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Monday, April 30, 2012

What's Cooking? Menu for April 30-May 6,2012

I know I sound like a broken record but honestly I feel like last week was 2 weeks with all the activity that went on! We had 2 major appointments, I had to complete applications to all these programs that aid us in the care of my son that sound like an alphabet song, BCMH, FSS, SSI, MCD, & WIC  all had to be completed by Friday of last week. Plus I had to drive all over town to get written estimates on 2 of our vehicles because a 10 year old van and a 14 yr old sedan put us over the line as far assets go to qualify for some of the programs....REALLY?? On top of it all was Kissi's big shindig on Saturday and I had to push to get ready for, not to fail to mention I had to actually work!

SO this week we are utilizing some left overs from the party, the menu I had originally planned to use is pushed to next week as the food budget got blown- we are eating out of the pantry this week, all on hand foods. This is good to do occasionally anyway, so you don't have cans of food in pantry or containers of food in freezer/fridge going bad.  You will notice desserts in my menu this week which I just don't typically offer as this is empty calories and when Kissi asks "What does ___ do for my body" I really can't give an edifying answer so I just simply say, "This is a sometimes food, only for enjoyment, eaten sometimes" since there is so many left overs I am allowing the family a rare treat of desserts this week!

Breakfast Options:
Bacon                                  Hot Cereal
Eggs {hard boiled}             Fresh Fruit
Toast                                   Kieffer & fresh fruit/veggies Smoothies
Cold Cereal                     

Lunch Options:
Grilled Cheese Sammies        Baked Potatoes                             Pasta Salad
Barb-b-q drummettes             Celery & Peanut Butter logs         Potato Salad
Mac & Cheese                        Veggies & Dippings                     Baked Beans
Raviolis                                  Apple & Veggie Sauces                Pretzels
Noodles and Butter                 Fresh Fruit                                    Cottage Cheese
Perogies                                  Triscut or Bunnies                        Chopped veggie salad

Snack Options:
Fresh Fruit, Veggies and Dippings, Crackers, Pretzels, Cheese squares, Pepperoni squares, Pasta salad, Potato salad, Cottage Cheese & fruit, Puddingwiches, Crackers w/ swiss cheese spread, rice cakes, fruit leather, almonds.

  * Stuffed Double Cheese Burgers w/ sauteed garlic mushrooms and  carmelized onions on a fresh home made steamed bun
  * Ranch Baked Beans
  * Favorite Summertime Potato Salad
  * Chopped veggie spinach salad
  * Mini White cake and strawberry trifle {used left over cupcakes crumbled with left over icing and layer w/ fresh strawberries left over from party layered in small juice glasses.

* Barb-B-Q Chicken Sammies
* Delicious Bountiful Pasta Salad
* Chopped Veggie and cheese salad
* Fresh Fruit Cup
* S'mores Marshmallow Kebobs

* Lasagna w/Garlic rubbed Chibata Bread w/garlic infused herbed EV finishing oil
* Roasted Asparagus
* Chopped Salad
* Red Velvet Cake Pops


* Pasta Primevera w/Chicken
* Chopped Veggie Salad
* Cherry Pie Pops

* Home made Pizza
* Roasted Veggies
* Cherry Limeade {LOVED the recipe made from party!!
* Choose a dessert!

*Mexican Pulled Beef {Crock pot dish, 1/4-1/2 C brine from peppericini peppers plus palmful diced, palmfuls of: smoked paprika, cumin, Chili powder, Oregano. Pinch of Cheyenne pepper, pinch of brown sugar, pinch of cinnamon & Beef Bullion granules, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Onion diced, and 4 cloves garlic smashed and minced plus a splashful of water}
* Homemade tortillas
* Refried Black Beans
* Yellow Rice
Choose a dessert if any is left!

Linked to Organizing Junkie Menu Plans Monday!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

MYO Magnetic Dolls

My daughter's friend birthday was around the corner,and since this little one has just about everything you could want, I had to come up with a neat idea that NO ONE would ever give her....


 How Cute are these?

Kissi-cat thought it would be cute to make one doll in her girlfriend's likeness and another one in her own. 

"This way so they could play together everyday in doll form even if they couldn't for real." ~ Kissi-cat


I forget exactly how my 4 year old said it, wish I would have wrote that down it was cute, kinda like, "Now we REALLY can play everyday, huh momma?"

I scoured the web looking for inspiration, originally I was just going to make paper dolls but remember the frustration of hassling with the paper tabs as they tore off when I was little. So when I saw this blog ("Make it & Love It"- a gr8 blog with awesome inspirational ideas and tutorials) that featured "MYO magnetic doll With Cover", I knew I would be "pinning it" for Audra's b-day!

List of Items to Make this yourself:

  • Paper Dolls or make your customized Paper Dolls with your Cricut Machine Paper Dolls,  Once Upon Princess, Disney Princess Cartridges to name a few cartridges with character options. You could even do a boy's one with robots, animals... Look at your cartridges in a different way to get inspired...
  • Card Stock Paper
  • New Cookie Sheet
  • Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Sewing Machine
  • Adhesive Magnetic sheets
1.) I used my Cricut and selected the dolls from "Once Upon Princess" cartridge, since both girls adore princesses. I made 2 girls, Kissi-cat picked out the dresses and designed the dresses by choosing the paper to make them. We had more dresses and outfits than I ended up using because it just didn't fit right with all the options we had come up with.
2.) I cut the dolls and dresses at 5", I don't remember what the unicorn was set at. I used Stickles glitter glue as accents to doll's hair and outfits.

