a different kind of Christmas

I've been absent from the blogging world going on almost 2 weeks now.

While we were planning to leave on the 19th for the Christmas holidays with both of our families our plans were changed by a phone call from Jon's mom on the 17th. His dad, who has been battling cancer for over 4 years was in the ICU.
We left the next day.

After lots of prayers, and waiting, and ups and downs and not knowing... Jon's dad passed away on Christmas Day.
We like to think that he made it in time for the Big Birthday Celebration in heaven.

The past week and a half has radically changed my perspective on Christmas. Tradition has always been really important to me. I love the sights and smells and tastes of Christmas... the very feel of the season brings me such joy.

But I've realized there is a big difference in feeling like it's Christmas
and knowing that it's Christmas.

It's just as much Christmas when you're home as when you're in the hospital,
just as much when you're laughing as when you're crying,
just as much when you're together as when you're alone,
and really... when I think about it... it's just as much Christmas on December 25th as it is on October 14th and February 3rd and July 8th and August 29th....... because we're not celebrating the tradition or the sights and smells and tastes, we're celebrating the Person.

And He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Merry Christmas friends.


variety with sourdough starter

My MIL gave me some sourdough starter which I was at first reluctant to keep up with.

However, I love it!! I've learned that it can be used in lots of different ways and the bread makes great gifts.

You have to have a sourdough starter to use these (I have never actually made the starter before) but ask around and there's a good chance someone you know knows someone who has an aunt who has some starter they could share.

This is what I do with it:
1. I don't follow the instructions to feed the starter every 2-3 days. I have waited up to two weeks to feed it and it's been fine. This is very freeing!

2. I have made muffins with the dough. Put a little blob in your muffins tins and they rise faster and cook faster than the bread. These freeze great and it's easy to pull out a few for dinner for the two of us.

3. Gifts- folks really seems to like this bread. I make big loaves and mini loaves to give away to people at different times. It's a big hit and shh... easy and inexpensive!

4. Cinnamon Rolls- this is my big triumph in the area of sourdough bread. I made these last Saturday and not to toot my own horn, but they are amazing! Jon agrees and he doesn't usually get super excited about food.
5. Cinnamon Swirl Bread- I'm making this today for the first time. I just spread the dough out, put some butter, brown sugard and cinnamon on it, rolled it up and plopped the lump in the pan. We'll see how it turns out... I have high hopes.

If anyone uses their sourdough starter for other things I'd love to get more ideas!
Sourdough starter works for me... check out Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!


#5 the goose is getting fat: i love these cookies!

Well this is the last post in my Christmas series, the goose is getting fat. It was supposed to be about celebrating with friends and family... but this morning I am in the process of making cookies and they are SO cute and SO yummy I've opted to share about these instead!

They are Classic Spritz Cookies. Here's the catch... you have to have a cookie press to make them. There are a lot of different presses out there, but mine is the one that Pampered Chef makes (it was a gift last Christmas).
To use a cookie press you stuff the "gun" with dough, put a special shapped disc on the end (my set came with lots of flowers, a pumpkin, butterfly, clover, wreath, tree, leaf, etc) and squeeze the trigger while pressing down on the cookie sheet. The press shoots out just the right amount of dough for each cookie in the right shape.
Side note: if you still need a gift for someone and they like to bake, or can't bake well, or like cookies, etc... this is a great gift! I have used mine a lot in the past year.

Here's the recipe:
3 sticks of butter (yummmmm)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3.5 cups of flour

That's IT!

You mix it up (it's thick... don't burn out the motor on your handheld mixer... mind starts to smell like it's burning sometimes). Then you "shoot" the cookies onto the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes... then check them... bake a little longer... check again... bake a few more seconds... take them out. (this is how all the women in my family make cookies... it's a surefire way to make sure they don't burn!)

I love these cookies because:

1. They look pretty and are festive! I used green food coloring and sprinkles this time to make my trees and wreaths.

2. They are easy!

3. They are not super sweet... this is good and bad... it's easy to eat a lot of them because of this.

4. One recipe makes 77 cookies! Eat two right out of the oven and that leaves you with 75 beautiful cookies (yay... I can subtract!)

