Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rainbow Loom!!

My daughter Caylee has become quite the "Rainbow Loomer." If you haven't heard about the Rainbow Loom craze, you probably don't have a middle schooler. It is the newest way to make really cool bracelets. There are loads of different ways to make bracelet designs. In this video, Caylee is demonstrating the "Triple Single" bracelet.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chicken Nachos Using Canned Chicken

This is my third recipe using canned chicken. I like to use it because I can always keep some on hand in my pantry and because it is sooo easy to use. This time I decided to make chicken nachos since I know they will get devoured at my house.

Here is what you need:
2 cans of canned chicken
2 cans of refried beans
1 can of pinto beans
1 can of corn
1 can of diced jalepenos
1 can of Cambell's Fiesta Nacho Cheese
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 bag of tortilla chips

Take the canned chicken (water removed) and heat it in a pan. Add taco seasoning, corn and pinto beans. Mix well and continue to stir over heat for about 10 minutes.

The Chicken/Corn/Bean Mixture

 I used a large glass cooking dish to assemble my nachos. Spray the dish first with cooking spray. Start layering in your ingredients. Start with chips, add the refried beans, the chicken/corn mixture from the pan, more chips and finally pour the cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes (or until everything is hot) at 350 degrees. 

Serve with jalepenos, sour cream and guacamole if desired. Great meal on family movie night!



Monday, April 15, 2013

Homemade Pizza. Easy, Affordable and Fun!

I have been wanting to make homemade pizza for a loong time. We finally did it, and I'm so glad. It was cheap, easy, fun and of course...delish! My very picky eater even liked it. She also had a great time helping me make the dough. Making your own pizza will also save you loads of $$. I got this recipe from It works, it is super easy and fun. I added my own special tip. You are welcome.
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

The crushed garlic was a lovely addition. See my tip below about the cheese and tomatoes.
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution.
Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky but still fairly soft. This was the fun part for Caylee-
Don't let her facial expression deter you from trying this recipe.

Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. It will make you feel like a real chef. Text people that you are bored while your dough is rising.

Before the dough rises. Don't forget to cover it!

Preheat oven to 425.

After your dough rises, you will need to punch it down. Then let dough relax for a minute before rolling out.
 Line a cookie tray with parchment paper, press the dough onto it, and let the dough rise for about 15 minutes before topping and baking it. (I skipped the parchment paper when I used my pizza stone)


The first time I made the pizza, I used shredded cheese and lots of sauce and it was not so good. The cheese slid right off the pizza when we cut it. That made my daughter crazy. The next time we made it, we used light sauce, sliced roma tomatoes, thick slices of mozzarella, crushed (fresh!) garlic cloves and any other toppings we are in the mood for. It made a huge difference! So much better! 
Please note that my husband is from England and he put lamb (gyro) meat on his pizza. That is weird. Mine is the plain cheese.

Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.  

Pizza Stone = No parchment paper. Cookie Sheet=parchment

Lamb Meat Pizza. Weird. Makes my hubby happy.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't Buy Easter Egg Dyeing Kits Anymore! Stop the Madness!

Ok, so my title may be a little over dramatic. However, I stand behind it. I have bought countless easter egg dyeing kits for my kids over the years. It is a huge waste of money. Yes, they are fun, but we had more fun using what we already had around the house.

The Dye

Pour about a 1/2 cup of vinegar into a mug or cup. Add desired amounts food coloring to the food dye. Done.

This is all you need. You may already have it all. I just saved you a trip to the store. 

Once the hard boiled eggs are completely cooled, let the kids do their thing. We used electrical tape, googly eyes, candle wax and a black sharpie. We didn't have to look farther than our kitchen for any of these items.

Electrical tape = crazy egg stripe
  For polka dots, dip a pencil eraser into some warm, melted candle wax (help the kids with this!) and make polka dots all over your egg before dropping it into the dye. 

Our creations. Home made. Simple. Good stuff.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Veggies on the Grill

Want a quick, easy, super healthy veggie side dish for the grill? Here it is...

This is all you need. Boom.
Find some gorgeous greens. I used asparagus, brussel sprouts and broccoli. All of these veggies are super nutritious and once you prepare them this way, they are also super delicious! 

