Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kimmie in Real Life! (week 4)

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things."
-  Elise Boulding  
I totally forgot to post photos of the produce I have bought for the past month. This is the only thing we have purchased at the store, since we are not getting Bountiful Baskets this year. We are still purchasing a gallon of milk every other week.

This past week didn’t have much going on in the way of food since we were gone half the week.
  Smoothies, Frozen Fruit Pops,  
German Chocolate Cake,  
Spaghetti and Chicken Salad were the highlights of the week!

Here is my week in photos, 
however, exciting or boring they may be and some of the things I did this week.  Wish there was more to share, but I was having a wonderful time with hubby, Jade and the youth in our area enjoying a road trip.

Since Sunday was Father’s Day 
I decided to surprise Tracy with his favorite…
German Chocolate Cake and Meat Balls.  
It is SO quick and easy to whip up a chocolate cake from scratch!
I really like my recipe as I can cut it in half and just make a single layer if we aren’t in the mood for that much cake.  
I saved the leftover German Frosting in the fridge to put on top of chocolate cupcakes that I am making this next week.  

 We sat and munched on this all day Saturday, 
snitching bites each time we came in to get a drink while out working in the yard.

Such a yummy lunch!!  

I had a little bit of ground beef and some mushrooms 
leftover from Sunday and so I browned these up, added in a jar of RAGU and put it in the crockpot on low as we worked hard all afternoon getting ready to go on our trip and dealing with our yard and we enjoyed Spaghetti that evening. 
While this was not homemade from “Scratch” that was the quickest thing I could do for dinner without making too big of a mess and Ragu doesn’t have any bad ingredients in it.

Monday afternoon I made up cookies and Homemade Hoagies for our trip (and to give to my neighbor for helping us with our animals while we were gone).
Pulled cooked turkey that I had frozen this Spring from our freezer and added in onions, celery, grapes and sauce and made delicious Chicken Salad Sandwiches for our lunch on our trip.
We realized this week how much we LOVE our boring "Steel Cut Oats" with raisins for breakfast! It was good to be back home and enjoy some of our favorites.  
We never tire of this...especially my kids!   
Jade's first thing out of his mouth when we were back was 
"I can't wait until tomorrow morning to have Steel Cut Oats for Breakfast"!

While I wanted to wait to start adding Spinach and greens to our smoothies until we had this growing in our garden, Tracy, wanted to purchase some and so we have been adding Spinach to all of our smoothies this past week.   
SO good and yummy and we have made multiple smoothies each day!
Fruit/Nut cookies were one of the favorites!! 
SO yummy, Tracy and Jade commented over and over how good these were and how we should make them up and take them on every trip that we go on.  Kind of remind you of a Clif bar only SO much better.   
Definitely, going to be taking these on many road trips this summer.
I made up a Strawberry/Banana smoothie for the kids and we had a bunch leftover and so I
pulled out my Popsicle containers and 
filled them up and 
put them in the freezer and 
we enjoyed these on Saturday to cool off as we were out working hard in the yard.
The perfect way to cool off 
after working hard in the yard! 

June 19th - 23rd
Omelette eggs and pancakes
Meatballs over cauliflower

Steel Cut Oats
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Chocolate Cookies/Fruit and Nut Cookies 
(froze strawberry banana smoothie.... made hoagies, chicken salad, fruit and nut and chocolate cookies)

Applesauce muffins/bananas
Lunch Homemade Hoagies with chicken salad, string cheese, apples, Fruit/Nut Cookies
(Tuesday dinner-Thursday Dinner was provided for our youth outing Manti Trip)

Steel Cut Oats...SO excited to be back to our everyday breakfast routine
Green Smoothie, Artisan Bread with cooked turkey/melted cheese
Spaghetti and toast for dinner
GERMAN chocolate cake

Steel Cut Oats
Green Smoothie, Quesadillas
apple slices
Strawberry/Banana frozen pops that we froze on Monday from our smoothie we made
Snacked on GERMAN chocolate cake all afternoon in between working in the yard. Pretty much, when we came in to get drinks of water we would sneak a bite of cake
Worked hard in yard all day and so by the time we got to a stopping point, showered up, it was 7:30 before we were pulling out of the driveway.  Got to IF at 8:15 and grabbed a "Hot and Ready" pizza for dinner and took the kids to Baskins Robbins for ice cream as a treat for working SO hard helping in the yard.

Links to recipes used this week:

Another great week...
it's sunny and warm outside, grass is SO green, flowers are finally starting to bloom, garden is starting to sprout and we are starting to have LOTS of "porch time"!
Happy Week to all of you!

