Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler


This recipe went down as the most delicious cobbler I've ever had the pleasure of eating!! It was just that good :-) I had already dished some servings out and I thought hey I should take a pic of this and put it on my blog, so that's why some of it is already gone. It's not that attractive to look at to begin with, but the yummiest recipes usually aren't!! I love to share great recipes and boy are you ever gonna enjoy this one!

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup boiling water just until mixture is evenly moist.
In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and blackberries. Transfer to a cast iron skillet, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Drop dough into the skillet by spoonfuls. Place skillet on the foil lined baking sheet.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until dough is golden brown.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My new adventure...


I'm now selling Pampered Chef Products! I'm SO excited to venture down this road with a great company! I just LOVE their products and love going to the parties, so I thought why not sell it! I could possibly make some money and if I did fail, then I would have all those amazing products to keep! It's a win-win situation :-)
I also have a new FaceBook page is anybody wants to "like" it
http://www.facebook.com/vhadleychef

Vicky

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kitchen Appliances...

Since we rent that means I don't get to buy any new kitchen appliances. Most of you will probably think who cares about stuff like that, but it is a big deal if you spend most of your day in the kitchen! Some people dream of being rich and famous, or climbing the corporate ladder, I dream of having a huge sunny kitchen, I already have many cute mouths to feed! LOL!

So now I keep a folder full of my "dream kitchen". It includes links to websites, cut out pictures from magazines, or even just names of cool appliances and wants that come across my mind! Here is one of my favorite places to look and dream about stoves!

I would LOVE to have the LG Double Oven Electric Range, a double oven, AHHHHHH, only in my dreams :-)



Vicky

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School...

Yesterday has got to go down as one of the hardest moments of my life as a Mother. Having to leave my crying 5 year old in the arms of another person while he was saying he wanted his Mommy! It was the first day of school and it was very, very hard! Yes I've been through this now for the 3rd time, but it didn't make it any easier. This was by far the hardest 1st day out of any of the kids. The other big kids didn't cry and yell for me, but little Evan did, it was heart breaking! Walking down the hall I was blabbering like some fool, but I couldn't help it! My child was hurting and it broke my heart! We stayed at the school and my friend that works there went to check on him a couple of times. When I found out he was fine, we left, reluctantly.

I came home and was so upset, even Justin (my 2 yr old) was very upset, but he was just thankful that he didn't get left behind too! He was sad the whole day and when my dh came home from lunch and asked him if he wanted to go to school he just burst out in tears! My husband didn't even get to add on to get the big kids, he just heard the word school and started crying!

But thankfully Evan ended up really liking his first day of Kindergarten! PTL! I'm SOOO relieved! I'm still convinced that it must've been because we were blessed for him to have an amazing teacher this year! In fact, we've been blessed for the third time now since she was also my other two sons K teacher! I just love her to pieces and now I'm even more in awe of her after the way she treated Evan yesterday! I left him in her lap, yes lap, she was holding him just like she would her very own grandson. She even called me yesterday to let me know that after about 15 minutes he was fine and really enjoyed the whole day. So once again, the Lord has blessed us!!

I can't write this without mentioning the older kids, they each went to a new school this year. My oldest started middle school, it's still hard to believe. He really enjoyed it and thought the lunchroom (cafeteria) was just so cool! They play music and have barstools, and that was enough coolness for him, LOL! My other son started 3rd grade and he was lucky enough to have his best friend in his class!

We picked them up and was so relieved and thankful that they each had a great day! We came home and after a snack, we all played outside. I came in and fixed dinner, then talked to Evan some more about his day and then went back outside and I pulled the little kids in their wagon. After baths, I read the little kids 2 books and Evan was out, LOL! He was so tired, he had such a big day!

The big kids finally went to sleep at 9 and somewhere between 9 and 9:30 I fell asleep on the couch watching tv and dh was on the love seat asleep too, LOL! You can tell we're getting old :-) We went to bed and I only got up once to check on the baby and laid back down and slept till 6.

What started out as such a very horrible, upsetting day, ended very good and I'm so thankful for that! I just keep hoping and praying that each day is great for my 3 big kids in school!! Oh and btw, Evan was all smiles this morning! I met his principal in the hallway and she asked how he was and I told her, and she said Mom is all smiles too, and she was so right!!

Vicky

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Healthy eating...

I know you're heard it all, eat this, don't eat that, blah, blah, blah.... You didn't sign up for a blog titled Love From the Oven to get healthy stuff, right?? Stay with me here! I'm going to be trying out and posting new recipes that are not only healthy, but super tasty too!
Not only do I have unwanted pounds to lose, I also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that is caused by what I'm eating. Yeah, I bet the Dr. never told you that! But it's very, very true! Almost anything can be traced back to bad eating habits, IBS, allergies, skin disorders, auto-immune diseases, ADD, the list goes on and on! If you don't believe me, just do some research for yourself and you will be amazed!

I was never big on processed stuff before, so gradually going to whole foods really isn't that big of a leap for me, just more time consuming, but my family is certainly worth it!

So who wants to join the band wagon with me? Any takers??

Vicky

Daily things...

Yesterday I was so tired, as I usually am on many occasions and I kept thinking why am I so tired? I'm trying to get healthier, eating better and exercising daily, I guess I'm just pure L-A-Z-Y! I don't really feel lazy and don't get to do anything for myself, so I wrote down everything I did from the time I got up, to the time I passed out that night, LOL! What I read was shocking! I only sat down 4 times the entire day and 3 of those times were to eat! It was crazy and it was a very typical day for me, only difference was I didn't have a baking project to do and I'm usually doing that several times a week! So now I can proudly say, no I'm not lazy, just very busy even though it looks like I don't get a lot done around here, LOL!

When you stay at home and have many small kids around doing housework is like shoveling during a snowstorm, you can never catch up, LOL!

Vicky

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread





I found this yummy bread from one of my most favorite websites, hallee the homemaker, here is the link to it, complete with full color pictures! She always has such nice tutorials on all her stuff :)

http://www.halleethehomemaker.com/2009/08/whole-wheat-honey-oatmeal-bread/

This is almost identical to my new favorite sandwich bread that I posted about a few weeks ago, the main difference is the addition of the eggs in this recipe. I found it to be great tasting and definitely a keeper! If you love bread, you should give this a try for yourself!

To be honest, I had this recipe written down and didn't even know it was from hallee's blog until I went to make her's and I thought, boy does that look familiar and I flipped the paper over and it was from her blog,LOL! What can I say, I write great recipes down in my recipe keeper book and write the original source on the back just in case there's a problem with it so I can go back and look! One of these days I will get completely organized :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amazing Giveaway!

One of my most favorite blogs is having an incredible giveaway! Here is the link to it
http://www.halleethehomemaker.com/2011/07/two-year-blogiversary-giveaway/#comment-11695

It's a giveaway for a L’Equip NutriMill Grain Mill. I only dream about having this in my own house! Anyone that is obsessed with making bread would love this giveaway! When I first read it, I was so giddy with excitement, like a kid on Christmas morning, LOL! Of course I always think in my head that I'm really going to win every contest I enter! So that's why I get so excited, LOL! BTW, I have only won one thing I ever entered, it was a contest to get free coupons for Nesquik, LOL! The kids did love it :-)

I'll be praying hard that I win this one!!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

three years ago...

