Monthly Archives: March 2012

Food Friday – Delish Dozen …Chicken Recipes

For the next few Fridays instead of featuring one recipe, I’m going to share a Delicious Dozen…twelve of my favorite recipes featuring one specific food.  So if you’re in a dinner rut, I hope to be able to provide you with some fun ideas!

 

Today’s food is chicken.  Sick of the same chicken dishes?  Here are 12 different recipes from around the web to hopefully help give you ideas!

 

#1 Parmesan Crusted Chicken

 

#2 Crispy Cheddar Chicken

#3 Mom’s Chicken & Dumplings


#4 Lemon & Dill Chicken

#5 Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

#6 Chicken and Rice Enchilada Soup (GF)

#7 Bourbon Chicken without the Bourbon

#8 Chicken Salad (GF)

#9 Ranch Style Chicken (GF)

#10 Pan Roasted Chicken & Gravy

#11 Ugly Naked Chicken

#12 Addicting Chicken Tenders (GF)

Emergency Kits – Feminine Hygiene

This week let’s work on making sure we have plenty of feminine hygiene products on hand in case of an emergency.

 

 

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Not a whole lot to say about it….it’s pretty self explanatory!  I will say that I personally subscribe to an Amazon.com Subscribe and Save service  and I get my products from that.  I don’t like being a brand snob, but I’ve had enough unpleasant experiences in this area that I’ve become pretty loyal to Always products, and Amazon’s Subscribe and Save  gets me a pretty good deal when I buy in bulk. 

 

Until next week…

Friday’s Food – Spinach Avocado Dip

The other night I was cleaning out the fridge and I saw a lonely, forgotten avocado.   It was mortifying.  The husband and I LOVE avocado, and let’s face it, they’re not the cheapest produce option out there, and so to find this lone avocado sitting in the back of my fridge had me feeling quite upset. 

Fortunately, upon inspection, I saw that it had not gone bad, although it’s life expectancy was definitely nearing it’s end.  So I decided to make a nice little guacamole/dip. 

I’ve found recipes for a spinach-avocado dip here and here, and I thought the idea intriguing…especiallly considering the fact that I’d just bought a big bunch of spinach.  I confess that I had not all the ingredients on hand for either, however, so I simply threw in a bunch of stuff and called it good.  Really, it was GOOD.  I wish I’d measured things more closely, but I suppose my estimates in the meantime will have to do:

My version of Spinach Avocado Dip:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 heaping cup (or heaping handful, if you prefer) fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon or lime juice (I used lemon since I had no lime)
  • salt and pepper to taste (a pinch or so of each)\

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.  It makes a lovely dip for veggies (I dipped my home baked “fries” and raw carrots in it), but it is also really good on top of grilled chicken.  For those lucky gluten eaters, you would surely enjoy this with crackers or pita bread.

 

Did I take any pictures?  No.  My apologies, I was too busy eating.  It looked alot like the picture below, taken by Andrea when she made her own version of this yummy stuff (it is to her that I must give the most credit for the idea).  Thanks, Andrea!

Thoughtful Thursday – Friendship

“In friendship…we may think we have chosen our peers.  In reality, a few years of difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised, or not being raised at a first meeting…any of these chances might have kept us apart, but for a Christian, these are, strictly speaking, no chances.  A secret master of ceremonies has been at work; Christ, who said to the disciples:  ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of friends, ‘Ye have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.’  The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals to each…the beauty of others.”

– C.S. Lewis

 

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Emergency Kits – Non Prescription Medication(s)

Let’s get stocked up on some non-prescription medication(s) for our kits this week.

 

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Life is stressful, even during the best of times.  In an emergency, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is a headache on top of everything else….or allergies, or insomnia.  Feeling at least decent physically will go a long way in helping you to keep your sanity in times of struggle.

So…browse through your local ads.  See what’s on sale and buy an extra bottle if it’s something you can use.  Stock up on what you’ll use, not on any set list of stuff.  I’ll share with you what I have extra, but by all means, only purchase what’s good for YOU and your family:

  • Tylenol – I actually have store brand acetaminophen, both in capsules and in children’s liquid form. In my case, I must ALWAYS check to make sure the meds I purchase are gluten free…so keep that in mind if you have a food intolerance.
  • Ibuprofen – again, in children’s liquid and in capsules.  I don’t have as much of this, because of my history with ulcers…but I figure in an emergency, it’s worth it to have on hand.  If there are fevers or pain involved with any given situation, it’s nice to know you can alternate between this and the acetaminophen for maximum relief, if needed.
  • Melatonin – both in capsule and liquid form.  The liquid form is great for the kids, but the stuff I have has gluten, so I’ve also purchased the capsules.  If life “happens”, as it always does, and we’re struggling with an emergency or other problem, I want to know that if nothing else, my kids will be able to sleep at night and wake up refreshed.
  • Antacids – I personally have prilosec OTC, but you could store Tums or anything else.  Just in case!
  • Emergen-C – again, I don’t have the actual brand, but a store brand that is similar.  Soothing for a parched throat, provides vitamins as well!
  • Multivitamins – When on sale, I stock up on vitamins, particularly the gummy kind that my kids are so fond of.  (although I actually would like to switch to liquid or something different since those are not the “healthiest” multi vitamin out there…any suggestions?)