3.) I remember finding Adhesive Magnetic sheets at Walmart, but they hadn't had a shipment  for months, ughhhh! So off I went to search the web- and the cheapest was Jo-Ann's Fabric and Crafts. They had a free shipping coupon that made it the cheapest- I meant to get the bigger size, but purchased the 4X6 photo sized ones instead, plus I meant to get the deep cutting housing and blades to but forgot and once it was all said and done I ran out of budget.

I ended up cutting the magnetic sheets by hand, I was afraid I would run out so I didn't cut it the whole shape, in the future I would cut the dolls and magnetic shapes the same outline, and if a shadow shape is available that would work out best. Because I noticed the dolls adhere best with more coverage.

The link gives more details to make the cover here, it was easier to make than I thought, I am not a great seamstress and novice sewer at best, I did have to redo it bc I didn't pull the elastic tight enough and cut the cover to small. Thankfully I had 2 yards of fabric, I tried to make the name applique and still feel like I want to attempt it again...

I watched a ton of you tube showing how to use your cricut to cut fabric and thought I did it as I remembered, but it ended up not working out. I even tried hand cutting, grrrr, looked to horrible, not even cute like a child did I opted to leave plain, looks cute anyway,

I think each time I make these they will get better and better~ (And I will make it again!!). I think this would be such a unique gift to a little girl with a doll in her likeness and one of her friends so they can REALLY play with each other ALL the time As Kissi-cat stated. 

I did touch on this earlier but if you use the Cricut Cartridges they have so many cute characters you could make a paper character set for boys too, with critters, robots, machines... Give this idea a try!

How cute is this bow ? I made this cute bow that with white curling ribbon, white tulle I added pink glitter glue and pink curling ribbon, & fluffing makes if fluffier.

Linked to 30Days Homemade 85th Pity Party- Linky Party, Unveil Your Genius Link Party #8 & Teach Me Tuesdays @ Growing Home, Twin Dragonflies ,Uncommon Designs Linky Party

P. A. R. T...Y?? Cuz I GOTTA!!!

Western Pony Farm Girl

4th Birthday Party
NOT the party girl, LOL! But her popa Stefan!

A party as BIG as it's name! Party day finally was here...only took me 2 months of dreaming up ideas,  then a few weeks of scouring the web {Google & Pininterest mostly and a 4 weeks of assembly plus 3 days of food prep work....all for 2 hours of fun. 

Happy giggles & shrieks of delight from party goers plus the look of enchantment on the Birthday girl's face....TIMELESS!!!

It all started with a picture I had in my head of Cow Hide Print and Red Bandana fabric & paper projects w/the use of the Old West Cricut Cartridge once Kissi started showing interest in horses. Then I found this pillowcase dress and an ESTY store customized her appliqued shirt for my son using both fabrics.

I really wanted to give her a party with pony rides and I even got an excellent price to give her one but my fear was the average age of the party guests was 3 and was too young to really handle it plus if it rained there would be no main attraction and 7 active girls plus 3 boys trapped in the house is something I wouldn't wish for even my arch enemy should I have one! And based on all of that it made it easier to choose to have the party at my Aunt's club house in her allotment. It is a rustic barn with exposed beams on the ceiling and wagon wheel light fixtures, brick walls... soo perfect for a Western Pony Farm Girl Party!!  Side note it did RAIN, Sleet and even snow some party day... good thing I changed the plans because the kids had more fun running around chasing each other & screaming like wild banshees in the HUGE clubhouse! 

I did a lot of upcycling for decorations, grocery bags, cereal boxes, shipping boxes, aluminum cans... I tried to keep this very frugal, green, and of course SUPER CUTE!! Items I made using Brown Grocery Bags (click here for details):
  • Birthday Banner/Bunting
  • Lollipop Tags {Forgot to add, but use make~ BUMMER!
  • Marshmallow S'More Pops Display/Holder
  • Favor Bags Labels
  • Party Invite Directions
  • Table Name Tags for food

I used a lot of stainless steel, white serving dishes, vintage crates, aluminum upcycled cans for serving dishes and flatware. My mom had some customized black table clothes that were designed for different table sizes but I draped them so they fit this HUMUNGOUS pool table with MDF board cover. I had plenty of space to display the many munchies.

I made everything from scratch so it saved us tons of money and got lots of the food on sale. I had a bountiful table filled lush and fresh offerings. I made my Family Favorite Potato Salad, Bountiful Pasta Salad, Campfire baked Beans, Carmelized Hickory Brown Sugar Barb-B-Q Drummettes, Limeade Cherry Spritzers (tastes just like Sonic's Cherry Limeades... YUMMO!!), Fresh and Delicious Fruit Kabobs, Cracked Pepper Dip, Lush Veggie Plate w/white & Choco covered strawberries, zesty pepperoni slices, dill pickles, roasted sweet peppers, black olives, My Mom's Double Stuffed Deviled Eggs. 

