Tuesday, August 25

Tuesdays Tip

A good and yummy way to store pineapple is to cut it into bite sized chunks, store them in a plastic or glass container with orange or pineapple juice to cover. The juice will help keep the pineapple fresh longer and if you use OJ, the pineapple will take in some of that flavor! :)

Monday, August 24


Are your tomatoes coming in full force? Ours are coming.....but even if we didn't have a garden I love tomatoes and would buy them just to make the following recipes! Salsas.....oven dried tomatoes, sauces, stuffed......YUM! Here is a collection of yummy tomato recipes from great blogs and recipe sites! Add your own if you'd like. :)




Monday, August 17

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

They may not look the prettiest but they are yummy! :)

Combine the wet:
3/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 stk soft butter
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg 1 egg white

Combine the dry:
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (or you could use all whole wheat)
1 cup oats (old fashion, rolled)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Add dry to wet slowly. Mix in 12 oz chocolate. Drop 2-3 Tbl size cookies on a sheet. (or whatever size you like) Bake at 350 for 10-14 or until golden and done. (time may vary depending on the size you chose)

The Lunchbox

Is it just me or did the summer just fly by! School started yesterday for alot of the surrounding area. That means.....school lunches. hhmm....it seems to be hit and miss, I loved school lunches when I was a kid, but, I look at some of the things they serve now and think, "no wonder childhood obesity is crazy in this country." When I worked at an elementary a few years ago, I was shocked at some of the things they served.....but here is the real kicker.....I was even more shocked at what the parents sent with the kids!!!! I remember one kid brought two containers of chocolate milk, a PB & J, and a swiss miss EVERYDAY! Another child....a lunchable, two bags of chips, a little debbie, and a soda!!! What is it going to take for us to wake up and stop feeding our precious children junk! (I'm a sucker for junk food too.....but moderation and self control is the key) Ok....taking a breather and stepping down now.....now to the good part. Here are some great ideas for the lunchbox:

Kids love to dip!

How about packing a lunchbox with dips and dippable foods.
*apple slices with almond butter or yogurt.
*carrots, celery, crackers with hummus or a seseme dressing

Bite sized items
*cheese cubes
*cherry tomatoes
*snap peas

*top yogurt or cottage cheese with
toasted coconut

*cut a kiwi in half, wrap with plastic wrap and let them scoop out the center with a spoon
*healthy chocolate chip cookies
*dried fruit

Main dish
try using multigrain bagel, flatbread, tortillas, pita
roll filling in a tortilla and cut every 1-2 in. secure with a toothpick if needed
*Mini meatballs with rice or pasta

For more ideas:
The Visual
The Healthy Lunchbox
Laptop Lunches

Friday, August 14

$1 Subs at Jimmy Johns today (Bellevue,NE)

Just got word of this fantastic deal. It's customer appreciation day today at Jimmy Johns (Harlan location: end of 370 and galvin) and you can get $1 subs from 11-3. You have to order inside but thats the only rule! Yummy!

Thursday, August 13


This is my daughter, Claire, holding her zucchini "bat."
Is your garden overflowing with zucchini? Mine is! My zucchini beast, I mean plant, has pretty much taken over a section of my garden. So, here are a plethora of zucchini recipes. Add yours if you'd like.

You can even eat the flower from the zucchini plant

If this is not enough....you can buy a book!!! The Classic Zucchini Cookbook

And of course I could never forget.......the beloved Zucchini Bread Recipe or how about 20!

Monday, August 10

Aug Meals Month at a glance

I'm planning my meals for the whole month for August. (yes I know, it's the 10th...but I guess I'll have a head start on September) :)

I have a few reasons for doing it this way.
1. We are working on actually staying on budget this month.
2. School starts soon and I want to make the most of this month.
3. I have some house projects that really need to be finished so I want meal time to be easy.
4. I'm working on a few meal planning projects. :) (more to come soon!)

With these reasons in mind I've decided to roll up my sleeves, tie my hair back and make 15 meals that I can freeze. The rest of the meals are somewhat easy to throw together with few ingredients. So, here is the list. I'll add links/pictures to the recipes after we make em. Have a yummy month!

