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Category: From My Kitchen

Baking Day: Southwest Roll-ups and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm not meaning to leave you all hanging for hours on end, I just find that when I sit down to blog, I lose my focus. So I'm trying to stay off the computer more this Baking Day and just focus on, well, baking!

We also took a break from being in the kitchen to have our afternoon Reading Time. We love reading together and I try to make a point to read to everyone at least 20-30 minutes every day, even on those days when we take a break from our usual routine.

But here's what I've accomplished since I last checked in:

I finished all the waffles! I ended up with a mountain of waffles (five bags!) which should last us for every bit of 8-9 breakfasts. That means we should be stocked on waffles for at least another 5-6 weeks. And that's a great feeling. My picture of all of these will be coming in the final Baking Day photo.

I also chopped up all the chicken I had boiled and made up Southwest Roll-ups. These are one of our family's "staple recipes". You know, the kind that you turn to when you are feeling brain fried in menu-planning or just need a really easy dinner. I've been making these and freezing them ahead of time recently and have found this works well, too.

Southwest Roll-ups (makes 8 roll-ups)

1 can refried beans
1/4 cup salsa
1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 tortillas

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Mix together beans, salsa, and chicken.

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Spread 1/8 of mixture onto one tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up and turn ends under. Stick in a freezer bag or in a 9×13 baking pan.

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When ready to bake, thaw and bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with more shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired. Serve with salsa. Serves 4.

I bought this huge bag of chocolate chips at Sam's Club on Saturday so I made some (the recipe is ).

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I've heard there is a canned pumpkin shortage in some parts of the country, but I have quite a few cans which I bought a number of months ago for $0.25 each so I'm well-stocked. And now that I have plenty of chocolate chips, I'll likely be making more of these muffins as they are one of our favorites.

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I made them with all whole wheat flour and I don't think you can even
tell a difference. My husband loves these in his lunches! I stick them
in the freezer once they are cooled and then just pull out a few and
stick them frozen into a baggie into his lunch box. By lunch time, they
are thawed and ready to eat!

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(Picture from )

Next up: Chicken Tetrazinni and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Baking Day: Whole-Wheat Waffles and Ground Turkey

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The dishwasher is humming, the chicken is boiling, the noodles are cooling, the waffles are baking, the girls are practicing their ABC's with at the kitchen table, Silas is sleeping, and I finally have a chance to sit down and post an update on my progress!

First thing this morning, I browned a big pot of ground turkey, turkey sausage, and ground beef. We prefer ground beef, but I was able to get some great deals on quality turkey over the last few months, so I'm being creative with what I have. I browned them altogether so I'm hoping it somewhat hides the ground turkey.

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(My apologies to any pregnant woman who is reading this. I'm sure that a picture of raw meat cooking is anything but appetizing!)

I'll be using the browned turkey in lasagna, spaghetti pie, and freezing some to have on hand for homemade pizza nights. I've found that if the meat is already cooked, half the work of putting together a pizza is done!

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After I got the meat browning, I mixed up a batch of Whole Wheat Waffles (see the recipe here). I took the recipe by five so it is making quite a massive amount of waffles!

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As I usually do, I used milk that I had gotten reduced and frozen. This time, it was organic milk which I picked up for $0.59 per half gallon after the reduction and coupons. I also used fresh-ground whole-wheat flour and fresh eggs from my family's farm so these waffles are packed with good nutrition!

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Once the waffles are cooled, I'll stick them into freezer bags and then we'll just pull them out and reheat them for quick and delicious breakfasts!

While the waffles were baking, I rinsed the pot I used to cook up the meat in and got the water started to boil the noodles. And then I cleaned up my very messy kitchen, started the dishwasher, got drinks and a snack for the girls, helped them get started on some new projects. (Since both girls are running fevers, I'm not having them help with cooking today so that our food doesn't get sick germs passed into it! So I'm pulling out a variety of fun things for them to work on while they rest.)

Then I was back to the kitchen to drain the noodles and start cooking up the chicken.

Next up: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Pinto Beans, and Hot Pockets

Baking Day: The Master Plan

As those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know, my two-year-old was very sick Sunday and Monday evenings. We were able to get her in to the doctor yesterday and were relieved to find out she just has a very bad case of the flu–which we were very relieved to hear!

I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to be able to do a Baking Day this week but when she started taking a turn for the better yesterday and I knew I was going to be home all day today and she'll likely be resting much of the day, my husband said if I was up to it, I should just go ahead and go with the planned Baking Day. So here we are!

I got a later start than usual because we all slept in this morning. I've learned that I'm not very productive when I'm tired so it's better to sleep in and get enough rest than to try and limp along in a sleepy fog. After a much better night's rest last night, I'm feeling much revived and energized and ready to hit the kitchen and get busy baking and cooking!

Before going to bed last night, I made a Master Plan for today's baking. It really helps me to have a specific, numbered list to go off of. In addition, it helps me to be able to maximize my efficiency so that I can be multi-tasking on most tasks.

Here's a peek at my scribbled down list for today:

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I'm off to brown the turkey and start on the waffles. I'll be back with a report shortly.

