Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ice cold milk & an Oreo Cookie!

I miss the good old days,
when there were such "catchy" tunes for commercials.

I remember singing the"catchy tune" shown below the photo ALL the time when I was a teenager.
In fact, once you get singing it, you can't stop and it will drive you crazy, because you can't get the tune out of your head!

"Oh, Oh, Oh, ice cold milk
and an Oreo Cookie
They forever go together,
What a classic combination
When a dark, delicious cookie
meets an icy cold sensation
Like the one and only creamy,
crunchy, chocolate, O-R-E-O"

Jade has been begging me
to make Homemade O-R-E-O cookies.
Someone brought them for a treat in one of his classes last year and he just loved them.
However, every recipe I have found just uses a boxed cake mix and I wanted to make something from scratch that used food storage ingredients!

I found several recipes and did some tweaking to them to cut down the sugar so they weren't so sweet and WOW, the final creations were such a hit with my hubby and kids and the Scouts of my hubby's Scout Troop.
Yummy, delicious and oh SO easy to make!!

Dark Chocolate Wafers with
Cream Cheese filling

10 Tbsp. butter (1 cube plus 2 Tbsp)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 cup unbleached flour

Mix together butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy.
Add in egg, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder and mix until thoroughly mixed.
Next add in flour until blended well.

Form into "tiny balls" and bake on a greased cookie sheet...
375 degrees for 9-10 minutes.
Remove from cookie sheet and completely cool on a rack

Cream Cheese filling
1/4 cup butter
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 a package)
1 to 2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream together for one minute.

After cookies are cooled spread cream cheese filling on the bottom side of one of the wafers and then place another wafer similar in size on top to make the Sandwich cookies. Squish together and store in an airtight container.

the one and only creamy,

crunchy, chocolate, O-R-E-O
(homemade that is)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

School Days 2010!

August 25th...

I sent my kiddos out the door with tummies full, lots of words of encouragement and away they went down the end of our lane to catch the school bus along with the other kids in our neighborhood.

Tracy and I walked back to the house
and enjoyed a few moments before he had to head to work. He commented how bad our yard looks right now, since it seems to be overtaken with weeds. (yes, I agree and I can't wait to have free afternoons to finally get caught up on everything that has languished so badly this summer).

I then sent him off with a hug and kiss,
walked into the house and there was complete and absolute silence. It's so strange to have noise all of the time and then to suddenly not have it.

SO, I went to our music folder,
pulled up my Depeche Mode folder
that Tracy and I created last year the day after our concert...

I turned up
the music loud,
dusting polish and cleaning supplies and
listened to some of my favorite music,
cleaning away, while I had a stroll down memory lane reminiscing on one the funnest days of my life. (click here)

After three hours of music, cleaning and reminiscing,
I had the main area of our home sparkling clean!
It hasn't been this way for awhile.
While it is always neat and tidy, the busyness of summer has made it where the "details" have gotten overlooked (dusting, mirrors cleaned, etc...)

I had to run some errands in the afternoon

and when I walked through the kitchen door, I was greeted with a sparkling clean floor and windows, shiny appliances and ORDER!!
(I always think about this quote (here) when I have dribbles all over my kitchen floor).

I had a perfect day!

Adorable Kids,
A clean house,
yummy back to school dinner...

where we all got to create pizza
to our own liking.

We ended the evening with a few games of
(using our apple notepads to write our words down on
and blew on our Kazoos!)

Tracy then gave Jade and Ethan a Father's blessing of comfort and encouragement to start off the new school year.
My boys are
SO blessed to have the best dad in the world and Ethan and Jade both hold on to every word that Tracy tells them and they feel like they can conquer the world and deal with any challenge that may come their way.

After blessings...
Dessert was served!

Then off to set out clothes and backpacks for the next day, changed into jammies and brushed teeth and then big hugs and kisses and tucked into bed.

"You make flowers of my hours.
Today was a bouquet."

