A day late and a dollar short

Well, maybe not a dollar short… but definitely a day late.

As I posted yesterday, I had a stomach bug thingy going on –  not sure if it was from something I ate or a virus, but I was pretty much horizontal and green most of the day.  Little Bit ended up coming home from school early with a virus of her own – of the snotty kind, not the tummy kind – so we spent the afternoon on the sofa together. Big Girl became our nurse and we had a quiet day.

I woke this morning feeling MUCH better (thankfully) and found that Little Bit was still under the weather. She’s spent most of the day on the sofa watching TV, playing on the computer and drawing pictures. I think it’s just a cold virus type of thing, so we’re holding off on the doctor for now.  No strep-like symptoms or fevers to be concerned about. She’s just puny. But she will be back to school tomorrow.

So, today, I was finally able to focus on figuring out what our menu for the remainder of the week without turning green.  Even though the thought of food was rather nauseating yesterday, it bugged the heck out of me that I had no menu plan in place. (Yes, I know, I’m a little uptight that way. I like my routines!)

I’m very happy to have my plan in place now… It frees my mind up so that I can worry about other things… (and trust me, there are a lot of other things to worry about!)


  • Monday: BBQ Chicken tenders, homemade macaroni & cheese, grilled broccoli
  • Tuesday: homemade Salisbury steaks
  • Wednesday: Grilled pork chops, cous-cous and grilled veggies
  • Thursday: Beef Stew
  • Friday: Baked Potato bar w/ salad
  • Saturday: Homemade Mexican – tacos, nachos & fajitas
  • Sunday: Crock Pot “Baked” Chicken, mashed potatoes & salad
  • Monday: grilling out or Low Country Boil

I’m also craving my veggie chili, but it’s just been too darned hot for that yet. Hopefully it will cool off soon so we can enjoy some. I will eat it for lunch if nothing else. Winking smile

I guess I’m just going to be a day late all week – since today is Tuesday and I really should be posting my Project Life pictures today.  Oh well.

Hop on over to orgjunkie.com for some ideas for more menus.

(we) just have to try this…

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for something new to try – and yet I always seem to stick to the same tried-and-true recipes. I think it is because it is easier on a busy week night to stick with what you know (and know your family will eat!) than to break out the new recipes.

It is more about getting people fed than it is about being creative and trying new things. (or at least it is for me)

But, there are days when I just want something new and fresh and different.

And Saturdays are usually my “experimental” cooking days – Saturdays or Mondays. Saturdays are good because I have all the time in the world and can experiment to my heart’s content. Mondays are good because I’m (relatively) rested from the weekend and (more importantly) everyone is out of the house and I have peace and quiet to craft, create and experiment with new recipes.

But I’m always on the hunt for things other people have tried and loved and today I thought I’d share with you another list of the recipes I’ve flagged lately as “must try this.”

Okay, that’s all for now – any recipes you are dying to try? Share them with the rest of us in the comments!


I have fond memories of various different hideaways I had as a child.

There was the banana tree in the back yard of my great-grandma’s house where my brother and I had our own “personal” branch each, along with other branches which had specific functions and uses. 

We’d sit in that tree and make noises at the business people in the adjacent office parking lot.  We thought it was such fun to make monkey noises and watch them try to figure out where they were coming from.  (Of course now I wonder how I would’ve reacted as the adult and not the silly child in the tree.)

There was the attic space (in the same grandma’s house) where we created our own “apartment” complete with bedrooms and a living room (all of which had their own repurposed furniture that had been stored up there)

We spent many happy hours playing in the attic. I remember being devastated when we finally moved out of that house, knowing that my attic hideaway was going to be gone forever.

My mom and step-dad have temporarily moved home (while they are renovating theirs) and the girls have found some new hideaways here in the new house.

There’s the attic space above the front porch that they have turned into their “apartments” (hmmm… sounds familiar)


Their daddy set them up with little carpet remnants and lamps to light their spaces.




  They each had their “apartment” with separate entrances in each upstairs bedroom, but they could visit each other by crawling across the attic space to each other.



And so it goes – the circle continues.  Two more little girls finding imaginary worlds and secret hideaways in the most unlikely of places – and yet finding entertainment and joy in the simplest of things.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 29 November

Back to reality today.

After a week of lazing about at Mom’s house, it’s back to the regular routine.

I made a monster shopping trip on Sunday afternoon, restocking on all the perishables and produce/dairy that had gone bad while we were out of town. That necessitated a cleaning out of the refrigerator (thank you, SuperMan, for doing that for me!) and some planning for the week’s meals.

I put a crock pot on to cook with my beef vegetable soup – that will be lunches this week for SuperMan and me.

