Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

If you have been around on my blog looking around or have read thru my menu plans before you will know that I have shared about my snack basket before but I thought I would share about it again and show a picture! My snack basket is the blue basket there! You will also see in the picture that I use various baskets for different things in my cabinets.

I don't like opening my cabinet door and have something fall out at me! I also got tired of having several(make that MANY) open boxes of snacks sitting in my cupboard, or bags of homemade goodies sitting on top of my toaster. And then to top it off, having the munchkins asking me "What's for snack?"

So I decided it was time to get a little inventive. I got myself a basket and emptied all the different boxes into it. AHHHH!!! There is space in my cupboard! It doesn't look too cramped now AND the best part my munchkins know what is available for snacks. I don't get that nagging question, "What can we have for snack?" They know where the snack baskets(I also use a crisper drawer in the fridge) are and what is in them is what is available for a snack.

As for the other baskets in my cabinet that you see....the wicker one is for all the open bags of rolls, muffins, and bread. The smaller green one that you see is for those small individual size containers of bbq sauce, salt, or sweet n low that you get when the drive thru gives you too many or for those 1/2 bags of marshmallows or dry beans!(basically that green basket has become a little catch-all for open packages that are not snacks. There is also a black index card container without its lid(cause it broke off) that I use for my koolaid packets.

So using baskets in my cabinets for those little things is what works for me! For more WFMW tips head over to Don't Try this at Home!

(Thanks Melanie for hosting this while Shannon/Rocks in My Dryer is on her Compassion Trip to Africa!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I don't actually have an actual tip today to share but a recipe that is enjoyed by all of my family. Last year, I was given a starter of Amish Friendship Bread by a fellow homeschooling mom and since then it has been a main stay in my baking cycles. My kids love to help knead the bag or add ingredients to the bag.
Here is the recipe for the starter....

1 pkg active dry yeast(2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup water

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature. Once you have mixed up, you can pour the mixture into a gallon size ziploc bag so that you can use your bowl for other things.

Then once you get your starter going here is what you do with it....

Important Notes:
DO NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing
DO NOT refrigerate
If air gets in the bag, let it out.
It is normal for batter to rise, thicken, bubble and ferment.

Day 1
Do nothing (go by date on the bag)

Days 2 through 5
Squeeze the bag

Day 6
Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk — and then squeeze the bag

Days 7 through 9
Squeeze the bag

Day 10
1. Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl

2. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar & 1 1/2 cups milk

3. Label 4 1-gallon Ziploc bags with today’s date and then measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into the four 1-gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other three bags to friends along with a copy of the directions if it’s not passed to a friend the first day, keep up on the directions & tell them what day you are on.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

5. To the remaining batter(which is about 2 cups) in the bowl add:
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil & 1/2 cup applesauce)
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1tsp vanilla
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 cups flour
• Plus remaining ingredients below depending on type of bread

Cinnamon bread:
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 large box instant vanilla pudding
• Sprinkle 2 greased loaf pans & top of loaf with cinnamon & sugar

Chocolate bread:
• 1 large box chocolate instant pudding
• 1 large box fudge instant pudding
• 2 Tbl. Instant coffee(optional)
• 1 cup chocolate chips(I usually use mini)

6. Grease 2 loafpans

7. Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and bake 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from pan evenly (about 10 minutes). Turn out on to serving dish. Serve warm or cold.

**If you can't find friends to give the "extra" starter, you can take the "extra" and double freezer bag it and put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. When you go to use it from the freezer, just thaw it on the counter for 1-2 hours(or til it is to room temp.)

***To the cinnamon version above you can add 1-2 cups of apples, blueberries, raisins, grated zucchini, or any fruit of your choice. Have fun experimenting!

For other kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's recipes!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

**This is just a plan and plans have the ability to change at the cook's discretion! I am so glad that menu plans are JUST PLANS because last week's plans got changed more than once!

This week, I am doing several of my "leftover makeovers" meals. Last week, I made too much roasted chicken and taco fixings so Sunday’s dinner and Tuesday’s dinner are using those items up so they don’t get wasted. Also Valentine’s day is a “normal” day here as dh and I are celebrating Valentines’ day at the end of the month by going on a church sponsored couples’ retreat.

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 her site! **

Breakfast: eggs, hashbrowns, Canadian bacon and/or ham and jiffy mix muffins
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: stewed chicken sandwiches, rice, peas, and homemade rolls.
Snack: snack basket

Breakfast: French toast, sausage links or Canadian bacon
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, corn, and rolls
Snack: snack basket

Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwich, chips, baby carrots or applesauce
Dinner: beef or chicken quesadillas, chips and cheese
Snack: snack basket or yogurt

Breakfast: cereal and donuts
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: roast, carrots, and potatoes, and biscuits
Snack: snack basket

Thursday(2-14) Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Breakfast: eggs, cereal, toast and yogurt
Lunch: chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese
Dinner: creamy chicken, rice, and peas (didn't get fixed last week so moved to this week!)
Snack: brownies & milk

Breakfast: waffles and Canadian bacon or sausage links
Lunch: leftovers or sandwiches, chips, applesauce
Dinner: bacon cheeseburgers, fries, and carrots
Snack: ice cream sundaes

Saturday(2-16)Awana Grand Prix Day!
Breakfast: "Cook's Choice"
Lunch: ????? Might get take out after the race!
Dinner: Saucy Pork Chops , boiled potatoes, and green beans
Snack: popcorn

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Singing Sunday

**Church is closed today due to temps and windchills in the negative digits. Also there is blizzard/white out conditions outside!**

Love is in the air with Valentine's Day around the corner! So for today's song, I decided to focus on God's Love! His love is sooooo great and sooo uncomprehendable! It is soooo amazing what He has done for us!

The Love Of God
By MercyMe

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

Hallelujah [3x]

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song