Kids in the Craft Room

Since I have featured my youngest daughter in the Kitchen, I figured I would take a second to feature my two older daughters and their crafting.

Jackie (on the left)
 saw this board on Pinterest  and created...

This one to hang her keys on...

I made this necklace and earrings for Jackie for Christmas from this bead kit from Michael's

And I had extra beads, so when Brooke helped me get the clasp finished, because I didn't leave enough length, she liked it and decided to make this one for herself
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Menu Planning Monday Week 5

Well, it has been one heck of a weekend and I am a little behind on my posting but I am still trying to keep my resolutions and goals... I did not get my shopping done this weekend, so our meals are going to be a little simpler this week.  I promise next week will be better.

SUNDAY I was on call all day at the hospital and my husband worked so the kids hungout at the    grandparents' .  So I had Sloppy Joes from the freezer for dinner between patients.  DH ate at work.
   Whenever we have sloppy joe's I always make extra and freeze the extra in portions of two sandwiches, so they are always in the freezer when needed.

MONDAY We FINALLY had our Lemon Chicken, Fried Rice and Egg Rolls

TUESDAY - Marinated Pork Chops, New Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts

WEDNESDAY - Hot Dogs, Baked Beans and BBQ Potato Chips

THURSDAY - BBQ Beef Sandwiches and French Fries

FRIDAY - Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

SATURDAY - Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin and Crab Rangoon

Hopefully, I will get better back on track for next week!

Check out these great parties, that I am linking up to!

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C.R.A.F.T.: 100 Clever Valentine Day Sayings

If you are looking for some cute sayings for Valentine's Day Hop on over to Jamie's site and check it out!

C.R.A.F.T.: 100 Clever Valentine Day Sayings: I'm pretty excited about this post... a list (organized by item) of all the clever, cheesy Valentine sayings I could hunt down and/or make ...


In honor of the Chinese New Year

Since we are finally having our lemon chicken today, I decided to make egg rolls to go with it.

To get started you need a half pound of ground meat. I used pork, which I ground myself.
2 cups finely chopped or grated cabbage
1-2 carrots grated
3 spring onions finely chopped
Egg roll wrappers
Hoisin sauce ( see comments)
Soy sauce
2 tbsp minced ginger

Brown the ground meat with a little dribble of soy sauce.
 After I brown it, I put it back into the food chopper to grind finer.
  Return to the skillet and add the cabbage, carrots and spring onions.  Saute for 2-3 minutes. 
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
 Take the egg roll wrapper and lay it caddy corner so it makes a diamond shape.  Place 2 tbsp. of filling into the center of the wrapper.
 Take the corner closest to you and fold it over the filling mixture.
  Dip your finger in water and moisten the tip just folded so it sticks to the other part of the wrapper. 
Fold the sides in and moisten those to stick also.  Continue rolling and secure the last corner.  Continue making the remainder of the egg rolls.  This batch made 11.
  Since our family will not eat them all at one sitting, I parbake them for 5 minutes on each side at 400 degrees.  Freeze until needed.  When desired, deep fry for 2-3 minutes. 

Happy Chinese New Year!

I will be back later today with our regular Menu Planning Monday. 

Kids Missing from My Kitchen

Help! My four yo and kitchen helper has run Memas! She hasn't been around much this week because
Mema has more time to cook and bake with her...

So I had to sneak over and take some pics of them together in the kitchen .

What were they making that day? Chicken and dumplings with coconut pie for dessert. The pie Bethany says she made ALL by herself Not bad for four, huh?

I have to share how she makes her chicken and dumplings because it is rather unique!

First you mix a Large carton of Chicken Stock, with a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of cream of celery soup, then put on the stove to boil.  Add 3 chicken breasts, bones, skin and all...
Remove the chicken when fully cooked and set aside to let cool.  Now it is time for the dumplings...

She takes two packages of canned biscuits and thins/stretches them out, dips them in flour and set aside.  Once all are prepared she adds them to the pot to boil approximately 10 minutes.  While they are boiling, debone and skin the cooked chicken.  Break the breasts into large chunks and add to the pot once the biscuits are done...Dinner is served! 

Savings Saturday -The Coupons App

Before I get started on this Savings Saturday, I have one side note to make about last week’sOld Navy doesn’t love me right now, apparently if you use the app too much, it stops you. 

 I never got any of the really good prizes, but it cut me off…Says check back at a later date, you have gotten all of the available surprises.  So sad, I will start using it again in February and see if anything new  pops up.  If anyone from Old Navy happens to stumble across this post, I miss you!  Send me some Love!

Ok, this is the last app that I am going to share for awhile and get on with some other ways to save money!

