Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's for Dinner? (Day Three)

The girls loved the waffles for dinner last night! Instead of just cutting up the rest of our strawberries and putting them on top, I sliced them up, put them in a saucepan with a tablespoon of butter and one fourth cup of sugar and made a syrup.  (Just bring it all to a boil and then simmer for about 3-4 minutes).  YUM!

Tonight we are back to savory with Kabobs! I found a flat iron steak on sale at our grocery story for 3.00 so that is our choice of meat tonight, along with one chicken breast for my non-steak eating children. One onion and one bell pepper are about 99 cents each.  I usually add rice as a side, but since we just did that on Monday, we are doing baked potatoes tonight.  They were .59/pound so that added an extra dollar to the budget for all 5 of us.  Add the sour cream ($1.20) if you need.  If you are keeping track, that's about $9 for the whole meal.  Plus, if you have extra leftover, you can do the round two recipe at the bottom!

BEEF AND/OR CHICKEN KABOBS


You can either use your favorite marinade or make your own.  We love to use Italian dressing as marinade for our kabobs.  The powdered packets are only a dollar and stretch pretty far.  Or try this one:



  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (if you like it spicy)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
Other ingredients you will need: 
  • Meat of choice-We use either two chicken breasts or one steak (or a combo of both).
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup sour cream, to serve
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 8 metal or wooden skewers (make sure to soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes prior to using them)

Directions

In a large resealable bag mix together the lime juice, garlic, hot sauce, canola oil and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove 1 tablespoon of the marinade and set aside (to mix in the sour cream later).
Slice the meat into thin strips against the grain and put into the bag with the marinade and mix well to coat everything with the marinade. Place the bag in a large bowl incase it leaks and refrigerate for one and half hours.
Mix the reserved marinade with the sour cream and refrigerate.
Slice the peppers and onions into one inch square pieces. 
Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Thread the beef and vegetables onto the skewers. Each skewer should get 4 pieces each of the pepper and onion and 3 pieces of the beef, alternating as you thread them onto the skewer. Cook the skewers on a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium high heat until meat is medium rare, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Garnished with the flavored sour cream and cilantro. Reserve any extras for online round 2 recipe, Tortilla Pizza.

Round two Recipe:
TORTILLA PIZZA

Ingredients

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Chicken or Beef leftover from Fajita Skewers recipe
  • 1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Top each tortilla with the sliced tomatoes. Divide the beef or chicken and vegetables from the leftover fajitas over the tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and golden and the tortillas are crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer to serving dishes and serve.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's for Dinner? (Day Two)

So, I should mention that the spice rub from the previous recipe is REALLY spicy.  I did a plain chicken breast with just barbeque sauce for the girls.  The squash was a huge hit (as was the brown rice) for the kids.  Bailey even asked for a second helping of everything!

Before today's recipe, here are a few cost saving ideas for food:

  • Protein is the most expensive part of a meal usually so if you use less, you save money.  Fill in the gaps with more veggies (and fruit) and bread or starch (if you are not watching carbs).  
  • Start with small portions.  If you are still hungry, you can get more, but this way you end up scraping less into the garbage.  I find this most helpful with the kids.  This way you end up with more "leftover" for another meal later on.
  • Have the kids help with the meal.  Kids are more likely to try things that they help "cook." 
Here's tonight's dinner for less than ten dollars: (WAY less than ten dollars!)

BREAKFAST WAFFLES FOR DINNER!



We love to do Breakfast for Dinner about once a month! Since strawberries are in season, I thought it was the perfect option for tonight.  Not to mention that when Brian is working late I need to have an easy dinner for the girls.  

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
3 Tb white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.
  3. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

We like to serve ours with fresh strawberries!
If you need to have a protein, you can add a few strips of bacon or sausage links. 

FOR A SECOND USE:

I always make LOTS more than we need and put them in the fridge for the girls to have for breakfast.  In the morning, you just pop it in the toaster and it's a quick, filling, tasty breakfast!


Monday, March 29, 2010

I heart black and white photo drama!

