breakfast · Cooking · Food Prep · Meal planning

Food Inspiration From Great Restaurants

We have been on vacation this past week and we ate breakfast and lunch in our condo, then enjoyed eating our main meal out each day. I love trying new food options – things I don’t normally make at home. New food and flavor combinations stretch my taste buds and my culinary skills, so I’m always looking out for something a little different on the menu.

Because we were on the coast, we had seafood every day! We also had some other fare that was just delicious! I”ll share a few of the new flavor combinations I loved.

Continue reading “Food Inspiration From Great Restaurants”
Budget friendly meal · Meal planning · refreshment at home

How To Reduce Your Grocery Budget and Still Eat Heartily

We’ve all seen that grocery prices are climbing. Is it possible to stay within a budget, but also cook delicious and filling meals at home? Yes! Here are my top five suggestions for doing just that!

Vegetable Pot Pie
Banana bread made from over-ripe bananas costs pennies and can be sliced and frozen to accompany oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
  1. Take note of what’s on sale at the grocery store each week. Going to Southern Savers or Money Saving Mom sites can make it so easy!
    Also be sure to visit the marked down areas in each section of the store – produce, bread and meats. Then…
  2. Make a weekly menu from the items on sale. A menu will keep you from running to the store last minute and buying whatever it takes to make supper. You’ll also be buying when the items are lower.
  3. Stock up if you can. When items are on sale, buy more than one, if possible. When butter is on sale, I buy two or three and freeze the extras until I need them.
  4. Bake your own bread, baked goods and snacks. This French Bread is so easy and makes two large loaves. I buy my bread flour in bulk at Sam’s Club and this recipe costs very little to mix together. After calculating the flour and the yeast (also bought in bulk at Sam’s), it costs me about 35 cents per loaf! This bread is so good toasted, so aside from a great side for breakfast or spaghetti supper, the possibilities are endless – grilled cheese, French toast, or BLT’s to name a few.
    These Muffins and this sweet bread can be made so cheaply by buying bananas that are over-ripe. They are cheaper than ripe ones and they freeze beautifully. When berries are on sale, freeze them for berry muffins. Make up a batch of cookies that don’t call for extra items like nuts or chocolate chips (did I just say that?!). Reserve those for special times. Make simple recipes like Snickerdoodles or Sugar Cookies.
    Rather than buying microwave popcorn, make this easy recipe – it’s much cheaper (and so much better!). These Granola Bars are also a Yummy snack!

Granola bars a

5. Have meatless suppers once or twice a week.
You can have breakfast for supper and serve eggs, pancakes or waffles and fruit.
Go with beans as the protein and have Cracker Barrel’s Pinto Beans and cornbread.
Refried Beans in a tortilla with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cheese is another good option.
Broccoli or Baked Potato Soups are both hearty and filling.
Vegetable Pot Pie is another yummy, filling option!

Just typing up this post made me really want to cook and bake! Each of these recipes are truly cost-effective – especially when you follow the five steps I shared. I hope this will help you to eat well AND stay in your budget!

Meal planning · organization · Thanksgiving

Early Preparations For Thanksgiving

Slow and steady wins the race, right? What are we racing towards?

Thanksgiving!

Yes, it’s true. Five weeks from tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! (Didn’t we just celebrate Labor Day?!) Well, maybe so, but it’s true – we have five weeks to plan and prepare for this special holiday! That may sound like a lot of time, but considering how much there is to do if you’re hosting, the weeks will fly by! If you want to enjoy, rather than endure the holiday, planning and working ahead of time is your best friend!

I’ll be hosting this year, so I am trying to get my ducks turkeys in a row! No, I don’t have an outside job, but my life stays very busy. It would be easy to push things back and let the holiday slip up on me, but I am praying that the Lord will give me wisdom to prepare in such a way that I will be able to smile and embrace the day and each of my guests when Thanksgiving arrives!

So, what am I doing? Well, first of all, I’m doing what works best for me, and that’s making lists! I am using my phone for some jobs that need attention before my guests arrive. Here’s a peek at the list I’m adding to each day…

o

I made that on “Reminders.” I like having that on my phone, because if I’m out and I need to remember what I needed to buy for the table, it’s right there at my fingertips. I will make a detailed list of the menu and food prep in my Happy Planner.

It’s amazing what tasks can be accomplished in short spans of time! Yesterday when I had 15 minutes while supper was finishing in the oven, I grabbed my large tablecloth and got my Thanksgiving Tablecloth ironed!

When I was finished, I hung it on a hanger and hung it in the front closet.

That’s one task completed!

Little time spans are useful to accomplish small tasks. Look for those five or ten minute windows when you’re on hold on the phone, when you’re ready to leave for work or church but have a few minutes to spare. Look for ways to use those minutes wisely so you can smile when Thanksgiving arrives, rather than panic!

This week I read in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha and was reminded that I often get my priorities out of whack when I’m having guests over. I am asking the Lord for a worshipful heart like Mary. If some things on my list don’t get accomplished, I don’t want to be in a flurry. I want to be fervent instead – fervent in pointing my family and guests to the Lord, Who so graciously blesses us every single day with an abundance of reasons to celebrate this day…with a smile.

