Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, Fresh Start

I did an excellent job of keeping my New Year's Resolutions last year. I kept every single one. Can I do it again this year?
  • Find a weekly grocery budget that is realistic (minus meat) and stick to it. No idea on the number just yet. I plan to have that settled by the end of Jan.
  • Read 12 books this year. May not sound like much, but at the end of the day I just want to sleep, not read. So one book a month is a realistic goal for me.
  • Make and keep a regular workout schedule...but don't beat myself up if that week gets hectic and it doesn't go at planned. Some weeks are just that way. I met my weight loss goal from last year but I want to tone up a bit.
  • We set some financial goals as a family that I would like to achieve this year.
  • Cut back to ONE Starbucks drink a week. The girl at the drive through knows my drink order and she asks where little man is when I pull through without him. I frequent that establishment too often. (That will also assist in the resolution listed previously!)
  • Find 2 new dinner recipes a month. Sound easy, but finding recipes that sound good lately is proving to be very difficult.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff (like when Andrew cleans up the toys and they aren't where I would put them). I am bad about letting small insignificant things bother me. And let me tell you...they can be unnoticeable to you...but will drive me bonkers until it is fixed. I want to try and chill out a little bit.
I have set quite a few, but none of them are unachievable. Here is to a wonderful 2011! See you next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Wish You a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

We had such a great Christmas. Colin had so much fun opening gifts. He started off slow, but by the end of the night he was a pro...even opening other's gifts. LOL

He got so many nice new toys. His favorites seem to be his grocery cart, the ride on fire truck, the fire house, the see 'n say, and the race car track. Mamaw got him a step stool for the bathroom that I love. It is green and has his name on it in blue. He is still a little short so he can't get his hand under the faucet yet, but he can stick his toothbrush under the running water.

Andrew and I don't exchange gifts, but his dad did get me a beautiful Pandora bracelet. He had a charm on it for me (a gold dangle heart). My gift from Colin? We picked out another bead for my bracelet. I picked a bird because Colin's name means "dove" and he also loves birds. I have no idea what the draw is, but he loves them. (He will never have one for a pet, though). I had a little Christmas money so I went out and picked a couple of clips to add to the bracelet and one more charm - a cupcake since I like to bake. =)

Colin also got me a little personalized jewelry box (thanks to my mom). I love it so much! I have already filled it.

Yesterday I took the tree down and put away all the Christmas decorations (except the wreaths outside - I forgot). Andrew thinks I am crazy and that it is kind of scroogy...but it is important to me (and my OCD personality) to have everything away by New Year's Day. It is a clean slate and I don't want to be cleaning up 2010's mess in 2011. I even got all the decorations into the attic ALL BY MYSELF. I worked fast while Andrew was working out to show him I can do it.

Here are a few pictures and my charms.

Speaking of a clean slate in 2011, my New Year's resolutions will be posted soon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Colin got drums for Christmas!

Ok, not really, but he will one day. See the video.

Christmas recap to come.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Christmas Leftovers
Monday: Chicken Tetrazzini
Tuesday: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Wednesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken and Rice (I really like this)
Thursday: Paula Dean's Baked Spaghetti (ended up not using the last frozen batch a couple weeks ago)
Friday: Mellow Mushroom - using our Groupon
Saturday: No clue...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Welcome to Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger

Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world

Just like Colin's book says: Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and presents are okay, but Jesus is the real reason we have a Christmas Day!

Don't forget the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

The Coleman Family

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Glazed Cinnamon Apples

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in eight wedges
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbps butter, melted
Vanilla Ice Cream
Crumbled oatmeal or ginger snap cookies (optional), I am going to use Snickerdoodles

Place apples in slow cooker; drizzle with lemon juice.

Mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture over apples; stir gently to coat. Drizzle with butter. Place lid on slow cooker.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours or HIGH for 2 hours until apples are done.

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Serve warm apple topping over ice cream. Top with crumbled cookies, if desired.

Poppy's Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Mix together butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and then add this to the butter mixture.

Chill dough.

Roll into 1" balls. Mix cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar. Rolls balls into mixture. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

I'm Melting!

