Friday, July 31

Disclaimer: I'm Complaining :(

So after a morning spent with my kiddos at the library, I decide to drive through somewhere and treat them to some lunch. The closest place was Hardee's and I knew they would have a salad for me. Now, I don't visit Hardee's too fact....I honestly can't remember the last time I went there......and now I remember why!

I order this:
....A Southwest Chicken Salad.
Looks good, huh. Notice the vibrant green lettuce....the juicy red tomatoes.....the cheese peeking out under a load of chicken. Don't forget the best part.....a southwest dressing to boot. Here's what Hardee's says about their delicious creation:

"A spicy chicken fillet served on a bed of shredded lettuce with diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar, red and yellow onions and a zesty Santa Fe sauce, all in a crispy flour tortilla bowl."

I asked to substitute the breaded chicken for some grilled chicken. They said sure, with an extra charge. I thought.....I hate that....but I'll try it.

This is what I got:

Overcooked tortilla bowl, a heaping of shredded ice burg lettuce, a couple red onion, tomatoes that weren't ripe, and a few pieces of chicken. No cheese, no dressing, throw presentation out the window!
Here is the real kicker.......I paid $4.29 PLUS an extra $1.25 for grilled chicken. WHAT!!! I don't know about you guys, but ice burg lettuce is on sale for .68 cents where I shop.

I'm not normally a complainer (I'm the one who usually calls and compliments afterward) and my expectations are not high for fast food.....but seriously! I'm e-mailing the company. I'll let you know how it goes.

Stir Fried Shrimp

3 scallions, white minced and green thinly sliced
2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbl veg oil
1 lb extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 per lb)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut 1 1/2 pieces
1/4 c oyster sauce
1 Tbl toasted sesame seeds

Combine scallion whites, chili-garlic, ginger, and 1 tsp of the sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside. Heat veg oil over high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp and cook until just opaque. (about 30 sec) Push shrimp to sides of pan and add scallion mix to center. Cook about 30 sec. Stir mix into shrimp and then set aside in a large bowl. Reduce heat to med. Add asparagus and 1/2 c water. Cover and cook 3 min. Uncover and simmer until crisp tender. (about 2 min) Add oyster sauce and shrimp back to pan until shrimp are fully cooked and sauce has thickened. (about 1 min) Stir in sesame seeds and remaining sesame oil. Garnish with green scallions.

Family Friday ~ Listen

I find myself so caught up in what I'm doing at the moment that I often react negatively to my kiddos or don't completely listen to what they have to say. I too often nod my head and say, "uh huh," not fully hearing their requests or statements. (this is not easy for me to admit)
I came across Proverbs 17:6 which says, "Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged;
parents are the pride of their children." It made me ask myself, am I conducting/instructing so that my children are or will be proud that I am their mom? Tough question.

One thing I do know is that I can listen better. Honestly, I could use the little breaks anyway. So, I'm challenging myself to listen better to them, read with them to encourage them to listen, and also listen to things together. Here are a few things I think are great....they are very different from each other but still great.

(purchasing this one helps kids in Africa impacted by AIDS/HIV)

Adventures in Odyssey presents original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience. These fictional, character-building dramas are created by an award-winning team that uses storytelling to teach lasting truths. Maybe that's why over 20 million products have been distributed worldwide.

So dust off your imagination and join the kids in Odyssey for inspiring adventures that are flat-out fun!

Thursday, July 30

Feta Burgers

(I read somewhere on the internet that if you put your thumbprint in the center of the patti, they will not puff up when you grill em. For the record.......not true. Sorry, ours still puffed up. The good news, they cooked evenly and quickly and I'll continue with the thumb print for that reason.) :)

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 feta cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp montreal seasoning, minced
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Wednesday, July 29

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

6 chicken breasts
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 envelope dry garlic and herb salad dressing mix (or italian)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup olive oil.

Mix cheese, garlic, and dressing pack. Dip chicken in olive oil and coat with cheese mix. Place on baking dish and cook at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28

Tuesdays Tip ~ Enhance Chocolate Cake

We all are in a rush and sometimes have to just pick up a box cake mix. (check out my box cake mix recipe on Wednesday) When using a chocolate cake mix,
Add cooled prepared coffee in place of water. Coffee is a natural chocolate enhancer!

