Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Change the World Wednesday Challenge

It is that time again. The Change The World Wednesday Challenge from our Friend SmallFootPrints .

This weeks challenge is Zero Waste Week  The challenge this year is to "Reducing waste away from home".

There are several suggestions on their site. There are several small things you can do. Here are a few things we as a family do.

1. We look for restaurants that use recycled products. There are several in Gulf Shores that use straws, and to go packaging that is made from recycled paper. We do not have very many of those where I live in Tennessee.

2. We compost what can be composted (yes I bring my trash home alot of the time). The left over food is either stored to eat later, fed to the dog, chickens, or goats.

3, We alot of the time share food. If there is a bigger meal option then that is what we do. That way they only have one package, it has to be cook one time, and less waste.

4. I have also been know to go to restaurants and ask for scrapes for my animals. That way it does not end up in the dump. This worked great when we had pigs. I took the kitchen scrapes to feed them. (Not the stuff off peoples plates as those can carry diseases.) If they serve alot of vegetable scrapes you can even go ask for them and use them in your compost.

5. Finally for those restaurants that serve those extra large drinks in plastic cups. We take those home and reuse them. They are great for working out side, to use to scoop feed for the animals, and to the kids to play with in the creek and such.

I hope you take time to visit these sites and make a small step towards making the World a better place to live. One Small Step at a time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Honey Mustard Chicken

I had a recipe for a mustard chicken using Grey Pupon Mustard. I tweaked it a little bit  by adding a little honey and using regular mustard. (Yes I am not upper class enough for Grey Pupon lol). I used chicken thighs. I coated them with the recipe (below) and put them in a foil lined baking dish. (less mess and clean up) I baked them at 350 until they were done. Wesley and I really enjoyed these. Rebekka and Hubby had just regular roasted chicken thighs. They had to be different tonight. Rebekka said there was nothing wrong with the recipe she just wanted plain roasted chicken and vegetables. She put potatoes, mixed vegetables, and green beans (all drained) in the bottom of a baking dish. She placed the thighs on top and baked until the chicken was done and the potatoes were tender. (This is Rebekka and Hubby's favorite way to eat chicken except fried.)

Hone Mustard Chicken Bake

4 T.  mustard
2 T. melted butter
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Honey to taste
1 lb. boneless chicken breast

Mix  mustard, butter, garlic powder , honey and Italian seasoning in a large bowl or plastic bag. Add chicken, mixing to coat. Bake at 350°  until done.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Change The World Wednesday Challange

Have you seen  SmallFtPrint on Twitter. If not you should follow her. She has a challenge every week that is a small step to save the world. Here is her blog post this week.

The Challenge is to pick up trash while you are out and about on a walk or family activity. We do this when we go camping or go to the creek. We take two bags. One for recyclables and one for trash. We try to leave it cleaner than we found it.

What are your going to do this week to help the world a little bit at a time?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kheema and Naan

Tonight I decided to try something different for dinner. While everyone loved the Kheema not every one was thrilled with the naan. I think I did not knead it enough or didn't add enough milk as it was a little dry. Bekka made it in one big sheet to cook it. She was going to cut it with a pizza cutter when it was done but it just broke into chunks.

4 cups White Flour (Maida)
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
4 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Nigella seeds (Kalunji)
How To Make Naan:
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
Mix the sugar, milk, eggs 2tbsp of oil in a bowl.
Pour this into the center of the flour and knead adding water if necessary to form soft dough.
Add the remaining oil, knead again, then cover with damp cloth and allow the dough to stand for 15 minutes. Knead the dough again and cover and leave for 2-3 hours.
About half an hour before the naan are required, turn on the oven to maximum heat.
Divide the dough into 8 balls and allow rest for 3-4 minutes.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with nigella seeds and put it in the oven to heat while the dough is resting.
Shape each ball of dough with the palms to make an oval shape.
Bake the Indian bread naan until puffed up and golden brown. Serve hot.

I do not have Nigella seeds so I did the red neck thing and used Crushed Red Pepper in the dough.