Meet Frosty

And his army of snowmen 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, snickerdoodles it is then

So those cookies I talked about yesterday? I went to get my cookie press and pick out the disks I wanted to use and noticed it was broken. I went to Target to buy a new one and all they had was a cheap plastic thing for $10. So....I am not doing those anymore! I will be making snickerdoodles and posting that recipe soon.

Also, I found a cookie for next year's cookie exchange. =) Well, my mom found and forwarded on to me. I might try it out tomorrow or wait a few weeks. I would consider it a winter cookie. Pictures to come if I try and tackle it, but no recipe or how to...I am saving that for the exchange. Yes, you would have to wait a year unless I found another recipe to take. Also, this cookie is very kid friendly (to eat, not to make). Intrigued yet? You should be. =P

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Press

Wish me luck. I am tackling some spritz cookies on Thursday.

I got this cookie press a couple years ago and have the hardest time with it. Either the dough is too soft, or too hard, or won't stick to the cookie sheet. But I have Thursday off and I think Colin and I are going to crank up the Christmas music and attempt to bake up a batch of these bad boys. If the recipe I found is any good, you will see it posted here soon. If these fail, I think I will make a batch of snickerdoodles. I know Santa will enjoy them.

If you have been successful with this type of cookie, please give me your secret!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookie Party

Saturday we hosted a Christmas Cookie Party and invited all of Colin's grandparent's and great grand parents. We had so much fun and can't wait to do it again next year. I only wish I had more room in my house so I could include some friends, along with my family, in on the fun. I have a year to see if I can figure it out I guess.

I baked about 7 dozen cookies prior to the party (sugar and gingerbread cut outs freeze great!). I made a couple types of icing and had a bunch of different sprinkles (or as I learned they are also called jimmies). We had Russian Tea on the stove, milk, eggnog, cocoa, coffee, and soda. And to counter all the sweet cookies we had some mozzarella stick and marinara, chex mix, and peanuts.

I think someone was ready to get his hands dirty!

He got his own sprinkle can because he tended to dip his into the icing.

My little brother and sister.

Colin's finished cookie. I put it in its own little baggie in the fridge so we could put it out for Santa.

My cookies.

My full kitchen. I love how even my dad and brother decorated some. And I love that everyone looks so happy in this picture.

One of our group shots. I have another one with Grandma and Grandpa Coleman, but I am having technical issues. And Colin LOVES my Grandma's cane. Won't put it down. We had to hide it.

Once everyone was done with their cookies, we had Christmas themed containers to put them in so they could take them home. I really had so much fun and really want to find a way to include more people. Even if it means putting plastic down in my living room/play room area and getting some card tables. Ha, we will see. That means making a lot more cookies...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

So, this recipe isn't hard, but it is very time consuming. We don't make it often and when we do, we are home most of the afternoon anyway. However, it is one of our favorites. I don't stick to the recipe completely. I use less of the ricotta and mozzarella. We just do it to our personal preference. And I love that it is baked instead of fried.

1 Eggplant
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon water
8 oz Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
26 oz jar of Pasta Sauce
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray or brush with olive oil.

In a shallow bowl, combine eggs and water. Peel and slice eggplant (about ¼" thick). Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs to coat. Lay prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Flip eggplant and drizzle again with olive oil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Change oven temperature to 350°.

Spray a 9x13 pan with olive oil spray. Layer pasta sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta cheese, ½ of the mozzarella cheese, eggplant,and then pasta sauce. Bake for 40 minutes. Add remaining mozzarella cheese to top and bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with angel hair pasta.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Eggplant Parmesan and Pasta
Monday: Ravioli and Veggies
Tuesday: Turkey Burgers and Onion Rings
Wednesday: BBQ Pork Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday: Pizza - Ham and Pineapple
Friday: Christmas Eve Party
Saturday: Christmas Dinner - Ham!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Russian Tea

Bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to a boil
Add 2 large tea bags (or 6 regular) to seep on low heat for 15 minutes along with
2 cinnamon sticks
1 T. cloves (in a tea ball)

Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves (or leave in for a while for stronger flavor)

Add 1 cup (or more/less to taste) sugar
6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
3 oz (half a 6 oz can) lemonade concentrate

Cook this all on low-medium until sugar is dissolved and juices are cooked in.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pork Tenderloin Seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix all the above ingredients and rub it into the pork tenderloin. We then put ours in the crockpot and slow cooked it all day.

