Friday, January 28, 2011

Cooking up a chicken

I try to be frugal, I try to cook homemade as much as possible.   I’ve cooked up several Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey frames to make soup.  I think once, years ago, I tried making my own chicken broth, but it didn’t turn out very well.  Then on Wednesday one of the blogs I read, Money Saving Mom, had an article linking to another article from Heavenly Homemakers whom I was previously unfamiliar with about using one chicken to make 6 meals.  

I thought, WOW, I wonder if I can really stretch one chicken into 6 meals?  So today I bought myself a 5 lb chicken for $0.88/lb.  Using her recipe for making homemade chicken broth, I stuck it in a pot with half an onion, 2 stalks of celery and a dozen mini carrots.  A few hours later my whole house smelled heavenly. IMG_0839

Oh how I love the smell of  homemade soup!  That reminds me…I should make some bread too!

Once it was obvious that the chicken was done (ie falling off the bone) which took about 3 hours, I took my chicken out so I could pull the meat off the bone.   I let it cool first and burned my tongue eating some of the carrots I had put in to begin with.  I have no will power!


I ended up getting 6 cups of chopped chicken.  IMG_0854

Most of my chicken recipes call for 1-2 cups of chicken.  But the recipes that use this great chicken broth I’m making I’ll probably put less chicken in since the broth is so rich and good.  IMG_0852

So let me think of what recipes I can make in the next few weeks or so with this 6 cups of chicken.  Chicken Noodle Soup today (3/4 c), Chicken Manicotti (1 1/2 c), Chicken Enchiladas (1 1/2 c), Chicken A La King (3/4 c), Chicken Quesadillas (1/2 c), Garlic Chicken Pasta (1 c).  That comes out to 6 meals!IMG_0857

I put the meat into freezer bags and continued making more broth by putting the bones and skin back in the water to get all the good stuff out of them.  A few more hours of simmering and I ended up with 8 cups of broth.  (some for todays soup and some for later recipes)  I cried when I accidentally spilled a cup of it down the sink!


Homemade broth, homemade soup, homemade noodles, homemade bread.   I bet some great-great grandmother is in heaven all proud of me right now!  I felt like quite the Homemaker today!


Now if only I had finished picking up the house or folding Monday’s laundry instead of playing online today!

So my question to those of you who make this kinda stuff…what would you have done differently?

This morning’s disaster

This morning I woke up and to my disgust I looked like this


What?  You don’t see it?  Neither did my husband.  Let me show you again. 


And for those of you who still don’t see this atrocity…here’s a gross close up!


Yep, it’s a cold sore.  It may not look as bad as I think it does, but it feels icky.  I seem to get them about once a year (usually when someone like my in-laws come into town or I want to impress someone).  Usually takes a week before it’s all better and it usually gets worse before it gets better.  Great!

Let’s hope the day gets better!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays–Sometimes it’s easier being a mom than others


I’m not going to talk about the hour it took to get kid B asleep, I’m just glad kid C is so easy to nap these days!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marv n Joe

A good friend, Angie, posted a week or so ago that they made Marv n Joe's for dinner the other night.  She was very mean...she posted pictures of them.  MADE ME SO HUNGRY!!!

I kept that picture up on my computer for a week and it kept making me hungry. 

Let me give you a little background for those of you unfortunate to have never had a Marv n Joe.  I attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah.  I loved it.  The food court (HUB) in the student center (TSC) has a bakery named Hazel's Bakery.  Delicious thick fresh baked bread.  (I'm getting hungry again). 

As an engineering student I knew who Dr. Halling and Dr. Joe were and they were really funny guys.  They had experimented with different open face sandwiches and found a combination that they liked.  It caught on and became a regular menu item.  They even wrote an article in the student newspaper about it which I’ll share here.

Since it’s specific to USU you can’t get it anywhere else…unless you make it yourself.  SO I DID!  Yesterday my husband came home for lunch and I made us some Marv n Joe’s.  And they were FABULOUS!!!!!


Bread, garlic butter, tomatoes, salt and pepper, provolone, parmesan.  Then toast it.  (I’ll admit I don’t know how to do oil and vinegar at home!)

My husband ate 2, I ate 3.  Definitely a success.  I’m pretty sure I’ll make more of them again and again. 

So let me ask a question.  Is an open face sandwich really a sandwich?  Does there have to be meat for YOU to like a sandwich?  If you did have to have meat, which meat do you think would go best with this?  Ham?  Bacon?  What do you think?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Provident Living Class

Last night our church had a class on provident living - how to get started on food storage. The recommendation that we should have a 3 month supply of food for a rainy day is nothing new, but saying it, knowing it and doing it are different things.

Here's my personal plan.
1. Inventory my pantry.
2. Plan meals for the next few weeks to eat up anything in my pantry that might be old.
3. Make a basic 3 month meal plan
4. Restock pantry to ensure I can make my 3 month meal plan.

One of the other things I want to do that was talked about last night was making a list of the common things I buy at the store. One of the ladies who spoke last night, Janet, has a typed up list of what she usually buys and it's organized relative to the store she typically shops at. When it's time to go grocery shopping she buys what is circled on her list based on what she has used up. This would make it that I wouldn't have random grocery lists scribbled on papers throughout my house.

