Monday, January 28, 2008

I moved!!!

Okay I moved! Still trying to get some kinks worked out but I am now on my own domain on Wordpress. You can all join me over there. You have the option of registering for the site, or just using your info from blogger or wordpress or where ever you are based at.

Have a nice evening! Hope to see you soon! Click the link below!

Jasmine's New Blog

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ask for a discount!

This has worked for me many times. Whenever we rent a car, book a hotel, buy shoes at payless, buy auto parts even, we ask for a discount. Well I do anyhow, Joe will if he remembers or I remind him. lol

Most of the time I drop the AAA name. Now for the car stuff it was Napa and it wasn't AAA. It was the fact that Joe used to work for General Motors. He doesn't any more, now he works for the City.

I was reading a blog last week and the lady mentioned going to and buying gift certificates cheap and having a date night. We usually do this once a month, or once every other month, go out to a nice restaurant. Once a week we hit In & Out or the like but I don't really count that.

Anyhow last Thursday I read that post and even cruised by the rest. link she posted. None in my area. When my dh got home we were supposed to go to Costco and S&F but I decided that could wait and took him out somewhere we have been trying to go for a while but every time we go it is closed.

It is Woody's Cocky Bull and is a western type place with a grand ole opry and all the trimmings, bear rugs on the wall, pool tables and a bar they can't use cause they don't have their liquor license yet. (Which is fine cause we rarely ever drink.)

They just reopened for buisness and I thought their prices were WAY too high for this establishment. I shut my mouth though cause he has really wanted to go for months and one night we stopped by they were closed. Another time they weren't open til 4:00 and it was earlier and there was a movie we wanted to catch so the timing wouldn't work out.

He wanted an appetizer too so we ordered one. We have been doing that lately. Now that our income has opened up a bit more I am not pinching the pennies so hard. lol
It would of been $6.99 for 1 appetizer or $10.00 for a plate with 3 appetizer's so we figured lets get 3. Well wouldn't you know they brought us out 3 DIFFERENT plates of food. haha(Not our pic)

One HUGE plate of chili cheese fries, 1 HUGE plate of fried chicken tenders, and 1 HUGE plate of onion rings. With no sauce. I had to ask, she forgot.

I had wanted steak but thought it was crazy paying $18.99 for a simple steak. Their porterhouse was $29.99! Now I know this is what nicer restaurant's charge but if we are going to spend $50.00-$60.00 on a meal it had better be The Outback Steakhouse. I mean this place was empty. We were the first diners there and pretty much the ONLY diners. I even remember telling him that was crazy, about the steak. They must of over heard me cause the waitress ran over a few minutes later and told me "porterhouse" was on special. $19.99. So I went ahead and ordered it. *smirk*(Not our pic)

I did look at the burgers, but I had a hamburger at home that afternoon. Joey ordered the pork ribs. I was not at all impressed with the menus. No pictures whatsoever! If you haven't noticed, I am all about the food pics. lol That usually seals the deal for me. Their sides were so boring and simple. Baked beans, corn bread. I could of stayed home and made this. Of course I could of stayed home and made an awesome steak with a baked potato, lots of butter and sour cream, fresh rolls, with even more butter, and a salad with ranch. Do yourself a favor, do NOT add up all the calories! haha

But this wasn't about staying home. This was about having a nice evening out with my sweetie. Joey told them to hold the beans for me and substitute a baked potato, with lots of butter and sour cream.

Now I have to add this in. I was really freaked when small flies, like gnats came by our table and tried to steal the tomato off my plate! We called for the waitress and she moved us to another table across and they still followed us. We wound up moving to a complete other section. About 20 minutes we came, a group of 4 came in, looked at the menu and left. I am not surprised I would of left too if it weren't for dh being so gung ho about this place.

A few more diners came in and stayed. This place was huge though. I do have to say the food was very good though. I got my porterhouse and cut off an 8 oz piece and put the rest on Joe's plate. He gave me a few bites of his rib. Baby back ribs. The potato and salad were fine. The chili cheese fries were good, I had a few of those, the fried chicken pieces I had one of those it was good, you know what for some reason I remember there being french fries too. LOL Yes regular french fries AND chili cheese fries AND a bakes potato. I am thinking I changed my mind on the fries or the potato and they forgot and brought both.

The onion rings were REALLY good. I was sitting there thinking we should of just ordered an appetizer and a salad there was so much food. We wound up bringing alot of it home. The kids enjoyed that. I must say I was expecting to be disappointed by the cornbread. Corn bread is not normally my favorite. Usually it is to gritty tasting. But these were very light and fluffy. They were mini muffins and tasted great. I was sorry I hadn't room for more than two.