I had a big long post written, but it's just too painful to have it out on paper (or computer) so I won't be posting it after all. Today makes three years since my Mom has passed away. It's still too sad to think about and I can still cry just thinking of her. But as the old saying goes, time heals everything, well that just isn't true, time only allows you to deal with things better. I can think of Mom now and not feel like my chest is going to explode from being so heavy with grief. I can think of her and smile through the tears. Whenever someone is taken from you suddenly without a warning, it's just a hard blow to handle. Mix in guilt and regret and it's just not a good combination. It's still very hard...

So I urge you today to turn off your computer and tell all your family members just how much you love them, because life is uncertain and you never know what the future holds, not even the next second!

Friday, June 10, 2011

June Menu Dinner Plan

Since it's already the 10th, I'll just start with today :)

June 10- Spaghetti, cheesy garlic bread, salad (also making pinto beans in pressure cooker)

11-Quiche, french bread, Salad

12- Double Decker Taco's (homemade), Salsa & chips

13- Ham & Potato Frittata, Broccoli

14- Grilled Chicken, mashed potatoes, cheesy noodles, corn, broccoli

15- Chicken Fajitas, Rice

16- Bacon Cheeseburgers*, Fries, baby Carrots w/ranch

17- Fajita Nacho's (use leftover meat), Salsa & chips

18- Eat Out (Evan's special weekend)

19- Eat out (possibly) or Freezer Quiche OR Freezer Chicken pot pie

20- Chili, grilled cheese, baby carrots w/ranch


21- Spinach Quiche, Italian Bread*, salad

22- Leftovers

23- Taco Bake (freezer)

24- Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza*

25- Evan's Birthday Party (to be determined later)

26- Pizza Casserole, Salad

27- Homemade Vegetable Soup, Cheesy Roll-ups

28- Spaghetti, garlic bread*, salad

29- Evan's Birthday dinner-Homemade chicken nuggets, mac 'n cheese, corn (out of the mouth of babes, LOL!)

30- Spicy Chicken Sandwiches*, Fries, Baby carrots w/ ranch

*need to make something extra that requires time
Homemade breads (June 16,21,24,28)
Sauce (June 24)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homemade Refried Beans


My husband LOVES Mexican food! I think he could eat it all day long :) So his love of this type of food inspired me to create this recipe! I found a few off the internet and mixed them and the results were great! These are the closest beans to a Mexican Restaurant that I've ever eaten! He kept asking me were they healthy?? I said healthier than the restaurant, this scared him and he kept probing till I fessed up what was actually in them. The secret is bacon grease! Now stay with me, if you just threw up in your mouth, kindly exit out of the page, if you're thinking yummy, then you're my kind of reader :-)

I recently purchased a WolfGang Puck Pressure Cooker (review to come shortly!) and I did a small bag of dry pinto beans in there in 15 minutes! I kid you not, that quick! I was SO impressed! Anyway, you know I tend to ramble.... I had leftover pintos and didn't want to waste them so I've been wanting to make my DH some bean burritoes since he loves Taco Bell's. I will post a tutorial on those later, I made some the other day, but forgot to take a picture of the finished product, guess I could grab it out of the freezer and do it :)

On to the recipe:
-Cooked Pinto Beans (just use leftovers, but not from the can)
-1 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp oregano
-4 dashes garlic powder (now don't go crazy)
-couple shakes of hot sauce
-1/4 cup butter
-bacon grease (I didn't measure it out, just what was leftover from a lb of cooked bacon) not even 1/2 small teacup.

I'm sorry, I hate when people post recipes and don't have accurate measurements, I think that is the baker in me! When baking you have to be exact! So accept my apologies :)

Melt the butter and bacon grease, add pinto beans and mash up well. Dh likes a little bean texture in his so I just leave it kinda lumpy, do as you want with yours! Then add the seasoning. Do not add all the bean water, just discard that. combine well, then add some cheddar cheese and you'll be in hog heaven :-)

Vicky

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

We recently stumbled onto an amazing deal. I bought 36 pints of blueberries for $8!! Unbelievable, I know!!! I made a few dozen muffins, used some in banana/blueberry bread (recipe coming soon!) and froze the rest. The kids love eating them frozen, yes, frozen solid with nothing on them! The baby gets mad because I can't give them to him (choking hazard), but if you run hot water over them they thaw out literally in seconds!

Nothing can beat the taste of fresh blueberries in any baked item! The sad little muffin mix you buy in a box/pouch, should be outlawed! It's horrible and tastes all chemically (yes I have issues with chemically tasting artificial foods!). Nothing beats the taste of a real blueberry, nothing. Can you tell I really LOVE Blueberry muffins? LOL! I just recently found out Justin (aka baby) loves these also, he picks these over the chocolate ones (cocoa banana muffins).

I found this yummy recipe on my favorite website, allrecipes.com. It calls for a streusel topping. I leave this out, since the kids just eat 'em plain, my body doesn't need the extra calories! Feel free to add it to yours and just savor the moment of that first bite :-)

Ingredients

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, beaten
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
STREUSEL:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add egg; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla. Fold in blueberries. Fill 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until browned.

*TIP* to keep your blueberries from sinking to the bottom, coat them with flour before adding them to your mixture!

Homemade Strawberry Pie



I haven't had a delicious strawberry pie since I was pregnant with my 3rd son! So that was 5 years ago! I don't know why but I think it's because I ate them so much I made myself sick of them! It is possible :)
Anyway, in between those 5 years I did try one at Frisch's Big Boy, it was so disgusting! The glaze tasted all chemically, YUCK! I have a thing with things tasting chemically. I don't even know if that is a real word or not, LOL! Anyway, here is the recipe to make your own strawberry glaze and I promise you the only thing you'll be tasting is pure yumminess!!

GLAZE:
-6 cups fresh strawberries, divided
-3/4 cup water
-3/4 to 1 cup sugar
-3 Tbls Cornstarch
-5 drops red food coloring (optional)

Measure 1 cup berries and puree in blender (I used a food processor) In pot add purred berries and water, bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes. Sieve berry mixture (I didn't do that, but thought I would include it here) In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in sieved berry mixture. cook and stir over med heat till glaze has thickened. Stir in food coloring (optional) Let COOL

Spread about 1/3 cup glaze over bottom and sides of a pie shell. Arrange half of halved strawberries, stem end down, in shell, spoon remaining glaze over berries, cover each berry, repeat, chill at least 3-4 hours.

Or you can do like me and just half the strawberries, dump some glaze over 'em and mix it all up and dump in the pie crust, LOL! I always say my food doesn't look that attractive, but the mouth and tummy doesn't care :)

This recipe makes a generous portion of glaze, I filled a regular pie crust and a graham cracker one and still have a container full of strawberries and glaze leftover!

I hope you take the time to make your own glaze, it's so worth it!!

Vicky

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cleaning Challenge, starts June 6th!


If anybody is interested in this and doesn't have the money to buy the book, ($4.99) please contact me immediately so we can get you your book for the challenge!

