Eating Real Food, Recipes/ How To

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner???

So I had some chicken and wanted to try something new- turned to trusty old Pinterest for some inspiration. I saw a one dish chicken and veggies that took just about an hour to bake, didn’t call for crazy weird ingredients and could be easily modified.

So here is my gathering of the ingredients:

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I decided to go with potatoes and broccoli for the two side veggies. I seasoned all well with a season salt type seasoning, some onion flakes and some jarred garlic. I mixed all this in a small bowl with a few TBSP melted butter and a few TBSP olive oil. I placed my chicken and veggies in the pan and drizzled with the season mixture. Topped with foil and baked for 30 minutes like that.

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Here’s what it looked like going into the oven. After 30 minutes I added a small pkg of bacon pieces and about 4oz shredded cheddar. Covered with foil and baked another 30 minutes. (and yes- I know those fake bacon pieces are terrible for you-it’s all about balance! This dinner is mostly “real” and healthy. You could omit the bacon and cheese if you wanted)

So, I didn’t get an “after” pic- hubby dug into it! He liked this much better than I did. It was just an “okay” for me.

The chicken wasn’t flavored as much as I would’ve liked and was a bit dry. The broccoli was mushy and the potatoes were really good.

So, I will be playing with this concept- just changing it up a bit! I am going to attempt it again- only next time I will marinate my chicken overnight in Italian dressing, I will use fresh chopped onions, and will only bake the potato chunks on the side (I will just steam my broccoli like I usually do).

So- trial and error! The story of my life! Stay tuned for a much better (fingers crossed) version of this bake!

In life we all have some ups and downs, some great successes and some super flops! Learning from our flops is the key! I hope all have a super Blessed week! It’s a cool rainy day here- feels like fall! God Bless!

Uncategorized

Junkin it Up!! DIY Coat Rack from an Old Door

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So I had an old door- I love old doors, oh heck- I love almost anything old! I just love to find new purpose for old things. I love that they have a story to tell- I hate to see things discarded and considered useless.

So the old door here is laying across a wooden pen with lattice sides (pay no mind to my crazy work space!) This door was in an old house that has been torn down. It’s solid wood with a glass pane window. I decided this would make a lovely coat rack for near my back entryway. This is where we pile into with coats and hats and boots- so it’ll be of good use seeing as that area has no  closet. (Living in old houses does have a few drawbacks!)

I started by using heavy grit sandpaper and sanding it down.

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Once I had it nice and smooth, I cleaned the window well with alcohol and let it air dry. I then taped off around it (I added a width of newspaper to avoid getting the chalkboard paint onto the wood) and added chalkboard paint to the window area. (I used a spray chalkboard paint- bought at Home Depot)

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Once the chalkboard paint was good and dry (I waited til the next day) I used a can of flat interior paint, I then placed about a cup of paint into a red solo cup, stirred in 1Tbsp  of Pottery Plaster (from Hobby Lobby) and about 1/4c water. Stirred really well until smooth. Brushed onto my door.

I then let this dry well (waited til the next day) I then sanded lightly with fine grit sandpaper in a few spots, to give it some character. I then used a small foam brush and added a bit of dark color stain to the sanded areas, wiping off excess. It turned out really cute!

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Finally I added 5 cast iron hooks to the door. I found these while checking out a store for wedding stuff for my daughters’ wedding. They are very heavy made (neat, although they are not antique- just made to look it)

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So there you have it! I was happy with the results! I think it’s going to look great on my wall- just gotta get that area redone now! Another project!!

I hope all are having a blessed year thus far! Mine is going great, just really fast! We will be counting down to Christmas before long!

Have a Blessed Day!

Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Thrifty Fashion

It’s Back!! Frugal Fashion Friday- 8/21/15

Okay so with back to school I will try to get back into the swing of things! So here goes another round of Frugal Fashion Friday!!

My daughter started working at a local bank, so she needed some dressier clothing. She went and bought a pair of dress pants (for like $30) but still needed more.

Leave it to cheap-o mom to the rescue!! We took a hundred bucks and came home with tons of great “new” clothing! She loves thrift shopping as much as her momma!!

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Here we have this adorable outfit- total cost? A whopping $5.50!

She found this top at Goodwill for $3.50, what a deal! But wait- those super awesome pants were a find at Salvation Army and they were half price to boot (normally $4, sale $2).

I will share more of our shopping trips in the weeks to come! We are just a frugal, thrift loving family!!

