This was my inspiration for E's costume:
Break-down of her adorable costume:
Tulle Tutu: $12
Leather fringe: $3.36 (and snaps $1.49)
Feathers for headdress: $1.99
Beads for headdress: $2.00
Brown tights: already have
Ugg boots: already have
Having a one-of-a kind, adorable costume?: priceless
I'll get to use the snaps for other projects and the tutu for so many other things so I guess it was worth it:)
I've spent a whopping $4 on cowboy boots for me and $2 for an ugly plaid shirt. (not that cowgirls wear ugly plaid shirts, just that's what they had in the style at the goodwill.) I found a semi-decent hat at Target for $12.
I got some nice Wranglers for Ty that are a little big ($4 at goodwill) so I plan on taking them in...a lot. Got to get 'em nice and snug:) I don't know what he'll do for boots, but he already has a sweet shirt and cowboy hat.
That comes to a total of $42.84 for our Halloween costumes. I'm sure I could've done it for less if I used my coupons at Hobby Lobby for all the little stuff for E's costume, but hey 3 people's costumes for under $50. Not too shabby.
I also scored on candy with couponing...a bag of 250 dum dums for $9 and 6lbs of M&M's, Snickers, Twix, and such mixes for $1/lb. That's $15 on candy but I don't know if it will be enough for our neighborhood. We'll see!
Tonight is a definite crock pot recipe. As I mentioned yesterday, Blissful and Domestic plans for the whole month. This is another one of hers.
Mango Chicken with Rice--via Blissful and Domestic
4-5 chicken breasts (I only did 1 breast for the 3 of us)
1 jar mango salsa (I guessed this was 1 pint so I did 1/2 cup)
rice (I cook 3/4 cup for the 3 of us)
Put chicken in a crock pot. Pour salsa over the top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve with rice and veggies.
I ran into a fabulous blogger at Blissful and Domestic. She menu plans for the whole month! My goal is to have all the next month up on the calendar by the last Sunday of the month. That's this Sunday...oh dear:) She includes some of her own fabulous recipe and this one is hers! Remember this post where I talked about not being a big meatball fan? Well, I LOVED these ones, so all you meatball haters out there EAT THESE ONES!
Oven Turkey Meatballs--via Blissful and Domestic
3 beaten eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups bread crumbs
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground turkey sausage
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, and salt. Add ground turkey and mix well. Shape into 1" balls (Makes about 30-40). Bake for 25-30 mins. Eat right away or cool and freeze. She makes the whole batch and uses it twice this month, but I just halved the recipe and used 1 lb turkey sausage and I still had enough to freeze for a second meal
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Chopped Fresh Basil To Taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste
Boil water for pasta; have it ready.
Heat olive oil and melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for two or three minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add shrimp, then stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice. Add wine, butter, salt and pepper, and hot sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low.
Throw angel hair pasta into the boiling water. Cook until just done/al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or two of the pasta water.
Remove skillet from heat. Add pasta and toss, adding a splash of pasta water if it needs to be thinned. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed.
Top with grated Parmesan and minced parsley and serve immediately.
- Dollar Store Goodies: I like to visit the dollar store and grab a couple new toys or boredom busters that I keep hidden until a diversion is needed.
- Movies: is there any explanation needed?
- Toys: we pack up her Winnie the Pooh backpack with some favorite toys like figurines or a tea set, a flashlight, and cellphone.
- Books: we visit the library and max out my card with new stories to read. She isn't quite ready to listen to it read, but she loves looking through the pictures at her own pace. Some of our favorites right now are Strawberry Shortcake stories and Barbie:)
- Fun Songs: She loves activity songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and If You're Happy and You Know It. I have them all on CD's and we'll play her favorites over and over.
- Blankie: also, no explanation needed.
- Fun snacks and candy: like juice boxes and lollipops!
With a storm on the way, what better way than to heat up your insides with a hearty soup? (and hot chocolate...mmmmmmm)
Broccoli Cheese Soup; another Crock Pot Recipe--via Pioneer Woman
dash of salt
chicken broth, optional
Tonight I'm mixing up my favorite way to eat chicken salad. On a croissant. With curry. That's all you need:) Oh, and some grapes too!