When we were waiting for the lady to tally the bill my dh ran off to the bathroom and I asked her if we could get a discount cause the flies were harassing me. She said she really couldn't cause she had made a mistake and given us 3 plates of appetizers instead of one plate of 3 appetizers. She did say if my dh was a cop or a fireman they could give us a 20% discount. We said no but he does work for the city in another area. They gave us the discount.

All in all we wound up spending $41.66 or so. We threw in a 15% tip and stayed to play 3 games of pool. It was actually alot of fun.

SO the point I was getting to was, ASK FOR A DISCOUNT!!!

Should I of called the health department? What would you do?

For even more tips check out Works For Me Wednesday

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Okay my tip for today is about baking. Whenever I am baking and I need to use oil or honey or molasses, I spray the measuring spoon or cup with pam or cooking spray. It helps the ingredient to slide right off my cup or spoon and into the mixer where it belongs. I used to hate having to get another spoon and trying to scrape honey or molasses off. Now I don't have to and neither do you. Hope this helps.

For more tips check out Tammy's recipes!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The blog is moving....

Okay so I have been quiet for a few days. That is because we are getting ready to move. I have a domain, have had it for about a year and have a board on it. I have had many boards in the past before the domain and been pretty successful with them but they take alot more time than I have. I have found these past few months that I really love having a food blog. It is not as much maintenance or up keep as a board. I am going to leave the board open in case anyone wants to stop by and chat.

But for now I got a new domain yesterday that is going to be focused on having a food blog. I am switching to wordpress. I have a friend who is helping me get it all set up and right now we are just waiting for the server to propogate.

She said we can import all my stuff from here so I won't have to start fresh thank goodness. I have already picked out the layout for the new blog. One thing that annoys me with blogs is having to scroll down constantly. And if there is a really long post that can get annoying. I love the "click here to read more" feature. I hope you will all join me over there and if you wanted you could actually REALLY join me. I read that we are able to add 35 additional blogs for free. How cool is that?

This is my cinnamon bread!

You can cut yourself a slice of cinnamon bread while we wait. Aren't those big beautiful loaves? That is supposed to be cinnamon raison bread from my new book Bread by Eric Treuille. That was also the day I was baking regular bread, cookies (from the cookie dough I had saved in the freezer)and the stromboli. I was bound to goof something up. Guess what it was? The raisons. hahaha

This bread was really good but I am not much one for sweeter breads. SO I just ate one piece out of two loaves. Good thing. I will have to make this more often! lol I really love how poofy it turned out and just the texture was awesome. It called for bread flour so that is what I used. Here is a picture of it proofing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Frugal Friday: Frugal Fun!

Okay well for this Fridays frugal tip I will tell you what I did this week. After spending $36.00 on 3 cook books at amazon I also decided I needed to start watching for cook books at yard sales/swap meets to keep expanding my collection. So last Saturday we went to the swap meet and I got 3 cook books. They were 3/$5.00. So $1.66 each. Tonight I searched amazon to see how much they are going for. I found 2/3 on amazon.

The first one is a bed and breakfast cook book which I love and have already used twice. Click here to see me ramble in another post about this book.
The Bed and Breakfast Cookbook: Great American B & Bs and Their Recipes from All Fifty States by Martha W. Murphy. I looked on amazon tonight and this book is selling right now for $16.93. I spent only $1.66 so that is a savings of $15.27.

The next book is Jenny Craig's No Diet Required: Recipes for Healthy Living It is selling for $14.99 and I got it in great condition for $1.66. So I saved $13.33. The third book I couldn't find at amazon but I am sure I saved money there as well. ;)

Another tip is to look at discount outlets like Ross. My friend Zsuzanna mentioned the other day finding a pizza stone for a great price at Ross so Joe and I happened to be out there today looking to see if I could find any cookware I was interested in. We did find a few mini muffin pans. I was trying on an outfit in the womens room and Joe seen a stand of books and he found me this one. It looked good. I liked also that it had the calorie counts. He said he flipped thru it and saw yummy food he wants to eat. It said $5.99, that sounded fair enough so we bought it. By the way this book is HEAVY!!! It says it has over 1000 recipes and has 564 pages(including index, but still)All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

Since it was brand new and not a used book I decided to take a peek and see how much amazon was selling this book for. It says "regularly" $34.95 but on sale for $23.07! I paid $6.00 for it so we saved $17.07. Now a really frugal tip would obviously be to borrow these from your library. ;)but for the cost of gas nowadays you can't beat $1.66 at the swap meet. In addition you don't have to give them back. They can be part of your ever growing collection and stab at feeding your family lots of yummy wholesome food.

For more frugal tips check out Biblical Womanhood.

Double Trouble:Twin Stromboli!