Also, we didn't have coriander so we omitted it as well as the salt to make is low sodium.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

I like to try and find a new recipe to try each week, but didn't find one that looked worth trying this week. So, some oldies but goodies.

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner - eggs, sausage, potatoes or pancakes
Monday: Pork Tenderloin Roast in the crockpot with veggies and rolls
Tuesday: Leftover Pork Roast
Wednesday: Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas, Beans, and Rice
Thursday: Something quick and easy - probably sandwiches
Friday: Company Christmas Party - Maggiano's!
Saturday: Paula Dean Pasta Bake (the last of the frozen sauce that I made over a month ago!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Puppy Chow

Some call this Puppy Chow and others call it Muddy Buddies. But I think we can all agree it is hard to resist the powdered sugary goodness of this sweet treat.

9 cups Rice Chex®, Corn Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

PointsPlus: 6pts per 1/2 cup serving. This recipe make 18 servings.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What has been going on?

I have posted a ton of recipes lately, but no posts about what we have been up to. So here it is!

First, Colin is starting to talk! I really think kicking the paci habit (for good) and having his tubes put in are what turned this around. And we haven't had a single ear infection since the tubes have been placed. I really wish we had gotten them sooner. It is a pain to have to put ear plugs in at bath time, but he is such a happy little boy now!

Are you wondering what he can say? His favorite: ball, baby, apple, mama, dada, papa, juice, bowl, tractor, balloon (he gets pretty close on that one), and brush (as in he wants to brush his teeth). Those are the words he uses the most and that he uses with the right objects. He also will tart to repeat words 9the best of his ability) when you ask him too. They don't always sounds right, but he tries!

He also is really starting to understand what I am asking him. He gets his shoes, hugs Molly, retrieves Baby Jesus, gets his favorite book, and a lot of other things we ask him to do. My favorite (stolen from Mary Leigh) is feeding the dog. The other day he noticed Molly had no food in her bowl so he said "bowl, "picked it up, and went to the back door to wait for us to fill it. I told ML that whatever Bates' next chore is, that will be Colin's. I am just following her lead since Bates is 6 mths older. =)

Colin loves the Discovery Center. Mamaw takes him every Monday morning to Parents and Tots and I have decided we will be going every Wednesday afternoon. So, if you ever want to meet up with us, we will be there on Wednesday afternoons after nap. Except this week - we will be at Opryland Hotel admiring the lights.

This weekend we started training Molly to stay off the couches. I love her, but I want my couch to stop smelling like dog...and I am tired of cleaning off the dog hair. She has a nice warm dog bed in our room that she can snuggle up on. It might be mean to do it after letting her sit on it for 4 years, but just because she has been doing it for so long doesn't make it an ok habit. So far, so good. This training is one of my New Year's resolutions (starting a little early!). Once she has learned to stay off, I am buying some (much needed) new throw pillows. My current ones look terrible!

Our tree is up and ready for Santa to come visit! We have so many fun Christmas activities planned the next few weekends. Colin is even hosting his first Christmas Party for his grandparents and great-grandparents. I am so looking forward to getting together with friends and family to fellowship and enjoy their company and the holiday season.

Other that that, we have been visiting Sweet Cece's - a lot. Anyone want to meet us up one afternoon for a sweet treat? Maybe after MDO one Tues/Thurs?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cripsy Mozzarella Chicken

4 small chicken breast halves
1 pkg Shake 'N Bake Extra Crisp
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

Heat oven to 400.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Coat chicken with coating mix as directed on package; place on foil covered baking sheet. Discard shaker bag and any remaining coating mix. Bake 10 minutes.

Top with cheese; bake 4-5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

Chicken & Roated Garlic Risotto

1 lb chicken breasts
1 Tbsp butter
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom and Roasted Garlic soup
2 cups water
2 cups uncooked instant white rice
1 cup frozen peas and carrots

Heat butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Remove from skillet.

