Thursday, January 29, 2009

  {A new look...a new idea!}

Hey everyone!! You may have noticed I gave the blog a little face lift! I am SOOOOOOO excited about this, because it's something I have been praying about for a few months now!

So let me fill you in...if you don't already know, I run a blog called The Gourmet Momma. Well, Gourmet Momma just turned a year old and I realized that I didn't keep up with her as much as I would have liked to. However, I was posting lots of recipes over here! So God and I had a little chat over where I should take this, and I came to the conclusion that I will keep Gourmet Momma up, but I will not be adding new recipes. Instead, I will be posting them over here with all my tips and photos and whatnots!

SOOO EXCITING! hehe I just feel like this is the right thing to do for my time and for my blog readers. Now you don't have to jump from blog to blog to blog to find my recipes! I have so many more to share! And lots of you have requested that I do simple recipes that are cheap...I am all about that! So you will be seeing LOTS of "real" food that is easy on the pocket book, easy to make, and delish!

So I hope you like the new look, the layout may be changing a little over the next day or so also, so don't freak! :) I have it under control...after all, I am a professional at this! hehe

See you all real soon!!!!

**Oh, and I gave Gourmet Momma a PINK makeover for the blog...doesn't she look spiffy?!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

  {Cheese Enchilada's Recipe}

WOW, it feels good to be back! I am so happy to be here sharing again, I have missed you guys!!

So I thought I would come back with a bang and share one of my families FAVE recipes...Cheese Enchiladas! These are SOOOOO easy and fast, you will be making them all the time too!

What you need:
(for sauce)
2-3 cups chicken broth (to the consistency you like, start with 2C and add more if needed)
4 Tbs Chili Powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 heaping tsp. garlic powder (with no salt added)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon (less than 1/16 tsp.)
1/3 tsp. sugar (helps cut the bitterness of the chili powder)
5 Tbs. cold water
5 Tbs. white flour

(for enchiladas)
1 onion, chopped
2C. cheddar cheese, shredded (keep some on the side for TOPPING!)
1C. Monterrey jack cheese (this is VERY important!)
Corn Tortillas (I usually make about 8-10)

How to make it:
1.) To make sauce, mix flour and water together until there are no lumps. If there are lumps now, you will have lumpy sauce. (add the water to the flour a little at a time!) Then, combine all ingredients, except water and flour mix, in a sauce and bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 3 minutes.
Slowly add in the flour mix with a whisk and cook another 3 min. until thick.

2.) For Enchiladas, heat corn tortillas in the microwave, wrapped in a MOIST paper towel, about 1 1/2 minutes, just until hot.

3.) Take a tortilla and add about 1/3C cheese and a few chopped onions. Roll and place in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.

4.) When all enchilada's are rolled...

cover with sauce and top with cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15-25 minutes just until cheese on top is melted and a little brown.

We serve these with homemade re-fried beans and Spanish rice! YUM! Top with just a little bit of sour cream and some fresh chopped onions and they are PERFECT!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

  {Im baaaaack....I think!}

Hey Everyone! I am so excited to report that Lagan is doing SO MUCH BETTER! Thanks to all your your wonderful thoughts and prayers, she is healing! She finished her second round of meds today and her cough seems to be going away. She hasn't had any asthma attacks in 2 days! PRAISE GOD!!!

I went to her school yesterday and her wonderful teacher said that his family had been praying for her. He is such a wonderful man!! I also picked up all of her work from the week, and the amazing student she is, she finished it all today!!!!

She is very excited to go to church tomorrow and get out of this house. She hasn't left since last Sunday except for the 10 minutes she was at school on Wed. and then the doctors office! Shes really feeling stir crazy!

We will be taking it easy over the next couple of days, but I think she will be all better and ready to go back to school Monday!

Thank you all again for your amazing comments and notes! Lagan got to read all of them too and she feels very loved by mommy's "blog buddies"!

I hope you all have a great weekend because Monday I have a REALLY AWESOME QUESTION FOR YOU ALL!!!! So get ready!!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

  {Update on Lagan}

Hey Everyone! I thought I would come on and give you an update on Lagan. We thought she was getting better yesterday and she was all ready for school. But this morning her cough sounded different and was very violent, so we took her to the doctor and it turns out that she not only has her asthma bothering her, she still has croup, and she has pneumonia!

