Quick and EASY Blender Salsa

Once you try this salsa recipe, you’ll NEVER buy “jarred” salsa again.   I’ve been making this salsa for about 2 years now and it will last 2 days at the most at my house.  Serve with warmed tortilla chips sprinkled with chili powder for an extra treat.  I always keep these ingredients on hand minus the cilantro and lime. You could cheat and buy the liquid lime and dried cilantro but fresh is so much better!

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Ingredients:

  • Can of Diced Tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if you have any handy)
  • Can of Rotel Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Small Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic..I add more!
  • 1/2-1 Jalapeno seeded or not (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 t honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Cumin (I like more)
  • Medium Handful of Cilantro, washed
  • Juice of 1 Lime

Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse to combine to desired consistency.

*The hubby likes it blended and smooth but I like some chunks, so I will sometimes divide the Rotel and add the other half after I’ve blended the salsa.

*This salsa is also a good base for guacamole.  Just dice and chop a few avocados and mix in salsa.

*It also mixes good with browned ground beef for taco meat.  Tastes much better that the packet seasoning. Add some onion while browning the beef and add some salsa for flavor.

20 Minute BLT Pasta Salad

This is a simple go-to recipe for school or work lunches.  It keeps well in the fridge and is easy to put together.  I typically keep these ingredients on hand at all times (bow-tie pasta, dressings, bacon).  You can also add some chopped grilled chicken for a heartier meal.  Kroger has frozen precooked chicken breasts in the freezer section that makes this meal even easier if adding chicken.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Bow Tie Pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 C Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 C Creamy Ranch
  • 1 Lb Bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
  • 2 Large Ripe Tomatoes, diced
  • 10 Leaves of Crispy Romaine Lettuce, washed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Small Red Onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • You can also add grilled chicken for a heartier meal

Instructions:

  1. Combine dressings
  2. Combine all other ingredients and toss in dressing
  3. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

*It’s great the next day also.  You may need to mix in more dressing.  The pasta will soak up the dressing and get dry.

* Perfect for school lunches.  I double this recipe often during the school year

*If you are cooking bacon for breakfast (I typically cook a big breakfast on Sundays) cook the whole pack and save bacon for this salad.  It’s easy to put together on a Sunday night for weekday lunches.

 

Menu for the Week…

Planning is everything when it comes to knowing “whats for dinner.” Without proper planning, we end up hungry and eating out more often than our budget allows.  Disastrous!!!

With a family of 5 (2 adults, 2 teenagers who eat like adults and a wild toddler) eating out is too expensive and too chaotic.  Even fast food can ring up $40.  We do tend to splurge once a week or two but most of our meals are home.  I can control our spending this way and our waistlines! Win! Win! Plus, I LOVE to cook!

So here goes..How do you plan for a week of meals?  I begin with thinking ahead and knowing what our upcoming nights will look like.  This next week, I know that 2 nights we will be at the ballfield, tonight and tomorrow night (Friday/ Saturday) will be light because the older girls will be gone and it’s HOT in Mississippi…meaning we need light meals.  Who wants a heavy meal when the heat index is 100 degrees? Not me.

So I open my Recipe Binder (more on that on a later post), look through the Kroger ad online and get out my coupons.  After I look through what’s on sale at Kroger and go through my coupons, I look through my binder and gather ideas for meals.  We are true carnivores here so a meat is almost always served with each meal so I will try to plan my meals around what’s on sale.

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My grocery list

I make a list of meals as I go through any ingredients that I need to add to my grocery list and I’m done!  Here’s a image of my shopping list. Rough…I know.

I’m VERY familiar with my local Kroger.  I can even write my list in order of the layout of the store.  When they rearrange things…It drives me NUTS!  Any item I have a * by means that I have a coupon for that item.  **I LOVE coupons!

So I’m all ready! Just have to carve out time to go to the actual store!

Here’s my upcoming menu for the week.  I’ll add recipes on the blog as I cook them.

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Last week of June Menu

Sometimes I just write this on an index card and put on fridge.  Sometimes I get a little “fancy” and use my chalk markers and board! I also don’t plan day to day.  This works for me.  I know what I have and I can choose these meals according to time available for that day and the mood I’m in.

Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps

I’m all about simple!  Like most moms, I juggle lots of hats.  We are almost always on the go and this is a simple, easy, quick meal to put together.  It’s also delicious!  The hubby LOVES this recipe. The hot beef mixture combined with the cold lettuce and the CRUNCH is perfect.

Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps
Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients: I double this recipe!  Leftovers are even better!

