Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

So I recently started couponing, not like extreme couponing because that's insane....I've been doing it for 3 weeks...Today I managed to save over 65% on my purchases today.  Anybody want to play a guessing game...guess how much I spent on my items.  All items were on sale and/or purchased with coupons.  The only items that were officially FREE were the gallon of milk, with a coupon to be used on a future purchase and one pie crust.  The syrup was not on sale and I paid $2.00 for it since we actually needed it.  Now accepting guesses? 

Here's an overview of what I purchased....

Don't judge, since we don't buy booze or beer my husband has another addiction...Diet Coke, we purchase way more soda than most...people often think I'm having a party, it's just our weekly supply.

So even thought it's words...I'm going to tell you what I bought...
8 boxes of cereal
1 gallon of milk (I'll get another gallon of milk for FREE at a future purchase)
2 lbs of cherries
8 pack hot dog buns
8 pack hamburger buns
2 BBQ sauces
2 50 count paper plates
10 Dip n Dots thingies (ittibitz)
2 packages of cheese turkey dogs
1 watermelon
2 bags of carrots
1 pie crust
2 cherry pie fillings
2 Sargento cheese slices
1 syrup
2 Suddenly Salads
2 8-pack bottles Coke
3 12 pack cans Coke
1 head broccoli
1 head of lettuce
10 yogurts
1 18 count eggs
2 chip dips
2 LAY plain chips
2 cream cheeses

Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Monday 6/27

Sunday- Italian sausages

Monday-grilled pork chops with roasted veggies-use the technique and vary veggies if you desire

Tuesday- cheese pizza with peanut butter apple dip

Wednesday-meat pie

Thursday-BBQ chicken sandwiches with chips

Friday-leftovers with puffed carmel corn

Saturday-Jambalaya in rice cooker

If you enjoyed my menu and are looking for more like it, check out I'm an organized junkie.

Italian Sausages

When my darling husband and I first started dating, I really wanted to win him over with my cooking but I didn't really know how to cook.  I mean I was in college, making Ramen and ordering pizza was my specialt6y.  I asked him what was his all time favorite meal and he replied "Italian Sausages".  I was stumped and had no idea, apparently, I lived a deprived life and no body ever made them for me.  So since we were still new in our relationship, I made him ask his mom how to prepare them...there is no way I was going to call his mom I barely new her, which is funny since now I wouldn't think twice about it...however, it is 13 years later.  Something went way wrong when I first prepared these somehow I burned them in the crockpot.  I did learn the secret was adding water, something Scott left out when giving me the original recipe.  This is one of his top requests but even though I have tried a few lighter versions by using Turkey Italian sausages or Light Italian sausages, I am pretty sure he like the real deal best. 

1 package Italian sausages (usually the package is 5)
1 jar any kind of spaghetti sauce
Enough water to fill the jar after it's been emptied
1 sliced green pepper
5 Hoagie rolls or brat buns
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Place Italian sausages in the bottom of the crockpot with the green pepper slices.  Pour the sauce over the sausages and peppers.  Fill the jar with water and pour.  Gently stir to combine the sauce and water.  Cook in crockpot 8-10 hours on low.  I have never made these on high, but I would think you could.  When sausages are done place on roll and top with cheese. 

Serve the leftovers on top of pasta with the sauce or make pepperoni calzones using diced Italian sausages instead of pepperoni.  Great way to use up leftovers.

Meat Pie

This recipe came to fruition because I had a pie crust left over from a rhubarb custard pie that I made, it was about to go bad.  I also had taken out some ground beef with intentions of making something for the crock pot in the morning but you know how life works, right?   I almost always have tomato soup on hand, especially for this Mexican filling and the half & half was leftover from this salad.  There's no good story to go with this recipe, except it's made from crap stuff I had readily available.  It was simple, cheap, and easy...just the way I like it. 

1 pound ground beef (I used 93/7)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bag frozen corn
3 potatoes, roughly peeled and diced
1 can tomato soup
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown ground beef with onions on the stove, add salt and pepper.  While you're browning the meat boil the potatoes for 7-10 minutes until just tender.  When beef is brown, stir in tomato soup and half & half.  Then add the boiled potatoes.  Spray a 2 quart oven safe dish with cooking spray, add mixture to dish.  Place pie crust on top of the dish, pinch edges to create a seal. 

This was 7 points plus values.

Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches

After having my way with the chicken, I used what was left of the rib meat to prepare these sandwiches (about 2-3 cups).  My original intention was to use a new recipe I found in Cooking Light:  fresh food fast weeknight meals but after actually making the white BBQ sauce, I changed my mind.  It was way to vinegary, even with the sugar.  Once I had tried the sauce, I read the recipe which indicated that this sauce is typically made in Alabama and I don't live there.  If you do and want the recipe, I'm going to share it for you and if you don't keep reading there's another version.

White BBQ Sauce
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Cover and store in refrigerator for up to one week.  Try it if you would like, I didn't even bother putting this on my chicken since I figured the kids would revolt. 

I went with more of the traditional BBQ sauce.  The idea and steps came from here but I tweaked it up a little bit. 

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2-3 cups cooked chicken
8 rolls

In a saucepan, saute the onion, and garlic with cooking spray until tender. Stir in the salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken; stir to coat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve about 1/3 cup chicken mixture on each bun. For the record, this was awesome.  It would've been even more awesome if I had some hamburger pickles to put on it but I didn't, maybe next time. 

