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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grocery Deals 7/24+

Sprouts   seedless watermelon 2.50 (even if you only eat a small portion and throw the rest away you’ll save a ton over the already cut up stuff), pears .48/lb., nectarines .98/lb., blueberries 1.98/pt, avocados .68, tomatoes .98/lb., red/green bell peppers .48 (vs .88 HEB), zucchini .98/lb., roma tomatoes .98/lb., celery .98, boneless thighs 1.99/lb.
HEB:       peaches .67 (vs .98 Sprouts), plums .67 (vs .98 Sprouts), cantaloupe .97 (vs 2.50 Randalls), cucumbers .48, mangos .33, whole chicken .88/lb., ice cream 3.50, ground beef patties 2.47/lb.
Randalls:  bi-color corn .33

Weekly Menu 7/27+


turkey burgers
red potatoes & green beans
chocolate choc chip cookies

skillet paella
cantaloupe & blueberries

frito salad

king ranch chicken

bruschetta chicken
garlic bread

beef shepard’s pie

sausage calzones

--Turkey burgers are a great recipe to double and keep the extras in the freezer wrapped individually in waxed paper
--These cookies were very good, be careful and don't over bake though.  J was able to make them 98% on his own.  I needed to show him how to measure cocoa and also how to measure baking soda, but beyond that he was flying solo while I made supper. 
Turkey Burgers(Taste of Home)
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup dry red wine or Progresso ® Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion in butter for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrot; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the wine, salt and pepper; simmer for 2-3 minutes or until liquid is evaporated.
Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (if you are in a rush, you can skip this step)  Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear, brushing occasionally with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.

Red Potatoes & Green Beans
Dice potatoes and bring to a boil; cook for 15 min.  Add in green beans until potatoes and beans are tender; about 10 more minutes.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate.  Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Place the all-purpose flour, baking soda, kosher salt and cocoa powder.  The mixture will appear homogenous with no separate ingredients showing.  Add the flour and cocoa mix to the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix together until the dough appears completely combined - about 3 minutes.  Add all the walnuts and chocolate chips and stir them into the dough.  Drop by two teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Or roll into balls, place about two inches apart on the sheet, and flatten slightly with your fingers.  Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees.  The cookies will appear to be just barely firm with a sheen to their surfaces.  Allow to cool on the sheet for about one minute before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.
If the extra seafood makes this dish too expensive feel free to just make it a sausage and chicken dish. 
Skillet Paella (Food Network)
Spice Mix for chicken
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3lbs chicken thighs (skin removed)
1/4 cup  olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (optional)
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (optional)
2 lobster tails (optional)
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.   Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.   Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.  In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld.  Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains.  Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron.  Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice.  The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook.  Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.

Cantaloupe and blueberry salad

Frito Salad
1 lg. head lettuce
1 onion, diced finely
2 c. grated Cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, diced
2 c cooked ground beef (seasoned for tacos if you want)
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle Catalina dressing (eyeball this so you don't soak it too much)
1 green pepper, diced
1 pkg. Fritos, crushed
Chop up everything, combine in a large bowl (except for Fritos) and mix in enough dressing to coat everything well.  Think chop salad at a restaurant.  Add in the Fritos for each serving so they don't get soggy. 

King Ranch Chicken
2-3 c cooked chicken
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel (partially drained)
Corn tortillas (cut in wedges)
Cheddar cheese
Green onions for garnish
You can use the crockpot to simmer this all day (minus the tortillas, cheese and green onion) or put it in a saucepan before putting layering with tortillas and cheese and baking in the oven.  Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Pound this chicken flat and dredge through flour, egg and then a parmesan/breadcrumb mixture or grill the chicken. 
Bruschetta Chicken
Boneless chicken pieces, pounded flat between pieces of wax paper
¼ c flour
1 beaten egg
½ c breadcrumbs + ½ c parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Finely chopped tomatoes
Basil chiffonade  (roll up the leaves and then thinly slice through all layers)
Dredge chicken through flour, then into egg and finally into breadcrumb mixture.  Pan fry in olive oil in medium hot skillet.  Top with tomatoes and basil.  Of course a little more parm is a good idea too. 

Garlic bread

Beef Sheppard’s Pie
Cooked ground beef or cut up raw beef
16oz frozen mixed veggies
1 can cream of celery
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 ½ c water/broth or wine
Combine all ingredients in crockpot and let it cook for the day.  Top with mashed potatoes when ready to serve. 