Looking forward to LOTS of school fun with my boys this year!
I just can't believe that I have a Sophomore in High School and a third grader.
They are growing up way too fast

and while I would love to have a perfectly sparking clean house every moment of the day, I would much rather spend time with my kids creating memories!

(However, I will enjoy the few moments that I can of "sparkling clean" house as well).
"It's all good"!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kimmie in Real Life (weeks 13 & 14)

Three Months of no shopping...
$6,000 later...
after scraping every extra penny and putting it towards debt, our
(Home Equity Life of Credit)
is gone Forever!! WOOT!!!

(Ethan was with us when we paid our last payment at the bank and closed our account...it made a BIG impact on him as we have had this debt since he was one year old.
Original debt May 2003 was $25,000
October 2008 debt was $19, 762
May 2010 debt was $6,043
August 2010...completely paid off)

It feels SO good to have that debt gone
and to be able to snowball the money we were putting towards that debt, into "kicking Fannie Mae" out of the house and having our Student Loans gone forever as well.

to have those gone in 15 to 18 months and then it's on to paying off the Mortgage and being able to finally have the complete and utter
of being 100% debt free.

As Tracy and I were talking this past weekend,
we didn't feel like we were deprived one bit not going to the Grocery Store for three months and so we are going to
"regroup" this pay check and restock up on butter, cheese, flour, Salmon, chocolate chips, celery, onions, yeast, paper products and then we will be ready to go another few months of "no shopping as well".

(also, taking some money to put new Struts on my car...last month we had to replace the Fuel Pump in our family car...Mr. Smith is amazingly talented in being able to do almost every repair big OR small on our cars!)

It's actually SO much fun

and had I not taken on this challenge, I wouldn't be making the most awesome homemade tortillas in the world, wouldn't have a fridge of Granola Bars for my kids for snacks and probably wouldn't have ventured into making Homemade BUNS for Hot Dogs, Hamburgers/Sloppy Joes and Hoagie buns for sandwiches which are
more delicious than anything you can get at any bakery.

I am changed forever
as three months of no shopping has become a habit...
always preparing for tomorrow today
and using what we have, no matter how simple or extravagant it may be.
(YES, "Accountability is a good thing"!)

Here are some food highlights from the past two weeks.

(since Monday was spent unpacking from our backpacking trip and getting caught up on sleep and laundry, Wednesday was a Scout Dinner for Ethan's group and Tracy had a Scout Campout with his Scouts on Friday night, this week, was a pretty NON-typical week, without too much to share).

After three days of backpacking food the kids were happy to clean out the fridge and enjoy a Grape Smoothie and open faced tuna and veggie sandwich.

We were given some Plantains
from our neighbor and I didn't get anything done with them before we went on our backpacking trip and so I came home and they were completely black, however, when we opened them up they were perfectly fine and so we smashed them and turned them into Banana Bread.
(recipe...click here)

I took these random onions
and chopped them with the rest of the veggies and made up Lentil Stew.
This dish is truly one of of my favorite recipes!
(recipe...click here)

August 8th to 14th

ZOOM with brown sugar, powdered milk and raisins
Finished off the rest of our trail snacks and enjoyed dinner at “Merry Piglets”
(Fajitas with all the fixins’….SO yummy!)

Steel Cut Oats
Leftover Fajitas
(Dinner was Beef Stroganoff that we experimented with making from scratch as a something yummy we could make and eat on our backpacking trips)

Steel Cut Oats
Open Faced Tuna Sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes, Smoothie
Lentil Stew over Brown Rice
Banana Bread
(made Banana splits as we played BOGGLE as a family)

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) Banana Bread, apples, Lentil Stew/Brown Rice
(kids) Open Faced Tuna sandwiches, apples, Banana Bread
(dinner at Ethan’s Scout leader’s house)

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) Apple, Tuna Sandwich, banana bread
(kids) Cantaloupe, Tomato soup (that I had bottled up last fall)
Banana bread
Lentil Stew/brown rice