And that is just the food buffet! I did make a Dessert bar with Bakerella worthy cake pops made with the traditional red velved cake and white chocolate covering, 2" mini Cherry Pie Pops, S'mores Marshmallows on a stick, white cup cakes, Rich Deviled Foods Sour Cream Cake w/ Carmel-Chocolate Chips Trifle,  Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Covered Waffle Pretzels. I hand cut mini bunting for the Trifle and Twig basket containing Cherry Pie Pops. I wasn't crazy about the art work behind the table so I draped a remnant of Muslin over the pic that was drilled to the wall and taped a poster I had made of both of my children in their party clothes. I did have many ideas for backdrops but the wood paneling didn't allow for me to hang up any back drops and the Brick walls I didn't want to cover up.

I made customized paper dolls in the Birthday Girl's image some I used cricut cartridge some I good old fashioned ingenuity. I also made hats, boots, and horses with the Old West Cricut Cartridge as well as Bucking Broncos for Pin the Tail game, and sheriff badges for party guests, Rope fonts, Western Lettering, Lollipop tags. I just used raffia to fill the clear buckets I doubled use for party balloons placed bandanas under buckets along with mini horses.

As kids arrived I had them all decked out in western gear complete with cow boy hat, red bandana and they were deputized. I gave kids a choice to sit on the bale of hay and authentic western saddle (Which was a gorgeous saddle with amazing leather work my bestie allowed me to borrow) or to stand against the brick wall so I could take a photo for the Wanted Sign thank you cards I am going to send. Nearly all the guests (10 of them total) chose the saddle and it was really fun to so them all dressed up!

 We played Pin the tail on the Bucking Bronco with an icon I made using the Old West Cartridge, it was fun and amazingly we had a 3 way tie!! Then we played Red Light/ Green Light, but with a western twist...In place of red light I told them "Whoa" and in place of Green Light I said "Getty-Up!" For added fun I taught the kids different gaits of horses, "Gallop", "Cantor", & "Prancing" that had to do as they participated...

3 yr old Ben learning "to"...what a sweetie!!
We finished up the party w/the children learning American Sign Language Signs to "Happy Birthday" including the Birthday Girl's nickname "Kissi", which they learned in a only a few short seconds. Then we taught the adults, which was pretty hysterical watching them struggle with 5 signs the kids breezed through.

Was a fun exhausting day that took a crew of people to help me pull off the finishing touches and clean up. I had more ideas that just didn't happen due to time constraints & forgetfulness. I had the lollipop doilies all ready to place on the marshmallow pops (got for pennies on sale), cake pop tags (I made with old west cartridge), and jute ribbon for pie pops- just in the last minute rush to assemble I forgot to add.

Plus I was going to have 2 stations rolling as kids arrived one was for the dress up and pictures and one was for the coloring page where they made up their horse name. Which was going to be a 3rd game to keep the kids engaged. Kids had fun running, chasing each other and screaming. But in the future I will need more help in the beginning so I can be more time efficient.

I will post the links and detailed post as well as one with just images for people who don't want to read all my details just want to be inspired by images...

I hope you get inspired to make your decorations, upcycle items you might just throw in the trash, look at every day items in different ways.

Linked to 30 Days handmade pity party link party  , Women Living Well ,
The Thrifty Home , Passionately Artistic , Gingersnap Crafts ,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Delicious Bountiful Pasta Salad

 This is one of my favorite summer time foods, it is fresh, tasty and perfect for picnics as it will hold up pretty well. You should make this the night before for optimal taste and flavors to mingle and marry.
  • 8 oz Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta
  • 4 oz 1/4" diced cubes of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 oz 1/4" diced cubes of Colby Cheese
  • 4 oz 1/4" diced cubes of Monteray Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 of a head of Fresh Cauliflower
  • 2 small heads  or 1 med head of Fresh Broccoli Flowerettes
  • 4 oz thinly chopped Fresh baby carrots {Usually get 5-6 pieces out of each baby carrot)
  • 1- 1 & 1/2 bottles of fresh zesty Italian Dressing
  • Palmful Fresh Basil leaves, chiffinade
  • Fresh grated Parmigiano Regginao to taste
  • Cracked black Peppercorns
Optional Add-ons:
  • 2-4 oz of hand sliced pepperoni 1/8" thick   
  • 2 oz black olive slices cut into small pieces.
  • Variety of Red, green, yellow and Orange peppers, dice in smaller bite size pieces, I would use no more than a palmful of each variety.
  • Palmful of grape tomatoes and golden tomatoes {Must add a few hours before picnic & eat that day if adding tomatoes will make salad to soggy if keep longer}
  1. Cook Pasta just a tad under al'dente` in WELL salted water and chop and dice the rest of ingredients. Rinse pasta under cold water and allow pasta to dry before adding to salad. 
  2. Once pasta is room temperature toss with rest of ingredients up to salad dressing. Add dressing in small 3 oz increments, can always add more dressing, if not enough up to the whole bottle, reserve the other bottle in case it needs more tomorrow.
  3. Allow to set for 12 hours or overnight
  4.  Taste again in the morning and add more of the reserved dressing if salad is to dry-it's not unusual to add an entire bottle of dressing and a bit more of the next bottle. I just think some pasta brands or different shapes of pasta just needs more flavor.
  5. Sprinkle in Fresh Basil you have chiffinade, a few twists of fresh cracked pepper and grate Parmigiano Reggiano right before serving