I got the recipe idea for my Kheema from  I changed it up as I did not have actual curry powder. I am planning on picking some up or atleast the stuff to make my own. But what I made had a nice flavor to it.

1 lb hamburger meat
1 onion diced
1 Cup water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large potato cubed
2 cans diced tomato - drained  liquid reserved
1 can green peas drained and rinsed

I browned the hamburger meat and onions. I drained them really well. I added the spices and water then stirred really well. When I got this to a boil I added the tomatoes, potatoes, and green peas. I covered it and let it simmer until the potatoes were fork tender. I served mine with Naan Bread instead of over rice. (Hubby doesn't like rice that much.)

I also used some of the tomato juice from the canned tomatoes as part of my one cup of water. I learned long ago if you can replace water with something that has more flavor the go for it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cheap Easy Meals

With the Freezers winding down I am still on a food budget. Today I tried These Taco Rings. I left off the cheese when cooking them. I served the cheese and a fresh salsa (tomato,onion,jalapeno peppers, and salt) with them after they baked.

Taco Ring

Instead of traditional taco shells, use refrigerated crescent rolls to create a Taco Ring that's a main dish or a fiesta-style party appetizer.
Serves: 6

Cooking Time: 40 min

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (1-1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan.

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in taco seasoning; add water according to package directions. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Add cheese, stirring until it melts. Remove from heat and set aside.
Unroll crescent rolls. Place wide end of triangles in center of pizza pan/stone, forming a ring, overlapping dough as necessary. Spoon meat mixture into center of each triangle. Bring smaller ends of triangles over meat, tucking ends under.
Bake 20 minutes, or until rolls are golden. Serve warm.

Transfer to a serving platter and add whatever traditional taco toppings you like, such as shredded lettuce, salsa, and sour cream to the middle of the ring.
Another budget friendly meal is Creamed Beef. My Mom use to make this when we were growing up.
She would take Carl Buddig Corned Beef and slice into really thin slices. She would brown it in a little butter and set it aside. She would take the drippings and a little flour and  make a rue. Add milk, Worcestershire sauce to taste, salt and pepper. When this thickened up she would add the meat back. She would serve this over toast points. You can serve it over eggs, taters, noodles or any other thing that you can think of. It can be made with ham, chicken, hamburger meat, sausage or left over turkey.
Another one for this weeks menu was breakfast sandwiches. I love going to the bakery section of a store and getting day old bread. Today was French Bread. I made bacon, sausage, eggs,and had tomatoes, cheese, mayo on the side. That way they can make it the way they want it. I sliced the bread and grilled it in a little butter. I got 10 sandwiches out of one  loaf. Plus the end pieces that Wesley ate while waiting for me to cook.
Do you have any budget friendly meals you would like to share?  Let all of us know.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smoky Paprika Chipotle Seasoning

My Mom is always on the look out for all things foodie for me. She found this lovely spicy rub at T J Maxx's. Smoky Paprika Chipotle Seasoning.
This is my second bottle. When she found it the second time she called and asked me if I wanted more. I had to say yes. This stuff is amazing. I just  like to put my finger in it and then lick my finger. It has a great smoky flavor with a little heat it.

Tonight I went to the freezer and pulled out some pork chops. I had some hamburger meat left over from making pizzas yesterday too. So I added the spice to both and put them on the grill. Needless to say they were gone in no time. Wesley really enjoyed the hamburgers with the seasoning mixed into the meat.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ragu French Bread Pizzas

Growing up my mom use to make us French Bread Pizzas. I use to love them it was one of my favorite meals. Today when I went to order Wesley's Birthday cake I found some great bread loaves at the bakery. They are not French bread but and Italian Loaf and one that was unnamed. They were day old loafs. (They make the better french bread pizzas.)

