Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making Plans for a Toy Story Birthday Party.

I was checking out Bakerella today and found adorable Hamm and Mr. Potato Head Pops that I know would go over huge for Michael's 5th. Check these out!



Friday, June 25, 2010

Amazing website for toddler and baby food ideas!

So a FaceBook friend posted about this website and I am so amazed! Pizza muffins? Fruit Leather? Oh my! I will definately be trying out some of these recipes. Take a look!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meal Plan Week Jun2 23-29

Meal Plan

#1 Cheese and Bell Pepper Enchiladas with Refried Beans.

#2 Blackened Catfish with Creamed Corn and Roasted Green Beans.

#3 Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Cherry Salsa, Smashed Potatoes and Sauteed Greens.

#4 Baked Penne with Salad and French Bread.

#5 Black-Eye Pea Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper, Collard Greens and Fruit Salad.

#6 Fettuccini with Spiced Pecans and Feta served with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts.

Apple Pie In A Jar

My husband adores Apple Pie! I have found my own twist to making it and when I do there is always high praise. Now, I think I've Tony's all time favorite thing to eat- Apple Pie In A Jar. It's all the goodness of apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in a personal serving.

You can also ship these for Christmas goodies or just to cheer up a friend. I promise you that if apple pie is your thing, you will LOVE apple pie in a jar!

Sarah's Apple Pie in a Jam Jar:

6 apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 flour

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bow.

1 1/2 c flour
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tbs powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Work until it all sticks together. If it's too sticky add a touch more flour.

Crumb Topping:
1/2 c flour
4 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg

Using a pastry tool or a fork combine all ingredients until crumb texture is achieved.

Place 4-6 jars on a cookie sheet. Divide the dough accordingly. Press each portion of dough into the jar, up around the sides and finally at the bottom. If more is needed, simple add it for the bottom and press down with fingers. Add about 1/2 cup of apple mixture to each jar and top with the crumb topping. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and top and sides are golden brown.


Have You Ever Thought You Just Can't Do It All?

Well, I am having one of those weeks. I never really finished last weeks meal plan and have had little time for blogging lately. I start to feel very overwhelmed and stressed out and then take a step back and look...here is what I see...

I wish I had time everyday for doing my hair like a movie star.
I wish I worked out more. ALOT more.
I wish that I could spend more time sewing.
I wish I had a housekeeper...because with all of the stuff I love to do, cleaning is NOT one of those things.
I wish that I was more organized both with my life and with my thoughts.
I wish that everynight could be some magical gourmet creation for dinner and that I wouldn't have to balance that idea with a toddler that will not eat anything but chicken nuggets.

But here is what is REALITY...

I am a mom to two amazing kids who deserve my time and energy.
I am a wife to a wonderful man who is my best friend and he deserves my time, attention and energy
I am a homemaker and my home deserves my attention, keeping it neat, clean and enjoyable.
I am a chef for my family (and sometimes friends) and my family deserves to eat healthy and delicious foods.
I am a student, and with amount of $$$ I'm paying to finish my degree, my studies deserve my attention
....I am Sarah. I deserve some down time too.

It's impossible to split myself up into just the right amounts of energy for each part of my life. So, until I figure out the perfect balance here are some things that I am doing to help make myself more productive and (gasp!) organized.

1- Use a cleaning schedule
2- Plan my meals
3-Schedule play dates and play time with my kids
4-Make a date night schedule so that my husband and I can spend quality time together
5- Make time for myself.

Over the next 5 weeks I will feature tips on how I'm accomplishing each of these things.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Weeks Deals At Publix with www.southernsavers.com


Check out this weeks deals with SouthernSavers, while there aren't too many this week I am crazy about I will be stocking up big time on the Seventh Generation Dish Soap! It is BOGO this week and I have about 6 coupons!!! Love it.

June16th Meal Plan

This again is a working progress...was feeling ill yesterday and didn't get much of anything done. I will edit and add a shopping list today and tomorrow.
June16MealPlan <========Click here to view and print the meal plan.

#1 Guava Glazed Chicken Thighs with Jalapeno, Kale, and Lentils

#2 Seared Salmon with Soy Ginger Noodles and Veggies

#3 Cuban Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sofrito Rice and Green Salad

#4 Tortellini with Walnuts and Herbs with Sauteed Greens

#5 Cuban Sandwiches with Tostones and Mojo.

