Saturday, February 28, 2009

Restaurant Freebies!

Head on over to Sara at Learning the Frugal Life to see the deals!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little walk

My Mom with Becca. I just love this photo.

Check out more Wordless Wednesdays here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm allergic to traditional fabric softener. For some reason manufacturers seem to even put irritants into the hypo allergenic varieties as well. I had heard about using vinegar for fabric softener but thought that had to be some kind of joke. My towels kept getting scratchy so on one desperate day I gave vinegar a try. It worked! Everything smelled better as well, which is odd considering you I used vinegar. I'm not questioning it though, as long as it works it's fine with me!

Keep your drains clear. Put 1/4 of a cup of baking soda in your drain (this works great for kitchens or baths) follow that with 1 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then rinse with hot tap water. I do this every other week and my drains work great! When we first bought the house they were a little on the slow side, I promise this works.

Control the shower sprayer. I hate when I turn it on and some nozzles drip while others spray off to the side. I like to unscrew the shower head and put it in a plastic bag filled with vinegar. Leave it overnight for the best results and in the morning you will have a shower head that is like new. If you can't take yours off secure the plastic bag over the shower head with rubber bands and leave it that way. Just make sure you take off the bag before your husband gets in the shower. If you like practical jokes leave it, it is quite funny to see his reaction. I promise I didn't do it on purpose! I laughed for days over that, is that wrong? LOL

Try one or all of these tips and see if they work for you! And if you know something else let me know in the comments!

Make sure you check out We Are THAT Family for more great tips and tricks.

For 175 uses for vinegar check out this Readers Digest article. It is amazing all the things it can do!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quiznos giving away subs!

That's right! Quiznos is giving away ONE MILLION free subs!

Click this link to register for your sub today!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Feb. 23

Last week didn't go as well as the one before. I am sick, and not just I might have a cold sick, REALLY sick. I will have to get to the doctor if I don't start feeling better soon. It is getting to where I can't even sit at my computer. I will say that we only veered off course once this past week!

Our usually Friday night was out but I had Jason pick up something on his way home Saturday as well. I just didn't feel up to cooking. That isn't bad considering I haven't been able to do hardly anything the past few days.

Even better than that we actually *gasp* ate things on the day I had assigned them. That is a major first for me! I tried to vary the type of meat and meatless days to not have them back to back much, it worked.

Everything last week except Monday was tried and true. Monday's new adventure was a disaster! Jason ate it but I could only eat a few bites. I had high hopes for it but oh well. I'm still on the lookout for more great zuchinni ideas, I'll find a great recipe yet!

Monday: Lasagna (Bertolli Meal)
Sides: Garlic Bread and Salad

Tuesday: Pizza

Wednesday: Soft Taco Bake
Sides: none, I do a mixture for the top

Thursday: Chicken w/Basil Cream Sauce and pasta
Sides: Salad, Garlic Bread

Friday: Date Night!

Saturday: BBQ Nachos

Sunday:TBA If I'm feeling better it will be a new recipe

This week I'm relying heavily on convenience foods. I feel bad about that but I'm just not feeling well. If I start to feel better I will make a couple of new recipes.

Be sure to check out Org Junkie for more great menu plans!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

This is a yummy soup recipe that will please even the biggest meat eaters! Trust me, I tried it on my BIL and he loved it!

1 (sm. to med.) onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or use a press)
1 can chicken broth (or veggie)
1 can water (I fill up the broth can)
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/3 pound ditalini pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil about 2 minutes. Add all ingredients expect pasta, bring to a boil. Let it boil for about a minute and add pasta. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until pasta is cooked. Ladle and put fresh grated parmesan cheese on top.

This soup is so thick and rich it's just wonderful!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vet tip!

As I get ready to take one of our dogs to the vet tomorrow, I am reminded of a great tip. Where I live the cheapest place to take your dogs for their shots is $80 and that doesn't include their heart worm preventive. Where I used to live, which is about 70 miles south, it is $40 and that includes your pills for six months! I know that seems like a long way to drive but I do double duty by visiting family while I'm down. Plus, we really love our old vet.

You might not have to drive that far but you could be surprised. Check some of the smaller towns around you and call to see what the rates are like. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cannon Ball

Cannon Ball! A couple of shots while in Jackson, MS.

For more Wordless Wednesday visit 5 minutes for Mom.