Freezer Meals

Twisted Meatballs
Monterey Chicken Soup
Italian Minestrone
Balsamic Chicken
Chicken Marsala
Feta Burgers
Honey Lime Chicken
Stuffed Flank Steak
Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Pineapple Lemon Chicken
Sausage Penne w/ Tomatoes & Cheese
Border Chicken Enchiladas
Oven BBQ Pork Roast
Twice Baked Potatoes

Frozen Sides

Italian Veggie Medley
Baked Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Green Chili Rice Bake

Additional Easy Meals (not freezer)

Quesadillas (freezer friendly)
Pizza Wraps (freezer friendly)
Zucchini Boats
Hippie Burittos (these are already in my freezer)
Breakfast (we'll do this 4 times this month)

Tuesday, August 4

Date Night ~ Wheatfields

For date night last week we ended up at Wheatfields at Shadow Lake. (Omaha) It was really good. We had never been but had heard good things. We sat outside (it was a beautiful evening). Service was great. Their menu was huge and took us forever to order.

Rob settled on this. It's an open faced beef sandwich with asparagus and a cream sauce. It was super yummy. Look at those portions!!!!!
I ordered the salmon with a hollandaise sauce. The mashed potatoes were some of the best I've ever had. With these portions, you can bet we had to skip dessert. BUT, the bakery section looked absolutely beautiful! This would be a great place to go with the girlfriends for dessert after a movie! (hint, hint....whose with me???)

Monday, August 3

Monday Meal Plan

The plan for the week:
(recipes and pictures to come throughout the week)

Turkey burgers with cranberry spread (trying something new and quite adventurous)

Honey Lemon Chicken

Cowboy Beans

Sweet Potato Waffles (I make a bunch and freeze)

We're going out of town on Friday so our meals are cut short. Have a great week!

Grilled Turdey...oh...I mean turkey Burgers with cranberry spread

OK, so normally I would delete this from the meal plan and pretend it never happened....but this week....I wanted you see that I too have dinner's that flop. Yesterday in Sunday school we talked about how we put on this facade of perfection when really we are just human and it's not right for us to portray that quality when Jesus Christ was the only perfect being ever to walk this earth.

So, here I am taking off my mask (and vowing never to make this again) :)

Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Spread
Sounds decent but the texture was......well....weird. Not that great of flavor either. And a big thumbs down to cranberry spread too. It was edible, don't get me wrong.....we ate it (well, rob and I did....the kids....no way)...but I'm putting it away in the mental file cabinet, "Do Not Make Again."

Here is the recipe if you really feel led to try it. If you love it....Great :)

Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp salt

Combine turkey, onion, mustard, Worcestershire, seasonings. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. (maybe this is where I went wrong, I made into patties and then refrigerated). Grill over med heat until no longer pink. Warm buns and spread with cranberry spread (recipe below) Add lettuce and pickle and serve.

Cranberry Spread

4 oz cream cheese at room temp
2 Tbl whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tsp orange zest
Mix together until well blended.
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Sunday, August 2

Enchiladas Blanco

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thights (cooked in the same way as the above recipe)
1 can green chilis
3 scallions, sliced
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.

Saturday, August 1

Oven dried tomatoes (sundried tomatoes)

2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes in half. Toss with herbs, garlic, and oil. Spread on parchment covered baking sheet.
Cook for one hour in a 225 degree oven. Turn off oven and let tomatoes sit in warm oven overnight. Can store in jar in fridge for
2-3 weeks. Can cover with olive oil to store. Can freeze.

Use in pasta, sandwhiches, salads, pizzas, or just to snack on.
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Cola Pork Chops

Cola Pork Chops

1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
4 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops, about an inch thick
4 tsp veg oil
1 cup cola
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine the five-spice powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Season chops with spice mixture. Heat 2 Tbl oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add chops and cook until well browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Whisk cola, brown sugar, and ketchup in a med bowl. Add to skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 min. Return chops with any juices back to skillet and simmer another 1-2 minutes. Transfer chops and glaze to platter and serve.