Chicken Salad...perfect for Summer events!

Oh the wonderful memories I have from 
Chicken Salad sandwiches!
Many a family event we have attended have had these to enjoy!

SO yummy!  
 Also easy to make on the road...
make sauce before leaving,
have grapes, onion and celery all cut up in bags in the cooler
 pick up a Rotisserie Chicken on your trip, 
break the chicken apart into small chunks, 
add in celery, onions, grapes, pour on sauce and voila, lunch or dinner is ready!

Chicken Salad
1-1/2 pounds chicken cooked up and cut into chunks  (about 3 or 4 chicken breasts...can also used leftover turkey, OR Rotisserie Chicken)
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 cups grapes cut in half
1 cup mayo
1/2 of a lemon juiced
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. mustard
2 tsp. sugar
pepper to taste.
Mix sauce together, pour over ingredients and stir well.   

Perfect filling for croissants, cream puffs or rolls of any kind!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kimmie in Real Life (Week 3)

Sorry this is WAY behind schedule. I was informed on Sunday  June 19th that I was on the list to be a leader for our youth group outing to the Manti Pageant from June 21st-23rd and so I was frantically spending my Monday afternoon getting us all packed and getting everything watered well in our yard before we headed out for 3 days, thus, I have had no computer time for the past week.

I really enjoy this challenge 

as I don’t have any other time in my year that I document all that I do in a week and it is fun to see all of the “little” things I do to make it through the week and how frugal I am, but in a good way, by creatively making sure nothing goes to waste.  

This week we also put our Vita Mix to use a little bit more by making 
Tortilla Soup and tried our hand at making almond milk as well.

Here are the 
food highlights of our week!
We spent all Saturday working out in the yard and while we worked I had a large pot of beans cooking on the stove that I had soaked the night before.  I set aside 6 cups of beans for Baked Bean Casserole and froze the remaining 8 cups of beans and liquid for future Beans and Ham-hocks.    
 Baked Beans 
 were definitely one of the favorite meals this week.
This week I made up a batch of homemade Ketchup
when I made up Baked Beans.   I have been trying to cut out the "high fructose corn syrup from our diet and MANY things including ketchup are loaded with this.  This is really yummy and while it doesn't have the same texture as store bought ketchup, it pretty much tastes the same.
Here for homemade Ketchup recipe.
Green Smoothie ingredients plus pineapple core...
equals perfect!

We filled our Vita Mix with a few tomatoes, carrot, celery, large slice of onion and bell pepper, large chunk of cheese, handful of clilantro, 1 cup hot water, 1 tsp of chicken bouillon and 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning and made a batch of Tortilla Soup that was very filling and much healthier than opening up a can of Campbells tomato soup.
I threw in a handful of cooked pinto beans at the end.  
SO yummy served with breadsticks.
Another green smoothie with pineapple all blended up 
and served with leftover pretzels made HAPPY kids!

Helpful tip for Cantaloupe…
don’t throw away your seeds after you cut it up. Save the seeds and blend them in your next smoothie.  Blending up the seeds in a smoothie makes a drink full of magnesium, iron, protein and antioxidants.
We enjoyed this smoothie SO much 
that we made it for lunch AND dinner!

I love when I have a baking day and bake bread
  because I always freeze a few loaves and those came in handy this week…
I pulled out bread and sliced it up to make French Toast 
and pulled out another loaf of bread, sliced it up and made grilled tuna/cheese sandwiches.

Never underestimate the power of Pasta Salad. 
I love making pasta salad in the summer  as it is pretty much a complete meal in one and I love it when we go on an outing and we can take a smaller cooler as we don’t have to pack so much food.  
Pasta salad, some fruit and a muffin make a great lightweight lunch!
This was Jade and Tracy's favorite this week!
We ventured out and made some almond milk in our Vita Mix, 
but I tweaked the recipe as it was very grainy and wasn’t smooth, but I got it where it is really yummy.  
Soak 1 cup almonds over night. 
The next morning drain off the water, put almonds in your Vita Mix 
with 5 dates, 
3 cups water and 
1-2 tsp vanilla and blend on high for 2 minutes. 
I then put this in our milk pitcher with 
1 quart cold water and ½ cup dry milk powder, 
mixed it well and it was a mild, creamy milk and was delicious in our morning steel cut oats.  
This is a great way to make milk using your food storage
that’s just not straight dry milk powder and the almonds add more protein.  

