Menu for the week of Sept. 28th – Oct. 4th 2009


Thanks for joining me for another week of Menu Plan Monday. We followed the plan last week pretty closely other than having to eat out twice because we got home very late from a day trip we took on the weekend. Here is what we will be having this week.

Lunch
M – Corn Dogs & tater tots
T – Leftovers from Monday dinner
W – At Friends House
Th – Baked Potato Bar
F – Sandwiches, chips, fruit
Sa – Leaving this open since we will have guests this weekend.

Dinner
M – Chicken Enchiladas
T – Lasagna, Spinach Salad and garlic bread
W – Homemade Pizza
Th – Slow Cooker chicken, couscous and califlower
F – Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, green beans
Sa – leaving this open since I’m not sure who will be here for dinner on this day. Gotta love house guests who are house shopping!
Sun – Ravioli with sauce, Garlic Cheese bread

Thanks for stopping by! I want to thank Laura at Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday!

Menu for the week of Sept. 21st – 27th


Welcome back for another week of Menu Plan Monday. Last week went pretty well, with of course a few things moved around.

Here is our plan for this week

Breakfast
It seemed a little better for us to just have a range of choice and let the kids decide each day. This week they will choose from Monkey Bread, cereal, pancakes, frozen waffles, Peanut Butter Toast and eggs. As usual each will have a side of dairy and fruit as well.

Lunch
M – Leftovers
T – Pizza, corn and fruit
W – Day Out will eat with friends or at WinCo
Th – Chicken Salad Sandwiches, pretzels, fruit
F – Fish fillets, tater tots, green beans
Sa – Deli wraps, chips, fruit

Dinner
M – Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce, carrots and brown rice
T – Slow Cooker Orange Chicken, rice,
W – Gnocchi with meat sauce, garlic toast and salad
Th – Stuffed Green peppers (recipe to come)
F – Family night out
Sa – Chicken Enchiladas (recipe to come)
Sun – Chili and cornbread (recipe to come)

I have finally gotten to the place where I am planned and shopping a week in advance which has been nice. It’s thrown my shopping a little on it’s ear but I’ll get there.

Thanks to Laurie at Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday

How do you know when you are on the right path?

Life is a journey, filled with paths. Sometimes the path to take is very clear. You know what you want, and you can see it waiting for you at the end of the path.
Other times the path is there, but it’s covered with a fog. You think you see what it is that you are looking for at the end of the path but the fog obstructs your view. And what happens when you are at a crossroads? You have 2 paths in front of you, one being clear and the other covered with fog. At the end of the clear path is something that you would love to have but at the end of the foggy path you think you see the one thing you have been waiting your whole life for.
What would you do? Take the safe road and choose the path that you can clearly see the end of? Or would you take a chance, maybe trust something you cannot see and take the path that might be holding for you the very thing you have waited your whole life for?
For me, I now choose to let God lead my on the path. This was a hard transition, mostly because I am human and I thought that I was the one in control. I spent almost half my life denying the Truth that I knew was out there but thought that I could do better for myself. When I was finally at the end of my rope, feeling hopeless with so many things in my life even thought it was a great life, my wonderful young daughter started asking to go to church. Was she kidding!! Didn’t she know the demons that I had, the guilt I felt when I chose to walk away from God and that I was way too ashamed to ask for His forgiveness and try to walk that walk again. But, because I really want to be the best mom that I can be I decided to take her. That was all My God needed. He grabbed a hold of me and every week during worship and sermon he used those people on stage to show me, tell me how much He wanted me back. He talked to me through songs and sermons. Through Women’s Bible Study and Upward, through people I started to connect with and share my journey with. And over the course of a year plus I have come to a place where I want to turn my Whole Entire Life over to Him.

We made some really big changes in our lives this last year. Losing everything we have worked so hard for. Feeling like we were totally out of control. And yet small things were happening for us. My husband started attending church with me and eventually gave his life to The Lord. We met and made friends who could understand what we were going through. We were in The Word daily. We had a great small group, a wonderful Church family. Wow! Life was getting easier even though it was hard.
And then after a weekend trip to visit some friends, my husband found his happy place. His allergies were gone. The sun was shining and he started to pray. He really thought this was where we were meant to be. Over the course of only a few short months, Our Sovereign Lord gave us so many reasons to come here. We had no place to live, no jobs and only knew 3 people but we decided to take the foggy path and let The Lord lead us.