This weeks theme over at I Heart Faces is "Dramatic Black and White."
I'm not a professional so I don't aim for the "dramatic" capture with a serious face, so I went a different route with this theme.  I have three girls.  Each day is filled with drama.  Especially the day I took this photo.  I had made a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting.  I left the icing on the counter and went to answer the phone. When I came back, half the bowl was missing.  I asked Skylar if she had eaten the chocolate frosting and she said "no" but I was pretty certain she was not telling the truth.....


Head on over to "I heart faces" and check out more "black and white drama".

What's for Dinner?

Today's recipe is courtesy of Sandra Lee on the Food Network.

Most of the recipes I am going to share also have a "second" use for the leftovers so I'll be sharing those too.  If you're doing the math, that's less than ten dollars for TWO dinners. You will notice that some recipes would add up to well over ten dollars if you had to buy spices each time so every recipe I use will include "stock pantry items" or spices that have not been figured into the price.
Tonight we are having:

Barbecued Chicken and Grilled Squash with Brown Rice


Spice Rub

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs or 6-7 breasts

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Grilled Squash:

  • 4 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise in 1/2
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
In a small bowl add all of the spice rub ingredients. Stir together with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the spice rub over the chicken parts until well coated.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side. If using an outdoor grill, heat the grill on low. Arrange the chicken on the grill, cover and grill over indirect heat until cooked through about 10 to 15 minutes per side.
While the chicken is grilling add all the barbeque sauce ingredients to a small pan and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat and let cook for 5 minutes. (Reserve 2 tablespoons of sauce for Round 2 Recipe: Barbeque Chicken Salad).
Brush the chicken with the barbeque sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, flip and brush the other side of the chicken with remaining sauce and cook and additional 3 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Reserve 2 thighs (or 3 breasts) for Round 2 Recipe: Barbeque Chicken Salad. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and keep warm.
Brush the squash with the canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side over direct heat. Remove from the grill to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the chicken.

We love "starches" in our house so we always serve this with brown rice or potatoes too.  






Round Two Recipe:

  • 2 pieces leftover barbeque chicken, from Barbeque Chicken recipe, remove meat from the bone if you use a bone-in chicken
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice
  • 1/2 medium red onion, small dice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons leftover barbeque sauce, from Barbeque Chicken recipe
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 rolls
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce
In a medium bowl mix together the chicken, celery, onion, mayonnaise and barbeque sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide the chicken salad evenly between the 4 rolls, top each with a lettuce leaf and serve.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random Wednesday

Why does the week before Spring Break always feel chaotic?  Is it because I know that there are days of sleeping-in? It's like the weeks before you have a baby; you know it's coming but seems like it takes forever to get here.

I actually haven't even logged on to the computer since Sunday! I had over 25 blog entries to catch up with on my reader.  I have lots of blog post ideas but not the time to write them.  So today you get some random snippets about our home.

Reagan lost her first tooth!! She was so excited! It was VERY wiggly for a few days and I told her "why don't you just grab and pull it out?" So she did.  Easy peezy! The tooth fairy left her a gold dollar coin in her "tooth box" that was on her nightstand.  (It was also really dark and the tooth fairy almost woke her up by dropping the porcelain top to the box onto her nightstand and making a large crash!) The following morning, she asked if she could put her gold coin in her BGMC (mission fund for our church) box.  What a sweet and giving heart she has!

Since Reagan lost her tooth (and has been getting attention for it), Skylar has decided that she wants to lose a tooth too.  She eats apples almost daily to try and make her teeth wiggly.  I don't have the heart to tell her she has at least a year until her teeth start to fall out.

We finally got rid of the cold bug in our house...only to have it revisit us this week.  I'm praying it's just a short, last hoo-rah before spring finally sets in.

Speaking of spring, we are loving the warmer weather and spending more time outside (and the fact that it's lighter later).  I can almost smell summer.

I spent most of last weekend pulling weeds (and dead trees) out of our backyard.  It's no where near finished.  It's a much larger job than I ever imagined.  I had to stop because our trash can was full (and my back hurt like crazy!). After all the weeding is done, I still need to re-plant, and mulch.  *sigh*

I haven't forgotten about the "Ten Dollar Healthy Dinners".  I just want to do it for an entire week so look for it starting Monday.

After the week of recipes and ideas, I will host a giveaway in celebration of our one year blogiversary and over 100 posts! Woo hoo!

