Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Thanksgiving soup

One of my favorite things about cooking up a turkey is being able to make turkey noodle soup the next day. I took home the turkey frame from my moms house and started it boiling on the stove Sunday. After letting it boil with a few spices for an hour or so, I took it out of the water and began picking off the meat. I was the one who carved the turkey originally and I had left a lot of meat on the frame! We used some for turkey sandwiches that afternoon, but all the rest of the meat went into my stock pot with onions and carrots and more spices.

When I got home from church I turned my pot back on, and cooked it until the carrots were tender then I added some egg noodles. The soup was delicious but I made a lot of it! Some of it I put in tupperware and I've been eating the leftovers for lunch this week. But I also took some of the soup and put it in muffin cups and froze it!

I now have a dozen soup disks for lunches later! I'll put 2 or 3 disks into a bowl and heat it in the microwave when I want soup later! There's my freezer assignment this week!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Thursday 4

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here are 5 more things I’m grateful for today!

1.  Aaron


I am so impressed with Aaron.  He’s growing up to be such a wonderful boy.  I can’t believe he’ll be 8 in just a few months.  He’s so smart and is so kind and thoughtful.  His prayers are so sincere and heartfelt.  He is amazingly helpful (when he wants to be) and is polite as well.  He loves to read, play games, design games, make up math problems and play video games.  He made me a mom and I love spending time with him.  I’m really glad he’s mine!

2.  My Testimony


I am so grateful for my testimony of the fullness of the gospel restored to the earth today.  I know that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, atoned for my sins and that I can return to live with him and my Heavenly Father someday.  I testify that God knows each of us personally and loves us and wants us to become the people he knows we can become.  I pray for His help to be able to become that woman someday.  I am very grateful for my own personal testimony.

3.  Thanksgiving Dinner


I love to eat, lately I love to cook.  We will be eating with my mom and one other family that I’ve known most of my life.  7 adults and my 4 kids.  Should be fun!  I am really looking forward to the four new recipes I am making for todays feast.  (Homemade rolls – my friend Travis’s recipe, Green Bean Casserole – Pioneer Woman’s recipe, Sweet Potato Casserole – my sis-in-law Tiff’s recipe, and Chocolate Pumpkin Pie – from The Chew.)  My mom is in charge of the typical turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a fruit salad and another pie.  It will all be yummy and I’m excited to eat it!

4.  My Mom


My mom and I have always been close.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve disagreed and had the typical mother/daughter fights from time to time, but even when I was in high school we mostly got along.  She taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to host a dinner party and how to be a mother.  She showed me by example how to reach outside myself and think of others.  She babysits my kids when I need her to and takes me shopping and buys me stuff just because!  I see her almost every week (often multiple times a week) and I talk to her multiple times every day.  I am very grateful that my mother is such an important part of my life and I love her a lot!

5.  The temple


Paul and I were married on the day after Thanksgiving 9 years ago in the Houston, Texas temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We were sealed together as husband and wife for time and all eternity by someone holding the proper holy priesthood power.  Because of the promises we made in the temple with our Heavenly Father our four beautiful boys have been born in that covenant and are also sealed to us for eternity.  I am so grateful we have a House of the Lord in our city and that we are able to attend the temple often. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIY Go-Gurt and Instant Oatmeal Packets

Last week I worked on two projects, both of which I think turned out pretty well. 

First, I made yogurt.  I initially heard about this when I followed “A year of slow cooking” and I thought it was interesting but never did anything.

Then I heard about it again at a Relief Society activity and again ignored the idea.

Then I saw it yet again on Money Saving Mom and finally decided I’d try it. 

I followed the recipe shown here, starting with half a gallon of milk (I also added powdered milk as Money Saving Mom suggested) and my crock pot.  The next morning I had yogurt and I was surprisingly pleased at how it turned out.  It really did have the consistency of yogurt.  I basically made a half gallon of yogurt for about $2!

But I didn’t stop there.  I froze 2 cups of it in ice cube trays to hopefully use in smoothies later.  We ate some for breakfast (added honey to some, raspberries to others).  The rest I made into go-gurt as suggested by Money Saving Mom.  I added a package of strawberry jello and put about 1/4 c each in a dozen snack bags and they are in the freezer now! 



