Monday, July 30, 2012

Cream of "whatever" soup

As I said here and here, I really like making home made things. You never know what's in those cans, packages and bottles, except a ton of sodium. Making your own, you know what's in it and you make more for less money. I stumbled across a recipe for "Cream of whatever soup" and thought I'd give it a shot. A ton of recipes I use call for a can or two. All of the ingredients I keep in the pantry  except the dried milk, which cost about $8 for the bag.

1 cup non-fat dried milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup boullion ( I used chicken)
1 tspn dried basil
1 tspn dried thyme
1 tspn pepper

Mix it all together and I put it in 2 containers. Yet another reason why I don't throw any good container with lid away.. I made a label that says "Cream of Soup - 1 can = 1 1/3 cup mix + 1 1/4 cup water"
I've already used 2 "cans" of the mix and it worked really well and tasted really good.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What I've been doing...

 A friend of Alan's gave us a huge basket of veggies on Friday. Corn, tomatoes(red and green), and speckled butter beans. We are also garden-sitting for one of our neighbors, which means we pick what is ready while they are gone. I gave some of them away. Even after giving away a lot of it,  I still had a ton left and I'm not one to throw away fresh garden fruits and veggies so I go to googling "How to freeze ...." I came across how to freeze tomatoes. Seems silly but I've never frozen anything but some blueberries and a few leftover veggies. Plus I'm all about eating fresh and not buying canned products.

I started by boiling a few tomatoes at a time until the skins started peeling. 
Yes, I mixed Roma with regular tomatoes :)
Roughly chopped them up until I had 2 cups
I then wrote on the bags and froze them flat!  
15 or so tomatoes gave me 6.5 cups(3 cans) of diced tomatoes!

I made half of the beans for supper the other night and I shelled these and they are now simmering in water, garlic and onion for the next hour or so until they are ready to freeze.

I got 6 cantaloupes from the neighbors garden yesterday and another 5 today! 
I cut up 1 for us, gave 2 to Alan's mom and am saving another 2 for my sister coming over tomorrow.
I can't bear to toss these and there will be another 10 ready probably by the time they get back! 
Who knew you could freeze cantaloupe?  I will start working on this during M's next nap or after Alan gets home, since I've decided to blog during her current nap :) Online it says to dice up the cantaloupe and freeze it in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 12-24 hours.
We have also been planning Madison's 1st birthday party. The guest list is made and I think we have a game plan for food and cake, which I need to schedule.. Just have to pick between 2 places.. Oh the decisions! I have been pinning like crazy ideas for the party. I will leave a teaser :) It won't be this elaborate but the color scheme is what I'm aiming for...

I am also currently working on her First Year photo book. I am so excited that some one told me about Mixbook. After Shutterfly was taking me days to edit 1 page and being so disappointed I wasn't going to be able to use it, I posted a Facebook status asking if anyone had any suggestions. My last boss told me about Mixbook and I was so thrilled to find a book I loved as much as the one on Shutterfly. Plus I'm able to put text anywhere I want and add pictures anywhere I want. Shutterfly was pretty restricting from what I could tell. I was worked on it from about 8pm-12am and got half of the book done! It's SO fast. I hope the quality is as good as it looks online. And a HUGE shout out to Stacy C. who is doing me a ginormous favor of redoing Madison's newborn photo cd since I was in tears because I couldn't track it down! :(  Thank you SO much Gwyn and Stacy :) 

We have also booked a vacation between now and her birthday. I'm so excited! We took a few days in February to go to Georgia but this time we are headed to the beach and I'm excited to see Wilma and Madison in the ocean/on the beach.  Booking the house was another story! We found the perfect house on a lake with a huge fenced in yard about 20 miles from downtown Charleston. We had all but paid for it when the owner emailed me and said she had a guy interested in renting it for the whole month and she would know by July 15 whether or not we could rent it. We were in a time crunch so we found another house within walking distance of the beach and we've paid half. The original lady emailed me today and said she was willing to rent it to us since she hasn't heard from the month-long renter. We are actually trying to cancel the house we've paid on to get the lake house. Sounds crazy to not be closer to the beach but we aren't going to be on the beach all day every day with a dog and a baby and the lake house would be more fun for Wilma and it looks so much more relaxing. Hoping for good news.

