Monday, March 31, 2014

Dinner Plans 3/31 ~ 4/6

Monday ~ Beans & Franks

Tuesday ~ Chicken Cordon Bleu, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans

Wednesday ~ American Chop Suey, Salad, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Venison Stew, Salad, Homemade Rolls

Friday ~ Cheese Steak Subs, Chips

Saturday ~ Tuna Noodle Casserole

Sunday ~ Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Linked up to Meal Plan Monday.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Is it Spring yet?

This past winter was very hard on me, probably everyone in the northeast. It was bitterly cold and snowy. I have been use to the past few years where we have had very mild winters. It would snow, then it would all melt, then snow again.

This time last year we had no snow and our spring bulbs were starting to pop up. My dad sent me a message on Facebook to have me remove the straw from the flower beds so that the flowers wont get crushed. Well, as you can see, there is nothing there so I just put the straw back on the bed.

Ohhh,wait! I see something in the upper right hand corner. Yup, some of my bulbs are starting to peak through the dirt, finally! Some of the garden beds have ice on them still.

My backyard and gardens are still covered in snow. It is going to rain the next couple of days, so hopefully the snow goes away. I guess I am getting anxious to get into the dirt and start growing my veggies. Gardening keeps me busy.

I filled my feeders, but know they will be empty in no time at all. All the starlings hog all the seed and they make a mess too. I can hear the spring birds chirping in the morning. It made me stop the other day when I was on my way out to run errands. Just hearing them in the trees and bushes around my house, brings a smile to my face knowing that warm weather is just around the corner.

Looks like some rabbits have been enjoying our feeders too. Either that or someone is throwing Cocoa Puffs on the ground under the feeders. After I filled the feeders, I sprinkled some of the left over food we had from Allegra (our rabbit who passed away) under the feeders for the rabbits and squirrels.

While I was checking out possible tracks for animals, I could hear the hammering of a woodpecker. I could see some deer tracks so I thought at first the deer were eating at the feeders. They might have been, but those droppings are rabbit, not deer. I found the woodpecker eventually, hammering away at a dead tree.

If you look at the shorter of the two dead trees in the middle of the picture, you can see the redheaded woodpecker. It's a female, so you can't really see the red cap like the males have.

I guess Spring is here, but she is taking her time coming out to play.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I love thrift stores

We have a little local thrift store that I like to check out every now and then. Pretty much all our clothes come from thrift stores. I hardly ever buy Matt new things because he is growing so much. Plus it is eco-friendly and frugal to buy used. I have found so many brand new things for next to nothing at thrift stores.

While out to lunch with a neighbor, I stopped in the thrift store to see if I could find some pants for Matt. He is now wearing men's sizes, Heaven help me. I did manage to find him a couple pairs for 2.00 each, but it was the other item that we found that I was most excited about.

I have been after Matt about getting him a new blanket or quilt for his bed. He has had the same blanket since he was out of the crib and refuses to get anything else. The darn thing is paper thin. When I saw this beauty, I asked Matt what he thought of it and he liked it.

Boy colors for sure. Plus is is made from denim so it is nice and strong and has some weight to it. I paid only 5.00 for it too! Loved that the most. Matt said he will use it over his paper thin blanket because he will not get rid of that one. LOL

Homemade Whipped Cream

Why have I never made this before? I have always got my whipped cream from a can or from a tub of Cool Whip. Never again! Not sure if it is cheaper to make your own, but it sure tastes way better. I made some last night to top off my chocolate pudding pie. So yummy!

Here is my little recipe for whipped cream.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Add whipping cream to a large mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until soft peaks start to form. I do not recommend you do this by hand or with a hand mixer. It took me forever to do it with a hand mixer. I use my stand mixer to make it now.

2. Stop mixer and add powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat until all ingredients are combined and the mixture has thickened up a little. Taste it to see if you want more powdered sugar. I like a sweet cream, but not crazy sweet.

 Keep cool until serving time or top on your pudding pie and enjoy.

Topped my chocolate pudding pie with some of the whipped cream. Made it so yummy!

Kinda messy looking, but it is sooo yummy. My homemade graham cracker crust was used to make this.

Had plenty of leftover whipped cream. It won't last long around here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

Like a lot of people, I have always bought one of those premade graham cracker crusts to use when I make my cheese cake. Costs about 2.50 here for one. A box of graham crackers costs a little bit more, like 3.50, but you can get three shells out of it. I use this to make my cheese cake and my chocolate pudding pie. So, here is how I make my own shell. So easy!

1 sleeve graham crackers (I like to use the cinnamon ones)
6 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1. Break up and add one sleeve of graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbles.

2. Melt butter in a microwaveable bowl. Add the crushed graham crackers and the sugar.Mix together until all is wet from the butter.

3. Dump the crumbs into a pie plate and press the crumbs in the pie plate to form a crust. Make sure that there are no thin areas.

4. Put it in a preheated oven at 375° and bake for 8-10 minutes.

5. Let cool completely before adding the filling in it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Corn Chowdah

I love me some creamy corn chowder on cold nights. Being from the Boston area, growing up and living there until 4 years ago, I have still a little bit of my Bostonian accent. We don't pronounce "R" at all. Hence the Chowdah. That is how we pronounce it.

Lots of the recipes for corn chowder I have seen hardly uses any corn. Well, it should have more corn than anything in it cause it is a CORN chowder. I have also seen lots of bacon in them.  I use bacon in it to flavor it, but not over whelm it. You can adjust the bacon amount to what you like.

Corn Chowdah

4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cup water
5 cup milk
4 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 lb bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 potatoes, cubed in 1 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups corn (I like to use the corn I grew)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and cook a couple more minutes. Add the flour and mix to absorb the butter. Cook a couple minutes more.

2. Add the 2 cups of water to the butter/flour mixture. I like to have already dissolved the bouillon cubes in the water before added, but not needed. Stir until no more lumps of flour and the mixture is thickened.

3. Add one cup of milk and stir until thickened. Add the remaining milk and the bouillon cubes, if you did not dissolve in the water already. Bring it to a simmer, but do not boil.

4. Add the potatoes and cook until almost soft. Add the bacon, already cooked crisp and broken up. Add the corn. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to use a lot of pepper, but that is just me.

5. Let simmer until the potatoes are cooked. It may seem a little runny still, but it will thicken up more. I like to add a little bit more bacon to the top of the soup once poured into bowls.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dinner Plans 3/3 ~ 3/9

Monday ~ Fish &Chips

Tuesday ~ Lemon Herb Chicken, Rice, Carrots

Wednesday ~ American Chop Suey

Thursday ~ Corn Chowder

Friday ~ Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday ~ Chicken Soup

Sunday ~ Beans & Franks

Desert of the Week ~ Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie

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