So we have to keep her home the rest of the week and monitor her closely! It really sucks for her because she wants to be up and playing and at school, but she's stuck here with me all day! (POOR girl! hehe)

Anyway, I just wanted to drop in and give you all an update! When she starts to improve, I will let you all know!

Monday, January 19, 2009

  {What a night...}

**UPDATE: Hey Guys! Its Tuesday morning and Lagan is doing much better. She is staying home today because she was upset that she wouldn't be able to participate in P.E. or W.O.W. or recess, so she's hanging with momma today! But she should be back at school tomorrow. She is doing her breathing treatments much better today and isn't coughing nearly as much! PRAISE GOD!!! I want to thank you all, you have no idea how much your prayers mean to us. We are truly blessed to have so many amazing friends, both in real life and in blog land! :)

Hey Everyone! I just wanted you all to know that I might not post for a few days. We had a long night...

Yesterday after church we went to visit some family out by the lake. On our way home around 6:30, Lagan started coughing and wheezing really bad, so we figured she was having an asthma attack. I didn't have an inhaler with me, so we stopped at a fire station close by and they put her on their nebulizer. They called an ambulance to come check her out.

The paramedics gave her 3 breathing treatments and didn't notice her getting much better so they took Lagan and I to the hospital in the ambulance (which Lagan thought was pretty cool, and I thought was REALLY scary!). We arrived at the Hospital around 7:00 and had a flood of nurses checking on Lagan. Her breathing was getting better but her heart rate was really high, so they kept a close watch on her.

We saw two doctors throughout the night that said she was having a really bad asthma attack and they think she has croup. So she got a dose of steroids and some Tylenol and albuterol to get her fever down, control her cough, and stop the wheezing. We left the hospital about 11:00 and got home around 11:30 to find that our dog had broken out of his cage and was running free! (Just what we needed!) So after eating something and getting the dog settled and getting Lagan comfortable we went to bed around 2:30am!

Lagan is doing a little better this morning, we already had to check with the doctor because she was having some new symptoms this morning, but her voice is coming back and she isn't coughing as much. I am getting ready to go pick up all of her prescriptions from the pharmacy and tend to her today! Thank the Good Lord that it's a Holiday!

Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know why I wasn't here, not to worry, I will be back soon! Thank you to everyone who has already called, texted, and emailed with your prayers for Lagan!! See you real soon!!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

  {BBQ Chicken Pizza and Spaghetti Sauce Recipes}

Hey Chicadees! So, Ashley left me a comment and asked if I would share a couple more recipes, so I am more than happy to do that. But I want you all to stay tuned because next week I have a BIG QUESTION for you all that I am really excited about!! So don't forget to check in next week!!

So, Ashley, here you go! My recipes for BBQ Chicken Pizza and my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!

BBQ Chicken Pizza:
What you need:
1 pizza crust (I use Pillsbury)
1/2 bottle BBQ sauce (what ever is cheap! lol)
1/2 whole shredded chicken (I use the other half from the chicken and dumplings)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in 1/2 moons
cilantro, chopped
2C shredded cheddar cheese
(1C Pineapple - Optional)

how you make it:
1.) Pre heat your oven according to your pizza crust directions.
On a pizza pan or a baking sheet, roll out your pizza crust. Poke holes in the middle of the crust with a fork..everywhere you don't want the crust to rise up then put it in the oven about 3-5 minutes, just to start cooking.

2.) Take crust out of oven and spread BBQ sauce over the top. Next put on chicken, red onion, cilantro, and cheese. (and pineapple if your using it)

3.) Put pizza back in oven and bake according to the directions on your pizza crust. (This is usually around 15-20min. on 350)

4.) If you want the pie to look extra special, you can fill up a squirt bottle with BBQ sauce and a little water and drizzle it over the top when it comes out of the oven!


Next...Pasta Sauce!
Now, I get my ing. for this at SAM's because it's cheaper! But if you don't get it at a warehouse store, then just get as close to the measurements as you can from the grocery store.

Here is what you need:
102oz. can diced tomatoes
102oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 cans muir glen fire roasted tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1lb. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small can tomato paste
2Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1Tbsp. onion powder
1Tbsp. garlic powder
2tsp. salt
1tsp. pepper
2Tbsp. Olive Oil
Water as needed for consistency

how to make it:
1.) In a large stock pan, saute your onion, garlic, and bell pepper (and mushrooms if using) in the olive oil. DO NOT BROWN as this will cause a bitter taste.

2.) Add in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly about 1 minute. This will eliminate the need for sugar!