Simply cut the sprouts in half and lay them on aluminum foil along with the broccoli and asparagus. Drizzle olive oil over the top of everything. Sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper over the top. Seal the foil and place it on the grill for about 15 min on medium heat or until you reach the desired "donenesss." Yumm 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Two Canned Chicken Recipes. Yes, Canned.

Chicken Tamale Pie

This dish has made the weekly dinner rotation at our house. It is so easy to make and my husband can't eat it fast enough. I even served it at a small dinner party and everyone devoured it. Be warned - it is addicting!!

The original recipe that inspired me was from the blog Pinch of Yum (incredible blog by the way). Her tamale pie is gorgeous, mine is not as pretty but just as tasty! This is my version. Most ingredients are canned which makes this budget friendly and you can keep everything on hand.

Ingredients -
2 cans of canned white chicken (9.75 oz)
1 can of red enchilada sauce
1 can of creamed corn
1 can of black beans - or pinto if you prefer
1 can of diced green chiles (4.0 oz)
1 box of jiffy corn muffin mix (8.5 oz)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper
1/3 cup of milk
2 eggs
Some cheese to grate and put on top. Any kind you like.

This is all you need. So affordable. So easy.

What to Do-
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following:

1/2 the packet of taco seasoning
Red pepper
Muffin Mix
Green chiles

Stir everything together until it is well combined. Pour the mixture into a glass cooking dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook the mixture for about 25 minutes. It should be golden brown when it is ready.

A nice golden brown top

While the mixture is baking you will want to cook the chicken on the stovetop. Add the rest of the taco seasoning packet with the chicken. Make sure all the chicken is coated. Keep the chicken warm/cooking until the corn mixture is done.

Once the corn mixture is ready, take it out of the oven and pierce it with a fork several times. Pour the enchilada sauce over it. Put the chicken on top. Sprinkle cheese over it. Put it back in the oven for about another 15 minutes. You can sprinkle more cheese before you serve it. We eat ours with a dollop or two of sour cream.


Ok, so my picture of the finished version isn't pretty. But every time I make this, someone digs into it before I can take a nice picture. Seriously. This stuff is good.

Half gone already. The tamale bandits got to it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I came up with this recipe on a cold, rainy Sunday when we were desperate for soup with some kick. I was also not going out in the rain, so I used what I had on hand.

In a soup pot filled a little less than halfway with water, boil 3-4 chicken bouillon cubes to create a broth. Add 2 cans of canned white chicken, 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of dices tomatoes (my can had lime juice and cilantro in it), 1 4 oz can of diced green chiles, and 1 can of red enchilada sauce. 

Simple canned ingredients. And always wine in the background...

Let everything simmer for about 30 minutes or so. We served ours with a bit of sour cream on top and some crushed tortilla chips.My hubby was very impressed with my soup improvisation. Yum.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Roast a Turkey, Feed the Family Leftovers All Week

I am always looking for ways to cut the cost of weekly groceries and for ways to make my crazy busy life easier. Last week I decided to roast a 15 pound turkey and serve it for as many days as it would last. It was very cost effective, healthy and easy. The turkey cost me $12.00. Hurray!

On Sunday I roasted the turkey. I served it with some roasted potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and gravy. Delish! I used a lot of side dishes so the turkey wouldn't disappear too fast. I carved up the rest of the turkey so it would be ready to use for the rest of the week.

On Monday night, I made a turkey curry. I simply added turkey to our favorite jar of red curry sauce and cooked on the stove top. I added some some peas as well. I served it over rice. So tender and tasty!

Turkey Curry
 On Tuesday morning, I put decided to make turkey chili in the crock pot so it would be ready when we got home late from soccer practice. I sprayed the crock pot with non-stick spray, added a large can of tomato juice, 3 cans of chili beans, a packet of chili seasoning and some of the turkey. I let it cook all day. It was so good to come home to a nice pot of hot chili.

