Thursday, December 31, 2009

My First Quiche!


Growing up and living in the rural part of the South that I live in, Quiche was not an everyday item that we cooked or ate. I never made quiche before. I think I may have eaten it some time in the past, but wasn't impressed with it.

Well, let me tell you, that has changed! My sweet daughter requested that I make Quiche for Christmas morning and I thought it would be complicated and probably not good.

But, I made the following recipe and not only was it good, it was extremely easy to make. So from now Quiche will be one of my regular foods to prepare.

QUICHE

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup milk or cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust (Deep Dish)

Directions

In medium bowl, toss 4 teaspoons flour with the grated cheese. Sprinkle mixture into the pie shell.

On top of cheese, sprinkle 1/2 cup of diced ham and 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms.

In medium bowl, combine eggs, milk or cream, and then add salt and mustard powder. Beat until smooth and pour over cheese and ham.

Put foil around edge of crust to protect it.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until filling is set and crust is golden brown.

The good thing about this recipe is that you can substitute lots of things to make different variations. For instance I also made one using cheddar cheese. I plan to incorporate broccoli, onions, peppers and the like, soon.

Now is a good time to stock up on the frozen pie shells because they are on sale for the holidays.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Concentrate...

FINALLY, the finished Christmas Stockings:



I was so happy not to put "finish Christmas stockings" on my To Do List today!!!!!

Recently I have been doing some planning to streamline my life a little. I want to CONCENTRATE on smaller areas of the things I want and/or need to do. So many times I simply try to do too much and so NOTHING gets done.

One area that I plan to apply this to is COUPONING.

Even in the small towns I live and work in, there are many stores to choose from. Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, Dollar General, Family Dollar, just to name the most prominent ones. I often see deals on line and in sale papers for all these stores.

Well, my friend, I just can't keep up with them all. I have tried in the past and then I just gave up and didn't worry about any of them.

So, I've decided to pursue the deals at one drugstore and one grocery store. I will only be concerned about Food Lion and CVS. If I CONCENTRATE on these two, I can do a much better job of making use of coupons for items on sale.

Even then, I can't take advantage of every deal that CVS and Food Lion have. I also don't need to buy things that I really don't need or want, even if its a good deal or free.

With that in mind, here is what I plan to buy at CVS this week:

First Transaction: 1 Colgate Total toothpaste for $2.99. Use 1 $1.00 coupon. One 3/pack of Ivory soap. Use $1.00 off the soap, makes it free. Out of pocket, $1.99 plus tax. Receive $2.00 extra bucks

Second Transaction: 2 Pantene Shampoos for $7.00. Use 1 $1.00 coupon on one and 1 $2.00 coupon on the other. Use $2.00 Extra bucks from first transaction. Out of pocket $2.00 plus tax. Receive $2.00 more extra bucks.

Third Transaction: 3 bottles of Dawn dish detergent for $3.00. Use 25 cent coupon on one and $2.00 extra bucks from second transaction. Out of pocket, 75 cents plus tax.

So for $4.74 I will have purchased 1 tube of toothpaste, 1 3/pack of ivory soap, 2 bottles of Pantene shampoo and 3 bottles of dawn dish detergent for $4.74, plus tax.

That's pretty good, don't you think?!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!


I'll leave you with one last picture of a Christmas Stocking I made last night. This one is for the Appalachian State graduate and fan.

I only have one more stocking to make and that will get done today, I'm pretty sure. Whew!!! I made it.

I hope that each and everyone of you have a wonderful Christmas! I'll be posting again next Monday, the 28th. See you then.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two More to Go!!!




I made the flannel Camouflage Stocking for my son last night. So, I hope to make one more stocking tonight (Appalachian State) and the last one tomorrow night (Spiderman).

I have purchased some old-fashioned candies for the stockings, but need to think of some other inexpensive items.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

We Need a Little Christmas.....

In the spirit of Christmas, The East Carolina (Purple and Yellow) and the NC State (red, white and black) stockings seem to be getting along peacefully.



The Tree. I must tell you this is an artificial tree that is at least 25 years old. I keep considering buying one of those newfangled, prelit trees, but once the old tree is decorated it looks pretty good, so at least for one more year, we'll keep it.



The centerpiece for the kitchen table. I tried to use what I had on hand. Pulled the candle holder out of a closet, folded a pretty piece of Christmas fabric to make a runner and put some matching gold star garland all around. I like it and didn't cost a cent.