Tips and Hints:
  • Cooking a tad under al' dente` prevents pasta from being soggy
  • Seasoning the water is a MUST this enhances the flavor and though you are essentially marinating in Italian dressing when you are boiling the pasta it is the prime time to flavor it, if you miss this opportunity it could be the difference between good tasting pasta salad and GREAT tasting pasta salad
  • Cutting the Cheese {ok LOL u immature ppl!} and veggies in smaller pieces is a drag I know I it, honestly the the key to the success of my version of pasta salad in that you get all the veggie goodness in one bite
  • Don't be freaked out over raw veggies like broccoli and cauliflower they will soften and flavor up over night, some times I will even add raw asparagus tips, and blanched artichoke hearts.
  • I personally don't care for the flavor the olives and greasy pepperoni gives this salad but my extended family demands it they like the zest, I don't agree, but will add it on top for their tastes as garnish but try to not put too much in I think the strong olive overpowers and the pepperoni is too greasy makes it more unhealthy.
  • Try different veggies, pasta shapes, brands of Italian dressing {Better yet MAKE your own FRESH version!!} and cheese combos... 
  • BUT DON"T BUY THE PRE-MADE KITS!!! ...Honestly it takes just as much time to make it fresh as it does to make those pre-made kits in my opinion. Plus it costs more in the long run and fresh just tastes better, is better for you and even looks more appealing!
  • I typically make a full, lush and varied cheese and veggie board with the rest of the cheeses and veggies, so it really makes 2 sides in one. 

Linked to Gooseberry Patch
, 30 days handmade

Monday, April 23, 2012

Super Cute Favor Bags...DONE DIRT CHEAP!

Really wanted the favors to say "western/ farm girl/cow girl/pony party", but stay on budget and with the customized clothes for kids I had to trim favor budget to next to nothing...

And that is what I did, but honestly, do they look like they were basically $2.75 each??

Each child will receive 4 Mare and her Foal stickers, 6 western tattoos,  a ring, a mini western coloring book, and mini western crayons {ORIENTAL TRADING had a sale on western items I used in favor bags so really was CHEAP!!} as well as a customized homemade sheriff badge, bandana and cow boy hat once they arrived. [Now the hats and bandanas were not included in the $2.75/BAG price I included them in the decoration budget, but they were steal too only $1 each on sale!!]

I originally wanted to print directly on the bags, Like I pinned in pinterest here, so I got my printer set to the right settings, but once I tried to print it wouldn't grab the bag not sure what the trick is, still irks me that I couldn't figure it out- I wanted it to have a more authentic western look than it does... but it still looks great in my opinion.

I took regular lunch sacks and since the bags wouldn't print as I wanted, I still printed on paper with the same settings I would have used to print directly on the sacks, then used a paper trimmer with a wave blade.  I really wanted it to look like a wanted poster and was considering using the tags from Old West, then print it, but honestly was feeling "done'ish" so I went with the wave blade on the trimmer, then used a cream chalk and chalked the edges with a charcoal smoke look to age the paper edges some.

I used the font, "bleeding cowboys" and wrote this:

"Happy trails partner! Kissi's much obliged you attended her 4th Birthday Fandango!"

The left over paper from the tags I used as a topper to bags to look more finished, professional, and deliberate. I drew on cow spots, trimmed to size of sack, folded down and attached with double sided tape,  & then used a hole punch and punched 2 far the project has been free, the bags I had & the paper I used was laser printer paper all it has taken is ingenuity and about 5 minutes of my time.

I used left over ribbon I bought last year for Izak's Elmo Party favor, guests left his party with several adorable items including customized crayon roll and customized hair bows I made: click here to see the party. The tags I cut from Old West @ 3" I used the one with jagged edges to resemble a star badge, I used a sharpie to write in names and attached w/jute rope. The ribbon was free already paid for last June, the jute rope was from a project years ago, the name tag paper I used upcycled brown grocery bags. 

Really the $2.75 price tag didn't' come from the bags themselves it came from the goodies in side the bag... I don't really think anyone will truly understand the happy-joy-joy feelings I get with the results and that it didn't cost me one red cent to make the favor bags and they look so stinking adorable!! Doesn't take me much to make me happy, does it??

Name Plates w/western names for buffet
I tried to think of as many uses for the brown grocery bags as possible, I nearly bought a roll of brown Kraft paper, but with the tight budget I had to find places to cut the budget so I could include food in the squeaky tight budget plus have the "cuteness factor"enter... grocery bags!

I had several brown grocery bags and though typically on grocery store trips I will use my earth friendly reusable recycled bags, but sometimes you forget the bags at home or don't want to carry home meat in the bags so I had about 6 or 7  bags. 2 bags I used to cover 2 cereal boxes to make a holder for the s'more campfire marshmallows {here's the post showcasing the marshmallow holders}, several bags I used to make bunting "Happy Birthday with Old West Fonts",  and 3 bags I cut into 12" X 12" pieces of paper. Out of each bag you get 3, 12"X12" pieces of paper and scraps from bottoms I used Old West Cricut Cartridge and cut them into "wanted signs" @ 4" and chalked the edges and made name plates for food buffet.

