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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Look What You Find!

Look what you find when you clean out the freezer!!

Without a doubt, my husband probably gets the most annoyed when I exclaim, "We don't have any meat!". He knows there is meat in the deep freeze and I know it. It's just such a hard job to go through it. I always just say, "Run out and make a quick list for me!". That never works, just too much stuff!

Today I went through the dreaded deep freeze after going on and on about how we didn't have very much meat in it.

Um here's my inventory:
  • 1 lb. packages of ground sausage - 4
  • sausage patties - 1
  • 2 pack of smoked sausage - 1
  • sweet Italian sausage - 1
  • 1 lb. packages of ground turkey - 4
  • 1 lb. packages of ground venison - 5
  • rib steaks - 3
  • 1 lb. packages of ground chuck - 7
  • 1 c. bags of cooked and shredded chicken - 2
  • 5 lb. family packages of drumsticks - 2
  • 1 lb. packages of boneless/skinless chix breasts - 4
  • haddock - 1
  • beef round steak - 2
  • 2 lb. packages of halved chicken breast - 2
  • beef hot dogs - 5
  • 2 lb. package pork chops - 1
  • beef chuck roast - 1
I'm thinking there was just a tad bit more in there than I had originally thought!

Has it been a long time since you have done a thorough clean out/go through of your freezer or deep freeze?

We always like to go through this time of year and eat up everything in our freezer and pantry. That way by the time the harvest of lettuce comes and all the way through tomato season, we can feast on fresh vegetables and fill up our freed up freezer.

I think a great challenge for February would be an eat from the freezer/pantry challenge! Use up those meats and veggies before they go bad! :)

Happy Findings in the Freezer!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Here We Go....!

It's coming... Only TWO short days and the New Year will be here. 

I am excited, yet terrified. So many nay sayers, so little time... 

With all the lack of enthusiasm from others, I am really excited. We can and will do achieve this goal!

We have been eating out quite a bit trying to cure our cravings (Isn't funny that the more you eat out the more you crave it?!). We are finding that we are tired of eating out and the inconvienence. It's just too hard and the food is just not that good. AND let me tell you, the money/ price of the food is just absurd!
So with that we are diving into the no eating out challenge and the challenge to get our family around the table again. Join us! Hold us accountable! :)

For a list of recipes I have to try click here. Also, I would love to try some of yours. Feel free to email them to me and I'll put them on the list! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year... New Beginning!

I wanted to share this post with you all. It's an excellent post. It's written by my IRL friend, Theresa. Take a second and think... Are you making do and feeling blessed or are you bitter and unhappy? :)

I will be back on Sunday to start out the year of 2012 and the year of only eating at home!

Blessings to you and a Happy New Year to yours!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Days of the Week

I'm one of those silly people who always has to make a game out of things to succeed. 

Therefore, I will probably have a sticker chart to make it through this 365 366 ( Leap Year!!) challenge!

Another idea I had was to assign a "category" for each day of the week. Maybe that will keep me on track but still allow me to change it up a bit. 

Here are some ideas I had...

Mondays - Mexican Mondays! - any Mexican or Spanish dishes

Tuesdays - Try it! Tuesdays - try a new dish or recipe

Wednesdays - We gotta eat it again Wednesdays! - reruns/ left-over buffet

Thursdays - Tried and True Thursdays! - a day that I can fall to pretty much anything... recipes I have already tried to hamburger helper - whatever what the day brings! :)

Fridays - Fun Food Fridays! - pizza, popcorn, veggie/fruit trays and Wipe Out viewing! :)

Saturdays - Slow and Steady Saturdays! - recipes that take a little more time to make

Sundays - Soup, Salad and Sandwich Sundays! Sundays are pretty laid back around here. I will be embracing soups that simmer or slow cook and don't take much work - many will be able to be made ahead of time! :)

How about you? Do you have a routine of menu planing which works for you and your family?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

I will be back on Tuesday, December 27th! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Find the Table Challege: Day 4

This is the final entry of the Find the Table Challenge. 

Today I am so excited! This is my favorite of the series!

Make your table pretty. 

How often do we get all the good table linens and find the candle sticks? 

I know for me, I only get those nice table settings and good china out when special people come over. Special company. 

One day I got to thinking-who is more special that my husband and children? Why don't I spruce up the table more often? Why don't I show that I thought of making them feel special when I set it? I don't want to waste special times waiting for company to come over. I want to bring out the best for those I love. I want to make memories sitting around the table together.