Monday, July 27

Monday Meal Plan

Here's what's cookin at our house this week:
Parmesan Chicken
Feta Burgers


Enchiladas Blanco

Cola Pork Chops

Stir Fry Shrimp

Leftovers/Eat out


Nicole is gving away coupons (300) on Mom Saves Money!! Sign up ends WEDNESDAY July 29.

Sunday, July 26

SONday Dinner ~ Honey Pecan Chicken

(Mt. Soledad San Diego,CA)

Colossians 1:16-17


Honey Pecan Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbl butter
1 Tbl shallots, minced
1 c OJ
1/4 c whiskey
1 c whipping cream
2 T honey
1 T cider vinegar
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 c olive oil
2 t fresh thyme, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 c flour
Olive oil
Mix the marinade ingredients and let chicken marinade up to 24 hours in a freezer bag. (could freeze at this point until ready to use)
Melt butter in med saucepan over low heat. Saute shallots. Add OJ and whiskey and turn heat u to med. Let liquid reduce by half. Add cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cool. (can freeze until ready to use)
Place pecans and flour together in a big shallow dish. Dredge chicken so that they are coated. Pan fry chicken in olive oil until no longer pink inside. Re heat thawed sauce on low heat until warmed. Serve chicken individually and serve sauce over chicken.

Saturday, July 25

Seasonal Saturday ~ Farmers Market

Crustless Cherry Crumble

Crustless Cherry Crumble

We served this at a bbq last weekend. It was very yummy. The crumb topping was a little much but still good. We served it with homemade whipped cream. :)

3 heaping cups pitted, halved sweet cherries (Fresh cherries work best. Do not use canned cherry pie filling; it is much too wet.)
1/2 cup self-rising flour1 tablespoon shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 batch crumb topping (recipe below)
In a medium bowl, lightly mix with a fork flour, salt and shortening until a uniform, soft-crumbed mixture forms. It will look like very coarse meal. With a whisk, mix in cinnamon and brown sugar to combine. Add milk, eggs and extract, beating thoroughly to create a smooth batter. Pour batter over cherries in dish. Sprinkle crumb topping over entire surface of filling to cover it. Place on center rack of oven on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Bake for at least 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. For a firmer, less moist texture, continue to bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the edges are very brown (check every five minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before refrigerating. Pie will set best when fully cold, but can be enjoyed while still warm. For those who prefer a more cake-like texture, reduce milk to 1/3 cup or use only 1 egg. Serves 6-8.
Crumb Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour (next time I'll use 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
½ stick (4 tablespoons) firm butter or margarine, coarsely cubed
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or nut of your choice) (I used walnuts)

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Lightly rub and toss butter and dry ingredients between your palms until a uniform, soft-crumbed mixture forms. Handle as little as possible. It will look like very coarse meal. Add almonds, tossing lightly just to distribute evenly.

This recipe came from The Well Seasoned Cook

Friday, July 24

Explore as a family

We have the perfect opportunity to explore as a family this weekend. Here, Mutal of Omaha is putting on Wild About Omaha and has a ton of things to do as a family for FREE! :)

There is everything from The Durham Museum and the Botanical Gardens to the Henry-Doorly Zoo and a Baseball Game on Saturday. Did I mention for FREE!

Thursday, July 23

Island Cooler

(the beautiful island of Guam....we had the privilage to live here!!)

Posted by Picasa
Island Cooler

7 cups water
2 cups sugar
4 tea bags
12oz frozen lemonade
6oz limeade
12oz frozen pineapple-orange-banana juice
2 cups pineapple juice
Cold 7-up or, Sprite, or Club Soda, or Ginger Ale
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Steep for 10 min. Let cool. Add Lemonade, limeade, pineapple, pineapple orange banana juice. Stir.
Freeze in a container for at least 12 hours.
Scoop out with ice cream scooper and fill each glass 1/2 full. Pour soda over and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22

Raspberry Jalapeno Chicken

Raspberry Jalapeno Chicken

1/2 cup Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly (It's all about the Bees)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
2 T juice (apple, pineapple, raspberry, oj)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine all and pour over chicken in a freezer bag. Freeze until your ready to use. Thaw for 24 hours before you cook in the refrigerator.