So if you have a cookie press, drag it out of the cupboard and fire it up. If you don't, find a friend to borrow one to see how you like it. I've also seen them at yard sales.

I'm telling you... with these things the goose'll get fat real fast!

Happy Christmas!

monday menu

Well... here it is. The week before Christmas menu plan and then I'll be out for about a week and half since our moms will be planning the menus while we're visiting family... niiiice!

Monday- leftover turkey noodle veggie soup and homemade bread (yes I invented it and yes it's pretty tasty)

Tuesday- cheeseburger meatloaf, green beans, mashed taters and homemade bread (we're having friends over)

Wednesday- making zucchini casserole for a potluck

Thursday- majorly cleaning out fridge since we leave on Friday after lunch for holiday travels!

Wow... what an easy week!


#4 the goose is getting fat: our family Christmas story

As today is Sunday this will be a brief post. More than anything I’d like to share the idea behind our family Christmas story and leave it with you to do what you will with it.

Christmas of 2004, right after we were engaged, Jon took the time to go through the Bible and pulled out many references to Christ’s birth from the Old Testament as well as the full story of Jesus’ coming from the New Testament. He used all these verses to tell the story of Christmas to me on Christmas Eve.

It was such a special gift and is now a tradition for us to read through all these verses as a family each Christmas Eve.

This year, and he won’t read this post so I can say it, Jon is getting a scrapbook for Christmas so that we can go through and make the story an actual book to read to Baby Girl as she gets older.

I love that our family is able to take some time each Christmas Eve to really reflect on the real meaning of Christmas, not just on the part about Jesus being born in a manger, but also the fact that His coming was foretold long ago and that the Lord used so many different people throughout scripture to bring His purposes about.

And He's still working out that plan today.

Happy Christmas!


#3 the goose is getting fat: baby's first Christmas

She’ll be almost 5 months old this year at Christmas. So of course, Baby Girl has no idea about all the excitement surrounding this wonderful time of the year.

I’ve been singing Christmas songs to her all the time. And we daily look at the tree and “talk” about the ornaments. We also regularly play with the nativity set my mom got her, with lots of emphasis on Baby Jesus… but I know of course that she doesn’t get it.

Then there’s the issue of gifts. She’s not going to remember anything about this Christmas or the gifts so I’ve really struggled with what we should spend money on and what we should refrain from this year. In the end we’ve decided to keep it simple. She’s getting one toy, a book, a stool I painted (more for me to sit on while I give her baths than anything else at this point), a fleece hat from my etsy store, and Steve Green’s Hide ‘em in your Heart Bible verse CDs. All but the hat and stool were bought with gift cards we’ve been given.

In reality I know giving her these things ends up being more about me wanting to give her something, than her really needing/wanting anything.

So what is this Christmas really about for her, even if she doesn’t know it…

She is a loved little girl. Being the only grandchild on both sides, grandparents, aunts and uncles can’t wait to get their hands on her.

It’s probably the only Christmas she’ll spend with her Papa (Jon’s dad) who is in the later stages of cancer.

She makes me look at Christmas differently as I try to talk through and explain to her the meaning of the season and our family traditions

She reminds me of Christ. When I look at her I am reminded that Jesus came as a baby. He was hungry, and wet his diapers, and couldn’t sit up or hold onto things. He made funny noises and faces and cried. He became helpless so that we could have life. I am so thankful that Baby Girl is teaching me this lesson in the most real way I could have imagined.

This is what I want to tell her her first Christmas was all about.


my cloth diaper experience

I've had several friends ask about our experience with cloth diapers. So instead of retyping the info over and over I thought I would create a post about this and then can just direct people there instead!

Brilliant... what can I say?

We LOVE using cloth! Initially we opted to go the cloth route because it was cheaper and that was reason enough for us. But the more I use them and the more I see how many we use and recognize how many disposables we'd be putting in the landfills, I like them for other reasons too.