Stir the soups and water in skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and vegetables.

Return the chicken to skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove skillet from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus: as calculated by the recipe builder this will serve 4 and is 12pts per serving.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Crispy Mozzarella Chicken with Garlic Spinach
Monday: Ravioli, Veggie, French Bread
Tuesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken with rice
Wednesday: Dinner Out
Thursday: Turkey Chili and Corn Bread
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Christmas Party

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So much for a tree picture

Colin likes our tree. He points and yells "ball" at all the ornaments. We are working on "look but don't touch." If I am in the kitchen and I hear "ball! ball! ball! ball!" I know he is about to grab one off the tree.

Getting a picture of him in front of the tree is proving to be an impossible task. See below.

The best shot I got, and you can't see the tree!

And he's done.

Playing with the Nativity now. He will bring you Baby Jesus is you ask.

Maybe I can photo shop him into this picture with my tree.

Got Leftovers?

I am sure many of us still have leftovers from Thanksgiving. Since my parents went on a 2 week cruise right after Thanksgiving, I got to take home all the left over turkey. And now I need to find something to do with it.

I considered a leftover turkey sandwich like Ross (you know...with Monica's "Moistmaker" turkey sandwich). But since I don't like gravy, having a sandwich with a piece of bread in the middle soaked in gravy didn't sound good at all.

So tonight we will be using the turkey in the Chicken Tetrazzini recipe I posted yesterday.

For tomorrow's lunch I will be trying something my mom suggested using Pillsbury crescent rolls. Fill each crescent roll with turkey, some cranberry sauce, and a little shredded Monterrey Jack and Colby cheese. Roll up and bake as directed on the crescent roll package.

What do with your leftover turkey?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

8oz spaghetti
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked chicken (canned, leftover, boiled, whatever you have)

Cook spaghetti.

Combine all other ingredients.

Mix all together when spaghetti is cooked. Bake in greased 9x9 dish for 15 minutes at 400°.

Weight Watchers

They changed up their Points System, Instead of calculating points on Calories, Fat, and Fiber they have revamped the system and are now calculating it on Fat, Carbs, Protein, and Fiber.

No big deal, except any recipe that I previously posted and told you the Points Value to I will have to go back and recalculate. Just giving anyone that uses that info a heads up. I will update those as soon as I get a chance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Boil Lasagna

9 lasanga noodles, uncooked
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella, cheese, divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 1/2 cups (52 oz) pasta sauce
1 lb cooked pork sausage
1 tsp parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350.

In medium bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs; mix well.

In a separate bowl, add browned meat to pasta sauce; mix well.

Spread 1 cup of meat-sauce mixture in a 9x13 pan.

Place 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread 1/2 the cheese mixture over noodles, top with 1/3 of meat-sauce mixture.

Repeat layer. Top with remaining noddles and meat-sauce mixture.

Cover with foil. Bake 55 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with reserved mozzarella cheese and parsley flakes.

Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Leftover Lasagna
Monday: Daddy is out of town - Burger Night with Uncle Will!
Tuesday: Easy Chicken Tetrazzini
Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets and Sweet Potato Fries
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Chicken & Roated Garlic Risotto (new recipe - if it is any good a recipe post will follow)
Saturday: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

This will be my first time making this recipe. It sounds good and easy enough so I am trying it out for Thanksgiving. It is from the Kraft Food & Family magazine.

1 pkg (2 layer size) spice cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
⅓ cup oil
3 eggs
¾ chopped walnuts
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup thawed Cool Whip

Heat oven to 350°.

Beat cake mix, water, pumpkin, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with mixer for 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a small owl with mixer until well blended. Add Cook Whip; mix well. Spread over cake.

Store frosted cake in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Haul out the holly....

We are just days away from officially starting to decorate for Christmas. At the same time, you get to look forward to all the festive mail and holiday greetings with pictures of your family and friends and oh-so-cute kiddos.

I, like Emily, have been thinking about our Christmas cards. Once that tree goes up (Friday!) I can begin to work on my Christmas Cards. With so many cute designs and styles to choose from, you have to start early or you will never make up your mind in time to get those out to your loved ones.