As I write this I still have several 12"X12" brown bag pieces of paper, might come up with a project or two- perhaps add wanted posters guests can draw of themselves...dunno?? I already made several 3" wanted poster tags and they look so cute I think I will might them bigger and hang them around the room or add to tables maybe use as an ice breaker at beginning after kids get dressed up in hat and bandana?

mini buntings are for cake topper & other uses I will think of later...STOP looking at my messy desk!!
Funny once you start looking around your house you see items in a different light and items you would just toss in the recycle bin or even possibly the trash can be upcycled in an unexpected way that scream "Cuteness Factor"!!
Linked to 30 Days handmade  , Raising Homemakers andGrowing Home

Menu Mondays: April 23-29

With several family members having extreme health issues this past week and 2 & 3 appointments on my days off plus surgical procedures and throw in a few intense applications for assistance programs for my son and you got one major stressful week, not to fail to mention the push to get the final details done for Kissi-cat's 4th b-day party, yeah.... that was my week last week!!!

We all needed something easy and comforting for our meal time, daddy LOVES taco night-actually the whole family adores taco night and I typically can count on everyone eating and wanting seconds, we had chicken grilled tortillas last week. This week we are having beef tacos, nothing fancy, just plain homey goodness.  The cheeseburger spaghetti I didn't get to last week so it's back on the menu this week, just want to see if I want to add it to my surgery meals....Chicken paprikash is one of my all time favorites, yummy, simple and DELISH paired with eggless homemade noodles and you have a comforting simple filling meal rounded out with a steamed veggie complete delight!

Breakfast Choices:
Baked Soaked Oatmeal "cake"     Buttered Toast         Hot Oatmeal-fruited-flax seed cereal
Cold Cereal                                   Pancakes                  Muffins
Eggs                                              Fruit                         Juices
Veggie, Keiffer, and Fruit Smoothies                              

Lunch Choices:
Main Dish/Sandwiches/Soup:       Sides:
Grilled Cheese                               Carrot Sticks w/ homemade cultured Ranch or
Egg Salad                                       homemade Humus
Tuna Salad                                     Veggie Chips
Tomato Soup                                  Sweet Potato Chips
Left-overs from Supper                  Fruit
Ravioli                                            Cottage Cheese
Shells & Cheese                             Yogurt
Noodles & Cottage Cheese            Apple, fruit and veggie medley sauces

Snack Options:
Almonds, Hard Boiled Eggs, String Cheese,  Dried Edema, dried blue berries, cranberries, raisins, bunny snack mix, pretzels, carrots, Humus, Cottage Cheese, Keiffer smoothies, fruit, triscits, hard cheese, cheese crackers,  Veggie/fruit sauce, yogurt, sweet potato chips, veggie chips,  Fruit Leather, Granola Bar, Protein Bars, Rice Cakes, Animal Crackers, Easter Goodies {ONLY 1/day},


Monday: Repeats

Crunchy gr beef taco, yellow rice, refried black beans &  steamed veggie

Chicken paprikash  w/homemade eggless noodles, steamed veggie, & salad

Thursdays: Repeats

Cheeseburger Spaghetti from Angie's Blog

Cheeseburger Spaghetti steamed veggie, salad, and crusty homemade artisan bread.

Kissi's party-won't be cooking

Using Swai fish for the first time!
Samak bi Tahini...Fish with Tahini  Baked Potato steamed veggie & salad

Linked to Organizing Junkie and Raising Homemakers

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Mondays April 16-22, 2012

I have made home-made noodles lots of times, but the heaviness of ALL those eggs is off-putting to me plus the expense of making it with 4-6  eggs doesn't help a very tight budget. So I set off to"google-land"find a recipe that doesn't use eggs and uses plain old unbleached all-purpose flour & not some specialty flour.

 In the pursuit of an egg-less noodle recipe my family would let me introduce you to...The Egg-less Pasta recipe from "What's Cookin' Good Lookin'?" along with a recipe for Vegan Parmesan Cheese - Parmasio that uses nutritional yeast (I bought some and have only used it for popcorn, think it would help my family need more uses for it). I am going to give this recipe a try it looks "do-able" uses cheap ingredients I keep on hand in my pantry, plus I like the recipes from this blog, I might be trying more. I am also in the mood for some Svenska Kottbullar, Swarmas, and Mici....yum, yum a tasty cuisine travel around the globe!!

I have major surgery coming up very soon & I will be starting double my meals and freezing the extras for quick "heat and eat" you have one-dish sure-fire family favorites?

We love anything with cheeseburgers thought I would try the cheeseburger spaghetti, we usually have cheeseburg'n'fries casserole, so this might be a nice a switch,
and it is different enough I could make this along with the casserole dish. I will be making at least one to 2 
casseroles a week and making double freezing the extra.

