Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bargains! Bargains!

I just love Craigslist !!! I have been trying to find a decent bookshelves for my parents. So I was looking around my local list today to see if someone had some listed. Well instead of finding bookshelves, I found something for *me*! Here is what I found....

Subject: Stoneware-Pampered Chef $10

I have the following items for sale. They are all lightly used.

  • New Traditions (1316) Small Oval Baker $8.00 (reg. $18) This item does have a chip off the handle.
  • Stoneware Bar Pan I do not have the box for this one. $10.00 (reg. $29.50)
  • Classics Collection Stoneware Muffin Pan (1465) $10.00 (reg. $32.50)
  • Classics Collection Stoneware Rectangular Baker (1430) $10.00 (reg. $36)

The lady listed her number so I called her to ask if the items were still available. They were!!! Sooo I offered her $35 for ALL and I would pick them up today!! And she said yes! I went and picked them up. It is no joke that the items were lightly used! They actually look newer than my PC stoneware items!!

Which by the way I have all of these same pieces already BUT with my size family who can blame me for getting more of the same where I can actually put a whole batch of cupcakes in my oven at once rather than do half the batch and then have to wait to do the other batch. (which I have been doing for the last 10 years!)WAHHHHHOOOO!! I am sooo excited!

And what is even more exciting is that this lady was a PC consultant who is working at selling off some of her stuff that she doesn't use sooooo there is a chance that I will be able to get more of her stuff!

I strongly suggest that if you have items that you want to get rid of and do not want to worry about the shipping costs or fees of ebay or even listing in your local paper. Try Craigslist. Yes you will need to use some caution as there is scams around every corner on the internet. But so far my dh and I have had great success in selling items(like baby items, or computers). We have also have had great success with purchasing some items(other than the PC items that I got today) as well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Freezer Inventory

After making my comments yesterday about liking a well stocked freezer and also having my own version of Once A Month Cooking(OAMC), I thought I would share what is in my freezer right now....

  • 1 roaster(whole chicken)
  • 2 packs 4 ct. bone in chicken breasts
  • 2-4# bags quick frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 pkgs. 12 ct. fresh boneless/skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 1 pkg 9 ct. fresh boneless/skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 1 pkg 8 ct. fresh boneless/skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 1 pkg 4ct. boneless/skinless chicken breast plus 4 ct. chicken breast tenders
  • 1 pkg. 5ct. Chicken Kiev
  • 1 pkg 5ct Chicken & Broccoli
  • 1/2 bag breaded chicken tenders
  • 2 boxes breaded chicken nuggets
  • 2 boxes breaded chicken tenders


  • 1 bag 30ct. homemade meatballs
  • 4 containers(2-4 cups each) browned ground beef
  • 1 pkg-3lbs raw ground beef--this ended up in there because there was no time before a vacation.
  • 1 pkg 8ct. burger patties
  • 1 pkg 4ct Meatloaf patties
  • 1pkg breakfast steak
  • 3 pkgs beef sausage smoky links
  • 1.5lbs beef hot dogs


  • 1 6lb. whole pork loin
  • 1 pkg 9ct pork loin chops
  • 1 pkg 6ct sausage patties
  • 1 pkg maple flavor brown n serve sausage links
  • 2 pkgs 1# low sodium bacon


  • 1# quick frozen tilipia
  • 1# quick frozen polluck
  • 1# fresh catfish
  • 1 pkg 10 ct. breaded fish fillets
  • 1/2 bag(about 50 sticks) breaded fish sticks
  • 1 bag cocktail shrimp(92 ct)


  • 4 bags 1 1/2lb pepperoni
  • 1 pkg 2 lb mini sausage links
  • 3/4 bag pizza rolls
  • 8 boxes 15ct pizza rolls
  • 3/4 bag(approx. 4lbs) Ore Ida shredded hash browns
  • 1 bag(5lbs) Ore Ida french fries
  • 1 tub Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg. 1# butter
  • 9 pkgs(1#) margarine sticks
  • 2 tubs(3 lb) Country Crock margarine
  • 4 bags butterscotch chips
  • 4 bags chocolate chips
  • 1 bag chocolate/peanut butter chips
  • 1 1/2 bags white chips
  • 1 bag(3lbs) ice cubes---emergency stock! during the winter months there is at least one day that we end up with no water and sometimes have power outages!
  • 2 bags frozen corn
  • 1 bag frozen peas


  • 5 loaves of wheat sandwich bread
  • 3 pkgs 6ct wheat english muffins
  • 1 loaf Texas Toast
  • 1 box Ding Dongs--got them for a $1 at the bakery thrift store!
  • 2 boxes chocolate covered mini donuts--another deal at the bakery thrift store!
  • 2 bags Eggo Homestyle Waffles
  • 2 bags Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
  • 2 boxes pie crust
  • 1 bag pancakes--I keep a bag of leftover pancakes for a quickie breakfast for the kids!