Pour all into a large baking dish. Cover and cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. Remove from oven and transfer to platter. Spoon juices over chicken. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Tuesday, July 21

Tuesday's Tip

Do your berries sink? Toss berries in dry mix before mixing in. I've always done it this way and they have never sunk. :)

Monday, July 20

Meal Plan Monday

Chicken in Raspberry Jalapeno sauce


Breakfast Waffles with fruit

Grilled Salmon

Chicken and Beef Kabobs (bbq with neighbors)


Roast Chicken

Sunday, July 19

SONday Dinner

What happen to the days of cooking the majority of the afternoon for an awesome Sunday dinner? My guess.....we don't have the time......we don't have the energy......we want to be left alone on Sundays....Sunday's are for individual families. Honestly, those excuses are very valid and true....but every now and then, don't ya just want to go all, play, eat some more. Well, I propose (c'mon, you knew this was coming) not letting this tradition die completely, but incorporating "Sunday Dinner" once a month. It's less overwhelming and won't break your back or the bank. Might I even propose making the majority of this dinner in advance.....SAY WHAT.....HUH.....yeah, making the main dish and the dessert and freezing it until your ready. All that left to do is invite your family or friends and make a couple side dishes.

Think about this menu:

Molasses-Bourbon Short Ribs (freeze ahead)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans (can be done in 5 min with a pressure cooker)
Orange Dream Pie (freeze ahead)

or this:

Chicken Wellington (freeze ahead)(recipe below)
Baked Broccoli Medley (freeze ahead)
Rice Pilaf
Chocolate Meringue Torte (freeze ahead)

(I can picture you nodding your head in approval gaining confidence every minute :)

Here's to get you started or at least brainstorming:

Chicken Wellington
(serves 12)

12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 Tbl butter
9oz cream cheese, softened
12oz canned mushrooms, drained (I will saute fresh when I make this, personal prefernce)
6 Tbl chopped green onions
3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp pepper
3-10oz can crescent rolls or phyllo dough sheets

Flatten breasts to 1/8 inch thick (do this on a day that your stressed and work it out). Pan fry the chicken in butter until no longer pick. Combine cream cheese, mushrooms, green onions, salt, and pepper. Place 2 Tbl of cheese mix in the center of each chicken piece. Roll chicken up and place in the center of roll or phyllo sheet. (phyllo is extremely thin, you might need to use more than one sheet, it also takes some patience to work with, and DONT let it dry out!!) Wrap dough around and seal. Wrap each breast in plastic wrap and place inside a freezer bag.

On serving day:
Thaw in fridge slowly (at least 24 hours if not longer). Place seam down on a cookie sheet. Brush with a beaten egg. Bake at 375 for 20-30 min.

While baking:
Melt 3 Tbl butter and saute 1 Tbl green onion. Blend in 1 1/2 Tbl flour. Add 1 1/2 cup milk slowly. Season with 1/2 tsp salt. Add 3/4 cup cheese (your choice) or 2 oz of mushrooms. Serve as sauce over chicken.

Saturday, July 18

Farmer's Market

I love the Farmer's Market!

Friday, July 17

Family Fridays ~ Can I have S'more please

Who doesn't love s'mores! I mean really.....a toasty....sticky....gooey mess of melted chocolate over heated marshmallows! mmmmmm, NUFF said.

Check out these inspirations based off of the beloved s'more. did it again! :)

and again! :)

S'more brownies

Not sure if anything beats the original though......and if you haven't had one or made them before....only one line is appropriate......You're Killing Me Smalls! (for those that have not a clue what I'm talkin this.....and then go watch the whole movie)

Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, July 16

Summer Rocks (ice cubes....he creative) :)

There are a number of items that can be frozen into ice cubes to enhance your drinks.....or just look pretty. Wouldn't you know Martha has already thought about this. (of course)
  • You can also freeze leftover coffee into ice cubes to add to your iced coffee. Freezing a coffee bean inside would be cute too.
  • Add lemonade flavored ice cubes to your iced tea.
For endless possibilities, buy (or make) some flavored syrups. Mix 2 Tbl per 1 cup of water (or whatever liquid you choose) and freeze.
  • Cherry or Vanilla ice cubes in cokes. Yum. :)
  • Lemon or Lime in margaritas or long islands. (did I just see you eye brows perk up?)
Let us know if you think of some more creative ones.