Will post my plan for surgery post-op recovery, since it will be basically in the middle of the dog days of summer, I will making crock pot meal, kits, and marinades mostly. But since I might not be up to even dumping food into the crock or able to pull the meat from the freezer I will want at least 2/3 of the meals to be one dish complete meals in case I don't feel like making sides dishes.



Romanian Grilled Minced Meat Rolls (MICI) W/French Fries & Roasted Veggie Medley

Chicken Tacos, Yellow Rice, Loaded Veggie Salsa Mashed Potatoes

Surgery Day- Crock pot Meal
Swedish Meatballs (Svenska Kottbullar) w/ Home-made Egg-less Noodles Steamed Veggies and Spinach Salad

Barb-B-Q Chicken Breasts w/Black beans and Quinoa & steamed broccoli

Cheeseburger Spaghetti  Roasted Veggies & Spinach Salad

Sunday:{This is soooooo good, my favorite MEAL!!}
Chicken Swarma w/thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, & pickles on homemade pitas made with ABI5MD master dough & roasted veggies & Middle Eastern Rice w/tartar sauce and Khalta Salata on greens

Linked to "I'm an Organizing Junkie" click here to see the other fabulous menus for inspiration!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pony Party invites on a Budget - Plus links to rest of party

Western Cuteness on a VERY THIN DIME!!

As the time quickly approaches for Kissi-cat's 4th b-day, I am nearly finished with her invites. I loved the video I saw on Scrapping with my Bug's blog, actually I LOVE nearly everything she does...but I digress, she did a tutorial on tri-fold card found here that is super easy and looks more complicated than one might think. I won't lie to you, if you really want to use this for more than 4 cards it gets involved what you save in financial means you spend in your time economy especially if you plan on using your cricut to cut all these tiny images for each I did with 14 cards!! But if you use pre-cut images or stickers it goes really fast and gives a big impact for little time and money..

What you need- if you want a look-a-like to my customized [cow-girl/boy, western, pony] birthday invites:
  • 6" X 12" Black card stock
  • Cow Hide print card stock- or black polka dot print paper
  • red banana print card stock- or customize your own
  • ruler
  • black marker, opaque white marker, 
  • stickles glitter glue (Y stickles glitter glue? Cuz; it's the best IMO!!)
  • adhesive of choice
  • paper trimmer w/card scorer
  • die cuts, stickers, or images of choice 
  • Old West Cricut Cartridge

I used black card stock as back ground, then could NOT find red bandana print card stock ANYWHERE, grrrrrr!! SO I did find a free printable digital print but the red didn't translate well once I printed it out-- it was a berry necessity is the mother of invention, right? I took the paper I printed off and used as a pattern to make my own customized paper on a 12X12 deep red card stock I all ready owned, 6 pieces of card stock to be exact. I didn't want to spend 50 cents/sheet for cow spots so I used black polka dot on white background, problem solved!

The tutorial here explains it all better than I could say plus it might scare you into not trying with my wordy explanation, you know I can make a sentence into a 300 page novel, holla at yer girl!

But a brief explanation I shall attempt:
  • take a 6X12" piece of black card stock and score @ 2", 4" SKIP 6", 8". & 10"
  • At the 2" & 8" score line measure in 1& 1/2 " & mark with pencil on either side of paper.
  • Then use a paper trimmer, or ruler and craft knife {Whatever you are comfortable with using!} to cut from the 2" mark through 8"~  AGAIN WATCH THE TUTORIAL HERE, it will make more sense to see a visual.
  • Then fold each score mark every other way.
  • Use 2 different pattern paper in each square and rectangle shape leaving a 1/4 boarder
  • Decorate with choice of die cuts, stickers, word art, glitter, skies the limit!
  • Make a custom envelope, here is a gr8 resorce for free printable patterns for any size and quirky envelope you can imagine- will basically be a 4X6" card when finished folding up.

Now I messed up with my invites, at first I planned on doing as video suggested and not place any wording on front, but I was just afraid some ppl would NOT think to look on back of card, then if I did write on back since I was making 14 how was I sure WAS NOT going to hand write the info, I would have to make a card cut to dimensions of the blocks then make the print large enough to fit in space yet small enough to contain all the details of the party NO STINKING WAY-- me and my BIG ideas!!??All this work and it's just an invite no one is going to save it but me, so why go to such extremes-SOOOOOO...

I opted to make a cute "wanted" poster as an insert to card, here is how I did it:

Wanted ...
_______~ 4th Birthday Party Guests!
Round up is: _________
Head on Over to:_______
Neighs Only  Give us a holler! (123) 456-7890

Used Caligraphy paper I bought over 12 or so years ago for next to nothing that had that weathered looked, used my paper trimmer with pinking edges, then used tea/coffee stained cream chalk product for edges of mini poster and random places to give an aged effect.

After all this I realize I left out" _____~4th birthday" ... ALL I had was "Wanted...Party Guests" No birthday child's name, LOL! Grrrr, so I thought I would use a sharpie and try to make it look like it kinda matched...uhh NO! Looks so NOT MATCHED, I really dislike the messy way it looks, I used bleeding cowboy font and thought the bleeding marker would kinda blend it-- NOPE it doesn't.

