Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Grammar Lesson for the Day

I'm sorry, but I have to send out a message to the world. Consider it a grammar lesson for those who need it, or a common pet peeve for those who actually "get it" and don't actually require the lesson!

Please, folks, whenever you're making a statement where you're saying "YOU ARE," (as indicated in this statement itself) please, Please, PLEASE remember that an apostrophe and an e are truly NECESSARY to add to the letters y, o, u, and r. You're completely in the wrong when you say "your" where "you're" is needed.

I just saw a commercial on television for a large local company where they stated, in large letters across my screen, "Your approved." Then, I received an email from a local (and possibly even more wide-spread) chain of companies that states, in regard to the Super Bowl, "Whether if your hosting." Now that one has more problems than just the contraction, but we won't go there today.

Is it really that complicated??? YOUR is used to show possession, such as your kids, your job, your home, your uncanny ability to properly use grammar. YOU'RE is the contraction of the two words "you" and "are" and is the form of the homonym that absolutely must be utilized when your statement reflects the use of those two words together if you were not taking the shortcut of the contraction.

Okay....there's my vent for today. Can you tell that this is like fingernails on the chalkboard for me??? I'm easy-going, but glaring misuse of language makes me C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!! Just ask my kids....I even correct their teachers. Hmm...I can't figure out WHY they get embarrassed over that.....hehe.

So, from the Grammar Queen to you, please use YOUR and YOU'RE as they are intended. Thank you and this concludes my public service announcement for today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - week of 1/26/09

This will be my last menu plan for awhile. I'm having major surgery next Tuesday, and won't be cooking for at least a couple of weeks. My mom will be feeding the kids next week while I'm in the hospital (God help them.....poor things!!), and then DH will be taking over culinary duties for the next 10 days while he is on vacation, and as long as needed depending on my recovery. Should be interesting around here....

I haven't even sat down and planned a menu this week, so I'm going to wing it from my laptop and see what develops. I will actually miss cooking, and I'm quite concerned that my sourdough starter is going to die, because I don't see Mom or DH baking any bread. That will be frustrating!! What can I do?? Here's my random thoughts on eating this week:

Monday - Pastitsio, corn, cornbread. Our menu plan for last week had a couple of wrenches thrown in (like an unexpected ER visit that resulted in an IHOP visit, too), so I was a day behind with the mac and cheese. This fits well for tomorrow.

Tuesday - Cheeseburger soup. I'm contemplating making this with ground turkey instead of beef, but don't tell anyone here! I am thinking they won't really notice the difference. I'll make some of their favorite homemade rolls to cushion the blow. :)

Wednesday - Chicken Cordon Bleu. This didn't get made again last week, and I'm determined to try it!!!! I'll plan on steamed rice, glazed carrots, and the rest of the rolls, too.

Thursday - Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, coffee cake or french toast.

Friday - Chicken alfredo pizza (this got replaced last week with a very yummy steak pizza. I blogged about that here.).

Saturday - Smothered steak, mashed potatoes, corn, sourdough bread (and I just had the idea to freeze my starter to save it - yay!!!!).

Sunday - BBQ chicken packets with potatoes, green beans, rest of the sourdough.

I guess that isn't too bad for coming off the top of my head with no prior planning. I contemplated planning for that next Monday, which will be my last cooking day for awhile, but thought better of it. On that evening, we will either have something I really feel like eating, or we'll order Chinese. I might as well enjoy my last real meal for awhile. Trust me, the liquid diet you're stuck on for several days after surgery ain't very good!!! :-P

For more great menu plans, visit OrgJunkie!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Posting from a new place

Hello, all! I am typing this from my dining room. I got a laptop today and I've spent pretty much all afternoon playing with it. I've decided I'm not Vista's biggest fan, and I find it unacceptable that you now only receive a 60 day TRIAL of the only word processor and spreadsheet programs offered on the system! Rude!! But I suppose I will get used to it.

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, I will be having major surgery. This wonderful little machine will at least keep me from being completely out of touch with the outside world during the time that I'm not able to get up to the loft area to access my computer. Once I get Word, I will also be able to take notes at the PTA meetings directly to the laptop, which will be great, since it looks like I will be the PTA secretary next school year. And, it's also kinda fun. :) I also like the 21 months of interest-free financing!

So...I just thought I'd type a quick post from my new toy. I don't really have anything interesting to say, so have a wonderful day!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Already a menu change

So tonight we DIDN'T get to have the planned dinner. I am really wanting to try that Chicken Cordon Bleu, but today got sorta messed up. Since the kids were out of school, I took them out to breakfast, but they slept in until 9:30, so it was a very late breakfast. Then, I had gotten a last minute pizza mystery shop, which was supposed to be lunch, but nobody was hungry for lunch. I ordered the pizza for dinner for the kids (I still can't believe those three monkeys can eat an ENTIRE large pizza!!!!!) and DH and I had leftover stuffed bread from yesterday and a few odds and ends from the fridge.