 The sauce I used was Ragu Sweet Italian Sausage and Cheese. I was going to use both. One on each pizza but the kids voted to keep the chunky Mushrooms for lunch time pasta. (Remember hubby doesn't like mushrooms at all.) I picked Ragu because we like the fact they have so many flavors, it is not that sweet type of sauce, and it is always good quality. Plus there is 2 servings of vegetables in some of them. (Hubby will get those veggies after all.)
 Here is one of the loaves of bread I used. They are about the same size. Rebekka cut them in half length wise. She then put a light coating of butter on them and toasted them to crunch up the crust a little. You can use olive oil here and I have put garlic down on it too at this point.

Rebekka then spread the sauce added cheese and one one loaf she added a mix of sausage and hamburger meat. She added pickled Banana peppers to one third of them. (These are great to customize for people)

Here is the plain cheese type for those of us not into ground meat.

I find these are great blank canvas for left overs. I love adding extra veggies to mine when I have them. I have used Alfredo sauce on them for the sauce. It is normally what I have on hand that can be put on a pizza that would not offend any one in the house.  After sitting in the Doctors office all day I decided to make something quick and easy. I also wanted something really good. I think this passed as a family meal because there wasn't any leftovers not even for the dogs.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Left over Challenge

We are still doing the Freezer challenge at the house. I am thrilled that I have gone about 4 weeks with out spending more than $50 a week in groceries for 4 people and 2 dogs. Bekka suggested that we take it one step further to reduce wasting of food. This one is the left over challenge. I normally do not have many left overs. I feed them to my animals or to the compost. But Rebekka thinks we should take left overs and turn them into something different at lunch or dinner the next day. We will have to see what she comes up with.

The other thing we will be doing is having Throw Downs a couple times a month. The kids will be on one team and I will be the other. I think the first one they want to do is a deer stew.  The rules will be that they have to work together to come up with their recipe. If they need ingredients I will give them $20 and they will have to go to the store and work together to buy what they need within their budget. This way they will learn about budgeting and grocery shopping.

Please do not forget the Homeschool Project.   If you want to there is a discussion of where you can leave some information.

Friday, August 5, 2011

7 Day Croissant Review

Yep Another Review. Same rules apply. No one asked me my opinion, I bought this item with my own money. I drove my own car to the Dollar General, and paid for the gas too. No one held a gun to my head telling what to say. I am not getting paid to say this.

Now as for the quality of the pictures I am sorry. I took them in a poorly lite room with a very crappy camera (I have to hold the battery door shut on it to take pictures) and I was fending off two kids that had already ate their croissant.

I went to the Dollar General today to pick up some milk and cheese for the chili. I decided since I banned most junk food in the house I needed a junk food fix. I was rolling thru the isle and found these little Beauties. They are called 7 Days Soft Croissants with chocolate cream filling. I am not a big croissant person. There is none that I have found that have held a candle to the ones we get while at Disney for breakfast or sometimes snack. I get croissants for sandwiches every once in a while but like I said not a huge fan. Then I found these (See Below)

  Here is what made me pick it up. The lovely design on the package and the chocolate so lovingly taunting me. See it calls your name. I looked up 7 Days but could not find them but on the back of the package is the name Vivarti. They have a Wikipedia page. (Hint hit the word Vivarti and it will take you there.) The package says Westchester Illinois.

 It is a nice size croissant. It is not to big that it will make you sick when you eat the whole thing. It is shiny on the out side and soft and squish. (The package says not to microwave it) It has a great smell when you open the package.
It has just the right amount of chocolate too. It has the right mouth feel for a good croissant. I cant explain that texture you just know it when you put it in your mouth. Now as for price I paid a dollar a piece. I probably pay way more than that for the ones at Disney. (I normally get the dining plan so I have no clue what they cost.)

I got about half of a half before my kids stormed in and took it from me. They had an excuse ready. I am Diabetic and I am in no way supposed to eat something like that.

Here are the nutrition facts for those who look for those things like me. Serving size 1, Calories is 330 from fat 190, 22 g fat 12 saturated fat trans fat 0, cholesterol 15mg sodium 95mg, total carbs 32g, dietary fiber 1g, sugars 14g protein 4g vitamin A 10%, Vitamin c0% Calcium 4% Iron 6%

The ingredients list has a few word that I cant read but not as many as I am use to seeing. It contains wheat, soy, eggs and milk.

