If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Meal prep for a crowd

Hello everyone. 
Last weekend was a big football game in our town.  Some of our family members went to the game and quite a few of them were at our home for entire day, and a few spent the night. 
I needed to have meals planned ahead because complicated cooking just doesn’t happen when 6 young kiddos are here and doing restaurant food is not an option on game day.  Our town is not big and when 70000 football fans come,  all the streets, stores and restaurants are just full to capacity.  

So, first thing I did was write out a plan.  
We used food we already had so I didn’t need to spend any time shopping.  

The day before,  I cooked the ground beef for the taco salad and the sausage patties for breakfast.  I stored them in the fridge in zipper bags so there would 2 less containers to wash as meal clean up time.  
I made extra ice 

I set out ingredients we would be using over the weekend

And the crockpots that would be used for heating. 
I had never used the crockpot liners but I’m so glad we had them,  the Velveeta Rotel tomato dip is a family favorite but it makes a cooked on mess.  I won’t use the liners everytime I crockpot cook but I plan to always use them for Rotel dip.  

I had older eggs and newer eggs.  
The older eggs were cracked into 1 container to make sheet pan eggs for Sunday, which were OK but I prefer Stovetop cooked eggs.  The rest of the older eggs were hard boiled and we enjoyed them this past week on salads.  

Fixings ready for the taco salads- stored in plastic dishes with lids keeps them fresh.  

Fresh fruit and carrot sticks- stored the same way.  
The top right container is grapefruit, which is not the ruby red grapefruit that I thought I was buying.  

Orange jello with mandarin oranges and plain cherry jello- made in 5 ounce portion cups I buy from Amazon

It took planning to get everything to fit in our fridge but I did it. 

We use throw away dishes only when we have a big group for a meal. 

On Saturday, before everyone got here,  I put the taco meat and Rotel dip in their crockpots with liners to heat. 

Unsweetened tea and lemonade were put in these dispensers with an assortment of cups right beside them 

I don’t have photos of the actual meals except for this one as it was getting set up. 
It was just too busy a time to set up photos.  

Granddaughter Elizabeth is always happy with fresh fruit.  

Here are the 4 littlest grands-  all enjoyed their meals and playing with their cousins. 

Granddaughters Elizabeth and Andie- eating their favorite food- fruit and nachos.  

I took a few photos of the adults but they were not good and I have a rule that I never post unflattering photos of anyone.  

I’ve been cooking big meals for a long time, first for my family and then at church and at the 2 fraternity houses I worked at while we had 2 children in college.  
My advice is plan ahead, when possible use what you already have, and then be flexible because no matter how much you prep and plan,  things can get a little crazy.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cooking, shopping, sewing, family fun..........

Good Monday morning everyone, 
Below is a very old fashioned dessert that I made last week.  
My aunt made a similar recipe with cream cheese but this recipe is even simpler and lighter than hers. 
 I found this Lemon Fluff recipe at Taste of Home. 

It’s a very frugal recipe using just graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon jello and canned milk.  

The secret to its lightness is whipping up a can of cold milk.  

That little can of milk whips up just like heavy cream.  
By itself, it is very bland but when you add the lemon, etc in the recipe,  it comes out delicious.  
My husband liked it so much! So, I made a second Lemon Fluff  yesterday that we will enjoy this week.  

A new food we tried is the ready to cook flour tortillas from Aldi.  
The tortillas are very thin and need to cook about 2 1\2 minutes in a hot dry skillet or gridle. 

The tortillas puff up while cooking.  

They are made in Weslaco, Texas and are probably sold at other stores in addition to Aldi. 
I know some of you are very interested in the nutrition and ingredients of store foods so hopefully you can read the package if you want.  

When cooked, our tortillas didn’t roll but they did fold in half just fine and hold the taco ingredients. 

Each bag has 20 tortillas in it so it will feed my husband and I several meals. 
I think the bags were about $2 -2.75, they are in the refrigerator case near the lunch meat products.  

Another new product I’m really liking are these little clips for sewing.  
They look kind of like tiny clothes pins.  