It has not been easy. I would say that it hasn’t been sunshine and roses except the sun shines here every day so far (almost 3 months now!!) so that wouldn’t be fair. I swear that I’ve gotten more Vitamin D in the last 3 months than I have in the last 30 years! But what we do know is that we have now chosen to let God lead us. Even to the scary and unknown but we have total and absolute faith that He will provide for us. There isn’t any good reason that we should have all that we have been blessed with in this new life but we do know that it is all because and for the Lord we choose to serve.

If you are reading this and have questions about God, please contact me. I came to Christ at a very early age and chose to walk away because it didn’t seem rational, easy or any possibility of being real. But I can tell you from my heart that it is REAL. Jesus Chris is the savior of my life and without Him I would be nothing. He knows that I will never be perfect and that is OK. That is why he was sent to earth. To save me from the Sin of Adam so that we can spend eternal life together, in Heaven with The Father, who created all. I know that is so much for a skeptic or unbeliever to grasp and comprehend, but please, I plead with you….reach out….to me, to another friend with believes or even God himself. He created you, He loves you and He wants you to be part of his kingdom. I would love to help lead you to the path the God has set out for you, even if the path that you are on right is in the middle of a deep fog.

In His name,
Jen

One Pot Chicken Penne

This is an old time favorite recipe of ours that I have not made in a long time. I thought I would pull it out of the vault and add back into our rotation. I hope that you and your family will enjoy it.

One-Pot Chicken & Penne Parmesan

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Start To Finish: 30 minutes

1 T butter or margarine
¾ lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 3/4C (14.5oz can) chicken broth
2 2/3C (8oz) penne Rigate, uncooked
1 pkg (16oz) frozen broccoli, carrot and cauliflower mix
¼t teaspoon grown pepper
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
¾ C milk
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided

In 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; add chicken. Cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add broth; heat to boiling. Add uncooked pasta, veggies and pepper, stirring to coat pasta with liquid. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 13 minutes, stirring ever 2-3 minutes or until pasta is tender and most liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, in medium bowl stir together soup, milk, and ½ C cheese until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Heat until mixture just comes to a boil; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Makes 8 1-cup servings

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I made these on a whim last week and they were to die for. Everyone loved them~!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Ingredients

* 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 2 cups packed brown sugar
* 1 cup butter, room temperature
* 2 eggs, at room temperature
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.
3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookiebatter-ish, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands — I just spray a spatula with cooking spray). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon, in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting. Makes 20-24 bars.

Comparison Shopping

Now that we are on an even tighter budget than have had to be in years it is very important to figure out who in this town has the best deals on the things we buy most. I have spent the last 2 months flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve been all over town, trying all different options.

Today, my oldest daughter had a birthday party in Eagle and since I was in the neighborhood I decided to go ahead and try WinCo again for the weekly shopping. I used to love WinCo back home but after a few moves the stores were just tooooo far away. Now, the closest store is only 15 minutes away and well worth the drive.

I just wanted to share some of the deals that my local WinCo had. I understand that prices vary from region to region and your prices may vary, but I was totally thrilled when I had to pay for my purchases.

Milk – $1.98 gal
Butter – $1.96 LB (WOW!)

Red Potatoes – $.48 LB or $2.48 for a 5 LB bag
Garlic – .48 EACH
Broccoli – .88 LB
Yellow Onion – .48 LB
Avocado – .68 EACH, small size
Tomatoes – several varieties $1.28 LB

Spaghetti – In Bulk .79 LB
Cinnamon – In Bulk $1.64 LB…this is just over .03 OZ….Screaming deal!
Popcorn – .65 LB
Chocolate Chips $2.74 LB

It is very important to mention here that WinCo has the BEST prices on produce. They set their price at the beginning of every year and it will NEVER be higher than that. They do offer some things on sale, like the pears this week were .78LB, but it will never be more than the price the set. I was able to get Caesar Salad for $1.48 a bag and bananas are always .47 LB or less. Wal-Mart or Albertsons CANNOT match the prices at WinCo even on their best sales. And I have found that the produce at Wal-Mart goes bad very quickly.

This week I did not need to buy hardly any meat and I am sure that helped my budget but I spent less than $56.00 for THE WEEK~!!!

If you have a WinCO in your area, I suggest you take the time to start shopping there. Compare the prices and see if the distance and time saves you any money. They have a huge bulk foods section and I see that as a huge savings in my future. All I will need to invest in is a few good containers for certain items. And the long term savings will outweigh that in no time. I have actually started a spread sheet comparing prices between the 3 stores mentioned here and as time goes by I will share the results.

I hope that you will find this tip helpful in saving your family money and getting more bang for your grocery buck!