OAMC for Smaller Families or those with Small Children

OAMC or Once a Month Cooking can be a real chore when there aren't many people to feed. You might only have two adults and a couple of small children that don't have big appetites. That is where my very favorite OAMC tool comes into play.

A loaf pan! First a normal recipe can be split three times! That itself is a great savings. But there aren't leftovers that will turn into science projects in the fridge. Plus your portion control is automatically built in. How many times have you made a big pan of lasagna so you would have some leftovers, and someone went back more times that they should? It's a common occurrence in this house.

Right now I'm using the smallest loaf pans I could find which happen to be the disposable kind. I know it isn't the greenest option but you can reuse them! When my family grows or the summer hits and Becca is here, I'll go to a normal loaf pan which is bigger. That might be the better option for you to start out with.

This works for me! For more great tips visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sloppy Joe's

This one came from RecipeZaar, honestly it is the best! I have only modified it slightly.

Here is the original.

My version:

1 lb Ground Beef
2 stalks Celery, grated
1 (med.) Carrot
1 (med.) Bell Pepper, diced or grated your choice
1 small Onion, diced
1 (8 ounce) can Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (your favorite, we use Cattleman's)
1 tablespoon firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, celery and onion, drain.

Stir in remaining ingredients, simmer covered, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If Joes appear too'loose', leave cover off and let moisture evaporate.

And serve, it couldn't be easier. Best of all it is just as good as a freezer meal!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Feb. 16th

Last week was successful! We only ate out on Friday night, which is a tradition. Looks like this menu planning really works.
I'm going to start using a regular format this week.

On the menu for this week:

Cavatappi with Zuchinni in Asiago sauce
Sides: not sure yet

Sides: Salad and Garlic Bread

Sides: Salsa and Cheese dip

Tomato Sauce and Noodles
Sides: Grilled Cheese

Date Night!

Tex Mex Egg Rolls
Sides: Salsa

Pasta Fagoli

Sloppy Joe's (I'll post the recipe for this tomorrow so be watching, they are delicious!)
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

I think that format will work better for us. If there is another item you would like the recipe for just ask. I'll eventually get around to adding all of them hopefully!

For more great options check out the Menu Plan Monday posts at Orgjunkie!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stocking up my freezer

About 2 weeks ago a major ice storm hit our city. We were forced to leave because we have an all electric house and with no electricity it was getting mighty cold! Luckily we have an Aunt that lives about 60 miles south of us that wasn't hit with it at all. Our electricity ended up staying off for over 4 days! I lost everything I had been buying in bulk and all my OAMC meals. On the upside I did get to clean my refrigerator, it looks like new! Now, I must start again. This week I have had some major headway.

Out of 5 pounds of ground beef I made:
2 Sloppy Joe
1 Taco Meat
3 Tex-Mex Egg Rolls (servings not rolls, haha)
1 Spaghetti Sauce
4 Lasagna's

I could have made more Egg Rolls because I have left over filling. Be sure to check out my Healthy Ground Beef Mix to see how to make your beef stretch.

Out of 2.5 pounds of Chicken:
1 Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (enough for us for 2 meals and lunch for Jason)
2 Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

And I still have more Chicken left, it will go towards quesadillas.

During next weeks Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer, I'll share about freezer meals for smaller families.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Story

Since I'm new to this realm of blogging I thought it would be neat to participate in the Valentine Blog carnival going on over at We Are THAT Family. Check it out for more neat stories.
I'm not the best writer, I'm more of an in person story teller. I apologize in advance.

It started the day I broke up with a boyfriend, we weren't very serious so it was a big deal. It still hurts though. I worked at Wal-Mart as a cashier and my cousin came through my line buying some things (to make cheese dip) for a get together. He asked if I was getting off soon and told me I should stop by. I wasn't really feeling up to it but I figure having a little fun would be great right about then.

I got off about half an hour later and headed over to his house. As I was walking in the door I passed by this tall boy with bright blue eyes. He was dreamy, but I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn't looking for anyone. I went inside and said hello to everyone. An old friend that I hadn't seen since I was 12 or 13 was there. We were catching up and in walked Mr. Dreamy. I honestly think I checked out a bit looking at him. Debbie looked at me and said "Oh, have you met my brother?" She introduced me to Jason and we couldn't take our eyes off of each other. I couldn't believe I never knew she had a brother, let alone that he was Mr. Dreamy.