#6 Vietnamese Vegetarian Noodle Salad

Monday, June 14, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Steak Brushetta

Had some friends over this weekend and I was looking for a "beefy" appetizer that wouldn't be too expensive. I started with the idea of a basic caramelized onion and sliced beef brushetta and the result was really, very good!

Caralemized Onion and Steak Brushetta:
2 top sirloin steaks about 1 1/2" to 2" thick
canola oil
1 loaf of french bread
EVOO for the brushetta
about 3 tbs shredded parmesan cheese
course salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large vidalia onions, sliced
3 tbs butter
1/2 cup of red wine

Start by toasting the brushetta. Slice the loaf of french bread at an angle making 1" or so thick slices. Brush slices on one side with EVOO, sprinkle with parm, salt and pepper. Bake at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip over and repeat, cooking until crisp and golden.

Heat butter over medium heat in saute pan. Add sliced onions, salt and pepper and cook with lid on, stirring every so often about 20 minutes until onions are caramelized and juicy. Add the red wine and let it cook down about 5 minutes. Set aside till you are ready to build the brushetta.

Coat the steaks in canola oil, course salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat grill pan over high heat and grill steaks about 3 minutes per side. Let them rest about 10 minutes on the cutting board before slicing. Slice very thinly.

To assemble: Place bread (brushetta) on a large serving platter. Spoon a good amount (about 1 tbs) per serving of the onion mixture. Add sliced steak to the top and serve while warm.

Yummy Yum

Ok, so this dish deserves a post of it's own! Wow! I was so in love with this! Everything about it was perfect. The chicken was tasty and juicy. The Chavrie was the perfect bite of creamy, tangy goodness. The Cherry salsa was sweet, spicy and just wonderfully delicious. Yummy Yum Yum....

So, start out with chicken cutlets, pound 'em out real good so they are nice and thin. Marinate them in my vinegraitte recipe and grill them up about 4 minutes per side. Prepair the Cherry Salsa. Add about a tablespoon size dallop of Chavrie and top with the salsa. Get ready to eat every last bite on your plate! I served this up with my Smashed Potatoes and salad.

1 tbs tomato paste or ketsup (whatever is on hand)
1 tsp brown mustard
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbs fresh chopped basil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO

Whisk all ingredients but the oil. In a slow stream (while whisking) slowly add the EVOO. Make sure to whisk well to emulsify the vinegraitte. Use as a marinade, pasta dressing, salad dressing or whatever your heart desires!

Smashed Potatoes:
6 medium red potatoes, washed and poked with a fork
about 3-4 tbs EVOO
1 tbs freshly chopped rosemarry
1 bunch fresh chives (garden fresh!)
2 cloves minced garlic
Lots of fresh ground pepper
Course salt to taste

Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes or until fork tender. Place in serving bowl and mash with potato masher. Do not over mash because these are meant to be chunky. Add garlic, herbs, EVOO and salt and pepper. Stir gently and serve.

Just a little note about the Chavrie, I happened to get a free coupon for one from a post on http://www.hip2save.com/ (my favorite deal site). When I used my coupon for the free Chavrie, I didn't notice until making this dish that there was a coupon to get a free Chavrie online with the info inside the one I already got for free! So, I got two for free and I'm so glad I found an amazing use for these wonderful Chavrie's because I adore Chavrie, but I love it even more when it's free!Posted by Picasa

My Sweet Miracles.

How sweet are my kids? I feel strange typing "kids". What happened to my babies? But boy does time fly by. I'm so proud of the way my little ones love eachother. They were meant to be brother and sister.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9th Meal Plan

June9thMealPlan <===Click here to view and print the Meal Plan

Grilled Balsamic Veggies with Cheesy Polenta and Watercress.

Creamy Tarragon Dijon Chicken Breasts with Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach.

Baked Tilapie with Pine Nut, Parmesan and Pesto Crust with Roasted Green Beans.

Homemade Black Beans with Sofrito served over steamed rice with Plantanos Maduros.

Grilled Honey Glazed Chicken with Green Pea and Mint Sauce with Couscous.

Chili Rubbed Steak Tacos with Refried Beans.

Bonus Breakfast Recipes:
Breakfast Cookies
Savory Breakfast Scones.

Shopping List <====Click here to view and print the Shopping List.

Money Saving Tips For the Home -Homemade Laundry Soap

About 6 months ago I started making my own Laundry Soap. I was very sceptical. I have two toddlers who stain everything. Well, I searched for recipes and eventually took a few things from different ones.