So....guess Chicken Cordon Bleu will be back on the menu NEXT week! And tomorrow will definitely involve French Toast instead of biscuits. Flexibility is a key component of frugality! :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 1/19/09

I splurged a little this week. I'm technically over-budget, but it could have been worse! :) I have been CRAVING a good grilled steak lately, and very tempted to head to Applebee's to satisfy the urge. Today, an ad came out for Price Chopper and they advertised top sirloin for $2.44 a pound. It's supposed to be 60° on Wednesday when DH is off, so I decided he's grilling!!!! I went and got the steak today (and had a VERY bad experience with a McKeever's Price Chopper manager that makes me wonder if I will shop there again), and I spent less on all the groceries I bought than I would have spent on a single dinner out, so I feel minimally justified in the splurging. Make sense?? We were way under budget on gasoline this month, so I'm covering it from there. Oh, and to make it even more fun.....HyVee has shrimp on sale tomorrow, so we're giong to make it a steak and shrimp night. Yeah, when I splurge, I go all-out!!!!

So here is my menu plan for the week:

Monday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, steamed rice, carrots, potato bread.

Tuesday - Omelets/scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, baked apples, Grands biscuits (obtained very cheaply with a sale/coupon combo). This day might end up modified, with omelets/eggs and apple crisp french toast (a recipe I am working on developing) if bread comes home with DH tomorrow for "testing" purposes.

Wednesday - Grilled sirloin steak, shrimp fettuccini, green beans, homemade rolls.

Thursday - Steak tips in brown gravy served over steamed rice, corn, rest of the rolls.

Friday - Chicken alfredo pizza on homemade wheat crust.

Saturday - Homemade macaroni and cheese, carrots, biscuits (they'll be homemade unless we don't have the Grands on Tuesday!).

Sunday - Pastitsio, corn, cornbread.

I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to Wednesday night's dinner!!!! *big grin*

For more wonderful menu plans and recipes, visit Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - week of 1/12/09

Well, last week's chicken stretch went over very well with the family - no complaints about having chicken so many days in a row. Yay!! The funny thing is, I STILL have chicken left from those leg quarters. I really thought I would use it all up last week, but I've got another meal's worth in the freezer. Can't complain about that! Here is my plan for this week's menu:

Monday - Breakfast for dinner: Quiche (not sure of the specifics yet because I haven't made a quiche in a long time - I'm thinking bacon and cheese) and banana-oatmeal pancakes since I'm not sure the kids will eat quiche.

Tuesday - Ham and scalloped potatoes, carrots, cornbread.

Wednesday - Chicken with sweet and sour sauce (new recipe for us), rice, corn, sourdough bread.

Thursday - Beef stew with potatoes and carrots, sourdough bread. This is a crock pot night because I'm having a painful medical procedure done that afternoon and know I won't feel much like cooking. It's also supposed to be FRIGIDLY cold!

Friday - In lieu of the usual pizza, I'm making Pizza Rice Casserole to utilize some cottage cheese. Hopefully the kids won't object! We'll have green beans and soft buttery breadsticks with it.

Saturday - Pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, biscuits.

Sunday - Pork stuffed bread (made w/ potato bread - yum!), Creamy Wild Rice Soup. I received some wild rice as a gift over a year ago and have yet to use it. Fortunately, it is stored in the freezer, so it's fine, but it's about time I tried something with wild rice! This soup sounds really yummy - it's our second new recipe this week (unless you count quiche, which isn't new, but

For more great meal plans, be sure to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Homemade Hamburger/Hot Dog Rolls

I had a request for this recipe, so here it is! It's a bread machine recipe, from The Bread Machine Cookbook, but I'm sure it could be easily adapted to be a hand-kneaded or KitchenAid recipe. :)

Sandwich Rolls

1 1/4 c. water
2 T. oil
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. dry milk
1 1/2 t. yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Set on dough cycle. Once done, shape dough into the type of rolls you need (long and narrow for hot dog, round for hamburger, or long and wider for subs). Let rise 40-50 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375°.

These are so much better than store-bought rolls, and they are wonderful for sloppy joes!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Menu Changes - for the Better!

I've made minor menu modifications (how's THAT for alliteration???) the past couple of dinners, and they were wonderful!! Last night, I didn't feel like chicken alfredo pizza, so I changed it to barbequed chicken pizza. I made the crust, then spread it with barbeque sauce (adding a little extra honey to satisfy the youngest) and topped it with the chicken and cheese. It would have been better if I'd had the smoked Gouda cheese and some cilantro, but it was still quite yummy!