Vicky

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm


I'm always looking for new lip balms to try and break my habit of Chap Stick, yes I'm addicted to that stuff and have been for many, many years now :(

I got to review and try out CARMEX lip balms and really like them! So now I have some for you to try out too! I have 2 brand new, sealed, CARMEX, Moisture Plus ultra hydrating lip balm. In sheer pink tint and sheer peach tint. They both have Sunscreen/SPF 15, so get your lips summer ready!! LOL!

The only requirement I have is that you be a follower of this blog. To enter GIVEAWAY just leave a comment to let me know your name and e-mail address. Giveaway ends Monday, June 6th. Good luck!!

Vicky

Starting a new cleaning challenge, please join me!!


I stumbled on an e-book that I think is worth sharing. It's called 31 Days to Clean. I bought it for my Nook for $4.99. Not that it matters, but this is only the 2nd book I've ever bought for my Nook (yes I'm that cheap and picky!) What I really loved about the ideal of this e-book was that it has challenges to do. I'm desperately searching for something to click with me and I think this may just be the thing! Just today the author has released free downloads for daily challenges now, so I will be beginning this on Monday and I hope some of you will join me! Here is the website that tells you all the information about the book.
http://31daystoclean.com/

You can get the book on your Nook, Kindle or download to your computer, so no waiting for the book to arrive in the mail, it's instant, gotta love that!

I bought this book yesterday and my house is already cleaner! What I loved the most was it was written by a real Mom that still has little kids in the house and basically hates to clean. Hey wait, that's me too! LOL! So I can totally relate! I'm super excited to start the daily challenges this Monday, June 6th. I'm going to keep a link on my sidebar if anyone is interested!
Happy Cleaning!!

Vicky

Sandwich Bread


This is my new favorite bread! It's great with sandwiches, or my kids like to eat it by itself :-)
Honey Oatmeal Bread
-1 cup water
-1 Tbls Vegetable Oil
-1/4 cup honey (if you spray your cup with Pam before adding the honey, it will just slide right off of there!)
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp active dry yeast
-2 tsp vital wheat gluten (you can leave out if you don't have it, it helps the bread bake higher and nicer)

*Put in bread machine, set for dough cycle. Trust me, you don't want to bake it in the machine, use your oven because you can taste a difference! I recently made it and baked it in the machine, my kids wouldn't even eat it. My mother-in-law was here at the time and said it was very good. Fortunately I have one of the good MIL's and she says everything I fix is good, LOL! Just take my word for it, use your oven!

Oh, guess you need to know what to do in the oven?? Yes, I get sidetracked easily! Anyway, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, take dough out of bread machine, knead just a couple of times, throw in a greased bread pan and cover and let rise till doubled, usually around 45 minutes. Bake about 20 minutes.

Hamburger buns


Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns

-1 1/4 cup milk
-1 large egg
-6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
-3 Tablespoon sugar, or honey
-4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (if you don't have this, leave out)
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

-Place all ingredients in bread machine pan according to manufacturer’s instructions. Program for “dough.” When done, divide into 12 equal portions. *Form each portion into a flat round for hamburger buns or a thin loaf for hot dog buns. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Bake for 15-22 minutes, until lightly browned.

My oven runs hot, so it usually takes less than 15 minutes for these to bake.

*Note* In order to get the Kaiser shape that I did my buns in, you need to do your dough like a pretzel, tucking the sides in, and then let rise and bake as normal. If you need help on this, just let me know :)

Up close view

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Aging pets...

Dawson,
I stayed up way too late last night worried about my dog. He started coughing a couple of times, which led me to the internet.... I don't know about you, but when I don't know something I look and research the topic till I can't stand it anymore! You could say that's an anal part of my personality and I would have to agree!
Anyway, Dawson will be 14 years old this November. He's been with us since he was 7 weeks old! My oldest son is 11, so my kids have never known life without him.
Of course I found everything from allergies, to a collapsed trachea, to congestive heart failure! Thankfully he is fine and no more coughing last night or today, but I know it's coming! I keep trying to prepare myself, knowing what the near future holds, but nothing helps. I'm crying now as I type this thinking about not having him around :(
I know it's inevitable, but still....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Some funny pictures...



Sunday, May 29, 2011

A fresh new look for my blog!

This month makes me having a blog for 1 year now! I can't believe it's been that long! So with that in mind, I decided it was time to give my blog a new look! Unless I find something else that I like better, I will stay with this one for awhile :) I'm going to try and post more regularly also.

Vicky

Monday, May 23, 2011

I did my first 5k!!


This past Saturday I did the Weight Watcher's Challenge, to walk a 5k. Before doing this challenge I have to admit I pretty clueless as to how many miles a 5k is, it's 3.1 miles, which is easily doable. I'm up to 2 miles a day now, so thankfully it wasn't hard for me to walk it.

The best part of this experience was that my oldest son really wanted to walk it with me, well he wanted to run, but walked for my sake, LOL! It was very special for me to walk my very 1st 5k with him, it's something I will never forget!

The whole reason of me losing weight is to have more energy for my kids. To be able to play with them and not feel dog tired all the time.

I'm very happy to say that I've lost a total of 40 lbs in 6 months (I'm not counting the 2 months that I quit WW), I still have about 75 lbs to go, but my energy level has increased about 100%! Seeing the beautiful smiles on my kids faces when I'm playing sports with them is priceless!!

Vicky

SuperMom's


Thanks to the dawn of the internet and blogs, now we can go on and read just about everything that happens in the lives of almost everyone! I can even read about the lives of Mennonites from their very own blogs! (which I do find interesting, LOL!)

Reading these blogs often leave me sad and defeated. How in the world do they manage to accomplish all of this and that and have 7 kids that they homeschool! It's mind boggling! I rarely blog, my house is always a mess and I don't even homeschool my kids. I just don't see how they find the energy to do it all! Maybe I'm just L-A-Z-Y, yes I said it for the world to see (ok, so maybe my 100 viewers, LOL!), but I just can't physically do everything that I want to do. Sure I could be a lot more strict on the kids and on myself, but if it's sunny out then I want to be out in the sun playing with my kids or watching them, not doing housework! So I guess I'm lazy and unorganized!

I'm going to try my best to do better and get my house organized. My motto of as long as the kids are fed and cared for isn't cutting it anymore because if I don't control the clutter monster then the kids are going to be over taken in the mess, LOL!

I guess I won't be reading many blogs, I already feel like a big enough failure as it is so I won't have to read about some SuperMom boasting about how she does the job of 10 people with a smile on her face, LOL!

I'm not the same person as I was before I had kids, (we never are), I'm not even the same person now as I was 10 years ago. But one thing I do know is that I'm definitely not a SuperMom, nope, just a regular Mom trying her best to make it through yet another day, who passes out each night exhausted, but very happy and thankful for her messy house, not for the things, but the people inside it :-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plans for this summer...