I'm not going to try to do these all at the same time, but I'll try to start on my list one at a time and I'll let you know how it goes.

Maybe someday I'll get really good...I'll even coupon...and my grocery bill will be really low!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The joys of a fully stocked freezer

While I'm still thinking about the pantry challenge vs food storage idea, I'm hoping I can do both. I know I have several boxes of hamburger helper and I'm going to put it on my menu at least once a week for a while, then use a coupon and buy more. I realized though that I was out of ground beef.

The last time I was at Sams Club I saw that they were having a good price on ground beef if you buy a case of it. That's 80 lbs! I had been meaning to call around and see who wanted to go in on a case with me, but my friend Julie beat me to it and I got a case to split with friends.

I took 25 lbs. 10 got cooked up in the oven and put in 10 bags for tacos, spaghetti, hamburger helper etc. 3 lbs became 12 1/4 lb hamburgers, some of them bacon and bleu cheese burgers, some of them cheddar butter burgers. 3 lbs became 24 mini meatloaves from 2 different recipes.

I LOVE knowing I have a full freezer. I've got chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, fajita meat, pork chops, 2 turkeys and a ham. Not to mention the other miscellaneous stuff. I shouldn't need to go to the freezer isle for a while now! Feels great! I can use up my pantry, use up my freezer and just buy dairy and produce. We'll see how long it lasts.

My kitchen is mostly cleaned up, but not totally. That's the worst part of filling the freezer. Whether I'm doing a big freezer meal session or just doing my ground beef, I HATE cleaning the kitchen after. I wish there were a kitchen fairy that would magically do it for me. Or a husband in town who might want to help. Oh well, enough blogging...back to my kitchen!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

You might not be able to tell from this first one, but we are flying kites and my 6yo was concentrating very hard.

This second one if you squint you can see both kites! Nothing better than family time flying kites!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pantry Challenge vs Building up Food Storage

Several of the food blogs I've read lately have talked about doing a pantry challenge. Using up what's in your pantry, buying only fresh produce and such and saving a bunch on your grocery budget for a month or so. It sounds very appealing to me. I know I have boxes of hamburger helper, cans of soup, cornbread mixes etc that really do need to be eaten up.

On the other hand, we're talking at church about provident living, building up our food storage. Wouldn't it be great to have a year's supply of food for a rainy day. Living in Houston I know how crazy it can get when a hurricane is pointed our way and people go CRAZY buying everything the can in the store. I also know many people who have had job issues and have been so blessed to have food storage built up to use when funds were tight.

Are these two idea contradictory? Can I use up my pantry foods and build my food storage at the same time? Which one is a better idea? If I decide to make more freezer meals...where does that fit in? Can anyone offer any ideas/suggestions to my quandry?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The difference of 1pm church

We've gone to church at 9am for a long time. We had a few months the end of last year and a few months the year before that when church wasn't at 9am, but for the most part church has started at 9am. There are a lot of things I like about 9am church, but starting today, our church is at 1pm. That may seem odd to those not of my faith, but since our congregations are organized geographically and we share our building with another geographic unit (called a Ward) we trade back and forth each year with what time our ward starts.

I'm amazed at how productive I have been today. This morning I was up with my 3 kids by 6:30am like normal (I wish they slept in a little more, but they seem to wake up at 6am like clockwork!) and I got a lot done. I started watching a church video, made breakfast, chatted with my husband who is in China over the computer, got the older kids in and out of the shower, the baby down for a nap and I showered and dressed all before 9am! Then I cleaned the kitchen, read some in the scriptures, wrote in my journal, got all my papers ready for my church lesson and began composing my first blog post.

We had an early lunch and left for church around 12:30. (My mom came to help me with the boys since my husband is out of town...thanks Mom!) Church is 3 hours long and I have responsibilities in the third hour class which is just for women. I knew we wouldn't get home until after 4:30, so before I left I threw one of my favorite recipes in the crock-pot.

I got the recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking and while it doesn't look exactly like hers does, it tastes great and is one of my favorites!

I also made a chocolate pudding cool whip parfait with some strawberries. Again, not the best picture, but delicious!

The kids were wiped out today (and not feeling very well) and all 3 were in bed by 7:15! I guess having church at 1pm works out pretty well!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year, new goals

We all make new years resolutions...we rarely keep them. Often things go from something we've RESOLVED to do, to something that's a goal, to something we wish we had done. I think it's human nature and we shouldn't feel bad about it. But I can resolve to make reasonable resolutions and keep them.

Often one of my problems is making too many resolutions. As part of the Pursuit of Excellence (a challenge program from my church) I'm setting goals in the categories of spiritual, intellectual, physical, service and character. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew.

One of the intellectual goals relates to developing a new interest in a creative field. Since I'm not typically very creative this one seemed out of my normal comfort zone. I'm thinking that maybe if I try to write interesting creative blog posts on a regular basis it will count. It will definitely be a stretch for me.

I read lots of blogs, food blogs, parenting blogs, product blogs. I'm not really hoping to "break into the blogging world" but I'd like this blog to exist for more than what it currently does. Wish me luck as I resolve to write regularly.