Still have to make one stocking, but really WANT to make three more. Time is really getting short, but we will see.

Merry Christmas week to you.


PS: Today is the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year. Isn't it comforting that the days will start getting longer tomorrow? I'm looking forward to getting off work and getting home while its still light outside!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Stocking Progress

I was able to get three more Christmas stockings made this past weekend.

NC State Theme for my Hubby:






Pink Diamonds for one of our girls:




If you want to make one of these, see my Christmas Stocking Tutorial on the left sidebar under "Tutorials".

Have a great Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Organization Continues


I have been having computer problems, so please forgive the lack of posting lately!

I'm still working diligently on getting my routines, to-do-lists, schedules, calendars and LIFE in order. This is such a busy time for me and this is helping me to stay on top of things and relieving some of the anxiety.

Reading little snips from organizational books, blogs or websites also help me to stay motivated and I keep learning new things.

Here's a tip I read in an older book I own, which was bought at a library discard sale, called "The Messie's Manual", by Sandra Felton. I don't consider myself a messie.... just time challenged. But, nonetheless, this book contains some valuable information. It is one of the keepers in my collection of reference books for homemaking.

Today's Organizational Tip:

If you have a long term project, break it down into small jobs. Then schedule a few minutes a week for working on it. This will help relieve some of the anxiety of having this project looming in the future.

The long term project that comes to mind for myself is our 2009 Tax Return preparation. I have a "box" where all our paperwork goes into all year. By this time of year is gets pretty full, because most of what is in there is totally unnecessary as far as record keeping for tax return preparation is concerned. This is a project that I could work on a few minutes here and there, just going through it and putting together the receipts that will be needed when tax time rolls around. I simply need to schedule it! This is a great tv watching project. When I am finished, the box just goes back into its storage place until the next scheduled time to work on it.

I'm sure all of you can think of a long term project that you could schedule a few minutes a week toward. I would love to hear what they are!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Menu Planning Help


Last week I worked in my kitchen doing a deep clean and decluttering the counter tops. So what did I do as soon as a corner was empty? Fill it back up!

Anyway I placed this chicken tray, which was a gift from my husband, in the corner, along with three cookbooks that I am currently cooking meals from. The tray was formerly located on top of the china cabinet, but I really like it here as a background for other items. I want to put a small lamp there too, as soon as I find one that works. I am thinking a red and white checked lamp shade would be cute.

I went through these cookbooks recently, making a list of the recipes I wanted to try, a list of items to be bought from the grocery store and the page numbers of the recipe in each cookbook. When I make my daily list the night before, I choose a recipe from one of the cookbooks from my recipe list. Since I wrote down the page number and the name of the cookbook, I can easily find it.

In the morning before work I open the cookbook to the page I need, gather the ingredients and place them in the corner of the counter. Like this:



Don't worry, the frozen sausage will be placed in the refrigerator before I go to work, or my husband will put it in there when he comes home for lunch.

Now when I get home from work, there is no question as to what will be for supper, since the cookbook is already open to the right page and I KNOW that I have all the ingredients on hand because I checked that morning before leaving to go to work.

This post is a part of Whatcha Working on Wednesday at Leslie's blog, My Country Home. I am really working on getting organized and this post represents just one of the ideas I have come up with. For more ideas on getting organized, see my POST HERE on how I make up my "To Do List".

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Five Minute Job Bank

I thought I'd show you my list of 5 Minute Jobs. When time is short (when isn't it?)I can look at this list for ideas to accomplish a small job. Without the list, I'd spend the 5 minute time slot trying to figure out what to do!

Clean sink
Check for cobwebs in one room
Dust one piece of furniture
Iron one shirt
Cut quilt squares
Sew quilt squares
Wash kitchen window
Wash one wall around light switches, etc.
Wipe off fronts of appliances in kitchen
Wipe off top of the refrigerator
Organize and purge magazines and books
Declutter counter tops
Wipe out under stove top
Declutter top of dryer
Wipe off washer and dryer
Address some Christmas cards
Wrap a gift
Pay a bill
Write a get well, etc. card
Call to make an appointment (Dr. Dentist, etc.)
Clean out Spice Cabinet
Plan a meal
Declutter living room for 5 minutes
Declutter a junk drawer

This week I am working in my living room in an effort to get it cleaned up and decluttered before I put out any Christmas decorations. So, when a 5 minute time slot is available, I will check the 5 minute job list for things that can be done in the living room.