In case you are wondering, Stromboli is "Rolled earth bread filled with smoked mozzarella and basil". It is , "Named after the volcanic island of Stromboli, located off the coast of Sicily, this bread is filled with a delcious combination of smoked and plain mozzarella. The cheeses erupt from the holes pierced in the rolled focaccia dough during baking." This is from my new book, "Bread" by Eric Treuille.

I am sure you can see why I just had to try his recipe for Stromboli first before I did anything else in the book. I found that picture on google images.

SO yesterday I baked two loaves of our regular daily bread and cracked open my new book. I put it on top of the microwave instead of the counter in the hopes that I wouldn't splatter anything on my new book. I looked later and I think there is one teeny tiny oil mark from the olive oil I had on my finger. lol

I had mozzarella and cheddar cheese but no smoked mozzarella. So I substituted cheddar for the smoked. Everything else I did the same. I really had fun doing this and even learned a new technique, chafing the loaf. I just hit google and if you read #5 that should explain it. It is actually pretty simple. Chafing.

The rising time said 1 1/2 - 2 hours but I had the oven on from the other bread. No I didn't stick it on top of the stove but it was sitting next to the stove. *trys to look innocent* haha I think it was done rising in about 40 minutes.

The first thing I did was to double the recipe and yes it all fit in my mixing bowl. My new bread board came in handy to chafe the dough on and then when I needed to roll it out. I have no idea where my old tupperware rolling pin I never cared for went. I think I used it twice in all the years I had it. I got it for free though so at least I didn't waste money. I think I am supposed to fill it with water or something?

I need to find it cause, don't laugh, it took me 10 minutes to roll out one stromboli on my middle dd's mini rolling pin she got for christmas. *hangs head in shame* Okay you can laugh now. lol

This is a picture right before it went in the oven. AFter you roll it out you cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes. I have a huge rubbermaid container that fits my texas sheet cake perfectly. It was just the right size to hold one dough so I could roll out the other dough. I was thinking this would probably also be a good dough for pizza. I will have to try that next time.

Okay now it called for 1 Tbs of oil drizzled on the top, plus 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. I used kosher salt which looks chunky. When I was putting it on I even thought it was too much salt and pepper but figured I would adjust it later. These twin's are not burnt. That is black pepper on the top which makes it look so black. If you don't believe me look at the before I threw them in the oven picture. lol

I timed it just right so that we could eat dinner when Joe got home. We had a salad on the side and it was perfect!! We all really loved this Stromboli I am definately going to make it again and again. My 7 year old son and 9 y/o dd couldn't believe I made it from scratch they said it tasted like french bread. And they were surprised I could make a bread like that. Joey loved it of course, only thing he said to change the next time was half the salt. My eldest son said this was better than restaurant food! My eldest dd said it was delicious.

I loved it too. With it as just bread and cheese and a salad I was thinking a light soup would of gone perfect. Or what I really want to try next time is throwing some sauce on it as well as some kind of meat. It looked like one huge hot pocket! haha I told the girls maybe this Sat. or Sun. we could make this dough up and cut it smaller and make mini Stromboli's.

Our cheese didn't come out the top for some reason, but some did shoot out the side.

I think I will post the recipe later. I need to go on a walk right now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WFMW: Using TWO coupons per purchase

I know some of you ladies may know this but hey, maybe some of you don't. This Works-For-Me Wednesday I will let you know how I got 5 boxes of Total cereal today, normally priced at $4.00 a box(so $20.00 worth)for only $7.50. Now I am certainly not the coupon Queen but I do try to clip here and there what I think I will use.

Well my local grocery store was selling Total cereal for $2.50 this week. They also had an "in ad coupon" for $3.00 off if you buy 5 boxes in their flyer. So $12.50 - $3.00 is $9.50, not bad. Well it just so happens I also had a $2.00 off manufacturers coupon for when you buy 5 boxes. So $9.50 - $2.00 = $7.50. Even better! That is the catch. You can use both a manufacturers coupon and a store "in ad" coupon on the same purchase and save even more money.

So check the small print on those coupons ladies and double up where you can. For more tips go take a look at Works-For-Me Wednesday

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

High Notes Giveaway!!!

Martie over at High Notes Blog is doing a giveaway. Get over there now for a chance to win cookie cutters, English Breakfast tea, The most "Yummiest Smelling Candle" in the world, Homemade granola stored in a canning jar, and a framed print. Lots of cute stuff and she has a very nice blog as well. Click the link below to stop by and sign up!

Post 100!! - Time for a Giveaway!

White Flour Tortillas

I am posting this especially for Sonshine but I know others may enjoy a new tortilla recipe as well. I got this from a cook booklet my dd got me for X~mas. I was a little annoyed they didn't give any amount for the water. SO I experimented. This is a picture from the first batch.