Because we were new at this we did what I call "cloth diaper cheating," we used pocket diapers. The fit and use is so much like disposables. When people say, "Wow... you use cloth?!" I always say, "Yeah... but we sort of cheat because it's super easy!". Below in bullet form are my thoughts....

We started with about 10 diapers, a variety of different kinds: BumGenius 3.0, Fuzzi Bunz, Happy Heiny's, Haute Pockets and Mommy's Touch. Our idea was to see what we liked best and then order more of that particular kind.
  • We have found that the velcro close ones are the best for us. Jon really struggles to use the snappy ones, I agree they are more awkward, but I can see how they will probably last the longest.

  • We used disposables for a good solid month after Baby Girl was born. I don't care what size they say cloth should fit, our girl was 8lbs. 5oz. and the cloth ones were huge on her. Plus it was nice to not worry about extra laundry there at the beginning.

  • USE THE RIGHT DETERGENT! We didn't... I tried to use our homemade detergent on the diapers and it did not work. It actually made them repel watery substances (i.e. pee and liquidy poop). Disaster. Once we got them stripped and working we started using Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin and it's been great.

  • Our favorites are the BumGenus diapers. We bought 12 more of those and then later 3 more because they were on a terrific sale. I love that they are one size (more money savings) and that they come with the newborn insert... helps majorly with fit!

  • Once we phase out the few sized diapers that we have I think we'll have a total of 23 diapers.

  • I do laundry about every 1.5 days.

  • For the first 4 months I used disposables anytime we went out in public. I was so nervous about dealing with cloth while on the go. But it is no big deal at all! I just use a gallon ziploc bag to put the dirties in. No need for a fancy wet bag... though they are cute.

I think that is really about it! Please leave a comment or email me at everydaywylie (at) gmail (dot) com if you have any questions!

*** Update: I now have also included my thoughts on what happens when the kiddo starts to try solid foods and how that affects my affinity for cloth diapers. In all fairness you should read it too. ***

*** ADDITIONAL UPDATE: I have now ALSO posted some further thoughts on using pre-folds now that I've added a few of those to my stash. Check it out. ***


#2 the goose is getting fat: no Christmas card?!

This post is doing double duty. It is for my current series and for Frugal Fridays over at Biblical Womanhood. To catch up on my past posts for The Goose is Getting Fat series check out the intro and day 1.

I had it all planned out. Baby Girl was going to wear the Christmas dress my mom smocked, red and white gingham with little lambs… adorable. Jon was going to wear his red and white polka dot bow tie… snazzy. And I was going to wear my black wrap dress… slimming. The photo would be taken by the old historic home near where we live. I had browsed several websites looking for the perfect photo card to complement the picture. I was READY.

Then I did the math…

Even with free shipping on Snapfish, even with a few free prints, it was going to cost how much?! And postage… we’re nearing $.50/card y’all for postage alone.

It’s not that I don’t love everyone on my Christmas card list $.50 worth… it’s that all those cents eventually add up to a good many dollars.

So… we’ll still take the picture because I thought way too long and hard about it not to! But there will be no card this year.

Instead we’ll be emailing out our Christmas wishes. Okay I know that’s probably chintzy, but it’s the best we can do this year, and I think most folks these days understand. The good news is that instead of a generic, “Merry Christmas,” or worse, “Happy Holidays,” we’ll be able to say something meaningful… inspiring… joy inducing…

Okay, so I’m not that great of a writer, but we’re going to put some heart into it at least!


#1 the goose is getting fat- simple decorations

We’re in an apartment first of all, so there is no room to store, or even places to put lots of decorations. Here are our simple, but in my mind, festive items of holiday flare.

Small tree- This whopping three footer was passed on by some friends and is a perfect size for our apartment. It’s easy to store, easy to put up and doesn’t use half as many lights as a larger tree. It also makes us thoughtfully consider which ornaments will make it on the tree (it will fall over if we put them all on)

Centerpiece- This hurricane vase is a versatile centerpiece year round. With some (plastic—shhh) ornaments from the Dollar Tree and curled bit of sparkly star wire stuff… it’s all we need.