Do I think we should do this always? Well no. However, I do think we need to make our dining space inviting. Maybe cloth napkins - save the environment as well! 

I know at my house, at dinner I have tried to stop using the plastic Dora plates and use all glass. We have to be careful but I would take a broken plate and a memory made over a plastic plate any day! 

So we have:
Next step is  to make our table inviting. 

How can you make your table more inviting? A new dining experience?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Ingredients for Cookies:
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

  • Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix until smooth.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl. Add to butter mixture; mix well. Divide dough into three balls. Wrap and cool in refrigerator for four hours.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out shapes.
  • Bake cookies. Cool and garnish with lemon drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Weight Watcher Points Breakdown:
  • Butter - 16 points
  • Sugar - 15 points
  • Eggs - 4 points
  • Sweetened milk - 22 points
  • Lemon juice - 0
  • Vanilla - 0
  • Flour- 45
  • Baking Powder - 0
  • Salt - 0
  • Drizzle - 0
*Recipes makes 7 - 8 dozen making each cookie approximately 1 point each. *
Healthier Version:

Let's face it. There isn't really anyway to make a cookie or sugary treat "healthy". Everyone knows that too much sugar is bad for you. However, I do have some suggestions for making it more "safe". I tend to think whole/ real foods and fats along with organics are better for you. Sometimes time and money make it hard but I think given the option, you should use whole/real foods and fats and organic products as much as possible. With that being said, here is how I would change the recipe to make it more healthy in those ways.

1 cup of raw cultured butter (homemade from cream would be best)
1 cup sucanate, raw honey or raw maple syrup
2 large free range eggs
1 can organic sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice squeezed from unsprayed organic lemon
2 teaspoons homemade vanilla (click here for recipe)
5 cups unbleached flour
4 teaspoons of aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt

1 1/2 cup of sucanate powdered (by blender or food processor) in place of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons filtered water
1 table spoon fresh squeezed lemon juice from organic unsprayed lemon
The Finished Product:

How It Rated:

Prep Time: Preparing the cookies was really easy. However, I really don't like having to cool the cookies and get out of my "groove" for a few hours. I give this category a 3.

Cooking: 4

Overall Ease: 3

Cost: This was a pretty cost effective Holiday cookie to make. There were a lot of ingredients but found on sale or with coupons, they are fairly cheap. This recipe would be even cheaper if some of the ingredients were homemade. I rate this a 4 for cost effectiveness. I took off 1 point for all the ingredients that are needed to be purchased.

Kid's verdict:  5

Adult's verdict: 5
LOVED THEM! I really don't like putting cookies in the 'fridge and I always roll out the cookies wrong. It's just plain frustrating to me. HOWEVER, the taste of the cookies totally rid all of my negatives!

Overall Rating:  4
If there wasn't the number of steps and time to make, this would have been a 5 +!

(Rating system is based on the number 1 - 5. One being the worst and five being the best.)
* This was a recipe found on the Eagle Brand website.*

Happy Cookie Tasting! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Find the Table Challege: Day 3

Today, I share my dirty little secret.

*Warning...  NOT for the faint of heart. *

Our floor is always disgusting! This pile is from ONE meal. My kids are animals. There is always a mess. 

After we get the table cleared off and shined, next we should sweep our floor. No one likes stepping in crunchy old food to get to a nice table. 

Make a system. After every meal, share the sweeping responsibility. Kids thrive on that! 

So grab a broom or a shop vac and get to sweeping! 

Happy Floor Shining!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Menu Plan #1

One of the main reasons I started this blog is to be a sounding board for my menu ideas. My hope is that if you need to use it for that reason as well, that you do so! 

If all things go as planned, I will be doing entries about these recipes as well! :) 

This week I have a lot going. End of the year appointments, dentist appointment, house cleaning, cookie decorating and so much more! I need a menu plan that has some variation and is easy to do on the spot. I also wanting to find recipes for food that we probably won't eat a lot of around the Holidays (turkey, roast, potatoes, etc.). 
  • Easy Chicken Enchiladas
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • CP Cream Cheese Chicken
  • Salmon Patties
  • Broccoli Beef
Do you have any ideas of simple meals to make in such a hectic week before Christmas? 

Blessings to you as you finish out a relaxing weekend!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Already Lied, An Idea and A Giveaway Question!

I already lied.....

I will not be posting a recipe daily because I would like the weekends free. I love Saturday to spend time with my family and Sunday to spend special time with my Jesus and rejuvenating.