I have been looking through many of Shutterfly's Christmas Card designs and I just can't choose. A couple that caught my eye?

Peppermint Giftwrap

Pretty Poinsetta

Now I just need to get Colin and the dog to work with me to create a cute picture. Good thing they have some choices with spots for multiple photos in case they photograph better apart then together. =)

Don't send Christmas Cards? They offer many other photo products that are sure to please you. Are you doing digital scrapbooking like me? This is a great place to put together a scrapbook of the past year! Need a gift? How about a photo calendar or photo mug (which was a hit for Father's Day!)? Be creative!

If you are a blogger and are interested in getting 50 FREE CHRISTMAS CARDS click here to get the details at Shutterfly.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Beef and Cheese Foldover (but with ground turkey)
Monday: Pulled Pork on Sister Shubert Rolls, Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Wednesday: Leftovers or Pizza Night
Thursday: Turkey Day! My contribution: Green Bean Casserole & Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Friday: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Saturday: Homemade Lasagna

Friday, November 19, 2010

Serving of Fruit

I am always looking for creative ways to get Colin to eat "good stuff." When I think he likes something, he changes his mind the next day. As you will see below, Colin is getting a serving of fruit:

This is a Buddy Fruits. I had seen them at Publix for a while and just decided to give them a try. He loves them. He was had 4 in the past 2 days. It is purely blended fruit and each packet is equal to a serving of fruit. They do not have to be refrigerated so you can even keep a spare in your purse or diaper bag. He may tire of them soon enough, but for now, this is one way I am sure he is getting an entire serving of fruit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Music: The Good and The Embarrassing

Emily's comment on  my previous Christmas related post made me think of this. Every year you pull out your Christmas Music and pop it in the CD player (or plug up your iPod depending on what you have) to help get you in the Christmas spirit.

What are your favorite Christmas CD's or downloads. And more importantly - what are the CD's or songs you love to listen to but are a little embarrassing to admit.

Me? I love the Charlie Brown Christmas CD, Straight No Chaser (just heard it for the first time last year!), and hopefully this year I will add the GLEE Christmas CD (I just found out about it two days ago). I also just bought the new Lady A Christmas CD and hope it is good. And I have some old school Amy Grant and Micheal W Smith.

My embarrassing? Well, I love to put in the Jessica Simpson Christmas CD, there are one or two Hanson Christmas songs I like, and also a couple N'Sync Christmas songs downloaded.

And how about yourself...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mexican Crockpot Chicken

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Burrito sized tortillas
Mexican Cheese
Sour Cream

Combine chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, and black beans in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Before serving, shred chicken in the juices and stir.
Serve hot in the tortilla shells with your favorite taco/burrito fixings.

Points Plus: 4 pts per serving (just for the crock pot mixture. This doesn't include the points that the tortillas and topping contribute). This makes about 6 servings.

Taco Seasoning

We make our own taco seasoning to cut out all the extra salt. Here is the recipe we use.

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine and store in airtight container.

Mexican Layer Dip

Can of Frito’s Bean Dip
7 oz pkg guacamole
7 ounces sour cream
1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
green onions, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
black olives, chopped

Combine sour cream and taco seasoning.

On a dish layer bean dip, guacamole, sour cream mixture, and shredded cheese (in that order).

Top with the chopped green onion, tomatoes, and black olives. Refrigerate for a couple hours and serve with chips.

**I use a disposable 8 inch cake pan for this. It keeps all the layers closed in on the side and so you don't risk the guacamole peeking out and browning**

Holiday Traditions

Andrew and I have started discussing what traditions we want to call ours each Christmas. I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss and share since it is right around the corner!