Puffed Carmel Corn

When I was young my mom made the best carmel corn ever.  If I tap into my memories, I have one specific memory related to carmel corn, I must have been about 5 or so and I must have been on my mom's last nerve or fighting with my sister  my mom or my sister or someone in my family was driving ME crazy.  At that time I thought it would be a good idea to run away.  I went to my room and stuffed packed a suitcase of my most precious belongings that I would need for my future.  During this time my mom, started to prepare carmel corn.  Since I am bullheaded and stubborn I was wrongly accused of something, I'm sure, I knew the only justice in the matter would be to run away.  Man, I loved that carmel corn and was really going to miss out on never having it again.  I was strong and resisted the temptation.  My mom kissed me good-bye, shoved me out the door, bid me farewell, and wished me good luck.  I was on a mission to run away from the only home I'd ever known to prove a point, I could manage on my own.  Well since, I was only 5, I wasn't allowed to cross the street, so I did what any level headed child would do, I walked around the block.  Then when I had made it all the way back to our apartment I went home.  Who was I kidding this carmel corn was worth sucking up my pride and apologizing to my family.  I don't recall exactly how all the events unfolded, I just know that I ended up being welcomed back home and eating some pretty awesome carmel corn.  The original recipe calls for popcorn, however, when looking through a few blogs like Krista's Kitchen  I saw this caramel puff corn and  Bless Us O Lord to find a similar carmel puff corn.  Both of those ladies inspired me to try my mom's recipe using puff corn instead.  The puffed corn is more expensive than popcorn but there's something to be said about not having to pick seeds out of your teeth that might make the extra cost worth it.  I purchased my puffed corn at the local grocery store for $1.88 per bag. It looks like this...

8 cups puffed corn
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp vanilla

Put puffed corn in baking pan.  Place brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in saucepan.  Cook until mixture comes to a boil and cook for  minutes.  Turn off and stir in vanilla and baking soda.  Pour over puffed corn and mix up.  Put in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Stir and cook for 5-10 more minutes longer.  Yummy childhood memories.

Cheese Pizza

Back in the olden days I purchased a bread machine.  You know back when everyone just had to have one?  This was back in my precooking days and I didn't take any risks when cooking.  Well I always bought the bread mixes with everything in and all you had to do was add water.  For the life of me I couldn't figure out why my loaves would not turn out, they were supposed to be regular loaves.  They turned out to be mini loaves.  We moved and our kitchen is tiny.  Since I hardly ever used it, I got rid of it.  Sad, I know.  Well about 6 months back I decided that I wanted another bread machine so I bought one from Goodwill for $7.99.  I have successfully used my bread machine more in the last 6 months than I used my previous machine in the 8+ years that I owned it. 

I found this recipe and it's one of my favorite pizza crust recipes.  This recipe makes enough dough for 2 crusts.  You can either make 2 pizzas or package one up to pass along to a neighbor, like I did.  I'm sure there is a way to freeze this for later use but I haven't mastered that yet.  You will need to double the sauce and cheese if you make both crusts for yourself. 

1 jar store bought pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozeralla cheese

Prepare crust according to directions.  I always pre-bake my crust for about 8 minutes, this helps to make it crispy.  Spread sauce onto the crust.  Top with cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 12-15 additional minutes.  My was cut into 8 slices, each slice was 7 Points Plus.  Here is an added bonus for me, my kids love pizza but they love "frozen" pizza.  When I make pizza using the Pilsbury refrigerated dough (which I love), they won't touch it.  They can't get enough of this pizza made with homemade dough, who knows...I think they are just weird.  Happy pizza making!

Jambalaya in the rice cooker

I really wish I had a big kitchen because I would buy every kitchen gadget under the sun.  Since I don't have a big kitchen, I have to keep any "extra" kitchen supplies above and beyond the typical daily usage in a make shift basement pantry. If I was an insomniac I'd probably be getting weekly delieveries from infomercials, thank God I sleep well.  I am not sure what compelled me to do this but I bought a rice cooker for like $15 from Wal Mart.  Holy cats, where has this been my whole life.  I prefer to make long grain brown rice, which takes a great deal of time and attention just to make sure all the water doesn't boil out.  A rice cooker takes all the guess work out of making rice...perfection.  Now not only can you make plain rice but you can make one dish wonders.  Amazing.  This is the first recipe that I made in the rice cooker, my picky husband, loved this dish.

1 pound of turkey kielbasa
1 10-ounce can chicken breast
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
2 Tbsp Creole seasoning  (I didn't have any so I made my own creole seasoning)

Cut the kielbasa into half; lengthwise, then into 1/4 half circles.  Add all ingredients to the inner cooking pot and mix well.  Place inner cooking pot in the rice cooker and close the lid.  Press the COOK SWITCH.  The rice cooker will automatically switch to "Keep Warm" mode once the meal is ready...I know amazing.  The orignial recipe calls for 1/2 pound sausage and 1/2 pound shrimp, since Scott doesn't eat shrimp I just increased the kielbasa to 1 pound to make up for the "meat".  Serves 4.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

So I still haven't had time to upload a watermarking program, however, since it's Wednesday I do have a couple of pictures.  Since I am working on keeping the identity of the kids "secret"; I'll bet you'll never guess who these are pictures of...incognito...

I can't figure out how to rotate this picture...but you get the gist...who could those masked kids be?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Monday 6/20 Friends Helping Friends

If it's not apparent, I'm not trying to brag or anything but I'm a giver.  I like to give of my time and of my food.  What I think it boils down to, is that giving keeps me out of trouble.  This past week I ended up spending a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks for several different people, I did still keep my family fed with at home cooked meals but I'll save those for next week since my plan is to eat random food (hamburger helper, eggs, sandwiches, and other simple foods) most of the week so I can work on the 6 credits I'm taking and figure out how to download and use a blogging program to "watermark" my pictures.

So anyway my MIL was heading to visit her brother in another state and was traveling with other family members so I prepared some snacks for them to take on their adventure.

pizza popcorn
protein packed cereal bars
6 week muffins

This week in summer school, we prepared 3 different snacks for a local shelter.  The shelter helps families get back on their feet after life events leave them homeless.  Our students enjoyed preparing these snacks and bringing in other donations for the shelter.  We try to incorporate different community service projects into our life skills instruction.  It was great to give back to the community.  The dip and trail mix recipes were doubled since we were aiming to serve about 35 people.