I also baked a Brown Sugar cake, but with a twist. I added a scoop of protein powder (and upped the water to 3/4 cup to compensate) and used a Spice Cake mix as the base instead of a yellow cake mix. YUMMINESS.

I am also planning to stick some oatmeal in the crock pot – trying out Alton Brown’s recipe for Overnight Oatmeal. It looks yummy.image

Here’s what I have planned so far this week:

Monday:  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad & garlic bread

Tuesday: I’m thinking of whipping up some sort of chicken/pasta dish

Wednesday: Meatball subs & salad

Thursday: not sure yet…I’m cooking dinner for a friend whose little one is having his tonsils out. Whatever I cook for her, I’ll just double and have some for us.

Friday: dinner out

Saturday: homemade chicken pot pies

Hope on over to orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday ideas…

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Breakfast Goodness

Many of you have asked for my baked oatmeal recipe. I used to make one that was so, so good, but not so healthy. I happened upon a recipe on the web on a WLS board and have been tweaking it for the past few months until I reached a point where it was reliably making the same moist, yummy goodness I had enjoyed in the not-so-healthy version.

This is a great breakfast bar. I usually eat one (almost) every day. They are great to make ahead and freeze or refrigerate. I make a batch about every two weeks, refrigerate my squares and warm one a day in the microwave.

The little princess loves them, too, as does SuperMan.

If you don’t have protein powder, you might have to fiddle with the moisture levels. I had to increase the moisture (adding the Greek yogurt) to get it the right consistency after baking with the added protein from the powder.  I have a non-WLS friendly recipe, so if you are interested in that, let me know in the comments and I can put it up here.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Ready In: 1 hour
Servings  12
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce (one single serve cup)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I use vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 small container Greek Yogurt (~1 cup)
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mix all ingredients, adding raisins & craisins last.
  3. Mixture will be soupy.
  4. Pour in greased 9×9 casserole.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired.
  6. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.
  7. Let cool & cut into squares.

This is easily refrigerated or frozen and can be reheated. I usually make a batch and refrigerate until ready to eat. Then you can warm a square in your microwave for about 30 seconds and it tastes just-baked fresh.


And here is the link to print it out via allrecipes.com

So simple, yet so good

I am having one of my favorite salads for lunch today.

I don’t know why, but I have been on a salad kick lately. Maybe my body needs the greens.  It doesn’t matter. I’m just loving eating salads again. I haven’t had many since my surgery because it seemed silly to fill my belly with salad instead of protein.   Now that I’m getting closer to my goal, I’m eating a little more variety and the salads are back! Yay!

This is one of those salads you’d get at a fancy restaurant. All dolled up on a pretty plate and you’d think you were getting something super special. Until you deconstruct the salad and see how stinkin’ easy it is to make.

Then, it goes from “super special salad” that you eat only on occasion to “super duper salad” that you can eat anytime.

The magic of this salad is the blend of flavors.  The creamy, pungent gorgonzola mixed with the sweet crunch of the pears and topped with the bite of the balsamic dressing. 



So good.

Here’s what I use:


You need:

  • a pear (I used a bosc) Peeled and cored. Slice into about 1/8” thick slices
  • mixed greens – I used a spring green mix.
  • Balsamic dressing
  • gorgonzola cheese

That’s it!



Assemble your salad thusly and then drizzle with your dressing.

This is not a salad you want to “drown” in dressing.

You want the Balsamic to be a compliment to the cheese and pears.

And, quite honestly, the greens are just the transport vehicle for the yumminess.
(to me, anyway)


You can also add a little grilled chicken if you're feeling a little bit crazy. (or hungry)

Try this today.

You will be glad you did.

Trust me.

(have I steered you wrong yet?)

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 11 Oct

Happy Monday!!

I am so loving this fall weather. Makes me feel so alive and so much like baking and creating. 

Busy week in our house this week – the girls had a break from dance classes last week, but we’re back on the normal schedule this week so we will be busy. I’ve got some comfort foods planned and hoping to find time to do a little baking as well, but we will see.

menu plan monday

Here’s what’s on the menu for us this week:

  • Country Fried Steak & Gravy
    I use cubed steaks for this and cook them low & slow on the stove for about an hour. Makes a really tender steak. I’ll serve with some mashed potatoes and veggies.
  • Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
    This is one of Big Girl’s favorite meals and comfort food for me. I make it the easy way – I use Paul Newman’s Garlic Alfredo sauce (I watch for it when it’s on sale and stock up) and whole wheat noodles.
  • Sesame chicken bites
    One of my go-to easy recipes that the kids love. I’ll serve it with some baked french fries and fruit.
  • Salmon Croquettes
    SuperMan loves the leftovers for breakfast sandwiches.