3.) Add in all of your other ingredients and bring up to a light simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook on a low simmer about 10 minutes then turn off heat and enjoy! (add water if needed to make it the constancy your family enjoys)
**If you want a less chunky sauce, you can use a hand blender after it is cooked to mix everything up and eliminate any large chunks of veggies or tomatoes!

This sauce makes a ton, I can usually make dinner plus about 5 gallon size baggies to freeze. I have frozen it up to 5 months and it's still perfect! To freeze it, cool it down over night in the fridge, then ladle into baggies and lay flat to freeze. To thaw, just stick the frozen sauce back into a sauce pan and bring up to heat!

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Friday, January 16, 2009


Hey Guys! Wow, is it Friday already? This week has been loads of fun, and I hoped I could help some of you with your money saving. Today I thought I would post some of my recipes from the week. Several of you asked for my chicken and dumplings recipe, so I thought I would share it, but if you saw another one that you would like to know how to make, just leave me a comment on this post and I will make sure that I post it! :)

My recipe for Chicken and Dumplings is really very easy. Here is what you will need:

Chicken and Dumplings:
1 whole chicken
1 family size can cream of chicken soup
3-4 cups chicken stock (I use my own)
2-3 cans of refrigerated biscuits, each biscuit cut into 1/4's
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Celery, carrots, and potatoes all diced and boiled until soft.

Here is how to make it:
1.) The day before I will take a whole chicken and stick it in the crock pot and cover it with water. Set it on low all day (around 8-10 hours) until it all falls apart.

2.) Shred the chicken off the bone and place to the side. I only use 1/2 a chicken for one recipe. (I use the other half for another meal that week).

3.) Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large pan. One by one add in the dumplings. Don't over crowd the pan. Do this in shifts to avoid the dumplings from sticking together.
When dumplings float to surface, allow to cook 2-3 minutes until they are no longer like biscuits, but more like a hard dumpling.

4.) Strain out dumplings and hold to the side.

5.) Add chicken soup to the remaining chicken stock, then add water until the soup is the consistency you desire. Add back chicken and dumplings and seasoning.

That's is, all done! It takes about 30min from start to finish! :)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

  {Saving Money Week: Smart shopping tips!}

So, have you learned a lot this week about saving money? Well put on your seat belt kids, because this post is about shopping wisely so you can REALLY save some dough! Coupons are great, but if you don't know how to shop wisely aside from them, you are going to fail.

So I wanted to show you all some tips that have really helped me, and others, to achieve our money saving goals at the grocery store!


Tip #1: MAKE A LIST! This will help you stay organized and ONLY buy the things you have on your list, not the things you that bag of Oreos that's almost $3 bucks!

Tip #2: TAKE CASH! Set a budget and stick to it. I don't even take my credit card to the store, I just take $60 in cash so I am forced to stay on budget.

Tip #3: SHOP ALONE! It's a fact...the more people that shop with you, the more hands there are to put junk in the basket. When we shop with others, we are easily convinced to add things that are not on our list to the cart. Plus, when you shop alone, you get a few hours of "ME" time!

Tip #4: AVOID CHECKOUT HOOKS! All that candy and magazines and junk for who knows what! You don't need these things, and more than likely, they are marked up more here than they are in the store!

Tip #5: USE A CALCULATOR! This is without a doubt the most important tip I can give you. When I put something in my cart, say bread, then on my list where it says "bread" I will write down how much it is. I do this for every item that goes into my cart. Then as I shop, I occasionally tally up my total. This way, I know what I have bought, how much it is, and how much I am spending.
This also really helps you to form your grocery list down the road. You can see how much items are usually priced and then you can estimate how much your grocery bill will be before you even shop. This helps me so I will know if my meals I chose were too expensive so I can change them out!

**Now, you need to also stay organized at the store. This is how I usually do it. If your new to the blog, this will be new for you, but if you have been here for a while, here is a refresher course on how to keep your coupons organized!


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

  {Saving Money Week: Using coupons the smart way!}

Segment two of our Saving money week! I am so excited to hear every one's comments and get your emails about how you use coupons, or how you don't but you want to! So today's post is about using coupons wisely!

We already chatted about using coupons to create your stockpile, and today we are going to talk about how to get coupons for the items on your grocery list. This also has to do with price comparisons.