Here is what I came up with:
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with HOT water. Grate 1 bar Ivory or Dove soap bar and half of a Tom's of Main soap bar into sauce pan with 4 cups of water and heat until dissolved. Add soap/water mixture to the half full 5 gallon bucket. Add to the bucket 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing soda (not baking soda...washing soda can be found in the laundry section in most major stores) and 1/2 cup Borax. Stir well to completely combine ingredients and fill the bucket to the top with more hot water. Stir again and let sit for 24-48 hours to do it's "thing". After that you can add some essential oils to the mixture if desired. I like to use lavender, orange, lemongrass...ect...about 20 drops.
You can either leave the mixture in the bucket and scoop out 1 cup per load (1/2 cup for front loaders) or funnel it into pourable containers like recycled laundry bottles, milk jugs or even pitchers.

The liquid will be sort of "goopy" but it you pour it into the flow of water when you turn your washer on it will dissolve right away. Other wise, like for a front loader you could add a bit of water to it before adding to the wash.

For fabric softener, well...to be honest usually I just don't need it. Our clothes and linens come out really soft and clean. For the days when I just really want to ensure super softness (like my sheet washing day) I will get out my Downy ball, fill to the line with vinegar and add it to the wash. It will not make your clothes smell like vinegar at all. The clothes will come out soft, smelling great and clean! This also helps with any residue or hard water build up in your machine.

My daughter has really sensitive skin so I don't use dryer sheets or anything like that. You could add an herb sachel to the dryer if you just need that extra pretty smell in the house! I may do a tutorial on those soon!

Another method is to grate and process your soaps and add them to the Borax and Washing soda. Use 1 tbs per load of dry ingredients. You can also use essential oils in this mixture as well. Just add and stir well. I keep my dry mixture in little recycled jam jars.

Happy Washing!:-)

Here is the recipe on the Duggars website: http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html

I don't use Fels Naptha soap because there are harsh chemicals in the soap and while it takes out stains well I don't want to use it in something that sits on my babies skin all day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

~Sophia's Third Birthday~
We had a great time this weekend celebrating my youngest turning three! I can't believe that my tiny little baby with bruises on her hands from IV's and weight to gain is so big and grown!

Sophia loves Princess and the Frog. She asked for a party with Tiana and I was thrilled to plan it. We did a "Mardi Gras" party with Tiana and Frogs. The menu was Jambalaya, Beignets , Muffuleta's, fresh fruit, fresh veggies with ranch dip, chips, "Pigs in a blanket", Juicy Juice boxes, Soda, Froggie Punch (Just 7-Up and green shorbet), Blueberry Beer and Shocktops (for the grown ups!).

We did "Leaping Lilly Pads" which was a version of musical chairs. The kids played instruments and danced until the music stopped to find a lilly pad to stand on. We made Mardi Gras Masks with foam stickers, rhinestones and feathers. The favors were exploding froggie soaps, stickers, Tiana fruit snacks, a Tiana pencil and lolly pop.

The party went well although I was running late getting all the food ready. I had been up till 3:30 that morning working on the cake and last minute prep. Seems that I am crazy and decided to landscape the front yard before the party the day before. That turned out great by the way...here are some pictures:

Now we are still cleaning up feathers and beads from the house. I imagine that it will take a few more days to get back to reality after party prep mode. Sophia is enjoying all of her new toys included Barbies and a Barbie Car! She loves that car. She has also not stopped wearing her collection of Princess Silly Bandz that Ms. Rebecca gave her.

So Gratefull that I am her mommy and get to do all of these things with her. Sophia is a precious gift. She's so sweet and loveable and I cannot wait to see all the amazing things she will do and become!
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Monday, June 7, 2010

June 6 Meal Plan

June 6 Meal Plan <-----Click Here to view and print Meal Plan

Meal #1
Cheesy Catfish with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli

Meal #2
Hawaiian Chicken Strips with Island Rice and Sauteed Greens

Beef Stroganoff with Green Salad and French Bread

Meal #4
Orecchietta Pasta

Meal #5
Sloppy Joes with Potato Wedges and Fresh Fruit

Meal #6
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Cherry Salsa, Smashed Potatoes and Steamed Sugar Snap Peas

Shopping List For June 6 Meal Plan <----------Click Here to view and print shopping list!
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