Curry Chicken Salad--via Betty Crocker
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
1 medium onion
1/2 small green pepper
1 cup mayo
3/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard
bunch of grapes sliced in halves
salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients and serve!
Tuna Melts--via Pioneer Woman
Splash Of Pickle Juice
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1) Combine tuna with onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, eggs, and gherkins. Stir in mayonnaise, Dijon, and pickle juice. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed; be sure not to under-salt.
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3) Place English muffin halves on a large cookie sheet. Place a large spoonful of tuna salad on each of the twelve English muffin halves. Use the spoon to spread/flatten. Put pan into the oven for five minutes, then briefly remove and lay a slice of cheese on each muffin. Return to oven and turn on broiler. Watch carefully to avoid burning; bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.
4) Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Make it Mine Potpie--via BHG
prep: 25mins Cook Time: 22mins
2 cups cooked meat
1 10oz pkg frozen vegetables
1 can condensed soup
1 tsp seasoning
1/2 cup water (optional)
1/2 cup cheese (optional)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Meat(pick one): ground beef, pork, sausage, chicken, turkey
Frozen veggies (pick one): mixed beans and carrots, peas and carrots, stew veggies
Condensed Soup (pick one): cream of celery, chicken, mushroom, onion, or potato
Seasoning (pick one): chili pwd, curry pwd, dillweed, tarragon, thyme, chipotle chile pepper, italian seasoning
Cheese (pick one): cheddar, monterey jack, or mozzarella
Topper (pick one): frozen puff pastry sheets, refrigerated pie crust, refrigerated biscuits, refrigerated crescent rolls
1) Preheat oven to 400. If using ground meat, in a large skillet cook meat until no longer pink. Drain fat; discard. In large skillet combine ground or cooked meat, frozen veggies, condensed soup, and seasoning. Bring meat mixture to boiling. Add water, if needed, for desired consistency.
If desired, stir in cheese. Transfer meat mixture to a 2qt round casserole dish.
2) for topper, if using pastry sheet or piecrust, unfold pastry sheet or unroll piecrust. On a lightly floured surface roll pastry sheet or piecrust to 1 inch beyond edge of casserole. Place pastry on top of casserole. Trim pastry evenly with casserole edge, leaving 1 inch excess pastry. Fold excess pastry under, even with casserole edge. Press pastry along edges to seal.
3) If using biscuits or crescent rolls, quarter individual pieces and arrange over filling.
4) Brush topper lightly with milk and sprinkle with additional seasoning or grated parmesan cheese.
5) Bake uncovered for 22-25 mins or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand before serving.
what I made tonight:
Cooked chicken, cream of potato soup, carrots and peas, pepper and onion and garlic pwd, in a pie crust. I usually make my own topper, rather than use a refrigerated one. My recipes are below:
Biscuits:--via Betty Crocker Yields 1 dz biscuits
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp bkg pwd
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1)heat oven to 450. Cut shortening into flour, baking powder, and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in just enough milk so dough leaves side of bowl and rounds up into a ball. (Too much milk makes dough sticky, not enough makes biscuits dry.)
2) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll 1/2" thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 " apart for crust sides, touching for soft sides. Bake until golden brown about 10-12 mins.
Pie Crust: Yield five 9" crusts
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/8tsp baking pwd
1 3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water
1 T white vinegar
Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbles in pea size pieces. In another bowl combine wet ingredients and mix into dry ingredients a little bit at a time. Dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for months. To defrost, let dough reach room temperature. DO NOT MICROWAVE (I usually make a whole recipe of pie crusts and then freeze whatever I have left that I'm not using so I can quickly pull it out for another day and another meal or dessert.)
Tuna Melts--via The Pioneer Woman
Curry Chicken Salad Sandwhiches--via Betty Crocker
Broccoli Cheese Soup--via The Pioneer Woman
Shrimp Scampi--via The Pioneer Woman
Do you see a theme here? Her recipes look gourmet and taste it too. But they are usually so Easy!
