Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu 2013: September 30-November 3

It's Fall. You feel the chill in the air as you walk from your car to the house and as you open the door, wonderful smells permeate the air around you. Nothing says Fall better to me than soups and breads so I will be including a lot of them on the menu this month. Here's the menu format for the month.
  • Italian
  • Comfort Food
  • Crockpot
  • Duo Night (Sandwich + Soup or Salad)
  • Tex Mex/Cajun
  • Misc.
September 30-October 6
October 7-13
October 14-20
October 21-27
October 28-November 3
Snacks & Sunday Breakfasts
I am bringing snacks for a couple of events this month as well as needing to figure out Sunday breakfasts ahead of time so here they are.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grilled Flatbread: A blank canvas

I've been wanting to learn how to make flatbread for a long time. I made all sorts of different breads and rolls from Naan to crescent rolls, but never had the courage to try my hand at flatbread. But with our oven on the fritz and the budgeted funds for groceries being too small to buy flatbread I decided that it was time to try my hand at it. I wasn't disappointed. This is such a good, solid yummy recipe that I have found several more ways to serve it than for just a sandwich!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pepper Crusted Steak with Mushrooms and Onions

I really wanted a major "wow factor" type entree for our last Dinner at 8pm. We'd had a super busy and stressful couple of weeks leading up to it so I needed something amazing yet quick and easy. This pepper crusted steak recipe is all of those. The flavor is "out of this world" good, super tender and juicy, and, best of all, simple and easy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pear Butter: A Fall Treat

When went to the old house for a few days to check on things and discovered that the pears were ready to be picked. Since we didn't get a chance to spray for bugs and things, they weren't really "for eating" pears but they have lots of flavor so they work well in baking and such. I gathered a decent sized plastic totes' worth and brought them home. I didn't have a lot of time so I knew that I needed something that I could make in the crockpot. That's when I remembered a Pin I'd seen for crockpot apple butter and I figured Pear Butter was a good alternative so off I went to experiment.

Salted Caramel Bacon Ice Cream

salted caramel bacon ice cream
Today was Battle: Bacon for our Homebuilder's Group (young married couples and families with minor children) at church. Everyone was to bring a bacon dish(es) for a fellowship dinner/food competition. I wanted to be as creative as possible so I decided to make a caramel ice cream and use bacon instead of nuts (kind of a twist on a maple nut or butter pecan). I got on Pinterest to see if anyone else had done something similar and found several recipe ideas. I wandered through each of the recipes and picked out my favorite ideas. It turned out great and even won best overall bacon dish. It combines a couple of opposites, sweet'n'salty along with smooth'n'crunchy, and it is also a VERY decadent dish so you can only handle about 1/2 cup before the richness overtakes you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sauteed Kale with Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar

We've just discovered how much like kale. I've enjoyed it in smoothies and Zuppa Toscana (an Italian sausage, potato and kale soup) so I decided to try it sauteed. I was not disappointed, it was delicious!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Donate your Hair and get up to $30 back

I decided not to chop my hair to it's usual bob last fall. The last time I grew my hair out was right before my wedding in 2004. I kept my hair long most of my youth and didn't cut it shorter than mid-back until the summer before my freshman year of college. I kept it a little longer than my shoulder until my honeymoon when Jared took me to get it cut into a short bob. That's how I kept it till now. When I realized how quickly my hair was growing I thought, "You know, maybe I should grow it out for a good cause and donate." I've known several cancer victims and survivors, a friend's mom, another friend's sister, an aunt, an uncle, etc. so it wasn't a hard decision to make. Now, deciding who to donate it to was a difficult decision for me to make and I ended up deciding on Pantene Beautiful Lengths (check out their blog). They provide wigs for free to women suffering with cancer. When I saw that Pantene is giving $30 rebates to people who donate between 9/1/13-10/31/13 I just had to let you know. My hair might not be long enough to participate during the promo but I want to encourage you to do it.
Check this post out on My Milwaukee Mommy for more info - My Milwaukee Mommy - Extreme Couponing Milwaukee: Donate your Hair and get up to $30 back with Pante...: Do you have long hair and are thinking of cutting it? Have you ever considered donating your hair? Did you know that Pantene also accepts...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dinner at 8pm: September 2013

The entire meal (including dessert and coffee)
only cost us between $25-$30. If we would
have gone out, the meal would have cost us
between $50-$70 with tip, plus another
$40 or so for a sitter. 
This summer has been so incredibly busy that we've had no time for date night "in". With school starting, and the craziness it brings, I decided that Dinner at 8pm was a must! I love how it gives time to cook and chat with each other (without interruption) on a completely different level than when the kids are awake. I will also admit that I enjoy the fact that it's way more economical for us than hiring a sitter and paying for dinner, dessert, and coffee. On September 13th, we will put the kids to bed a little early, make ourselves a delicious dinner, and enjoy some time together without breaking the bank. :) Here is our delectable menu for the evening. By the way, everything except the rice and frozen yogurt will be prepared on the grill so the kitchen will be quiet, which helps the kids to fall asleep faster.

Menu 2013: September 2-29

Our summer has flown by all to quickly and September looks as if it will be just as crazy busy as this summer was. We have church activities every weekend except one, school begins on September 4th, we're having Dinner @ 8pm on the 13th, the kids are having a play date on the 14th, and the oven is still not fixed (no, I'm not complaining as I have two grills, a griddle, and the stove top, it just means that I have to be a little more creative in my dinner selections). Here is the menu format.
  • Special Event Food – we’ve got special events at least once a week this month. Some of these events involve me cooking and others don’t so I’ll be sure to specify.
  • Tex-Mex
  • Leftovers/freezer meal
  • Salad / Sandwich
  • Crockpot
  • Grilled
  • Comfort food
September 2-8: Happy Labor Day everyone! We start school this week. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!
  • We’re grilling out with family and I am bringing beverages and mac’n’cheese 
  • Steak fajitas with black beans and rice – I need to use up the leftover steak from our family grill day last week. 
  • Santa Fe Salad
  • Cowboy Skillet
  • Zuppa Toscana and potato flatbread
  • We have our Sunday School Picnic today. I am to bring a main dish and a salad or dessert. I am thinking about bringing
    • Pepperoni Pasta Salad
    • Cookies 
  • Hamburgers, green beans and carrots, and French fries 
September 9-15
  • Grilled Cheese and tomato soup 
  • Mexican Gumbo (basically chicken tortilla soup over rice and black beans with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole) 
  • Red beans and rice
  • Dinner @ 8pm for Jared & I (see the menu here) – Corn dogs (I froze 6 of these last month) and fries for the kids
  • Play Date - Mac'n'Cheese, hot dogs, and fruit salad 
  • Spaghetti and meatballs (frozen meatballs and marinara in the crockpot), mixed veggies, and French bread 
September 16-22
September 23-29
  • Beef and Bean Burritos with a side salad 
  • Philly Cheesesteak Flatbread and sauteed green beans 
  • Brats/hot dogs, side salad, chips, and veggie tray 
  • Buffalo style pot pie (this is at the request of Jared who LOVES spicy stuff, if you'd prefer a traditional pot pie you can check out my recipe here
  • Tater Tot Casserole - I may be getting away for the day (by myself) so I am planning to make up something so that Jared and the kids can just pop it in the oven. 
  • Crockpot low country boil (this recipe sounds like it makes a really big batch so I might half it)