I have HUGE plans for this summer, cooking plans with the kids. As the kids got older they declined from being in the kitchen with me. It progressed from being a fun thing to a I don't want to help thing. I never make them help, I always ask who wants to help. Usually when they discover video games or something else that strikes their fancy the I'm left alone in the kitchen. I still have my little Evan (my 4 yr old)that actually gets mad if I don't let him help me bake, but I know the time will come when I will hear him say he doesn't want to help too :(

Well this summer I'm making the kids help me, yes you read that right, forcing them to be in the kitchen! Only to teach them the basic skills they will need in life! I don't want my kids to be 30 and still don't know how to fry an egg! Growing up I wasn't allowed in the kitchen, my Mom never had the patience, she would always say she didn't have the nerves for us to help her, what a lame excuse! Well, cooking and eating are basic essentials of life that need to be taught to every human, boy or girl!

I told the kids about my "idea" and my oldest, Nathan, wasn't too happy about it. Nicholas (8yr old) smiled and was excited and of course little Evan was thrilled! I asked Nathan what he's going to do when he doesn't have his Mommy around to cook for him anymore. He said he would just eat Taco Bell, LOL! I said think about the money and more importantly your health! He laughed and agreed, knowing I was right.

School is out next week and I think I will sit down and make out a menu plan starting the following week. One day a week they will get to pick out any recipe they want from a cookbook and I will help them fix it, then the other time they will learn basic skills along with helping me fix something.

You never know what this summer may turn out to be, I may be sparking the flame of the next Emeril!!

Chicken Sandwich Recipe


Okay, so apparently I already posted this recipe and didn't remember, LOL! Not too uncommon for me since my short term memory tends to fade in and out :) So here is the link to the batter for the fried chicken sandwich, I use the same one to do chicken strips/nuggets.
http://my4pickles.blogspot.com/2011/03/seasoning-for-homemade-chicken.html

I will also post the recipe for the homemade buns in another post, they were amazing!!

Vicky

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trying to get organized...

I often wonder if I'm the only one that sits around and wishes she were more organized? I wonder if I'm the only Mother that has to wait 10 minutes every day for one of her kids to find a missing shoe! No matter how many times I tell them where to leave their shoes, they manage to always carry them off and of course lose them!
The kids will be out of school in 2 weeks and I'm super excited! Not only for the fact that they'll be home everyday, but also I have things planned. I'm going to try and get organized, as simple as that! I'm going to try to have a place for everything and everything in it's place kind of motto! Right now on a daily basis I wake up to a messy house. I just want to walk from my bed to the kitchen without stepping on a toy!

I'm not a super strict parent, so it's hard for me to force my kids to not have toys out of their bedrooms. I feel as though this is their house the same as it is mine, and a house is meant to be lived in! Now with that said, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they picked up every room, LOL!

I think they have too much stuff. We have a small house (for 6 people) and everybody, including me and my husband (especially his books!), we all have too much stuff, we need to downsize and donate a ton of stuff!

So here I sit typing, in front of me is a very cluttered computer desk, clutter everywhere I can see and a mountain load of laundry that needs to be done. I do laundry about 5 days a week and it always needs to be done! That is life and I'm not complaining, I'm thankful that I don't have to go to a laundromat.

I'm just rambling now and really need to get off here and clean. I have family coming in tomorrow and I don't want them to trip over the tons of toys scattered everywhere. The big kids did clean their rooms yesterday, so hopefully the little kids won't mess them up while they're at school.

I read a funny saying, it said: If you want a clean house, invite somebody over for dinner.

So maybe I'm not that weird after all... LOL!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bridal Shower Cookies

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing and Edible Sugar Pearls


I had so much fun doing these cookies! Even though I was in pain from an IBS attack, doing these helped keep my mind off of it! I really enjoy making cookies, even though they are very time consuming. I learn something new every time I use royal icing, meaning I learn what not to do next time, LOL!

The cookies are in the shape of a wedding cake and a wedding dress.

Vicky

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Royal Wedding...

I know some of you are sitting there and counting the days for it to happen and there are others like me who are already sick of it and wish it would just happen so people would talk about something else! I wondered what all the fuss was over this wedding, why is the whole world talking about it? To be honest, I didn't even give it a second thought until I kept seeing and hearing news coverage about it, a tad obsessively I might add! Since it's such a huge deal, the wedding of the century (and a century is a LONG time!) I thought I may tape it and see what the fuss is all about! I know some people will be up at 4 in the morning to watch it (crazy!) but I will watch it when I get to it, I'm sure I'll already know the details just by turning on the tv or computer by Friday morning.
Maybe it's where as a little girl I never dreamed up being a princess and getting my prince. I never dreamed of getting a husband, all I ever dreamed of was having my own babies (I was baby crazy!), no, not the insane, mentally disturbed 12 year olds on Maury that want a baby, LOL! I've just always wanted to have children since I played with all my baby dolls as a little girl! Thankfully I do have a wonderful husband with whom we created 4 perfect boys! So see, even if you don't plan on it, your life can work out great, LOL!

I think come this Friday, there will be 2 types of girls (young and old) that will be tuning in to see William and Kate wed, the die hard romantics, filled with little girl fantasies where the girl finally gets her prince, and the others, like myself, tuning in just to see what all the talk is about! Either way, when two people who are truly in love get married, it is a joyous occasion!

Vicky

Monday, April 4, 2011

My new obsession...


Decorated cookies with royal icing!!

This is only the 2nd time I've ever used royal icing on cookies. I did it last year when I made some bone shaped cookies when my kids were doing a lemonade stand at the yard sale. They were trying to raise money for the Pug Rescue, so I thought bone shaped sounded cute.

But this is the very first time I did an outline and let the icing flow in! I see TONS of mistakes on the cookies but like I was telling my sweet Mother-in-law earlier, I know now what to do differently the next time I make these. I think that will be very soon because I just loved it!!

I made these for my sons b-day party in a few days, but I'm not sure they'll make it that long....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seasoning for Homemade Chicken Strips/Chicken Sandwiches


I made these again last night and I just love them, and of course the kids do too :-)

1 egg
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp salt (I think this is a bit salty, you may want to use less if you're not a salt lover)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
4 chicken breast fillets

1.Beat egg, then combine with 1 cup water in small shallow bowl, stir.
2. Combine dry ingredients in another shallow bowl
3. Pound chicken breast with mallet till 1/4" thick, or cut into strips/nuggets.
4. Coat chicken with flour, yes, flour first, then dredge it in the egg/water mixture. coat chicken once again in flour and set it aside till all chicken is coated
5. Fry for 8 to 12 minutes OR till light brown and crispy.

I served this with steamed broccoli and fixed instant loaded mashed potatoes (got it free with coupon) and boy was that some nasty stuff, ewwww! I do hate instant potatoes, but this was just gross, even the kids wouldn't eat it and they are less picky with their palate them me!

Vicky

Random thoughts...

You know how you see things that you're immediately drawn too? Like your favorite flower out of a bunch, your favorite color out of the rainbow. Or maybe your flipping through a magazine or even sales paper and spot your favorite design of clothes. I don't know why, but I'm naturally drawn to looking at little boy clothes, I just love all the blues and greens. Even before I was blessed with 4 boys of my own, I always preferred to see those cute little clothes with puppy dogs on them or sports balls. You would think it would be the opposite since that's all I see, but no, I enjoy it. So I guess it was good I had all boys, LOL!

