Archive for October, 2012


Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Have you been out shopping lately? You’ve more than likely seen holiday decor for sale if you’ve visited your local department store. YUK! That was my first impression. After some reflection I decided my attitude needed an adjustment. If you remember the reason for the season the “work” and the “expense” become a joy instead of a burden. If you are still struggling, try melting a peppermint scented tart or lighting a peppermint scented or Christmasy scented candle. It may help get you in the mood or change your attitude for the better.

What’s for Supper?

Sunday – Swiss steak in the slowcooker, mashed potatoes, green beans (Place browned and seasoned round steak in slowcooker. Top with one onion, sliced and one bell pepper, sliced. Top with cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup salsa. Cook 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Stir sauce well before serving.

Monday – Soup and Sandwiches

Tuesday – Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Oven-fries, Celery and Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing

Wednesday – Tacos, healthified (Replace half of the meat with beans and corn kernels.)

Thursday – Pork, Sauerkraut, Mashed potatoes, applesauce

Friday – Brats on a bun, with leftover sauerkraut, potato cakes

Saturday – Homemade stromboli, with sauce (We saute onions, peppers, sausage, pepperoni, and ham for the filling and use ready made pizza crust to speed things up.)

My portion on a plate. A smaller plate should have been used to make the portion appear to be more. Let’s face it. This isn’t very healthful, but it is delicious.

Fresh garden produce comes in handy when you’re watching what you spend at the grocery store. It tastes better than store bought too. We had a freeze last week so our garden is done for the year. The bounty shown above is my second to last harvest. My last harvest consisted mostly of peppers, which I processed for the freezer, to stuff and also to add to chili, stir fry, sausage and peppers, etc. I’m happy to report that there will not be a need to purchase overpriced peppers at the store this winter.

I’ll be sharing what was spent for the final shopping trip of September later in the week. I went a little over budget as I started to stockpile for the winter, so the challenge has come to a close. It must be the squirrel in me, or maybe it’s just smart to be prepared in case we are trapped in the house because of a blizzard, ice, or frigid temps. 😉 Sometimes it’s nice not to have to do a weekly shopping trip, especially when the weather is nasty or just downright cold.

What do you do to prepare for winter?

It’s a busy time of year. The kids are back at school or homeschooling is well underway. You’re away at college or maybe a working mom trying to figure out how to best use your time to make the upcoming holiday special. Here’s a quick, simple recipe that we enjoy. It’s great for anyone with access to limited cooking equipment too. You need a mug or two and a microwave, although heating your milk on top of the stove in a pan would work fine too.

For each single serving of hot cocoa place 2 Tbsp sugar (I’ve gotten away with 1 Tbsp sugar with good results but of course a more dark chocolate taste.), 2 Tbsp of your favorite baking cocoa powder, and a dash of salt in a mug. Add a few teaspoonfuls of water and stir until smooth. Meanwhile heat a cup of milk either in the microwave in another mug or on top of the stove in a small saucepan. When hot add the milk to the cocoa mixture in the mug. Add a splash of vanilla and stir well. Enjoy!

To make things more festive you could top with whipped cream and dust with more cocoa powder or cinnamon, crushed peppermints, add marshmallows, etc.

Happy Autumn! Remember to enjoy the simple things…

What’s for Supper?

Sunday – Chicken Parmesan and spaghetti with garlic cheese bread

Monday – Pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and applesauce

Tuesday – Leftover chicken parm with baked spaghetti

Wednesday – Smoked sausage, pierogies with fried onions, leftover sauerkraut and applesauce

Thursday – Creamy potato soup and homemade croutons

Friday – More healthful corn dogs (homemade corn muffins baked with hot dogs tucked inside) and leftover potato soup

Saturday – Breakfast for supper, either oatmeal pancakes or a potato and onion frittata

We indulged in this quick and easy topping to snaz up a simple chocolate boxed cake…

1/2 c butter, melted

1 c peanut butter

1/2 of an 11 oz bag of good quality white chocolate chips

1 c confectioners’ sugar

Melt the butter in the microwave. While it’s still hot pour in white chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add peanut butter and combine well. Stir in sugar or beat with hand mixer until smooth. Spread on cake. This frosted one 13 x 9 inch cake.

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