This morning, I plan to work on the table beside my chair. There are lots of books and magazines on it that need to be either thrown away or given away. If I work quickly and don't analyze it too much, I should be able to do that in 5 minutes.

Its really sad when I don't even have 5 minutes to do a job, but it happens! So I must get off this computer and get at it! Have a great day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Not Ready!



I'm just not ready to start getting ready for Christmas!

Can I please have at least one more week of Autumn?!!!

I was looking at this Fall arrangement on my kitchen table and felt anxious about the fact that I should be storing away the Autumn decorations and putting out the Christmas decorations and suddenly I read the scripture on the bottom of the table topper. That's what I want.... peace.

If you look closely on the table topper in this picture you will see this scripture: You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You, Isiah 26:3.



Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How I make my daily "To Do List"

I am trying to make a daily "To Do List" each night for the next day's use. After recently reading a couple of books by Elizabeth George and also based on some other books already in my homemaking reference book stack, I have become really motivated to be a better manager of my time. This is an on going struggle for me, because there is so much I need and want to get done!

I use three steps to make my to do list:

1. Prioritize by categories

The first thing I need to do when making the to do list is to remember what is most important in my life. Here they are:

1. God
2. Husband
3. Children and Grandchild
4. Mother/Family
5. Home
6. Job
7. Friends
8. Everything else

So when making my to do list, I need to make sure I take care of what is most important. Sometimes they overlap but this is a good guide to go by.

2. Choose from a master list

After reminding myself of my priorities, I made a list of responsibilities, events, "wants" and "needs". I just scribbled out a bunch of items that I brainstormed. I'm sure I will add to or take away from it from time to time.

Here's my list in no particular order:

Thanksgiving
Christmas
Quilts/Sewing
Menus/Cooking
Housework/Cleaning
Yard work/Gardening
Bible Study/Prayer/Church/Ministry
Blogs
My Job
Financial/Pay Bills/Balance Check Book/Banking
Diet/Exercise
Husband
Children/Grandchild
Laundry/Ironing
My Mother
Friends/Sick/Shut ins

When making my To Do List, I scan this list to see what needs attention that day, again remembering my priorities listed above. This helps to jog my memory.

3. Check my calendar. I write every thing I can think of down in a smaller planner/calendar. Any appointments, days off work, or what ever. This is essential in making sure I don't miss a dentist's appointment or forget some other important date.

Just for an example, here's what is on my to do list for today:

Bible Study
Mail Bills
Answer E-Mails
Cut out quilt squares
Iron hubby's shirts
Blog Post
Upcoming birthdays
Mail card to Ms. B.
Thank you card
Supper is Tortilla Chicken Bake (Page 41 in Country Casseroles cook book)
Talk to daughter
Five Minute Jobs

Some items on my list have a multi-function. For instance, ironing shirts and cooking supper will make Number Two on my priority list happy.... Husband! But these also fall under the category of cooking/menu planning and housework. Working on a quilt could fall under the category of a ministry and family, since the ones I am working on are gifts to family members. I want to pursue making baby quilts for needy mothers-to-be, so this would definitely fall under a ministry. Even a blog post could fall under the category of ministry.

If you are wondering about 5 minute jobs, here's an explanation. Its hard to do a big cleaning job on weekdays before or after work, but 5 minute jobs can be done which add up to make a big difference. While the coffee was brewing this morning, I did a detailed job of cleaning the kitchen sinks. It looked so nice afterwards and gave me such a sense of accomplishment!

I hope this post has given you some ideas for getting more organized with your time management. I would love to hear any ideas that you may have. I am always seeking to learn more about time management and homemaking.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Planning



Yes, the above is a picture of a plate of food I attempted to eat last week. I wasn't able to eat all of it, but I sure did try. Well.... every now and then you have to eat what you want. I am already back on my light eating plan.

Here are some dishes I plan to prepare this week. They might not all seem like "light" food, but I watch my portion sizes, don't go back for seconds and don't eat many snacks. I didn't include Thanksgiving Day's meal, which I will help my mother prepare at her house.

