Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meal Plan Monday Week of May 23

Last week's menu got changed around a bit due to a few plan changes and one family request, but we didn't end up eating out at all.  You will see a few repeats from last week due to these changes.  We did like the Beef Kabobs and will be having those again this summer.  The marinade was very flavorful and made the beef very tender.  This week is the last week of school for us, so things get a bit dicey toward the end of the week as I am the Senior Class Sponsor at our school and in charge of all graduation festivities.  Our goal is still to eat at home as much as possible.  I will be depending on some TNT recipes and my freezer and pantry to get us through this week. 

Sunday - Spinach Ravioli Lasagna, Salad and Garlic Bread (carried over again!)
Monday - Lemon-Mushroom Herb Chicken, Rice and Asparagus
Tuesday - Meatball Subs, Chips and Fruit
Wednesday - Senior Class Concert - catered dinner
Thursday - Chicken Pot Pie and Fruit
Friday - Attending a Graduation Party
Saturday - The Official "Summer is Finally Here" Party at our house - every one brings something to share.  I am making Benedictine Dip and ...

For more great menu ideas visit I'm An Organized Junkie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

When you have a bowl of beautiful strawberries like this, what do you do?

Make a delicious salad of course!

Strawberry and Spinach Salad
Salad -
1/2 c sliced almonds
1/4 c sugar
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 bag fresh spinach
1 c sliced strawberries
1/4 c feta cheese

Place almonds and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat.  Stir contantly until sugar is melted and almonds are coated.  Spread onto parchment paper to cool.  Set aside.

Toss lettuce and spinach in a large salad bowl.  Top with strawberries and feta cheese.  Break up cooled almonds and top salad.   Chill until ready to serve.

Toss salad with dressing when ready to serve. 

Dressing -
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t dry mustard
1 c vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar.  Shake until mixed well.  Toss with salad just before serving.

Linked to Beauty and Bedlam
It's A Blog Party
Ingredient Spotlight

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scrapbook Pages from April Counterfeit Kit

I finally got some time to sit down and really scrapbook this week.  It was really nice to have some uninterrupted creative time.   If you are a scrapper and haven't discovered the Counterfeit Kit Blog, you really should check it out.  The great ladies over there choose a current kit from a monthly scrapbook kit club to counterfeit using your own stash.  And they don't stop there, throughout the month they post tutorials on how to make some of the featured embellishments and they post challenges to get you to use your kit.  As someone with a huge scrapbook stash, this is just what I need.  It has really rejuvenated my scrapbooking.  So if you need some creative inspiration, stop by

Here are some layouts I created with my April Counterfeit Kit.

This is Boo-Boo helping out in the garden last  year.  She loves to get her hands in the dirt and see things grow!

This is our Easter Egg Hunt this year. I used this sketch from Sketch Support

Linked to Sundae Scoop
Made by You Monday
It's A Blog Party
Somewhat Simple
Delightful Order
Fireflies and Jelly Beans
Tatertots and Jello

Meal Plan Monday - May 16th

We did  well last week, veering off the menu only twice, but both times for either fast food or take out.  Striving to do better this week....

We did find a new family favorite.  American Frittata from allrecipes was a huge hit with everyone.  It will be making a reappearance on our menu very soon.  It was easy and delicious, taking only about  20 minutes to cook.  A great week night dinner. 

On this week's menu-
Sunday - Bottle O'Beer Grilled Chicken and Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, Summer Tortellini Salad (w/o chicken), Spinach Strawberry Salad, Fruit Bowl
Monday - Beef Kabobs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Salad
Tuesday - Leftovers from Sunday
Wednesday - Tilapia Sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, Salad
Thursday - Lemon-Mushroom Herb Chicken, Rice, Asparagus
Friday - Enchilada Casserole, Salad and Fruit
Saturday - Spinach Ravioli Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread (Carry over from last week)

For more great menu plans, stop by I'm An Organized Junkie.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Garden Party - May 10

The garden is looking great and producing a great deal of strawberries.  These are just the ones we picked the last 2 days.  They are destined for our Spinach Strawberry Salad tonight.