Sausage Calzones
1 lb frozen bread dough, refrigerated pizza crust, home made crust, crust you buy from Sam’s etc
1-2 c Italian sausage
1 c frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
¼ c Parmesan
½ c cottage cheese
½ tsp basil and oregano
1 c mozzarella cheese
1 c diced tomatoes
Combine spinach, cottage cheese, parmesan, basil and oregano.  Divide dough into four pieces.  Roll out each piece into a large rectangle.  Top each piece with ¼ of the tomatoes, sausage, and spinach mixture, keeping toppings on one end of the rectangle.  Fold over the non-covered half and crimp edges.  Carefully move to a baking sheet and top with olive oil and some kosher salt.  Cut slits in top of calzone and bake until crust is cooked. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Moving In

I recently had the fun, ok my way of having fun, of helping J&C move a state or two further south.  Thursday morning it was time to load the last minute items, blankets pillows, toothbrushes into the car and Scout could tell something was up.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grocery Deals 7/17+

Sprouts:    blueberries 1.48/pt (vs 2.50 Randalls), cherries 2.98/lb (vs 4.99 Randalls), plums/peaches/nectarines .98/lb, mangos .48, watermelon $4 (vs Randalls $6), lettuce .98, celery .98, roma tomatoes .98/lb, zucchini .98/lb, red or green bell peppers .48, onion .68, chicken legs .99/lb, oats .69/lb

Randalls:     whole chicken .99/lb, 85% lean ground beef 2.99/lb, red grapes .99/lb,

HEB:           blueberries 1.50/pt, apples .77/lb, peaches .67/lb (vs .99 Sprouts), zucchini .88/lb, cantaloupe .97 (vs $2 Randalls), beef roast 2.97/lb, legs/thighs $1/lb, pork roast 1.97/lb

Weekly Menu 7/20+


smoked chicken
grilled okra

beef/cheese enchiladas

fried chicken & gravy
mashed potatoes
green beans
fudgy cake

el rancho grande

cucumber salad

smoked chicken casserole

frito pie
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tip Tuesday--Journaling

Today I welcome guest blogger the sweet J.  She wanted to share this with you all, so please take it away J....

I’m going to share something that most women would be very scared to do.  In fact, it’s something that you’re usually told not to share at all.  A page from my diary.

Today is my birthday party! I got a last of suffy!  Will by, Oh! My neam is Janet Brinkmann
Ok, it’s the first entry from the diary I received at my 8th birthday party.  Not exactly the scandalous entry you may have been thinking it would be.
But writing in a diary – or “journaling” as you call it once you can spell correctly and have a driver’s license – is something I’ve done for a long time.  As I flipped through this first diary in the basement this morning, I saw entries about spelling bees in elementary school, going to camp during the summers, who liked who in our Sunday school youth group, etc.  The last entry in this particular book was from 1998 – a full 9 years from that first innocent entry.
I took a break from journaling during high school; no particular reason I just think I didn’t see a value in it.  I picked it back up again in college.  I remember sitting in my dorm room that first night with all these thoughts and emotions and picked up a journal I had received as a graduation gift.

There’s a journal for each of my four years at Texas A&M.  I attempted to write every day and came pretty close to that goal.  They’re filled with the thoughts of someone struggling with organic chemistry, getting their first apartment, wondering who will be her date to the next football game, and yes, the accounts of a first love and heartache. 
It’s a neat little time capsule to have now, to see how something so tragic to my 19 year-old self is now so silly.  Years definitely bring perspective.  And reading entries again can bring me back so clearly to the time when I wrote them; how I was feeling and dealing with whatever was going on at the time – good or bad.
I took another little journaling break and picked it back up when my now loving husband (well, he’s always been loving, he just wasn’t my husband at that time) gave me a beautiful leather bound journal for a Valentine’s Day gift.
I wrote in it for a while, then tapered off.  Perhaps I didn’t feel there was anything truly note worthy going on in the life of a recent college graduate.  Then we got engaged. J  I started writing again on the 26th of each month from engagement to wedding (our wedding was the 26th of May).  Writing monthly allowed me to give myself grace if I was busy or didn’t think there was anything to share.  It also gave me a goal to think of something at least once a month to write about.  I wrote for a few months after we were married in 2007, but nothing very consistent.
Looking through that journal, there’s a shift in time from a very recent newlywed in Texas to a woman on a job-search in Missouri.  Part of me wishes that were more entries during that time, as I know there was a lot going on, but alas.  There are a smattering of entries about finally finding a job (in an area new to me at the time but one I can to enjoy and thrive in), running my first marathon, and enjoying life as a homeowner in Missouri.  Then I got pregnant.
Again, I wanted something consistent to document and remember my thoughts and feelings during that time as we prayed for and grew excited for the baby that would be joining our family.  I wrote pretty frequently and included an entry after each doctor’s appointment. 
Once Caleb came on July 6th – he’ll be TWO this year – I was sitting at home holding him in my arms thinking about the day he came.  I didn’t want to forget a thing about his first few days, so I picked up another journal I received as a shower gift and started writing an entry for each of his days of life thus far – I think he was 5 or 6 days old at the time.  The cover of that journal has a bible verse on it: This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice & be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).  What a perfect verse for a new mom; not every day is good, not every day makes you want to rejoice, but the Lord has gifted that day to us regardless.