Will you be hosting Thanksgiving this year? What are you doing now to prepare ahead?
If you’re going to be a guest, why not ask your hostess what you can do for her even now?

Refresh Thanksgiving by making early preparations!

Home making · Kitchen Tips · Meal planning · Spiritual Refreshment

Mid-Week Kitchen happenings

Kitchen is a busy place – not just when you’re cooking. It takes daily work to keep things organized, efficient and well-planned. This is an important part of the work in the kitchen.

I was away last week and then have been quite busy since returning home. That means things were lacking in the kitchen. I have been working to get things straightened up, freshened up and planned for the week ahead.

I love to gather inspiration for meal planning. I find lots of good ideas in the Relish magazine that comes in the Sunday newspaper.

How cute is that board full of fall treats? I’m definitely going to make a version of that this month!

These sliders look so good, too! They’d be perfect on game day, if you have some football fans! They would also be good for a weekend supper.

If you’re in a menu rut, pull out an old cookbook and flip through it for some fresh inspiration. You might even find an old recipe you haven’t made in a while that you need to recreate! Go to the library and check out a new cookbook or a food magazine like Taste of Home. You’re sure to get some good inspiration there! I know the Internet is full of great ideas, but sometimes I find it easier and more fun to use a printed form.

I am freshening up some kitchen decor. I’m removing all the red items in my kitchen and the last things to go were my red rooster canisters. I found clear glass jars at Home Goods and they were exactly what I was looking for! The opening is large enough for a cup measure to fit inside – a must, in my opinion!

I also took some time to clean out the drawers in my island and while I was at it, I changed out the drawer liner. It’s amazing what a little addition like that can do!

I love being in the kitchen, and keeping it inviting is important. It keeps me motivated and happy about being in there!

Let’s use all this to make a spiritual application. It can be so easy to be busy doing all the things that followers of Christ do – attending church, serving others, teaching a class, and attending a Bible study that we forget to maintain our own walk with God. Things get “messy” and overlooked. We must intentionally take time to just be with God. Spend longer time in prayer just enjoying communing with Christ, hearing from Him as you sit quietly and allow Him to speak to you. Sing. Confess. Worship. Fellowship with the God who loves you and rejoices over you because you are His child. You’ll find that you are energized for the spiritual works before you.

So, what is the mid-week activity of your spiritual life looking like? Are you too busy? Stop and focus on the Lord so then you can move forward in your tasks with purpose and joy!

In your kitchen, are you planning and also staying motivated for meal times? Are there areas you need to freshen up? It’s worth it to spend a little time taking care of those needs. You’ll probably find you’re more productive! But if you can only focus on one area, start with your spiritual needs and then ask the Lord to guide the work of your hands.

Fast meal · Help for busy moms · Meal planning

Homemade Meals for Busy People

You’re busy.  I understand!  Life gets crazy, doesn’t it?  But I firmly believe that supper at home is possible, even in the midst of busy lives.  All it takes is a little creativity and some good planning.

The recipes I’m sharing are all on my blog, but sometimes when you go looking at a list of recipes it’s hard to know which ones you could make in a hurry, so I thought I’d make a list this week of some of my favorite meals that are quick.

Let’s start with Breakfast.

  • The homemade Pop Tarts  (pictured above) can be made with purchased pie dough if you opt out of the homemade dough.
  • Baked Oatmeal can be made the night before and baked off in the morning! 
    Baked Oatmeal Recipe
  • Make a stack of pancakes or waffles on the weekend and freeze them.
  • Pre-cook a pound of bacon until it’s half way cooked.  Put it into a freezer bag and put it in the fridge.  When you need it for breakfast it will take half the time necessary.  You could cook it all the way done, too!
  • Double a batch of muffins and freeze them .  That way everyone doesn’t get tired of blueberry muffins because you’ve had them for three days in a row. 
  • Breakfast burritos can be made ahead of time. These are so good! Scramble eggs.  Add cooked sausage, bacon or ham.  Spread on tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Wrap tortilla in Saran wrap. Place in fridge.  When needed, heat at 30 second intervals until warm.  Add salsa, if desired.

Lunch:At home:

  • Pizza crust in the freezer is a huge help.  Take it out at breakfast so it’ll be ready to bake off.
  • English muffins can serve as pizza crusts, too.  spread with pizza sauce, cheese and other toppings.  Broil.
  • Grill extra chicken at supper and use the extra for wraps or chicken salad.
  • Chicken or veggie Quesadillas

At school or Work:

  • Corn Dog Muffins 
  • Tortilla filled with veggies and cheese.
  • Homemade Lunchables.  Making lunch for children that is appealing is all about doing it creatively and in small portions.  Get a divided lunch container or use cupcake liners.  Put crackers in one, pepperonis or salami slices in another.  Add grapes, blueberries, strawberries or orange segments.  Other “little” items you could add – Grape tomatoes, baby carrots, celery and peanut butter, 
  • Freeze crustless sandwiches.  Peanut butter and jelly work great.  Just put peanut butter on both pieces of bread; it’ll keep the jelly from making the bread soggy.

Supper:

I hope this list helps you the next time you’re in a rush for a meal!     With love from my country kitchen,