Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Faith Hope Family Religious Christmas Card
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Motivation!

I don't think I even posted than I participated in my first 5K on Halloween. It was so much fun! To keep myself motivated and to head off the weight gain from food and drink this season, I am joining in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. It should be a great way to stay accountable - and it's a super fun thing to say I'm participating in. What a fun name!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I had a craving this weekend for lasagna. The temps have been topping out in the low 50s and plummeting into the 20s at night. Lasagna, chili, soup, and stew are all beckoning for me! We also had a wonderful lunch planned with some dear friends from church today. So ... craving lasagna, little time, and far too frugal to go to the store ... I started reading recipes. I came up with the following list of ingredients after reading at least a dozen online recipes and finding myself short of at least one ingredient in each recipe. It turned out amazing, if I do say so myself :)

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 t each garlic powder and onion powder
  • 2 t each black pepper and Kosher salt, divided
  • Approx 6 C total of tomato based product. For me this was 2 C homemade spaghetti sauce and 2, 14.5 oz cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • Approx 10 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 lb whole milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 C grated Italian style cheese (you can use mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan also)
1. Brown the ground beef with the garlic powder, onion powder, and 1 t each pepper and Kosher salt.
2. Add the tomatoes and sauce an heat through. Test the taste once it's warm - add the reserved 1 t each pepper and Kosher salt if needed.
3. In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, place about 1 C sauce mix and then a double layer of lasagna noodles (break them to fit into the oval shape of a slow cooker).
4. Top the noodles with half each of the cubed mozzarella and cream cheese.
5. Repeat layers - sauce, noodles, cheese and another layer of sauce.
6. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
7. Cook on low 4-5 hours.
8. ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Well Stocked Spice Cabinet

Several weeks ago, I posted about keeping our pantry well stocked. Along with the basics in the pantry, I find it essential to keep our spice cabinet well stocked. I do not use many fresh herbs and spices at all. First, I find them rather expensive and second - and maybe more important - is that they often spoil before I can use them. Throwing away good money is not something I am a fan of at all. So, dried it is for us. It's amazing what the addition of a bit of salt, pepper, or another spice will do to a plain dish. I love to experiment with spices and I love full-flavored food! Our essentials in the spice cabinet are:

  • Salt - iodized, Kosher, sea salt, Himilayan sea salt
  • Pepper - ground black, whole peppercorns, crushed red
  • Chili Powder - regular, dark, chipotle
  • Italian Seasoning Mix
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Old Bay
  • Dill
  • Caraway Seed
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Mustard Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon - regular and Pampered Chef's Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend
  • Allspice
  • Cloves - whole and ground
  • Minced Onions
  • Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • Cajun Spice Blend
  • Mrs. Dash - original, tomato & basil, hot & spicy, garlic & herb ... really, all varieties!
  • Chicken and Beef Boullion

I have found that using spices can really liven up a boring meal and can make a frugal meal seem like something restaurant-worthy!