To save the most money on your grocery bill, first shop the front page of your local store's add. These items are what they call "Loss Leaders". I used to work at a grocery store, and they put these in there so you will get enticed by these items and then come in and shop for everything else at the store. DON'T BE FOOLED BY THIS TRICK! If you see something you would like to try or something you ALREADY buy (more about this in a minute...) then circle it and plan it into your menu. These loss leaders are items that the store actually looses money on to get you in there. But if you only shop these items, then you are getting the best deal for your money!

Now, once you have planned out your meals and made a list for that and anything else you need to pick up at the store, go online! That's right, some of the highest value coupons are available on line.
What I like to do is Google each item individually. For example, if I need taco shells, I will search "Old El Paso coupons" on google. If I find a coupon, I will print it out (*HINT..most online coupons allow you to print up to 2 coupons, so print them both out, you never know when you might need it!)

You can also find coupons at the following sites:
- Smart Source
- Pillsbury
- Betty Crocker
- Eat Better America
- Coupons Inc. (also known as Bricks Coupons)

You can also chat about coupons and sales at your specific store at websites like A Full cup, or MY FAVE, Hot Coupon World!

So, you have your list, your meals planned out, and your coupons in hand and your ready to go to the store.
Now, BE SMART! Look at the item your buying and ask yourself these questions...

1. Is it something your family really needs and/or eats fairly often?

2. Does it fit into your budget?

3. Is the price for the name brand with the coupon still more expensive than the store brand?

These are really good things to keep in mind when using your coupons. Often people get carried away just because they use coupons and they end up spending even more than they normally would!

Stay tuned tomorrow to find out how to stay on budget while your at the grocery store. Commonsense strategies that most people DON'T do! Plus, now that you have all of these coupons, how do you keep them organized?

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Monday, January 12, 2009

  {Menu Plan Monday: Jan 12}

Menu Plan Monday already? This week is really tight around here, so we are eating more vegetarian or meals with meat we already have around in the freezer!

VERY Frugal Week! I also didn't plan breakfasts because I am making muffins and bagels tomorrow.

Bean Burritos with chips and homemade salsa (I made homemade refried beans the other night and I have tortillas and tacobell sauce, I also already have chips and everything to make salsa except cilantro and a jalapeno!)

Panzanella salad

Tortilla Soup with cheese quesadillas
(I have everything to make this except the cheese)

Chicken and Dumplings (I am roasting a whole chicken and spitting it between this and the next meal! HUGE money saver!)
(I already have the biscuits and the chicken in the freezer)

BBQ Chicken Pizza (I already have the red onion and pizza crust)

Spaghetti with homemade sauce and garlic bread (sauce is already done in the freezer, and I already have pasta, as you saw in my previous post! lol)

Hamburger Soup with french fries (already have fries in the freezer, and I also have everything for the soup except the meat.)

To see more Menu Plans, check out Organizing Junkie!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

  {Saving Money Week: Creating a Stockpile with coupons!}

As our economy gets tighter and tighter, more people are trying to cut costs in their daily lives. Many have canceled their cable, quit going to Starbucks, buy clothing from thrift stores, shop craigslist, etc. But the one huge change I have seen is a surge of households using coupons!

Over the next week, I want to be able to share different ways to use coupons, and how to save money at the store. These might be some long posts filled with tons of info, so grab a pen and paper and get ready to save! (And, I am also going to show frugal cooking techniques to get the most from your money!!)

Now, lots of people think of using a coupon and think its a waste of time. Having to buy a paper, look through it, clip coupons, all to save 30 cents? Well, for small amounts, your right, they are a waste of time!

But couponing is all about being smart and knowing how to use them correctly. Yes, there is a right and wrong way to use your coupons.

First, you need to know where to find coupons. I find a lot of my coupons in the Sunday paper, in All You magazine, online printables, peelies on packages at the store, or blinkies...those little machines on the isle at the store that push out coupons.

Now, there are two different ways to use a coupon.
First is for Stockpiling, second is for savings.

I will be talking about both of these this week. But I want to start with creating a stock pile, because this is the main way I use my coupons.

Granted, you wont be able to stockpile everything your family eats, it just wont happen, but you can get a significant stockpile that will keep your grocery bill down.

The way I create a stock pile is by purchasing coupons. Yes, you heard me right, I buy coupons. But not just ordinary coupons. First I look at an item that I use quite often, then I will go look and see if there is a coupon available for that product that will make it free or close to free.