Then tonight, I added a strange ingredient to my enchiladas that DH and I loved! I had a school meeting last night to prepare for a fund-raiser. At that meeting, we had munchies. I brought home some hot spinach artichoke dip. I mixed it with the chicken and cheese and filled the enchiladas, then topped them with more of the creamy dip. They were sooooo good!!!!! I did make the kids plain enchiladas, though, because they don't tend to eat anything that says it has artichokes in it. It's just something they refuse to try. Oh well!

I still have some dip left that I need to use. That might mean that tomorrow night's dinner will have to be changed, too, since dip will NOT go with Chicken Tetrazzini. I'm going to have to think about that one.....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/5/09

Please be are going to be seeing a lot of chicken on this week's menu. This is because I am cooking off 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters and plan to do as much as I can with them. I'm starting the week off with some beef entrees so hopefully nobody will complain! ;-) Nothing new this week - it's all tried-and-true.

For more menu plans (and probably a lot more variety!), check out OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Monday - Sloppy Joes on homemade buns, crunch-top potatoes, corn.

Tuesday - Lasagna (already made - woohoo), salad, rolls (planning to make them at the same time I'm making the buns for Monday).

Wednesday - Oven-fried chicken (using the whole leg quarters), mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, biscuits.

Thursday - Chicken noodle soup, chicken packets.

Friday - Chicken alfredo pizza.

Saturday - Chicken enchiladas, corn, cornbread.

Sunday - Chicken tetrazzini, glazed carrots, breadsticks.

I'll probably go easy on the chicken next week - the leg quarters, anyway! :-) So what's on YOUR menu????

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Recipe: Bourbon Chicken

The last of the new recipes we tried this week was tonight - Bourbon Chicken. DH wanted to know where the actual bourbon was! :-) I did make a mistake in following the recipe, but it turned out okay. The directions say to reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Well, dummy me interpreted that with "cover and" included in the wording. After 20 minutes, I wondered why my sauce was so thin. *sigh* So, I dissolved a bit of cornstarch in some cold water and stirred it in which instantly thickened the sauce and didn't affect the flavor at all!

Now, I do have to also admit that I changed the menu plan, as well. I decided as I started cooking that I really wanted it over rice, rather than with baked potatoes, and I couldn't resist turning what was left of the mashed potatoes from earlier in the week into homemade potato rolls. So the rolls took the place of the cornbread (and I DID make yogurt yesterday, too!!). Also, I changed the side to glazed carrots when I realized I had FOUR bags of baby carrots in the fridge! One of the cardinal rules of frugality - be flexible! was it, you wonder? Well, it wasn't Golden Corral's version by any means, but it was good, and everyone voted it a "keeper." My picky youngest tasted it after some coaxing and declared it to be "okay." That and the fact that she ate it were very complimentary! I think next time I try it, I might try changing it up a bit and maybe adding some actual bourbon to the sauce, and maybe some extra brown sugar. Or maybe I'll just keep it as-is and actually simmer it correctly!!! ;-)

Now it's time to start thinking about NEXT week's menu plan. How is it that the weeks go by so fast??? Let me know if you give Bourbon Chicken a try!!

Am I completely insane?

I am really starting to wonder if I'm completely losing it! I just went to the grocery store and I am officially STOCKED on boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cheddar and colby/jack cheese. One of my local stores, Price Chopper, had the chicken breasts on sale for only $1.19 a pound!! I have NEVER seen it that cheap! So I picked up 7 packages, each 2 to 2.5 lbs. I actually considered buying more, but since I already had some in the freezer, that *would* have been insane! Good thing I didn't, because I have no more room....more on this later in the post.

Then, I went to another grocery store, Hen House. There I picked up 7.5 lbs. of shredded cheese. Why?? Because they had cheddar and colby/jack shredded cheeses in 40 oz. bags (2.5 lbs.) for $5.97! I usually pay $3.79 for a pound of shredded cheese, and that's cheap here! I couldn't resist $2.39 a pound!

Last night, I got a 25 lb. bag of bread flour for $8.01, marked down at Sam's. It worked out to less per pound than I pay at Aldi for the all-purpose flour, and I like the texture that bread flour gives my breads and baked goods.

Do you realize that works out to almost 50 POUNDS of foods that I've bought in the past 24 hours?? I'm thinking that I shouldn't need to buy these things for at least 2-3 months. In the long run, that's going to save me money, but right now I'm just laughing at myself, wondering if I'm going completely overboard on the stockpiling of food. To put it into perspective, we have a side-by-side fridge/freezer upstairs, a freezer-on-top large fridge downstairs in the garage, and quite a good-sized stand-up freezer downstairs. Every bit of my freezer space is occupied. Had I bought more chicken breasts, I would have had to cook them tomorrow, and I already have a 10 lb. bag of leg quarters thawing in the refrigerator to cook next week!

Well, I guess if the store sales get sour, we will still have plenty to eat for awhile!!! (That or I'm totally insane......)