Baked Oatmeal--via Inspired Taste
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices
1)Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
2)In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, Chinese five spice, salt, half the walnuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of strawberries, walnuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.
3)Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shimmy/shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
4)Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar on top then place back in the oven under the broiler and broil for 20-30 seconds. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of sugar or drizzle of maple syrup.
Notes: For a make ahead meal you can make this oatmeal the night before cooking. If you do this, place bananas on the bottom of the dish and not on top of the oats since they will brown slightly over night. Some readers have tried freezing: After mixing everything together the oatmeal is covered tightly or poured into resealable plastic bags and frozen. Then, when you want to bake the oatmeal, just take it out of the freezer, thaw and bake as directed. If you do this, we just suggest that the fruit is mixed into the oatmeal, not placed on top if you decide to freeze.
Amazingly enough, with the overwhelming amount of ideas and inspiration, pinterest has actually helped me SIMPLIFY my life. HOW? The magic of three ingredients:
It's incredible what a formidable combination those three ingredients are. I can walk around my house and clean it lickety split with just one spray bottle and a bunch of rags. I can clean my bathrooms, mop my floors, wash my windows, clean my stainless steel appliances, and keep my washing machine sparkly clean inside and outside with just one cleaner!
Marketers sure would like you to believe that you need all those separate cleaners for each different surface, but seriously, this combo works and since vinegar is a powerful disinfectant I don't need to do any additional disinfecting.
I love that I can clean my house top to bottom and disinfect everything in ONE HOUR (including tidying and vacuuming). How do I do this? Well, firstly, I have 1500 sq feet on each floor so this is really just the time it takes to clean the main floor. Since the basement is unfinished, this pretty much is my whole house right now! It's comprised of a carpeted family room and 3 bedrooms. The two bathrooms are vinyl tiles and the rest is wood laminate. This is my cleaning routine:
Pick up all the general toys and clutter and return to their respective room.
Put all the dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
Vacuum all bedrooms and family room and entry way rug
Sweep the wood floors and bathrooms.
Clean bathrooms with DRY cleaning. (a new trick that saves oodles of time and is so much cleaner! They use this technique in hotels)
Clean all floors with my swifer. I simply fill a tupperware with a vinegar and water mixture and use a lint free cloth, immerse and squeeze all the extra water out and put it on my swifer. (I never buy swifer cloths because this works sooo well). I also clean my baseboards and doors while I'm going along--the swifer is perfect for those surprisingly enough.
Clean cupboards and appliances
Replace all the rugs.
Turn on the scentsy (because I love yummy smells more than vinegar)
SMILE because my house is pretty close to spotless and smells great.
Now that your house is clean, let's get the kitchen dirty with this quick and easy dinner recipe.
This is a super quick dinner that is sure to please everyone. I love that this recipe is so fast and easy and kids love being able to pick what they want to dress it up. Plus, there isn't much cooking so my just cleaned and sparkly kitchen stays that way for more than a couple hours!
I really don't know how it got the name Hawaiian Haystacks, but I sure know it's delicious. (Shhhh, the secret is the sauce!)
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup chicken gravy recipe
toppings! (i.e. pinapple, raisins, coconut, chow mein noodles, cheddar cheese, green onions, peas, almonds, tomatoes, mushrooms, green pepper, water chestnuts, etc).
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp onion pwd
1/4 tsp garlic pwd
I love to add the cheese directly to the sauce because who doesn't love a cheesy, creamy sauce on rice?
In an orderly fashion, assemble your rice, gravy and toppings. Enjoy!
Have you guys been suffering from the fall of the flies? I seem to open my door and 20 fly in. I'm constantly whacking around my fly swatter and only having marginal success at keeping them at bay! Grr. Disgusting. It's forcing me to not leave any food out whatsoever; therefore, I eat less. Yay for not having to stuff into my skinnies just in time for boot season. We had so much fun this week going to the farm by our house and participating in the Barnyard Boo...your little ones will LOVE IT! We came home from the chill to a soup that simmered all day thanks to the all powerful and simple crockpot. I love quick and easy crockpot soups--this one puts all other tortilla soups to shame. I'm not biased or anything...
