Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rest In Peace

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Dennis' passing. Dennis was my father in law. He fought a long hard battle with cancer and did so very bravely. His situation was difficult, but he marched through it with great dignity. He was a husband to his wife Mollie of over 30 years, father to Barrett, and grandfather to Madeline and Brady.

Dennis was a master at the art of gab. He could talk your ear off whether he knew you or not. For the last couple of years we missed his voice, but this past year we truly missed his presence.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What a weekend!

Welcome back to Monday everybody.

We had a very busy weekend. The kids had two birthday parties, I had a bridal shower, and Madeline had a soccer game all on Saturday. Sunday we took the kids to Sunday School and caught up on grocery shopping. Needless to say, the weekend went by VERY fast.

Madeline also got her ears pierced on Sunday. This was her second attempt, and this time she actually went through with it. She had a smile on her face the whole time. She was a bit nervous before the procedure, but was able to watch somebody else have it done which seemed to calm her. She says that she didn't feel anything and that there was no pain. She has been very good about not touching them and making sure that I clean them often. That's her above, proudly showing off her new jewelry.

Tonight we're having Belgian waffles with strawberry sauce and scrambled eggs. We attempted to healthify the waffles by substituting sugar free applesauce for the oil. Here's the recipe for the waffles adapted from my trusty ol' Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that my grandma gave me when I moved out on my own:
1 c white flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 c skim milk
1/2 c sugar free applesauce
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, slightly beat the eggs and then add in the milk and applesauce. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir just till combined but still slightly lumpy.
Add one cup of batter to preheated and lightly greased waffle iron. Bake until they are done to your liking and then remove with a fork.
We topped them with strawberry sauce which consisted of a cup of frozen strawberries, 1 tbsp water, and 2 tsp sugar. I cooked it on medium heat for about 20 minutes and then mashed up the bigger strawberry chunks to thicken the sauce. Serve the sauce warm over your waffles.
Enjoy your Monday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Make Ahead Burrito Wraps

Tonight was soccer night - again. I love watching my daughter play soccer and I love watching my husband coach, but it totally messes with my schedule. When you get off of work at 5, have to be on the soccer field at 6, get home at 7:30 and want to have the kids in bed by 8 there isn't much time for things like dinner and breathing.

I've resorted to fast dinners that we can eat either on the go or when we get a spare moment. I stumbled upon a new stand by that totally fits the bill - make ahead burrito wraps. Of course I got the recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/. Thanks for turning me on to that website, Cara, it's kept my family well fed.

The recipe makes a large batch of 20 burritos. I wrap them individually in saran wrap and then in a ziploc baggie. They work well for a quick healthy lunch or dinner. My kids even like them, which is hard to come by.

2 cups uncooked brown rice
4 cups water
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
20 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 pound shredded pepperjack cheese
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Combine rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, and cool.
Place black beans and pinto beans into a colander or strainer, and rinse.
Saute onion, green pepper and corn in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add chili powder and cumin to pan. When soft, remove from heat and cool. Add diced tomatoes with green chilies to the veggie mixture and toss to mix. Transfer to a large bowl, and mix in rice and cheese.
Divide the mixture evenly among the tortillas, and roll up. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, place into a large freezer bag, and freeze. Reheat as needed in the microwave for lunch or snacks. I find that 1 1/2 minutes works great for defrosted burritos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free preschool activities book

I saw a link to this e-book today and read through it. There are a lot of great ideas here, if you have a preschooler who needs to keep busy, this could be a life saver. Check it out here.

Barrett's famous tuna casserole

Tonight we had a favorite of ours - Barrett's famous (in our house anyway) tuna casserole. This is Madeline's favorite dish - she requested it for her birthday dinner. You all probably have a similar recipe in your files, but I'll give you ours. BTW, it tastes a lot better than it looks in the picture!

12 oz whole wheat pasta ( I like to use a short pasta like penne, bowtie or shell)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of milk

1 cup peas (either frozen or canned is fine)

Sliced Mushrooms (amount to your liking - again either fresh or canned)

2 cans tuna

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles to al dente according to package directions. When noodles are done, drain well. Mix together soup and milk. Add peas, mushrooms, noodles and tuna to soup/milk mixture. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes - until the sauce is thickened. Top with cheddar cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Enjoy with a salad and your favorite veggie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

B & B Saturday

Last Saturday we had a blast doing our B&B routine. B&B in our house is beauty and baking.

For the beauty portion of the evenings events we did a clay face mask. The only one who really needs the benefit of the mask is me, but the little ones really get a kick out of it. Brady proudly joined the beauty brigade complete with headband and all.

For the baking portion of the evenings events we decided to try something different from the usual sweets. We made bavarian pretzels. I found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com/. Here it is:
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Collapsible Clothseline

As a kid one of my regular chores was hanging clothes out on the clothesline. I wasn't very fond of this task and didn't see why we couldn't just put our clothes in the dryer and be done with it. Only now am I learning the wisdom of such exercises.

My most recent attempt at frugality is a collapsible clothesline. I have been wanting to "air my laundry" for a while now, but wasn't sure how to go about it. I have a small yard, so a permanent laundry line wasn't a possibility. I knew I needed something bigger than the small wooden clothes rack that I used for my sweaters. My options seemed to be pretty limited. While browsing online at amazon.com I found exactly what I was looking for: a large size collapsible portable laundry line.

I received my package on Saturday and was excited to try it out. It had come pre-assembled, which for Barrett and I is a really good thing, and set up was extremely easy.

I wanted to see just how much it would hold, so I tested it with a big load of towels. Since this baby is a tripod the trick, especially with heavy laundry like towels, is to make sure that the laundry is evenly balanced on all sides. It held my entire load of towels with room to spare. So far, I'm very impressed.

I paid roughly $35 for my new toy and expect for it to pay for itself very quickly. Your dryer is a huge electricity sucker! Sure, this adds some extra work to my laundry routine as I now have to lug the wet clothes from my laundry room upstairs, through the house, and out to the back yard but I am convinced that the benefits are worth it.

What are the benefits you ask? Here are a few: reduction in electricity usage (which is good for mother earth and my wallet), savings on dryer sheets, extended life of clothing, the extra calories I burn from lugging the laundry around, and that unbeatable clean fresh smell.

An added bonus to my clothesline is that it is small enough to fit in my house so that I can continue to use it even during the winter months.

Leave a message sharing some of your frugal laundry tips. I'd love to hear them.


I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog for a while now. It's a great outlet to share my ideas, thoughts, recipes, grocery deals, etc. I have been on a "frugal adventure" for the past six months and have become so passionate about it, that I want to share my insights with everybody.