And, well, I don’t know what else.  I’ll see where the week takes me, I guess, but this gets me started. I’ll probably toss in some chili or a crock-pot meal in the mix but I will wait to see where the week’s agenda goes.

I hope you have a great week! Check out other menu plans over at orgjunkie.com.

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Sprouting Feathers

My family loves chicken.  So much so that I think I could cook it for them every day and they would be happy.  Well, except for BigGirl (the Meatasauraus) who needs her steak and “pork butt” to be happy.

I seem to cook an awful lot of chicken recipes.  Do you?

This past weekend (as you know if you are a regular blog reader) I cooked 2 5-lb chickens on the grill. I used my beer can chicken recipe and they turned out super good. 

We ate some chicken on Sunday with our spaghetti and then I deboned the rest and saved it for recipes this week.

Last night I made chicken and dumplings (and a mess in my kitchen) and chicken salad with those leftovers.

I thought I’d share the recipes with you today.

But first, I must confess one thing.  When I cook, I’m one of those “dab of this, pinch of that, sprinkle a little of this” kind of cooks.  So, when you read my recipes, especially these two, remember that fact and feel free to get creative as you cook them.  I approximated in the recipes what I did last night while I prepared these two things, but other than the dumplings, the rest was just eyeballing it and flying by the seat of my pants (how is that for mixing my metaphors?)

Anyway, thought it was important to get those disclaimers out of the way.

If you don’t think of yourself as a good cook, I know it is a little intimidating to try to follow someone’s recipe when they don’t give you actual, definite amounts to go by.

But one thing to remember.  Cooking is more about the blending of flavors and seasonings and less about science.  Baking, well, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.  Baking IS science. And I have the disaster stories from my experiments to prove it.  Baking is more precise.

Cooking, on the other hand is more like art.  Just go with the flow and see where it takes you. Usually to something good.

Ok, enough of my ramblings. I know you really just came here for the recipes anyway. 😉

Here’s a link to the chicken & dumplings recipe. I changed it only in that I used the leftover chicken and I substituted half whole wheat flour for my dumplings.  BigGirl said it was the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever made. She ate two helpings.

Here’s the chicken salad recipe.  It is an approximation of the chicken salad my friend Donna makes. It’s got some non-traditional ingredients, but I love it. I eat it all by itself, unadulterated with bread or crackers (although it is good that way, too)

I hope you enjoy.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 4 Oct

I’m not going to be cooking much this week.  That is because I spent a lot of time cooking this past weekend. We had company all weekend and dinner guests Sunday night – I cooked several big meals and we’ll be enjoying the bounty of leftovers for a few days.  I love it when that happens.  I love cooking, so it’s not a chore to me, but it is really nice when you cook a little extra and can take a break – especially after a marathon cooking session.

Here’s what we have planned for the week:

  • Monday: Rotel Chicken Pasta Bake (leftover from Sunday night)
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (leftover from Sunday lunch – may make this into baked spaghetti to mix it up a bit)
  • Wednesday: Chicken and Dumplings (using leftover chicken from the 2 5-lb chickens I grilled this weekend)
  • Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan (using leftover spaghetti sauce from Sunday)
  • Friday: BBQ Ribs & baked acorn squash

That should take us through the week quite well.  I have no idea what we will do Saturday night – SuperMan and I have plans and so the kids will probably do something easy like pizza.

What are you doing this week?  Any good recipes to share?
Join us over at orgjunkie.com for your Menu Plan Monday.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ 27 September

I bet you thought  I wasn’t going to post a menu plan today… didn’t you? Since I posted on another topic this morning, you probably thought I was slacking off… Well, it would be understandable given the fact that I got home from out of town last night and had no clue what was in my fridge and pantry.  But a quick survey remedied that.


Here’s what I’ve got planned for the week:

  • Tonight: Beef Stew (grilled cheese sandwiches & chicken noodle soup as “plan B” for the monkeys if they don’t eat this – but they’d be crazy not to.)
  • Tuesday: Tacos
  • Wednesday: Pork Butt in the crock pot, sticky rice (from the drippings) & veggies
  • Thursday: TBD – something chicken, though
    (Maybe BBQ Dry Rub chicken  or Beer Can Chicken if the weather is nice and I can grill)
  • Friday: leftover pork butt transformed into BBQ sandwiches
  • Saturday/Sunday night we have company – both nights – so I don’t know yet what I will cook. Still thinking about it but I have time.

What’s on your menu this week?

Join us over on OrgJunkie.com for a link up of menu plans for the week!

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