Carmel Pretzel Nut Popcorn
Caramel Apple dip served with apples and bananas
trail mix

These recipes were made for people in need.  A woman from church was having surgery and in need of meals to feed her family while she was laid up.  The other meal was for a friend who just gave birth to another baby girl.  Recently, I made Bubble Up pizza casserole and banana bread for neighbor who just gave birth to a baby girl something must be in the water. 

sesame chicken pasta salad
pepperoni calzones
banana bread #2 (a different version than listed above)

If you're into giving and are looking for the perfect recipe to prepare for someone in need or your own family, check out my menu and others at I'm an organized junkie.

banana bread #2

Awhile back I mentioned that I was waiting for a recipe for banana bread and while I was waiting for my email response I made this version.  It was great and easy.  My friend, Denise, claims her recipe is simple and amazing.  The only thing that I did differently was added more liquid.  This recipe calls for 1/3 cup of milk, that is certainly not enough.  I added more like 1 cup, I'd suggest starting with 1/3 cup and adding until it creates a batter.  I also used the larger loaf pan and was able to make 2 loaves, they baked for about 55 minutes. 

21/2 c. flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
31/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbl. oil
1/3 c. milk (I added about 1 cup of milk)
1 egg
3-4 bananas smashed with a fork

I dump and mix all ingredients except bananas first and then add the mashed bananas and mix well and then pour into sprayed pans

350 degrees
mini loaves - 35-45 minutes
9in loaf 75 minutes
cook until brown and done looking

I like to put a slice in the toaster and butter - the best!

Pepperoni Calzones

This recipe comes from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase.  I made these to bring for a friend during my week of friends helping friends menu plan.  I also must say I made them 2 other times that same week, they were so GOOD.  Almost too good, which is not good.

homemade pizza dough
1 cup store bought pizza sauce
About 40 pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Garlic salt for sprinkling

Prepare the dough according to the directions.  Or use store bought pizza dough if in a time crunch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Form the dough into 8 balls and roll out each ball from the center, into a rectangle approximately 5 inches by 8 inches, leaving the short ends slightly rounded.  Place a spoonful of pizza sauce onto one half of the rectangle.  Add a few pepperoni slices and some shredded cheese to each calzone.  Fold the dough over and press the edges together with a fork, sealing in the sauce, pepperoni, and cheese.  Brush the top of each calzone with olive oil and sprinkle garlic on top.

Bake calzone in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Let cool slightly before serving.  Serve warm.

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

The idea of this recipe comes from the oriental salad that uses ramen noodles.  I used the sesame dressing recipe from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase, I just doubled the recipe to coat the pasta and made a few other minor changes.  I prepared an extra batch of the dressing to pour on the salad just before serving.  This dinner is included in my Friends helping friends Menu Monday.

4 chicken breasts, diced
1 box any type of pasta
1 bag of Edamame thawed
1 can mandarin oranges

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons garlic salt

Additional dressing to put on just before serving:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare chicken according to the secret recipe.  Once it's baked cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Make pasta according to the package directions. 

In a bowl combine all ingredients for the dressing.  Whisk until blended.  In a separate container with a lid combine the additional dressing, to be used later. 

In a large bowl toss together the pasta and cooled chicken, pour the doubled batch of dressing onto the pasta mixture, toss to coat evenly.  Add the thawed edamame to the mixture.  Right before serving add the drained mandarin oranges and add any additional dressing.  If you have any on hand, adding some crushed ramen noodles gives it a little extra something...I didn't have any ramen, I did add some French's fried onions to try to achieve the crunch...the ramen would've been perfect.

My Secret Way to Bake Chicken Breasts

For Christmas 2010 my sister gave my a new cookbook The Cooking Mom by Amy Hanten, oh my, how I have loved this cookbook.  I have found so many recipes that have hit the spot and fed my hungry, picky family.  This recipe for chicken breasts is by far the best, better than grilling, frying, or just baking them, try this you won't be disappointed.  When you score a sweet deal or decide to debone the chicken, give this recipe a try.

4 to 12 or even more boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
A couple tablespoons of olive oil
Garlic salt and pepper
Large sheet of heavy duty foil (not the cheap stuff)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line up the chicken in a row on the foil.  Drizzle each piece with a little olive oil.  Season each piece with some salt and pepper.  Wrap up the foil (not too tight) to make a packet.  Place packet on a jelly roll pan.  Bake for 40 to 55 minutes depending on your oven and how many pieces you're cooking.  Remove from the oven and let cool for about ten minutes.  Carefully open the foil packet.  there you go, lots of chicken for the whole week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pizza Dough

This recipe comes from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase.  I am going to be sad when I have to return this cookbook back to the library.  I am so thankful that I already use her $5 Dinners site for inspiring inexpensive ideas. 

1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup-all purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Bread Machine directions for the dough:
Place the ingredients for the dough into the bread machine according to the manufacturer's directions.  Set on the dough cycle. 

Once the dough cycle is complete or the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and remove it from the bread machine bowl.  Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, and then roll out on a clean floured surface into the shape of the baking sheet. 

By hand directions for the dough:
In mixing bowl, combine the lukewarm water and 1 cup all-purpose flour.  Add the yeast, sugar, salt, and oil.  Whisk together to make a "spongy" dough.  Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the 2 cups of whole wheat flour to the sponge and stir with a wooden spoon.  When the dough becomes thick enough, knead it by hand for 6 to 8 minutes on a floured surface or in a floured bowl, until it reaches the consistency of soft baby skin.  Knead the garlic powder into the dough.  Place in a floured or greased bowl and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

6-week muffins

I know I always seem to link into the same old meal sites.  The reason I always seem to go back to Krista's Kitchen is because I've been following her since...well what seems like forever, in a good way.  We actually are Internet friends from way back when...although we have never met, we had babies around the same time. So when it comes to blogs I am not as versed as I could be.  There are so many blogs out there, I have expanded my reading but I am a faithful Krista's Kitchen with her tried and true recipes made for her family.  Anyway, I have made these muffins several times.  They are GREAT!  Once the batter is mixed you can have a quick breakfast or snack in less than 20 minutes.  During the school year, I can put the muffins mix in the tins and pop them in the oven while I get in the shower.  After the shower and when the kids wake up I have fresh, hot muffins waiting...seriously, I should get an award on those days.  Give these muffins a try and let me know your thoughts. 