I have revamped the file I made the Rich Text Edit file(MAC document program) so it contains all necessary info and might remake the signs, but it was some time I might not want to spend again when I still want to make:
  • Horse, Cowgirl,  Boots for center pieces {All ready customized a doll in the birthday girl likeness for the center pieces using ONCE UPON A PRINCESS cartridge, really cute looks like the pillow case dress in the cow hide bandana print plus cowhide hat and black boots she will be wearing for the party}-Will post a tutorial
  • Place Cards-Will post a tutorial
  • Happy Birthday Bunting from grocery store bags and Plantain Cartridge-Will post a tutorial -
  • mini bunting for cake-Will post a tutorial
  • cake pops-Will post a tutorial 
  • Cake Pop, Marshmallow, pie pops Display/holders tutorial- Click here
  • Wanted Posters for kids to color-Will post a tutorial
  • Felt Hobby Horse-Will post a tutorial-Will post a tutorial -
  • Color Cow Spots on white balloons-Will post a tutorial
  • Make Favor Bags from lunch sacks-Will post a tutorial
  • Western Die Cuts from Old West to make Kissi's Birthday Signs- Will have a post with pics of all and party decor plus food once party takes place!
  • MIGHT make a peasant blouse from Muslin with red bandana print fabric accents, {first 2 attempts remind me of Chris Farely in that one movie with David Spade "Tommy Boy-Black Sheep" in the one scene Chris is trying on David's sports coat and he is singing "Fat guy in a little coat"... LOL!! Don't know that one, well image squeezing into a shirt that barely fits and is bulging all your fat..NOT ATTRACTIVE but still kinda humorous kinda wanted to run upstairs singing that song with it on, but really didn't want my hubby to have this visual of I just snickered and realize I might be wear a plain black shirt...see a sentence into a novel, yes some ppl want an "easy button" I need an "edit button" LOL!}
Linked to Growing Home & 30 Days handmade  Linky party, Uncommon Design on line

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Favorite Summertime "Savory Bacon & Carmalized Onion Red Skin Potato Salad"

This is the dish most requested by my family when we attend pot luck church dinners or family gatherings!!

My hubby always asks that I make double so we have plenty of left overs & that night I usually find my him elbow deep into the bowl  
after midnight munching away, LOL!!

For some reason I have NO pics of my recipe, this pic looks close to mine from
  If I am making 
this for supper we typically will:
  • Throw some Italian dressing marinaded chicken breasts on the grill 
  • Or cook a pork/beef roast in the crock pot with some barb-b-q sauce and make pulled pork/beef sandwiches 
  • Along with a spinach salad 
And it makes a tasty summer meal  
that even the kids will eat!

Favorite Summertime Potato Salad
  • 2 lbs  red skin baby potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped-(saving 1 or 2 egg sliced horizontally in 4 slices for garnish.)
  • 1/2-2/3 C mayonnaise (Homemade is best -just NOT imitation salad dressing type!)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
  • 1-small red onion, finely diced (Or if you can find it affordablely 2-3 red shallots!)
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T distilled white vinegar
  • 2-t Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 T-Mustard powder
  • Kosher salt & Coarse ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Smoked Parika & Fresh chopped Parsely, optional garnish
  1. Cook baby red skin potatoes whole in boiling well salted water. 
  2. While potatoes are cooking,  crisp bacon in skillet, remove bacon and leave the drippings, & saute the finely diced red onion in drippings.
  3. Once the onions are softened, fragrant, caramelized, sweet tasting and golden brown-remove and add distilled vinegar to de-glaze the pan.
  4. Add flour & mustard powder to vinegar-drippings over medium heat and cook slightly to remove the flour taste, stirring with wooden spoon. 
  5. Turn off heat, add bacon and onions back to pan stir to combine, and attend to potatoes
  6. Potatoes should be well cooked, as soft as they are when you make mashed potatoes (about 20-25min), undercooked potatoes just kill the the experience!
  7. Drain potatoes and cool slightly to handle & cut into 1/2" cubes and season w/kosher salt and pepper while while still very warm
  8. Add potatoes to the warm bacon drippings/vinegar mixture folding gently to avoid over crumbling potatoes.
  9. Mix together Mayonnaise, eggs, & mustard in a medium bowl-season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Fold mayonnaise mixture into potato mixture gently into skillet, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  11. Spoon Potato Salad into a large pretty serving bowl and arrange egg slices on top-sprinkle with smoked paprika and finish with fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish.

Can serve warm, immediately.....but we truly love it better cold. 
Cool completely & place lid or wrap tightly in plastic cling wrap. 
Allow at least 12 hours in the refrigerator for flavors to mingle before serving.