2 Free Boxes of Kashi Granola

I love this stuff! It's so yummy by itself with milk or on top of yogurt! See The Suburban Jungle to enter. :)

Monday, July 13


I have enchiladas on our meal plan this week but we all know there are soooo many variations of enchiladas. Here are some I think are noteworthy. At the bottom is a link to a homemade enchilada sauce. Yummy. :)

Beef Enchiladas
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (do this with gloves!!!)
1 can refried beans (16oz)
1 can tomato sauce (8oz)
1 tsp cumin
8 flour tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce (20oz)
1 cup shredded cheddar

Brown ground beef, onion, jalapenos. Drain. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, and cumin. Simmer 15 min.
Soften tortillas in microwave at 30 sec intervals.
Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with beef mix and roll putting the seam down in the dish. Cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 for 30-35 min until hot and bubbly.

*this dish freezes well! To freeze: before baking put the shredded cheese in a seperate zip-loc. Wrap enchiladas and freeze together. Thaw overnight in a fridge. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 for 30-35 min until hot and bubbly.

Enchiladas Verde
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can chicken broth
2 cans green chili sauce (1 8oz and 1 15oz)
1 can diced green chilies
1 can salsa verde
2 cups monteray jack, shredded
1 cup onion, chopped
1 package tortillas

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in a skillet, then cover with broth and water to cover. Boil until chicken is cooked through and can be shredded.
Mix the onion and cheese together. Pour the 8oz chili sauce in a 9 x 9 pan.
Fill tortillas with chicken, cheese (save half the cheese mix), diced green chilis, and green chili sauce. Roll and place seam side down.
Pour remaining greem chilli sauce over and salsa verde. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min until hot and bubbly.

*could substitue pepper jack for an extra kick.

Enchiladas Blanco
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thights (cooked in the same way as the above recipe)
1 can green chilis
1 package cream cheese (I use fat free)
2 Tbl sour cream (I use light)
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 package tortillas
1 1/2 cup monteray jack cheese (or pepperjack)
2 cups heavy cream
3 garlic cloves crushed

Combine cooked chicken, drained green chilies, softened cream cheese, sour cream, and spinach together.
Heat the heavy cream and crushed garlic gently until it reaches a simmer. Remove the garlic. Add 1/2-1 cup of cream to the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan. Take the cream off the heat. Add shredded cheese to hot cream and stir to melt.
Microwave tortillas until soft and pliable (30 sec intervals). Fill tortillas with chicken mix and place in the pan seam side down. Cover with white sauce. Cook at 350 for 20 min until hot throughout and bubbly.
Garnish with cilantro and chopped black olives.

*I've wanted to add roasted garlic to this dish but haven't yet. Let me know if anyone tries this and how it turns out.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Meal Plan Monday

This week is all about easy for me. We got our grill up and going. (thanks scott and karissa) so I foresee lots of grilling this week. Ok by me! Less time in a hot kitchen. :)
Have a great week!


Grilled Chicken

Kielbasa & Veggie Packs



Chicken Rollatini with garlic white sauce

Pretty. Cool. Cakes. Giveaway

There is a really nice giveaway at $5 dinners. An e-book called Pretty. Cool. Cakes. Who wouldn't love to know how to make better more creative cakes! The giveaway ends Weds. July 15th.

My journey to becoming a Personal Chef

I've made a decision to pursue becoming a personal chef! I'd love to share my journey with you. To start off right you might have questions.

What is a personal chef? (according to

A Personal Chef Service is your answer to providing you with great tasting, healthful, affordable meals in the comfort of your home without the daily grind of shopping and cooking. Offering the convenience of meal preparation in your home, typically consisting of two weeks worth of meals, a Personal Chef Service includes: Customized Meal Planning; Grocery Shopping; In Home Meal Prep; Storage and Cleanup; Enjoyment!

