Monday, July 30, 2012

Mealplan Monday #19 on my new cooktop!

The new cooktop arrived and Hubby spent the better part of last Saturday installing it.
 5 burners, gas with a cast iron grate - we love it!
Monday - Crock pot burgers, sweet potato tots, olives and pickles
Tuesday - Tilapia/Chicken strips, mac and cheese, salad
Wednesday - Omelette Night with home fries and toast
Thursday - Sketti and meatsauce, salad, French bread and garlic butter
Friday - Teriyaki Chicken crock pot, rice
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Lentil soup, quesadillas
One of these days we will replace those step at a time...
I'm pretty happy with the updated cooktop!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lazy Daisy Meatballs

Right after Hubby and I married, I petitioned my new in-laws for family recipes that would be easy enough for a beginner homebody and my shiny new SIL gave me this treasure.  I have made it for years and it's been well received by my peeps.  
Easy and tasty and pretty frugal to boot!
Here's whatcha need:

Lazy Daisy Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef (I use a little more to stretch this for 6)
1 t. salt
1/8 t. each ground pepper, celery salt, garlic powder
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs*
1/2 c. water
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 soup can water

Mix meat, seasonings, crumbs, 1/2 c. water and onions.  Form into small meatballs.  Roll them in flour and brown them in hot oil.   Drain them and return to covered skillet.  Mix soup with  1/4 can of water and pour over meatballs.  Cover and simmer on low 30 minutes while you fix rice and a salad or veggie.
 Serve the meatballs over rice.
*Breadcrumbs are easy to do - this container has been refilled many times with my own.  I  I save the ends of the loaf of bread, toast til very dry, then crush them in a big bowl, or sometimes even use the blender.  You can pre-season them, or leave them plain.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Target thrifting

Target is one of my favorite places to troll the clearance areas.  You can combine coupons with markdowns and get some great deals.  It's also pretty trendy in the land of home decor.  But lately, I've noticed that Target will jump on a designer bandwagon for about ten seconds, then slash everything down to rock bottom prices and it's gone forever.  Anyone remember Missoni for Target?  A blip in time.
When I saw the Privet House stuff, I thought "OK, same thing is gonna happen, I'll just bide my time".  And guess what?  It did!  The rope pouf/ottoman was marked from $79.99 to $23.98.  Score!  A perfect place to prop our feet up in the sitting area of the front rooms.  Matches the walls with a pretty neutral and adds some texture...I love it.
And while I was there I got a giant bag of Twizzlers for 41 cents for our movie night snack,  an $8 jug of Tide for $5, and some other miscellaneous groceries.   Thrift shopping at Tarjay - one of my favorite things!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mealplan Monday #18 with Brownie Trifle

Summer is coming along; Firstborn has a new girlfriend and has signed up for Fall classes, The Girl is done apartment-sitting and now we get to actually see her leave in the morning and hear her come in late at night, Scout is going to Summer school so that pesky English II class can go away forever, and Bubbie is g-r-o-w-i-n-g, having gained 8 pounds since January.  In other words, nothing exciting is happening here, folks.

Monday - Chicken and sausage stew, carrots
Tuesday -Beef stir fry, ramen noodles, crab rangoon takey-outey
Wednesday - Chicken mole crock pot, flour tortillas, pico, salad
Thursday - Lazy Daisy Meatballs*, rice, peas
Friday - order pizza!
Saturday - Dad grills - something other than chicken or beef!
Sunday - Leftover Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from freezer, veggie
*recipe coming soon
People here love their desserts. I mean really love them.  And most of the time I oblige.  We're kind of burnt out on ice cream, but still love chilled desserts.  
Enter the Brownie Pudding Trifle in a cup!
Start with one small and one large instant pudding mixes in 2 different flavors. Cook and cool a package of fudgey brownies.  (I like the Betty Crocker ones that are less than $1 and make a 8x8 pan in about 25 minutes.)  Prepare the pudding mixes separately, then layer spoonfuls of them in a pretty glass dish with chunks of  brownie until you end up with this:
Refrigerate til well-chilled, then serve. 