Nativity- Christmas decorations wouldn’t be complete without our nativity. This Willow Tree one was given to me by my parents when I graduated from college (now if that’s not a really great graduation gift I don’t know what is!).

Family pieces- My Gran, who is no longer with us, was an amazing crafter and HUGE fan of Christmas. I don’t think anyone, even us kids, got more excited on Christmas morning than she did. As long as I can remember she made dolls and santas and snowmen and angels to sell at craft fairs. We’re so happy to have some of her beautiful crafts in our home and it’s so special to pull them out each year in memory of her.

Everything that we have out for Christmas either has meaning for us, or serves a purpose in our home. We don't have tons of lights or greenery or candles or wreaths, but our simple reminders of the season are just right for us!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of the series: No Christmas Card?!

the goose is getting fat series

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny a farthing will do.
If you haven't got a farthing then God Bless You.

As Christmas is approaching I've decided to start a series on what we are doing to prepare for this blessed season... in a simple and inexpensive way. The farthings are few and far between in our home as they are in so many others.

So... I really have no idea how much a farthing is... but the point is... we don't have a ton of extra to spend on Christmas this year.

So for the next 5 days I hope you'll enjoy our plans and ideas for the holidays.

Thursday- Simple Decoration Ideas

Friday- No Christmas Card?!

Saturday- Baby's First Christmas

Sunday- Our Family Christmas Story

Monday- Celebrating with Friends and Family
See you tomorrow!

easy italian bread appetizer

Last night we hosted my sister and her boyfriend for dinner during exams. We had homemade pizza and green beans... nothing fancy... but I needed something else.

We really enjoying dipping bread in olive oil and spices and have these spices in the pantry for doing so, but I really still didn't have a good italian bread recipe. So I improvised.

Early in the afternoon I made a batch of pizza dough!

1 packet yeast (or 1 Tbls.)
1 c. warm water
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 c. flour

I added some basil, oregano, garlic powder and italian seasoning for extra flavor. Let it rise 1 hour. Then formed 4 little loaves, put them on a greased and cornmealed cookie sheet and let them rise about another hour. Baked at 425 for... I don't remember... just watch them.

Then right before dinner I sliced the bread, wrapped it in tinfoil and heated in the oven on 350. We had the olive oil and spices mix, garlic butter and marinara for dipping. It was a hit and super easy and inexpensive.

We'll be having this again!


That's how many "to be read" posts I had accumulated in my bloglines account. There are SO many great ideas out there and I just kept saving and saving them with no way to actually use them.

So the other night I took a deep breath and dove right in.

I made a catalog of ideas. And that's what I called it, "Catalog of Ideas."

There are categories for food, kids, crafts, home and other.

Now bloglines is empty, I have some nicely sorted ideas to go back to, and I've highlighted some stuff I want to try ASAP.

One of the first on the list to try is the Best Pumpkin Bread Ever which I will make using some of my fresh cooked and frozen pumpkin.


monday menu on tuesday

See Organizing Junkie for more ideas! A little late this week since my mom was in town yesterday. Here's our plan for the week:

Monday- hubs had dinner with work, Mom and I ate a salad that she brought and a frozen chicken tetrazinni I had.

Tuesday- sister and boyfriend are coming over for homemade pizza, green beans, breadsticks and cookies (it's their exam week right now)

Wednesday- we're hosting a potluck here for a few of hubs colleagues, I'm making Company Chicken (if it's good I'll post the recipe) and homemade bread

Thursday- Clean out the fridge!

Friday- BBQ ribs (from the Angel Food Ministry box) and sweet potato fries and maybe something green... collards?

Saturday- macaroni chicken soup and homemade bread

Sunday- french toast and bacon


christmas comes early

This year my sisters and I, along with the special men in our lives, decided to forego gifts to each other and go in together to get things for a Christmas child and then celebrate together with a potluck.

