Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm back. . .for now anyway.
It has been a while since I've been in the blog-o-sphere, but I'm back for now. Life just has a way of making itself busy. .

Menu Plan for this week:

Monday- cranberry chicken, Alfredo noodles, carrots and buns (=leftovers)
Tuesday-pineapple pork chops, rice, carrot sticks & peppers and dip
Wednesday-spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Thursday-Teriyaki chicken wings, baked potatoes
Friday-left-overs or pizza
Saturday- ?
Sunday-pancakes and bacon (or something quick and easy like sandwiches!)

For more MP, go to www.orgjunkie.com!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making Applesauce

It's not too late to be Tuesday still, is it?
This is "harvest" season.
For us--me--that means applesauce season.
I tried something new this year. Applesauce in a crock pot. I figured if there was something easier than the way I usually make applesauce, I was going to figure it out.
I used this recipe, from the "Crock Pot Lady." I love her blog and have used many of her recipes before, so I figured this one was worth a try as well.
So, I cut my apples. . .with an apple cutter because you need to core and peel them.
Then put the slices in the crockpot with the cinnamon, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, and vanilla. This was where I was beginning to get nervous because when I make applesauce the good old fashioned way, I just use apples. . .maybe a little sugar and cinnamon when serving it, but otherwise just apples.
See how beautiful it looks in the crockpot (above), and also when it is done (below)? After about 5 hours or so, I took my potato masher and made the apples into sauce. It was chunkier than when I make it otherwise, but I thought it was good.
The part I didn't like about it was the vanilla. My kiddos did not like that "flavour" in it either. So, I made another batch the next day, using apples and water.
Yep, that is all. No extra flavouring.
Then I mixed the two together.
And then it tasted wonderful.

Was it easier than the way I usually do it?
Hard to say. When I do it otherwise, I have a system going of washing, coring and cutting, boiling, and using the mill. Put the applesauce into jars for canning or into containers for the freezer and there you go.
The crockpot way there is not as much washing, still coring, AND peeling, but then there is no milling, but some easy mashing. But you can't keep doing this for three or four hours straight as I only have one crock pot (which is a blessing and a con, I suppose.)
They rate pretty evenly to me. The best part is the smell. Yum-yum. But the best-est part is being done. And cleaned up afterwards. And sitting on the sofa, enjoying the smell.
This, of course, must be qualified by the fact that I don't own a KitchenAid. No such luxury in this kitchen. When my hubby and I first got married, and it was a joy to spend time with me, he would help and we had one of those old cone shaped funnels with the wooden club-like tool. So a mill is definitely moving up in the world, but it is no KitchenAid. I may have jealousy issues over those who may have one. :)
Here is my little a, enjoying an apple. You should have seen the drool this caused him. It was great! And now that he is actually eating solids, sometimes I just take a pan, boil a cut up apple for a bit, mash it up, and then he has applesauce. This is a small commitment--one apple at a time. I just have to pay attention to what is one the stove for a bit.
My E had to get involved too. He loves using the mill with me. . .for a short time. . .before I put on a show because I just want the kiddos out of the kitchen. He also helped out by writing "2010" on the top and "apple" on some of them. Of course, he snuck his name on a few too. It's amazing the places he sneaks his name onto. (The best is on coupons--so I have to explain what the coupon says to the person at the checkout and explain my child's obsession with writing his name everywhere!) Thanks E!
And that is applesauce season in our home!
For more tempting ideas, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well. . . haven't been so motivated to post any Menu Plans lately. Maybe its the busy-ness of life these days, maybe it is the constant changing of plans or the ease of having left-overs--again and again! But the motivation has been lacking lately.

Sometimes I wonder if it serves any purpose to post things like this. Does it do any good for anyone? But in the beginning, I did it to help me organize my life a little and fix some of the busy-ness in life that I was experiencing at the time, so. . .
here I am again. Posting yet another MPM. And in all honestly, I check out what others have going on--and like doing that!-- so I guess I will hope someone out there does the same! (As an aside, thank you H, for the weekly phone calls about these posts!)

Last week was kinda crazy, anyway. . . a bunch of "things" started up and kick-off type events were going on. Some harvesting and preserving and baking to freeze kind of things kept me busy. I added a TOC deal in there and my hubby surprised us both with a night out--a concert (FVConcert Society, I think--sorry, we don't frequent these events very often, but I loved it and it brought me back to the days when I used to attend evenings like that one more regularly!) But I did plan the week, just never got around to blogging about it. A few from the past two weeks were: BBQ meatballs, sub sandwiches, pizza buns, a roast, stir-fry, hamburgers--we used the BBQ a lot!--that kind of thing.

This week, I am staying true to my past few weeks. . .starting with left-overs!

Monday- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken left-overs (from Saturday) on wraps with a salad on the side
Tuesday-Taco Casserole left-overs (had company on Sunday--the teenage boy did not make it, therefore, left-overs. Enough said.) Fixin' s and applesauce.
Wednesday-Fancy grilled cheese and soup. . . of some kind
Thursday-Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew (my friend had this on her blog, though it sounded good, so I may give this one a try)
Friday-Sausage, noodles, carrots and dip
Saturday's Snack-Topped Up Fiesta Dip (see below)
Sunday-hopefully pancakes. . .might try apple cinnamon kind. . .

So here is my roast. . .yep, it was my first time ever doing it, and it turned out okay. I just don't love it. Oh well. . .

My daughter loved it (and needed a picture when she saw me taking a photo of our plate), so I guess I can chalk it up to being a success???

Saturday's Snack. . .I found a link for this one (I'm having trouble with cutting and pasting text here on blogger. If any of you bloggers out there have any advice for me, I would love, love, love it! Who has time to type it all in???)

Here is Topped-Up Fiesta Dip.

When I needed to get some refried beans for my Taco Casserole, I figured I would also try the recipe on the back of the Old El Paso Can. . .I halved it to try it out, and it turned out great. Would be great for an appy night or party. And it looks so colourful and pretty.

A little refried beans, sour cream mixed with taco seasoning and salsa, cheese, tomato, peppers, and green onions.
Easy-peasy, pretty, and yum!
I did find a taco seasoning recipe here, so use it if you like. . .
For more MPM, check out http://www.orgjunkie.com/!