They are great for sewing knits, to hold the pieces together flatter than pins, especially knit fabric.  
I ordered mine form Amazon, 100 clips were about $9 

Sewing projects- I made a Summer Kimono pattern from Patterns For Pirates for my daughter. 

For myself,  I used some $2 a yard Walmart knit to make a Laundry Day Tee dress by Love Notions.  
And, a summer kimono, which I don’t love.  Maybe mine is too big or maybe I’m just not a kimono girl.  

Another sewing project was hemming 5 pair of suit pants for our son that wears suits 95% of his working time.  
One was Ralph Lauren and it was an especially nice feeling fabric.  

We still like our Rae Dunn pottery but I haven’t added any new pieces in months. 
My son saw a lot of mugs at the Little TJMaxx in our town so I went and checked them out.  
I happily bought some Christmas mugs for us and some others for gifts.  

Granddaughter Elizabeth is in Girl Scouts and they had an old fashioned tea party to learn about manners and traditions.   
These 2 photos are a bit blurry but don’t the little girls look sweet with tea cups and such? 

I’m re-posting our Stuffed Pepper Soup since so many of you asked about it.

Hope you all have a good week ❤️🏡❤️

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dollar General and more soup

I haven’t been to Dollar General in a few weeks.  They have some new digital coupons and I think I did pretty good this morning,  
I used a $3/15 Coupon, $1 Angel Soft and $3 Arm & Hammer detergent pods.  
The Angel Soft is a huge package, lots of sheets per roll and the heaviest package of TP I remember buying in a long time.  
The summer shoes were .50 and will go in the closet for the granddaughters next summer. 
The water hose sprayers were .25 and the seeds were .08 and .12
All my summer stuff was on big markdown.  

I hope the receipt is readable.  I paid $10.95 total.  
All 3 coupons I used are digital and available to anyone.  

My husband picked more peppers.  We liked the stuffed pepper soup so much, I made a double batch.  😱♥️

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rustic fall crafts - child friendly

Hello everyone. I saw this YouTube video a month or so ago and I thought her outdoor fall decorations and instructions were right up my alley.

And then I saw my husband had lots of wood scraps in his shop.  
I looked on Pinterest and saw even more easy fall crafts and decided we had the right size scraps to make some friendly monsters and some chunky pumpkins. 
I gathered up paint, brushes, a cover for the table, permanent black markers, a hot glue gun and gloves for me. 
When 3 of our grands were here yesterday,   they did the painting,  

We ended up with10 pumpkins made from scraps of 4 by 4 posts.  Our stems are made from old thread spools and wood craft balls.  They were hot glued on along with some silk maple leaves.  
I kept 5 for our front porch and the grands took 5 to their home, their mom put theirs on their mantle.  

I saw these happy monsters on Pinterest and wanted to make them too.
They are scraps of 2 by 4s that the grands painted.  When the paint was dry, I added some of the facial features with black markers.  Some of the eyes are eyeball stickers.  
I don’t do scary anything so our monsters are all cheerful and friendly looking. 

They will be standing in this living room window during this season. 

The pile of blankets stayed on the couch because grands were here for 2 days in a row and the youngest ones all take afternoon naps.  

The post pumpkins are on our front porch in between a bunch of ........
Osage Oranges that grow on a tree near a pond in our addition.  I pick them up most every fall to decorate our porch.

We are having a very mild fall. We still have zinnias in full bloom and we still have monarch butterflies.  
I thought monarchs migrated before cold weather arrives?

5 of the grands were here for lunch- we all enjoyed quesadillas, grapes and bananas on Tupperware dishes. 
Meals don’t have to be fancy or elaborate. 
Their afternoon snack was popcorn. 

And here’s 2 year old JackJack since you can’t see his face in the group photo
He’s cute, right? 
And you know the reputation Two Year Olds have? 
Well,  that’s our JackJack.  His name is Jackson but he calls himself JackJack and I like it.  
But his other two year habits......I know they will pass but he is a handful right now.  

We love him lots! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In Rhonda’s Kitchen ............

Hello everyone
I’m still making salad boxes that stay in our fridge. 
We like having salad whenever we want, toppings for sandwiches and chopped veggies to have with tuna or cottage cheese.  

