Friday, April 30, 2010

Freezer Cooking: Part 3

I wrapped up freezer cooking this afternoon and let me tell you it felt good to be done! Cooking that much food at once is hard work. I think it will pay off in May though...I will let you know! Here is what the results were:

Chicken Fajitas x2
Taco Salad Meat x2
Lasagna x2
King Ranch Casserole x2
Pizza Dough x4
Baja Citrus marinated Chicken x3
Greek Chicken Kabobs x1
Super Bean Burritos x10
Creamy Hash Brown Casseroles x3
Roast (uncooked) x1
Loaf of Banana Oat Bread x1

Should be enough for 20 plus meals! It feels good to have all this done, but I gotta keep it real- there is now something gritty all on my kitchen floor (surely spilled salt or sugar), the chair in my room is COVERED in clothes that need to be put away, and the bathrooms desperately need cleaning. One thing at a time though and right now that thing is bed!! Good night!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Freezer Cooking: Part 2

Today after school the freezer cooking continued. First thing I made some pizza dough so it could get rising while I worked on other stuff. Next I made a lasagna. I split the full recipe into two 8x8 pans. I lined the pans with foil, put them together and then froze them (unbaked). After they froze I lifted the foil wrapped casseroles out and bagged them up for easier storage. When its time to make them I can just plunk them back into the pans.

I also put together a couple of bags of taco meat for us to have for taco salad bowls (one of our current favorite meals). This is simply browned ground beef with spices, black beans and a little corn added in.

About the time I finished that Ronnie came home from work and look what he had:

Pink Tulips to celebrate the end of school!! What a great husband!!

Tonight I finished up today's projects by cooking and shredding chicken (to be used tomorrow) and baking 2 loaves of banana oat bread.

Tomorrow should wrap up the freezer cooking and I'm glad...I'm tired!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Freezer Cooking: Part 1

Day 1 of stocking the freezer for May began tonight with a trip to my favorite store- Kroger! I have been planning ahead for this for most of April so I have been buying stuff I will use to cook all along, but tonight I had to pick up a decent amount of produce, meat, as well as some "deals."

Some highlights:
3 bags Mahatma rice- FREE
4 boxes Wheaties Fuel Cereal- FREE
2 packets McCormick's Grill Mates Marinades- FREE
2 lbs Laura's Lean Ground Beef- 2.50 each (manager's special and coupons!)
1 lb strawberries- 1.50 with Driscoll's coupon
hotdogs- .99
1 Scrubbing Bubbles Power Sprayer (Extend-A-Clean)- $1 regularly $8.99- i am fascinated by this battery operated bathroom spray cleaner, I'll let you know how it works!

overall we saved 46%

BUT the best part was this...

$7 worth of Catalina's to use on my next shopping trip!

When we got home I got busy with the meat. I browned 1 lb. of the beef to be used tomorrow in a dish. Then I put together 5 meal bags. These included 2 chicken fajita meals, 3 baja citrus marinated chicken breast meals (to be grilled), and 1 meal's worth of greek chicken kabobs. It will be nice to thaw these bags and then grill or cook as needed.

Now for some sleep! Tomorrow holds some casseroles to be put together, among other things AND it is my last day of school...whoop whoop!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Strawberry Cream Puff

Melodie over at My Kitchen Cafe pulls through again with another winning recipe! According to Joey (my sis-in-law), this Strawberry Cream Puff Cake was "decadent, fluffy, and just like a cream puff." :)

What have we been up to, aside from enjoying guacamole and cream puff? We are just plugging along over here! In March, I started a second job and things have become much busier for me. This Thursday I will finish out my semester of teaching (!!!) and then its 9:00 to 5:00 at the IBC. In anticipation, I am planning a freezer cooking day at the end of this week. I am ambitiously planning to make lots of meals to stock our freezer. Stay tuned for more to come on that!!

I'm also still couponing away (though I have no grocery pics to share right now). Have you bought an Entertainment Book? I received one for Christmas and we have loved using it. It has a lot of buy 1 entree coupons and get one free, so perfect for Ronnie and I to go out. It also has a $5 off coupon for Kroger for every month. The entertainment books are now just $15 and have free shipping. We actually just ordered a second one.

Ronnie is busy working hard and also putting together scale models of World War 2 airplanes. He recently received an airbrush and compressor for his birthday. When he perfects his technique maybe I will feature some on here! And maybe he can airbrush me a t-shirt or something :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

World's Best Guacamole!