The first batch I made with 1 cup of hot water and the tortillas were very good and then I tried 3/4 a cup for the next batch and the tortillas came out even lighter looking, the dough was more doughy and less sticky. The tortillas tasted great and dh taste tested both and liked the ones with less water better, so that is what I would recommend as well. Plus the dough was much easier to work with the 2nd batch. I used all purpose flour on these tortillas. Next time I will try half white and half wheat.

This picture is from the 2nd batch. Notice it is lighter looking than the first batch?

From the booklet, A Taste of Mexico

Makes 12

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs oil
hot water(to make dough smooth)

Combine dry ingredients; add oil. Begin adding enough hot water to make a smooth dough. Knead about 1 minute; let rest. Divide dough into small balls. Roll each ball into thin circle. Cook on a hot, dry griddle, each side about 30 seconds until bubbly. Turn and cook until done, about 1 minute.

See what I mean? Add water til the dough is smooth. A tsp? a T? 5 cups? lol Good thing I know a teensy bit about dough. 1 cup sounded good, and worked but 3/4 cup was better. I will also add here that all flour is different and as some of you know it may need to be adjusted if you are using whole wheat. I used my cast iron skillet for these.

Do you have any awesome tortilla recipes to share with us?

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Here is my tip for Tuesday. Add hummus to your tuna or salmon as a nice healthy alternative to mayonnaise. I rarely ever use mayonnaise. I stick with mustard most of the time, well except when I am at In and Out Burger, then I pile on the thousand island dressing. haha But mustard doesn't taste good on tuna.

The hummus I buy is from Costco. It is Sabra hummus with roasted pine nuts. The ingredients are chick peas(garbanzo beans), water, tahini(sesame), soybean and/or canola oil, garlic, salt, pine nuts and a few other things to season it and keep it fresh. I hope someday to make this myself and use olive oil instead of soybean oil. But the point is it makes a nice spread and you get the benefit of eating one of the worlds healthiest foods. Don't believe me? Go here and check out why chickpeas are so good for you. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

Chickpeas can help lower your cholesterol level, lower your risk of a heart attack and even help stabilize your blood sugar. This makes a nice dip for crackers too. I took 4 T of hummus, 1/2 cup of canned salmon, a few tomatoes and a few pieces of chopped up onion and mixed it all together. Add some whole wheat crackers and Voila! A nice healthy snack.
Have you ever had hummus before? Have you ever made your own?

Check out Tammy's Recipes for more tips!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Home Made Flour Tortillas

I used my cast iron sklillet. I really like this thing and am looking forward to making corn bread in it. That is the tortilla dough in the pan.

I just used white flour this time. Next time I will use half/half. A few weeks ago I was making chicken tacos for lunch for the kids and we ran out of chicken and my eldest ds wanted more. I thought about taking some cheese and corn tortillas and making a generic quesidilla for him but I thought, no I want to make him something really yummy. I stopped what ever else I was doing in the kitchen and made up fresh flour tortillas.

I even used a new recipe from a cook booklet my eldest dd had gotten me for x~mas. They turned out so good I made more up for dinner. I didn't use any wheat this time but played with the water variations. I hate that when recipes tell you just to add whatever. Grrr... The first time I think I added 1 cup and they were fine but the second time I added 3/4 of a cup and I think they were perfect.

I haven't made tortillas in probably 6 months. I alternated between using my corn tortilla press and rolling them out with my middle dd's mini rolling pin. I may just make some again today. Do you make your own tortillas?

Monster Muffins & Swapmeet Cookbooks

Well since I decided to build up my cook book collection I decided a good place to hit would be the swap meet. I found 3 more of the dessert cups I had bought 8 of before at the dollar store. You know the ones I put chocolate puddingin? He wanted .50 cents each but I got them 3/$1.00. I also found 3 cook books. $2.00 each and I paid 3/$5.00

One is Cooking Light, 1st printing in 1997. Then I got Jenny Craig's No Diet Required, 1st printing in 1997. Those two looked pretty good and had the cal counts which is what I like. I like trying new recipes but sometimes I get annoyed wondering how many cals are in everything and don't want to sit there and figure it all out too.

The next one I am really having fun with. The Bed and Breakfast cookbook. It has about 318 recipes from all 50 states, copyright was in 1991. What I love about this book is it is not just recipes, it has pictures of some of the tables at these fine establishments and has pictures and sketches of some of the houses. It also has a brief summary about these homes. These recipes are a collection of the best of their recipes basically. It is really awesome. I wouldn't mind finding a more updated one as well.