Who would someone hire a personal chef?
  • Busy professionals who desire home cooked meals
  • Busy families who desire home cooked meals
  • Seniors
  • Anyone wanting help with specific dietary needs or restrictions
  • Families with a deployed spouse (or traveling spouse)
  • Families with new additions
  • Those just needing a break

My next decision to make is to educate or cost. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 11

Recipe Contest ~ Zucchini Bread

I am looking for the best Zucchini Bread recipe! Do you have a great one I just have to try?

The winner of the best recipe (judged by myself, family, and friends) will win a book package. The package will include The G Free Diet by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and two cookbooks still to be determined. You have until Aug. 1st to enter a recipe. If I get a duplicate recipe I will take the first one e-mailed to me.

Here's how to enter.
1.Become a follower or subscribe to Reclaim Dinner
2.Send your recipe to with the subject zucchini bread recipe.

The winner will be announced Sept. 1st! Good luck and I can't wait to try your recipe!

Friday, July 10

Family Fridays ~ Pray

I recently purchased a book called Power Prayers for Women by Jackie M Johnson, suggested by my friend. (thanks Kim) The whole book is wonderful, but I especially love the chapter on praying for your children. So this Friday is a little different. I usually blog about something fun and frugal for a family to do, but today I wanted to pass on this prayer. It's a prayer on teaching our children the importance and power of prayer.

Lord, I pray that You would help me to be a good role model as I teach my kids to pray. As a spiritual coach, empower me to pray for them and with them. May I provide clear instruction and a consistent example so my children can form good prayer habits. I know that I'm not perfect, but I am submitted to You. I ask that as I follow Your example, Lord, they will follow mine--and be people of prayer. Amen

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children. Psalm 78:4-5

Thursday, July 9

SONday ~ Worship

Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church...nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy Presence. ~Susanna Wesley

God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

Thirsty Thursday Free Mocha Mondays at Mickey D's

Get a free sample coffee every Monday starting July 13 until Aug 3 from 7am to 7pm at McDonald's. Choose an 8oz hot mocha or 7oz iced mocha while supplies last at participating locations. No coupon necessary.

Coupon giveaway from Mom Saves Money

My friend, Nicole, at Mom saves Money has another great giveaway.
She is giving away 400 coupons to two winners. (200 each). See
Mom Saves Money for details and to enter the contest!

Thanks Nicole!

Tuesday, July 7

WIN FREE tickets to Women of Faith Conference

Mommy snacks is hosting an amazing giveaway! Four free tickets to a Women of Faith Conference and you can choose your own location! Visit her blog to enter!

Monday, July 6

Happy Monday

Aaaahhhh.....I'm home. I've spent the last week travel with a college choir to Kentucky. It was sooo much fun. The people in KY are amazing! Some of the nicest folk I've come across. I have tons of catching up to do around here but it was worth going! I'll update ya'll (as they say in KY) through out the week. Here is what I'm planning on serving my fam this week (links to the recipes are coming):

Asparagus Chicken Roll-ups

Basil and Tomato Pizza

Cola Pork Chops

Breakfast Casserole

Asian Chicken Wraps

Eat Out

Sausage Foil Packs

Hope you had a great 4th! Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, July 1

Date Night ~ Stellas

We went to stellas for our date night this week. Stella's is a super old establishment thats been making burgers for years....and years! They serve hand made patties on a napkin and have a pretty good selection. We're not crazy about their fries or onion rings....the the burgers are very nice! Enjoy the pics and if you ever visit Bellevue, NE and want a burger, stop by Stellas. Oh, and they remodeled not too long ago and it looks great and is comfortable!

I ordered the mushroom swiss burger. (they didn't skimp on the shrooms...which is a personal pet peeve)
Fries need salt and onion rings were crispy but not a whole lot of flavor. Still good...just not our favorites.

Rob ordered the patty melt. YUMMY. Nuff said. :)

My husband loves the fried ice cream at Stellas. The coconut is crunchy and the ice cream creamy. mmmm