The night went on and it came up that Jason had something happen and couldn't get to the store to get the cheese dip. Hmmm... you mean this wasn't supposed to happen. Could it have been fate? As the night went on everyone ate and Chris and Jason decided to take a ride around town. They asked me to go and I hopped in right beside Mr. Dreamy. He took a few turns harder than he should have and I kept leaning over into him. Thank goodness for a truck with a bench seat.

Then it happened, he said a cuss word. My arm went up and I smacked him (not hard at all!) right across his cheek. I couldn't believe it I had just hit Mr. Dreamy!!! What did I do? I apologized and said that kind of language was unacceptable to me. It turns out he likes a woman that stands up for what she believes in! He never said another cuss word pass that day.

We lived happily ever after... and he admitted to taking those turns too hard on purpose.

The funny thing is we found out later that we knew many of the same people yet somehow never met. He was my cousins best friend, how in the world we never met till that night we will never know. We believe it was meant to be.

On our Disney World Trip this past June.

I hope it is okay if I participate. I'm not her Mom, but there is an unusual situation that we have, trust me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Healthy Ground Beef Mix

I am very excited to participate in my first Works for Me Wednesday!

My topic is something I have struggled with, veggies. I just plain don't like the taste of most vegetables. You see, I'm the picky eater. I'm not alone though Jason is just as bad. Becca is the one that will eat, or at least try, almost anything. I figured something had to give I had to find ways to sneak vegetables into my diet. So I came up with my healthy ground beef mix.

First, let's discuss ground beef. Let's face it on it's own it just doesn't taste very good, that's why we add seasoning and sauces. You never see anyone eat ground beef on it's own, but why? After all isn't that what a hamburger is. What about steak? Ground beef can left over steaks ground into it but it still doesn't taste as good. That's because it gets those nice brown bits on it! Every chef will tell you that is where the flavor comes from. Next time you brown your ground beef don't just cook till no longer pink, actually brown it. You will amazed at home much better it tastes!

Ground Beef Mix:
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 (med.) Onion, diced
1 (med.) Carrot, grated (make sure to read to the end to see my grater, it's key)
1 to 2 Stalks of Celery, grated
1/2 to 1 whole Bell Pepper, grated
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Quick Cooking Oats, lightly ground (after I measure I crumble with my hand)
Salt and Pepper

Cook ground beef till no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients and brown.

Those are 3 of my most hated vegetables but when I grate them up and cook them you can't notice any flavors standing out. And, the carrots add a great sweetness to the mixture. It really helps to stretch your ground beef as well. It is so much more healthy for you as well. I made my mix with 5 pounds of ground beef today and it didn't take any extra time.

One key for me is the grater I use as well. If you use a regular box grater you will notice the vegetables in it and that isn't what it is about to me. This is the grater I use. It makes it small enough to incorporate the vegetables in for nutrition, but no offending tastes stand out. I use that grater on an almost daily basis, I just love it! If you can't get that grater make sure to use a small hole on your box grater.

I'm going to start experimenting with adding lentils, brown rice, and zucchini as well. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes as I go along!

For more great tips be sure to check out Rocks in My Dryer.


Just so no one thinks that all the recipes blog are my own, they aren't. I get them from all over the place cookbooks, allrecipes, RecipeZaar, etc. Rarely do I ever leave a recipe as is and I am constantly tweaking them. I will let you know when one of my orginial creations is being used. Honestly, even my orginal recipes I'm sure you could find a hundred or more like it in a recipe search.
I just wanted to clarify in case anyone think that a recipe sounds almost exactly like another. It was probably born from that but adjusted to my families tastes.

Tex-Mex Egg Rolls

This is a great recipe! I'm not a huge fan of some of the ingredients but the first time I tasted the filling I had nothing but love for it. The number of egg rolls you get out of this will vary. I get 16-20.