  • 3lbs blueberries
  • 3 bags mashed bananas--pre-measured for 2 double batches and 1 single batch of banana bread
  • 1 container homemade applesauce
  • 3 cans frozen orange juice
  • 1 can frozen apple/cherry juice
  • 3 cans frozen lemonade

I think that about covers it other than the almost 10 1/2lbs of ground chuck that I got yesterday at the local grocery store's three day sale for $1.69/lb! I am sure that I missing something but you get the jist of my "stash"! I keep open bags of bagels and english muffins in the freezer as well since we do not eat them everyday it helps to keep them fresh. My pantry is just about as full as my freezer right now! I still need to do my pantry inventory, so I'll save that for another post! Can you tell that I just finished doing my bi-weekly grocery shopping last Friday?? I keep telling myself that I need to get some baking done of quick breads and cookies BUT there really isn't room in my freezer for more.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Organized Thursdays

Yesterday, I was doing some reading through blogs and as usual reading one blog lead to reading another blog that was linked at the first blog that I was reading. Anyway, I stumbled across Karen's blog, Between the Worlds and found that she is hosting "Organized Thursdays" during the month of January. Last week her topic was on calendars. I have calendars all over in my house and all of them serve a different purpose! LOL Sometimes, I find myself double booking myself or forgetting to pay a bill. Well I learned something from Karen, she mentioned that she uses the calendar on Outlook as her main calendar. I thought to myself, "Cool, I have Outlook! I could use that as my main calendar and even put when bills are due so that I don't forget to pay them!" So I sat down this past week and now have my Outlook calendar in place and working for me!

Anyway, this week's topic is Cooking and Meal Planning.

I have a system that works well in my house. It is multi-faceted and some times seems complex but it works well when everyone in my family participates! I have made up my own Master Grocery List in MS Word and I print it off each month and put it on my fridge. Then when we are low or out of something that I normally buy the item gets circled or highlighted by the person who is using the last of it or says they are taking the last one. This way, I know I need to get it from the store the next time I do my shopping.

I also have a blank monthly calendar page that I printed off of the computer that I put on my fridge where I write in pencil what the dinner meal was for that day. This is to helps me in two ways: 1. I know what the oldest things are in the fridge so they are used up before they spoil. And 2. I know what order of single serving leftovers to stick in dh's lunches.

I have also made up a MS Word document for my weekly meals. I take the time to plan out all of our meals and snacks for the week. If I didn't do this, my kids would eat the same snack item til it is gone! My kids would continue their incessant question("What's for ________?") before each meal! And I would be doing the 5'oclock rush to figure out dinner and find that I forgot to pull meat out of the freezer so it will take til about 7'oclock or later before we are sitting down to the table for dinner or I just give up and order out. Ordering out though would not be good or healthy for us, esp. for dh who struggles with high cholesterol.

What I do while I am menu planning: I look at my calendar, if I am having a busy day then I make sure that lunch is something quick and the kids can get themselves, and dinner is not an elaborate meal. I look in my freezer and pantry to see what meals I can make from them. I look at the grocery ads for the week to see if there is any good sales or loss leaders that I need to purchase to complete my meals. I am one that likes to have a stocked freezer to choose meals from so that if there is a week that doesn't have good sales at any of the stores, I can just use my freezer and pantry.

There is one last thing that I have took the time to do when setting up my meal planning system is I made a "Menu Suggestion Lists". I wrote down every main dish, sides, lunches, and snacks that my family likes and then I just plug in the items on different days to make up meals and snacks. I have recently done this for breakfast items too!

As for the cooking part of my system is rather simple because I would rather bake than cook! I don't like to cook so I try to do meals that either will go well in the crockpot or that I can do from start to finish in 30-45 minutes each night. In order for me to spend so little time in the kitchen, I do some prep work after each of my grocery shopping trips. It is similar to the Once A Month Cooking method but it works better for my family of picky eaters. You can read about my version here.
So there you have my methods for cooking and menu planning for my family. See I told you it seems complex! LOL Looking for some method that might work for you go over to Between the Worlds and see what others have to say!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Last week for kitchen tips, I asked for opinions about food slicer vs. electric knife. I want to thank everyone for their input. It was greatly appreciated!! I have decided that I am going to keep both of them. I know that I will use the food slicer on a regular basis for doing food prep as I purchase large blocks of cheese and chubs of boneless meat that both can be sliced and frozen. The electric knife will come in handy for loaves of homemade bread and also for those times when I want to quickly slice a roast while making a meal.

I was having a hard time coming up with a tip this week to share. So I headed over to Tammy's Recipes to see what others had posted and saw that she had posted an email from a reader who was wondering about freezing meals for her grandmother. I have done this for my grandmother and I am working on doing this as well for my mother and father. So I decided that I would explain what I have done.