Every time I see a new cookbook, even my old ones, I'm naturally drawn to go straight to the sweet section! Not that I have a huge sweet tooth, I just love to bake. I love to mix and create something and have it bake up in the oven while creating a scrumptious aroma in the air! Whether it be homemade rolls, cake or cookies, I love to use my oven. I hurt my back a few weeks ago (it's been hurting on and off since I was 19 and in a serious car accident) and I couldn't bake anything at all for a week. Nothing, didn't even turn my oven on! I hurt it in the middle of making Banana Muffins with Evan (my 4 yr old) I had bent down to get my mini muffin pan out and heard a pop. OUCH!! My husband had to get them out for me when they were done and I knew I had to rest my back. Bending over to get things in and out of the oven really hurts my back for some reason, no matter how I bend.
So my back healed from that, oh did I mention all 6 of us had strep throat then also? Not fun! But thankfully we healed from that also and here we are now, only another problem. A week and a half ago I re-joined Weight Watchers. Yay for me, but not so good for baking. You see, I've noticed when I'm doing WW's I don't seem to bake a lot, it's too tempting. So this is a major problem since my blog's name is Love from the Oven! So I may have to think of other things to post about, as I'm sure you don't want to read about me cleaning the house or doing laundry, LOL!

I may re-design my blog so it will be easier for me to blog. Right now I have a template where to create a link I literally have to write a computer code for it! I feel like I'm part computer programmer whenever I blog, LOL! I just need to simplify things on there so I can post quickly and smoothly.

Vicky

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Day Ideas and GIANT Sugar Cookie Recipe :-)

You could start your day out making heart pancakes. This is something so fun and easy and it really impresses the kids', LOL! (The date on my camera was off last year)

Lunch could be a heart shaped sandwich packed in their lunch boxes with a special note from you!!

Aside from the obvious heart shaped cookies, you could do a huge GIANT Sugar Cookie like the one below. BTW, that is my cute little Evan, he was 3 in that picture, awwww, time stops for nobody (sniff sniff)


This year I plan on doing the breakfast and lunch things I mentioned above, with dinner being heart shaped pizzas. I still haven't decided on what the dessert will be yet, will post about it after V-Day!!

Oh, you guys might wanna make that Giant Cookie for your loved ones too! Here is the recipe. Note: if you don't have a heart shaped pan (I have a Wilton one) then you can easily put it on a regular cookie sheet/pizza pan and manually shape it into a heart!

-1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 Tbls milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray pan with PAM. Cream butter and sugar together. Add rest of the ingredients. Mix till smooth. Spread mixture onto pan with floured hands. Prick dough with fork.
Bake 15-20 minutes OR till lightly browned. Place on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Loosen edges with spatula, remove from pan to cool.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Vicky

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not as expected...

I had big plans for Super Bowl, big food plans that is! I had perfectly planned out appetizers, main course, football shaped dessert for weeks now! The excitement is over and the Packers won! I must say that I could care less since I loathe football, but it's an exciting time for men, LOL! I do watch the commercials though. Reality is I had a sick baby who was running a fever around the clock, so needless to say I rarely slept this past weekend. I managed to grab a nap with the baby yesterday afternoon, got up around 6pm and came in here and was pleasantly surprised! I saw my husband and 3 kids in the living room floor eating dinner! He had gotten them the $10 family meal from Long John Silver's! I can't begin to tell you how happy I was at that moment! You would've think he cooked a seven course meal, LOL! I was just so happy that they had food to eat and I didn't have to spend time in the kitchen after feeling bad!
I had planned on entering a cookie contest this weekend. I made the cookies, filled and decorated them, they didn't look so hot, so plan #2 was to make some royal icing. I didn't have any meringue powder so I found a recipe on the internet to use with egg whites. Well that didn't turn out good either, my colors weren't dark enough,ugh! I'm not even going to attempt #3 try, at least the kids can eat the cookies (minus the ones I decorated with the egg white mixture!)

This morning after sleeping a combined total of 5 hours (which I was thankful to get!) I woke up to a table that I couldn't even see the bottom of because it was so cluttered with dirty dishes and Long John Silver's boxes, but it shows that my family was fed.

I fixed a quick breakfast (scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast) and started to clear the table off. I was still grabbing cups from the table as the big kids were eating breakfast this morning. Normally my husband takes the kids to school before he goes into the office, but he's training out of town all this week so me and the little kids gotta drop them off. So I'm very thankful that my husband can drop them off for me all the other times. Nothing like a change in your routine to make you thankful! I just put baby down for a nap and I'm trying my best to get my 4 yr old to nap too, since he stayed up way too late last night! Not sure if it will work or not, but if it does, then maybe I will get to nap too. Maybe I need to start doing caffeinated drinks to get some more energy, LOL!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!!

I don't know about you, but I find the Groundhog to be a cute little animal! In fact I have a love affair with a groundhog the kids' have named Harry in our yard :) The above picture isn't "our" Harry, but it sure looks like him, LOL! We've lived here for 6 yrs now and we would occasionally see Harry pop up from the grass down past our mail box. It was sort of like a little game as we drove by to see if we could see Harry and who could see him first! I can't tell you how exciting it is when we would see that little brown head pop up! We would all scream with excitement and there would be smiles on everybody's faces! It doesn't take much to excite a child and if adults would let themselves enjoy "childlike" things more often, then the world would be a much happier place! I for one just love seeing Harry and even got sad when we no longer saw him. But I'm happy to report that Harry, uh, maybe Harry #2 was back last year and all was well with the world again, LOL!

Oh, for the record, the most important Groundhog in the country (at least the one they watch to see if he sees his shadow!) did not, I repeat, did NOT see his shadow today, so bring on the spring weather!!!! I for one will be more than happy to get rid of cold weather and have some warm days again!!

Vicky

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New GIVEAWAY: $35 CSN Gift Certificate

I was recently contacted by CSN stores to host a giveaway on my blog. What fun!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you need whether it be swingsets fitness equipment, or even cute cookware !

So, what do you get to win? A $35 gift certificate to any one of their stores!!

If you are interested, please follow the contest rules. Open only to US and Canada residents. Good Luck!

*Contest ends on February 11, 2011

*To Enter contest you MUST be a follower of this blog.

*Please leave all extra entries in 1 comment to let me know.

*Winners will be notified by email.

*Email Address must be visible in comment so that I can contact you.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

+1 for following me on Twitter here

+1 for following me on Facebook here

+5 for following my friend's blog Mom's Magical Apron

+10 for sharing this contest on any social site and leaving the link in your comment

+50 for subscribing to this blog via email.

*To post a comment, click on the title of this post, if it's not showing up below

Thanks!
Vicky

Spoiled with food...

We were expecting bad weather last night and unfortunately we didn't! So that means it was a morning where I was way over tired from staying up too late. I got up early, but felt sluggish, still do. I fixed banana bread yesterday and my 7 yr old wanted that for breakfast, my 10 yr old wanted oatmeal, nothing major. My 4 yr old gets up and doesn't want either one, doesn't want scrambled eggs, wants a pancake. Normally he may get pancakes one time a week, or every other week, I make them up and keep them in the freezer. Guess what? I'm out of pancakes, no biggie, I have a box mix in the pantry that I keep for drop biscuits (specifically Red Lobster copy cat ones) mmm, ok, I'm getting off the subject, LOL!