There is a journal entry for each day of Caleb’s first year.  It spans two books – a two volume set – since I ran out of room in the first.  Some of written by me, some by dad.  Some include stats from doctor’s appointments, others are a cartoon depiction of the day (usually drawn by daddy).
When I was expecting Emily, I again picked up my journal and wrote after each doctor’s appointment.  I started rereading entries from my first pregnancy which helped me remember what was coming next, or what I was feeling at the stage of pregnancy the first time around.
Emily now has a daily journal that I started for her.  I bought a three pack of journals, knowing that I would likely fill more than one, and one is now being used as a coloring book for big brother. J  She will have an entry for each day of her first year as well.  And, Clayton wants to keep the book that Caleb is scribbling and drawing in once it is filled, so I suppose that will be his first journal.

So… why all this writing about journaling?  Well, I think it’s a great thing to do and wanted to share my thoughts with you all.  It’s cathartic.  It allows you to put to paper your thoughts, fears, prayers, etc.  Some people have a prayer journal.  Something that keeps them accountable to the prayers they’re lifting up for others and themselves.  I’ve been in Bible studies that when it comes time to share prayer requests, ladies pull out their tattered journals to write down the prayers of their sisters.
Some people write daily, monthly, or just whenever they feel the need/desire too.  As you can see, I’ve done a little bit of all of that.
Journaling has helped give me so much perspective.  With a second child now, I can go back to Caleb’s journal and his entries help normalize whatever is going on with her at this age.  “Oh yeah, he wasn’t sleeping through the night yet”… or, “when did he start sleeping in the crib?”… or, “what was his first food again?”  All those things I might not otherwise remember, and thanks to my journal, I don’t have too.
It also allows me to remember that verse from Psalms about rejoicing in the day.  There have been many times I sit in bed in the evening and have to stop and think about my day and try to find something to write about.  Maybe there was something big that’s easy to identify; the first time my baby smiled, or rolled over, or peed on daddy’s foot (it happened recently pre-bath).  But maybe there wasn’t something big.  I think I appreciate those days more; I have to sit and reflect and usually come up with something that, while not “big,” is just as wonderful and joyous as another.
I will leave with this.  I allow myself grace.  Yes, I want to write a journal entry for each day of Emily’s first year.  And I will.  Did I wake up this morning while everyone else slept and catch up on three days worth of entries?  Yes.  Grace.  If I miss a day, or two, or several, that’s okay.  I just pick it up the next time I have a moment.
So… consider giving journaling a try.  You might like it.
And I’ll really leave you with this; a picture of my little loves.  Because I’m their mom and can do that. J

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grocery Deals 7/10+

Sprouts:   watermelon $4, cherries 2.48/lb., blueberries 2.50/pt, peaches/plums/nectarines .88/lb., mangos .50, cantaloupe 1.50,  lettuce .98, celery .98, bell peppers .50, onions .78/lb., corn .33, Colby jack cheese 2.99/lb.
HEB:          blueberries 2.50/pt, cantaloupe 1.47 (vs. $2 Randalls), cherries 2.77/lb., peaches .97/lb., avocado .48 (vs. .78 Sprouts), chicken breast $1/lb., sirloin 3.97/lb., candy bars .59
Randalls:  boneless chickens 1.99/lb., boneless pork chops 1.99/lb.

Weekly Menu 7/13+


easy veggie beef stew

BLT salad

chicken tacos
tomato/avocado salad

texas grilled ribs
mac & cheese


grilled chicken
pesto & pasta

tacos or cowboy nachos

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Weekly Menu 7/6+


pork roast
baked potatoes
green beans

shrimp scampi w/ pasta
orange fluff

aussie chicken
rice & broccoli
smore tortillas

pork potato goulash

layered meatball bake

garlic bread

sub sandwiches
carrot sticks & dip

I'm on vacation this week, so there may not be any report of grocery deals this week.