Friday, June 24

My Grandma Haggerty

Today, I was reminded that it is the 10th anniversary since my Grandma Haggerty's death. Part of me feels like she's been gone a lot longer because I think of all she has missed~ The high school graduations of 2 of her grand kids and the marriages of 4. The birth of 13 great grandchildren! Too many holidays and countless parties on the Gazebo at Mom's.
Yet the other part of me feels like she hasn't been gone very long because her memory is still so alive in me. I swear I can still smell the smell of her home, I can taste her sour cream apple, french silk and key lime pies (my 3 favorites) I can hear her saying "Tain't either" "Knock on wood" (as she knocks on my noggin) and "Who's shootin chickens?". I remember spending the night at her house. I loved when she picked me up from school. I still laugh how she would argue w the server at Kelsey's over her gift certificate use. Drives in Hebron so she could check out crops and dinners at Donates (is that how it used to be spelled?) seem just 2 summers ago.

I am sooo very Thankful I had her as long as I did especially since I wasn't so fortunate w my Grandpa Haggerty, her husband. Miss you TONS, Grandma!

Friday's Freezer Friendly Food- Bread

Here is another great idea for your Freezer!

I got this recipe from a magazine called Cooking Club. The recipe makes a huge batch of dough and allows you to store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks and makes 4 one pound loaves. This crusty boule along w nutella ring and cinnamon raisin bread are examples of breads you can make with this "master" recipe. I've only made the crusty boule. I make the dough, bake it off, eat 1 or 2 for dinner and then freeze the remaining 2 or 3! It works great.

Master dough recipe:
3 1/2 c. lukewarm water
4 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 tsp. salt
7 1/4 c. All purpose flour (I usually do 4c. white and 3 1/4 c. whole wheat)
1. Combine water, yeast and salt in large bowl. Stir in flour. Dough will be very sticky and wet.
2. Place dough in 5 qu. container w a tight lid. Do not snap lid tight while rising. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Can be refrigerated for 2 weeks w an air tight lid.

Crusty Boule Recipe:
1-lb. (grapefruit-size) portion of Master Recipe
1. Hold dough and dust top with flour; quickly shape into ball by stretching surface of dough around to bottom on all four sides, rotating dough a quarter turn as you go.
2. Place dough on pizza peel or baking sheet liberally sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper; cover loosely with lightly floured plastic wrap. Let stand in warm draft-free place 1 hour or until dough is slightly puffed and no longer chilled.
3. Thirty minutes before baking, place baking stone on center oven rack; place empty broiler pan on bottom oven rack. Heat oven to 450°F.
4. Dust loaf with flour. With serrated knife, make 2 or 3 (1/4-inch-deep) slashes in top of loaf. Slide loaf (with parchment paper, if using) onto baking stone. Immediately pour 1 cup hot water into broiler pan; quickly close oven door to trap steam.
5. Bake 30 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool completely on wire rack

-Once they are out of the oven, allow to cool completly!!! Wrap tightly in foil and then place in a ziploc bag. Freeze up to 3 months!

Thursday, June 23

He is my Hope

Uh, Poor Me- Two months ago I got a notice that a bill was going to be increasing by $212 a month starting in July! (Remember these numbers and months they are powerful) Kenny works hard and is fortunate to make a great income but $212 a month is a big number to us.
I was worried and stressed. I actually cried thinking that I would have to return to work (Which may be my fate someday & that's OK if that's God's plan)
I felt sorry for myself when a story came on the news about million/billionaires from the stock market (Not that I want ANYTHING to do w the stock market---but still why do they get to make SO much money?)
I felt wronged, got mad and called the office to let them know how I felt. (It Didn't do any good)
^^^^^All of these things happened on the day I got the notice. I knew my worldly ways of anger, fear and envy would get me NO WHERE! So, I decided to give it all to my GOD and turned to prayer.
I prayed for my own situation and asked a few close family and friends to also remember us in prayer. I spent the next two months still anxious and stressed. Trying to think of ways I could bring money into our home. Should I serve a few shifts a week? Take on babysitting another child? Sell Pampered Chef? Cancel a few luxuries we have?