Menu for the week of Sept 14th – 20th


So I have kind of slacked on posting my menus for the last couple of weeks. We have had a plan, and they are working for the most part. Here is our plan for the week.

Breakfasts – No matter how much I plan, my family seems to have their own agenda. So, instead of going day by day, they can have the choice of the following:

Cereal
Oatmeal
Toaster Pastries
English Muffins
*all with some fruit of their choice and a dairy such as yogurt)

Lunch – This week I am not sure how things will play out and with my daughter back in school we are all kind of winging it. However I do have a few things planned for those of us that are at home during the lunch hour

M – Leftover Beef Stir Fry
T – Pizza Rolls, fruit, fresh carrots
W – Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Th- Tuna Sandwiches, fruit, chips
F – Fish Sticks, tater tots, fruit

Dinner
M – Baked Chicken, Lemon Pasta, broccoli
T – Pork Tenderloin, rice, green beans
W – Flank Steak, Crash Hot Potatoes, Salad
Th – Chicken and Dumplings ( recipe TBA)
F – Tacos
Sa – BLT’s, Fries, Salad
Sun – Chicken Casesar Pitas

I would love to know what you have planned for this week. I am really working on planning 2 weeks in advance and shopping 1 week in advance as much as possible. It hasn’t quite happened but it is a goal I have.

A HUGE thanks to Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for helping get and keep me on track!
Have a great week!

Cheese from Heaven!

I tried a new recipe tonight. It was homemade Mac N Cheese and while not “good for you” it was so good, a huge hit with everyone!

Macaroni & Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard (more if desired)
1 egg, beaten
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*Optional spices: cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Yum. Yum Yum. Yum Yum Yum.

This recipe comes straight from The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drumond. I found her site recently and am totally addicted!
The link to this recipe can be found below, with full color photos!

Pioneer Women’s Macaroni and Cheese

Hope

The last year has proven to be a very trying time for us. Job loss, a major move and our life as we have known the last 11 years thrown completely on it’s ear. I’d say that is just about enough to send anyone to the edge.

However, during all of these very hard times we have not even seen the edge. We think about it, we talk about it but we have never been close. The reason for that? We have decided to put our 100% trust and faith in our savior Jesus Christ and we know that this journey is for His purpose. The journey is to somehow glorify Him. When someone gives their life to the Lord, they are not promised a life of happiness and roses. In fact, we are told to expect the opposite. Satan is always near, waiting for the chance to make you doubt your decision and win you over.The Bible tells us to expect persecution and hard times. But the reward in the end is well worth the sacrifice. And while we have faced our fair share of hard times these last 11 months, we have faith. And most of all we have Hope. Hope that we will finally walk the walk that Jesus asks us to. Hope that the choices we make from here on out will please our Lord and make him happy. Hope that by being faithful and humble to Him we will have a better life during our time left here and knowing that the life we will get when He returns will be far better than anything we could ever know here.
My friends often ask how we are holding up. The truth of it is, I’ve never felt better!! Giving my worry and fear to God to handle has given me the gift to enjoy this new journey. I don’t know where we are going or what the Lord has in store for us but I do know that I have Hope. What ever he gives me is his will and he knows much better what is best for me than I ever can. If that does not give someone Hope, then I don’t know what will.

Hope

The last year has proven to be a very trying time for us. Job loss, a major move and our life as we have known the last 11 years thrown completely on it’s ear. I’d say that is just about enough to send anyone to the edge.

However, during all of these very hard times we have not even seen the edge. We think about it, we talk about it but we have never been close. The reason for that? We have decided to put our 100% trust and faith in our savior Jesus Christ and we know that this journey is for His purpose. The journey is to somehow glorify Him. When someone gives their life to the Lord, they are not promised a life of happiness and roses. In fact, we are told to expect the opposite. Satan is always near, waiting for the chance to make you doubt your decision and win you over.The Bible tells us to expect persecution and hard times. But the reward in the end is well worth the sacrifice. And while we have faced our fair share of hard times these last 11 months, we have faith. And most of all we have Hope. Hope that we will finally walk the walk that Jesus asks us to. Hope that the choices we make from here on out will please our Lord and make him happy. Hope that by being faithful and humble to Him we will have a better life during our time left here and knowing that the life we will get when He returns will be far better than anything we could ever know here.
My friends often ask how we are holding up. The truth of it is, I’ve never felt better!! Giving my worry and fear to God to handle has given me the gift to enjoy this new journey. I don’t know where we are going or what the Lord has in store for us but I do know that I have Hope. What ever he gives me is his will and he knows much better what is best for me than I ever can. If that does not give someone Hope, then I don’t know what will.