Main Dishes:

Pizza Hot Dish Casserole
Tortilla Chicken Bake
Hot dogs
Chili Beans
Spaghetti
Baked Chicken

Side Dishes:

Corn
Salad
Cornbread
Pear Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Mixed Fruit in Jello

I will be posting more this week about the things I am doing to get my home, yard and life in order.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homemaking Dreams.......




......on break until November 23, 2009....

Please feel free to browse through the many older posts listed on the sidebar.

Have a great November week!

Debbie J.

My "Big" Crescent Rolls


The mood hit me this week to make some homemade bread so Wednesday afternoon while I was off work for Veteran's Day I made these big crescent rolls.

I guess I'm used to the size of the Pillsbury canned crescent rolls, but these ARE a little big, don't you think? :o) Next time I will cut the triangle shaped pieces of dough smaller!

Here is the recipe I used:

Dinner Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup butter or margarine softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour (I used bread machine flour)
1 pack yeast
1/4 cup butter or margarine softened.

Put all of the ingredients except the last item (1/4 cup butter softened) into the bread machine bucket and set the machine on the dough cycle.

After the cycle finishes, put the dough on a floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Roll each piece into about a 12 inch circle and brush the remaining 1/4 cup butter all over each circle. Then cut the circle into wedges just like you do when cutting a pizza.

The recipe calls for 8 rolls from each circle for a total of 16 rolls. If you want your rolls to be smaller than the ones in the picture above, cut the wedges smaller.

If you've ever made crescent rolls that come in a can, you already know how to roll this dough so that it is in a crescent shape. If not, all you do is roll the dough starting with the wide end of each triangle/wedge. Place the rolled rolls on a greased baking sheet with the point on the bottom. Then bend the sides in slightly to make more of a crescent shape.

Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and place in a warm place to rise for one more hour. I didn't wait the entire hour since my supper was almost ready and I wanted the rolls to be ready at the same time. They turned out fine and as you can see they didn't need to get any BIGGER!

Bake at 350 to 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

I made one pan of 8 crescent rolls, a small pan of biscuit shaped dinner rolls and froze enough dough to make another pan of rolls for a future meal.

Of course, you can make these dinner rolls in whatever shape you like. My bread machine Magic cookbook gives instructions for making all kinds of shapes. I might do a future post showing some of these other shapes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It Ain't Over Til Its Over

I think all touches of Summer are finally gone!

Here is the last Zinnia from the summer and the first Camellia blossom of the Fall and Winter:



We were still getting tomatoes and green peppers from the summer garden, but when we had our first real "frost and freeze warning" last week, my hubby went outside and picked the rest of them. There were many green tomatoes which will ripen eventually. I will either use the green peppers fresh or freeze them.





Yesterday's wind and rain storm have blown almost all the leaves, pine straw and STICKS from our trees. The yard is a carpet of nature!

So, yes, I think summer is really over in my neck of the woods.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fear!

A RAINY VETERAN'S DAY



Yesterday I made a little confession about how I procrastinate. While I'm on the subject of my frailties, today I will talk about one of my fears.... riding in a car.... especially in the rain or at night (or in the daytime, come to think of it).

It doesn't matter if I am driving or am a passenger, when I am riding in a car in the rain, my stomach gets tied up in knots. I have tried to figure out exactly why I am like this and there are several things that have contributed to it. The first rung in this ladder of fear was when I was about 20 years old, driving my little red 1977 Chevette. Anybody remember those? :o). Anyway, I was driving to work in Raleigh at the time in the rain. I came up to a stoplight that turned yellow just as I came to it. The safest thing would have been to keep on going, but I slammed on brakes and the car skidded out of control. I didn't hit anybody or flip over, but it was VERY close.

Over the years my fear of riding in cars in the rain has gotten worse. And to tell you the truth, driving on a sunny, clear day isn't a picnic for me. The latest rung on the ladder of fear was when I was involved in a fairly serious wreck two summers ago. Also, I was once hit by two big ole cows and never go through that section of my route to work without watching out for more!!!!!

The reason I am telling you all of this today is that we are experiencing some very rainy, blustery days here in North Carolina. The combination of the remnants of a tropical storm and a low that has formed of the coast are making for some bad weather conditions, including flooding. Today I am off work for Veteran's Day, but have an appointment that is very important for me to get to.

So, you guessed it!!! I have to drive in the rain today!!!!

It is very important for me to remember that during all the accidents I have been in and the near misses, I was never seriously hurt... and that's no accident! At those times I have always remembered this Scripture verse:

Psalm 91:11-12: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. This is also the scripture verse that is the theme of my Angel Scraps Quilting Blog.

This morning while reading the Bible, I was looking for verses on fear and have memorized this one for comfort today:

Joshua Chapter 1, Verse 9: I hereby command you; Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Notice that God COMMANDED the Israelites not to be afraid and to trust Him! Now fear is a God given human emotion that serves its purpose in the right situations. Think of running from a bear for example. So fear is not a sin.

So how do we handle situations where we are afraid? Lots of prayer, trust and repeating scriptures like the two above!

Since we are all human and all experience fear, I would be interested to know what kinds of things you are afraid of and how you handle these fears. Please leave a comment if you would like to share.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Procrastination!

Just in case anyone thinks I am some kind of wonder woman getting all kinds of things done, here are just a couple of examples of how I am badly lacking in the "get it done" department.

THE MENDING PILE:



The items in this lowly little pile of clothes have been stacked on the couch in our living room, near my chair, for months. I am not kidding! In fact one item has been there for a couple of years. There is a pair of my husband's pants that need a button sewn on that have been there since last Spring. There is a lady's top that I bought on the clearance rack that needed the spare button that came with it sewn on where one is missing. There are two pairs of pants I bought my mother last Christmas, that need to be hemmed. There is a pair of shorts that need to be hemmed, but at least this one item has only been there a couple of weeks.

EXERCISE/WALKING VIDEO:



This wonderful video has 5 one mile walks on it. Each walk only takes 14 minutes. I've had the video for 3 or 4 months and have only done one of the one mile walks once!

So there you have it, just a small glimpse into how I procrastinate.

I am happy to report that after I took the picture of the "mending pile", I went to work on it and have finished a few of the items. After I sewed the button on my husband's pants, I wondered why I had put it off, since it only took about 5 minutes!

Do any of you procrastinate like I do sometimes?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Fall Comfort Food - Oven Beef Stew



I have an old cookbook that I really enjoy which was published in 1979 and is called Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Recipes. I bought it at a library discard sale for $1.00. This cookbook has everything you could think of in it and I've cooked many dishes based on its recipes. Often I will find several versions of the same dish which allows me to choose the one that I already have the ingredients on hand for. There are 1007 recipes in there!

Saturday I made Oven Beef Stew that I adapted from a recipe in this cookbook, since I had a large pack of marked down stew beef that I grabbed Friday afternoon at Food Lion. I hardly ever purchase any meat that isn't on a good sale or has been marked down. The marked down meat goes home and is either immediately cooked or frozen. The stew beef I bought Friday had a couple of days left on the "sell by date" so I waited until Saturday to use it.

This recipe make 4 to 6 servings, so be sure to adjust the amounts if you don't need this much. Three of us at my house ate this Saturday at lunch and there was a big bowl of left overs.

Oven Beef Stew

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt or salt to taste.
2 Dashes of pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed tomato soup
2 soup cans water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
4 to 6 medium potatoes, depending on size, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup water

Combine flour, salt, and pepper; coat meat cubes with the seasoned flour. In a small dutch oven brown meat in hot oil. I used a frying pan and then transferred the meat to a roasting pan. It took two batches, since I had a large amount of meat. Add the two tomato soups, the soup cans of water, chopped onion and basil.

Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Add potatoes, carrots, and 1/2 cup water; cover and bake until meat and vegetables are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer.

This turned out really good and is a great Fall comfort food!

Friday, November 6, 2009

On My Sewing Table This Morning....



There she waits.... my Early Autumn quilt.... My sewing project for quite a while now.... Ready to be quilted....

I plan to begin free motion quilting this queen size quilt this weekend. Even if I only do a small section, I want to START!

I started out small, free motion machine quilting two baby quilts:

Sweet Savannah



Eliza Rose



I need even more surfaces around my sewing machine to do a large quilt. Here's how it looked when I was quilting Sweet Savannah last weekend:



I also plan to do lots of other things like housework, cooking, yard work....

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beside My Chair This Morning.....



A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. Little PenPen recommended this book to me and I saw on some one's blog that this is a life changing book. Ever the frugal homemaker, I looked at the library and saw that it was out. I put my name on the waiting list, but evidently the person who checked it out likes it a lot, because she never returned it! I finally gave up and went to the Family Christian Store and bought my own copy. I did have a coupon!

The first thing I did was go straight to the part about getting organized, loving your husband and that kind of thing. I love it! So now I have started at the beginning on Page One and plan to read it in its entirety.

Thinking of You and Thank You cards that need to be sent out. My elderly neighbor lady, Ms. B., has finally been placed in a nursing home on Labor Day. We were outside in the yard when we saw the ambulance slowly transporting her away from her "Homeplace". Probably forever. She has lived there her entire life, from birth. She never married, got a driver's license or went away to school. Her story is HERE and HERE. I miss seeing her watching us from her front porch! I want to send her a card once every week or so.

I also need to send Ms. Georgia Bonesteel, a famous quilter and author, a thank you card for the book she sent me. See THIS POST on my Angel Scraps Quilting Blog.



Just can't seem to get my coupons organized anymore! I must do this tonight!!!



Books from the library... probably need to be returned too!


The things beside your chair or on your bedside table can tell a lot about you. What's beside your chair?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's Cookin' At Our House?

1. Saturday's lunch was roast chicken, oven fried french fries and green beans with zesty Italian dressing, onions and bacon.



Canned green beans are good for you, low in calories and cheap to buy, but just opening a can of beans isn't that appetising to me. The bean recipe I used Saturday is in an old microwave cookbook that came with my first Sears microwave. Remember when microwaves were big enough to cook a turkey in, if one wanted to do such an insane thing? Well that's the microwave I had that the cookbook came with.

You could make these in the microwave, but I made mine on the stove. It goes something like this:

2 regular size cans of green beans
1/2 bottle Italian Salad Dressing
1 small onion sliced into rings
a few slices of bacon fried in a frying pan

After opening the beans, drain one of them. Then empty the drained one and the undrained one into a medium sauce pan. Pour the 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing in. Separate the onion rings and put those in. Then bring the beans to a slow boil, reduce the heat and cook gently just long enough to cook the onions until they are tender. Pour this mixture into an attractive serving bowl. Break the cooked pieces of bacon into bite size pieces and arrange on top of the beans.

2. As for the oven baked fries, I just toss about 2 pounds of peeled or scrubbed unpeeled sliced potatoes in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and season with what ever I am in the mood for. Just use salt or you can get creative by using things like cayenne pepper, paprika, Italian seasonings, etc. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at about 400 degrees until done, which is about 30 minutes. The trick to it is to keep flipping them over with a spatula every few minutes to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the cookie sheet.

3. Sunday's lunch was even better than Saturday's:

Baked Pork chops with Cream of Celery Soup and Onions
Sweet Potato Souffle
Broccoli and Cheese
Noodles cooked in chicken broth
Left over beans from Saturday

4. I made the roast chicken from Saturday go even further by doing the following:

A. I removed any remaining large pieces of meat from the chicken bones and my son and I both had chicken sandwiches for lunch.


B. I was about to throw out the rest of the chicken bones, but remembered that you could make soup from these. I threw it in a pot with a little water and let it boil a few minutes. Then I drained the broth through a colander and returned that to the pot. Then I removed the rest of the tiny pieces of chicken meat left on the bones. I put this meat back into the broth and added egg noodles. Voila! Chicken Noodle Soup!

5. And if you are wondering... yes, I have stuck to my light eating plan even with all this food. I watched my portions and only ate very reasonably. This is a record for me to be on a diet. This is my 5th week and I am happy to report that my clothes fit so much better and I feel better. Once I am able to dependably wear the one size smaller clothes I was shooting for, I'll go back to eating a little more. I guess that would be called maintenance eating. Just in time for the holidays!

Friday, October 30, 2009

October Dreams



Its time to say good bye to another October, my favorite month. For me, October is that wonderful month that ushers in the Fall season, colorful landscapes, pumpkins, fragrant candles, crisp mornings and that first chance to put on a warm and comfy sweater. My coffee tastes so much better in October, even with the sugar free creamer I am using. There is a slight chill in the air inside the house this morning which makes cradling my hot mug of coffee in my hands so nice.

October, I'll be here waiting for you next year......

So where does the path lead now?



To November..... my second most favorite month!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken



I recently took advantage of an offer for the All You magazine - a 2 year subscription for $18.00. If you aren't familiar with this magazine, it is sold at Walmart and is loaded with coupons.