July 1st is fast approaching but my plan was to see how the first few months of this increased payment went before I put any serious plan into action. This is the amazing part of my story: Last night Ken came home and said his pay check was going to be $120 higher for the months of July-November because of a health care issue. When December comes this "credit" will have expired BUT our bill that is increasing is going to be reevaluated in December and I was told "will most likely decrease"! The second part of this story is I decided to cancel our gym membership which is $45month and our cable $55month.

Time to do the math: $120+$45+$55=$220!! You see, through these 3 events $220 a month will be saved! Remember $212 is what I was sooo stressed about! Haha, that's even $8 leftover! (I wouldn't be surprised if a different bill goes up by $8)

I am sharing this somewhat personal story to Encourage you! I knew from the beginning that I had to put faith in my Savior. I knew he would provide for my family, like he ALWAYS has. But it was my first reaction to turn to the ways of human nature. I still wanted to fix it myself and come up w a solution on my own like selling Pampered Chef (which there is NOTHING wrong with! I love love the product-just using as an example) I never would have imagined the extra money would come from health insurance! Ha! But He knew All Along!

He is my HOPE today and Always!

Can't you understand why I don't want to go back to work?

Monday, June 20

Swedish Meatballs WINS this week's poll!

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c.bread crumbs
2 lb. ground beef or any variation
1/2 c. milk
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. EVOO

2 Tbsp. flour
1 c. half and half
1 c. beef broth
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. sour cream

1.Combine all meatball ingredients, EXCEPT butter & EVOO, and roll into balls {Pampered Chef cookie scoop works great}
2. Melt butter and EVOO in large skillet over medium/high heat. Place meatballs in skillet and cook, with out moving, for 5 minutes. This allows a nice crispy crust to form. (It's ok if they are still pink-they will continue cooking in the c.p.) NOTE: This step can be skipped. If in a hurry just place rolled meatballs into c.p.
3. Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until slightly thickened.
4. Put meatballs in crock pot and pour sauce on top. Cook on low for 4 hours. Or cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
5. Serve over egg noodles.
***If freezing:
 1.Allow to cool completely.
 2. Transfer to a freezer friendly container. Glad has a great pan that is oven safe. Or I found some great foil containers at Kroger that work perfectly.
3. When ready to eat: Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. OR transfer to a crock pot. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Browning in the skillet


Friday, June 17

Friday's Freezer Friendly Food- Cookie dough

In February Kenny me get 2 freezers! I actually got 2, an upright and a chest, both smaller versions. So far, I have LOVED having them. I have been able to stock up items and best of all prepare food and FREEZE it for later use. A popular blog meme is to share Freezer Friendly Foods on Friday!!! I'll try my best to do this every week--But I have a feeling some weeks will be skipped since we travel out of town so often! But this week's is cookie dough~
For years I have froze cookie dough. {I actually got the idea when I bought from a co-worker's child for a fund raiser. Three years later---I still use that same container} Since it's just Ken and I, freezing cookie dough works perfectly for us. It lasts in the freezer about 3 months! Ha, but I have never had it last that long!
Yesterday "B" and I made chocolate chip, per my niece's request! Here is the recipe:

1 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 pkge chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375. Beat sugars w butter about 3 minutes.
2. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes
3. Add flours, baking soda, salt. Beat until combined.
4. Add chocolate chips and walnuts, stir until combined
5. If baking to eat-Spoon onto cookie sheet and cool for 10-14 minutes! (Otherwise, I usually bake 4 for Ken and I and freeze the rest of the dough. Another way is to roll the dough into pre-portioned cookie balls. Place on a cookie sheet, freeze solid and then transfer to a ziploc bag or another container. Any cookie dough is able to frozen!)
This was taken after a dozen was made for us to eat :)

Usually the dough fills this 3lb. container to the rim!

Tuesday, June 14

Ken's FAVORITE Summer Salad Wins!

Ok there is NO measurements for this recipe because its all according to taste! It's so simple--I'm sure you can handle it! Enjoy on a hot summer night!
Green onion
Parmesan cheese

Dressing: Start w your favorite raspberry vinaigrette dressing and adjust to taste w these ingredients.
Raspberry Vinaigrette (Your favorite brand)
White vinegar
poppy seeds

Monday, June 13

Ken's Favorite Summer Salad wins, Check Back later!