The banana bread I made over x~mas which was excellent was a recipe someone got from a bed and breakfast. Now normally breakfast is not my scene. I usually have some almonds and either a yogurt with fruit or kefir with fruit. Even before I was so food conscious I would rather have a grilled cheese for breakfast or leftovers from dinner. I do like english muffins and obviously toast. When I was little I ate cereal but now a days most of the time it is fruit and yogurt/kefir. I'd rather save more of my cals for lunch and dinner.

But once a week we try to have a big family breakfast on Saturday. This generally happens twice a month. Joey used to work for a few years at a Restaurant called The Friendly and he was the breakfast cook. So usually I prep everything and do turkey sausage and toast and he makes up the most awesome omelettes ever.

When the kids are at not in school they usually eat cereal. When they go to school they eat breakfast there. I make Joe a lunch to take to work and one for my eldest dd and lately my eldest ds wants to take one in addition to what he already eats at school. I let him since he always runs to the lean side. Pile it in while you can son. He is 13.5 so eat up and grow tall. A few times a week I go in and make my eldest dd eggs and toast since she thinks it isn't cool to eat breakfast at school. Other times she eats cereal. Now my eldest ds wants to eat before he goes to school and he is skinny and growing so I do it. I actually like feeding him. I know that sounds funny and I feed all the kids and enjoy cooking but I mean as in I will drag myself out of bed to go cook breakfast for that boy before it is even light out. lol

In years past he has always been the one to eat like a bird so whenever I get a chance to feed him and/or feed him more I do. Make sense? Do any of you have kids like that? lol

Read about how I stopped what I was doing the other day just to make him flour tortillas.

Joey on days he works doesn't even like having anything in the a.m. while he is drinking his coffee. So I try to send snacks for his 9:00 break and of course his lunch for noon. He is having 3 bb muffins today with butter. So even though I don't like breakfast much, it would be nice to try some new recipes and experiment on Saturday mornings. I made the kids some buttermilk pancakes from the cook book on Sunday and I also made some banana muffins. I added a few chocolate chips in as well. I ate one pancake. It was pretty good. Joey said the muffins were really good, nice and tender.

There are quite a few recipes in here I want to try. While flipping thru the book Joey seen a recipe for the exact cinnamon rolls they used to make at the Friendly, made the exact same way. I think I am going to surprise him with those today. I had written down a cinnamon roll recipe from the Pioneer woman about 2 months ago but hadn't tried it yet. Well I am off to do some baking.

So many recipes, so little time. Are you baking any new recipes this week?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

5 lb Nachos!

We all went to a birthday party yesterday. Well all of us except my eldest dd. She wanted to stay home. She missed out on some awesome nachos!

These Nachos were soooo good!! Nacho cheese chips, cheese sauce, ground beef, beans, tomato, green onion, cilantro, lettuce, olives and sour cream. I told my friend that Joe and I would just split a plate. (She was making the other plates smaller and she was like no, have your own plate.) I was like no it's okay. I'd rather split a plate cause I had already hit the ruffles chips and onion dip. SO she went and made us this HUMONGOUS plate to share!! lol It doesn't look that big in the picture but that plate is FULL of food and heaping high. lol It was great though!!

Maybe these wonderful nachos are why the kids are smiling so nice? Or maybe it was the cake and ice cream. White cake from the store, 3 different kinds of ice cream, okay so it was neopolitan but still! and a chocolate sheet cake I was asked to bring with me. MMMM.....

The adults loved the chocolate cake and said it was delicious!

Well of course it is great! It is Texas Sheet Cake! If you want to try this awesome recipe that everyone I have met who tastes it loves, here it is:
Texas Sheet Cake It was so good I was even asked to bring it with me to the birthday party!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Blueberry Muffin for breakfast

If you have never had a hot fresh blueberry muffin made from scratch in your own kitchen you just have to do this some day. Melt a little bit of butter on top and it is pure heaven. If you need a recipe then here is
Magnolia Bakery Blueberry Muffins
a really good one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I ordered some more books today

My middle dd is enjoying the "kid" cookbook I got her for x~mas so much I thought I would buy her another one.

New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen) (Spiral-bound)
She even had her own little grocery list when we went to the store the other night. lol I really think it is great that she is developing a love of cooking and baking so early in life.

When I was young I liked baking cookies and bread with my mom but that was it. I remember even when I was older she would want me to come in and show me how to do something but I could care less.

Now that I am in my 30's I have really taken a liking to it. I know I got that bug from my mom even if it didn't kick in til later. My eldest dd is the same way. Once in a while she will want to make something but usually not. She usually drags her feet about it. SO I was very happy my 9 1/2 y/o is really taking an interest in it. The other book we got her came with an apron, the book and mini utensils, kid size.