What we want to call "ours":
  • Everyone opens a gift Christmas Eve containing new Christmas PJs to wear that night (I am not big into ornaments, so PJs it is!). I already bought this year's PJs and I can't wait to see the little man sporting his!
  • An afternoon of making and baking Christmas cookies - more my thing that Andrew's but he benefits!
  • Leaving cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer
  • At least one Christmas activity like "ICE" or visiting Opryland Hotel or a Christmas show as Colin gets older
  • We have to watch Christmas Vacation every year and we usually throw in Just Friends for even more laughs. And even if it is by myself, I will watch all 3 of The Santa Clause movies.
  • Fresh, hot, homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (this one is one my Mom does and I love it)
  • And of course, reading the Christmas Story
What does your family do every year or what are you going to start doing?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple-Streusel Muffins

I found this recipe in an old Fitness Magazine this weekend. The only ingredient I had trouble finding was the apple pie spice. I ended up using cinnamon, but I will keep looking for the apple pie spice and try this recipe again. I think I over mixed the batter because they were a little dense and I forgot to spray the muffin liner with non-stick spray. I like the flavor so I am going to try them again this week or next while the buttermilk I bought is still good and see if I get better results when I fix the above mentioned things.

I remade these using the apple pie spice (found it at the Smyrna Publix) and didn't use any paper muffin cups. I just used a little Crisco on the muffin tins themselves. They are perfect. I ate one for breakfast and I froze 8 of them. Hopefully they thaw out well for a quick breakfast. The Weight Watcher calculator gives them a points value of 3.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp apple pie spice
¼ tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp canola oil
¾ cup shredded apple with skin
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly coat twelve 2½-inch muffin cups with cooking spray.; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, ⅓ cup brown sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork; stir in buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture all at one to flour mixture; stir until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold i apple. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way.

In a small bowl, combine pecans, flaxseeds, and remaining brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon pecan mixture on top of muffin batter.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove from cups.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Smashed Red Potatoes

2 pounds red potatoes (cut into equal-size chunks)
water (enough to cover)
2 Tbls roasted garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbls butter

Combine potatoes, water, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Boil 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Allow 5 minutes stand time, in warm pan, for fluffier potatoes. Blend in milk and butter using electric mixer or potato masher.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Lunch - Turkey Burgers and Smashed Red Potatoes; Dinner out at Otter's Chicken
Monday: Turkey Meatballs (previously made and in the freezer - thaw, heat, and serve!), Pasta, Veggie, and Bread
Tuesday: Mexican Crockpot Chicken, Mexican Dip, and Blue Corn Chips
Wednesday: Leftover Mexican Crockpot Chicken
Thursday: White Chicken Chili
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Ravioli Bake, Veggie, and Bread

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bring Boo Home: Fundraiser!

Help the Overstreet family bring home their second son, nicknamed Boo! Kathleen at Little Hipsters Apparel is giving all the proceeds from the sales of the first 10 "girl" dresses and first 10 "boy" shirts to the adoption fund. To purchase one of these item, head over to the Little Hipsters Apparel Fan Page on Facebook and follow the directions under each item to make your order.

To learn more about the Overstreet family, how he go the nickname Boo, and what is given name is, make your way over to The Adventures of Bubba and Boo and read their story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These are great cookies for the holiday season because of the color combination from the cranberries and white chocolate.

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Using and electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken

1 large naval orange
¼ cup Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite/size pieces
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

Grate 1 tsp zest from orange. Use small sharp knife to cut remaining peel and white pith from orange; cut orange into bite-sized pieces. Mix zest, dressing, soy sauce, sugar, and crushed pepper.

Cook chicken in nonstick skillet on high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until done, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add red pepper; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to bowl; cover to keep warm.

Add dressing mixture to skillet; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add chicken mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in oranges; spoon onto platter.

Serve with hot cooked rice.

The recipe builder for my Weight Watchers PointsPlus gives this 5 pts per serving (this serves 4). And that is without rice.

Edit: I made this again last night (12/7/10) because it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I cut the crushed red pepper in half (it was a little too spicy for me) and instead of using the orange chunks we used pineapple chunks. I still used the orange zest. It was more of a citrus chicken instead of orange chicken.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Easy French Onion Soup

My mom makes the best French Onion Soup. I don't make hers, though, because it uses beef broth and Andrew doesn't eat beef. So I found an easier way to make it and without beef broth.

32 oz carton Pacific Naturals French Onion Soup
2 large onions
4 slices of french bread
4 slices Swiss cheese

Slice onions and saute in butter or olive oil. Add to it the entire carton of French Onion Soup. Leave on medium heat until soup is heated thoroughly.