We had a lot fun, got some great stuff for a little 4 year old girl, enjoyed some yummy food and games.
I made an eye of round roast. I think I should have left the oven on 200 or so b/c it wasn't quite done... our oven doesn't hold heat too well. But other than that it was great!
Bek brought these amazing soy sauce green beans. (I'll also plug her great blog... go say hi!)
Bethy brought apple dumplings. Yum!
We also learned a new card game... 21 (not blackjack... it's different). I especially liked it because you can play, but still talk at the same time.


brown paper packages

I can't take full credit. This idea really began with my husband who refused to buy gift wrap as to him is was a completely unecessary expenditure. I on the other hand LOVE gifts.

I love finding just the right gift and the anticipation and the surprise and watching loved ones open them. So to me... gift wrap was a necessary expense.

So we compromised.

I buy a roll of brown craft paper at Michael's (using my 40% off coupon). Then I wait until pretty ribbons go on sale (and/or use another 40% off from another week). I use the same brown paper to wrap every gift and then use different bows to make them fun and interesting. This works really well the rest of the year too as brown paper can also be used for any other occasion. I've even used it for weddings with lots of white tulle and it's beautiful!
It's nice not to have multiple rolls of paper floating around and I enjoy the pretty ribbons. I will probably end up making some little tags for them as well but just haven't gotten to that point yet!

For other fabulous Frugal Friday ideas check out Biblical Womanhood.

Happy wrapping.


baby exercises- wfmw

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, hosted over at Rocks in My Dryer. Check it out for more great tips.

I have a 4 month old baby. It's starting to get colder out. Her morning feeding coincides with the one TV workout that I could do. Hmmm.... exercising??? It's really hard to fit it in at this point in my life.

Never fear! There is an answer... exercising with baby. Good for you, fun for baby.
Disclaimer: I don't know the technical terms for this stuff... this is just what I do. Also... be careful! You know yourself, you know your baby... be smart.

1. Baby in the Air- hold baby under arms. Slowly lift baby in air and say, "up, up, up, up," then slowly lower baby and say, "down, down, down, down." Do this a few times. You'll feel the burn.

2. Baby Crunches- lay on your back on the floor. Sit baby on your lower tummy and hold onto her! Pull legs off floor so your knees are kind of on either side of your baby's head. Do crunches. My girl loves this because my face comes up close to her when I crunch.

3. Baby Burn Squats- hold the baby while you do squats. Whew... these will wear you out!

4. Running to the Rescue- My girl won't go to sleep without her paci and at this point she spits it out all the time. So I have to keep putting it back in her mouth to get her to go to sleep. (this is another issue in and of itself) However, I run up and down the hall everytime I do this. Silly maybe... but I like to think of it as one or two extra calories burned.

5. Shower Pushups (without baby)- My only alone time these days seems to be in the shower. So this is a great chance to exercise too. Be careful you don't slip! I just put my hands on the back of the shower wall, keep my feet about 1-2 feet away from the back wall and do pushups.
Burn, baby, burn.


monday menu

So I thought I'd give the whole Menu Planning Monday a go, as hosted over at Organizing Junkie. I'll kind of comment on some of the rationale as to why we're eating what. Maybe you're not interested but... oh well!
Here goes:
Monday... that's tonight...- chicken, veggie and rice soup in the crockpot and homemade bread (it smells yummy already!) Using up random freezer veggie bits. We'll eat on this for lunches all week.
Tuesday- veggies for dinner- mashed potatoes (they're about to go bad and need to be used), glazed carrots, fried okra and homemade bread
Wednesday- NY strip steaks and leftover veggies from night before, along with... you guessed it... homemade bread. These steaks came in the angel food ministry box we bought and split with friends. We were curious if it was a good deal or not. Maybe I'll do a post on that later.
Thursday- is supposed to be CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Night... kudos to HomeEc101.com for this acronym... I love it) however, if the fridge is already clean I have a mini Chicken Tetrazinni in the freezer we can have.
Friday- roast with gravy and rice. We're having a potluck with my sisters and their significant others and then going shopping for our Christmas child together... so this is my contribution... along with homemade bread of course.
Saturday- leftovers from Friday... hopefully... that's the hard thing about planning leftovers into the menu! I hope there will be some!
Sunday- french toast and bacon. We make our french toast with homemade sourdoughbread and it's AMAZING. Give it a try.