SO while I was looking up a book for her I figured since I love cooking and baking so much I need to seriously build up my supply of great cookbooks. I absolutely love baking bread and really want to get into making artisan loaves. SO there are a few I have in mind but for now I am going to start by ordering, "Bread", by Eric Treuille.
The reviews looked really good and I have seen it talked about elsewhere. There are many others I want to get eventually as well but I figured one book at a time might be best.

There are quite a few artisan type bread recipes online that I want to try as well.

I am also very interested in OAMC/freezer cooking. If you haven't noticed. haha SO after looking at a few books, I narrowed it down to 1, well 2. But I got tired of scanning thru all the reviews. haha. The one I ordered is "Don't Panic - Dinners in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead". That beat out two other books. There is one more I want to get but I will wait til I feel like reading more about it. It is the "30 day Gourmet".

I can't wait til they get here. Oh and it has also come to my attention that I need a pizza peel and a stone. That was agonizing looking thru all that today too. I could of easily spent $200.00 today at Amazon but I told myself to just get the few books, look around and see what all is out there and then make a decision when I am not so frazzled.

They have so many nifty things for bakers on there. The pizza stone is supposed to significantly improve your pizza and your artisan bread. Now I remember why I didn't get the stone yet. They are all sold out! lol I also want the chicago baking pans but am a little miffed I missed the big sale in Novenmber. Basically the loaf pans(commercial quality) are normally about $15.00. But back in November they went on sale for $5.95! And they qualified for the buy 3 get 1 free deal as well.

When I looked today they were $10.00 each and I was rationalizing getting them. That would be $30.00 for 4. I checked the usual outlets around here, Target, W.M., Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. The last was the only place that had them and for $15.00 each, even with a coupon off of one that would be $12.00 and then I would have to wait each month to get another one. lol

Yeah that is me I will seriously contemplate spending $100.00 on baking ware but pay a little extra per pan I will not. lol So I added it up, $48.00 near home vs. $30.00 online. I was all set to buy too when I realized they do NOT qualify for free shipping! And it looks as if they want to charge $6.00 per pan to ship!! SO that $30.00 just became $54.00! So then we are looking at spending $6.00 more than near my house! (Even though it would take 4 months or so to get them all waiting for that 20% off coupon in the mail.)

And do not even get started on how much I will spend in gas making those 4 trips. Probably $6.00 x4. lol But we always go out that way anyways, you know how it is. Anyhow you can see why my head was splitting. haha

I decided to call it quits for the day and look at that stuff later when I am up for the mental challenge. Oh not to mention I need a pizza peel as well and I seen one for $10.00 and one for $30.00 and one for $17.00 and.....The $10.00 seems cool but I heard people complaining. Yeah, that it broke.

Then there is the matter of the buy 3 get one free deal. So as I was contemplating the $30.00 pizza stone I began to wonder if we needed two? And if we did I seen a cool digital scale for $30.00 and that is $90.00 and since I am already there I get something for $30.00 for free!!!! But what?? What should I pick?

But once I started adding this all up in my head and seeing myself spending almost $150.00 - $200.00 on Amazon today I stopped myself. I said I don't need 2 stones and I don't need a scale. Thank goodness. I told myself to wait and look and see what other stores around here have to offer but I really do think I am going to get that stone from amazon.

SO now back to basics. Stone, peel, dough cutter, wooden cutting the list grows again. *sigh*

We did find a nice big wooden cutting board that I am going to use for my dough at Walmart tonight. $15.00 and no shipping fees! lol We also found a dough cutter at Smart N Final tonight for $6.00.

P.s. As of tonight those stupid $10.00 loaf pans are now $16.00 for each one! Maybe if I just watch them they will fall back to $6.00 again. ;)

So what kind of books are you reading?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Chicken Taco Night

Okay so I still had spanish rice and beans left over after making the enchilada freezer meals. I was thinking of chicken tacos and beans and rice but then I though a dry corn tortilla frozen then warmed up would get soggy. So I thought what about putting in beans and rice and chicken, the kids could microwave that and then all that would be left is to warm up some corn tortillas , add a little cheese and some salsa and we have another quick dinner!

I made up one container each for everyone.

Sounds good to me. Now don't get me wrong I love cooking. A few times a week I am in the kitchen for 4-5 hours cooking, baking, prepping, cleaning, etc. But then there are some days I don't even want to set foot in there and having something quick and easy is a must. Or if Joey and I decide to go out for a date there is something easy my eldest can warm up for them. Yeah I know it would be less time consuming and probably even cheaper at times if bought on sale at the store to buy one of those banquet meals or something. But the only thing I think I ever have bought like that is chicken nuggets, fries, taquitos, frozen pizza. Those things I actually like. Oh and Stouffer's lasagna.

