Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Pinewood Derby

Sam had the fastest heat record!

Sam's car won 6th for speed...on to district!

Grace's car won 2nd for speed in sibling division!

Grace's car won 3rd place for looks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's For Dinner This Week?

Our menu this week...

Monday - Roast with Potatoes & Carrots, Green Beans, Cornbread
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Chips
Wednesday - Tacos, Black Beans
Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Sliders, Potato Skins
Friday - Beef Stroganoff (using up from the pantry), Salad
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Santa Fe Chicken Burritos, Chips & Salsa

What are you having?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hashbrown Casserole aka Crack Potatoes

I was looking for a recipe before Christmas to take to one of our family Christmas celebrations.  There were some criteria it had to meet.  Since we would be having family over prior to going to this event, it had to be easy to put together.  And the YUM factor had to be there.  I ran across this recipe for Crack Potatoes, and I knew it would work.   Fortunately, it was really easy to put together because between the food & entertaining, I was tired when it was time to make it and get ready to leave.  I could have made this ahead of time, and it would've been fine. {I have since made the recipe & split it between 3 8x8 pans.}

Crack Potatoes

2 16oz containers light sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (plus extra to sprinkle on top)
2 3oz bags real bacon bits
2 packages Ranch Dip mix
1 large (28-30oz) bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes 

Combine first 4 ingredients, mix in hash browns.  Spread into a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes.

*Can be divided into disposable foil pans, wrapped in foil and frozen.
**WW PointsPlus: 1/8 of an 8x8 pan = 4; 1/6 of an 8x8 pan = 6

I eventually would like to try this using my own {frozen} hash browns & homemade ranch mix, but this is a new addition to our crack recipe collection {it joins crack corn & crack pie - recipes to come!}.

Do you have any "must have" - or crack - recipes?

Monday, February 13, 2012

What's for Dinner This Week?

To make menu planning easier,  I have been using Google Calendar.  I have parts of our menu planned for a quite a while thanks to being able to repeat menu items as needed.  Some things I have on a 3 week rotation, others are in the 4-6 week time frame.  There is room to add in new things I find, and I will tweak things as the seasons change (less soup, more grilling out, etc).  I'm trying to limit the "bad" dishes - i.e., casseroles, fried dishes, etc. to no more than 1 dish per meal.  I think a good variety is key for us to continue to eat at home more.  Anyway, here's what on the menu this week...

Monday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Crack Potatoes, Black Eyed Peas
Tuesday - Valentine's Dinner - Pete volunteered to cook; not sure what he has planned
Wednesday - Stuffed Peppers, Green Beans, Corn
Thursday - Chicken Fajitas, Pinto Beans, maybe Rice
Friday - Dinner w/ friends (working on a church project)
Saturday - Chicken & Rice Soup, bread/rolls
Sunday - Cheese & Onion Enchiladas, Chips & Guacamole

What's on your menu?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Hello 2012!  I can't believe that February is already here - and 1/3 behind us.  Like many, I sometimes have trouble this time of year with the weather, less going on to occupy my mind.  I've worked hard this year to stay busy & ward off the winter blues.  So far so good.  

Over the last month or so, I've been thinking about goals.  Not resolutions because they often get pushed aside after a short time.  My goals are things that I want to work on in a realistic manner. So my current goals...

1.  Eat at home more.  We have always eaten out a good bit ALL THE TIME.  When I was working pre-kids, we would eat dinner out 2-3 times a week - sometimes more.  It wasn't fun to come home & cook a meal for 2 after working all day.  This pattern continued after Sam came along, after Grace came along and after I quit working.  It has recently become so expensive to go out to eat so often since we are now having to pay for both kids.  We try to take advantage of free kids meals or even sharing some of our food, but it is still expensive.

Another thing I have noticed lately {and I'm not sure if it is just me or a change in the restaurants} is that we're paying a lot of money for a lot of bad food.  We have narrowed our list to a few restaurants that we are willing to frequent.

Thanks to Pinterest and Once a Month Mom, I have developed a varied menu on Google Calendar to help with meal planning and to help keep us from eating the same 3 dishes over and over.

2.  Focus more on eating REAL food.  That's not to say we won't ever be eating processed foods, but I want to be more aware of what we're eating, where it came from, what's in it, etc.  More real = more nutrition = healthier.  Once a Month Mom is doing a series, Get Real, that I am following as we begin this journey.  I haven't done much with this yet other than to try to idenify the processed items we have & incorporate them into my menu so that we can use them up.  I'm also starting to research recipes, etc. for making things to replace processed foods.

We have been members of a CSA for a few years now, and I will try to freeze/can more of that stuff {supplemented by a farmer's market when I need more quantity for certain items}.  We have also been buying some meat locally, but I would like to increase that as well.

3.  Craft & create more.  I haven't done as much crafting and/or creating since we had kids.  I've somehow managed to stay busy with other things.  As the kids are getting more independent by the second and I'm getting further away from my creative job {I spent 12 years as a buyer working with many talented people across the country to bring ideas to life}, I feel the need to be creative again.  I'm sure Pinterest hasn't helped {or hurt?} any either.  From decorate-y, crafty projects to set aside scrapbook projects to other scrapbook projects {day in the life, project life type things}, I'm ready to tackle more.

4.  Finish.  We've spent the last few years working on various projects to make our house home.  Most of them are finished, but there are some that aren't.  We have flowerbeds that we have worked on in stages with replacing plants.  It's time to finish the last phase. We have been working towards simplifying and trying to have less stuff.  I'm ready for the rest of the excess "stuff" to be gone so we have more time for other things, things that matter, things we want to do.  We are also still mid-move/rearrange half the house from our office conversion project.  This year needs to be, as Jon Acuff suggested, a finish year.

5.  Wear smaller clothes.  This is something that has been a struggle.  I've done the Weight Watcher thing off & on for over 10 years.  It's hard.  I'm hoping by getting into the habit of eating at home a lot more and by trying harder to eat fresh, local food that it will become easier.  {We are still eating out some but not near as much as we have in the past.}  I know that it will also mean establishing and maintaining a realistic-for-me exercise plan which might be difficult since I don't like running.  Or sweating.  Especially when it isn't fun.  The plan also should not involve dealing with a shady, dishonest gym like the one about a mile from my house.  Not that I'm bitter or anything...

These are big things to tackle, but I think easing into them gradually will help me to not be overwhelmed.  I've gotten a pretty good handle on our menu planning and will work towards making it more WW friendly while still keeping it REAL.  I'm fitting in a little crafting here & there and also taking steps towards finishing other things.  I just have work on the exercise thing.  Hopefully that will be easier as it gets a little warmer outside.

So what are you tackling this year?  And what steps are you taking to make sure you stick with it?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Girl

This girl is trying so hard to be 5 already {and she has lots of opinions of how we celebrate 5!}.

She is playing indoor soccer now.  I can see an improvement from when she played in the fall.

She talks almost daily about going to kindergarten.  It won't be long.

Grace helping me make candies at Christmas & sporting a new scar that required stitches
She's ready to lose teeth {not really, but she wants to be}.

She's doing better in her tap/ballet/gym class.

From Grace's show in May (I can't find a more current dance pic..still lost from computer move!)
And me, I'm trying to slow time & just take it all in because I know it won't be long until she's a snaggle toothed, soccer playing, dancing kindergartener.