As I have alluded to in previous posts, I am the world’s laziest couponer.  I do not like to clip and organize coupons.  When I do clip some out,  I spend more time trying to find them then I  will ever save.  So I found this app, it doesn’t do grocery coupons which is fine, this app gives me on the go coupons to restaurants and other retailers.  Some stores that I shop at regularly, but always seem to not have a coupon to…Kohl’s, Michaels, Ulta,  Best Buy and so many more retailers.  A lot of the local fast foods are there too and they even list the local gas prices so you can find which is cheapest ( though I have not found this to be the most accurate).  So just go into your app market  and install  The Coupons App and stop clipping and carrying.

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Au Gratin Potatoes

Sometimes, the best of menu planning, just doesn’t work and you have to be able to think on the fly.  That happened to me this week when I went to purchase scallops for the Scallops with Toasted Walnut Pesto .  I didn’t buy these ahead of time, because I like my seafood FRESH, well as fresh as it can be living in the mountains.  When I went to multiple stores, the seafood just looked ugly and oh my goodness the prices…12.99-17.99 per pound.  Sorry that just rubs me the wrong way for previously frozen seafood.  So, on the last few miles home, I have to think of something to cook.  Since nothing was out and thawed, I grabbed some Shake and Bake, frozen BLSL chicken breasts and started microwave thawing the chicken. 

Ok, main dish down now for sides…

I have a bag of potatoes that are going to start going bad if I don’t do something with them, a head of cauliflower from last time’s Bountiful Basket and some block cheddar…  Wheels are turning…smell the smoke….

Au Gratin Potatoes
Potatoes (I used about 1/3 of a 5 # bag)
1 can condensed Cream of Whatever soup ( I used Campbell’s 98% FF)
About a pound of cheddar cheese, shredded
Wash the potatoes and evenly slice, I did not peel mine, but if you have an aversion to skin you could.  I am the absolute worst slicer in the world so I use a mandolin. 

Pour the soup into a sauté pan and heat on med-low.  Once the soup has started to loosen, gradually add the cheese stirring constantly until all cheese is integrated and evenly distributed.  This will be slightly thick at this point and very sticky.  I gradually added some milk into the sauce, stirring constantly until the desired consistency is reached. 
Mixing in the cheese

Finished Cheese Sauce
At this point, since I had never attempted this before, I had to have the official taste tester check it out…

Exact Quote…” Are you kidding me??!!?? ( At this point I am thinking another kitchen failure)  This stuff is GREAT!!!!”

Yay!!! Success!!! Onto the oven…

I had a lot of potatoes to use up so this made enough for at least two meals…I did a 8x8 and a 13x9 glass baking dish.  If you did only one, it would be piled higher and extra cheesy, but this worked for us. 
Prepare the pan with cooking spray, preheat oven for 400 degrees (what the shake and bake had to cook at, you could also probably do 350, just a little longer).

I placed one layer of potatoes in a large mixing bowl, then spooned the cheese sauce over top and repeated until all the ingredients were layered.  Take a large sturdy spoon and mix thoroughly to ensure that each slice is properly coated, then spoon into prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. 

After 40 minutes, remove the foil and add additional shredded cheese to the top if you wish ( I had some White Cheddar shreds just looking for love also, so what the heck.)  and continue baking until the tops are browned and beautiful…about another 15 minutes.

Hope this inspires you to get creative in your pantry ( LOL almost wrote panty, we won’t go there) !  What are some of your creative go to pantry dishes?
Meet me in the comments to share…  all comments will be acknowledged and responded to .

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Poster Board LOL Its not what you Think

True to my behind the 8 ball status, I am still finishing up planned Christmas presents….

I even had an extra month to finish this one, because my daughter travelled back to North Carolina to visit her sister and grandmother over winter break.

Well, better late than never has always been my theory.  Early in the fall I found a whole bunch of cool posters on clearance at Michael's  and since I was planning on giving her some motivational gifts, I thought, this is perfect!!!

I had purchased some boards from Home Depot and with no cutting whatsoever one just happened to line up perfectly.  ( For more about my love of Home Depots cut board bin, check this out

I about had a heart attack when I saw the price of Modge Podge, but then I remembered PinterestI am not even going to try to say who was the original poster of this, because soooo many people claim that it is their idea.  But, I will say, it is not mine and if you would like more detailed instructions, a quick search on Pinterest  will give it to you.  So I purchased some cool duct like tape in Pink Glitter (at 40% off of course, see more on this coupon tomorrow) and some glue  then  headed home. 

I quickly washed the board.  I took an old clean spaghetti sauce jar and emptied the glue into it.  I then refilled the glue bottle with water and dumped that in also.  A thorough shake and there you go Homemade Modge Podge.  Another quick search on Pinterest  will give you lots of tips on a more professional appearance with your modge podge products. 

I painted a layer of modge podge on the front of the board.  Then carefully laid the poster down, trying not to get any air bubbles, didn’t happen.  So I went and got my squeegee out of the shower ( yeah, I know, but it’s the only thing I had to use) and smoothed it out.  All perfect except for one small imperfection. 

I then painted the whole board and poster and set aside to dry over night.

In the morning it was all dry and pretty, as a side note, I understand that you can also add Glycerin to your mixture if you want it glossy. 