I hope all are having a marvelous week, I know I am! My baby boy turns 17 today, wow! I am truly a very blessed lady and I give all the glory to God! He blesses me much more than I ever deserve and I thank Him daily for it.

Have a wonderful weekend- God Bless!!

Eating Real Food, Recipes/ How To

Healthy Black Bean Burritos with Quinoa

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Looking for a filling, healthy, yet still super yummy supper? Look no further! You’ll get a whopping 2 big burritos per serving for around 500 calories.

These burritos are packed with protein, they’re filled with ground turkey, black beans, quinoa,salsa, and a bit of shredded cheddar.

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I started with cooking and crumbling 8oz  lean ground turkey,added some dry onion flakes, minced garlic and a dash of fajita seasoning.Then I drained and rinsed a can of black beans and added to the skillet. I then added about 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and about 1/2 cup salsa.This mixture was heated through.

I used whole wheat tortillas, filled each with about 1/4 cup filling and added 1 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese. These were so filling!!

Hope all are having a super summer- it’s winding down!! I go back to work tomorrow- then school starts next week. My daughters’ wedding is also just 6 weeks away, so it’s getting hectic around here!! May all have a blessed week!!

Eating Real Food, Homesteading, Recipes/ How To

Home Canned Salsa- Eating Real Food

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So it is that time of year- all those luscious fruits and veggies are coming off by the bushel! Time to do some preserving. Time to tromp out to the storage building and dig out my canning stuff. Time to heat up the kitchen for a good cause. Time to make some real, yummy foods!

Now this day I made homemade salsa to can. I am planning to can diced tomatoes later this week. Then some peaches later in the summer.

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Look at all that yumminess! Around here we go through a lot of salsa, and homemade is always better! My bunch had to have a bowl fresh before I started to can it up!

Now we all have an old standby when it comes to canning or even just salsa making, here’s mine:

Ripe tomatoes, blanched/peeled/chopped

Fresh Jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds removed)

Bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Yellow onions, finely chopped

Juice of a lime or two

Salt

I start by blanching (just dropping into boiling water/followed by a dunk into ice water) my fresh tomatoes, then slip the skin off, core and chop into very small dices. Wash and chop all other ingredients. I use about 8c chopped tomatoes to every 3 small/medium peppers, 2 medium onion and a bunch of cilantro. I mix in a large bowl and taste. Now it seems a bit bland- but I add my salt to each jar so I know they each have the exact right amount needed to preserve them. I use 1/2 tsp salt per pint jar, added right before placing the hot band/lid on top.

They then go into my pressure cooker to be pressure cooked for 25 minutes. Let cool on the counter on a towel.

Don’t let a pressure cooker intimidate you- just read the instructions carefully when using one. I do not use mine for cooking- although I know people that do. I bought mine strictly for canning.

Hope all have a Blessed week! I am finishing up a few wedding projects this week and getting ready to go back to school!

Eating Real Food

Cheesy Quinoa Bites- A Great High Protein Meal or Snack!

Okay, so still on the quest to eat better- still struggle- but marching on! I really need to stop eating out so much, because when I say “I’ll just get a salad” , what I mean is when I walk in the door and see steak and a loaded baked potato, the salad idea goes right out the window!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (how did we cook/organize/raise children/ sew/craft/ ANYTHING before Pinterest? Not sure, but I find some great stuff on there. )

I found these yummy little bites here: http://www.southerninlaw.com/2013/03/cheesy-quinoa-bakes-recipe.html

Now her pics look much better than mine, but you get the idea!

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I tweaked the recipe just a bit, these are very versatile and could be flavored any way you like. I added a few ounces of diced smoked ham and cheddar cheese.

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I baked mine in this fluted mini bundt pan sprayed well with cooking spray. I had no problem getting mine out. The recipe made 12 of these, which I serve 3 per serving at around 220 calories and a whopping 18g protein per 3.

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This was a great breakfast that is super filling and yummy. I love finding higher protein real food recipes that I love.

Here’s the recipe adapted my way:

3/4 c cooked quinoa

2/3 c egg whies (about 5 to 6 large)

1c shredded zuchini squash (could use other veggie- thinking broccoli would be great finely chopped)

2/3c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2oz smoked deli ham (could use any meat- smoked turkey, sausage,etc)

1tsp Mrs Dash Onion Herb seasoning

1tsp dried onion flakes

dash salt/pepper

Mix all together, spoon into muffin tin or mini bundt that’s been well sprayed with cooking spray (or use some coconut oil and oil well). Bake at 350* for around 20 minutes (I did mine for like 18, but in the future would cook a bit longer, maybe 20-22 min) Remove from pan to plate. Enjoy!!