Crock Pot Turkey Chili
 On Wednesday night, I put together a pot of turkey noodle soup. I got a nice big soup pot and added 4 cans of chicken broth, lots of noodles, turkey, salt and pepper and some frozen carrots and peas I had on hand. After it boiled for a few minutes, I let it simmer. Nice comfort food.
Turkey Noodle Soup
On Thursday night there was still chili leftover. I made some baked potatoes and we put the chili on top of the spuds along with butter and sour cream...pure delight.

The turkey lasted Sunday-Thursday. I was pretty happy with that. It didn't seem like we had turkey every night. The flavors were all so different. Give it a try!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kool-Aid = Hair Dye! (For Kids)

I am lucky enough to have great kids. They work hard in school, play sports, and are really sweet. So when my 9 year old daughter told me she wanted to dye the tips of her blonde hair pink using Kool-Aid, I was fine with it. Cheap, easy fun. 

If you want to give this a try, it is pretty darn easy. It is permanent? A little bit - yes. Some people say it lasts 4-6 weeks. Some say longer. Some say shorter. Don't expect the color to last less than 3 weeks. My Caylee has had it for 3 days and there are no signs of fading. I am not too worried about it. I'm sure there is a product at Sally's Beauty Supply that will remove it. If all else fails, we can always go to the salon. 

Here is what you do -

1. Buy 2 packets of your favorite color of Kool-Aid.
2. Boil water in a pan. The less water you use, the deeper the color. Add more water for a less dramatic effect. 
3. Add both packets of kool-aid. Or one packet. Your choice.
4. Let the water cool a bit. Cool it enough so there is no danger of burning anyone!
5. Dip the hair into the mixture. As I pulled the hair out of the Kool-Aid water, I put it onto a paper towel and squeezed it.
6. Once you have the effect you want, dry the hair. Use a straighter to really set the color.
7. Have your kiddo take a shower and wash their hair. Nobody wants ants from Kool-Aid hair.

This is right after we did it

Monday, January 21, 2013

How I fed 30 People for less than $50.00

My English hubby loves to host Sunday dinners for our friends. A true Sunday dinner consists of turkey and all the fixings that go along with it. It doesn't matter if it is 105 degrees outside, we are putting a bird in the oven. Thanks Phoenix.

The dinners are a lot of fun, but I don't want them to break the bank. Thankfully, a Winco just opened in our neighborhood. It is grocery shopping heaven. I was shocked by how low the prices are. If you don't have a Winco where you live, I'm sure there is some store near you that has decent prices. I bought everything at Winco for our dinners.

I have also figured out how to do almost all the food prep before people arrive. I am actually able to enjoy myself! I had to borrow a few crockpots and put a table in the living room to hold them all. I plugged everything into a power strip.

I was able to do the same thing on Christmas Eve for our 35 family members and everyone said how delicious the food was. Actually, I got a free turkey in November at Winco for spending 100 dollars. So I spent less than usual!

This is how I spend less than $50.00 and fed 30 friends.

One 22 pound turkey- $23.00
One 11 pound ham -$12.00
Four boxes of Stove Top Stuffing - $4.00
One ten pound bag of potatoes - $1.48
Bag of carrots and some zucchini - $5.00

I already had some ingredients on hand - flour, eggs, gravy, butter.

Here is the key to having a good day, the prep!

Make sure you have figured out what time to put the turkey in. We decided not to stuff the turkey anymore because digging the stuffing out was time consuming (especially annoying after 2 glasses of wine.) We put cut up onions and apples in and around the turkey instead. So yummy. We also put pats of butter and sea salt under the skin.

I mash all ten pounds of potatoes and then put them in a crockpot. I add butter and stir throughout the day to make sure they are perfection.

I make the stuffing and also put it in a crockpot.

I make my veggie sidedish also using a crockpot (see my recipe under my ridiculously easy crockpot recipes. Link is on the right of this page).

I put the ham in a roaster oven. The ham I bought came with its own glaze. It was really tasty. 

I make the yorkshire puddings (see recipe on this page under this entry). I never thought I would make them ahead, but it really saved me from chaos in the kitchen. I put them on one of those disposable roasting dishes from a party store. The candles under the dish keeps the puddings nice and warm.

I then get myself ready. So easy! Everything is done. I just have hubby carve the turkey once its done and the ham is pre-sliced.

Go ahead, host a Sunday dinner and impress your friends.