“Baking Day” list for tomorrow

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(Teaching the girls how to boil, peel, cut, and stuff eggs as part of our homeschool lessons a few weeks ago.)

After a long hiatus, I'm back to doing menu planning and Baking Days! It's amazing how good it feels to be getting back "into the groove" (Nevermind the fact that my baby boy is almost five months old! It seems I just had him; I can't believe how quickly time goes!).

I'm planning to host a Baking Day here tomorrow and I'll be live-blogging it like usual. However, since I'm trying to do more freezer cooking now that our homeschooling is in full swing, I'm actually going to be doing more cooking than baking. I've never combined the two like this before, so I'm anxious to see how it goes.

You can follow along with my progress on my blog and you can also follow along/join in on with the hastag #BakingDay. Speaking of which, I'd love to have you join me by doing some of your own baking. At the end of the day, I'll post a Mr. Linky so that everyone can link up and share what they accomplished in their kitchens tomorrow.

The Proposed (and likely way-too-ambitious!) Baking/Cooking Day List:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whole Wheat Waffles

Homemade Applesauce

Pinto Beans (cook up and freeze)

Lasagna

Spaghetti Pie

Farmhouse Chicken

Chicken Tetrazzini

Barbecue Meatballs

Homemade Hot Pockets
Southwest Chicken Roll-ups
Turkey Enchiladas

Recipes, pictures, and more will be coming in my live-blogged posts tomorrow. And now I'm heading out for a quick trip to the store and then coming home to clean up my kitchen and thaw out meat, milk, and anything else I need for the morning!

This week’s menu plan (and how I learned the hard way that no menu plan = disaster!)

In a very uncharacteristic move, I jumped off the menu-planning bandwagon for the past two weeks. We had plenty of food on hand and I figured it wouldn't be too much trouble to wing it.

Was I ever wrong!

Trying to "fly by the seat of my pants" when it came to menu-planning was disastrous! We not only resorted to take-out a few times (outside of our once-a-week Dinner Out night), but we had little variety in our meals. And, worst of all, I found it took me a great deal of mental energy to try and figure out from day-to-day and meal-to-meal what we'd be eating. Five o'clock would sneak up on me from out of the blue every single night and I had no plan… again.

So, no more skipping the meal-planning around here. Two weeks of that madness was plenty enough for me. I'm committed to make this a priority now that I've seen how much time, effort, and money it saves!

Here's this week's menu plan:

Breakfasts
Fresh carrot/apple juice, Kashi waffles (free at Target last week)
Fresh tomato juice, Blueberry Banana Bran muffins from the freezer
Strawberry/blueberry/banana smoothies, toast
Cereal x 2
Fruit, muffins
Homemade cinnamon rolls, turkey sausage, fruit

Lunches
Healthy choice meals (free with coupons last week)
Quesadillas, fruit salad
Green pepper strips, fruit salad, PB &J sandwiches, stuffed eggs
Fried egg sandwiches with tomatoes
Bean soup, muffins from the freezer, carrots
Leftovers
PB&J, fruit, granola bars (free with coupons last week)

Dinners
, biscuits, grapes, peas
Chicken Pot Pie, fruit salad, broccoli
Southwest Roll-ups, corn and tomatoes, fruit salad
Homemade Pizza, fruit, ice cream
French Toast, turkey sausage, fruit
Out to Dinner
, grapes, homemade bread

Snacks
Granola bars
Cereal
Fruit
Veggies
Muffins from the freezer
Cheese and crackers
Ice cream

It's only Tuesday and I'm already seeing a huge difference in having a plan. But you think I should know that by now for how often I preach the virtues of having a menu plan. Sometimes, even us frugal zealots need to be reminded of this again, though! 🙂

This week’s menu plan

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After a few crazy weeks of pulling off a wedding and going on vacation, we're ready for life to slow down here and move into a more normal routine. We do have a big garage sale planned for next week, but I'm having lots of help with that so I'm hoping it's not a huge amount of work to pull off!

We were blessed with some fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn on the cob so we'll be incorporating that into our menu for this week.

Here's what's planned for this week:

Breakfasts
Cereal, orange juice
Banana Strawberry Blueberry smoothies, toast
Blueberry Bran Muffins (new recipe which I'll be posting soon), scrambled eggs
Cereal, fruit
Oatmeal with brown sugar, fruit
Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists, fruit
French Toast, turkey sausage, fruit

Lunches
Homemade Pita Pockets with melted cheese, carrots
Baked Potatoes, broccoli, cheese
PB&J, cantaloupe, carrots, cookies
Spinach, brown rice, and cheese casserole, cucumbers
Leftovers x 2
Lunch at friends' house

Dinners
Lasagna Bake, Homemade Bread, Broccoli, Cherry Crisp (my mom made this for us–yum!)
Homemade Barbecue Beef Pizza, cucumbers and tomatoes
Layered Nacho Dip, chips, corn on the cob, cucumbers and tomatoes
Dinner out
Office Party–dinner provided
Grilled steak, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, fruit
, peas, fruit

Snacks
Protein bars
Blueberry Bran Muffins
Cheese/crackers
Fruit/Veggies
Chips/Salsa
Cereal
Popcorn

See a couple hundred more menus for this week over at !