I cut the glitter tape to size and applied.  Voila… a beautiful new decoration!

Now with this being made out of a board, it would be rather difficult to hang, although not impossible.  I designed this as sturdy enough to stand in the corner of her room at the sorority without needing to hang. 

Check out the Places I’m Partying page to see where I am linking up this week!

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How to make multiple unique meals out of one ham

One of the biggest time savers that I have learned over the years, ( not an original idea, just what works best for me) is planned leftovers.  Other sites will call this cook once, eat twice  or other forms of this.  Basically what it means for me is to cook a large meal on the weekends when I have more time and then have enough leftover meat to create at least one more original meal. 

For example on New Year’s Day, I made a large ham dinner for the whole family.  With the leftovers, I was able to create two more unique family dinners.  Follow along for step by step:

The day of the first dinner, after dinner I took the largest portion of ham and diced  it into roughly 2 cup bags.  In this case, because of the numbers of people here for New Years, I only was able to bag one.  Right into the freezer it went. 

With the bone and whatever ham was still hanging on, I created Ham Stock. 

Ham Stock

Ham bone with leftover pieces of meat
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks of Celery, rough chopped
1 Bay Leaf
Amount to your liking:
Sage- no more than ½ tsp

Add all ingredients to the crock pot and fill the rest of the way with water or white wine or both.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours or until the bone comes out “naked”  with no little pieces of meat still hanging on.  Turn off to let cool for at least 30 minutes.  Then set a colander on top of a large stock pot and empty crock-pot into colander.  Allow all liquid to drain into the stockpot.  Remove the colander and separate out all the ham.  Place this in a container, discard the rest of the items in the colander.  Store the liquid stock in the 2-4 c containers in the freezer.  Now go ahead and rest you have earned the break, you have a good head start on two new meals.

The first one I created was Ham and Bean Stoup (to steal a term from Rachel Ray, it is a thick soup, somewhere between a soup and stew).

½ bag of small white beans (of your choice, prepared as directed)
Leftover ham that came out of the colander (off the bone is more tender and stoup like)
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots grated
Salt, pepper and garlic to taste
Ham stock

Place all ingredients in the crock pot and fill with ham stock.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  In the last hour, remove about 1 cup each of beans and stock and puree in the blender.  Add back to pot, stir and finish cooking as directed.  I love to serve this with a good, crusty bread and crisp, fresh salad.

The second planned leftover ham meal is Ham and Pea Casserole 
Boil ½ box of seashell pasta (or any pasta of your choice) al dente.  Making sure to salt the water for flavor.  Strain when done.
Take the diced ham from the freezer and add with ½ bag of frozen peas in a bowl with the pasta.  In a saucepan or skillet combine 8 oz cream cheese (softened) and 1 10 oz can of cream of anything condensed soup.  Once blended, season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste.  Heat on low while stirring until thoroughly combined.  Pour over the other three ingredients and toss to cover.  Pour mixture into a prepared (spray with cooking spray) 13x9 glass baking dish.  Take one sleeve of Ritz Crackers and pulverize in a food chopper or crush by hand, sprinkle over the casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

What are some of favorite meals that you like to make with leftover ham?

Check out my Where I’m partying page for where I am linking up to this week!

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Calling in Slacker!

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I am sorry, but the post for today is not complete.  I have included three new recipes to share, but it has just been one of those days.  So tomorrow you will get triple for missing a day.  My apologies.  Hope everyone's day was better than mine...

On a side note, you can see that I am trying to make some changes to the blog to make it more easy to navigate.  Any suggestions or requests are greatly appreciated.  See you tomorrow!

Tips and Hints Tuesday- Dry Skin Treatment

I love the snow this time of year, my skin hates it!  It gets dry, cracks and even bleeds.  Working in a hospital, my hands are getting washed hundreds of times a day.  The knuckles crack, and my heels crack, some days my skin gets so bad it just hurts.  Since I had to attempt some repair work recently, I figured that I would share some of what I do, plus some of the pins that I have on my Homemade Body Products board on Pinterest

In the interest of hurrying because my feet were hurting sooooo bad I filled the bottom 4 inches of the bathtub with as hot as I could stand.  I soaked my feet for about 15 minutes and then used my ped-egg and  a foot scrub...lather rinse and repeat.  Once I was satisfied with the results, I liberally rubbed vaseline on my clean dry feet and put socks on and slept in them until the morning.  Baby soft when I woke up the next day.  For the hands, I just apply the vaseline and cotton gloves and sleep until morning!

Some of my favorites on Pinterest are:

Home remedies for you shares lots of good ideas including a little knowledge behind the causes of the cracking. 

Viva Full House shares a hydrating facial mask

And my Blogger sister, Karen, shares the Best Homemade Lotion Ever

While your over at Karen's site, check out the cutest Three tiered cupcake plates ever

and if you are scratching your head and going, what the heck  a blogging sister is, just head on over to Sara's site and sign up to get your own blogger sister.