But I try to make that kind of food on my own. I was even thinking of making taquitos yesterday. I need to get some baking done today, I need bread and bb muffins and dh wants more of that awesome Texas sheet cake! I told him I would make it but I am using half/half on the flour this time. Last time I used just white flour and it was soooooo good!!!

So after reading these 4 post you all know why I was in the kitchen so long yesterday! I even made a crock pot of chile beans but didn't finish adding everything yet. I got tired. :)

Chicken Vegetable Rice Bowls

Same concept as last post except we used the chicken breast this time. I also used all the stirfry vegis on the beef bowls so we just used onion, bell pepper, broccoli and cauliflour. I used 4 cups of chicken and 6 1/2 cups of vegetables. I made it a little meatier than last time because I try to watch red meat more closely than I do chicken.

I used the orange chicken marinade this time and am now all out. I need to pick more up. Well I guess dh gets to be the guinea pig today cause he took a chicken bowl with him to work today. haha I know all this taste great fresh, I am just wondering how it will translate with the microwave. I did something similiar a few months ago, but different. I made up a batch of rice and froze it in 1 cup portions in a sandwich bag, the same with the chicken but separate. I then microwaved it or cooked it on the stove, I can't remember but it was fine then I added sweet n sour sauce. But I have never done it this way. I hope it works out cause this is really convenient!

Do you make your own freezer meals?

Beef with Rice & Vegetables Strifry

I like rice and vegetables and meat. Not plain, but with some kind of marinade on it, sweet n sour sauce(the kind with the bell peppers and pineapples), oriental stirfry sauce(the kind with the high fructose corn syrup in it), orange chicken. Yes I know there is some sugary substances in it but it is a great way to get alot of vegis eaten.
Do you know why alot of Chinese/Oriental/Japanese people are thin and healthy? Because they eat a little bit of meat, a litle bit of rice and a WHOLE LOT OF vegetables! I am not kidding. I need to get more on the ball here. I think I average about once a week eating something like this. If I have something prepped and just ready to heat up I am more likely to eat it for lunch or something.

So Sunday I cooked up 2 beef tri tip roast that were about 3.5 lbs each. One in the oven, one in the crock pot. I also cooked up 8 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts. I also cooked 1.25 lbs of ground turkey. I also made 112 oz of Mexican home made enchilada sauce.
After cutting up all the meat into tiny pieces I put everything in the fridge for Monday. Monday was a very busy day. I was in the kitchen from 7:00-2:45 and I think I sat down for about 15 minutes total. I chopped up 3 onions, 10 cloves of garlic, got the frozen bell peppers out of the freezer, got out the broccoli and cauliflour, got out a bag of stirfry vegetables, the olive oil, the stirfry marinade/sauce, the orange chicken marinade/sauce.

I also cooked up 2 lbs of brown rice. That was in addition to the other 2 lbs of brown rice I made into spanish rice to go with the enchiladas.

Normally I would of wanted about 6 onions but that is all I had left. I mixed 1 3/4 cups of beef with 7 1/2 cups of vegis. My eldest dd was helping and complaining. That is not enough beef so I told her that was the whole point. A little beef, ALOT of vegis. lol That didn't stop her from eating a whole bowl for lunch and she loved every bite of it and even wanted more. ;)

I used my new rubbermaid bowls and made up beef vegi bowls for everyone and froze them. We wound up with 6 adult, 3 kids size and 3 youngest dd's size. I need to pick up some more marinade at Smart N final or learn to make my own, we are almost out!

Do you ever make stirfry? Do you make your own marinades?

Mexican Enchiladas & Home Made Sauce

I got this recipe from Recipe Zaar. I tried it about 6-9 months ago and we all loved it but I misplaced the recipe and pretty much forgot all about it. The store bought can I like is Montecito from Smart N Final. I was looking OAMC up on that site and bumped into this. I was glad I did. I wound up making up a bunch of food for the freezer these past two days and day 1 I quadrupled this recipe. I used it the next day(yesterday)to make 2.5 pans of enchiladas. It made about 112 oz of sauce(when you quadruple the recipe). That was enough for 2.5 pans plus about 10 oz left over that I tossed in with 2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce and some water into a pot of chile beans.

Normally I lay the tortillas flat but I wanted all this to go in the rubbermaid containers and into the freezer in individual servings. It still would of worked the other way but I was hoping for it to be a bit neater, two enchiladas all rolled up, instead of cut. My eldest dd was home yesterday and was actually in a helpful mood. All the other kids were at school except the youngest dd. I was in the kitchen from 7:00-2:45 I was son my feet the whole time and stopped at 12:00 to talk to dh for a few minutes and sample the enchiladas. They were great!!