  • 1 (15oz) package of Yellow Rice
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef or Ground Beef Mix
  • 1 (15oz.) can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes (drain some liquid off)
  • 1 cup Shredded Montery Jack Cheese
  • 6 Green Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (or make your own)
  • 1 pkg. Egg Roll wrappers (no size given because I've seen it vary by brand)
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • Oil for frying (you can deep fry, I shallow fried my last batch)

  1. Cook rice according to package directions, fluff with fork, set aside and let it cool.
  2. Brown your ground beef (or my ground beef mix, I'll give more info on Works for me Wednesday). Add taco seasoning according to directions, add stewed tomatoes. I like to break up my tomatoes a little more and take out the core pieces.
  3. Add ground beef mixture, beans, green onion, and cheese to rice. Be sure to distribute it evenly, the rice likes to clump.
  4. Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup mixture in center of each egg roll wrapper. I prefer 1/4, these are very filling!. I turn the egg roll wrapper like a diamond shape, I want one of the points facing me. I put my mixture in and fold over the center trying to tuck the meat into a more compact "log." Then I fold the right and left sides in, brush a little egg wash in the last point and roll up. The egg acts as your glue. It seems hard but after the first few you get into a rhythm and it goes quickly. There is a diagram on the egg roll wrapper that is very helpful.
  5. At this point you can freeze for later or fry them up, heating your oil to 350 degrees. I'm going to experiment with baking them as well. If you freeze them let them thaw in the refrigerator before frying.

I hope I didn't leave anything out it is 4 am here and I haven't been to sleep yet. Speaking of sleep if anyone knows ways to make your body understand when it is time to sleep let me know!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 to 2 cups of Cooked Chicken (shredded or diced, your preference)
1 cup diced Onion
1 cup diced Celery
1 cup diced Carrots
2 cans Chicken Broth
2 cans Water (I use the chicken broth can)
2 cans Cream of ____ Soup (blank because you can use what you like)
2 tablespoons of your favorite Herbs
2 cups of Egg Noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put everything in your crockpot on high 3-4 hours, or on low 8 -9 hours.
If you like your soup thinner, cook the noodles before placing them in the crockpot. I like mine thicker so I'm going to put the noodles in and let them cook in the soup, I put them in the last half hour and put it on high if it was on low before. The herbs I'm using are Parley, Basil, Oregano, and Sage. Just a pinch of the Basil, Oregano, and Sage. Use dried herbs because they will rehydrate in the soup. I used Cream of Chicken and Cream of Onion soup.
Hopefully it will turn out well.

Keep watching for my Tex-Mex Egg Roll Recipe!

Up date: The recipe was good. I thought it still needed something so I'm going to work on the herb mixture. Jason on the other hand loved it, he had 3 bowls! And he is excited about taking some of the left overs to work.

Head on over to Blissfully Domestic for more great recipes and tips!

Menu for Today

Scrambled Eggs
Orange Juice

I use center cut bacon to cut down on fat and calories. The toast was double fiber whole wheat, with a touch of butter and honey on top. The orange juice was just for Jason, I had a Diet Coke. I know that is bad but it was left over from yesterday.

A nice big salad with a bunch of different greens, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, croutons and ranch dressing.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Sweet Tea

The Chicken Noodle Soup is a new recipe. We have been trying to find a recipe similar to Denny's chicken noodle soup, so far even using copycat recipes we haven't found it. I'll post the recipe later. And yes Sweet Tea, I am a southern girl. What else would you expect?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday!

So, I have a problem with Menu Plans. It isn't that I hate having a plan, actually I'm big on planning. It's that I'm a rebel, well... as much of a rebel as I can be, lol. I don't like having assigned days for food. If I'm not feeling like quesadillas one night I don't want to eat them just because it is "assigned" today. Then it hit me, I don't HAVE to eat it on an assigned day.

Here is the way I menu plan. You will notice that there are more meals than days, that's because I'm big on cravings. If I'm not feeling up to something then I can always substitute.

My Chicken options for the week:

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Pot Pie

My Beef options for the week:

Stuffed Mexican Cornbread

Shepard's Pie


Tex-Mex Eggrolls

I have some vegetarian options as well, but this is a good start. I'll update next week with what we ate on what day before my next Menu Plan Monday post. I'll post some recipes as well. I love to cook so I'm always trying new things and if you have a great recipe for anything, let me know about it!!
Head on over to Org Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday posts and join in on the fun!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Scrapbooking/Craft blog

Here is a link to my other blog. If you ever have an extra minute head on over and tell me what you think.

Hello and Welcome to Hectic Calm

I thought it was time for a family blog since I don't want to clutter up my scrapbooking/craft blog with family info.

So, here we are at Hectic Calm! I know it's an oxymoron, but that is my life. You would think that being a SAHW(stay at home wife) would be a simple life, right? WRONG... It can filled with just as much chaos as any other. Sit back and enjoy the ride.