These muffins along with protein packed cereal bars and pizza popcorn were included in a travel package.  

Protein -Packed Cereal Bars

I figured these bars from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch cookbook by Erin Chase would be a great travel snack. These bars are packed with peanuts and peanut butter, we already know I am not a huge fan of peanut butter from my mixed review of peanut butter cookies.  I decided to try these as part of a care package I was sending with my MIL on a trip.  I also included 6 week muffins and pizza popcorn in the package, I did it because I love her not because I'm a suck up or wanted blog materials OK maybe a little of both are true.  I doubled this batch to send half with MIL and keep half at home for the kids. 

1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk (I used half and half because I had some leftover)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (I used honey roasted peanuts because I had them on hand)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried raisins or cranberries (I used cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8x8 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  In a mixing blow, stir together the peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Stir in the oats, nuts, cinnamon, and raisins; the batter will be thick.  Press the batter into the prepared baking dish using the bottom of a measuring cup or the back of a large serving spoon. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cook on a wire rack before slicing.  Slice into 4 rows on one side, then one slice down the middle on the other side, making 8 bards.

Pizza Popcorn

This recipe came from The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase. I check this book out from the library on a Tuesday, when I had a chance on Friday I thumbed through the book and read the tips. Of course since I have a limited time to view the book and try recipes, I thought I should get a head start.  I found a couple of recipes that were must tries.  My MIL is heading out on a trip so I thought I'd be getting some blogging materials a thoughtful, Christian woman by preparing her and her siblings some snacks for the road.  Since I couldn't do what I did for our day trip for her I made 3 easily portable snacks:  6 week muffins, protein packed cereal bars, and pizza popcorn.  I did end up doubling this for some to send on the trip and some to keep at home.

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 cups of popped popcorn

In a blender or mini food processor, blend the Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper for 1 minute.  Add freshly popped popcorn to a large brown and sprinkle the cheese-herb mixture over the top.  Toss until the popcorn is evenly coated.  Store in an airtight container.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The chicken's breast

For starters, I want to say I had my way with a chicken breast this week.  It sounds sick and wrong, but the truth is I have been wanting to try out deboning a chicken breast for some time.  About 9 years ago I worked with a woman who constantly talked about doing crazy things to these poor breasts, this was back when my idea of dinner was dine in or carry out, so the thought of playing around with the chicken was not thrilling.  Since then I have gotten my feet wet in many chicken experiences such as cooking whole chicken (I have a fab crockpot recipe I should post soon) and making stock from the bones, deboning is not something I have done until this particular day.  It's easy.  Why did I wait so long?  Since I have more time in the summer, I thought I'd have my go at a little couponing, not EXTREME COUPONING, just normal, mother of 2 crying and screaming frolicking through the store couponing.  Chicken was not part of my original plan but since it was on sale for $.99 a pound, I picked up 2 packages of about 2.5 pounds each...I would have bought more but the limit was 1 per transaction. I'm not going to go into detail since Krista has given you the information

This is if you really want to get intimately involved in a to cut a whole chicken.  I'm going to keep that on my list of things to consider but I am not running out to buy a whole chicken anytime soon.

My kitchen scale was very helpful with the task of packaging the breasts.  I used my scale to measure out 1 pound packages of the chicken.  I ended up with about 3 pounds of chicken breasts from the 5 pounds of boned chicken. 

After I deboned, I boiled the breasts with onions and carrots to make some broth, about 12 cups. 

Once the broth was done, I picked the rib meat off.   I ended up with about 3/4 pound of this type of meat.  My plan is to make BBQ chicken sandwiches.  Overall, I ended up with  3 3/4 pounds of actual meat from the $5.00 worth of chicken, if I was a math teacher I would calculate my actual pound cost but since I'm not, I won't. All that matters is that it was cheaper than I would pay for the boneless skinless breast processed at the store.  Oh and I am sure you want to know about the skin...well, I put it in the garbage but Vinnie didn't think that was a good idea and he stole it when I wasn't looking.  Guess how I know he stole it?  Nope.  Nope.  OK I'll spill the beans, he vomited it up in the living room and then vomited more skin up in Camden's room.  Thank goodness his stomach didn't process it, it came out in one big chunk.  It was pretty easy clean up, yet quite disgusting. 

So aside from that if you have an opportunity to have your way with a boned chicken breast, I say "Go for it!  It's as easy as it looks."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I am taking a different approach to wordless Wednesday today by posting a link to another blog.  This lady is a freaking hoot.  If you are easily offended, don't click on it.  If you have kind of an "off" sense of humor, read it.  Hopefully, I'll be back with funny kid pictures next week.  My sister burst my bubble when she reminded me that some creepy person could steal pictures of my kids and call them their own.  Really?  Here's a little secret, if you want my kids that badly...send me a message maybe we can work out a I'll pay you cold hard cash to take them.  Just kidding, I love those kids.

So be warned, this hilarious post contains contents not appropriate for many viewers.  OK I warned I am going to have a rash of Facebook defriending.  You all know you love me.  Hilarious! 

DIY Feminine Hygiene Tips from The Bearded Iris

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Monday 6/13

So I am still trying to work through a few kinks on how I want to manage this...I actually think I am going to start with Sunday.  Logical?  Who knows...I'm just trying to figure out this whole blogging thing. 

