Monday, August 16, 2010

What ya Eating?

We try to make a menu for the whole week in our house. Not only does this make grocery shopping easier, but helps us eat healthier than picking up some last minute junk. I do a schedule for the whole week starting with Monday. I picked up a dry erase board that has the days of the weeks on it. Saves paper! You may notice little letters on the right side...I try to note if we are having beef, fish or chicken for each night.

So this week our plan is to eat more chicken than beef and eat lots of fruit.

Monday is chicken fajitas. I make my own spice mix and use all fresh ingredients. It is a quick and easy dinner. No sides, but there is a fruit in the fridge if someone is still hungry!

Tuesday: Steamed tilapia! YUMM! I got a neat steamer from Harris Teeter one year for free and love it. It is a wok and steamer in one. I make a bullion and steam the tilapia on cabbage leaves. We will also have steamed broccoli and cous cous with it. Still working on getting the cous cous tasty. No one liked it plain.

Wednesday: Chicken Kabobs! I found a great marinade on We have pineapple, tomato, onion and green pepper on the kabobs too. The only side with the kabobs is rice. This week we have switched to non-instant rice.

Thursday: Dh and I are going out to Outback because we have a really good coupon and we don't want to waste it. We also have one night out a week. Since Outback is too expensive for the whole family, the kids will get some fast food. Either McDonald's or something else they like.

Friday: My stay home day! Been itching for some homemade sauce(gravy for those of you who are true Italians!) So, I will make a batch of sauce from scratch using tomatoes, spices, pork bones. We will have chicken sausage and meatballs made with grass fed beef to accompany the spaghetti. I may pick up a baguette to make garlic bread.

Saturday: An easy night: Grilled chicken sandwiches with onion rings. I am cheating here and not making fresh onion rings. i will also make a fruit salad probably with pineapple, watermelon, strawberries and grapes!

Sunday: Whole wheat pancakes with chicken apple sausage! Slices of fruit on the side with some reddi whip!

See anything you think you might like? Let me know and I can email you the recipe!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Mandolin Slicer and my Pinkie

We have been trying to rid our house of packaged foods. We are buying more foods in their original state and making meals out of them. One of the foods I thought would be easy to do on my own was the most loved french fry! I found a great recipe online and went to work.

I purchased a french fry cutter much like an apple cutter. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as well as the apple cutter. I could not get the cutter down more than 1/4 way through the potato. So, my first batch I had to cut the potatoes by hand. It wasn't too bad, but we like french fries and I don't have time to cut them by had every time we wanted them. So, onto plan B.

Plan B - purchase a mandolin slicer. This seemed like a great investment because I can use to to slice tons of fruits and veggies! It comes with many attachments to cut with! So, the next time we decided to have french fries I took out the slicer and began to cut. I noticed that these french fries sliced a lot thinner than I would have liked, but hey, I was baking them so I would just have to watch carefully before they got crunchy. The following picture in exhibit A....the slicer!

I got the french fries soaking in a salt water solution---makes them yummier - and decided to cut up some tomato and cucumber for everyone to eat with dinner. Sliced up the tomato in seconds and was fabulous. Got the cucumber peeled and realized it was too big to handle right with the veggie holder so I just held it with my hand. BIG MISTAKE!

After I got halfway through, I should have switched to using the holder but got carried away. Before I knew it there was blood....lots of it. I sliced almost the whole length of my pinkie. It didn't even hurt at first! Ran it under water, grabbed paper towels and tried to stop the bleeding. I got myself good. Took almost an hour till I could attempt to use a band aid. After several days of changing band aids, using bacitracin and cleaning it out, it started to look better. After 3 weeks I was able to take the band aids off for good. This is what my pinkie looks like now:

Except for a small section near the top, my pinkie feels fine. The little part near the top is still a little sore. It has been another week and it looks even better and doesn't hurt nearly as bad. Needless to say, I DO NOT use the slicer without the holder anymore......and you shouldn't either!
After all that, the french fries cut with the slicer were just too thin. I love the way it slices other veggies and fruits, but I will be cutting by hand from now on!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Shenandoah National Park

This past weekend the national parks that charge fees were free! Great for us as we live less than an hour from Shenandoah National Park. We decided to take the kids up Skyline Drive for a hike.