I have to credit my friend Paula with sharing this recipe. She served it at a party she hosted and I think I probably ate half the bowl of it. I love it so much! I have made it several times lately and it has gotten rave reviews. It's the Barefoot Contessa's Recipe. Give it a try!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Patio Project

I have wanted to spruce up our patio for a while now and my birthday presented a great opportunity. My in-laws gave me some gardening gear, plants, and some money just for the project! I shopped around checking out outdoor stuff and decided on the following:

We got these 2 resin Adirondack chairs at Lowe's. I love the color and they are so comfy.

We picked up these lights at Big Lots.

This is a rocker I picked up at a junk sale in the Hurst before we moved.

We have had lots of beautiful weather lately and we are loving eating breakfast and dinner outside whenever we can. In the morning the green chairs have shade and in the evening our cow table does :)

We are diligently watering our plants...we are attempting to grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, mint, cherry tomatoes, and banana peppers, as well as some flowers. Hopefully we can keep them alive!

We love our new patio a lot and are trying to make the most of enjoying it before the scorching heat comes. Come join us one evening!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taco Salad Bowls

Recently when I saw this post on My Kitchen Cafe for homemade tortilla bowls I bookmarked it and added it to my dinner ideas list. I made them tonight and we both LOVED them! We filled ours with lettuce, taco meat, black beans and corn, tomatoes, avocado slices, cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

The bowls were so easy to make too! Simply rub a small amount of olive oil on both sides of a large tortilla. Drape it over an oven safe bowl on a cookie sheet. Then just crisp it in the oven at 400 for about 8-10 minutes. When its nice and crispy fill it to your hearts content and enjoy!

Ronnie shows off his culinary creation before we eat on our patio. Sprucing up our patio was our our weekend project. Stay tuned for more to come on that later!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick and Yummy Dinner

Lately I am all about some quick and easy meal ideas. When I was at Kroger this week I picked up some turkey kielbasa sausage thinking it would be something different and interesting to fix. I surfed the web for a recipe and came across this one for Kielbasa Penne and had all the ingredients. I debated for a while if it sounded good or not. Without having any better ideas I went for it and was quite pleased. It was a keeper! It came together really quickly, is one of those nice dishes that incorporates lots of parts into it (meat, veggies, carb) and it was pretty should give this one a try!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Rug

My mom had a great birthday present for me in B'ham this past weekend: a new rug! It is just perfect in our dining room. I love it!!

Thanks Mama! Thought you would enjoy seeing it in place.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Birthday in the Big City!

I have been wanting to take a getaway for a couple of months now. Life has been busy to say the least! My birthday fell on Easter weekend this year and I had a long weekend. So we set off for the big city to celebrate! Thursday after work we headed to Birmingham and then on Friday morning we headed to Atlanta.

The weather was beautiful for the whole weekend! Our first stop was Chipotle for lunch. We enjoyed MASSIVE burritos in the sunshine.

After lunch and a fun stop at Trader Joe's, we checked into our hotel in Buckhead. We found a great deal on (one of my favorite bargain travel sites) and we were not disappointed at all. It was really nice and we were in a great location that was central to walking everywhere- great shopping and eating and just a block or two from a MARTA station.

We took the MARTA to downtown and walked through Olympic Centennial Park.

Then we arrived at the Georgia Aquarium. We enjoyed seeing so many interesting types of fish. So colorful and some huge!

Afterward we enjoyed a Coke in honor of being in Atlanta and right next to the World of Coke.

We headed back to Buckhead on the MARTA and walked around some more. We went to Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza and did a little shopping. Ronnie enjoyed car watching while we trucked all over the place. We saw so many Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, Maserati's, and Bently's!

We headed back to the hotel and changed then headed out for a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. We split a piece of the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake and it was fantastic!

Saturday morning we walked to breakfast at a nearby bakery and then set off to Ikea! It was fun to wander through the room displays.

We ate lunch there and then headed off back to Birmingham, but with a detour to meet my new niece. We share the same birthday!

Isn't she a cutie?! She is just itty bitty. I'm so glad that we could meet her. We finally returned to Birmingham and enjoyed getting to spend sometime with my parents and friends. We celebrated Easter there and also celebrated my dad's birthday a few days early.

It was a great getaway....just what I wanted for my birthday!