As you can see by the picture they didn't turn out as cute as I had wanted. Oh well. They still tasted great! We warmed the tortillas up before rolling so they would be more flexible. They definately could of been cheesier. I usually use about 1 lb of cheese per pan. I had 2 lbs of cheese and made it stretch for 2.5 pans! I wasn't doing this to be frugal. I was trying to watch the portions. Each enchilada had 1/4 cup shredded cheese and 1/8 cup of roast beef, a little onion and olives sprinkled on top. They were really good and if I had more cheese on hand I would of made up a bunch more! I also cooked up a 2 lb pack of brown rice and made 17 cups of spanish rice to go with it. I also made a big pot of beans.

Do you like Mexican food? WHat is your favorite enchilada recipe?

Mexican Enchilada Sauce

I got this recipe from by grmil who was born and raised in Mexico City. The secret to its flavor is the cocoa

15 min 15 min prep
Change to: servings US Metric
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon oregano
3 cups water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste.
3. Pour into pan and add rest of water.
4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
5. Stir in tomato sauce.
6. Use in your favorite enchilada recipe.
7. The amounts on the ingredients are very flexible.
8. For instance, if I am feeding my kids who do not like"spicy", I will halve the chili powder and double the tomato sauce.
9. Experiment to suit your taste, but don't leave out the cocoa.
10. For a quick meal, we will soften a corn tortilla in a bit of hot oil, drag it through the sauce, and lay it flat on a plate.
11. cover it with grated cheddar cheese, sprinkle with chopped onions and sliced black olives.
12. Then cover with another softened sauced tortilla and melt the cheese in the microwave for 1 minute on high.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rubbermaid vs. Gladware

Which do you use?

Please tell me the rubbermaid is sturdier. lol Yes I know these items aren't meant to last forever only tupperware but jeez you would think it could last longer than a month!
I had gotten alot of gladware about 2 months ago in various sizes and yes they were the freezer ones as well. It seems like every time I turn around one is cracking! I had some krusteaz mix in one salad size container in the fridge. It fell out of the fridge and cracked! Another container with spaghetti did the same thing!

Those kids of mine are pretty clumsy. Cause you know that I never ever, EVER drop anything! lol ;)

One of the small containers to put like single serve puddings in, I went to take the lid off and the tab broke off! Jeez!!!!

It almost seems like if the container is frozen or refrigerated they become highly breakable! None of those 3 were frozen , only in the fridge and I hate to think if they were. There would probably be more broken. I am going to keep them but at this rate they won't last long it seems.

Around x~mas I got some of the cute x~mas ones as well in 4 and 6 cup sizes and I froze some flour in those (pre-measured for exactly 2 loaves of bread) and those seemed fine. So far. grrr....

Anyways. I was at Walmart today and seen their rubbermaid take alongs on sale for $1.97 plus they all had a bonus container! So I went a little nuts.

At our wedding a year and a half ago someone had gotten us a set of the bigger storage containers, like the humongous bowls with lids, the huge rectangle ones. Those have held up fine, we haven't frozen them but don't remember if those ones were freezable or not. But we have refrigerated them with no trouble. The only problem was when we leave them sitting to close to an open flame. haha

They melt.

Anyhow so I seen the small ones on sale and thought I would give them a whirl. We got 16 of the 3.7 cup divided containers, 4 of the 4 cup rectangle containers, 15 of the 5.2 cup deep square containers, 15 of the 3.2 round containers and 15 of the 2.9 square containers.

We also got 2 of the 13 cup serving bowls since we liked the other ones we got at the wedding so much. That was the only one with a bonus bowl that was smaller than what I
was buying. It had a bonus that was a twist n seal. I think I paid $3.88.

All in all not bad. I think I spent about $32.00 for 68 containers and 68 lids.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sonshine's Bagels

Well I tried something I have been wanting to try off and on for a while now. Bagels!

We had extra cream cheese from Christmas we hadn't used. A friend posted a recipe for me to try as the one I originally wanted to do I was missing an important ingredient, malt powder. These turned out great but I got irritated while I was mixing it.

Here is a picture I took of them after baking. I sprinkled them with a tiny bit of sea salt, some with rosemary, 2 of them with minced dry onion. About 5 of them I added a bit of cinnamon, sugar and a sprinkle of green for Joe. He likes "breakfast items" to be sweeter.

I doubled the recipe and my kitchen aid started acting up. This meant I would have to finish kneading it by hand! Arrggghhhh!!! Well Joey was home so I borrowed a pair of strong hands. lol He did a great job on the dough. ;)

Here is a picture of them snuggling in the boiling water. We made 24 and it took about 3 turns in the water to get them all done. It was fun and they turned out really good! I think there is only 7 left and I need to go hide those!

Have you ever made bagels before?