Kenny's favorite salad won the most votes last week. It's delicious! I was hoping to make it on a hot day to get some relief from cooking. But of course, its suppose to be in the 70's and rainy all week. I plan on making it for lunch tomorrow!
Also, this week my niece and I are helping w/ my church's VBS in the evenings! I purposely planned crock pot meals so Kenny could fed for himself, which got me thinking........Last week I used my crock pot 3 different nights. I realized how much I love crock pot cooking, especially on HOT summer days. I'm able to prepare the meal in the morning and leave it all day to cook. My house doesn't get hot and I'm not forced to grill in 90+ degree heat. Hoping that you'd enjoy the relief too- the poll this week is ALL crock pot meals. So vote!!!

Sunday, June 12

Poor Sweet Pea took a Spill!

My poor baby's face met the sidewalk on Friday :(
Evidently, her new walking abilities aren't skilled enough to handle a 4inch step coming out of Daddy's garage!

Poor baby needs Nurse Gramma :)

But like my typical MaeMae nothing gets her down!!

Have Blessed week!

Wednesday, June 8

The coupon Trainer

$25 FREE Amazon gift card drawing! Yippie! Just head over to The Coupon Trainer's blog( and subsribe! Or "Like" her on Facebook and you'll be entered into drawing. Be sure to leave her a comment that you did so!
I especially love this blog becuase she is from Central IL!!

Homemade YOGURT

***Update: I changed up how I make my yogurt. It's so much quicker and results in a thicker consistency. If you want to make yogurt at home quickly and have the attention to babysit it in the beginning follow these instructions. Below I have how I used to make it in my crock pot.

1/2 gallon milk (any percentage will work)
1/2c. Plain yogurt (I always freeze a half cup from my previous batch. The 1st time I made yogurt I used Dannon)

-Pour milk into a large stock pot.
-Over low heat, scald the milk, stirring occasionally & removing any skin that forms. {Scalding milk is to bring just before boiling. Several ways to know your milk is scalded. Temperature should be around 185, milk smells sweet, & the top get frothy} Stay close to kitchen during this process. You do NOT want it to even simmer & the bottom will burn if you do not stir, scraping the bottom!
-Once the milk is scalded, turn off the heat and bring the temperature down to 115.
-Once milk is at 115 degrees add the 1/2 c. plain yogurt.
-Put a tight fighting lid on pot and wrap in several kitchen towels. {Keep it wrapped. No peeking!! I put my pan in a Pyrex travel case w/ the hot pack heated up! I also recently got a heat pad that I put underneath}
-Let sit on the counter for 8 hours.
-After 8 hours. Remove towel and stir yogurt. Place in refrigerator overnight. If whey forms just stir into yogurt. It's normal for it to do that.
-The next morning: Reserve 1/2c. for your next batch of yogurt. You can freeze this! This way you won't need the Dannon next time.
-I wanted Greek style yogurt so I strained mine in cheese cloth over a colander. Do this in the morning after its sat in fridge over night. This process is quick, about 20 minutes. You can let it sit longer or shorter depending on the consistency you'd like.
-Now is when you can add flavors!!! I've tried several different ways. Ken & I like it w/ just honey. Miss Mae likes it w/ a strawberry or blueberry sauce.
Scalding milk

Showing how I wrapped it during incubation. The blue on the bottom is the heat pad it was on low for the first 5 hours. After  this picture I zipped up the carrying case and put 2 more towels on top.

My breakfast the next morning: Homemade yogurt, homemade blueberry sauce, homemade granola :)

More Free items

Zyrtec= $5.29
Breyers= $2.99
Ore Ida= 3.99
Lean pockets=$1.78
================$23.08 worth of FREE products!
Also, this is not including other products that I got for just cents like: Nivea body wash, Degree deodorant, Sauve body wash, Knorr rice, Crystal Light, and Vitamin water! My stockpile is really growing :)
Happy Couponing!

Tuesday, June 7

Grilled fruit w Yogurt dip Wins this week!

This is the perfect summer dessert....Hmmm well maybe not better than ICE CREAM ;) But this definitely satisfies my sweet tooth!