However, leading into my idea.....

As the blog grows more and more I would love to start a blog carnival called "Saturday Stirrings". It would be a fun place to link up new trials and tribulations in your kitchen. Maybe get your blog some "fresh blood". Maybe we could start it in the comments section soon and see how it goes?

Maybe.... Leading into giveaway question...

Is there a type of giveaway or any other way I can get you to share the blog with as many people as you can? I need all the accountability I can get and would love your input! :)

Pretty insightful, sage questions and statements huh?! ;)

Blessings this weekend!

Find the Table Challege: Day 2

The best word I can possibly find for the things on my table is - crap. Nope, not clutter. Crap. Plain and simple. I don't know how all of these things find their way to my table. It's like a catch all. And to be quite honest, there are a many of nights that the dishes from the night before sit on the table until the next day due to a tired mama. 

Am I proud of my kitchen table? Nope not at all but it's just the honest truth some days. 

The table is certainly a piece in the room that makes a difference. It's right in every one's line of sight. I sincerely believe if you clear off and wipe down the table, the room looks better- even if you're stepping on cereal walking to it.  

Today I want to challenge you to grab three boxes - one for donate, one for put away in its home and one for trash. Go through your table and put everything were it belongs. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and clean that table! 

Ready... Set... GO! Find the surface of that table! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

I love me some pumpkin! The way to Jodi's heart is to give her something pumpkin flavored - creamer, cookies, cake, bread, pie ... I'm not picky! :) When I had a friend say she made these cookies, I jumped on the chance to try them! Here is how it went:

Ingredients for Cookies:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter; softened
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease cookie sheets.
  • Combine all ingredients in order.
  • Drop onto cookie sheets.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes.
  • Drizzle glaze.

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Weight Watchers Point Breakdown:
  1. Flour - 15 
  2. Baking soda - 0
  3. Baking powder - 0
  4. Cinnamon - 0
  5. Nutmeg - 0
  6. Salt - 0
  7. Sugar - 22
  8. Butter - 24
  9. Pumpkin - 1
  10. Egg - 2
  11. Vanilla - 0
*Recipe makes 3 dozen making each cookie 2 points per cookie.*
Healthier Version:

Let's face it. There isn't really anyway to make a cookie or sugary treat "healthy". Everyone knows that too much sugar is bad for you. However, I do have some suggestions for making it more "safe". I tend to think whole/ real foods and fats along with organics are better for you. Sometimes time and money make it hard but I think given the option, you should use whole/real foods and fats and organic products as much as possible. 

The Verdict: 
Run! Run to the store and get the ingredients!

How It Rated:

Prep Time: FIVE
This would be such an easy cookie to throw together in a pinch! 

Cooking: FOUR 
It might just be me but I had a hard time telling if they were done or not. 

Overall Ease: FIVE

Cost: FOUR
This was a pretty cost effective Holiday cookie to make. There were a lot of ingredients but found on sale or with coupons, they are fairly cheap. This recipe would be even cheaper if some of the ingredients were homemade. I rated this a 4 for cost effectiveness. I took off 1 point for all the ingredients that are needed to be purchased.

Kid's verdict: FIVE
My pickiest eater even loved them! :)

Adult's verdict: FIVE
The taste of pumpkin and spice was subtle. Not over-powering we loved them!
(Rating system is based on the number 1 - 5. One being the worst and five being the best.)

Overall Rating: FIVE
Awesome recipe and cookie! I would totally make these on a daily weekly basis if they weren't so crazy fattening! :)
* This was a recipe found on*

Happy Cookie Tasting! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Find the Table Challege: Day 1

Does anyone else have the problem of your dining room table and kitchen counters being a paper magnet?

When I say that I go through the kitchen and dining room clearing off papers at least twenty times a day, I think I might be telling a fib. It has got to be more than that!

Before school the book bags are cleaned out one more time... Papers fly! It's like they magically recreate over night.

Go and retrieve the mail. Quickly glance through it... Oh no! Kris is pulling over the Christmas tree! and there it continues to lay.

Dyl comes home and pulls out his homework and weekly mail folder. Here comes a stack of papers to be put somewhere.

Go to make dinner. Can't find the right recipe! Papers, cookbooks and recipe cards litter the table and counters.

Andy comes home. "Look babe! A paycheck!" and there it sits on the counter.

The Problem:
It is uncomfortable and hard work to make dinner and eat dinner on a pile of paperwork. If the paperwork sits there at our house, it gives me an easy excuse to not cook and not serve my family dinner.