Steel Cut Oats
Cantaloupe, grapes, bananas, lentil stew
(dinner Tracy) Tin Foil dinner at his scout campout
(kids and I) Homemade Chili (we have to bring Chili to our ward Humanitarian project so I made it up Friday night and we enjoyed a bowl ourselves over baked potatoes)
Caramello popcorn

Took kids to town and enjoyed Nachos at Mi Casa

My awesome neighbor and friend Lisa
told me to come and pick Cherries

off her tree as they weren't going to get them picked before they got too ripe.
SO, Monday morning I got ready and headed down and spent an hour picking Cherries.
I ended up with 25 cups of Cherries
and spent the week pitting them and freezing them in Ziploc bags (5 cups per bag). Can't wait to pull these 5 cup bags out of the freezer and enjoy making Cherry Pie for Thanksgiving and during the winter months, OR, for making cobbler for Tracy's Scout campouts.
(pie recipe...click here)

The Kids favorite meals this week
were Baked Salmon and Spaghetti Pie.

We pulled out the Ice Cream freezer
and filled it up with ingredients, ice and Rock Salt and made up Homemade Ice Cream.
We pulled a bottle of Huckleberry Soda from our food storage and washed and cleaned Huckleberries we had picked the day before and made up Huckleberry Floats.

While we were eating our Huckleberry Floats
we glanced out our kitchen window and noticed that the sky was the same color as our Floats were.
What a coincidence
and I hurried and grabbed the camera and snapped a photo.
Within five minutes, the beautiful pink color was gone.

For some reason, when I make up these cookies they are very much enjoyed and I had two people ask me for the recipe for these this week.
Who would have thunk,
that basic Oatmeal cookies with a
of dried Cherries,
a handful of Raisins
about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
and about an 1/8 cup of white chocolate chips would be such a hit.
WOW, talk about a delicious cookie!
(cookie recipe...click here)

We had to bring a Fruit Salad to Ethan's Scout dinner last week and I forgot that we had leftovers of this in our fridge. So, I pulled it out and blended it together with blueberries and strawberries and I had Ethan begging for more!

To make Taco Meat stretch,
I add in cooked beans in with the Ground Beef. Since I didn't have time to un-thaw cooked beans from my freezer, I added in a can of Kidney Beans and Great Northern Beans and it about doubled my Taco filling.
(just cooked up the ground beef, added in 1/4 cup taco seasoning and 2/3 cup water, brought to boil and added in drained beans and let simmer for 30 minutes).
This is really kid friendly as it makes it not so spicy for little ones.

Can I just say that
I LOVE to make tortillas!!

I made up a batch of tortillas, lined them in soup bowls and filled them with lettuce, veggies and taco meat and they were absolutely delicious!
(recipe...click here)

For dinner
I made up a Dutch Apple Pie from pie filling I bottled up last year and we enjoyed it with our leftover ice cream that we made earlier in the week.
(recipe...click here)

I also made up a batch of Granola Bars,
so I can have snacks to pack in lunches or snacks for the kids to enjoy after school, as the first day of school is this week.
(recipe...click here)

I took an inventory of my freezer to see what I had left as we are going to be getting LOTS of zucchini and squash from our garden over the next few weeks.
I pulled out some squash puree and made a batch of pumpkin muffins.
(recipe...click here)

What a happy sight it is
to go out to your garden and see vegetables that are ripe and ready to pick.
We had a large head of cabbage from our garden
that we picked and it was the perfect accompaniment to our Dutch Oven dinner that Tracy cooked up for us for Sunday dinner.

