The electric company ended up taking the trees down as they were a danger to the lines around our house.

Menu Plan Monday

James should be returning today from a hopefully successful tuna fishing trip. I imagine we'll be eating tuna for a couple of days to try to "eat" away at the amount that has to go in the freezer. Since I'm not 100% sure what our plans are for the week I can't really plan anything yet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Marshmallow is weird

We moved the floor pillows to vacuum and Marsh decided to lay in the spot. When I was putting the pillows back I just put them right on top of him. For a little while he just laid there!

Italian Chicken

My boss makes a chicken like this and I'm not sure what it's called. I called it Italian chicken since it has red, white, and green colors in it like the Italian flag. My other boss gave me a big bag of basil so I made pesto but you could use store bought if that is what you had on hand.

Italian Chicken:
2 chicken breasts
Pesto sauce
Mozzarella cheese (sliced or grated which is what I had on hand)
1 Roma tomato, sliced
Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Butterfly chicken breasts and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken breasts until they are just a touch away from being completely cooked.

2. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and top with pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, and slices of tomato. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top and bake in a preheated 400° oven until the cheese is melted and the chicken is finished. I cooked the chicken for about 10 minutes.

James really liked this meal. He loves it when I make pesto and so I knew he would enjoy the chicken. I made him some fresh green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic as well as some zucchini cooked the same way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apple-Pecan Syrup

I am trying to use up things in the freezer in anticipation of James catching a ton of tuna on an upcoming trip. I had some Kashi Honey Oat frozen waffles so I decided to use them for breakfast. I saw a recipe on a blog I follow for Crustless Apple pie and it stuck in my head. I decided to make a syrup out of the recipe (even though I didn't use any measurements) for James' waffles. Using an orange plate this morning was probably not the best photographic decision so sorry about the picture quality.

Apple-Pecan syrup (these amounts are guesstimated - and keep in mind this was for one person)

1 apple, peeled, chopped, and diced
1/8 c chopped pecans
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t lemon juice
1 T butter

1. Toss the apple with the lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
2. Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet and then add the apple mixture. Cook over low until the apples are tender and a little bit of syrup forms. Pour over waffles or pancakes and enjoy.

James really liked the apple concoction and I think I was encouraged to make it again or use it in a pie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mediterranean Pizza

I've made this recipe several times, but never posted it. James says this is one of his favorite pizzas. I don't have amounts because I just top the pizza to our personal preferences. I've made this with homemade pizza dough and pita bread and both are yummy.

Mediterranean Pizza:
1. Pour a little olive oil over the crust of your choice (dough or pita), sprinkle a little garlic powder on the crust and top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
2. Put the following items on the pizza in an amount of your preference: finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped onions, kalamata olives, chicken (we didn't have any cooked last night so I omitted this), and feta cheese.
3. Bake in a preheated 400° oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

James and the birthday girl

Daisy, the birthday girl, thinks this recliner is HER chair. James had the audacity to sit in it so she just climbed in on top of him. Spoiled beast!

Overnight Pumpkin Waffles

In my ongoing attempt to make James a hot breakfast a couple days a week, I've been searching for different recipes. I ran across several recipes for overnight pancakes/waffles and decided to try one of them. I ultimately used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook with a ton of additions and substitutions.

Kat's Overnight Pumpkin waffles:
2 1/4 c flour
2 T sugar
2 1/2 t yeast (equivalent of one pkg)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground ginger
1/8 t fresh ground nutmeg
1 3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c pumpkin puree ( I used some from the pumpkins I processed.)
1 1/2 t vanilla
1. In a large bowl, stir together the first 7 ingredients. Add the milk, eggs, and pumpkin and combine thoroughly. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, add the vanilla to the batter and stir. Bake these off using the directions for the type of waffle maker you have. I used a Belgian waffle maker and made 5 waffles.
These waffles had a very good flavor. Because of the lack of oil in the recipe they are a little spongy instead of crispy, but the flavor makes up for the texture.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We have activities planned for the last half of the week so I need to only plan for three days.

Monday - Chicken fajitas

Tuesday - Mediterranean pizza on pita bread (use leftover chicken)

Wednesday - Spaghetti and flat bread.

Teriyaki Burgers and Panko Potatoes

I've been trying to come up with new to us recipes for meals lately. I threw the recipe for teriyaki burgers together off the top of my head.

Teriyaki burgers:
1.5 pounds of ground beef
1/4 cup very finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
1/4 c teriyaki sauce
1/4 t wasabi powder

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Form into patties and grill to your preference.

2. Pour another 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce into a saucepan and reduce to a thicker sauce. Top a hamburger bun with your choice of toppings and the sauce. Pictured below is James' plate. . . mine did not have vegetables on it.