Tomorrow is Reagan's "Open House" at school.  She is so thrilled to show us what she's been working on.  It's no coincidence either that the Book Fair just "happens" to be going on.  I guess we will have to make a stop there to check it out on our way home.

I was able to find more peppermint mocha creamer so the crazy week has been a little easier to handle. :)

I hope your week has been going well!
Be blessed!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring-a few of my favorite things

It's the first day of Spring and I'm remembering why we live in Southern California.

It's been beautiful the last few days.

The girls have been playing outside until we drag them inside because it's dark and chilly out (yes it still gets chilly at night).

Some of our neighbors have tulips and daffodils that are blooming.

I love Daylight Savings! (even though I'm one of those folks that gets "totally messed up" by that ONE hour because I can't fall asleep before midnight).

It means Summer is getting closer and I'll have Reagan home for a couple months!

We've been using the grill again!

Strawberries are in season.

Cold season is almost over!

The Summer here can be pretty warm so we enjoy as much of Spring as we can outside.  So, today we are working on getting our yard in shape.  The weeds are nearly as tall as the trees.  I'm not joking.  I may take pictures, but I may be too embarrassed to post them. :D




I hope you are enjoying the weather where you are! Happy First Day of Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My fourth daughter

No, I'm not pregnant.  Nor will I ever be again.  But I do have a fourth daughter.  One that travels with us wherever we go.  She even has a carseat in the van, and a seat at the kitchen table.  Have you seen her in our photos?  I bet you have.  She's everywhere.  (No, it's not one of the dogs either).
Can you see her in this picture?
She's tucked under Brian's arm.

It's Kayta.  Skylar's baby.  

She's quite the little mommy....



Sometimes I even get to babysit. ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tour de FourYearOlds

This past weekend we had a bike race in our town.  They had quite a few different divisions for adults to compete but they also had a children's race (50 yard dash). Skylar was so excited about it that she even told Brian the night before "I better go to bed early so I can have lots of energy for my race tomorrow."

The weather was perfect and the girls had fun watching the racers go past.  They were SO FAST!



Skylar preparing for her big race 
(notice her baby doll in the basket)




In the race!


Daddy and Skylar after the race


With her Gold Medal!


Eat your heart out Lance Armstrong!! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

iheartfaces bundled up!

This photo challenge this week at iheartfaces is "bundled up."  It just so happens I got some great shots when we went to the snow in January.  I heart all 3 of my bundled little blessings, but this face just cracked me up! It was her first time ever touching the snow and she LOVED it!! Until she got wet....and cold...and kept falling over.  Then she was done.



Head on over to iheartfaces and see everyone else "bundled up."

WHAT?

I just realized we are coming up to post number 100 AND my one year blogiversary! I think a giveaway is in order! What do you say?
Stay tuned....

Monday, March 8, 2010

She is two today...

She is two today.... 
But not so long ago...she was teeny tiny. She was my only induction and scariest delivery (maybe someday I'll share all of my birth stories). Born at 6 pounds, 3 ounces. 
She is my third daughter (and was called "Sweet Pea" by her sisters for the longest time!)...


She completed our family


She was dedicated at our house when she was six weeks old by Uncle Jim



She was born with the least amount of hair *(and the only one born blonde)


She is the only one that didn't take a binky (pacifier) and sucked her thumb until she was five months old


She has always been my smiley baby!


She could not be contained and actually climbed before she could walk



And she walked the earliest of all three (the day before she turned 10 months old)



Recently she has decided she doesn't like her diaper on...


(yes, she's asleep without her diaper on...in her chair)

She makes me laugh with her cheese grin


She loves to color!


She has the most beautiful eyes and eyelashes


and a curl that flips out on her left side...


She is two today.


And the best surprise God has ever blessed us with



Baby girl, you may be the most curious of all three of our kids, but you bring us so much joy! 
Happy Birthday my sweet sweet love!