Here is my little garden helper planting basil and tomatoes.  She really likes working in the garden and gets so excited when things start to grow and produce. 

We also have spinach and lettuce shooting up as well as carrots and green onions.  The zucchini and cucumbers are growing too.  And the garlic is just taking off.  We have had a good amount of rain and cooler than normal temperatures, which have helped everything get off to a good start.  You can see part of the garden in the background below.

For more wonderful looking gardens check out the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Lemon - Vanilla Chip Cookies

AKA - Advanced Placement European History Cookies
I found these fantastic cookies in the fall at Jamie Cooks It Up! - one of my favorite food blogs.  I made them for my AP European History class and they just loved them.  Fast forward to AP Exam Day 2011.  I knew the test would be difficult and wanted them to know I was pulling for them, so I made up a batch of these cookies, packaged them up and handed them out as the kids were entering the testing room.  At least they went into the test with a smile on their face! 
The recipe - my simplified, not as pretty version

2 boxes Lemon Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 c butter, melted (that's 2 sticks)
2 eggs
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I've used bottled before and it is fine)
1 12 oz package vanilla chips
1.  Melt butter, add to cake mix and stir to combine.  Add eggs. (Batter is very thick.)
2.  Add lemon juice.  Stir to combine.
3.  Add vanilla chips.  Mix until evenly incorporated.
4.  Roll into 1 inch balls and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Take cookies out of the oven when they are just cracked on top.  Let continue to bake on baking sheet for 2 - 3 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Full Plate Thursday
Frugal Food Thursday

Monday, May 9, 2011

Counterfeit Kit - May

This month's inspiration kit comes from Work in Progress.  This kit didn't "speak" to me as much as some of the other kits we have counterfeited this year.  I think it was mostly because my kids are older and these papers and embellishments are more fitting for younger children.  I did however have a piece of red and white measuring tape paper in my stash, so I started there. 

 And here is what I came up with.  Not my typical kit and certainly not what it started out to be in my head!  I just kept adding papers and pulled some really old embellishments.  These are some really different papers and color combinations for me.  This is a really dark kit for me and I wasn't sure I would have any pictures to go with my selections, but going through the pictures I just got back from the printer, I had several I think will work perfectly.  Now I'm really excited to see what else I can push myself to create with this kit.
Paper lines I used -
3 different pattens and one sheet of cardstock stickers from an old DCVW stack
Scenic Route
Christina Cole from ProvoCraft
Making Memories Heritage Collection
Rusty Pickle
Making Memories Watercolor Collection
Daisy D's
5 shades of Bazzil Cardstock

Embellishments I used -
Li'l Davis Raffle Tickets
We R Memory Makers Distressed Words
Bohemian Rub On
K and Co Covered Fabric Brads
Prima Flowers
ProvoCraft Epoxy Stickers
Fresh Kuts by Rebecca Sower (these HAVE to be 8 or 9 years old!)
Daisy D's Cardstock Letter Stickers
Trademarks Rub On Letters
Chipboard Borders
various tags, ribbons, brads and journaling boxes

For more interpretations of this kit, stop over at The Counterfeit Kit Challenge

Lemon Mint Soap

I was determined to make all our teacher appreciation gifts this year and thanks to Stephanie at Henry Happened... I was able to do so.  Her recipe and directions for Homemade Herb Soap were a hit.  Great directions, so easy to follow and great pictures to guide the process.  The very best part was I had everything in my craft closet, kitchen and herb garden to make these.  I ended up using lemons and mint. 

I wrapped each soap in a cellophane bag, made a personalized tag and tied it up with raffia.  Looked like I bought it at a fancy soap boutique. 

Please visit Stephanie for her wonderful tutorial and make some of this great soap.

Linked to Sundae Scoop
Made By You Monday
It's A Blog Party
Somewhat Simple
Delightful Order
Fireflies and Jellybeans
Tatertots and Jello

Meal Plan Monday - Week of May 9th

We have officially survived another lacrosse season.  It was a rough one - no wins, but the kids learned alot about themselves.  We are back to only one sport now, spring football and that only lasts one more week, then a few weeks of nothing after school or evenings except tumbling on Tuesdays.  Whew!  It's been a busy spring.  I will be glad for things to slow down a bit.