Sunday-a church luncheon a special request was made for Strawberry Romaine Salad and since I'm a blogging fool (or maybe I'm just a fool) I need have more materials, I also made...fruit and nut tossed salad

Monday-creamy chicken with pasta

Tuesday- leftover buffet with fresh fruit and dip

Wednesday- apple baked french toast

Thursday-grilled turkey burgers with broccoli salad

Friday-grilled cheese with can of soup (super gourmet-open, heat, and serve)

Saturday-You get what you get and you don't throw a fit night (kind of like leftover night but I just figure out what I need to get rid of and serve it) and brownie cookie bar

Check out I'm an organized junkie if you want to see my menu and many others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

apple baked french toast

The idea of this recipe comes from Make Dinner Easy,  the Apple French Toast Casserole.  The recipe that was followed for this meal adapted slightly but in general is very similar to the recipe listed above.  I have made the linked recipe but this one was way better...I think it has something to do with the fact that I wanted to throw this together before I left for work but forgot.  I called my personal chef husband and asked him if he would put this together before he laid down.  Since he rocks, he said "Yes".  Perhaps this tasted better because I didn't have to prepare it, I just stuck it in the oven when I got home from work. 

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 baking apples, peeled and sliced with core removed
1 cup blueberries
1 (1 pound) loaf bread machine bread, diced up into 1 ½ ” squares (approximately!)
8 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups, milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real stuff, not imitation vanilla)

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter. Add the sliced apples and stir until they are coated well. Pour this apple mixture into a greased 9”x12” glass baking dish. Spread the diced bread on top of the apples.  Using the same bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Pour this over the apples. Make sure all the bread pieces are fully soaked with the egg mixture. You may need to press some of the bread down into the egg mixture to assure this. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for 8-10 hours.  Sprinkle with blueberries.  Bake the foil covered casserole in an oven that has been pre-heated to 375°F for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8-10, and leftovers can be reheated.

Creamy Chicken with pasta

The idea of this recipe comes from Easy Philly Cream Cheese Recipes.  I followed many of the steps but I omitted a few things to simplify for my picky eater (my husband).  I was heading out for a Mexican Fiesta at a local Mexican joint for dinner with my girlfriends.  Of course, mommy still needs to feed the family and sending them to McDonald's seems like a good plan, however, Grandma was over the day before and fed them Mc Donald's.  I am a way better mom than raising my kids on fast food, they deserve some good old home cooking or at least my wallet does.  Plus I need stuff to blog about... The highlight of this recipe is this...

I picked this up on sale for 2 for $5 with an additional coupon for $1 off.  I also purchased another kind of cooking cream the Santa Fe style...I'm not sure what I'll make with that one but if you're interested my friend Krista at Krista's Kitchen tried the santa-fe-chicken-casserole.  It looks good but I might try something different...of course, so I can blog about it.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast defrosted
1 tub of (10 oz.)PHILADELPHIA Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
2 cups of cooked any type of pasta (I used spaghetti noodles)
1 tsp garlic salt
2-3 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

Cook chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. liquid.   Add cooking creme; cook and stir 3 min.  Stir in pasta.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.  When I was cooking it the cooking cream was creamy almost like an Alfredo sauce.  I did not eat any since I was going to save every single calorie for my yummy Mexican food.  When I did eat this as a leftover, the cooking cream did not melt even when warmed.  It was kind of weird...just saying.  The taste was right on but the texture was more like Parmesan cheese. 

I would make it again but if I was going to be home for this meal, I would have added the peppers, spinach, and probably an onion.  I would have skipped the pine nuts just because it's not my thing.

broccoli salad

Now I am pretty sure I didn't invent this particular salad.  When I google it there are a bazillion different recipes.  It sounds like this is what Rebecca did with her week of broccoli when she needed a salad.  In order to make this I actually combined two different recipes.  I love this salad, the sweet and tangy is oh so yummy.  This is great to bring to a BBQ with friends or serve for a week night meal.  I would have added bacon but I was having a friend over for dinner and she's not a bacon person, otherwise I would add a package of "real bacon bits" or real bacon if you have some on hand.  I prefer the easy clean up of the prepackages, preserved bacon over the fat, splashing bacon frying, that's just whatever floats your boat.  If you're serving this to several people, I would consider doubling or tripling the batch. 

3 cups of fresh, broccoli cut
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 white sugar
1 T cider vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 can of mandarin oranges, drained.

Cut the broccoli in to small pieces.  Mix the mayo, sugar and cider vinegar.  Stir in the sunflower seeds.  Pour the mixture over the broccoli.  Drain the oranges, add to the broccoli salad.  Chill before serving.  OK, want the truth?  I am not sure if I like the oranges, it gave it a weird texture.  Textures don't typically freak me out.  On the other hand, the non-bacon eater friend, liked the oranges. 

My goal over summer break is to start taking pictures of the food I cook.  I'm sure Scott will think it's weird and giggle, but I think it's fun and exciting.  Plus maybe I can convince him to buy me a new camera.  A girl can dream.

brownie cookie bar

So this is another recipe that was introduced to me several years ago when I was working at my "first' high school job in a functional community program.  This is another one of those child labor things, however, when the kids first made them, they got to eat them.  I can't recall where the original recipe would have come from but probably a simple cookbook.  After a google search that was turning up nothing, I finally came across this from Better Homes and Garden.  Although I didn't follow this recipe, I used some of the basic techniques.  While at the grocery store boxes of brownies were on sale for $.88, so I purchased a few boxes to help with my need to improve my baking. It's no secret that baking is not my thing.  However, I'm working on it.  Even items from a box count, right? 

1 box brownie mix (with ingredients necessary to make)
usually it's oil, egg, and water
1 package of sugar cookie dough

Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix brownies according to the package directions.  Spray a 9 x 11 inch baking pan.  Press the package of sugar cookie dough into the pan, covering the pan with cookie.  My intention was to flatten the cookie dough into the pan, for some reason it was not as easy as I thought.  I ended up just slicing them like cookies and layering them in the pan.  Similar concept and it worked out fine.  Pour the brownie batter over the top of the cookies.  Bake for 40 minutes or until brownies are cooked through.  The kids loved them, so did I.  I really like the combination.  Give them a try.

