Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekly menu, May 30-June 5

Sunday, May 30
Ham sandwiches
Pasta and grilled chicken

Monday, May 31
Hot dogs, chips

Tuesday, June 1
Cheesy tacos
BBQ ribs

Wednesday, June 2
Grilled cheese
Homemade pizza

Thursday, June 3
Chef salad
Zucchini lasagne

Friday, June 4
Hot dogs

Saturday, June 5
Kid kabobs

Friday, May 28, 2010

Humbled... again

When I got to daycare tonight to pick up L and N, there was a box waiting for me. Walleta said that it was left there the day before, while the crew was at the zoo. It had our name on it, and inside were new swimsuits for the girls. Not only did whoever bought these get the sizes right, they also found a rainbow one for Maggie and a two-piece for Katie. And, they included two sizes for Natalie, plus a dress and a new pair of shoes for Miss N. The girls were so excited! They had been asking for new suits but I was pulling the mom routine of "the suits you have fit and are fine." They were SO excited, in fact, that Lainie wore hers during supper and most of the night. I don't know who did it, but I thank you, whoever you are!

Then, when I listened to the messages on our answering machine, I learned that I was awarded another scholarship, this one for $1100! It is from a women's group in Abilene, a group I would never have heard of, were it not for Jay's parents' neighbor. She not only told me about the scholarship, but also made sure I had all the necessary information submitted and helped push it through the application process. I am so very thankful! That means that we now have the fall semester of daycare paid for through scholarships!

Some days, God's blessings are so evident, you can't help but trip over them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Squash Blossoms

Some meals are just sustenance. Others are good, repeatable, respectable. Then there are the 'Oh-my-goodness-I-get-the-last-one-can-we-make-it-again-tomorrow" meals. These fried squash blossoms fall into the third category. YUM! Trust me...they are delicious. This recipe is a combination of three different recipes and makes a creamy filling with an Italian flare.

Fried Squash Blossoms
12 squash blossoms
Oil for frying

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup flour
4 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients until well blended. Put it in the fridge to set up, while you prepare the batter and squash blossoms.
  3. Mix together the flour, corn starch, and salt. Whisk in the water until smooth. Place it in the fridge while you prepare the squash blossoms.
  4. Prepare squash blossoms by gently washing them to remove any dirt or bugs. Remove the stamen from the inside of each petal. Spin gently, one at a time, to remove any excess water. Set on a paper towel while you prepare the remaining blossoms.
  5. Pour 1-inch of vegetable oil into a pan. Heat on medium-high heat until the oil sizzles if you add water to it.
  6. While the oil heats, construct the blossoms. Pick up one blossom and add about 2 teaspoons of filling to it. Gently twist the pedals to close. Dredge the blossom through the batter until coated on both side. Set on a plate while you prepare the remaining blossoms.
  7. Turn off the preheated oven and place a cookie sheet in it. 
  8. Once the oil is heated, gently place the filled blossoms in the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning halfway through, until the batter turns golden. Once the blossoms are fried, place them on the cookie sheet in the oven to stay warm while you fry the remaining blossoms.
How to construct the blossoms

Best Hamburger Ever!

My menu, which I made back in December, said "inside out hamburgers." And so, I bought some hamburger buns, thawed some ground beef, and got creative.

The Best Burgers EVER

1 pound hamburger, thawed
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup cream cheese
5 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
5 teaspoons bacon bits
1/3 cup shredded cheese
5 hamburger buns
miracle whip

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Mix the hamburger, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper. Divide the hamburger in half.
  3. Using half the hamburger, make five very thin patties and place on a plate.
  4. On each patty, add a cube of cream cheese, a teaspoon of relish, teaspoon of bacon bits, and a sprinkle of cheese.
  5. Make 5 thin patties with the remaining hamburger. Place the patties on top of the cream-cheesed patties. Seal the edges.
  6. Grill the hamburgers. (Here's a how-to for the novice grillers.)
  7. For extra pizzazz, toast the hamburger buns lightly on the grill.
  8. Put a litte miracle whip on each top bun. Place the cooked hamburgers on the buns and serve.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Maggie Allergy Update

The big girls (K and M) and I headed to Topeka today to meet with Allergy Doc at Cotton O'Neill Clinic, to try to get some answers or confirmation or denials about Maggie's food allergies. Well, I say food allergy, but it is actually a food intolerance for lactose (dairy) and sucrose (table sugar), and an allergy to cinnamon. Doc said that we're doing the right thing, that she could most likely outgrow both the intolerances, that it sounds like she's a bit hypoglycemic, just like her mama. They also did a lung capacity test that she more-or-less failed. After a breathing treatment, her lung capacity improved nearly 20 percent. So, Miss Mags is back on advair and a steroid for awhile. The improved breathing should help her get a more restful sleep and in turn improve the behaviors we've seen lately.

Now, I'm not blaming her bad behavior totally on her health. But, when she knows it's wrong and just can't control her body, when she is acting so un-Maggie-like that our friends' jaws drop, then something must be going on. It's nice to hear that maybe there is a relatively simple fix.

And while we were in the big town of Topeka, we shopped for Katie's 4-H buymanship outfit. The buymanship project did its job today. We talked about price, value, fabric, wear-and-tear, versatility, why not to buy white shorts, what makes a good fit, and all that good stuff. We found an outfit that will probably be returned now, and we definitely got sticker shock. When 98 percent of the girls' clothes come from garage sales, hand-me-downs, or ultra-clearance sales, buying stuff full-price seems insane. $18.50 for a shirt!?!? That's how much I paid for 15 pairs of jeans earlier this spring. Katie said more than once, "Oh, that's why we buy our clothes at garage sales!"