I fix him a pancake and guess what? He won't eat it, says it tastes bad. AHHHHHHH, it's one of those mornings!

Speaking of pancakes, my Mother-in-law makes the most wonderful, glorious pancakes I've ever laid my mouth on! They are the best in the world! I'm not a big pancake eater and I could eat her's everyday of my life and never tire of them, LOL! She makes a special homemade syrup with them and they are to die for!

I homemake her pancake recipe myself and although they are quite tasty, they are nothing compared to hers! That old saying is true, no one cooks like your Momma, in my case my mother-in-law! I've been with her since I was 16 years old, so she is like a Mom to me :)

So maybe my kids aren't the only ones spoiled with good homemade food, I am too, LOL!

Vicky

Monday, January 31, 2011

Delicious Banana Bread

This picture made me think of meatloaf, ewww, so I guess it's obvious I'm not a good picture taker, LOL! I've had this recipe saved in my inbox since 2002! So for 9 years now I've saved this and it's finally printed out in my recipe box! I've made this several times and it's one of my most favorite banana bread to make. It just requires more ingredients due to the topping, but it's well worth it!!

My very good friend took my kids to school and picked them up today for me (didn't have a car), I was getting ready to make the kids banana muffins and I thought I should do something nice for my friend, so I thought BANANA BREAD, YUMMMM!!! So she got a loaf and we did too, we both win :-)

I really hope you give this bread a try, it's so delicious!

nlb's Indescribably Delicious Banana Bread

Batter:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 very ripe bananas, mashed * or 1 3/4 c
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Topping, put on after baking:

6 tablespoons butter
10 tablespoons dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 cup or more, chopped pecans (walnuts work
well too)

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and sugar. Mash bananas, beat eggs and add to the bananas with vanilla and buttermilk; mix well and add to creamed butter and sugar.
Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to banana mixture, beat well. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan. Cool. (Note: start checking with toothpick after 35 minutes -- you don't want the bread to overbake.)

To prepare topping: Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and milk. Cook until very syrupy.
Remove from heat and add chopped pecans. Pour over bread spreading to all the corners
and place under broiler until bubbly and brown. Watch closely.

Yield: 2 loaves.....makes good muffins too!!!

Italian Cheese Breadsticks

These are sinfully delicious! I created these trying to mimic Little Caesar's Cheesy Bread (I think that's what it's called, I've always called them breadsticks!)

Ingredients:
-1 Pizza Crust
-Mozzarella Cheese, 1 lb.
-1/4 cup butter, melted
-2 to 3 tsp garlic powder (depends on how much you like garlic)
-Italian Seasoning
-Parmesan Cheese

-Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
-Take your regular homemade pizza crust (or store bought, whatever you have on hand) and roll it out like you're making a pizza. Fork holes in it and bake for around 6 minutes. Take out and cover with mozzarella cheese, bake till golden brown. After it bakes, coat with butter and garlic mixture (mix this together before putting on breadsticks) sprinkle Italian seasoning and Parmesan on top. MMMM, these are SO addictive!

I haven't made these since last July! I hope you all enjoy them :)



Vicky

Hit the Floor Running...

A week ago we were in Wal-mart and an old lady noticed I had 4 boys, she made the comment I bet you hit the floor running when you get up. This comment made me laugh. I do hit the floor running, to the kitchen that is, LOL! I am honestly afraid of having teenage boys, afraid of how much they will eat when they eat so much now! I guess by then I'll just be quadrupling recipes to get everyone full, LOL!

I still chuckle at the thought of people actually thinking stay at home Mom's do nothing all day long. If you have kids, you're working! There's always snacks that need fixed, or meals to be prepared, laundry, cleaning, not to mention referring fights! If you're like me, then there's always plenty of messes to clean up and I don't even want to get off the subject of the bathroom and all the misses around the toilet! YUCK!

When I don't have anymore little ones at home, I won't know what to do with myself. Oh wait, I just remembered, I'll be cooking for an army, LOL!

Well I better get off here, there's laundry to do, bathroom mistakes to clean (that not one of the kids ever do???) and I need to fix some muffins, hopefully they'll make it through to have for breakfast in the morning :-)

Vicky

Friday, January 28, 2011

Something new...

Yesterday I took my 7 yr old (will be 8 in April) to the dentist to get a tiny cavity between his teeth filled. It showed up on the X-ray. He's the very first of the boys to have a cavity. I knew this day would eventually come, although I prayed it wouldn't. I still can't help but to feel like I didn't do enough to prevent this. I kept thinking what if I didn't fix sweets at all, but sadly life doesn't work that way, at least I'm not going to live my life or punish my kids like that. In fact his 2 brothers (not the baby) eat twice the sweets he does, out of all the kids he's the one that doesn't like icing and prefers his hot cocoa with hardly any chocolate in it! He is the one that loves water and it's his drink of choice 99 % of the time. He's just not that big of a sweet eater, he loves "real food". So I guess it was all the times he went to bed and I found his toothbrush sitting on the bathroom counter untouched (sometimes I make out their toothbrushes for them with the toothpaste). This happened more than once and now he had to pay for it.

So I took him to the Dentist, he was as brave as could be. The dentist didn't use any type of medicine on him, no numbing agent, no nothing! I thought I would freak out and kept watching Nicholas for any signs of distress, LOL! When the dentist wasn't in his mouth, he would look over at me and smile that Million Dollar smile and I knew he wasn't in a lot of pain, which certainly eased my mind! The dentist said it was small enough that it wouldn't hurt him and he was right.

His brothers were waiting with their Daddy when we got home, eager to hear all the painful, gruesome details. They got nothing exciting, only to hear that it didn't hurt at all. So all the years that they heard their Mommy and Daddy tell them how bad cavities hurt and how the drill would hurt was trumped by the actual experience! I'm not ashamed to use fear tactics when it comes to kids and brushing habits, LOL!

I think this experience will be a reminder to all the other 2 kids to keep brushing away and it will certainly be a reminder for me to visible see Nicholas brush every day :)

Vicky

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quick and Easy Snack

I found this on the internet last week and fixed it that night, now I can't find the website I got it from. Oh well, good thing it was easy to remember so I can share it here :-)

Ingredients:
-2 Flour Tortilla shells
-1 Banana, sliced
-Handful of Chocolate Chips
-Powdered Sugar for dusting on top
-2 Tbls butter

*Melt butter in skillet, put 1 tortilla shell (that already has sliced bananas on it) add chocolate chips, cover with other tortilla shell. Cook a couple of minutes, then flip. Cook on other side till golden brown and inside is warm and melted. Be careful flipping! Slice like a pizza and enjoy!



Friday, January 21, 2011

Giveaway: Plastic Bag Holders

I've always loved to re-use all those plastic shopping bags and now you can have a cute, stylish holder of your very own! The winner will get to choose one from the picture above. They measure approximately 17" long, the one with the chicken/rooster is shorter due to the fabric (15"). They are cotton fabric and washable. I went to make a blue one and realized that I didn't have enough blue fabric left, so sorry if you wanted a blue one! All of these were made by moi (why does that always make me think of Miss Piggy saying Moi? LOL!)