Monday, July 9, 2012

10 month photoshoot

As frustrating as it is to get a squirmy, wiggly, don't-want-to-stay-still, beautiful 10 month old to try to be still for half a second to get one decent photo of her monthly pictures, the pictures always turn out so cute. So I have to share :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

{Freezer cooking} $64 = 12 meals

I keep coming across freezer meals on Pinterest so I thought I'd give it a try. I hate making a grocery list and menu each week. It takes so long because I try to revolve our menu around sales. I thought I'd try to do 5 meals. I used this site for recipes. I went to ALDI for all my veggies and canned items. I then went to Bi-lo and got my meats and other items ALDI didn't have. Instead of buying boneless skinless chicken breasts, I bought (3) 4lb packs of chicken quarters. They were on sale for $1.09/lb (versus $4.99/lb for breasts) Plus I knew I could make some yummy homemade broth. I also bought (3) 1.5 lb packs of ground chuck at $3.79/lb. At both stores I spent less than $64!

From the site, I made the ziti, chicken spaghetti, beef enchiladas, chicken/black bean chili and  BBQ chicken.

I came home, threw 2 packs of chicken in a big stock pot of water with some onions, carrots, celery and parsley. I also browned all 3 packs of the ground chuck. While that was cooking, we ate and gave Madi a bath and put her to bed. Then we chopped all the veggies, cooked 2 things of pasta(spaghetti and ziti) I then started putting the enchiladas together. Before I filled the zipper bags, I wrote on them what was in the bag and the reheating instructions. I got 14 enchiladas and divided them up in 3 bags for 3 meals. I then took out the chicken to cool enough to handle to pull apart. Pulled them apart and made the other meals. Make sure to write your instructions on your bags before hand so you know how to reheat. Some things you have to thaw, some things can be cooked frozen.

Total time it took to make 12 meals was about 3 hours. I also got about 20 cups of homemade chicken stock and I made my own Cream of Mushroom soup! I rarely by packaged foods-have you ever looked at the sodium content? It's outrageous! So anything I can reasonbly make from scratch, I'm all for it! So far I have has an enchilada from lunch and we had the ziti for supper tonight and both were good!The only picture I have is from Instagram and it was just of the ingredients before hand.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy 10 months, Madison!


In her 9th month, she seemed to really grow a lot! Her hair is longer, she babbles a lot more, she seems taller by the minute, and she has 2 teeth! 

She learned how to pull up, sit up better from laying down(she learned in her 8th month but is a pro at it now!), walk while someone holds her up, bite :/ , she claps and dances anytime a song comes on. She will also open a door or lift a flap.

She has grown to love pulling all of her books off her shelves.

Her schedule changed this month, since we introduced big people food! She loves blueberries and will eat around 20 in one sitting! Her lips will be blue and so will what's in her diaper :)

9am - 5-7oz milk, fruit and Cheerios
12pm - 5-7oz milk, veggies/meat/pasta and a few Puffs or Yogurt Melts
3pm - 10 oz milk
5pm - 5 oz milk, Cheerios
7pm - 5-7 oz milk, veggies/pasta or whatever we are eating, if it's baby friendly.

 Pool day. She didn't seem as excited this day. She only chewed on her hands or the toys. 
I think her gums were bothering her :(

"What's that?"

Her on her hippo toy. She's so big on this! She holds on tight and balances really good! 
She even will lift her feet up when we push her. Smart girl!
A video of her riding her hippo

 Pool time!

Teeth!(A lot bigger now but I love this picture!)

So peaceful!

How she's been sleeping lately. On her tummy, butt up.

Looks uncomfy but she likes it.

Eating breakfast

She obviously doesn't like eggs. This cracks me up.
Her first time in the pool

Her and her daddy playing. Love. that. laugh!

This was her first 'grown up' breakfast. We were too scared to give her chunks of food before talking to her Pedi. He reassured us she was ready, and boy was she! She does it like a champ! It makes feeding time much easier too! She loves feeling independent and I love that she picks over certain things to get to her favorite things. If she has yogurt melts on her tray with 3 other fruits/veggies, she picks out all of the melts. She loves those things! She seems to really love bananas, carrots and green beans.

  I put a splash of the green Hawaiian Punch with a lot of water in her sippy. She did not care for it :)

 I love that she just spins in circle waving Sierra's cat toys. So cute!

This was on the way home from my mom's Independence Day cookout. She had only had an hour nap that day. She was asleep within 3 minutes of getting in the car! She only slept 30 minutes though and then was up until 9!  We have a super baby.

Mouthful of food