All in all, a good, full day to start the summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekly menu: May 23-29

Sunday, May 23
Inside out hamburgers

Monday, May 24
Ham sandwiches
Stuffed peppers

Tuesday, May 25
Chef salad

Wednesday, May 26
Frozen lunch/cheese quesadillas
Crockpot round steak

Thursday, May 27
Dipping supper

Friday, May 28
PBandJ, fruit salad
Meatballs and fried rice

Saturday, May 29
Spinach-stuffed squash
Round steak roll-ups

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Snack mixes

A friend of mine introduced me to the greatness of snack mix, especially when you have little kids in the house and lots of activities to run to. We have a few favorite mixes, but I'd love to hear what other ideas you have.

Cheerios (honey nut or chocolate)
Teddy grahams

Shredded wheat cereal
Goldfish crackers
Cheese nips or Cheez-its
Cheesy popcorn
Pretzel sticks

Fruit loops
Banana chips
Teddy grahams
White chocolate chips

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly Menu: May 16-22

Sunday, May 16
Hot dogs/Brats and salad
Chicken nuggets

Monday, May 17
Spinach salad and leftover chicken
Grilled chops and salad

Tuesday, May 18
Cheese quesadillas

Wednesday, May 19
Frozen lunch
Peach jalapeno ham and potatoes

Thursday, May 20
Picnic lunch

Friday, May 21
Ham sandwich
Taco Salad

Saturday, May 22
Grilled kabobs and orange spinach salad
Grilled steak and potatoes

Pork Meatballs

It's 4:30 p.m. The kids are starting to ask what's for supper, even though we all had a big lunch. I have very little in the fridge (need to go grocery shopping) but plenty of meat to chose from. The answer: Meatballs and Rice

2-3 Tablespoons oil
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cup Stove Top
1 egg
2/3 cup Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing

  1. Heat oil in a skillet at medium-high heat.
  2. Combine first four ingredients and form into 1-inch meatballs.
  3. Place sausage in skillet. Cook on medium-high heat with the cover on.
  4. Turn after 3-5 minutes, once they start to brown. Cook 3-5 minutes more, until cooked through.
  5. Add Asian Sesame dressing. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, let it boil for 3-5 minutes, until thickened.
Serve over rice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hello, again!

Let's just say, something had to give, and this blog was it. Now that the insanity has passed, it's time for me to get back on the wagon of eating at home, saving money, and finding creative new recipes...just in time for the garden to start producing in bulk.

We had some lettuce volunteer very early this year and let it grow, just to see if it would taste good. Lettuce wraps seemed the ideal recipe to try, with leaves that look like this:

My sister-in-law had mentioned making Lettuce Chicken Wraps from PF Chang's recipe, but after looking at it, I didn't have most of the key ingredients. A little more searching found this recipe, but again, I didn't have all the essentials. So, I improvised. I substituted white radish and turnip for the water chestnut -- YUM! And, the sauce wasn't exactly how they said to make it but it was delicious. From start to eating, including picking the veggies from outside, this meal took about 35 minutes.

8 large lettuce leaves
2-3 Tablespoons canola oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
3-4 white radishes
1 small turnip
1 small onion
6 baby carrots, or one big carrot
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
4 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 teaspoons EVOO

1. Wash the lettuce and lay flat.

2. Prep work: Cut thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts into thin strips. Dice carrots into matchsticks. Dice 1 small onion. Peel and slice 3 white radishes and 1 small turnip.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Stir fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Drain.

4. Return skillet to heat. Add garlic, turnip, radishes, onions, carrots, almonds, pepper and ginger to the chicken. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, until radishes and onions soften and almonds start to turn golden brown.

5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic powder, red pepper flakes, vinegar, olive oil and soy sauce.

6. To serve,  lay a lettuce leaf on each plate. Top with a spoon full of the chicken mixture. Spoon the sauce over the chicken mixture. Roll up, burrito style.

My girls don't like anything spicy, so their lettuce wraps had Western dressing on them instead of the red pepper sauce. Also for the girls' sake, they had asked for oven-baked french fries. That's not what I would normally serve with this, but a peaceful dinner is a beautiful thing. 

The only bad part about this meal: no leftovers for lunch today.

Ways to improve: Add 2 tablespoons teryaki sauce to the sauce mixture. Add fresh ginger instead of ginger "powder". Add more almonds.

Picture update

The spring semester is done for me, almost done for the girls and Jay. Farmers Market started last weekend, but this year it is much more of a family activity, rather than something to pull Jay away. It helps a lot that Natalie is old enough (and LOVES) to be outside. That means we are all outside pulling weeds or planting or picking, instead of Jay trying to do it all while I stay in the house with the little ones.

Soo... check out how big my babies are getting!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


This morning started like any typical day in our house, with the six of us running (or toddling) around like a pack of rats on a field trial for Monster drink. Get everyone dressed, fed, shoed. Get Jay's meds done. Load up kids, backpacks, diaper bag, purse, lunches, work bags, and everything else for the morning. Drop the kids off at school, do some stuff for Teacher Appreciation Week (have you thanked your teacher today?!). Then, load Natalie up and head home.

Then something funny happened. I didn't have to be anywhere, didn't have to do anything. Natalie fell asleep on the way home, and I carried her up to her room. Instead of laying her down and running down stairs to tackle the next meeting or activity, I rocked her. I held her tiny tot self on my shoulder and rocked, listening to her breathing and the sound of the birds coming in through the open window. She snuggled up into the nook of my neck, and we just enjoyed it.

At least I know I did.