Change of plans

It seems we have been thrown a curveball this week.  This morning Skylar woke up and her nagging post nasal drip cough was sounding worse.  After each cough she started gasping for air so we rushed her down to our pediatrician (who is still an hour away because we love him so much and don't want to switch).  She had also complained of her ear hurting.  Turns out my suspicion that it was something more serious than a cough was right.  She has an ear infection and pneumonia.  She has reactive airway disorder so it seems whenever she gets the same upper respiratory viruses as everyone else, they turn into something more.  She is on some pretty strong antibiotics so we're trusting she will feel better in the next day or so. It took three pharmacies to find it so either it's in high demand right now or it's not a usual "stocked" item.  Either way, I am grateful that we eventually did find it.  Now I'm in search of their chewable probiotics they are used to taking.  Our store stopped carrying them and we ran out about two weeks ago (coincidence?? I'm not so sure).

Bailey is 2 today and I'm hoping to get a birthday post together, but we'll see.  She started coughing this morning so we are hoping it resolves without any help.

I had intentions of posting five recipes for budget friendly meals this week, but it looks like I need to spend some time getting my family on the mend.

Sorry about the change of plans (but I'm sure you understand).

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.
Or in our case, when life hands you pneumonia, you make forts.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What you've been waiting for!


Still waiting for one "non-paying" customer to pay so I can ship my LAST ebay package (until I list more).

Tomorrow we are celebrating Bailey and Skylar's birthdays at one of those blow up jumpy places.  They are so excited! I'm sure I'll have tons of pictures to share after the festivities are over.

I've been watching another little girl all week which has been fun but I am ready to get back to our routine.  I thrive on it as much as my girls do!!

I promised you something "new" on our blog.  Well, wait no more!!


It's no secret I love to eat.  My children have inherited this lovely trait.  Lately though, I also love to cook.  It used to be such a chore.  I'm still not a huge fan of grocery shopping, but I do it with a cheerful heart (most weeks) because I know I'm providing good choices for my family.

A few years ago, miss Reagan had an allergic reaction to pesticide on cherries.  That's when we started buying organic produce.  It's not the cheapest option, but obviously the healthiest.  Making the decision to buy organic is a personal one and we have to leave room in our tight budget for it.  Is everything organic? No.  But if there's an organic option, chances are, I'm buyin it!  Don't get me wrong...we still have junk food at our house.  We're not total granolas.  Our kids eat donuts and sugar cereal and hot dogs (ew, not at the same time).  But after researching more about food, one tradition I have tried to stick with is healthy, hearty, balanced, yummy dinners.  At the table.  Without the television on.

I don't need to drone on and on about the research that has been done to prove that "time at the dinner table results in fewer risk behaviors for children" do I?? It seems like common sense to me.  Even Stauffers is riding that wave as far as it will go.  But we don't eat Stauffers.  Not that there's anything wrong with it.  And if stauffers is what brings your kids to the table, shove it in the oven.  But I think there's a better alternative.  

I researched a few of those websites that provide recipes and meal planning for the week.  Their average cost for my family for 7 dinners was $90.  That's more than ten dollars a night, and unfortunately out of our budget for just dinners.  I have a feeling I'm not alone in my desire to cook healthy, hearty meals for our entire family for UNDER TEN DOLLARS a night.  Sure, it's easy to make mac n' cheese and hot dogs.  They are cheap, but they certainly don't fuel our bodies to their utmost.  Don't get me wrong.  We have our fair share of easy (not-so-healthy) dinners (usually on the weekends).  It's more effort to cook a balanced meal but so worth it.  And since I'm doing the work for our family, I thought I would pass along my recipes and cost info to anyone else that wanted to join me.  I'm not Julie of Julie and Julia so I'm not committing to a year or anything obsurd like that.  But Monday through Friday of next week, I am going to share our recipes for the day as well as what it should cost on average.  If enough folks play along, I might just keep doing it.  And then maybe someone will make a movie about me.  Or not. :)

I hope you'll join me!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fix it Friday Foto

I don't play along every week, but this little face was just too sweet not to edit.
Here's the original:

I zoomed in on his little face, fixed a few blemishes and then did an antique wash.  
(I know...hopelessly addicted to the vintage look).

Here's my edit:


Head on over to iheartfaces to see the amazing edits of other photographers!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wait for it...

I sold a few things last week on ebay.  I think I'm addicted.  Money for junk? I could get used to this!
As soon as everyone pays and it's all shipped, I'm going to introduce something fun to the blog.  I hope you'll join me and play along.  That is if you like to eat....and save money.  That's all I'm sayin.  Stay tuned...

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