Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What We've Been Eating

Hi friends. July seems to be moving slow. We have been sweating, swimming, playing, and eating. Since our days haven't had too much excitement, I want to share what we've been eating. Just like sister, I plan my dinner menu a week or two in advance to reduce the number of grocery trips. We laughed because our grocery notebooks look just alike, and we had never discussed or compared them with each other. 

It's been a while since posting a recipe. However, most of these recipes are copied and not an original.

Grilled Chicken Salad
I marinated the chicken in Italian dressing before grilling. Then I chopped it up and added it to my salad along with my favorite toppings and thousand island dressing.

Sloppy Joes and Sweet Potato Fries
I used this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.
I used a bag of frozen sweet potato fries. 

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs with Roasted Squash and Zucchini and Sauteed Green Beans
The chicken is also from the Pioneer Woman, and you can find that recipe here.
I didn't have the Hot Salt she uses, but I used 2 cloves of garlic, half a tablespoon of salt, and a little less than half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.  
Squash and zucchini were coated in salt, pepper, and olive oil and roasted in 350 oven for about 30 minutes.
Green beans were sauteed in skillet with butter, salt, garlic and onion powder. 
I forgot to photograph it until I was on my second helping.

Yes, another PW recipe
Stuffed Shells
Find it here. 

This is an original recipe.
Chicken, Pesto, and Cheese Panini
I made pesto using this recipe. Instead of using walnuts I used 2/4 cup of pine nuts. 
This is shredded grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, and pesto on some honey whole wheat bread. We buttered the outside of the sandwich and cooked it on our grill pan. Can I still call it a panini if I didn't use a panini press?
It looked like a panini to me. I guess you could just call it a sandwich.

Pork Tenderloin
I can't find the recipe I used.
I rubbed some spices and fresh herbs on the pork and added a lot of chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Then I roasted it in the oven until the pork was done. I think some beef stock might have been added to it. I thought it was a pretty dish, and I remember that it tasted good. I'll keep looking and let you know when I find the recipe.

We eat a lot of tacos, and one evening we were out of taco seasoning. So we made our own using this recipe.
These are all the spices involved. We've used this mix on beef and chicken.

Grilled Chicken Tacos

Eggplant Parmesan 
I used some farmer's market eggplant. My mom told me about breading the eggplant and baking it in the oven. It was delicious and so much easier than frying. I also used this recipe for the marinara. I didn't have stewed tomatoes, so I used crushed tomatoes, and I think this was one of my favorite marinara recipes. 

Crawfish Fettuccine
When I planned this meal I was originally going to use a recipe out of a cookbook I have. However, mid-way through cooking the sauce, it didn't look so good. I eyeballed some ingredients that I probably shouldn't have. I threw it out and searched the Internet for a white sauce using ingredients I already had. It was already 6:30, and we were hungry.
I found this recipe. I added in a few dashes of Tabasco and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. I threw in the crawfish (previously frozen from our crawfish parties this spring). I poured the sauce on some noodles and topped it with Parmesan cheese. It was wonderful!

I hope this can inspire some of your menus. If not, then maybe it will inspire you to check out the Pioneer Woman's recipes. Her stuff is always good. 

I'm trying to look in different cookbooks and try new things. I'm not cooking tonight. We will be enjoying dinner at church. I love to cook, but I also enjoy the nights I don't have to plan. What are you having for dinner tonight?

Monday, July 16, 2012


I love coffee.

I think it is in my genes.

Did you know you can trade this....
An empty bag of Starbucks coffee (any flavor will do)

for this....
A tall cup of coffee

I don't normally buy Starbucks coffee to make at home. It is expensive. My mom often buys it on sale and gives me the bags since there is not a Starbucks close to her. I love driving through after running errands and getting my free cup of coffee. The details are on the side of the bag. 

Since joining Costco (which I love) I started buying Starbucks again. Because you can buy this....
A 40 ounce bag of coffee beans for $21.99.

The big bag of beans is $0.27 cheaper an ounce compared to the smaller bag shown above. Twenty seven cents may not sound like a big saving, but for coffee, I think it's worth it. I've tried a lot of varieties of coffee, and I've concluded that Starbucks is one of my favorites. The other brands at Costco are not as good. However, I have not tried the Costco brand (Kirkland). I may give it a try next time I'm running low on coffee. 

If you don't have a coffee grinder you can simply put the beans in your food processor and process them until they resemble ground coffee. 
 Let the processor run for a few minutes, while stopping it to stir the grounds a couple of times.
This process will also make your kitchen smell divine. You will want a cup of coffee right away.
I only used 1/4 of the bag to get a whole container of coffee. The big bag goes a long way.

I just wanted to let all you coffee drinkers know you can get an extra cup of coffee out of your Starbucks bags. Also, spending a little extra on coffee is worth it because a bad cup of coffee can ruin your day.

*This is not a paid advertisement for Costco or Starbucks. They are just two of my favorite things. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Life Doesn't Get Much Better Than....

a post swimming popsicle with your cousins.
Taken with IPhone and edited with Instagram. Sorry for the blurriness. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Celebrating the 4th on the Lake

We spent a wonderful 4th of July at Lake Martin with my sister and her family. We enjoyed quality cousin time, food, boats, and the relaxation that only comes with no phone or Internet service. 
Can you tell which is Laurie and which is Millie?
 Laurie-left, Millie-right
 My 4th of July rice crispy treats from Pinterest. 
 A friendly game of Scrabble. I lost. I mostly used three letter words. Scrabble can be tricky.
Boat riding on the beautiful, but hot, 4th. 
Nick skiing. I skied too for the first time in two years. It took me a few tries to get up, but I eventually got going. It still hurts to move my arms. 
Millie is scared of riding on the boat. When the boat starts, she holds on tight and won't let got. After a few minutes she relaxes and falls asleep. This happens for every boat ride.
 I wanted a cute picture of the girls in their festive red dresses. This is the best I could do.
  Feeding Millie some Cheerios.
Cuteness in one picture.
 We went to visit some friends across the lake.
 A bed time story. Fireworks were too late for these tiny people.
 If you haven't read llama llama red pajama, you need to. It's great. It is about a llama and his llama mama.
The last thing to be eaten on the 4th. An apple pie-by request from Nick. We had a ton, and I mean a ton, of food. This is the only thing I photographed, besides the rice crispies. I was too busy eating.

We spent two nights on the lake. We came home yesterday, and my days are all confused. I keep thinking today is Monday. Then it makes me happy when I realize it is Friday.

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. When I was younger I spent them at Camp Desoto, and it was always my favorite day of camp. Now I love it because the 4th is usually spent around water (pool or lake), food, family and friends. I love how it is not a gift holiday. No pressure, except what to cook and what not to cook. It's laid back and relaxing. I'm thankful for our country, freedom, and all the men and women who help keep us safe everyday so I can enjoy a fun day.

I hope you had a grand 4th of July!

Happy Friday! Have a good weekend!