Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black Bean and Sausage Pot

This week the challenge is to be thrifty and still put a delish dinner on the table using what I have on hand.
Crock pot cooked black beans from the freezer, dry rice, bell pepper, onion, a can of diced tomatoes, and half a package of jalapeno cheddar sausage.  Seemed a little lackluster, so I added a package of...
 ...Italian salad dressing mix which came free with a cruet I bought to make and store my own salad dressings.  The following is not so much a recipe as an experiment!  I cooked the rice and set it aside earlier in the day.  Then about 30 minutes before dinner, I sliced and cooked the sausage and set it aside, too.  Then sauteed the chopped  onion and pepper in some olive oil and added the tomatoes, juice and all with  the seasoning packet and a can of water.
I simmered it all about 20 minutes, then stirred in the rice and kept if warm in the crock pot while I fixed butter dip biscuits from Plain Chicken. It made something of a stew, perfect with the biscuits.
I have to say - it really hit the spot and letting it warm in the crock pot while the biscuits cooked gave me 15 minutes of TV with my feet up!  Not bad for a weeknight frugal meal.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Tackling one closet at a time

I think the secret to home organization is simple really:  Don't try to tackle it all at once!  Do a little every now and then.  You'll feel like you are on top of things without also feeling like you are a slave to your house.
Last week I did some general cleaning in and around the closet.  Nothing exciting here for anyone but me...
 The kitchen pantry was starting to make me sad.  The last shelf and the floor I laid claim to for crafty items.  So there was less room for food and it was starting to look like a royal mess.
It left me with less room for food items.  Yeah, the potatoes were living on the floor.  
Next to cat food.  Not good.  
Also, how can you get to the bottled water if you can even see it?
 The top of this pantry is dark - but that's were I store things I don't often use.  Even so, wouldn't it be great to have some kind of lighting in here?  While I was waiting for dinner to cook, I pulled everything out and wiped down the shelves.  I hunted around the house and found a couple more plastic bins to organize snacks and such.  I threw out stale crackers, organized the rest, made a list of groceries to buy...
I combined all of my craft stuff down below and made room for the potatoes and bottled water on a shelf instead of the floor.  Like hubby's "flame" apron?  It's his BBQ uniform!
 That's better!  Someday I'll have a craft room - for now I have a craft nook.
 There are things behind the baskets, but they won't be so hard to get to.  I'm not going to bother with cute little signs or labels.  I think people here can figure out what's in them...might add a couple more baskets to my list - if I don't use them in here, I can always use them somewhere else.
Yes, the cereal boxes are labeled.  Do you have kids that argue over who got more than their fair share of a favorite cereal?  I used to (:  All the breakfast foods are on the top shelf.  Behind them are more things we don't have to get to very often.  Storage space has always been at a premium in this house.
Only about 2 dozen more spaces like this to organize...but that's it for today!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One of those weeks

It's been one of those weeks at Camp Rustown.  
Heck, it's been one of those months...
It's better for everyone who lives here if I stay busy.  It's even better for them if, while cleaning out the pantry and putting away the hot chocolate bar for the season (feels like stinkin' Spring here!) Mom finds the rest of her gin from the holidays and mixes up a cocktail for her own private Happy Hour. 
I'm not suggesting that every mom drink a little some-some when she's having a bad day...or week...or month.  But I think it is a nice thing to have every now and again - purely for attitude adjustment and medicinal purposes.  And the lime juice is high in vitamin C. That's my philosophy anyway....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February thifting

Last week I stopped by one of my favorite thrift stores with nothing in particular to look for -
which always seems to work out better for me.
 I found 2 like new Eddie Bauer shirts for hubby that ended up being half price - so $6.29 for two.
 And four tops for me at around $7.50.
 And this little bit of bric-a-brac.  Some new IKEA cork coasters for $1, new food storage containers for $1, the books at about 50 cents each, and a wire "tree" for $2.50.  I was going to save the tree for Christmas decor, but it fit in nicely with the stuff up on the tops of the kitchen cabinets:
I re-decopaged the plate with a Pottery Barn napkin I got for $2.
Love the rich red.
So now this is what the whole thing looks like:
It's pretty hard to photograph without glare on the picture glass and those spot lights...
Simple and pretty.  Not to mention thrifty!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Four Ingredient Enchiladas

These are a favorite of ours and simple to make - I call them "The Working Woman's Friend" and I have made them this way for years.
 You will need:

One can of chili (or,make your own - I used turkey chili)
One can of petite diced tomatoes
One package 10 ct. corn tortillas
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used the Mexican Blend)

*This recipe is easy to double if you are feeding more than 5 people - count on two enchiladas per person.
Put a dab of margarine on each tortilla and stack 'em while you heat up a skillet.
Cook a little on each side - one minute or so total - to soften them up.  I have tried other ways to soften them that didn't work as well - the margarine makes them nice and pliable.
Stack them on a plate to cool til you get them all done.  Then put a couple tablespoons of grated cheese in each one, roll up, and place seam side down in a greased 13x9 casserole dish.  See?  Not hard.
 Turn your oven to 350 and start the sauce.
Saute a little garlic, if you like, and add in the chili and tomatoes, juice and all.  Tweak it with cumin, chili powder - whatever you like. Let it warm up in your already hot pan, but you don't have to simmer it.
Slather it all over the rolled up enchiladas.
And sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes while you chop a salad.
I've been hitting up Sprouts Market recently for romaine and red bell peppers for salad - I just set out a lot of different dressings and let everyone pick their favorite.  Dessert was Cherry Cheesecake Squares from Abundance on a Dime:
  It was a sweet ending to our enchilada meal.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

She and He

The Girl asked me to send her some pictures of she and her dad for a slide show that will play at a Father/Daughter event for her sorority.  So I pulled my little scanner out, and went through all the photo albums and digital files to come up with these:
The Girl, a few hours old at Austin Area Birthing Center...
...ready for her first dinner out with Mom and Dad
can't wait to go Trick or Treating...
at Aunt Maggie's house for dinner with family...
Joe's Crab Shack dinner celebrating her cousin's birthday...
at The Moore's rehearsal dinner in Dallas...
Getting almost as tall as Dad!
Playing bocce ball in the backyard...
Fishing with Pack 90 at Family Camp...
Our favorite French Horn player (:
Helping cut down our Christmas tree...
Posing with Dad at Schroeter Park...
Camp Rustown s'mores on the patio...
Last game of the season - ended with a broken clavicle...
Proud Dad and his pretty graduate...
Dropping her off at Texas State...
and my favorite:
Pi Phi Initiation Luncheon in Waco
Hope she's as pleased with this selection as I was gathering them all!


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