For one lucky reader, you will win one of these cute holders!
If you are interested, please follow the contest rules. Good Luck!

*Contest ends on January 31st, 2011.

*US only please

*To Enter contest you MUST be a follower of this blog.

*Please leave all extra entries in separate comments to let me know.

*Winners will be notified by e-mail.

*Email Address must be visible in comment so that I can contact you.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

+1 for following me on Twitter here

+1 for following me on Facebook here

+5 for following my friend's blog Mom's Magical Apron here

+10 for sharing this contest on any social site and leaving the link in your comment

+50 for subscribing to this blog via email.

Good luck!

Vicky

here's the one I have in my kitchen, you can hang them anywhere!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Battle of the Bulge Continues...




Fighting with your weight is a battle, a long, enduring battle indeed! For all of the skinny people still left reading this far, you may now close out and roll your eyes and go eat you a donut, LOL! For the dieting people, please forget I said the word donut :-) How many times have you heard the term the battle of the bulge? It really is! You have to constantly monitor what goes in your mouth and how much you consume. Sure you could say I should've never let myself get this big, but it sneaks up on you and then suddenly you realize you are as big as Shamu and have more chins then a Chinese phone book! So in comes damage control and portion control.

Today would've been my last Weight Watcher's meeting. It will be cancelled due to all the snow. I have cancelled to save money. I'm still going to do the program at home, but with a twist. Every week I'm going to weigh myself on Thursday, if I lose, I will put a $10 bill in a clear jar, to motivate me :) If I lose, then well, it will stay in our bank account! I'm using all the money saved to do something special during spring break. WW's cost $10 a week, so that is why I chose the same amount of money.

I'm telling you all this to be another form of accountability for me. So feel free to ask me how I'm doing and hopefully I'll be posting some great updates about my weight loss periodically :-)

Vicky

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How I save hundreds of dollars every month and get stuff for free , TRUE story!

This isn't some scam of any sort, but my true example of how I manage to save literally hundreds of dollars each month and get stuff for free! I wish I would've been taught this while I was growing up, that way it could've saved me (us) a lot of headache and a ton of money! But it's hard to teach youngsters and I probably wouldn't have listened and applied it anyways :) So if you're wondering how this can be done, then read on...

It all started 2 years ago this month. I was pregnant with baby #4 and my dh (stands for dear husband) signed us up for a trial membership to http://www.thegrocerygame.com at that time it was $1 for 4 weeks, now it is completely free for the trial month. I can't tell you how many times I heard about this, shoot I even had it written down in my organizer as a website to look at! Talk about procrastination! Anyway, he read about it from some money site, not sure if it was from Dave Ramsey, or another site he likes, but either way, he talked to me about it and signed us up.

I have to admit I was very leary at first, I mean how could I possibly save more by buying all name brands even with a coupon and going to Kroger of all places! I was super loyal to Wal-mart and thought they had the cheapest prices in town, I was sorely mistaken!

I'll tell you up front, YES you do have to use the dreaded "c" word, Coupons. Not sure why there's such a bad rap for coupons. Sure it does take some extra time to clip them, but look what you're saving, much needed money!

Basically the grocery game is a website that gives you a "list" based on what stores you choose in your area. They do all the hard work for you, they take the weekly sales ad and match it up with the coupons and rate it, color wise, Green items are totally FREE, Blue items are the rock bottom price and that means stock up on it, Black means things are on sale, buy if you need it. A ton of things are listed that do not require a coupon, but it means that the computer has notified her that the item is the lowest of the year, sales usually happen on a cycle, take notice.

You may think, why bother clipping coupons, or coupons are too much work for me, or I can get generic brand items cheaper. Well let me tell you, I was a big skeptic before, but now I'm a true believer and a couponer at heart!! I can get name brand things on sale with a coupon a lot cheaper than regular store brand stuff! I'm a name brand kind of gal, had too many experiences with crappy off brands, so I prefer to stick with what I know and love :-)

Now we get 5 newspapers at a time, our Sunday paper that has the coupon inserts in them. They're $.75 each, plus the low cost of the grocery game service, so we have to take that amount into consideration when determining if we're still saving and we are saving, hundreds of dollars a month! Remember, we are a family of 6 and so we usually need more coupons of each item.

I'll never forget when we first signed up, dragging all 3 kids with me to price check the list at Wal-mart, I wasn't just gonna take their word on it! Not to mention that I was almost 8 months pregnant at the time! No, I had to make sure I was getting the best price before I bought anything. Now I rarely shop at Wal-mart for anything! Kroger doubles coupons up to a dollar in my area and they have great sales!!

2 years later and we're still using the grocery game and still loving it! We have down graded our lists to only 2 now, a grocery store (Kroger's) and Wal-greens. I'm still shocked and pleasantly surprised at some of the deals we get. I can't remember the last time I had to actually pay for toothpaste and shampoo!

If you're wondering if I work for them, well, no I don't. LOL! I'm just a huge fan of the program and reap the rewards in my wallet! The only thing I do ask is, if you decide to sign up , then use our address (shadl3y@gmail.com) so we can get "credit referral" for it, if you sign up so many people you can get a month free. NO this isn't a requirement, but it would be cool to get something else for free :-)

So now you know my secret, not a secret since I proudly tell everyone about it! In the grocery store the clerks are always amazed about how much I save and almost all of them are nice about the coupons and they're always smiling when I leave b/c of the huge dollar amount that my coupons takes my total down too! For the people behind me, I simply smile and say, I have 4 kids and using coupons helps me stay home with them, to which they usually smile and say I wish I could save that much money too. So now you can save that much money too :-)

If this post helps out just one person, then it was totally worth my time to write it. I honestly never knew how to really shop before. Now I have a freezer full and a pantry full of good stuff. For the record, I do NOT buy things that I normally would never buy, sure I buy stuff that I would like to try, stuff that I could never afford before. Almost every new product on the market comes out with a coupon to try it. Never before have we eaten so good and healthy for that matter. I don't buy my kids a bunch of junk either just because I can get it really cheap (b/c you certainly can!)

Try it out, it's free, the only thing you'll be out is your time clipping the coupons. I just store them in a folder with the date on them and clip them as needed, so really not a big hassle at all.

Vicky

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cinnamon Toast

I got this yummy recipe from a book called The Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook.The cover caught my eye, because I just love looking at old timey photographs. I bought it last year at Half Price Books. It is just covered with nostalgic photos and informative things I never knew. It really is a good cookbook!

Anyway, this has become one of my kids new favorite breakfasts! Not the most attractive looking thing, but it sure is tasty :) Growing up my Mom fixed a buttered toast topped with apple butter, but it was soggy and had way too much butter on it. I'm weird in the fact that I don't like butter on my bread (try not to scream in horror!), so her toast combination wasn't a hit with me and I don't ever remember eating Cinnamon Toast before. So when I saw this recipe I didn't fix it, then I remembered it one day when I looked at my cinnamon container and saw the non eaten toast left on their plates day after day! I have to admit, I fixed this over and over and never even tasted it, partly because like I said before, I just don't like butter on bread and plus I'm on Weight Watchers, don't want to waste points on buttered toast! One day I thought, I really want to know what the big deal is about this toast! So I fixed extra and took a bite, mmmmmmmmmm, I can see why the kids love it so much! No more non eaten toast here!