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Friday, July 20, 2012


Bubbie and I killed some time waiting on Scout one day.  We wanted to see an exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus..  In all my time at UT, I had never done more than walk past that building.  I knew what it was, just never went inside...but its a beautiful free museum and had an exhibit about the history of the King James Bible.  
First things first:  we had to eat lunch.
We parked at a garage across the street from Dobie Dorm/Mall.  They have an awesome food court with student friendly prices.  The pizza place was calling our names...
 I had a Big as Yo Face spinach calzone with homemade marinara that was yum.
 Bubbie chose pizza.  I can tell you right now that he will not be able to eat all of that in one sitting and some of it will get stashed in my purse...
It was an overcast day, but even so, the UT campus always impresses me.  Not quite as perfectly landscaped as Baylor, a little more intimidating than Texas State,  but there's something about all the statues and giant oaks.  I love the giant oaks.
The HRC is awesome.  Investigate it here.  
They have the Guttenberg Bible and the world's first photograph.
And it is located on the southernmost edge of the campus.
 Inside, I was surprised at how interested Bubbie was - he spent a lot of time reading
 and admiring the exhibit.
The building has a wall of windows etched with famous scenes  - one of them is that haunting photo of the migrant family during the time of the Great Depression.
Bubbie admired the view at the bottom of the main mall.  We waited to hear the Westminster chimes, but for some reason, the bells never pealed.  We walked up to the Tower and looked back at the Capitol.  I remember seeing this view as a 20 year old and feeling goosebumps.  It always makes me wish I had worked a little harder at UT...oh, well....fate intervened...
 It had begun raining, so we headed back towards our own neck of the woods and might have stopped at Amy's on the way...
 I had to get the Strawberry Basil Pistachio ice cream - sounded too weirdly wonderful.  
Bubbie stuck with Belgian chocolate with Oreo's and Junior Mints.
One more stop - Terra Toys.  Bubbie is too old for toys, but it was fun to get in out of the rain and just look at everything.  Sometimes I wish they were all little again, thinking toy stores are magical places...
Stuffed animals and Austin. 
 OK, time to go pick up Scout.
Ever go exploring in your own town?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Making it fit

Hubby has discovered Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Last weekend he bought a Cuisinart food processor.  This weekend, cookware.  Last time he asked me about cookware I said "No, please.  We don't have room for all of the pots and pans that we have, let alone new ones, and I like the old ones just fine."  He didn't listen.
And he found a set of Lodge for half price.
Where the heck am I going to put it?
Let's see, not a smidgeon of space under the stove...
 Nor under the side cabinet....
 No empty space under the island
Or the cabinet next to the sink.
 Sigh.  They are pretty, though.
 With nice heavy bottoms and clear glass lids.  I guess I could move stuff around a bit...
I made him promise not to buy any more kitchen stuff - at least until we get the new gas cooktop in...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mealplan Monday #17 and kid on a bike...

This week I am digging through my recipe box for some tried and true favorites.  Only one or two involve the oven.  The temps have been a shade cooler and thank goodness for the rain last week!  The large sucking sound you might be hearing is from my lawn and trees...We have a sprinkler system that is set to go off only two days a week.  Once Summer gets crankin' here, we need more, but we have water restrictions and you can't just stand out there and hand water your yard every day.  That gets old.  So, hurray for free water from the sky!
Monday - Pizza Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday - BBQ Chicken Salad, brownies for dessert
Wednesday - Sausage and Bean crock, acorn squash
Thursday - Mediterranean Herb Crusted Tilapia, garlic butter fettucine
Friday - Freezer Meal
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Hot dogs, turkey chili, chips, watermelon
Too bad a certain kid isn't as perky as the landscape...

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Bread and Butters

I usually get my pickles from my mother, who loves growing cucumbers and canning the results, but this week I thought "why don't I just make my own?"  Pickles are such a great Summer thing...finding a recipe on the internet took two seconds and I picked the most basic one and changed it up to my taste.

Bread and Butter Pickles by me!
with simple, basic ingredients!
 (Yay! I got a food processor!)

4 c. thinly sliced cucumbers
1 c. thinly sliced onion
2 t. kosher salt
1 c. cider vinegar
3/4 c. sugar (though next time I will increase to 1 c.)
1 T. mustard seed
1 t. celery seed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 minced garlic

Prepare your jars.  I boil the lids and rims in a big pot of water for 5 minutes, then pour the water into to jars I'm going to use.  Then, add more water to that same big pot and get it boiling.  Make the brine in a medium sized pot: bring the vinegar and sugar to a gentle boil, add the mustard seed, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic and boil gently for another couple of minutes while you layer the cucumbers and onions in your jars.  Pack them in, but leave enough space for the brine between the layers.  Pour the hot brine into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch head space in each jar.  Clean threads, apply lids and rims, process for 5 minutes in that big pot of boiling water.  (I like them crisp, but not raw and processing them helps them seal, too)  Set jars upside down on counter for 5 minutes, then right side up, until you hear the lids ping (pop?).  Cool.  Store in pantry or fridge - I happen to like my pickles chilled.
The only downside I see to making pickles is the smell.  
The upside is that now I have several jars of them to eat on my sammies! 

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