The boys ate some for lunch this week and they liked it, but didn’t love it.  They didn’t like it so much for breakfast either, but I did.  I probably won’t make it again anytime soon, but I’m sure I will make it again someday!

When I finished that I took a page from Life As Mom and made my own instant oatmeal packets.  My boys love oatmeal and will each eat 2 packets in the morning!  Do you know how expensive that can be!  Well for the same price as a box of 10 generic instant oatmeal packets I can buy a container of quick oats and make 60 homemade packets.  (I didn’t make that many though!  I started with 20!)

I combined a few recipes here…started with 2 cups of oats, then ground an additional 2 cups to powder.  Then I added dried milk, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Then to half I added raisins and to the other half I added dried apples (which I’ve had for years in my food storage from the cannery.)  Each packet has a little more than 1/4 cup oatmeal and to that I added 6 Tablespoons of hot water to make our breakfast. 



In hindsight, I added too much cinnamon…it’s fairly overpowering.  I might re-empty them all, add more oatmeal, and repackage them into more packets, but haven’t done it yet.  I really do hope to get this right because this will save me a lot of money!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Thursday 3

5 more things I’m grateful for this week

1.  Brian


I have never met a child as loving as Brian.  If you’ve ever met him, he’s probably hugged you and told you he loves you.  He is so sweet to his baby brother and tries to cheer him up when he’s crying.  He loves to laugh and cracks me up often.  He probably infuriates me more than the other boys right now, but I can’t stay grumpy at him for long because when he smiles, his eyes twinkle and he knows it!  I am so grateful I get to be his mother and have his spirit in our home. 

2.  My house


Years before we bought our house, the subdivision had a model home of this floor plan.  When I had friends in town I’d take them through the model just because I loved the floor plan so much.  We weren’t really in the market to move, we were happy in the house we were in, but when this house came on the market at a super low price we bought it.  I really do love my house!  There are lots of projects I want to work on, but it makes me so happy as it is too.  And I love that several families in our ward are also on my street and we have lots of great neighbors too.  I am so grateful for such a beautiful house in such a friendly neighborhood. 

3.  The change in the weather

There is a slight chill in the air. The sun is shining. It finally feels like fall. We had a miserably hot summer and I was very pregnant and grumpy. I’m loving being able to play outside with the boys before it gets dark. I’m grateful for this beautiful weather while it lasts!

4.  Ritters


For those who don’t know about the Frozen Custard shop down the road from my house, let me introduce you to heaven in a cup!  My favorite is a small chocolate glacier with snickers mixed in.  Or a small cup of chocolate covered banana or strawberry romance.  And they do sell gift cards (hint hint!)  So yummy!

5.  Anna


Our shared love of Ritters might be one of the reasons why Anna and I are such good friends.  We have kids the same age and serve in the Relief Society together, but those things wouldn’t automatically make us as close of friends as we have become.  I feel so blessed that I’ve had several best friends in my life.  Lindsay in high school, Melanie in college, Julie when I was single and now Anna as a mother of small children.  We talk almost every day and since our husbands and kids get along too we do things as a family together also.  Not only does she put up with me, she “gets me” too.  Thank you Anna for being my friend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cooking up some chicken

I recently ordered 40 lbs of chicken from Zaycon foods.  It arrived for pick up this Tuesday (and the line was HUGE!)  but I waited until today to deal with it. 

Inside this giant bag were 17 full chicken breasts which I cut into 34 breasts.  These breasts were huge.  My husband liked hearing me talk about each set of 2 big breasts…hehehehe.  Unfortunately these breasts had a lot of fat on them that needed to be trimmed.  But still, it only took me an hour and a half to trim, cut, and bag everything up!

I took 18 breasts and put them raw into freezer bags.  The other 16 breasts I boiled then shredded.  I recently saw information online about shredding hot cooked chicken in a kitchenaid mixer.  I tried it and was amazed at how easily and quickly it shredded my chicken.  I put about 3 breasts in at a time, turned the mixer on to a 4 or 5 for about 30 seconds and voila!  perfectly shredded chicken.  So easy!  I put my shredded chicken into freezer bags (2 cups each).


I ended up with a full table of chicken for use in a myriad of recipes and amazingly enough I got them all to fit in my kitchen freezer!  23 bags of food calculates to $2.60 per meal and each meal will likely have leftovers.  I’m happy!