Pre-heat broiler. Place 4 oven safe bowls on a cookie sheet and fill with soup. Top each with a slice of french bread and a slice of Swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted.

You can also use croutons and shredded swiss cheese.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Paula Dean's Baked Spaghetti

14.5 can diced tomatoes
29 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp House Seasoning (recipe to follow)
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 lb cooked sausage
16 oz cooked angel hair pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onion, green pepper, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, house seasoning, sugar, and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour.

Add cooked sausage to pot and simmer 20 minutes more. Remove bay leaves before assembling casserole.

To make casserole spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom with sauce and then layer with: 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the cheese, sauce, remaining pasta, and remaining sauce.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Add remaining cup of cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

House Seasoning
1/2 cup salt, 2 Tbsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp garlic powder
Combine and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cheesy Ham & Apple Panini

1 Tbsp Mayo (I leave this out)
1 tsp dijon mustard (I leave this out also...)
2 slices Italian sandwich bread
2-3 oz smoked ham
1 oz smoked gruyere cheese
6 thin slices granny smith apples
red onion slices
1 tsp olive oil

Assemble sandwich and brush the outside of the bread with the olive oil. Cook on panini grill for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

My Weight Watcher calculator gives this sandwich a point value of 8 when no mayo or mustard is used. It looks like just adding the 1 Tbsp of mayo will cost you an extra 3 points. I am very glad I am repulsed by mayo. =)

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced onions
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 flour tortillas

Mix juices, oil, all of the spices and salt in small bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

Cook and stir chicken in large heated skillet on medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from skillet. Add bell pepper, onion and reserved marinade; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Return chicken to skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

Spoon chicken mixture into warmed tortillas. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.

Weekly Meal Plan

I shop on Friday or Saturday, so I like to start my Meal Plan week on a Sunday.

I like blogs that list their meal plan b/c it gives me idea when I am in a rut. I plan on having these posted on Sunday every week and if I have a recipe already in my blog I will link up to it. Otherwise a recipe is likely to follow.

Here we go!

Sunday: Chicken Fajitas, Black Beans, Rice or Corn
Monday: Paula Dean's Pasta Bake, Broccoli, Rolls/Bread
Tuesday: French Onion Soup; Chicken Nuggets for Colin
Wednesday: Sweet & Sticky Orange Chicken with Rice
Thursday: Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

Monday, November 1, 2010


This was Colin's first year Trick-or-Treating. First we went to Mamaw's house to visit before we headed over to World Outreach for the Harvest Hoedown (or something like that). We only stayed about 15 minutes. As grand and spectacular the event is, there just isn't anything geared toward toddlers. The Pre-school tent was plenty busy but he doesn't have the skills to kick a ball into a hole or throw a rock at the giants head. I wish they had things like a duck pond where he could pick a duck with a number on the bottom for his prize or that plinko thing with a ball that you put in the top and would fall to the bottom between all the metal pegs. We played in the rice and looked at the horses and then we were done. We may try again in a year or two, but honestly, he enjoyed Trick-or-Treating so much more that we may not go back.

He is a GREAT Trick-or-Treater. Although he can't say "trick-or-treat" he loved running up to the door with his little pumpkin basket. He especially loved houses with dog. He wasn't at all interested in the candy and treats but loved the dogs. He would bark at them and try to pet them.

We didn't need all the candy he got in our house, so we pulled out the suckers and a couple of Reese's for me and then added the rest to our bowl of candy for the trick-or-treaters. I guess we "re-gifted" candy. At least it won't end up on my hips. =)

First house of the night - Mamaw's!

She passed out Teddy Grahams

This is how we carried around Snoopy

Watching horses at WOC

Charlie Brown and Mommy

Charlie Brown and Daddy

The Peanut Gang - Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown

You can see Linus' body on his shirt.

Lucy's can said "The Doctor is in"

Mady came by with some yummy cookies!

Sadly, the best picture I got of Colin and Mady.

Doing and little trick-or-treating. This house was my favorite. They were very excited to see Charlie Brown!