We chose a nice 4 mile trail that had waterfalls, cascades and streams. It was a beautiful day too! Only about 75 degrees when we arrived. A great day for a nice hike! We even packed a lunch! Armed with Off and water we begun our adventure!

It was only a few yards into our walk when we saw our first wildlife. Chipmunks! They are too cute. They were running all over the forest floor. I never realized how little they are. During the hike we probably saw about 6-7 of them running around. After a mile or so we begun to see millipedes. These things are huge! And they are pretty fast. We happened to walk over a few and next to a few. They seemed to be all around.

After a few miles we made it to a bridge over the Rose River. We stopped to look at the river cascading under us. I was observing the water when I noticed what looked like a strange rivet on the bridge. After a moment, I realized it was a snake. Yep. Right there on the bridge. And he wasn't alone. There were 2 of them just feet away from us on the bridge. We also noticed some snake skin. Hmmm...we decided it was time to keep moving.

Only a little bit further and we found a rock outcropping on the river to have lunch. It was very pretty and relaxing. There were a few puddles and we noticed that one of them was overflowing with tadpoles. Hundreds of them. All hanging out and eating algae. It was pretty awesome. Imagine them all hopping away one day!

After lunch, we continued on our walk. After about another 15 minutes we stopped to look over the river and lo and behold we spy a deer drinking from the river. It was beautiful. It just stood there on the bank drinking water and eating leaves. It moved up the hill more but didn't leave. We all just stood there watching for a good 5 minutes before it took off. It was the most amazing thing! I almost forget we weren't at the zoo!

We only had about another mile left and we were really getting tired. As we finally came to the end of the trail we got to see one more dear! It sprang right across the path in front of us! It was amazing! Deer, snakes, insects, chipmunks! Definitely a hike to remember! Hopefully we will be able to go back soon and check out another trail. I just hope it holds as many surprises at this one!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Moved to Virginia

So, although Oregon was beautiful, things did not work out and we had to move again. We moved back across the country, this time settling in Charlottesville, VA. Now, if we had moved here first, before Oregon, I would comment on how big the mountains look. But, they look like hills to me after living in a place surrounded by volcanoes! Although they do not look big, they are beautiful! Love the blue ridge!

Driving back across the country wasn't as fun as the first time. Brian and I drove (well, I drove, he rode along) across the country without the kids in a penske truck while pulling the car! Wasn't too bad until the wind decided to act up. YUP! Try handing a truck in 40+ winds. Well, after 2 days of that the rest of the trip was a breeze!

The kids flew to grandmas to await our arrival. Sara Beth loved the plane. It was her first time and only Ashley's second time. The flights went well and the they enjoyed it. Sara Beth liked looking at the clouds. She slept most of the trip as we took a red eye flight.

We have found some other homeschoolers already and we are trying to dive right in. We have a park day on Wednesday and a bowling day on Tuesday. I try to get everything done but I still feel a little overwhelmed. Hopefully soon things will calm down and I can get some sewing done!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Moved to Oregon

Well, time changes lives. We have just picked up from North Carolina and moved to Bend, Oregon. Brian was hired for a new job here and we thought the change would be nice. Bend is a beautiful place and we are loving the mountain views everywhere! Not as many homeschoolers here, but we are finding a few. The weather changes constantly! The other day I woke up to a cold, cloudy morning. Within an hour, it was snowing hard. We received about 1 - 2 inches of snow in 2 hours. A half hour after it stopped it was all gone! Melted in 3o minutes and the sun was shinning!