Gratitude Thursday 2

Here we go again with 5 things I’m grateful for today

1.  This handsome boy


Christian turned 2 yesterday and is my main companion during each day.  He doesn’t talk much, but he is amazing!  He loves to play with balls and cars, say “HI”, give kisses, have me read to him, and has quite a shoe fetish!  He goes to sleep easily and still takes great naps most days which allows me to get something done.  He cracks me up and I’m so glad that I get to spend each day with him. 

2.  My Freezer


I got an extra freezer about a year and a half ago and LOVE it!  I am currently trying to do “something” for the freezer each week.  Last week was egg rolls, this week I handled 40 lbs of chicken.  Next week I’m going to attempt homemade gogurt (including homemade yogurt in the crockpot).  Freezer meals rock and this makes it SO much easier!


I LOVE our church website.  They are constantly updating the content on it.  So much information and so helpful.  I use it almost daily.  Whether I’m studying my scriptures, looking up phone numbers, or reading about my responsibilities in the Relief Society, it’s fabulous.  If you aren’t using it regularly, I highly recommend it!

4.  My Kitchen Aid


I got this for Christmas about 2 years a go and LOVE it!  Today I shredded cooked chicken in it.  (It was seriously SO EASY)  I love to make cookies and banana bread in it.  As I mentioned last week, I make bread in it now.  Technology is awesome!

5.  My sister


I remember growing up and NOT being grateful for my sister.  We were not always the best of friends.  (Remember those fights driving to school…the hair pulling and everything?)  But now that we’re both moms we talk to each other almost every day.  Often multiple times a day.  She is one of my best friends and I’m so grateful that even though we live over 1600 miles apart we are so close.  (I can’t wait to see you at Christmas Sissy)

I’m so grateful for so many things, it’s hard to pick 5 each week.  Maybe I’ll keep doing this ALWAYS! (maybe not!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude Thursday

My friend Anna often does Gratitude Tuesday and I’ve been saying I’ll do it too, but I never do.  Today my friend Brittany did a Thankful Thursday.  I think I’ll take her lead and try to post 5 things each Thursday that I’m grateful for.  And I’m going to post this on both of my blogs!

1.  This guy slept through the night last night!


Now I’m under no illusions that he will sleep through the night again tonight, and in fact yesterday evening he had a really rough time and both Paul and I paced the floor with him trying to help him finally fall asleep.  But a good night sleep feels WONDERFUL and I’m grateful that he did sleep well last night!

2.  Yeast

bread bowl

My sister told me recently that she’s afraid of yeast, and I used to be also, but I bought a large container of dry active yeast and now I’m using it!  I have a recipe that makes ONE loaf of bread.  It’s perfect for doing something special for dinner.  Tuesday I tried THIS RECIPE that makes 12 rolls and tonight I’m going to try to make THESE breadbowls to make with THIS soup.  I haven’t gotten any of theses recipes to turn out as perfectly as I expected yet, but I’m trying.  I have a friend teaching a class on making bread in a few weeks, so maybe he can help my bread turn out better!

3.  Good books


I love to read and always have.  I’m in 2 book clubs which both had their discussions last week.  We read The Woman In White and To Kill A Mockingbird.  Both totally different from each other, but I really enjoyed reading them both.  I’m currently trying to get ready to teach Relief Society on Sunday, and I’m using Daughters in My Kingdom as my text, so I’ve been pouring through it again.  I’m very grateful for books that inspire me.

4.  Electricity


From the TV that’s entertaining my 2yo while I write this to the computer I’m writing this on, I am very grateful electricity.  I’m glad I was born in this day and age of modern conveniences.  I’m glad I can see in the dark.  I’m glad I can talk to my sister in New Jersey almost every day.  I’m glad electricity exists and that we know how to harness and use it to make our lives easier. 

5.  My amazing husband


Not only does he support our family financially allowing me to stay home with our children, but he is an amazing support to us spiritually and socially.  He loves spending time with us.  He treats me wonderfully.  He’s everything I ever hoped to have in a husband.   He’s smart.  He’s funny.  He’s a great dad.  He’s athletic.  He’s handy.  Right now he’s in the middle of woodworking, making a Christmas present which I won’t talk more about so it can stay a surprise.  Now I’m not saying he’s perfect, but I feel so lucky to have him.

I love the feeling I’ve had this morning as I composed this post.  I should write about what I’m grateful for more often.  I look forward to doing it next week!