Chicken Tortilla Soup--via Carolyn Rasmussen Ingredients:
1 can corn
1 can white beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can chicken broth
1 pint salsa
1/2 pkg ranch dressing mix
1/2 pkg taco mix
4-6 chicken breast cooked and shredded
Open cans and pour into crockpot. Add spices and chicken. Give it a slow stir until seasonings are mixed. Let it simmer until bubbly or until you serve.
4 new potatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup ranch dressing, divided
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 cherry tomatoes
1) Heat grill to medium-high heat.
2) Cook potatoes in boiling water 12 to 14 min. or until tender; drain. Cool slightly.
3) Thread meat, accordion-style, onto 4 skewers, alternating potatoes and tomatoes between folds of meat; brush with half the dressing.
4) Grill 10 to 12 min. or until meat is done, turning occasionally and brushing with the reserved dressing for the last 2 min.
I know I know you guys have been waiting on the edge of your seats for pictures of the new house! I mean I've grumbled enough about it!
Well, enjoy my little instagram photo log
Au Gratin Potatoes FRY PAN STYLE (I love these because they are so NOT funeral potatoes...if you know what I mean)
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, diced
3 large potatoes, washed and sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (I cheat and use deli ham sometimes, or canadian bacon, or even regular bacon, yum.)
1/2-1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 green pepper, diced
salt and pepper
1) Heat fry pan and melt butter. Add onion and potatoes. Cook covered until almost soft.
2) Add cottage cheese. Stir occasionally to prevent burned potatoes.
3) Add ham, green pepper, and grated cheese. Continue to cook until potatoes are soft and cheese is melted.
It has come to my attention that a few readers have been confused that I create all the recipes on this blog. That is not the case. For the most part all the recipes are ones I've tried and tested and want to catalog for future use. This blog is not to be mistaken for a recipe blog, but rather a collection of awesome recipes I've found throughout the years. I always link back to the site I found the recipe or include the recipe book where you can find it. If there is continued confusion I will make the blog private as it is intended for my personal use.
4 chicken breasts
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups orange juice, you can use oj concentrate, just use a couple Tbs and add some chicken broth.
2 Tbs butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbs flour
1) Coat chicken with mustard and place in crock pot. Cover with the onions, 1/4 cup brown sugar and orange juice. Add butter pieces on top.
2) Cook 3 hours in crock pot on HIGH.
3) Before serving, stir in remaining brown sugar and flour and heat until the sugar caramelizes and the sauce thickens.
4) Serve chicken with sauce however you please.
Update: This is one of my more popular posts...here's an awesome round up of other amazing Better than Sex Poke cakes!
Basic Poke Cake
1 box cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar sauce/pudding
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping
1) Make the cake according the directions on the box and cook in a greased 9x13 pan.
2) While the cake is still warm, poke holes in cake with a straw.
3) Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, making sure it gets into all the holes. Then repeat with the pudding or sauce.
4) Spread cool whip on top and sprinkle with the topping.
For the Chicken and White Bean Filling:
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
15.5 oz can white beans (or Cannellini beans)
8 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
1/3 can water
1 chicken bullion
1 tsp cumin
For the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
7 oz can chopped green chilies
2 jalapeños, chopped
1/2 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese
8 medium tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro or scallions (or both!)
Preheat oven to 375°.
For the Filling:
In a medium pan, heat olive oil on low. Add onions, garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add green chilies, beans, water, bullion, and cumin. Mix well and cover. Simmer on low 15 minutes. Remove cover, add chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until it thickens and liquid boils down. Set aside.
Green Chili Enchilada Sauce:
In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Whisk until the sauce becomes smooth. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add green chilies, jalepeños, and salt to taste. Cook another minute then remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.
Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of the chicken/white bean filling. Roll the tortillas and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling remainder of the tortillas.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Cover with aluminum and bake 20-30 minutes, until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro or scallions.