Of course, I wouldn’t suggest you buy ALL of the medications you would ever possibly need, but if you happen to find a good deal on any this week, go for it!

When Income Drops

I’ve had a tough couple of weeks.  As you may know, I work part time as a Paraprofessional at my daughter’s school; my husband works full time as a Customer Service agent at a company (which will not be named – legal stuff).  I work in the mornings until 1:00, my husband goes to work at 2:00, and therefore there is always a parent at home JUST IN CASE.

Two weeks ago today, two women from the local community were killed…hit by a truck.  They both happened to be mothers of students at the school I work at.  Talk about an emotional time for the students!  It was heartbreaking coming into work.  The following Tuesday, a co-worker’s next door neighbor passed away, and a teenage girl who had been a student (K-6) at my school was killed in a car accident.  Wednesday was an even more emotional day.  Thursday was the funeral for one of the mothers, and that night, the bishop of a ward that some of our students go to died.  Friday was the funeral for the other mother and the neighbor, and that night my co-workers’ father in law died.  Saturday was filled with more funerals, and finally the last funeral was this last Wednesday.  So…there has been a high level of stress, melancholy, etc at work.  I feel so bad for so many who have lost loved ones, and have been fortunate to be in a position to help out where I could (substituting for teachers to go to funerals, breaking up terribly emotional fights, etc). 

 

The Thursday of the 1st funeral I also received some crummy financial news, which I’ll get more into later.  Sunday, my 5-year old son broke his arm.  4 days ago I had a relapse of some unpleasant health issues.  Argh!!!  March has not been my month.

 

So…on to the financial issues, and to the actual point of this blog post.  My husband has received news of a change coming to his work, which is technically supposed to be good news.  He will no longer be working until 11 pm at night, which sounds great at first…until you realize that with a “better” schedule also comes a 10% drop in pay (currently he receives 10% extra for working the night shift, but not for long).  In addition to the drop of his income, I will be experiencing a drop as I will no longer be able to work as many hours now, because my son does not attend school on Fridays, and with the husband soon to be working mornings, there will be no one home to be with him.  That will, of course, fall to me, which is fine, but it will sure make a cut in our wages.  Next school year will bring different challenges as I will need to drive both kids to separate schools (Buddy Boy is going to a charter school specifically for kids with autism), and so I will no longer be able to work in the morning at the school either.  Buudy Boy’s school is about 30 minutes freeway driving away, and I’m anticipating our car gas budget to at least double.

 

So…when all is said and done, my husband’s income is dropping by 10%, and mine will be dropping by at least 50%. Our expenses are also going up.

 

OUCH.

What to do, what to do?  Well, we’ll do what we always do:  we’ll adjust. 

  • I already grind my own flour for my gluten free needs; perhaps it is time I start making my own noodles from that flour as well.  I tried it once and they were great. 
  • We’re planning to expand our garden this year to provide more produce…I’ll be doing at least as much canning as I did last year.
  • We’ll cut our grocery budget – again.  More potatoes, beans, rice, and in-season produce.  Less meat, peanut butter, and out-of-season produce. 
  • I’ll start making my own homemade yogurt again.  Fell off the wagon with this one, not sure why.  Here’s some great motivation to jump back on, eh??
  • Continue making homemade cleaners, and expand it to include more personal care items as well.

Thank goodness we can claim no credit card debt.  I knew there was a good reason to stick with it!!

Irish Soda Bread

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I made my family some Irish Soda Bread.  I found the recipe from Sally’s Smorsel’s a year ago, and it was so good.

(This is the only thing I did for the holiday.  I’m a grinch, man, but I just don’t see the need.)

I was impressed with how soft and moist the bread was.  Loved it!

So here’s how you do it.

1 egg
2 cups buttermilk (or sour milk – mix 1 3/4 cup milk with 1/4 cup vinegar)
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, slightly beat the egg. Add the buttermilk and whip until mix. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until moistened. Add the melted butter and stir until mixed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes in a loaf pan (55-60 minutes in a cake pan), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Slice into wedges, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  My husband liked his with jam, but my kids and I thought it was sweet enough by itself!

Journey To Self Reliance Tip #2 of 25

The second tip in this article is one I’m excited to incorporate into my journey.

 

2. Learn New Skills

Learn one homemaking skill a month.   Things like gardening, sewing, crochet, making your own laundry soap, ANYTHING that you can learn to do to help your family become more self reliant is a victory!  Heck, if you know the basics of gardening, you can still learn something new by trying a new fruit/vegetable to grow. 

The skill I’m working on this month?  Making my own chapstick.  Yeah, so maybe crochet would be more useful, but I just happen to have a current NEED for chapstick (as I’m just about out) and I’d really like to start making my own so that it’s a more natural, less processed version, a version that I know all the ingredients to.  Plus I think it’ll be dang fun.

 

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*Update on tip #1:  Get rid of debt

Still working on that car loan.  Our monthly payment is $208.  We were able to pay $1,250 to the loan this month.  This won’t be typical…we have a tax return to thank for the bigger amount this month.  The hope is that we’ll be able to pay $500/month to it.

 

*Feel free to join in on the journey to becoming more self reliant…start with step 1, 2, or whatever you prefer!!