I see this one making it thru the junk food ban. My reasons is because it has Protein, Iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and Fiber. My children really enjoyed them. They get a thumbs up.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

House of Jerky Review

First off let me do all the legal crap. I won this sample on twitter. I was not asked to do a review. The opinions in this blog are that of my children and myself. No one held a gun to my head and made me do this review, no one asked me to do this review. No one told me what to say or when to say it.  I did not get paid to do this review. Ok on to the more important things.

We left this morning to the UPS truck going down our road. The first thing out of Rebekka's mouth is they better not have that beef Jerky on that truck. If they leave it on the front porch Hamdme will eat the whole box. Thankfully it came in the mail box. Handme has not yet found out how to open it.

 We received two packages of Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky. This happens to be Wesleys favorite flavor.  Rebekka, Wesley and I opened one of the packages, (I hide the other for later) They opened the package. They said it had a great smell to it. Then they tore into the package. They decided they liked it a whole lot better than any thing they have tried before. I like that it comes in a resealable package. (Not that that matters in this house.) Here is what the Beef Jerky Council said: The taste got a thumbs up, the texture got a thumbs up, The size of the servings got a thumbs up, The flavors and smell  got a big thumbs up.

 Here is another good thing. It has no preservatives in it at all. I can pronounce everything it has in it. It also has 380 mgs of sodium which is low for beef jerky.
Here you can see it is whole pieces of beef. The texture is soft and chewy not that hard dry texture like you get in some store bought beef jerky.

They not only have Beef Jerky. They have several other types. You need to go to  I think we may order a sample pack to try out the other kind they have. Beef, BuffaloVenison, Wild Boar, Salmon,Alligator, Turkey and variety packages.  They even have Jerky for Soldiers Angels  Where you can send some to a solider that you know.

This would also make a great gift. (Yes that is a hint to mt Family members lol) So stop by and give them so love.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Potato Burgers- freezer challenge

I am constantly going thru old cookbooks, magazines, and other peoples minds for recipes. Yes I ask random people for their recipes. Ex specially at church functions. I really like the older recipes that make meat stretch really far.

This recipe I found in an old cook book. I can not remember which one at this moment in time.  It takes hamburger meat and stretches it by adding shredded potatoes to it. I take a pound of hamburger meat and add one large shredded potato and 2 tablespoons of  shredded onion. Salt and pepper to taste. I form it into patties and fry them until done. I remove them from the pan and make a white gravy from the drippings, milk and flour. I then add the patties back and let the gravy thicken. I serve it over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. (Yes more potatoes but only when I am in a carb type mood.)

I served this tonight with the crispy and creamy corn bread, fried okra from the garden, and corn from the pantry.  Oh and tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.

This can also be made with ground pork, chicken, or turkey. If you use a leaner meat add an egg and a hand full of cracker crumbs to the meat before you mix it. It holds together better.

I have been going thru some different cookbooks that I have stashed back. Since it is way to hot to be out side for very long I am researching again. I will come up with some new things to post soon. I always take the regular recipes and change them to fit my families eating style. Big, Bold, Full flavor, and Fresh.

Please do not forget the Homeschool project.   I am starting school in about two weeks and would love to have a few to start off with.

Homeschool project

Everyone knows my children are home schooled. This year I want to start a project for them. I need everyone to help. What I need everyone to do is send a map of your state or country, tell us your favorite food from your area or country (recipe optional) , and favorite place to visit in your state or country. Also if some one in your family did something that is part of history.  And anything else you find relevant that you think a home school child should know.

This will be turned into a learning book for my children. They will study each state and country, and favorite place. I will also get into the history of that state (famous people, places ect..) One day I am hoping they can at least go to each state if not all the countries of the world.

I am hoping to expand their knowledge to things that are not in books. That are personal, local, and interesting.

The Address is :      Amy Byrd  4270 wayland springs rd  Iron city tn 38463