Panko Potatoes:
3 small potatoes
1/2 c panko bread crumbs (you may need more)
1/2 t paprika
1-2 T melted butter
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Wash potatoes and pat dry.
2. Cut potatoes in quarters. I did not do wedge shapes, instead I cut the potatoes so I had flat disks (except the rounded edge pieces.)
3. Brush one side of each potato with butter and then dip that side into the panko bread crumbs flavored with the paprika, salt and pepper. Butter the other side of the potato, turn it over and coat with panko.
4. Put the potato slices into a greased pan and cover with foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes covered and then bake for another 10-15 minutes until a knife easily pushes into the potatoes.
James really liked the meal. The burgers were very well flavored but my favorite were the potatoes. The panko crumbs made the potatoes so crispy and yummy!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today's trip

I've been feeling not motivated and bored lately. I hate feeling bored so James and I decided to do something different today. We went on a tiny road trip and visited the Austin Zoo. We had an awesome time at this delightful little zoo. The brochure stated that 90% of the animals were rescues of some sort, either from other zoos, circuses, the wild, captured by TX parks and wildlife officials, or as former pets. Many of the plaques told the stories of the animals in the pens.

I have no idea why I can never seem to take a serious picture. The zoo has a little train that families can ride and children had to be a certain height. We did not take the train.

There were tons of peacocks roaming the zoo. They were all brightly colored (well the males were) and not people shy at all.

Our favorite part of the zoo were the tigers. Neither one of us had ever seen "active" tigers, or for that matter any animals other than monkeys and birds, in a zoo. Today the three tigers were actually playing together! It was so much fun to watch. They took turns stalking each other and jumping into and out of the pool. Gorgeous animals.

When I walked up to this bird, it was like it wanted to get it's picture taken.

After the zoo we did a little Christmas shopping and then James suggested eating lunch at a restaurant we had put on our "list" of places to try. (Yes we actually have a list. . .I'm type A remember.) We ate at Tarka Indian Kitchen. James had the Lamb Mirch Masala at a medium spice level (you get to choose your spice level). He really enjoyed the blend of flavors. For $8.25 he recieved a generous portion of the masala curry and a huge serving of basmati rice. I tried the Chicken Curry Tarka "Naaninis" for $7 which came with a side of marsala fries. Basically it was curry in a naan bread. Mine was good, but not what I was thinking it would be. I was expecting a tomato based marsala curry and instead got a cilantro based curry. Plus although it was not stated on any of the menus, there were vegetables in the wrap (cabbage, tomoatoes and onions). After I picked off the vegetables it was pretty good. The fries were awesome!!! Next time we go, I think I am going to try the Chicken pakoras or the tarka aloo.
** As a disclaimer, I was not paid to endorse either of these places. I am just stating my opinion of our visit to each facility. **

What does $13 look like?

I bet you thought you were going to see a picture of a huge pile of groceries and a little paragraph with me bragging about how much I saved. Nope, not this time. We went to the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market yesterday and picked up the items above. The zucchini and tomatoes cost a total of $2 and the honey was $11. Yes, the honey is expensive, but James and I both prefer local honey over the highly processed stuff that can be bought at Walmart or HEB. Because it has a better, stronger flavor, we end up using less of it and it lasts for a much longer period of time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BBQ pork sandwiches

I cooked the pork loin roast I bought yesterday in the crockpot today to make sandwiches shown below.

BBQ pork sandwiches
1. Rub BBQ seasoning on the pork loin and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
2. Cut a half an onion into slices and put in the bottom of a crockpot. Put several slices of jalapeno and three cloves of garlic on top of the onions.
3. Put the pork in the crockpot on top of the vegetables. Mix about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce with 1 cup of chicken stock and pour over the pork.
4. Cook on low for around 8 hours.
5. Once the time is up, remove the pork and cover with foil to rest. Pour the vegetables and broth into a pot and boil on high until reduced by half.
6. We used flatbread sammies as the bread.
These were yummy and got the seal of approval from James. Sorry there isn't a better recipe, I just kind of threw this together. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shopping day

I went to several stores today trying to get several items. Remember I don't have stores like Kroger or Publix to shop at, you know stores that have actual sales and promotions. I have to stick with HEB, Walmart, Walgreens, and Dollar General.

Dollar General:
2 spices: $1
Ritz Crackers: $2.35, on sale for $ 2 - $1 MQ = $1

Total before sales and Q = $3.35
Total sales = $0.35
Total Q = $1
Total OOP = $2

1 box Panko bread crumbs: $1.62 (these were $2 something at HEB)
1 box All-Bran cereal (for the beasts): $3.16 - $1 MQ = $2.16
1 bag butterscotch morsels: on sale for $1.78 - $0.50 MQ = $1.28
2 bakery reduction products: originally $4.50, reduced to a total of $2.70

Total before sales and Q = $11.53
Total sales = $2.27
Total Q = $1.50
Total OOP = $7.76

1 10 lb bag of potatoes: $3.59 on sale for $1.49 (less than the cost of a 5 lb bag)
1 pork loin = $4.20
1 tub of butter spread = $0.74
1 dz eggs = $0.98
1 block cheddar = $1.67
1 c yogurt = $0.39
1 bag tortilla chips = $2
1 Clif bar = $1
1 container of salt = $0.34
1 baking powder = $0.99
1 bottle teriyaki sauce = $1.44
1 can tomato = $0.60
1 box baking soda = $0.51
1 bag Flamin Hot Cheetos ( I wonder why those aren't pictured?) = $0.99
1 jar Bama jelly = $1.25
1 can black beans = $0.62