August 15th to 22nd

Breakfast in one
Southwestern Chicken and Rice that I pulled out of the freezer and we dipped tortillas chips in it with the rest of our salsa

Steel Cut Oats
Took kids school shopping and had Breakfast at Perkins
(Tracy had back to school lunch at his work)
Salmon, fried potatoes, sliced tomatoes
Huckleberry floats

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) Leftover Salmon, Fruit Cake and apple
(kids) Southwestern Chicken and Rice with tortilla chips
Multi Grain Rolls, Spaghetti Pie, Snickerdoodles

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) Leftover Spaghetti Pie, Multi Grain Rolls. Snickerdoodles, apple
(kids) Smoothie, Multi Grain Rolls, carrot sticks,
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Multi Grain Rolls, Fruit and Nut Cookies

Steel Cut Oats
Leftover Wild Rice Soup, apples, Multi Grain Rolls,
Taco Salad with homemade tortillas, Dutch Apple Pie A’la Mode

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy had Taco Salad,
I had to race home from work and get Jade to the High School to register before 1:00 and so we grabbed Tacos from Taco Time and the kids and I went and sat on a blanket at the park and ate lunch)
Kids had Taco Salad for dinner
Tracy and I went on a date and split a Pork Salad from Café Rio

Pancake breakfast!
Smoothie and Chicken Casserole (Homemade Mac and Cheese)
Apple slices and Pumpkin muffins
(took the kids to dinner and enjoyed Western Lemon Chicken as celebration for paying off our debt!!)

“Tendah Juicy” Dutch Oven Pork served over rice and with steamed cabbage from our garden
“Brinner”…pancakes and fried eggs for dinner

Stay tuned next week
as I share the amount of food we used during this three month adventure and what challenges I encountered as well.

Gotta run and spend the last day of summer vacation with my kiddos and get them all ready for the first day of school

(also need to whip up a batch of Multi-Grain rolls and Double chocolate cookies as my kids begged to have these for their first day of school lunches)

I treasure these moments greatly and I'm savoring the last of my One on One time of the summer enjoying a wonderful day with two of the world's greatest Kids...
Jade and Ethan

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rolled Oats = Granola and Pie!

I am a lover of Oats!

I just love the flavor SO much and enjoy anything and everything with Oats in it...
from our Steel Cut Oats for breakfast,
cooked oatmeal, baked oatmeal,
cookies, cake and bread,
Apple Crisp, Granola Bars, Dutch Apple Pie...
you name it...It's all good

I have two more great recipes that have Rolled Oats as one of the ingredients.
Granola Bars and
Dutch Apple Pie.
These two recipes have become keepers for me and something that will be made often at my house!


I made this recipe when I was dating Tracy (which he just loved), however, haven't made it since...that is until I needed to make Granola bars for our yearly backpacking trip. I found a different recipe and made it up and it was really sticky, very sweet and didn't fare well when Tracy and I took them on our hike into Darby Caves.
I came back to my original recipe
and did a little tweaking and they were absolutely delicious...
not too sweet, a great texture,
basic recipe
that can be customized to your liking and a BIGGIE...they used
ingredients that I have in my food storage

Chewy Granola Bars
1 cube butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
Mix the above ingredients together in a large sauce pan on LOW heat until blended.

Then add in:
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped nuts (peanuts or almonds are the best)
2/3 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
3 cups rolled oats

Mix all together and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes
(stirring twice).

Take out and add in:
1/2 cup chopped Peanut M&M's, OR, 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Stir well and put into 9x13 pan and let cool for at least 4 hours.

Cut and individually wrap bars in plastic wrap
and store in air tight container in the fridge.
for lunches, afternoon kid snacks, OR, energy bars for hiking,



Tracy and I enjoy a good homemade pie
and hardly splurge on getting pie to eat when we occasionally eat out because homemade tastes SO much better than anything you can get at a restaurant.
However, I have never been able to replicate the
"Caramel Apple Pie"
you can get a Perkins Restaurant, which is one of Tracy's favorite pies!

First off,
apple pie made with FRESH apples straight off the tree.
There is nothing yummier to me!!

I have always struggled with bottled apple pie filling because the apples seems really soft and they're sometimes too strong with too many spices and until last year I have never bottled up any apple pie filling.

I came across this recipe last year from one of my Blog friends Mel.
It sounded delicious and so I decided to use her recipe because she gave a great recipe for using the filling to make Dutch Apple Pie and I wanted to try and make a yummy pie for Tracy that made us feel like we had gone and had dessert at Perkins.

