Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday-Spice Cabinet

See the cabinet above? It has become the abyss for crafts, school papers, markers, crayons, etc. You name it, it got shoved in there. I was tired of it, my attempt at organizing didn't really work either, as the kids would just jam things in there. Even though I clearly labeled the boxes.

I mean, what is up with that? Can they not see the labels made by my favorite label maker?

So the other day I actually had nothing to do and decided to tackle this pantry/cabinet. I know, right? Nothing to do? Well I guess there was nothing I wanted to do and the kids were actually playing nicely with their Christmas gifts.

So I ended up turning it into a spice cabinet. Yes, we have that many spices. Combine a girl who loves to cook and bake with a guy who loves to grill and what you get are a ton of spices and rubs!

This now houses all of my cooking and baking spices and my husbands grilling spices. Not to mention my kitchen towels, dishrags and cloth napkins.

I was very glad I did this, I didn't know that I had three containers of Oregano and 2 containers of both garlic salt and powder!

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh Deer!

I cannot eat beef. For all intents and purposes I have a beef allergy. Really, it is that my stomach cannot process it correctly, among other things. So I have to avoid beef. I will occasionally make it for my family, I simply eat the other items that I make. But I use a lot of chicken and turkey, including ground chicken or turkey to replace ground beef in my recipes.

But you know that on some things you can't swap turkey for beef, the flavor simply isn't  there. Which got me to thinking about alternatives. Deer is something I had never eaten. But I have heard in the blog world how good it is and good for you to boot.

Growing up my dad and brother didn't hunt. My husband has never hunted. And I was even a vegetarian for a while in college. So for my family to hear that we had gotten a deer, well some were in shock.

We have a good friend of ours who enjoys hunting. My husband put the bug in his ear about getting one for us. He was all for it. All we had to pay was the processing fee.

The next week, we got a call that he had gotten one for us. The photos above don't show all of it as we have eaten quite a few roasts and ground deer already. Not to mention I spared you any more boring photos of my freezer.

I was very hesitant at first, not knowing what it would taste like. My oldest was leery, thinking solely of the cute deer she was about to consume. This was a shock to her dad and I, as she is very much a meat lover. In the end, her curiosity won out and I am happy to say that we all love it, including my oldest

I made my roasts just like I would a beef roast, same with the ground meat. I have made chili, barbecue and taco meat with the ground meat. It has all been very good. And honestly I compared what we paid for processing to what I would pay for organic beef and we paid almost half that. I figured this is closer to organic that not.

So far we have been very happy with the deer. And very thankful that our friend was willing to get one for us. And thankful that his wife went without him for a day or so.

Most importantly, my stomach has had no issues with the deer meat. That was a great bonus and for that I am very grateful.

This post is linked to GratiTuesday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snow Day!

On Friday, our kids were off school for the second day in a row. My  husbands cousin was in a daycare bind, so we ended up watching their daughter for the day.

We had lots of fun and boy were we busy with 5 little ones in the house.

Here they are making tattoos. Which are really just stickers for your skin. But boy are they cute. And made of some super strong glue. I wish other things were this sticky. I am currently sporting a heart with wings on my left shin, it is very classy. And my little man has a shamrock on his bicep. Yep, we are a very cool

We also went out to play in the snow.

Here are the three youngest ready to go have some fun. Little kids crack me up when they are bundled up for snow playing. They can hardly move. And every time one of my kids gets an itch they can't scratch.

The kids played very well and I was even able to make two loaves of  bread and a dozen chocolate chip oatmeal muffins. There is only 1 1/2 loaves left ant 5 muffins. Oh well, good thing I love to bake.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bacon Penne Pasta with Garlic

The ingredients above make one of my kids and my favorite meals.  It is so simple to make and very frugal.

I take about 1/3 of the bacon (bought on sale for $1.99 a pack) Now that bacon has gone up around here to $5 a piece, I only buy it on sale. But that is beside the point. Yes it has gotten expensive but yes my family loves bacon!

Can't you just smell the bacon frying? In a perfect world, I could eat bacon all day every day then have a big chocolate cake for desert. But I don't live in that world. In my world, I gain 10 pounds to my hips just looking at bacon!

Fry the bacon with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. Cook until the bacon is crispy. Then add one can of tomato sauce. Mine is organic from Coscto, for 60 cents a can! The olive oil and garlic I buy in bulk from Costco so I have no idea what the cost breakdown is. But not much. Be careful when you add the can of sauce, it can pop. Stir it up and then simply let it simmer while waiting on the pasta.

While this is going, cook the pasta as directed on the box. We use whole wheat pasta, but I have used plain white pasta in the past.

Once the pasta is finished, drain the water and put it back in the pot. Then pour the bacon and sauce mixture over the pasta. Mix. (Sorry forgot to get a photo of this part.)

Here is the finished product, plated and ready to eat. It is so good, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Everyone eats more that one helping, even my little man. This is one dinner that we never have leftovers of.

Can you tell his belly is full? He did eat 4 helpings of penne pasta and broccoli!

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tip of the Week and Frugal

Around here, we wash our hands a lot. Between the dogs, cats, kids, cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, etc. Things can get messy around here in a hurry. Because of that we used to go through a lot of soap.

Regular soap is not only very harsh on our sensitive skin that we have around here, but we also tend to go through a lot.

I have found a wonderful solution to this. Homemade foam soap. I have some foam pumps that had run out and I saved them.  I fill them with about 80 percent water and 20 percent soap. And this is what I use:

This has a wonderful peppermint scent and is so calming to the skin. I even use it to freshen up on those days that I don't have time to shower. Not that I ever have those days, because I wake up and shower every morning and do my hair and makeup. Okay, I don't wear makeup and my hair hasn't seen a curling or flat iron in about 10 years, but still, the thought is there. Okay, so I do occasionally not take a shower on my days home.

But most importantly my husband doesn't mind the scent. He hates using girly soap. Basically anything that smells like fruit is girly in his book. I assure him that no one will accuse him of being girly but that doesn't seem to work.

This bottle goes on sale at our local grocery store occasionally but it is still cheaper on Amazon. I just combine this with another purchase so that i don't have to pay shipping. One bottle lasts so long, I honestly couldn't tell you when I bought it last.

This post is linked to Frugal Fridays and Fantastic Frugal Fridays.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tip of the Week!

The tip for this week is very simple, but something that I have done for years.

We occasionally go through the drivethru with our family or even by myself. You never know. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.

They always give you way more napkins than you need. Okay not always, sometimes they forget to give you any at all or only one! But this tip comes in handy for when they don't give you any!

I keep them. I don't throw them away, I simply stash them in this little part of my van door. Then when one of the kids spills (not that my kids would ever spill), or needs to spit out their gum, I have something to give them.

I keep a box of tissues in my van as well. But you can't beat free for those other times that you need to do something besides blow your nose.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Every Now and Then

I am not ashamed to say that my kids bicker. A lot. Depending on the day I feel like all I do is break up fights and tell them to stop yelling, stop tattling and stop being mean to each other.

But the other day I had just put the little guy down to nap and went out to water the flowers. When I came back this is where I found my youngest two daughters. They were actually getting along, sitting next to each other.

Looking at a catalog we had gotten in the mail that day. They were looking at all the costumes and toys. I love times like these. It is times like these that made me want to have a big family.

I am thankful that my kids do know how to treat each other nicely, even if only for a little while.

This post is linked to GratiTuesday.