Sunday - Out to celebrate Mother's Day and Bubba's birthday
Monday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Squash Casserole, Lima Beans, Spinach Strawberry Salad
Tuesday - Leftovers from Sunday
Wednesday - Grilled Brats, Twice Baked Potatoes, Broccoli Casserole, Lima Beans
Thursday - Ham and Potato Frittata, Fruit
Friday - Football Spring Game and Lacrosse Banquet
Saturday - Spinach Ravioli Lasagana, Salad

For more menu plans, visit I'm An Organized Junkie

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crazy Chicken Marinade

Grilled Chicken Salad was on the Menu Plan this week and I went looking for a new marinade.  I found Crazy Chicken Mariade at  I tweaked it a bit to tone down the spices so my kids would eat it, but if I were making this for adults I would certainly make the recipe as written.

Crazy Chicken Marinade - the Toned Down Kids Version

4 T lime juice
3 T olive oil
2 t chili powder
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
1 t cumin
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Whisk all ingredients(except chicken) in a small bowl.  Place chicken breasts in shallow container or ziploc bag.  Add marinade.  Marinate overnight for best flavor.  Grill until done. 

I sliced this and served in a salad with iceberg and romaine lettuce,cucumbers, green peppers, carrots, mushrooms, feta cheese, croutons and Ranch Dressing.  YUM!

Linked to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom.
What's Cooking Thursdays at Feeding Four

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Garden Party - The Great Strawberry Experiment

The strawberries are coming, the strawberries are coming, the strawberries are coming!  We harvested our first strawberries this week and it is really exciting.  We have watched them bloom and grow for the past few weeks and picking those first new berries was wonderful.
 I planted these last year and diligently did not let them fruit or run.  Do you know how hard that was????  But we are being rewarded with many, many berries on each plant.  I did a bit of an experiment when I planted these.  I planted half the bed with inexpensive non-named plants from Lowe's and the other half with Seascape plants I ordered from the Burpee catalog.  I wanted to see if there really was a difference. Boy is there!  The non-named plants from Lowes have a lot of berries, but they are TINY and not very sweet.  The Seascape plants are full of medium to large size berries that have a delicious flavor.  I am contemplating pulling up the no name plants at the end of the summer and replanting with more Seascape next year.  We will see how things end up at the end of the growing season. 

I hope to have enough strawberries for us to eat through out the summer and make at least one batch of strawberry jam. 

For more garden fun visit the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

It's another busy week at our house.  Football and lacrosse are overlapping for the next 5 days and that means lots of quick, nutritious meals.  I am relying on leftovers and my stocked freezer to make sure we make it through the week!

Sunday - Birthday Cookout - Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Relish Tray, Potato Salad, Caesar Salad, Baked Beans, Mac and Cheese, Birthday Cake
Monday - Pick up something on the way home from work....
Tuesday - Cookout Leftovers
Thursday - Teriyaki Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Lima Beans
Friday - Lacrosse Tournament
Saturday - Lacrosse Tournament

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter Table

I know I'm a bit late posting my Easter goodies, but I wanted to share my Easter table.  Boo Boo had such a great time helping me pull it all together I just had to post.
 This is truly a homemade tablescape.  The table runner and napkins were made my by mom several years ago and are one of my favorite holiday decorations.  The plates are hand painted by Laurie Gates.
 Boo Boo and I made the Hydrangea Eggs that were all over blogland this Easter season.  So lovely and so easy!  I used part of my extensive milk glass collection as pedestals.  My mother in law fell in love with them.  I will have to make her a set next year. 
The sugared bunnies are an idea I found in an old Southern Living cookbook.  We brushed 99 cents white chocolate bunnies with meringue wash and dusted wtih sugar.  So easy, so cute and what a great added sparkle to the table.  We used pink and blue sanding sugar on two bunnies and that did not turn out so well.  I highly recommend just sticking with plain 'ole white granualted sugar. 

Linked to Sundae Scoop