 Jade LOVES this and has begged me to make another batch this next week.
We used 2 cups of almond milk plus ¼ cup dry milk powder, 1/3 heaping cup sugar and 2 tsp vanilla and made Almond Milk Ice Cream in our “Freeze and Play Ice Cream ball”…it was delicious!  
(here for last years fun and adventure with this)

I love my rice cooker 
as our favorite rice is brown rice
but it takes 40 minutes to cook on the stove and I sometimes don't have time to "tend" rice on the stove. I just fill the bottom of the rice cooker with water add in 2 cups brown rice and 2-1/2 cups water to bowl, set the timer for 65 minutes and come back to perfectly cooked rice!
I love making up Tracy’s Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry
lots of veggies, small amount of chicken, perfectly flavored sauce served over brown rice…
this makes our top 5 family favorites as well!

Never waste your pineapple juice....
save it aside and use it in your smoothies or homemade carrot juice,
also freeze leftover pineapple for future dishes!

 Preparing for tomorrow today…
I pulled out some muffins out of my freezer to serve with our pasta salad for lunch and my kids begged for more and so I went and got a quart of applesauce from our food storage and made up another 3 batches of muffins to freeze for future lunches/snacks.  I freeze them 2 muffins per Zip-loc sandwich bag and each bag is one serving.

This time saver is wonderful for days when you have some extra time to bake so you have things to pull out on more hectic days.  I think these muffins are my kids favorite!  (it’s funny that they call them “Bran Muffins”, even though they are Applesauce muffins…the whole wheat flour in them must resemble bran to them).
Jade is my "adventure" kid 
as he loves anything different and out of the ordinary, especially "Vegetarian" meals.  
He was looking through our Vita-Mix recipe book and saw a recipe for carrot juice and begged me to make some up.
SO, that is what we served for lunch on Friday along with artisan bread, tuna and sliced tomatoes.
This wasn't such a hit with Ethan, but Jade and I loved it and he has begged me to make more this coming week as well!

June 12th - 18th
French Toast, Grapes, Egg/ham scramble
Sloppy Joes, Carrot sticks, fresh fruit
Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) leftover sloppy joes, fresh fruit, Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies
(kids and me) Green Smoothie, cheese bread, bananas
Vita Mix Tomato/veggie soup, bread sticks/pretzels
Old Fashioned Cookies

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) banana, green grapes, bread sticks, leftover soup, old fashioned cookies
(kids and me) Bananas, Green smoothie, bread sticks, old fashioned cookies
Baked Bean Casserole, tomato slices, cottage cheese, fresh fruit


Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy)fresh fruit, baked beans, tomatoes, Old Fashioned Cookies
(kids)Cantaloupe Smoothie, whole wheat toast, baked beans
Cantaloupe smoothie and tuna pattie melts for dinner with tomato slices

Steel Cut Oats
Pasta salad, sliced tomatoes, applesauce muffins
apple slices, toast with honey butter
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry over brown rice
Lemon Bars

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy...ate lunch with a co-worker)
(Kids and me) Open faced tuna sandwiches on Artisan Bread with tomatoes, carrot juice made in our Vita Mix
(kids dinner) Leftover Stir Fry and baked beans, Lemon Bars
(Tracy and I split a Pork Salad at Cafe Rio on our date)

Pancakes and eggs
Leftover Stir Fry
Almond Milk Ice Cream and Lemon Bars

 Links for recipes used this week…
Lemon Bars
So grateful to have the opportunity to “Stretch” and to put the quote by Percy Cerutty to the test…

"You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone”.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Homemade Ketchup makes delicious Sloppy Joes!

One of my many childhood memories 
was that of enjoying my moms yummy Sloppy Joes.

Most kids moms would buy cans of "Manwich" to make their Sloppy Joes, but, my mom just added a little of this and a little of that and I was always amazed and SO excited when she made these as they tasted SO good to me!
So happy my mom was able to right down the exact amounts of what she puts in this so I can make this delicious recipe for my family. 

I have been trying to cutting down on 
"high fructose corn syrup"
in our lives and it is amazing the things that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and one of those being Ketchup. 
So, one day when I was browsing through one of my cook books I came across this recipe for homemade ketchup. I decided to make it up when I am making Sloppy Joes, Baked Beans, Sunshine Bean Casserole, etc...to see how good it tasted.  While the texture is not as smooth as bottled ketchup you purchase from the store, the taste is pretty much the same and is perfect when you're baking and making sauces. 

Love this recipe and enjoy having an
alternative to keeping down our consumption of high fructose corn syrup.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate in an airtight container.