So... I opened a shop... on etsy.

Right now I sell fleece hats for kids (mostly babies). Who knows if it will fly, I figured it was fun and worth a try. (not rhyming intentionally... it's 10:30 and that's LATE in my book!)



Baby Girl is figuring out her hands these days. Her amazement at learning that she can touch and grab and feel makes me smile.

I love her wonder.

I love her determination.

I love that she is still unsure and awkward.

I love that she is learning.

So thankful.


such a sweet idea!

Please take a moment to check this out. Rocks in my Dryer has a much better post about this than I could ever write... so head over there for more info.


reduce REUSE recycle

Over at Simple Mom the discussion today is about reusable grocery bags and asks what other readers reuse as well. This discussion so nicely fits into Thrifty Green Thursday theme over at Green Baby Guide.

And so, in one post I answer both questions: What do we resuse? How do we save the planet and a little money?
Wow.... it's already a productive day.

We reuse ziploc bags.
We typically don't use that many sandwich bags, just use tupperware for that kind of thing. But we can go through some freezer bags! So unless there was meat in the bag or something with oil I turn the bag inside out, give it a good scrubbing with some soap and water and then hang it neatly on my spatulas in the jar by the stove. Once dry, I roll it up and stick it back in the box.


the great pumpkin(s)

Jon had to work this morning cleaning up from the conference that was here this weekend and when I got home from church he had two pumpkins sitting on our kitchen counter (leftovers from decorations).

You would have thought he gave me the moon.
I have really been wanting to try cooking and pureeing and freezing my own pumpkin to use for pies and baking, etc. but an extra pumpkin or two just wasn’t in the food budget lately. So today was my chance!

This is what I did:
1. Cut the pumpkins in half.

2. Scooped out the goop and seeds and rinsed and saved the seeds (they are drying for 48 hours and then we’re going to make this with them).

3. Placed one half of the pumpkin cut side down on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 1 hour. And yes there were two pumpkins, which means 4 half pumpkins, which means I cooked pumpkin for four hours straight… STRIKE 1.

4. After cooking I scooped out the good stuff and beat it with my mixer. Then I strained the liquid through a cloth so it wasn’t too watery… that was REALLY a mess. STRIKE 2.

5. Next I measured out 1 and 3/4 cups of pumpkin into freezer bags. (apparently that’s how much is in a can of pumpkin) I also did a few bags with 1 cup in them because that’s how much a pumpkin pancake recipe calls for!

All in all we got about 8 cans of pumpkin… that’s it. STRIKE 3.

We won’t be buying pumpkins to make our own puree anytime soon. BUT if free pumpkins find their way to us like they did today, it was a fun experiment!

oatmeal alternative

Since we’re not 100% sure yet whether or not Baby Girl likes it when I have dairy, I’ve been staying away from my typical cereal breakfast in the mornings.

I’ve been trying to eat oatmeal… trying is the operative word there…I have decided that I just can’t do it. I can’t eat the stuff. I have gone through spurts where I’ve liked it, and even posted about it… but the stark reality is…I STRONGLY dislike it.

But it’s healthy I rationalize to myself… and it’s cheap… and it’s filling… so many positives, but I can’t do it.

So a few days ago I started looking up other ways to incorporate oats into my breakfast in as healthy a way as possible. I ran across this recipe for Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars. Just made them tonight, had a little taste and these are yummy!

Plus…. it’s only 1/2 c. of brown sugar for the whole 9×13 pan, 3 bananas and no oil or milk. That rates as a pretty healthy breakfast in my book!

keeping our duvet cover in place- wfmw

So I’m not really the biggest Martha Stewart fan. I mean, I just can’t get excited about someone who goes to jail, gets out, and is instantly famous and loved , there are some issues there for sure. However, I think this idea came from her website… so I must give credit where credit is due… and it WORKS!