  • 1 Lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4-1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Soy Sauce ( I use low-sodium)
  • 1 T Sesame Oil (use sesame oil..it’s divine.  I use it all the time. More recipes with it to come)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 t fresh, minced ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Brunch of diced green onions
  • Brown Rice (I cheat and buy the steamer bag..I’m a terrible rice cooker.)
  • Head of Iceberg lettuce

Heat a large skillet over medium and brown ground beef with garlic in the sesame oil.  Drain most of fat when cooked through and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.  I add the brown rice into the meat mixture but you can serve over the brown rice, your preference.  Spoon into iceberg lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

In the summer, I love simple, filling salads and this recipe does not disappoint.  I even ate it the second go around for lunch today and it was even better!

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Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

Dressing:

  • 4 T Olive oil
  • 4 T Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 t Honey
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (to your liking)
  • 1/2 C Cilantro Leaves
  • Juice from one large lime or two small ones (I ended up adding more because I LOVE LIME)
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Salad:

  • 4 C Cabbage Slaw (you can buy this in the bagged lettuce section) or 1 head of green cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 Bell pepper any color
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cooked ear of corn, kernals sliced off the cob
  • 1 Can black beans
  • Grilled or pan fried chicken breast sliced

Instructions:

Make dressing by combining all ingredients in blender.  I actually made mine a few hours before dinner to let the flavors combine more.

Combine your salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss with dressing and serve.

 

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies…A Family Fave

I love cookies…all 5 members of my family love cookies.  I can buy a $4 bag of Chips Ahoy cookies and they may last a day if not hidden.  The culprit has yet to be “identified” but there is a SERIOUS cookie monster in our midst!

I’ve been on a journey for several years trying to reduce the processed foods in my home.  Yes! We eat store bought cookies and chips and other processed junk but it feels good to substitute those things sometimes with the real thing.  Home baked cookies!  They smell great cooking, you can include the kids in making them and you know exactly what is in them.

So here is my favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.  They are soft, big and filling.  And it’s oatmeal, so you can eat them for breakfast right?

Ingredients are simple.  Most things you should already have on hand.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t sea salt (I like more)
  • 1 C butter (the stick butter; not the junk in the tub) Real Butter;at room temperature
  • 1 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 C Rolled Oats
  • 2 C Chocolate Chips
  1.   In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium high until pale and fluffy (3 minutes)
  3. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating them after each addition.  Beat on high for 1 minute.  Add vanilla.
  4. Turn mixer on low and add flour mixture, mix until combined.
  5. Add oats and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
  6. Chill dough in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a small cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop) place cookies on baking sheet about 2″ apart.  I put about 12 a sheet.
  8. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned but center is still soft and unset.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in a sealed container and they will stay moist and soft for days!

Notes:

  1. You can use raisins, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips..whatever your heart desires.  I’ve also added chia seeds or flax seed for some heart healthy “goodies”.
  2. I LOVE to add more sea sal (or regular salt).  Ive even sprinked it on the top right before baking.
  3. Make sure your butter and eggs are room temp and measure exactly.  Also, don’t neglect chilling the dough. If you skip these steps, your cookies will flatten while cooking.  I have no idea why..I’m not a baking expert, but I skipped this once and they looked terrible.  Tasted good but looked terrible.
  4. I’m guessing it costs about $5 more or less per batch.  I can usually make about 36ish cookies per batch. Still alot cheaper than store bought cookies and a lot better for you!  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on those things???!!! GROSS!

 

Post #2! My First Recipe…Cauliflower Pizza

Well, I’ve made it past post #1. That’s a good first step right? Today, I’m going to share a recipe for Cauliflower Pizza.  I spent time with a friend last week and she was telling about trying this recipe and how good it was.  I’m all about cooking/food adventures and trying new things but was worried about the hubby’s reaction, so I decided to make one for lunch while he was a work.  My 3 girls LOVED it! I loved it.  It doesn’t leave you with a “full-gross”  feeling like bread dough does on a regular pizza.  Plus it’s better for you!

So last night for the second time in a week, I made one for the hubby! He missed the “crunch” (he has a thing about “crispy” things) but he did enjoy it.  So here goes.

NOTE: I haven’t figured out how to make a recipe printable so if you are going to print this, copy and paste! Ignore the photography. I just broke out my iPhone for pics.

First I bought the steamer bag of cauliflower in the frozen food section.  A head of cauliflower at my local Kroger was almost $4! Steamer bags were $1.29 (I used 2 for my pizza but I wanted a large and thicker one).