And last but not least,
here is the recipe for Sloppy Joes 
Mom's BBQ
1-1/2 pounds ground beef browned well 
Then add in:
1 large chopped onion
2 tsp. chili powder
1 large squirt of mustard
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. butter
Enough ketchup to make a good sauce (I start with 2/3 cup and stir and add in more until I get a nice sauce that is not too thin, not too thick).
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer at least 2 hours. 
(this freezes well so you can freeze leftovers to pull out for future meals 

Serve on fresh baked hoagie buns!
SO yummy and tasty! 

Delicious Lemon Bars!

Lemon Bars = Heaven!

I have always been a Citrus lover...
 anything made with Lemons, Limes or Oranges,
always makes me HAPPY!

Lemon Bars, while decadent 
are the perfect amount of tart and sweet, 
with a delicious, buttery crust with bits of chopped walnuts 
and lemony curd filling. 
They resemble Lemon Meringue Pie, without the Meringue.

In Tracy's words... 
these are perfectly delicious and I have to agree myself!

Lemon Bars
2 cups flour
1 cup butter
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
Mix like pie crust.  Place mixture in a grease 9x13 inch pan and bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 eggs beaten lightly
½ cup lemon juice
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons flour
2 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
Blend all ingredients together and pour over baked crust.  
Bake 30 minutes more in 350 degree oven.  
Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar 
Let cool overnight and cut into bars.   I keep mine refrigerated until ready to serve.

Oh So Easy Pasta Salad!

Summer-Time means that we enjoy 
lots of quick and yummy salads!

Pasta Salad 
is so quick and easy to throw together and uses ingredients we usually always have on hand.

I love making pasta salad in the summer  
as it is pretty much a complete meal in one and I love it when we go on an outing and we can take a smaller cooler as we don’t have to pack so much food.  
Pasta salad, some fruit and a muffin make a great lightweight lunch!

This is pretty much an "anything goes" salad  
and you can throw in whatever things in you have on hand. 
I have also added in chopped broccoli, or a cooked chicken breast and sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. 
Quick and Easy Pasta Salad 

2 cups dry pasta spirals cooked until tender (drain well)
(then add in)
3 hard boiled eggs peeled and  finely chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced grapes
2 slices of bacon cooked until crisp and crumbled
2 large slices of onion finely chopped
1-2 stalks of celery finely chopped
cheese chunks (however much you like)

(sauce...mix the following together until smooth)
1/4 cup Mayonaise
1/4 cup Salad Dressing
1 large squirt of mustard
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
Pour sauce over the ingredients and mix well.  
Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.  
Top with chopped tomatoes when serving.  Can also add in a cooked chicken breast or chopped broccoli, or Parmesan Cheese.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life is enjoyable, even in the rain!

"To find the universal elements enough; 
to find the air and the water exhilarating; 
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter. . .
to be thrilled by the stars at night; 
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - 
these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
-  John Burroughs

I can honestly say I enjoy each and every day of my life
and I am so grateful to be blessed with the best family in the world that enjoys and recognizes that it is truly all of the “little” moments in life that make it so big!

I’m so grateful to have a family that gets excited over walks and hikes in the mountains how little or big they may be, a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, seeing little birds or any animal in nature, the ever changing clouds in the sky, blue skies, rain, snow, wild flowers blooming, birds chirping, trees in the forest, rugged mountain terrain, snow capped mountains, mountain lakes, rivers and streams.

Happiness truly is time spent together, whatever it is and whatever we are doing, as long as we are together we are happy, especially while out enjoying all the beauty that nature has to offer!

Wednesday June 8th , 2011
was a day that I had to work doing home CHATS from 7-9 am and then I had the rest of the day off and so Tracy decided to take the day off and we SEIZED The MOMENT
we asked the kids what they wanted to do with our day off and they answered
“I want to go hiking in the mountains”.
So, even though we knew it was going to rain we didn’t let that stop us…we loaded our cooler with a picnic, packed our rain gear, jumped in our car and we headed to the mountains to enjoy a wonderful afternoon seeing the wonderful sights, smelling the smells and hearing the sounds that nature has to offer! 

Here are some photos showing the beauty and fun 
we experienced that wonderful day out in nature!
my favorite person 
leaning on that bridge looking back at me!
So happy it's DATE NIGHT tonight!!

Savoring and cherishing each and every 
moment of my wonderful life, 
taking in the beauty that so abundantly surrounds me 
whether it be rainy or blue skies and sunshine 
and realizing that nothing is more highly prized  
than the value of each day we are blessed to enjoy!