Makes 2 servings
2 ripe peaches, cut in half and pit removed but leave the skin ON {I've used pineapple, mangoes, and plums}
1 c. vanilla or strawberry yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. coconut

1. Grill peaches on top rack over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from grill & let sit at room temperature.

Grilling the fruit breaks down the natural sugars and it bcomes very sweet. These sat for awhile and when I returned to them there was a yummy natural syrup in the bottom of the bowl! MMMM
 2. Meanwhile, Mix yogurt, vanilla, and coconut.
3. Place peaches in a small bowl and drizzle w desired amount of honey. Spoon on yogurt dip and top w raspberries.

Friday, June 3

Another peek Inside my Mailbox!

Signing up for FREE samples has been great for me so far. Example, the coffee I am drinking right now is a FREE sample I got from Nestle a few weeks ago! Happy Couponing!
Thriving Family magazine {I'd never read it before my Free issue- But it is really good. A great Christian based mag}
NetiPot {I have never tried this either but I have heard from several people that its a great tool}
Folgers coffee {I have tried this and MMMMMM}
Huggies coupons
Garnier Fructis, Eucerin & Gold Bond {Samples that will be great bc we travel so much}

Wednesday, June 1

Camping Trip 2011

Bugs, pit toilets, cold showers, smoke, mud, rain= Vacation?!?!?!
Yes, that is how we spent our vacation,Memorial weekend, camping at Shades State Park in Indiana. I realize to many those conditions are unacceptable but to me it was a blast. I have been camping since as long as I can remember. My mom informed me my first trip was when I was 3. MaeMae is starting even younger than I! Ken and I were so excited to share our love of camping w her. Oh boy, did she enjoy it! We met up with my parents {Mom's birthday was Sunday}, my 2 older brothers and their wives and kids and my sister from OH. Our clan consisted of 8 kids needless to say there was LOTS of, bumps and bruises, dirty hands, cuts w pocket knives, escapes to the park, snitching of cookies etc. We had great food, fun hikes and warm fires. In my opinion it was the best way to kick off the start of summer!

Thinking she's big stuff!

1st Smore!

Going hiking w Dad

Too much hiking

Ken likes to give me heart attacks!

Check out Facebook for more pictures!

Inside Out Egg roll Wins!

After a busy weekend, a day of catching up on the house, running lots of errands and a very fussy, crabby baby {I suspect b/c of another tooth} I almost didn't get this dinner made! Ahh, but I did with Ken's help! So I hope you enjoy and want to try this!

This recipe comes from my mother. Every year around Christmas she makes Won Tons & Egg rolls. She started just making the egg roll filling and serving over rice to avoid the fried part of egg rolls. I changed her recipe up just a little bit! This recipe is great to add/ omit ingredients. Celery, water chestnuts, and/or chicken are just a few items that would work great in this dish. Add your own family's favorites!

4 thin cut pork chops, sliced into strips
4 Tbsp EVOO, divided
4 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
4 c. green cabbage, chopped
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
5 large carrots, shredded
1/2 green pepper (not usually found in egg rolls but I had 1 I needed to use up)
1 1/2 c. medium shrimp (I'm NOT a shrimp fan. So I purposely didn't add much. You may want to add 2-2 1/2 c.)
2 Tbsp Sesame seed oil
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 Tbsp parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. fresh Ginger, finely diced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 c. brown rice, cooked according to pkge directions

-Marinade pork chops in 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 2 Tbsp EVOO 30 minutes-2 hours
-Meanwhile add 2 Tbsp Sesame oil to a wok over medium/high heat and allow to get HOT (Be careful of oil splatters when adding ingredients)
-Combine 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp EVOO, peanut butter and coconut milk in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds to melt peanut butter. Next add parsley, crushed red pepper, garlic and ginger.
-Add pork + marinade to HOT wok. Cook about 3-5 minutes until no longer pink.
-Add cabbage, green onions, carrots and green pepper to wok and cook about 5 minutes-Just until cabbage starts to become translucent.
-Add shrimp and peanut butter sauce and cook until warmed through- About 5 minutes.
-Serve over brown rice!