Our duvet was always falling down inside the cover. Each morning I’d make the bed and go to pull up the duvet and my hand would just grab the cover… plus, that thing is heavy! so any effort to actually move it back into place just didn’t happen.

I started searching and found this idea: I sewed a strip of grosgrain ribbon (by hand with doubled over thread so it’d be really strong) into each corner of the duvet cover, then I used the ribbon to tie around each corner of the duvet.

Works like a charm! I’ve had it like this for a few months now and it is working out great, it definitely works for me. For other tips that work check out Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer.

cool summer meal- wfmw

One of Jon’s grads gave us this recipe so I can take no credit. We ate it for lunch AND dinner yesterday. When it’s 100 degrees out (in early June…. and I’m pregnant!) cool meals like this are NEEDED so this definitely works for me! Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW tips!

1 head of lettuce (I used Iceberg from Aldi)

1 lb. of ground meat (I used already browned ground beef from the freezer, I don’t think it was quite a pound. I would also try this with Aldi’s ground turkey)

2 C of shredded cheddar cheese (didn’t use quite this much)

1 bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos’s (crushed)-(I used the Aldi brand and that worked fine

Tomatoes (amount as desired, I used one container of grape tomatoes, halved)

Creamy Italian dressing (Ranch can be used as well… that’s what we used yesterday)

Then just mix it all together. Here are some other notes:Let the ground meat cool before adding it to the salad and strain it well.Don’t crush the chips too much and add them shortly before mixing (they can get soggy quickly).When adding the salad dressing, add about half the bottle first and then continue to add as desired.

I mixed up a big bowl of this at lunch with just the meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato and then put what we would eat for lunch in a smaller bowl and added doritos and ranch. Then I did the same thing for dinner so that the doritos wouldn’t get mushy. We still have leftovers.

This would be really good for a potluck because it makes a lot. I think next time I would probably just halve the recipe and maybe even freeze the rest of the doritos to use another time to spread it out.

Let me know if you like or if you have other cool summer meals!

thank you super coupon mom

This is the best thing ever… a spreadsheet to keep track of and figure out CVS ecb deals. I LOVE this! Check it out here and while you’re there be sure to leave a comment to thank Jen!

parm garlic bread

So this is a great thing… I mix up all the ingredients, set it on the counter, and by dinner time the butter is softened and it can be mixed and spread on your choice of bread.

The recipe calls for a loaf of French bread, but I’ve used it on leftover hoagie rolls, hamburger buns, plain bread, etc. Also, since there’s just two of us I have mixed up some and kept it in the fridge for a few days and used it to make individual toast at several different meals. So… without further ado…

1/3 c. softened margarine or butter
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced (I’ve also used garlic powder)
1 t. dried basil
Loaf of French bread, halved lengthwise
Mix first four ingredients well. Spread on bread. Lay open face on a baking sheet and broil until browned to your liking.

Super easy and good!

super easy chicken parm

This came from a recipe my sister got at a wedding shower.

6 chicken breasts (I just used about 3 and cut them into strips)
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Aldi’s brand)
6 T. parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. mozzerella

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour in sauce and stir in 4 T. parmesan cheese. Add chicken, turn to coat both sides. Cook, covered, in 375 oven for about 30 minutes (that’s how long it took with the chicken cut into strips). Remove and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. of parmesan and mozzerella (I just had a cheese blend that I sprinkled on top since we didn’t have mozzerella on hand). Cook for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted. Serve over pasta.

Like I said, I only used 3 breasts, so I sort of eyed the amounts and adjusted accordingly and it worked out fine. Definitely didn’t have to be an exact science. Also, I got everything ready before church and just stuck it in the oven when we got back which worked out well.

moving in

After much deliberation I am closing down my wordpress blog and starting over here on blogger... whew... I've got to stick with one or the other so this is IT! I'm copying a few of my favorite posts from my old blog here on this new one so they'll all be neatly in one place.