RECIPE:
-6 slices white bread (I only buy whole wheat, so it works great also)
-1/4 cup butter, room temperature
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 Tbls cinnamon

1. Pre-heat broiler.
2. In the broiler, toast the bread on ONE side, watching carefully to be sure it doesn't scorch.
3. Cream the butter and sugar; mix in the cinnamon
4. Spread the butter mixture on the untoasted side of each bread slice.
5. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and broil until the mixture melts and the bread is bubbly and brown. Serve immediately.
Note: Use firm white bread-Pepperidge Farm or Arnold, or a home-baked loaf. If you have an unsliced loaf, slice the pieces about 1/3-inch thick.

Serves 6


**I cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup and use have used less cinnamon also. That's a lot of sugar and a lot of cinnamon, but still less than what they would get in a bowl full of sugary cereal!

Pair this delicious toast with some scrambled cheese eggs and fresh fruit and you'll have some happy kids :-)



Friday, January 14, 2011

Starting to enjoy this thing called cooking...

I don't like to cook, I've never liked to cook. I only cook because I have too! This may come as a shock to many of you, especially since I'm a Mother of 4! But to me cooking is just one of the many different roles a Mother is required to fill. Since I have a family and little kids can't cook for themselves, well, I gotta feed them, LOL! Now baking, I could bake day in and day out and not tire of that! Baking is a different story, but sadly, you shouldn't eat those yummy sweet treats everyday!

I've been trying out new recipes, trying out new flavors and actually starting to enjoy cooking more! It's been almost a month since I have cooked just about every single meal we've had, only having leftovers a couple of times. This means, no take out, no fast food, no delivery pizza, nope, just me with my apron on in the kitchen, blasting my music and cooking! LOL!

I now have a deeper appreciation of fresh food. Fast food just tastes so processed and flavorless (which I guess it is). If you don't eat it in a while and then eat it again, you will see what I am talking about!

So now instead of dreading dinner time, I'm starting to look at it differently, that it's not a chore (not as much anyways!), but a time when I get to create something nourishing and fulfilling for my guys :)

Vicky

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some tips...

When you have little ones in the kitchen with you, it's always best and more fun to have "little" kid tools/utensils for them. No, it's not a requirement to have, but it sure makes it easier for the kids to participate and hold with little hands, and besides, little tools just look so darn cute!! If you notice on my Blog picture, that is my big rolling pin, and the little one is my 4 year olds. Whenever he sees me grab my rolling pin, and, yes you guessed it, he goes to the cabinet and grabs his out too!

Also, if you have more than one kid. I suggest doing one on one baking projects. If you have the day free, let each kid choose their very own cookie and then that is the only kid that will help with that recipe. Whenever you have more than 1 child in the mix (no pun intended!) there's bound to be a fight or jealousy over who is doing what! If you let one kid do the whole recipe with you, then the others will know it's not their turn and they will get to do it all with you when it is their time! All the fun is scooping out the ingredients, cracking eggs and mixing the dough, don't short change one child by just letting them dump the dough onto the cookie sheet, let them do it all!!

Cookies are really quick and easy to make, if you are doing more than one recipe for multiple children, just cut the recipe in half, or stick the cookie mix in the fridge to finish later, or freeze. Most times, a child's attention span is very short and after they get that first batch in the oven, they won't want to continue waiting and baking several more batches! Who's got time to wait on cookies when there's basketball to play? LOL!

Also I highly recommend little kid aprons, once again, only because they are just sooo cute! I love seeing my kids in aprons and if you can't find any, then make them yourself, they are super easy to make.

If you don't want a mess, then don't bake with kids! I'm a grown adult and I still make messes, so I don't know why in the world some people expect little children not to make messes! I've never figured that one out! Just get the dust pan ready to clean up those extra messes on the floor and as always, the most important ingredient when having kids in the kitchen with you is..........
PATIENCE :-)

Happy Baking!
Vicky

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!!

I don't know about you all, but I just LOVE when my kids' have snow days and there's no school! That automatically means Hot Cocoa and fun! Actually the honest truth is, even at the tiniest flake of snow, we have hot cocoa :-) Winter doesn't last forever and no one wants to drink Hot cocoa when it's warm, so we take advantage of it while it's good and cold, LOL!

I remember when my oldest son was a tiny baby and it snowed, I just couldn't wait till he was old enough to drink hot cocoa with me :) I thought about that this morning when my 4th son, was sipping his hot cocoa with the family. Last year he was too young and now he'll be 2 in April, he's just beginning to taste the yumminess of hot cocoa, LOL!
*Disclaimer, this isn't my cute little pug, in fact, my dog is much cuter than this one, LOL!*

So if you have snow on the ground, even a dusting qualifies! Make some yummy hot cocoa, put it in your favorite mug and top it with some Reddi Whip!! Sweet goodness in a cup :)

Hmm, I posted this and then thought maybe you all would like a recipe to go along with it??

here is my favorite recipe:

4 cups milk
5 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup boiling water
pinch of salt.
Reddi Whip (optional)

Directions

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 4 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs (or 6 smaller mugs like I do here!). Add the Reddi Whip to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.



Vicky

Friday, January 7, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I found this recipe on line the other day and I just loved it! I was looking for a broccoli soup recipe to use up 1/2 jar of Cheez Wiz I had leftover from Christmas dinner. Funny thing is the baby (21 months old) ate the most out of everybody! I couldn't even get my 4 yr old to try it, my oldest ate it but said, it's really good tasting, but on a scale of 10, it's a 2 for appearance, ROFL!! That made me laugh :-) I really fixed it for my husband to eat with his sandwich, but he ended up not even liking it and I loved it, go figure! Anyway, on to the recipe...

-2 1/2 cups diced potatoes (I just used 2 potatoes)
-2 to 3 grated fresh carrots (I used 2)
-1 onion (puree in blender)
-1 tsp sugar
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 to 3 chicken bouillon cubes
-1 pkg. frozen broccoli
-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 cup flour
-1 (8oz) Jar Cheez Wiz

1. Cook potatoes in enough water to cover. Add all other ingredients down to the broccoli, leave it out. Cook for 5 minutes then add 1 bag of frozen broccoli, cook till tender. DO NOT drain! I almost drained this just by habit!
2. In microwave, melt 1/2 cup butter and stir in 1/2 cup flour. Pour this mixture into soup and stir.
3. Add 1 Jar Cheez Wiz

*NOTE* I found the water amount to be insufficient, so I added 1 cup of chicken broth also.

Oh, almost forgot, I pureed everything also, since I don't like huge chunks of broccoli in soup. It's your personal preference!

I hope you try it and like it too!!
Oh, the picture I snapped of it, I added 2 croutons to the soup, I just wanted to show off my cute little Tea Rose soup and sandwich platter my amazing Mother-in-law got me a few years back. I just love it, it's so pretty!!
Vicky