Fruit and Nut Tossed Salad

This recipe comes from an unknown source.  It was on a photocopied recipe page my friend Joy gave me for The Cookery Chicken Tetrazzini, that came from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The salad recipe was on this page but it was not from the Journal Sentinel.  All that I know is I didn't invent the recipe so I can't take credit for it, but I also can't give the appropriate credit to the original author either.  So there it is, once again, another copyright violation.  I brought this salad for a church function, along with this Strawberry Romaine Salad, which seems to be the new hit of all parties.  This recipe calls for a combination of lettuces, however, I ended up using only spinach.  It must have been a hit, there was none left at the end of the function. 

1 cup fresh spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
6 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup seedless red or green grapes, halved
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
11 oz can mandarin orange segments, chilled, drained
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 small avocado, peeled, sliced if desired (I out a little lemon on the acocado so it wouldn't brown)

In large bowl, combine spinach, lettuce, grapes, almonds, and orange segments.  In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Shake well.  Just before serving toss some dressing with salad and garnish with avocado.  Serve remaining dressing with salad.  6 to 8 servings.

fruit dip

This dip is soooo simple. Anyone can make it...hence why I actually had my students at school make this for a retirement party I was planning on attending during the last week of school.  What child labor laws?  I know...I know but hear me out.  I work at a high school with students who are in a "functional community based program".  This program is for students who have a lower functioning learning disabilities (LD), cognitive disabilities (CD), or an other health impairment (OHI) who need a life skills based program.  Although we do have academic components, we focus on real life things that students will need for survival.  I don't typically have my students make my meals or do personal things for me, however, there is a time and a place for such things when there is a real life opportunity for learning or a hands on experience.  So since this dip was being made for my co-workers who are heading into retirement (some of their former teachers), I felt it would be an appropriate experience for them to prepare the dip and fruit tray.  I don't even feel bad that they had to make it.  You know what it's like working with your little one in the kitchen?  Well imagine this intensified, except instead of the little one being a mini-me in the kitchen, you actually are the mini-me since many students are taller than me!  So without further ado, here is the simple fruit simple even a teenager could make it.

1 package softened cream cheese
1 jar Marshmallow fluff
Assorted array of fruit

Yep...that's it.  Wash, slice (if necessary), on a side note if you're working with students make sure they don't stab each other, although it sounds silly I am sure it's happened.  Not on my watch but somewhere and someplace I am sure it could happen.  So once the knives are secured (or taken for evidence), arrange fruit on a tray.  If you decide to use apples you can use the technique I talked about in my post about snacks for traveling.  We did not use apples for this particular tray.  Now place cream cheese and fluff in a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the dip.  Once items are combined, place in a pretty bowl or a Tupperware container to serve with the fresh fruit.  Enjoy.  I just hope that the child labor law people don't show up at my door step.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweetness Saturday

Ah so many things to be thankful for...let me count the ways. 

1. I got to see my niece who I haven't seen in almost 2 years.  Love you Mariah, it was so nice to see you!  Most of the family got together to eat and talk stupid.  Kind of twisted but I love spending time with my family, even if they insanely, semi, slightly dysfunctional. 

2.  We're dog sitting our neighbor's dog, who is Vinnie's BFF.  They are only a few weeks (maybe only a week) apart in age, it's like having a built in playmate.  The dogs are being awesome.  I just think it's sweet that this reminds me why I should not go back to being a 2 dog family.  Too much energy flowing through this house.

3.  My kids are spending the night with their Grandma.  I am enjoying silence, well except for the dogs acting foolish, Brown Chicken, Brown Cow..don't ask, they are both's sick.  I am curled up with the computer while watching Lifetime...oh how I love Lifetime.  Enjoying the sweet sound of  Barry Mantalo playing in the background for the dogs, use your imagination's sick. 

4.  I am now switched my purse to the summer version.  It's super cute and I can't wait to tote it around this summer.  I just hope it's as sweet as I dreamed it would be.

5.  Right now the street lights are not even on, I could technically go to bed. I am sick again, not like sick in bed sick, but sick with a mild version of a cold.  The thought of heading to bed with Lifetime playing in the background puts a sweet, sweet smile on my face.  I just don't know if these dogs will allow me such a sweet pleasure. 

Here's to hoping I get some sleep tonight.  Have a sweet rest of your Saturday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

School's Out

*Think the movie Dazed and Confused...Cue music....School's Out for Summer...* or a more modern scenario would be an opening scene for one of the million High School Musical...Summer, Summer, Summer, Summer, Summer and then the bell rings and everyone bolts while the teacher is still talking.  That lady is whack by the way, I am done talking within the first week of school...sit, down, shut up and do your crap.

Here is my boy gearing up for his first dose of reality.  His first days of kindergarten. 

This picture was taken the night after his first year of school.  Although it doesn't look like it, he has had his hair cut.  He's aiming for the Justin Beiber look. 
Now the song is "All the single ladies..."


Here is Kenley on her first day of preschool.  Look her hair is nearly tucked back in a pony tail.Wearing clothes that we picked out.

Oh how quickly times can change.  Someone call the police because this outfit is criminal.

And for the fun of it here is a picture from the first day of Camden's pre-school in 2008.

What do you think do they look different on the last day of school 2011?  The kids, not the cupboards.