These will be a great make ahead breakfast for the work week. Would even be good for lunch or a mid-morning snack.

I hope all are having a fabulous summer- it’s been hectic here! I am getting ready to be back at school- missing my awesome co-workers! Planning to make and can some salsa later today- we just love salsa and my garden (should say hubbys’ garden- he does all the hard work!) is producing gaggles of delicious tomatoes.

Have a blessed day!!!

Frugal Living/ Budgeting

Time for some Mid-Year Updates!

Okay so we are about halfway through 2015 already, so time to re-evaluate my yearly goals and see where I am at. As I said back in December, I try to shy away from “resolutions” and instead make myself a yearly goal list along with “mapping out” how to attain those goals.

In the eating more healthy part of my yearly goals: I have achieved a few small changes this year and although haven’t lost a ton of weight, I am establishing new healthier habits, so I feel good about that. A few changes I have made: not drinking soda on a daily basis, drinking my coffee black in the morning (no more creamer and sugar), I am eating at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies on at least 4 days a week, and I am trying different foods more often. Baby steps!!

In the financial part, where I had set more goals for this year, I am head above water, so to speak. I have paid off 2 small credit cards and am in the process of re-financing my home to a lower interest rate and consolidating the 2 major credit cards that have been a huge hurdle for me. I will be very happy to have this done and to cancel those accounts out for good! I try to stress to both my children, no credit cards! Once you have a bigger amount of debt, it becomes a burden and is very hard to ever get paid off. I have also taken on more financial debt as my son needed braces. We are also in the midst of wedding planning with our daughter, we will be gaining an awesome new son-in-law and are very happy for them.

So far this year I have been unable to switch back to the “cash only” or envelope budget method, and haven’t really been focused on it. I would still like to re-focus and get it down, because our weekly spending is just crazy! We don’t really follow a weekly “budget” per se, and it is really burning money up quick! I am not going to lie, July is looking quite busy with running- so I am going to plan for August to be the month I get back on board with the cash only weekly budget system. Fingers crossed I can get my hubby on board and we can really focus and get on track with it! I know it would work- it’s just a matter of sticking with it. It’s breaking a bad habit, which is just spending without really knowing how much until it’s too late.

I know that come the end of this year I will be able to cross off most of my list, and that makes it all worth it! I am not a money guru, I just have to take it step-by-step and try to get better with financial decisions.

How about you, how are you doing with goals you may have set for the year? I would love to hear from you! I hope all have a very blessed weekend! Happy Independence Day to you and yours!

Uncategorized

Antique Quilts- Another of my Obsessions!

Okay so I have an affinity for old quilts- the older and heavier the better. I love them because they were hand made so long ago with so much love, I love them because they are heavy- stuffed with real cotton, and I just love them because!

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Here are some quilts piled onto an old wooden crate. I just really love antiques in general!

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I find quilts at junk stores, yard sales, estate sales, and the like. For me looking for any antique item is like treasure hunting, you just never know where or what you’ll find. Or what great deal you’ll stumble across.

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The above quilt is a real beauty! This one my son found for me while at an estate sale with his dad. He bought it for me and it’s my favorite quilt. It is in pristine condition, having been displayed on a quest room bed for many years. I love that the colors are muted and gentle. I love that is has beautiful scalloped edges. I love that the pieces are ever so tiny and all the patterns coordinate perfectly. It is simply stunning!

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This one is another gem! It was found at a yard sale, for a super awesome price of just 5 bucks!  This one is lighter weight quilt, not the super heavy feel of most old quilts. I love the bright, whimsical colors and pattern on this one.

DSC_0006Here is the edging – so pretty!

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I had to include my soft and fluffy, new quilt my mom made for me just recently. It has lots of fabric scraps from when I was a kid, which makes me smile. My mom sewed for us throughout the years, shorts, pajamas, dresses, etc. She saved all her scraps (it’s where I get that from) and she uses each of “our” fabrics to make us quilts. She made this one in the bubble style, meaning each square is fluffy and soft.

So what are some things you love to hunt for and collect? I would love to hear comments from you! My daughter and I are going to look at a wedding venue today, I think it’ll be the place she gets married! We are on the countdown now, September 19th will be here before I know it! I hope all have a very blessed day!!

Family Vacations

Silver Dollar City Fun!