This recipe definitely DELIVERS,
tastes better than anything you can get at a restaurant
and best of all, it was a perfect hit with both my hubby and kids.

Dutch Apple Pie
2 cups unbleached flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cube melted butter
1 jar bottled Apple Pie Filling

In large bowl mix flour, brown sugar, rolled oats and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Save aside one cup for topping.

Press remaining mixture into a large pie plate (going up the sides).
Pour bottled Apple Pie Filling onto crust and then top with reserved crumb topping.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes until golden brown.
Let sit 15 minutes before cutting.

Delicious topped with ice cream
and drizzled with Caramel Ice Cream topping.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Wonderful Sunday Afternoon!

"When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things - not the great occasions - that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness".
~~~Bob Hope

Summer time is such a wonderful time!
It's a time in our lives where the weather is just right and so many times we find ourselves, packing up our dinner and heading to the mountains, the desert, a park...you name it.

We have to eat,
so why stay home and be boring...
why not load your car with dinner fixins' and head to enjoy some gorgeous scenery and family fun!

All this requires
is a few dollars of gas in your car and a little preparation and you have priceless memories that your kids will cherish forever.

we take our Dutch Oven and cook up dinner, or roast hot dogs and make Smore's...
Sometimes we fill a cooler with sandwich fixin's and fresh fruit, or a salad...
Other times we just fill our thermos with hot soup and take it with us.
(one time we put our taco filling in a thermos and filled the cooler with containers of lettuce, chopped tomatoes and grated cheese and went an enjoyed tacos sitting on the sand at the Rigby Lake)

Whatever we do, the kids just love these out of the ordinary moments AND I love them too.

Sunday after church
we packed the cooler with containers of diced potatoes, beaten eggs, grated cheese and sausage, threw in a jug of iced water, grabbed our picnic bag and Dutch Oven and headed to the hills.
Besides enjoying dinner in the mountains, we were on a fact finding mission to see how the Huckleberries were doing this year.

Tracy got the coals all ready and we made
"Breakfast in one" in the Dutch Oven.

Our folding picnic table with our plates, sporks and mugs all ready to be filled and enjoyed!

Talk about FAMILY FUN!!

The recipe:
1/2 pound sausage
3 baked potatoes peeled and diced
8 eggs well beaten with 1/4 cup milk
grated cheese
(salt and pepper to taste)

Brown sausage in Dutch Oven until browned.
Remove sausage and most of the grease
Add in potatoes and cook until browned
Then pile on cooked sausage
beaten eggs and top with grated cheese.
Cook for 15-20 minutes until eggs are cooked
with 12 coals on the bottom AND top of Dutch Oven.

(would also be yummy if you sauteed onions and bell peppers when you cook the sausage...
also yummy served with Salsa on the top)

Good thing we didn't listen to people when we first got to our picnic spot. They said they had looked all around and only found 5 Huckleberries...
we hiked up the mountain a little bit
and low and behold came across MANY berries.
Lots of green berries which we'll make sure we can come back in a week and get and MANY ripe berries.
We set an hour limit for picking since it was getting late in the afternoon.

(Tracy is always laughing that I take self portraits, but since I'm the main photographer of our outings, I have to at least take a photo of me showing that I WAS HERE enjoying this fun as well)

After one hour of picking we ended up
with 3 cups of Huckleberries
Very much looking forward to making homemade ice cream tonight and making Huckleberry Floats for our Family Home Enjoyment this evening.

I absolutely agree that it truly is the little out of the ordinary moments that make life so big and memorable.

When I reflect back on all of the happy, memorable moments in my life I can honestly say that is truly is the "simplest things" that give the greatest glow of happiness!

Feeling blessed to have a hubby that always takes time to make life so much FUN for our family and feeling blessed to have kids that appreciate all of these little moments as well!

"Open your arms
and welcome the joy of today"!