I cooked an old but favorite recipe - Pampered Chef Taco Ring.  The recipe and variations are all over Pinterest.  
It’s taco meat and cheese, baked inside a ring made of Pillsburg crescent roll dough.  It is easy and good.  

Two of the grandsons were here for taco ring and they both enjoyed it.  

We really like the homemade spreadable butter and I’ve since made a second, bigger batch.  I used 1 pound of softened real butter and beat it with an electric mixer, then mixed in 1 cup of oil.  It’s easy to spread straight from the fridge and doesn’t taste weird like some other purchased butter spreads. 

We had some spreadable butter on this new oatmeal waffle recipe.  It’s a good recipe and one I will keep.  

Another new recipe is this soup recipe..  I saw this recipe in a recent Taste of Home magazine but I changed it up a bit.  
stuffed Pepper Soup this is the Taste of Home link 

Here is my version, and it was a great way to use some of bell pepper harvest. 
My version uses less beef, less brown sugar, more rice and I added onions 

Rhonda’s Stuffed Pepper Soup 
1 pound ground beef- brown and drain
Stir in
1 diced onion
2 cups diced bell peppers
2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 t salt
Almost 1/2 t black pepper 
2 t beef bouillon granules 
1 T brown sugar
Bring to a boil, then cover and just simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are done to your preference.  We like our veggies still a bit crunchy.  
3 cups cooked rice- stir in and simmer a few more minutes and then serve.  
It makes a lot, more than 2 quarts.  

For the rice- we had taco rice bowls on Sunday and I cooked extra rice knowing I wanted to use it in this recipe.  

We really liked this soup and will make it again.  

I saw a new to me recipe to make almond joy cookies with just 4 ingredients. 

They were very quick to make but my husband and I  both rated them as “just OK”
I’m not sharing the recipe because I won’t be making them again and wouldn’t recommend them,  

But if you do look up this recipe and make them,  I hope you don’t burn half of them like I did 

Tonight’s supper was a good one.  
We had baked green enchiladas.  
My version is very easy- I use just the below ingredients along with a little diced onion.  
Just grease your 13x9 baking pan.  
Add a little of the green enchilada sauce.
Then layer in the corn tortillas, diced cooked chicken, diced onions, grated cheese, green sauce, another layer of tortillas, the rest of the sauce and the rest of the cheese. 
Then bake at 350 about 30-40 minutes or until golden on top and bubbly.  

I didn’t take a photo of the finished casserole but here are the leftovers.  It just looks like a basic casserole when done.  
But it tastes so good! 
I dished up some to take to my parents and the rest will be our supper in a night or two.  

My big project for the last 6 days has been organizing all of my recipes.  
I had recipes in a card box, a stack of printed recipes and 3 notebooks.  
This was what our dining table looked like this morning but it looked lots worse earlier in the week.  
I went through every recipe and discarded quite a few.  
They all ended up in 3 notebook binders that have vinyl pocket sheet protectors.  

The recipes are in 3 categories- main dishes which is all meat or protein entrees, 
Baking which is all breads, desserts, etc. 
sides and misc is all side dishes, non food recipes like bubbles and some old menu plans.  

The 2 old phones on the table are running off our WiFi and earning Swagbucks.  I don’t do Swagbucks too seriously but do try to do them while I’m doing something else.  I can earn a $25 gift certicate without much effort each month or even double that if I work on them more.  

I used decorative paper and stickers from my craft room and reused the notebooks I already had.  I spent a lot of time on these new cookbooks but no money.  

Some of the pages have scrapbook paper and some don’t.  

I trimmed down a lot of the recipes with decorative scissors. 

I’m very happy to have completed this project.  It’s been needing done for quite some time. 
I rediscovered some old favorites I’ve forgotten about and plan to cook again soon. 

My 100 day sewing project has been completely neglected this week.  Last week, I did cut out 5 garments but they are all sitting, waiting to be sewn.  
But that’s my homemaking life.  I do lots but there just isn’t enough free time to do it all.  
Can I get an Amen? 


Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda