Thursday, August 26, 2010

Once a month cooking day (with children:) Part Two

I'll start off with the list of what was made...

Muffins (some zucchini, some Fiber One blueberry from a box--4 doz. large & 3 doz. mini)
Beef and Bean Enchiladas
2 lbs. Taco Beef
Hearty Tomato Beef Stew
French Stuffed Potato Topping
Chicken Enchiladas
Chili Verde
Creamy Italian Chicken (for the crock pot)
Chili Sauce Chicken (for the grill or oven)
Herbed Chicken (for oven)
Southern Noodle Bake (my husband calls this "Amish Lasagna")
4 lbs. chicken, cooked and cubed for salads
Sloppy Joe beef
12 "uncrustable" PB&Js
Approx. 70ish whole wheat banana oatmeal choc. chip pancakes

Whew! even typing the list makes me a little tired:) but it is SO worth it!

Some of you may be saying to yourselves, "That's only about 16 entree meals...How does that feed them for a whole month?"
Well, first of all, many of those meals will provide AT LEAST one night of leftovers. And in addition to that, I already had a few things in the freezer...chuck roasts, pork roasts, stuffed pork chops, frozen meatballs, steaks, hamburger patties, etc. What I made, plus what I had stocked up on when particular items were on sale, plus a few "order pizza" nights should actually stretch us about a month and a half or more. I'd still like to do a round of breakfast burritos also but I need more eggs and a few empty hours (wink) to accomplish that.

Anyway, that should be enough to "whet your appetite" and get you to come back to hear my tips and suggestions on how to pull off your own "OAMC". Ciao for now! Blessings to you until you visit again! does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.--Deuteronomy 8:3

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Once a month cooking day (with children:) Part One

Once a month cooking day...I've attempted it solo several times, but this time was different. As I mentioned before, chicken breasts were on sale and I was determined. With this being my first year as a "soccer mom" and school starting, I knew if I wanted to make it through the next few months without pulling all my hair out, I'd have to be on top of MY game, especially where cooking is concerned! Soccer practice is from 5:30-6:30!!! Now when is a mother of five supposed to make and serve her family a hot, delicious and somewhat healthy meal?! So when I saw chicken on sale, I started some intense planning...I even went so far as to defrost and reorganize the freezer, cause this was gonna be a big one!

After scouring my cookbooks and recipes, deciding what and how much I wanted to attempt and making my OAMC plan, I was ready to conquer the grocery store. One problem. My trip kept getting delayed a day and finally, I just HAD to go because it was the last day before the sales changed. So off we, my stack of coupons, 5 children and 2 carts (one being a hard to steer kiddie car cart). Boy, were we a sight! Our trip went pretty smoothly, for several reasons, but mostly because I recently discovered Plan to Eat. This helpful website really simplified and organized my very large shopping list, which cut our shopping time considerably! Click on one of the Plan to Eat links to check out my new favorite thing!!!

Anyway, I digress. We bought almost 12 lbs of chicken, plus I had one small package in the freezer already. Plus we recently bought a quarter of beef, so we had a ready supply available for the meals containing ground beef. Come back in a few days to read the rest of the details on how I (with the help of a few Lil Shoes) made all this...

And this...

and more!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taste and see...

Okay well, here's where we get to the "simple living" part of the blog...

One thing I have discovered REALLY makes my life easier is freezer cooking. I figure, if I'm gonna mess up the kitchen anyway, why not make multiples of the recipe and save myself some clean up on other days. It's amazing how much time it can cut out of daily food prep and clean up. And it's nice to always have something on hand for a church potluck or the times when I'd like to take food to someone to lighten their load. I've found lots of really good recipes that freeze well. Periodically I'll share some of these with you. And chicken is on sale this week, so I'm gearing up for a big Once A Month Cooking Day, and I'll try to do a post explaining how and what I did. Some of the recipes I've tweaked a bit to suit a larger family such as ours.

I don't know about you but The Shoe Seven enjoys a hearty breakfast. I just recently discovered a good recipe for basic whole wheat pancakes and here's what I did with it...

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
6 eggs
4 cups milk
3 large, ripe bananas (mashed)
1 c. oatmeal
2 c. chocolate chips

**For those of you that don't have as many mouths to feed, you can half this recipe but use 2 bananas.**

I like to add as much fiber as possible, hence the oatmeal. And my kiddos will eat bananas in pancakes, as long as the flavor is not too overwhelming. You may want to cut the chocolate chips back a bit, but I figure, with the healthiness of the whole wheat, oatmeal and bananas, I can treat the Lil Shoes (and myself) to a few extra chips:)

So anyway, for those of you who enjoy the Pampered Chef scoops as much as I do, this recipe makes approximately 40 medium pancakes (when using the large size scoop). I make the pancakes, cool them completely on a cooling rack, lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze for several hours. After frozen, I place them in freezer bags and I can pull them out individually, warm them up in the microwave and voila! a quick, easy breakfast...WITHOUT ALL THE CLEAN-UP!!!

I was actually trying to perfect my recipe, so I could enter it in a Better Homes and Gardens pancake recipe contest...but whoops, I missed the entry deadline. Oh well, no fame and fortune this time (wink), just a happy bunch of kiddos with chocolate mustaches, sticky hands and full tummies running around ready for a new day!

Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.--Psalm 34:4

Saturday, August 7, 2010

If the Shoe fits...

There has been so much happening in our lives since I started this blog. I've been very sentimental, up to this point, but I thought I'd lighten it up a bit this time and finally give a little explanation on The Shoe photo. Obviously, each shoe represents a member of our family...

The Work Boot--my dear, hard-working husband. One of the things that I've always loved about him is his amazing work ethic. He's not afraid of manual labor, getting his hands dirty, or DIY projects. He's a wonderful provider for our family and a great dad to our five children.

The brown (Payless shoestore) ballet flat--me, Momma Shoe. I'm a stay-at-home mom that is busy keeping up with five young children and all the things that go with homemaking. Although my husband is definitely the head of our household, the responsibility of raising our children in faith is primarily mine. Like my shoe, I'm comfortable (with who I am, thanks to my faith in God), with a touch of fun. I almost chose a tennis shoe to represent me because some days can be tough... but I wouldn't trade these times with my young children for all the money (or fancy, matching home decor:) in the world.

The pink sport sandal--Hope, our 7 year old. You may have read a little about her in the previous post. She's our first born and like her shoe, so versatile. She's active, yet girly. Practical, yet cute. She's everything you could hope for in an oldest child.

The cleat--Hank, our 5 year old. He loves anything that involves a ball. His favorite sport is...whatever season it happens to be. He's all about ball, all of the time. He really loves all his siblings, even if wrestling and teasing is how he expresses it. He's got a great laugh, which we hear often when he's watching his favorite Tom and Jerry video. In a few weeks, I'll be putting him on the bus for the first time to head off to Kindergarten.

The sparkly, Dorothy shoe (with the scuffed toe)--Martha Jane, our 3 year old. We usually call her Mattie. I see theatre in her future. She's our dancing, singing, drama queen. She likes to wear dresses and dig in the dirt. She's all girl, super sassy, with a little bit of roughneck thrown in. She likes to keep things lively around our house. And she loves a good round of applause for her performances.

The green frog rubber boot--Silas, our 2 year old. He's our wacky, silly, anything for a laugh kid. His grandma got him those green boots for his 2nd birthday and they fit him to a T. He wore them constantly for months, no matter whether it was raining or not. Describing Silas...well, think Little Rascals. He's got the facial expressions of Spanky (bottom lip out and brows furrowed when he's angry...and eyebrows raise with eyes as big as silver dollars and mouth in the shape of an "O" when surprised) and tries to sing like Alfalfa. He's ornery, to the bone.

The little tennis shoe--Ezekiel, our 10 month old baby. He's a roly, poly, chunka chunka burning love. So cuddly. He's happy to just take in all the action of our household and roll with the punches (sometimes literally). His siblings love the stuffings out of him. He's going to be a tough little guy, with a happy heart.

Now you know a little bit more about who we are as individuals.
Put us all together and you get one crazy family:)
Crazy, yes.
Lovable, absolutely.

All praise, honor and glory to God... My Cup Runneth Over.