Tips and Hints:
  • Ensuring the potatoes are warm and not cold when mixed into the vinegar/bacon drippings really adds depth of flavor because the warm potatoes have no flavor besides the salt you added to the boiling water and really need to soak up the vinegar-bacon mixture making them very tangy and flavorful. For added tang add more vinegar and Dijon Mustard.
  • Using REAL mayonnaise really makes this dish, I have had decent results with olive oil mayonnaise, but honestly this is not a "diet" dish, just make it as is and only have a small portion if you are on a restricted diet.
  • Cooking the onions in the bacon drippings really adds another layer of flavor, making the onions a tad sweet~ if you are missing that "crunch", do what you must- add more crisp bacon crumbles as garnish (Just don't add more to the drippings!! more below) or add almond slivers to the garnish perhaps? But try the onions cooked first, it really makes this delicious, then tinker with the recipe to make it yours... Whatever you do DON"T add celery- because that would be gross!
  • Make sure potatoes are cooked soft, undercooked potatoes really spoil the dish and change the flavor tremendously.
  • I like the smaller cut potatoes, I can't stand biting into a big chunk, I like to taste all the ingredients in one bite.
  • Use REAL pork bacon, again this is not a diet a dish, u really need all 4 pieces and 5 is overkill and will make a greasy salad.
Thanks for stopping by... Linked to click here & Potluck Weekend,  :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Menu Monday 9-14,2012

What to do with Easter Left Overs...??

I have more ideas than food-so many tasty repeats you can make from what was our Easter Dinner Menu: bacon cooked green beans, Roasted  ham, crock-pot garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Onions & Mushroom Roasted Veggie Medley, Homemade sourdough Rolls, Sour Dough bread, hard boiled natural dyed eggs, & chicken gravy.

What are your favorite ways to use up Easter left-overs? 

In the past we have enjoyed: Ham, corn, potato, bacon, and cheddar cheese chowder; ham and potatoes au`gratin; green bean and ham fritata; ham spaghetti; green bean casserole; ham sandwiches; scotch eggs, egg salad; black eyed pea soup;ham, veggie, strata, cheesy-ham latkes, chicken cordon blue, latkes....

For this week we are feasting on our favorites: ham and cheese hot pockets, green bean casserole w/tuna and noodles, green bean ham and potatoes, latkes with veggie medley,  ham, veggie, and cheese strata, scotch eggs, egg salad on rolls, & montecriso style deliciousness,  hard boiled eggs and ham breakfast sandwiches...

Ham, cheese, and hard boiled egg on dinner roll (YUMMY~)
Ham & cheddar salad made with chipolata mayonnaise (FROM subway!) & into stuffed hard boiled eggs
Chicken Cordon Blue with brown & wild rice pilaf using the chicken gravy as sauce thinned w/milk and melted shredded swiss cheese

Baked Scotch Eggs, Yummy!
Scotch Eggs with latkes(Potato Pancakes)*
Ham and Cheddar Hot pockets w/veggie chips
Green Bean, Ham, and potatoes in chicken gravy (cooked in crock pot)with spinach salad
*(Latkes, are traditionally made with shredded potatoes and fried in oil nearly all cultures from jewish, eastern european, swiss.... all have a version.  I make mine with a twist of mashed potatoes like a croquette with shredded onion, flour and beaten eggs, fried until crispy in xtra virgin coconut oil SERVED w/ a dallop of sour cream~ DELISH!!)

Ham, veggie medley, and cheese strata
Lunch: repeat of some dish
Green Bean Casserole with tuna & homemade noodles~
(Made with chicken gravy, green beans, homemade noodles, 2 cans tuna, and crunchy breadcrumbs toasted w/butter and carmelized onions.)

Breakfast:latkes w/veggie medely
Lunch: Hummus stuffed hard boiled eggs with spinach salad
Supper: Repeats 
(Hummus made w/loads of garlic, lemon, parsley, garbanzo beans, tahnini paste, artichoke hearts and spinach pipped into whites)

Breakfast: Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
Lunch: Egg Salad Montecriscos
Supper: Bittersweet Farm Chicken w/Glazed carrots, steamed broccoli, and spinach salad.
 (I don't add jelly or sprinkle with powder sugar on my Montecriscos, Not my taste sensation! I just like to coat the homemade crusty bread in beaten eggs and french toast them- I sprinkle shredded baby swiss on top of egg salad and toast them up to golden brown deliciousness & the kids adore them)

Cereal with fresh fruit
Tahini Sauce stuffed hard boiled eggs or *Scotch Eggs w/spinach salad
Lasagna w/spinach salad
(Tahini Sauce mixed w/hard cooked yolks pipped into hard cooked whites~In lieu of deviled eggs)

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
Dinner: Garlic Infused Olive Oil Chicken with steamed veggies and pene` pasta

Linked to Organized Junkie Blog

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Menu Plan for April 1-7

SundayChicken Perkelt  with Egg noodles and steamed Veggies

Monday: HYU (Hook Yourself UP) Supper

Tuesday: Crunchy Tacos, Corn Cakes, Salsa Mashed Potatoes and Salad

Wednesday: Greek Chicken & Sauce, Spinach & feta Quinoa, Hummus and carrots with pitas

Thursday: HYU (Hook Yourself UP) Supper
pic credit

Friday: Falafel w/Tahini Sauce &/Or  tzatziki Sauce over left over Quiona salad (parsley, lemons, mushrooms, & onions)

Saturday: Homemade Foccia Pizza, salads, veggies and Hummus...Thinking of making Chicken Rancher pizza, a plain garlic oil and herb foccia pizza, a traditional pepperoni& mushroom pizza, and final one with sausage, peperocini peppers, pepperoni, and mushrooms.