While the cauliflower was cooking in the microwave, I made my pizza sauce.  This is the sauce that my mom made.  It’s simple, cheap, good and healthy! It’s simply a can of tomato sauce, a few drops of Worcestershire, and some fresh oregano, basil and parsley ( can use dried Italian seasoning if you don’t have fresh).  Mix together and let sit while everything else is being prepared.  Cost >$1

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Once your cauliflower is steamed, run it through your food processor or grate with a grater.  You want the cauliflower to be rice-like and fine. The next step is kinda tough.  You want to cauliflower to lose as much moisture as possible. Last week I squeezed it through a strainer.  Last night I squeezed it through some cheesecloth…both methods came out about the same (strainer was cleaner) but next time I need to take out more.  The more moisture you remove, the better (drier) the crust will be.

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Add in your spices, cheeses and egg, mix it all together and form it into a pizza crust on a parchment lined pizza stone (or pan, cookie sheet…whatever you have).

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While your crust is making..gather up your toppings.  My hubby loves traditional pizza.

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After your crust is browned around the edges and firm, add your toppings and heat through.  Make sure cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let sit on counter for a few minutes to set and dinner is done!  Warning!  This is a time consuming meal! It took me about 45 minutes from start to finish to complete….but totally worth it! Total cost! $6 more or less.  Fed me, the hubby, and my toddler with 4 slices left over.

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups grated or ground cauliflower (use cheese grater or food processor) *I cooked 2 bags.
  • 1/2 t each of dried basil, oregano (or fresh if available)
  • 1/4 C each of  shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Steam cauliflower (I bought the steamer bag in frozen food section) Easy for cleanup also. When fully steamed, strain as much liquid out of the cauliflower as possible.  You want it dry.  Strain through a strainer, squeeze through a dry towel, let drain through paper towels.
  3. Place cauliflower in a bowl and fluff with a fork.  Add spices and cheeses.  Mix well and taste. Salt accordingly.  Add egg and stir to blend completely.
  4. Press mixture out onto pizza stone, pan or cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray.  Press out into 1/4 inch or slightly thicker.  Keep mixture together and layer even.
  5. Cook in oven and bake until golden brown.  It took mine about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, add your toppings and cook through. Let rest a few minutes to set, slice and eat!

Pizza Sauce:

  • Can of tomato sauce
  • Herbs: I used basil, oregano and parsley.  Could use dried Italian Seasoning as well.
  • Few drops of Worcestershire sauce to taste

Mix and let sit while pizza crust is being prepared.

 

 

Welcome To My Adventure

Life is an adventure…at least that is how we desire our lives to be, right? Who wants to lie on their deathbed and be happy that they took the easy road and made no memories along the way?  I’m all about making memories.  My parents instilled that in me at an early age.  From family vacations to the beach, Disney World, amusement parks and all places in between to picnics in the back of my dad’s pickup truck, I have lots of childhood adventures in my memory.  I’ve made it a point to do the same with my daughters.  We’ve done things together that I hope and pray that when they are old they will remember and think back on  fondly.  This is really the main reason, I’ve decided to start “blogging.”

I always thought it would be cool to write a book, especially a really cool murder/mystery/”who-done-it” one but the ideas never flowed..not yet anyway.  But I do love to write.  I began a pretty intense bible study journey in January of 2015 and discovered that I really do love writing. I’ll get in the “zone” and just start typing away.  I can read my posts days later and not even believe that I wrote it.  It’s like the Holy Spirit takes over and uses my fingers to type His message.  I’ve never experienced that before and I love it.  I crave it!  I wake up every morning excited about what God has planned to reveal to me that day.  And I want those adventure for my daughters to read one day….even my grand babies!  They say what you put on the internet lasts forever and I’m counting on that.  This blog, this presence may be the only tangible evidence of me fifty years from now.  I want my daughters when they are in their 40’s, struggling with life and “stuff” to be able to read over these posts and see that their mother went through the same thing.  That she struggled with time management, stress and the all important question of the day, “What’s for dinner?”

So this begins as a love letter to my daughters.  A glimpse into my world…my feelings, my methods to my madness and the incredible love and pride I feel when I look at them.  Please know that this adventure may be rough around the edges.  I babble…a lot!  I am a Type A,  ADHD (adult-onset, self diagnosed), stressed out and TIRED Mama!   I’m not striving for magazine perfect photography or award winning journalism…NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! This adventure is sure to evolve and may be neglected from time to time.  This may be my one and only post!  Who knows?!?!  My only goal is to be honest and real and give anyone who reads this a piece of me!