 I'm thinking of all the things I'll get to do over the summer crack open a bottle of wine at 8am on a Tuesday, go to special mommy playgroups where they serve mommy drinks, not feel guilty for being at a bar when they open in the morning and staying until it closes., smoke a little...oh this is a public blog, I keep forgetting it's not my personal journal...really, I am looking forward to the summer so I can spend time with my family, take some classes, get my hoarding under control home more organized, build my blog followers, and try to lose a few hundred pounds take care of myself.  I am also really looking forward to getting juicy materials for my blog creating memories with my family.  Although the first day of summer had not officially arrived, especially since it's back down in the 50's, I am looking forward to an exciting summer.  Happy First Day of Summer Vacation to me (and the kids)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (or as wordless as I can handle)

Imagine that, an injury with this crazy bounce house thing...courtesy of my Mother In Law.
Just having some fun.
My baby boy, Vinnie, isn't he cute.  He recently celebrated his 2nd birthday.  He really is the baby of the family.  Unless you could the lepard gecko, which I don't...just saying. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a it's a

Love Machine Truck.  Shortly after (OK like 6  months) after our daughter was born one of our cars went to car heaven (AKA the junkyard).  Although it works for some families, being a one car family does not work for us as a long term solution.  We have had to do it in a pinch and recently went down to one car for over 2 weeks while our neighbor fixed the transmission of our Chevy Blazer. It worked but it wasn't pretty.  Thank God for helpful friends and co-workers who really stepped up to the plate to cart Scott's behind around  help out their dear friend, Scott.  So basically, what I am saying is when we needed to head out for car shopping we were pretty sure we wanted a mini-van. I know gasp...I wasn't even 30 and wanted to ride a mini-van.  Actually, the underlying plan was slightly different, if the ladies saw Scott driving the "MV" they would know he was a family man and stay far away...OK I know "MV's" are babe magnets don't deny.  If the van's a rocking, don't come knocking Just kidding. Scott's a stand up guy and doesn't a mini van to demonstrate this.  We love our mini van like no body's business.  Our pastor spoke about "idols" this week and sometimes I think our mini van is my "idol" but I'm working on this...So what's the point?  It's just that the mini van is so amazing in oh so many ways.  It has demonstrated it's ability to haul over and over again.  We've hauled a treadmill, furniture, a swing set (not assembled), landscaping timbers to create our raised garden, and precious cargo, just to name a few things.  I recently got a phone call from my friend, Kelli, who was offering me FREE cedar mulch, all I had to do was haul it home.  We went to our first resource, our neighbor, well call him Resourceful Randy, who has this awesome trailer but it was broken with no sight of being fixed ahead (he's looking for a specific part and can't seem to find it).  So I thought of making several trips with my garbage can...lame, I know.  When suddenly it hit me to transform the van from the babe magnet to a hauling machine...yepper, you guessed it.  I hauled the mulch in the back of the van. 
Yep, that's a pitch fork in there and oh yeah, it was a mess.  You know what, after two trips I was able to re-mulch my backyard for no cost to me (except a little gas-but I was in the area both times).  I put in a little sweat equity also if that counts.  If we do one more load either from my friend or the local "dump" I can fill in my front yard, too.   Here are just a few photos of my beautiful and not yet brown flowers. 
Thankfully it takes a lot to kill a Hosta. 

Excuse the sad looking Hosta, I had just split a ginormous one and this is a split one.  It hasn't had time to revive itself yet.
My raspberry bushes that we planted last year.  We need to fence them in yet...slowly.  Ignore the patchy grass we're working on it.  This wet spring and a wild dog does not do wonders for the lawn.
I still need to do a little work in here.  Believe me it's much better than the hot mess it was.
This has nothing to do with my mulch but if you can see past the brown leaves, you see a red juicy strawberry starting to ripen!  Yeah, I might produce some food this year.  See my thumb must be getting greener.  Come on, just ignore the brown leaves.

So really, what is the moral of the story?  If you're out looking for a new vehicle, get a van.  It will transform your life.  It might even make your thumb green...which if it literally does, you'll want to seek medical attention because that's not right.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Monday 6/6

Happy almost the end of the school year week!  Heading into the final stretch for me.  Then maybe I can work on taking some pictures of the food I cook...just an idea and a maybe...don't bet your paycheck on it. 

Monday-fish tacos with chipotle ranch suddenly salad

Tuesday-breakfast of cinnamon rolls and sausage


Thursday-grilled chicken with grilled veggies

Friday-easy turkey casserole

Saturday-Out to Eat

Sunday-stuffed shells with bread machine bread..come on dust it off it's time to start using the bread machine again.

If you enjoyed my menu you can find my menu along with many others, check out I'm an organized junkie.

Stuffed Shells

I had some cottage cheese that was about to go bad and some frozen spaghetti sauce (sometimes I add ground turkey) that needed to get used up.  So out came these stuffed shells.  I dusted off the old bread machine and made some homemade bread to go with this, along with a salad.  It was perfect. 

1 package Jumbo Shells
2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 t garlic salt
3 cups spaghetti sauce (canned or homemade-your choice)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Make shells according to package.  Place cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and Italian seasoning in bowl.  Mix well.  Once shells are cooked, run under cold water to cool completely.  When cool, place 1-2 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture inside the shells.  Put in a 9 x 11 baking pan.  When all shells are stuffed, pour sauce over the top.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Take off foil and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Easy Turkey Casserole

Again it's another easy recipe.  Have you noticed I don't prepare super difficult recipes?  Yep, it's true I love easy recipes.  They usually tast pretty darn good, too.  Try this one out and let me know! 

1 pound ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup beef broth
1 can brocoli cheese soup
1 bag of frozen mixed vegtables or leftover veggies
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  In a skillet brown turkey with onions.  Layer the thinly sliced potatoes in the bottom of a 9 x 11 pan.  Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper.  Spread the vegtables over the potatoes.  Then spread the ground turkey on top.  Mix the broth and cheese soup together.  Pour evenly over the top of the casserole.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until heated through.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sweetness Saturday

Ever get the feeling that you have bitten off more than you can chew?  Ugh me too.  Have too many balls in the air?  Me, too.  It's like we're the same people.  One would think that as the school year wraps up my life would get easier...nope, it keeps getting more hectic.  Not that hectic is bad.  I like to be busy, it keeps me out of trouble, if you know what I mean. So when stuff like that happens I'm not really sure what to do and I don't always know where to start.  Of course, like any logical person, I just start doing little pieces of everything.  I'm working on this about myself, this is an on going process.  I've got so much to say that I can't say anything...make sense?  The past 2 days I have sat down and pulled up my blog to write.  As you can tell, I haven't been able to come up with anything to exciting.  I read a few blogs and I get that don't have to write hourly, daily, or even's just one of those things.  I kind of want to.  So since I don't really have anything too juicy to talk about I am hoping that after today I'll feel a little more under control at home.  My mommy is coming to town (she only lives 45 minutes away) to watch the kids play T-ball and then babysit the kids so Scott and I can have a honey date...we're going to enjoy a quick and peaceful lunch alone.  With a little break to lighten the load and Scott having off the next 3 days, hopefully, we can wrap up the playroom/bedroom swap out. 