My first experience with buying it was when I was waiting in line to check out at Walmart and picked one up to leaf through to pass the time. I noticed a coupon in the magazine for an item I already had on the conveyor belt at the cash register. The amount of the coupon paid for the magazine, so I quickly tore out the coupon and bought the magazine.

My first issue came this past week and it really is full of coupons. Now, If I can just find time to clip them and organize them!!!

Last night I made oven fried chicken using a recipe from the magazine. It was actually in an ad for French's french fried onions. There was a 55 cents coupon for the french fried onions also.

This picture was from the magazine. Mine didn't turn out this pretty!



I recently stocked up on boneless chicken breasts when they were on sale at a good price at Food Lion. Each pack of chicken that I bought was about $3.00 and I was feeding three people, so that's not too bad. The pack of chicken had 3 large pieces, so I cut each one in half.

It turned out very tasty, was quick to make and the cost was reasonable.

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Onion Chicken

2 cups (4 oz) French's French Fried Onions
2 tbsp Flour
4 (5 oz) boneless chicken breasts
1 egg beaten

Crush french fried onions with flour in plastic bag. Dip chicken into egg; then coat in onion crumbs. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees until cooked through. (My chicken was thick and not quite thawed out completely, so I cooked mine for 30 minutes)

Taking into account the fact that I bought the chicken on sale and had a coupon for the french fried onions, this is a fairly frugal dish. Also, I utilized several leftovers from the fridge to go with it. These leftovers were chicken pot pie, corn, rice with gravy and sweet potatoes. Not a bad meal!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Organization



1. My light eating plan progress:

This was on the "Launch Pad", also known as the washing machine, yesterday morning as I was going out the door to work. According to this picture I should be smart, slim, fit and light!

At first glance you might think my food for the work day was full of processed food. You would be partially right, but you must put it into perspective. The Slimfast shake that I had for breakfast is absolutely full of vitamins and minerals and supplied 50% of my daily needs for calcium. For 190 calories I was satisfied until lunch time.

The Smart Ones lasagna contained 300 calories and satisfied my carb addiction. Besides that, it was way cheaper and definitely better for me than going through the drive through at McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King or the like.

The yogurt for an afternoon snack isn't too bad nutritionally for 80 calories. I can use all the calcium I can get, because I cannot remember to take my calcium supplement.

Today my food for work will be a Slimfast shake for breakfast, a homemade chicken sandwich made from baked chicken, whole wheat bread and light mayo and broccoli with light ranch dip for lunch and peach yogurt for an afternoon snack.

2. Fall Clothing Organization:

Last night I spent some time organizing my side of the closet. We are in that time of the fall season when the temperatures fluctuate wildly. I still need some short sleeve tops, but definitely need some long sleeve tops and jackets on other days. However, the cooler days are slowly taking over the warmer ones, so some closet organization was definitely in order. Besides, everything in there had gotten all mixed up.

I enjoy getting dressed much more if the pants are together, the skirts are together, the long sleeve tops are together, the jackets are together and each category needs to be grouped by color. It also makes getting dressed much faster and I can use all the extra time in the mornings I can get.

3. Fall and Winter Planning:

November, December and January are going to be very busy months for me, as I'm sure it will be for all of you too. Before November 1st, I plan to sit down with my calendar/planner and get organized. I need to make a list of all the things I need to do in advance. I think now is the time to do this to reduce some stress in the coming months.

Example 1: My Step-daughter is getting married in January. For my to-do list in connection with this I need to: purchase shoes to go with my dress, make sure my undergarments are in order (hosiery, etc), purchase wedding gifts, put together outfits for bridesmaid's luncheon and rehearsal dinner, work on quilt that I hope to have ready by the wedding day.

Example 2: My husband and I are going on our annual anniversary trip in November. I need to pull out my packing list and start working on this. Arrangements need to be made for responsibilities at home and work. I need a to-do list for this trip.

Example 3: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enough said!

Example 4: Menu planning. Planning menus and grocery lists ahead of time will be helpful to help me move through these upcoming busy months smoothly.

I think a separate section in my notebook for each of these examples would be helpful to me. I can place in there all my to-do lists and notes and have everything all organized and in one place!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Plans



Happy Friday!

I am looking forward to a quiet weekend, with no commitments that I know of. Saturday is forecast to be rainy, just my kind of Saturday. I must plan my soup/stew/chili that will be simmering on the stove or in the crockpot. Lets see... what sounds good. Maybe some white bean soup? With cornbread? I should be able to eat this on my light eating plan, if I watch my portions!