I am also a huge believer in clutter making you feel uncomfortable. It's aggrivating when you clear a spot for dinner and bump into a pile of paper and it goes flying to the floor.

The Solution That Works For Us:
I am not good with paper. I hate to file. I hate to stack. I just cannot stand paper. After trying every idea people offered, I went to Staples and bought a tote (This can be a tote from ANY store.. ) It looks kinda like this:

I have a tote for "Mommy and Daddy" and a tote for "Dyl". When my other kids are older and have a lot of paper come home, I will get a tote for them as well. I just toss all the papers into that tote. EVERY paper goes in there. That way when I am looking for a specific thing, I just go to the tote which pertains to the thing I am trying to locate. Every week or so, I go through the tote and throw out unneeded or "junk" mail and thin it down as I go through. At the end of the month, I put all the paper work from the tote into either a smaller tote or a big ziploc and put the month and the year on it.

Now is this the most organized method of storing paperwork? Nope but it works for us!

The challenge for Wednesday and Thursday is to find an effective way to store paperwork that isn't on the kitchen table or the counters!

People can always use suggestions and I LOVE hearing what works for other people! So... What works for you when it comes to paper? 

Happy De-Papering!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just For Fun

I am obsessed love jars.

I'll never get enough of them.

I put EVERY thing in them - left overs, preserved foods, food staples. If you can think of it, I probably use jars for it. I love making those mix gifts in them and giving them to people. One could never have too many jars!

Here is a post on my old blog. You can totally see my fascination with jars!

What You Can Expect!

Let's be honest. (That's the only way I know how to be... ) When I look at a blog, if I don't see two quick things, I don't read much. It has to be pretty - not cluttered and in small words. If I have to sit and guess what the writer is getting at or what they are talking about, it is a waste of my precious time. I need the KISS method - Keep It Simple Silly! :)

This blog was made to be a resource for myself as well as my readers.

Things you will see:

  • bi-weekly menu plans every other week.
  • recipes daily with key components (will share later).
  • pictures!
  • cost analysis. I am no coupon girl and don't pretend to be. I shop the best I can w/o using them. 
  • last but not least, we will have monthly challenges. 
Each recipe will come with blank key components:
  1. what it is and where I found it. I will be scouring the internet and cookbooks to find the best recipes for my family.
  2. the step by step recipe. Along with what worked for me and what didn't.
  3. the original recipe and a version on how to make it healthier.
  4. Weight Watchers Points 
  5. a rating system for multiple things (each separate and then one together) -  prep time, cook time, ease, cost, children's review and the adult review.
  6. pictures of ingredients and final product.
The challenge leading up to Christmas will be the challenge to "unmask" our kitchen counters and table!

I will be challenging myself to attempt at least five new recipes per week - sometimes it may only be bread and sometimes it could be a whole meal in a slow cooker. 

* Disclaimer * I love casseroles and slow cookers. I will try to not overwhelm you with recipes using them. 

I attempt to make meals as healthy as possible, however sometimes, life happens. I tend to try to eat unprocessed and whole foods but it's not always doable.

It's going to be an exciting year! Please join me! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Everywhere You Look

"Obesity is on the rise. Children are becoming it's number one target!"

"Heart disease is running rampant!"

"I feel like my family doesn't talk to each other!"

What do all of these statements have in common?

 The extinction of the family dinner table.

How often do we drive through the drive thru and eat in the car? How often do we eat dinner sitting in front of the TV or standing at the counter because our table isn't cleared? How often are we intentional about serving our family home cooked meals around the dinner table? I can assure you, that is often NOT my focus. I am usually ill prepared and just trying to shove something at the kids to eat so they will stop whining. Dinner time is not pretty around these parts. I want that to change.

Every year around this time in December, my husband and I begin to think about our goals for the New Year. We always begin with a vengeance but end up flopping by mid April (if we make it that long). This year we decided to go for the gusto! We were going to choose one huge goal that would encompass all of the small goals we always want to reach. This coming year, 2012, the Davis family will not be eating out. Our goal is to not eat out once. To always be sitting at the dinner table eating a healthy meal and spending much needed family time together. This year we are going for the prize!

This blog is a journal of the adventure we are going to be embarking on and to document just how we did it when the "nay" sayers are in awe! 

Now please click the RSS button or the Follow button and join me! I can use all the help I can get! :)

Next entry will be discussing just what you can expect from this blog and how you will be able to take part and use it as a resource!