Because I enjoy this I think I can come up with a few for my sweetness Saturday post...wish me luck.
1.  I get to see my mommy!  What makes that even better, since I don't really think she comes to visit me anymore, she's going to babysit the kids, Scott and I get to spend some long awaited adult time alone.  As I am thinking, I actually don't remember the last time we had an out of the house honey date alone.  Gosh, maybe over my spring break we got to have a lunch date before we got our taxes done...unless I'm missing something in between...that was in March.  Oh as I was finishing up, I do remember we had one about 6 or 7 weeks ago when we went to visit my sister in the hospital without the kids...does that count as a date?  So it will be so sweet to stare across the table to look longingly at my main squeeze.  I mean we do things like a late dinner or movie at home or adventures in the never mind it's not appropriate to blog about, it's just more difficult to get time out of the house with his rotating, second shift schedule and a budget that doesn't allow for a nanny or on call's all good, it's the season of our life and we love it!  We take what we can get. 
2.  The first and maybe only coat is almost on the walls of Camden's old bedroom, which is going to transform into the new TV/reading room.  This will be sweet because when you have kids and they have toys things get a little crazy.  I am making the kids keep all their toys in their rooms or in the basement.  It gets nuts with toys everywhere in this joint.  In my head this plan works out perfectly, let's see if reality is the same.  I'll keep ya posted.
3.  Kenley and I were able to spend some quality time together last night.  Camden went to watch our older neighbor boy play baseball.  Our younger neighbor is Camden's BFF, since they are one year apart and have been playing together for 5 years.  She was very upset that Camden has a BFF and she doesn't.  Although she did tell me I was her BFF.  A few weeks ago, she also told me that she loved me more than her beautiful dresses...see isn't that sweet.  Although I am pretty sure her beautiful dresses can't take care of her like I do.  Anyway, Kenley got her ears pierced 6 weeks ago.  Time sure flies.  We went shopping for new earrings and a earring rack.  Nothing like shopping to make a girl happy!
4.  Camden's school year is wrapping up.  It's bitter sweet that my baby is going to be heading into first grade.  I am not sure if I should feel happy that he's one step closer to getting out of my hair becoming a man or crying because I'm really starting to feel like an old bat my baby boy is growing up.  If you recall I've been dealing with a young vandal and a spitter...which I didn't blog about...I've got to keep somethings private people.  I got 2 phone calls from his teacher within a week and I thought I was going to commit a crime but it's all good's super sweet that I haven't heard from his teacher all week.  He deserves a pat on the back or something. 
5.  Finally, it's sweet that for having nothing to say or not knowing where to start I have completed another blog entry.  SWEET...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snacks for traveling

On Monday we loaded up the family truckster and headed out for a 2.5 hour drive to visit some old friends we haven't seen in 6 years.  Since this was Scott's bright idea I thought I would leave him in charge of the family snacks.  What I realized was that snacks would have been a (or several) stops at the gas stations and would have cost us a years worth of college tuition because these days the kids seem to be hungry every 5 seconds.  I decided Scott has enough on his plate to just himself ready so I helped take a load off by getting myself, both kids, and the snacks prepared...I even found a "dog sitter" to let the dog out...Thanks Danielle!  Usually when I do snacks for trips I try to do a going and a coming batch.  It just helps gives the kids variety.  I know it seems like this might be a lot of work but I have to say it really didn't take long to put these little snack boxes together.  It took me longer to blog about them than to get them ready.  I am all about doing things efficiently.  For my sanity my kids are not allowed to sit by each other so the idea of them sharing a bag or box or snacks is not going to work for us.  Due to the costs I do buy some prepackaged snack food, mostly for convience, but I'm all about portioning things into baggies or containers to save a little money.  This method of travel snack preparation works for me.  I do really think Scott would have preferred gas station food just because that's how he rolls but he was happy to have the snacks that I provided him.

As you will see that is Chinese food container.  I am so resourceful.  This is the going snack bin.  It consists of a juice box, PB crackers, a bagel with cream cheese, cheese, and a fruit leather. 
Isn't that perfect?  I love it.

This is the coming home box.  I only had 2 Chines food boxes so I used some bento boxes that I had, which are perfect for this.  This box had trail mix, crackers, meat stick, and Oreos.  The kids got a bottle of water with this one. 

So cute!

I made sure I included fruits in our snack bin.  The kids really love it helps keeps my junk food snacking at bay.  You want my secret on how my apples didn't turn brown?  Simple.  I soaked them in lemon juice for about 10 minutes.  We ended up not eating these until we were on our way home and they were just as beautiful as when I first cut them.  I know, so cool.

Almost ready to go!
Can't forget mom and dad's snack bin.  Almonds, string cheese, a Weight Watchers snack cake, I had a LUNA bar and Scott got Oreos.  We got to drink soda.

I used plastic sandwich holders.  In case you're wondering, the Hello Kitty one is mine.

I didn't forget the sickness bag.  We believe that Camden might be suffering from migraines.  These "episodes" seem to occur when we've been super busy.  Our doctor thinks they might be migraines.  The cure is Ibuprofen and caffeine.  Thank goodness I had this little bag because as we were getting ready to leave Camden informed us that he wasn't feeling well.  Weird how Ibuprofen and Mt. Dew can save the day.

Everything fit nicely into this super, sweet cooler bag...stylin, right?

I also put in a box of crackers and the fruit leather.  Seriously, they ate almost everything.  They even at dinner at our friends house.  I know good thing they both have great metabolism right now.

We're barely out of town and she's already got a mouthful!
He has only gotten far enough away to drink his juice box!