My hubby is craving baked sweet potatoes and old timey dried link country sausage. The sweet potato must be cold. Something about his having eaten this in his childhood.... sounds easy and good to me. I will send him on an errand to a country store that sells the sausage. We already have sweet potatoes that he brought home a couple of weeks ago.

I need to be vigilant about cooking our regular potatoes on a regular basis to make sure we use these, bought at Food Lion at $1.99 for 10 pounds, before they start going bad. The bags they were bought in have air holes in them, so we have stored them as they came. A potato dish of some kind is in order over the weekend.



I have about 4 quilts in progress, but plan to concentrate on two of them. I plan to prepare "Early Autumn" for quilting, which is the part where I tape the backing on the floor, then put down the quilt batting, then the quilt top, and pin baste the quilt sandwich. Of course there is plenty of ironing to be done to both the backing and the quilt top before they can be basted!



I need to finish "Sweet Savannah" and also pin baste it in preparation for machine quilting. It is baby size, so it can be done on the kitchen table.



Hopefully, I can begin machine quilting at least one of them!

HAPPY HOMEMAKING!

Debbie J.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Whole Lot of Healthy

These are a couple of my "on the run" meals during my current attempt to eat less and move more.

You can get a whole lot of healthy for about 200 calories with a cup of cheerios, 1/2cup low fat milk and 1/2 a sliced banana. Doesn't that look yummy?



This is one lunch I ate at work recently for about 300 calories. The can of soup is big, but its mostly liquid, which is why there aren't many calories in there!



The weather has been wonderful this week for walking during my lunch break, so I've gotten in 20 minutes of brisk walking before eating my light lunch each day.

The scale isn't showing a huge drop, my clothes are definitely looser. I am loving that! I really want to drop a size and am almost there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easy Removable Pillow Cover Tutorial

Today is Whatcha Working on Wednesday at Leslie's blog, My Country Home.

I have been thinking of some handmade gift ideas for Christmas that are quick, easy and frugal. We do still have two months in which to put together handmade Christmas gifts, but its time to get busy if we are going to get them done.

I made this pillow for my grandson this past weekend and thought I would write a tutorial on how to make this simple pillow cover with an overlapping back.

The ideas you could come up with for these pillows for gifts for your family and friends are endless. You could do sports themes, feminine themes, kids themes, needlepoint, applique, you name it!



I often make this type removable pillow cover because it can be replaced so easily. You can change the cover with the seasons, or remove it for laundering. I have Christmas pillow covers that I place on our regular throw pillows in the living room. After Christmas, I just remove the Christmas covers and store them until the following year.

You can purchase pillows to cover very frugally. Just look for decorator pillows of all sizes that are on clearance at places like Walmart or at regular price at places like Dollar General. It doesn't matter what color they are, since you will be covering them. Another venue for finding pillows is the thrift store or a yard sale. I often find decorator pillows, remove the covers that come on them and make new covers.

My grandson likes the "Cars" children's movie, so when I saw this fabric on the remnant table at Walmart, I decided to make him a pillow. I purchased this pillow form at Walmart in the craft section. I plan to make more covers for this pillow as his interests change. For a little over a half yard, I can cover an 18 inch pillow.



These are the directions to make a cover for an 18" pillow form:

Cut a piece of fabric into an 18 1/2" square to be the top of the pillow.

Then cut two pieces of 18 1/2" by 12" fabric to be used for the overlapping back of the pillow.

On one long side of each piece press a 1/4 inch hem, fold this over another 1/4 inch and press well. Then sew along the edge of these folded over hems on both pieces.



Lay the right sides of the backing pieces on the right side of the pillow top so that the hemmed edges face center and overlap one another.





Align the raw edges of the backing pieces with the raw edges of the pillow top, pin well all the way around the square, and machine stitch along all four sides with a 1/4 " seam allowance.


Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert the pillow form.

The back of the pillow cover:



You can easily adjust the size of the cover to fit what ever size pillow form you want to cover. Cut the top piece of fabric 1/2" larger than the size of the pillow form. The two rectangular pieces for the back of the pillow should be the size of the pillow front on one side and wide enough to over lap on the other side.

A Slice of My Life October 9, 2017

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