First, I worked at making sure that I had some freezer containers that were acceptable for the freezer and could be used in the microwave. Your best bet is getting some Rubbermaid type containers because those probably will last longer than getting just Gladware or Ziploc brand plastic containers. I would get various sizes and types of containers, so that you can have some for soups, and some for a full meal(maybe look into getting one that is divided into compartments). I would also get some quart size freezer bags for those food items that don't need to go into a plastic container. I would get enough so that you could do a week's worth of dinner meals. Now you have your containers you can fill them!!

What are good things to put in those containers:
  • beef stew
  • chicken noodle soup
  • chicken rice soup
  • spaghetti
  • chili
  • stuffed shells
  • pork chops
  • chicken pot pie
  • salisbury steak
  • Meatballs- either with tomato sauce or with a brown gravy
  • crustless type quiches
  • pot roast with veggies
  • lasagna
  • shepherd's pie

Things with a cream or milk based, I have not had good success with freezing them. Also anything with noodles in it, I don't cook the noodles all the way. That way the dish doesn't end up with mushy, broken down noodles.

Other items that could be put together...

For sloppy joes, and BBQ pork or beef, I put these into individual serving type containers. Then I put the container and a hamburger bun in a ziploc bag so that the person I am making the meals for would know that the two things go together.

For the meatloaf, I make them into individual mini loaves and cook them and then once cooled wrap in foil or plastic wrap and then stick in a freezer bag labeled "meatloaf". That way they could take out the individual loaves and heat up rather than a big loaf. I would also do up some burgers by cooking them and then individually wrapping them and placing them into a quart size ziploc bag.

As for other meals, like breakfast type things, I do up pancakes, french toast, breakfast sandwiches(english muffin or biscuit, cheese, eggs, and a meat), and breakfast burritos. Wrap the sandwiches individually and place in the ziploc bags. For the pancakes and french toast, I would just put wax paper between the layers or flash freeze them and place them in a freezer bag.

Don't forget to add some baked goods to your meals! Homemade breads, quick breads, cookies, coffee cakes, and cakes freeze very well! I even take the time to slice and wrap the breads and cakes into individual servings. Then I put them in a ziploc bag with a label.

The main thing to remember with doing freezer type cooking is that some meals will have a bit of texture change with being frozen compared to being fresh. So I do not make up too many meals ahead of time. Also make sure that you get your containers back so that you can do "refills" for your loved ones!

For more kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes!!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

**This is just a plan and plans have the ability to change at the cook's discretion! Last week's menus seemed to go a lot better esp. after Wednesday when dh went back to work after a long holiday. I was able to get some routine and schedule started again so this week should be relatively smooth! I am working at using freezer and pantry items this week.

Lunches listed are for the kids and I as dh usually takes dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check others out at Organizing Junkie's site!**

Breakfast: eggs, hashbrowns, cinnamon rolls, sausage links

Lunch: sandwiches and chips

Dinner: leftovers--turkey and gravy, rice, green beans, squash, and biscuits

Snack: snack basket

Breakfast: cereal, honeybuns or toast

Lunch: leftover tacos

Dinner: ham steaks, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls
Snack: yogurt

Breakfast: pancakes, sausage links

Lunch: sandwiches and chips

Dinner: Creamy Chicken, noodles, peas

Breakfast: cereal and toast

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Burgers, fries, and carrots

Snack: "mystery snack night"--this is baking day this week so I'll let them sample the goodies.

Breakfast: waffles

Lunch: Totino's pizza rolls

Dinner: baked chicken, potato pockets, and corn

Snack: "snack basket" or yogurt

Breakfast: bagels

Lunch: sandwiches and chips

Dinner: goulash(recipe below) and corn muffins(this meal was on the menu last week and didn't get done so it is on for this week!)
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Breakfast: "Cook's Choice"

Lunch: grilled cheese and canned soup

Dinner: roasted pork loin(recipe below), mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls
Snack: popcorn
Friday night Goulash
1# ground beef
1-28oz can of tomato sauce plus 1/2 can of water
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1/8-1/4tsp. yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
elbow macaroni or rotini, dry
brown the ground beef and drain the fat off. Add the tomato sauce, water, spices, and macaroni. Cook on med to low temp til the noodles are al dente/tender. Serve.
Roasted Pork Loin
Place a pork loin in the crockpot. Put just enough water in the bottom of the crock to cover the bottom. Sprinkle 1/2-1 pkg. of onion soup mix over the pork loin. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Singing Sunday

Your Grace Still Amazes Me
by Phillips, Craig, and Dean

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me

Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay
You Only to offer You my praise

It’s deeper, it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
It’s deeper it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
than anything my eyes can see