Total before sales and Q = $21.61
Total sales = $0.35
Total Q = NONE (Depressing I know)
Total OOP = $19.21

2 boxes of Kotex tampons: on sale for $3 each - 2 $1 MQ = $4 (I was supposed to get a $1 RR, but the cashier didn't give it to me, and I forgot about it until I was at a different store.)
1 tube of Garnier Nutrisse exfoliating cleanser: $5.99 on sale for $4.49 - $5MQ = $0.51 overage

Total before sales and Q = $12.57
Total sales = $2.08
Total Q = $7
Total OOP = ZERO ( I found an old gift card and it still had money on it = $3.78 on GC)

I also bought some dog food and bones. This is the depressing part, I spent $107.67 on the dogs and that will only last about 3 months.

Menu Plan Monday

** UPDATE - I found a pork loin on sale so I changed the menu. **

We are still doing really well. Last week I even made a lasagna on a day I told James he would have to fend for himself.

I am also doing well on this month's challenge of no sweets. It is easier than I thought, but my first thought after every meal is still "What's for dessert?". James has cheated TWICE!!!

Monday - Bacon cheeseburger soup (I'm just going to make up a recipe for this . . . wish me luck!)

Tuesday - BBQ pork loin wraps (pork cooked in the crockpot)

Wednesday - Pork turnovers and rice

Thursday - Fish and chips (Boot camp night)

Friday - Black bean quesadillas

Saturday - Teriyaki burgers and homemade fries

Sunday - LO

Oatmeal Pancakes

I have been trying to get up in the morning and make James a hot breakfast at least one day a week. This morning I made these oatmeal pancakes from the Taste of Home Annual Recipes 1999 cookbook. The pancakes had a great texture and a slight molasses flavor. I only made a half batch, but I'll put the recipe for the whole batch.

2 eggs
2 c buttermilk
1 c quick cooking oats
1 T molasses
1 T vegetable oil
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk then add the oats and mix well. Stir in molasses and oil. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda; stir into the oats mixture. Drop batter onto a lightly greases griddle to form the size pancakes you prefer. Turn when bubbles form on top of batter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken cheese casserole

I read a recipe on a blog I follow called Finding Joy in My Kitchen for a chicken and cheese bake. I changed the recipe up a little and James liked the results. Unfortunately, I didn't do a lot of measuring so I'll just describe what I did. BTW, sorry for the quality of a couple of the pictures... one of the settings on my camera was wrong.

Cook up some pasta to al dente. I used whole wheat rigatoni and spirals. After being cooked it was probably about 3 cups of pasta. While the pasta is cooking, saute some onions and carrots. Season the veggies with your choice of spices. I used poultry seasoning, dried oregano, and dried basil.

Put a layer of pasta on the bottom of a casserole dish. Then put layers of veggies, shredded chicken (I baked a chicken breast seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper earlier in the day), and cheddar cheese. You can decide how much cheese you would like to use. I ended up with two layers of each.
Pour in 3/4 cup of milk and cover with foil. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes and then uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes to get the cheese crunchy. In the background of the picture is a piece of homemade buttermilk oat bread.

Next time I make this I'll try to have some mushrooms and or broccoli on hand to add in for James. I can always pick them out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Monday

We have a lot going on this week so there will not be a lot of cooking happening. But there are some exciting things happening this week also.

Monday - James is fending for himself because I'm going to the Kelly Clarkson concert with a friend!!!

Tuesday - Tortellini (boot camp night)

Wednesday - Chicken and cheese pasta bake

Thursday - Tacos (boot camp night)

Friday - My friend's wedding so eating there!

Saturday - James has to fend for himself again because I have to work

Sunday - Crockpot chili and cornbread

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November's food challenge

If you've read the blog before, you know that every month James and I do some kind of food challenge. So far we've done things like a grocery budget of $25 a month, not eating at chain restaurants, and not buying any processed foods. Each challenging in it's own right, but this month's challenge will be the hardest for me.

For the first three weeks of the month we are not eating SWEETS! No cookies, cakes, pies, candy, or ICE CREAM! Because of the holidays we are only attempting the first three weeks. We are also amending the challenge so that we can include gum, mints and protein bars. I'm hoping to be successful at this one, but I am the one most addicted to sugar so we'll see!

October recap

We went over budget on groceries. Yikes, but we'll do better this month.

Books read = 10

Magazines read = 19

Freebies received = 5 (Secret sample and Q, Kashi Q, Olay regenerist sample and Q, Honey Nut Cheerios sample and Q, and Garnier samples)

Exercised for 1181 minutes or roughly 20 hours this month. (This does not count the amount of time walking the dogs or moving at work.)

Our challenge for the month of October was to not eat out at any chain restaurants. This was very easy for us and we were successful.

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.