For example...I purchase Muir Glen Organic canned diced tomatoes (we like the fire roasted) and use them in lots of my recipes. Now, at $1.14 a can, these can really add up, especially when the store brand is $0.68. But I have stockpiled these by purchasing a lot of coupons from Ebay. (
What you need to do is search for the type of coupon you want (i.e. muir glen coupons) and any coupon available will come up. I usually purchase the $1.00 off any muir glen product (make sure the expiration date gives you enough time for the coupon to arrive and for you to use it). I will buy a lot of about 20 coupons for around $2.00 with shipping.

Then I will take those coupons to the store and purchase 20 cans of tomatoes for $0.14 a piece, totaling $2.80 plus the $2.00 for the coupons is $4.80. Buying these tomatoes at regular price would cost $22.80, so that makes a savings of $18.00!! That's huge!

A couple of other products I stock pile are:
White cloud 4 roll toilet paper: Regular price $2.00 minus coupon $1.00= $1.00 for 4 rolls

Smart Taste Pasta: $1.50 minus coupon $1.00= $0.50 per package

Starkist tuna creations pouches: $1.48 minus coupon 1.00= $0.48 per pouch

Bagelfuls: $1.50 minus $1.00 coupon= $0.50 per package

Green Giant Vally Fresh Steamers $1.00ea. minus $1.00 coupons= FREE!
(We eat these all the time, and anytime I can get these coupons, I buy them!!! They make great side dishes and they also cook well into meals, plus, free veggies!!)

These coupons are not always available, but when they are, I buy as many as I can! Remember to search for the HIGHEST VALUE of coupon that you can find. I RARELY purchase a coupon that is under $1.00!

So, I hope this helps you to create a sufficient stockpile for your family! Tune in the rest of the week for more money saving and coupon tips!!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

  {A NEW Blog}

Ok, so I am totally crazy and decided that I don't have enought on my plate so I should make a new blog!!! LOL (I really think I need therapy!}

After looking over my 2008 reflection post, I realized that a lot of it had to do with fashion. I LOVE fashion. I love to read fashion magazines, read about it online, and go shopping. Then about 5 months ago, I found several blogs that are written by some awesome ladies who show off their daily digs. They all inspired me to look outside my fashion box and it really opened my eyes to new ways to dress.

But there was just one problem...looking good is really expensive. Or so I thought! Turns out that we can be bargain queens and still look fab!

So come along and check out my new blog, Fashion is NOT a luxury, and see what I'm wearing day to day. Make sure to bookmark me so you don't miss out on some great fashion finds! Who knows, I might even do some giveaways or something :)

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

  {Why I was and wasn't cool in 2008}

I know everyone has already done their new years posts, but I thought it would be really funny to look back on 2008 and see what we did that was "cool" and what wasn't! :)
I can defiantly say, no matter how young I am, I am still not on point with a lot of the trends that this past year had to offer. So I thought I would make a list and feel free to make your own and link back to me. After all, I don't want to be the only loser from '08! lol

What I DID DO that was cool in 2008:
I wore footless tights
I wore high waisted belts (A LOT!)
I got side swept bangs
I did the "Posh Spice" hair cut
I bought 20 pairs of ballet flats
I joined facebook and sent "flair"!

What I DIDN'T DO that was cool in 2008:
I didn't buy an iPhone
I didn't wear skinny jeans (yikes!)
I never bought Gladiator Sandals
I didn't go "Green" (I bought some reusable grocery bags, but that's about it)
I didn't read any of the Twilight books (or see the movie!-GASP!)
I never caught on to Bikram yoga (or "Hot" yoga, where you do your moves in an 80+ degree room! NO THANKS!)
I didn't see "The Dark Knight"
I never bought leg warmers

So, it's YOUR turn now! What did you do or not do in 2008?

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Friday, January 2, 2009

  {Apple spice oatmeal}

The lovely HeathahLee asked if I would post the recipe to the photo in my 2009 Goals post, so I am more than happy to oblige! :) I actually don't have a "recipe" per say, I really just wing it, but I put together what I put in it so you can make it too!

Apple spice oatmeal
(2 servings)

What you need:
1C rolled oats (I use the quick cook steel cut)
2-3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C brown sugar (light or dark, doesn't matter)
4 Tsp. butter (I use blue bonnet light in sticks)

How you make it:
1. Cook your oat meal as directed on package.
2. In a small pan, melt butter and add in apples. Cook apples until they are soft to the touch, not mushy, but soft.
3. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and add to pan.
4. Add in brown sugar and stir all together.
5. Remove from heat and top oatmeal with apple mixture.

Voila! Breakfast! :)

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