So my family lives within a few hours drive of Branson Missouri, home to many fun things to see and do. One of our all time favorites throughout the years is to visit Silver Dollar City, an old time themed park. We love that is is a beautiful setting, it has lots of fun rides, and we love the shows and arts/crafts.

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Now a friend once joked about it being called “Steal you dollar City” because it can be pricey. It is expensive as far as “things to do”, but even Ms Frugal here will tell you, for the value it is worth the money to go if your family enjoys theme parks like mine does.

I am going to go through why it’s a good value for us, and also how I make it an even better value:

1. Tickets- they are right at $60 each for adults and teens- If you happen to eat at McDonalds’ they are printing SDC coupons for $5 off each ticket up to 2 tickets. We grouped up and paid separately to save $25 on our groups tickets this way.

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2. Get there when the gates open to extend your time in the park, also check for any dates with extended hours, they normally close at like 8, but we went on an open til midnight date- score! Now we took a little break- left and came back- just be sure you hold onto your tickets for re-admission.  Plus as  a bonus the rides are so much funner at dark!

3. Food- I always tote a beach bag with me- packed with frozen Gatorade and water- and snacks such as dried fruit and nuts. We snack throughout the morning, then maybe grab some food mid afternoon. The frozen bottles thaw throughout the day, staying nice and cold. We also have the hard plastic cups from Silver Dollar City from 11 years ago- we just wash and bring back in the tote bag. They cost around $12 to buy, but you can get refills of soda or the ever yummy “specialty drinks” such as frozen lemonade and slushies for just a few bucks. So keep those cups if you plan to return!

4. Shows- we always check to see what kind of great shows are being offered- and get in line early! The tickets for the park cover the shows too- so don’t miss out on those! This year was the Harlem Globetrotters. We have also seen Circus on Ice, BMX trick riding and my favorite- the Wallenda family (featuring Nick Wallenda who tightrope walked across Niagara Falls!)

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5. Last is that the ticket price lasts all day- if you break it down hourly- even for just 8 hours that’s just around 8 bucks an hour for family fun and entertainment. Not too shabby! You can also upgrade to get season passes or to make it a 2 day pass for additional fees.

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Now I did not get paid to write this article- my family has just been going here for many years and we enjoy it. I hope all have a wonderful fun filled summer!

Where are places you and your family love to go? I would love to hear from you!

Crafty Fun, Frugal Living/ Budgeting

DIY Spoon Necklace- Frugal Fun

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I got into a crafting mood, so I pulled out my spoons and stamps and decided to make a few new spoon necklaces!

These are super easy to make and cost so little, yet they are too cute and make great gifts. This one above I made using a spoon I bought at a thrift store, a wing from the craft store (8 in a pkg for $2) and then I have a chain I use for all my different “spoons” and charms, but to get a new one would cost just a buck or so. (I get them on sale at Hobby Lobby in a pkg of 2)

Now my art creations are not perfect by any means- I have fun with it and make stuff I love. They are usually for me or a family member or friend.

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This one was hard to get a great photo of, it says “Make it Count”

This is a great example of my “imperfect” style, I started out by hammering the spoon flat and then buffing it smooth. Then I flubbed up and messed up the lettering on the top part of the spoon! Oh was I mad at myself. It then sat for months in the “junk” pile of my crafty junk. Tonight while working on more spoons, I saw this one, then had an idea. What if I just “covered” my oops with a pretty?

It worked- I re-stamped the words on the lower half, then placed a pretty heart over my mistake on the upper half. The cute little heart was a piece of broken jewelry from my daughter (I keep all that junk, cuz you just never know!) I used some crystal clear E600 glue to adhere it to the spoon. Viola! Cuteness!

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My messy work area- I hammer on the porch or out in the shop, depending upon my mood!

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After I hammer the spoon down flat, I use the hand stamping tools to add letters. I then use some of my scrapbooking ink to add depth to the letters. I apply the ink to the spoon, then use a paper towel to wipe off excess. The letters have better visibility that way.

DSC_0033This is the ink I use.

DSC_0039Another pic!

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So to re-cap: Get some funky cool spoons, hammer flat, buff out, using a hand stamp system- add quotes, Bible verses, names, etc. , use ink to add depth, cut down and bend the handle over to hold the chain (keep for use as a charm if it’s pretty!), add baubles if you like, place it on chain of your liking and you will be getting requests from your friends and family!

I hope all are having a wonderful week so far- I am! I worked today in my office, getting paperwork ready for next school year, then came home and played in the garden a bit, and then made a few pretties!  God Bless!