Friday, July 30, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The other day I was asked on Facebook, for the recipe I use for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I found this recipe on

It is very yummy and I love that I can just cook it in my crockpot! Sorry I don't have a picture, I took my camera to the zoo yesterday and it is MIA! Hoping I didn't leave it there! Anyway, here is the recipe. Let me know if you make it and what you think!

4 chicken breast halves
2 15oz cans of black beans, drained
2 15oz cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 cup med. salsa
1 4oz can of chopped green chilies
1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce

Lay chicken pieces at the bottom of your crockpot. Add ingredients on top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Before serving, take the chicken out and either shred it or cut it into pieces.

Serve with tortilla chips& cheese. I also like a dollop of sour cream!

** I love using Reynolds crockpot liners. It makes clean up a total breeze!

Freezer Cooking Friday

Did you put anything extra in your freezers this week? An extra loaf of banana bread? Some chopped chicken? Maybe you made some muffins and put a few aside for later? Anything you do, will put you further ahead for the next time!

There came a time, a few months ago, when after making a dish for dinner, my husband would eye the pan and say, "you probably should have made two."

And he was right. Sometimes one pan just isn't enough! I started thinking of what meals I could make two of and freezing one. While grocery shopping I would grab a couple of disposable aluminum pans.

It really isn't hard to have an extra pan of enchiladas, a meatloaf (or mini meatloaves)baked ziti...

This week, as you are making a meal plan, look at dinners that you could double. Are you grilling this week? Make extra chicken. Or buy an extra pkg of ground beef and make hamburgers.

Are you taking advantage of yummy summer produce? Eat half and put some in the freezer for later. My daughter could live off of smoothies. I have lots of extra peaches and strawberries in the freezer that will be going towards smoothies. Or freezer jam!

Pack up that freezer!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I have a new calling at church! I am very excited but also a bit nervous. I have been called as an Enrichment leader for the Relief Society.

Last Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. Since we have been married I have always been in primary or the nursery organization. I am excited to do something new and know this will be a challenge for me.

When I started this blog, I do so because I am **learning** to be a better cook, organizer, cleaner, wife, Mom etc. I think somehow people thought it was because I was good at all these things. I am not but I want to be.

Homemaking is very important to me. I believe it is the highest calling for a woman. I realize that not everyone who reads this is LDS but I want to share a favorite scripture of mine. I actually have this on a 3x5 card, taped to my kitchen cabinet, as a reminder!

"Organize yourselves: prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." Doctrine and Covenants 88:119

This is what I am trying to do. Thanks for coming on this journey with me! I look forward to doing more and learning more.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Freezer Cooking Friday pt.1

(hamburger patties and mini meatloaves ready to go in the freezer!)

The other day on Facebook, I mentioned that I love freezer cooking. Many responses later, I realized that not everyone knows exactly what it is. So I am going to go through it. I do want everyone to know that there are millions of other blogs and sites that have more info and know more about it then I do. So I will try to add some of those links at the end.

First things first...freezer cooking. What is it? Well, basically it is doing some or all of the prep work for a meal, putting it in the freezer, and using it at a later date. Although, it is not limited to a "meal". It could be bread, desserts, vegi's, fruit, etc.

There are a lot of different ways that you can do this.

So let's start with one for today.

Preparing part of a meal. An example of this would be, buying ground beef in bulk. Browning it, draining it and then seperating it into meal sized portions. Label a freezer bag...and there you go.

Another example: buying chicken, ( I usually buy boneless skinless thighs) dividing the pkg into portions, placing a marinade in the freezer bag, putting the chicken in and freezing it in the marinade. Then as it thaws, the marinade is working it's magic.

Some of my other favorites:
**slicing ham into cubes to have for later
** cutting peppers and onions to have for fajhitas
**hamburger patties
**meatloaves etc.
**quick breads

Start thinking of your families favorite meals, is there a part of it that could be prepped and frozen? Could you pre-cook ground beef and onions for tacos? Marinade chicken or steak for kabobs? Or to just throw on the grill?

Feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments in the suggestions. I love to hear from you!

Friday, July 16, 2010




(Vons trip)

(those yummy eclairs)

(Albertsons trip)

Oh, have I mentioned that I love coupons. Seriously, I forgot the high that comes from going to the check out and just watching your total drop! It is amazing!

Tuesdays are the last day for weekly sales ads at my stores. I don't know if that is the same for everyone else but...

That means I go to my coupon stores on Tuesday evenings. You will notice in these pictures a lack of bread, meat and produce. There is a good reason for this. I buy my bread at a bakery outlet, and meat and produce (except for rrrrreally good sales) at the commissary on Saturday mornings.

Anyway, my first stop was Ralphs. I am really starting to love that store. They don't place limits on how many like coupons you can use. My cashier was not very nice though. Normally I have great ones but whew! She sighed, she huffed, she noted many times how many coupons I used. Ugh. But my total before coupons and rewards card was $222.66. After- $92.71! My total savings was $129.95! Score. Plus I had a fun coupon to get rewards points when you spent a certain amount. So I earned a $5 coupon on my next purchase!

Next was Vons. I love Vons, except you can only use 2 like coupons per transaction. So I had to seperate them. But my cashier was FABULOUS! She told me that her husband had just been laid off and was using coupons to make ends meet. She was so nice. Anyway, I did have to buy formula there ($16.99) so it threw my totals off a little bit. Oh yeah...and some insanely yummy eclairs from the deli. My weakness (:
Total before coupons was 91.43. After rewards card and coupons $32.72! (Did I mention I had a $17 can of formula?!)

On to Albertsons. This cashier was nice but seemed really ready to be home! Before coupons my total was $97.08. After: $29.70. I saved $67.38! I did buy granola bars that were a GREAT price but that I didn't have coupons for. So that upped my total!

While there are lots of coupon queens who have much better totals, I am still trying to rebuild my stockpiles. Eventually I will get to a point where I don't "need" much. But I am proud of my totals! And the kids have been lovin' all the breakfast foods.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

cooking Thursday

I can't believe how long it has been since I have participated! I am still trying to organize our home & lives after our big move. But I am getting there. Slowly but surely!

Last night I realized, that one of my favorite skillets has lost it's coating. How do I know this? Because EVERYTHING is sticking to it. *Big sigh*. So my dinner last night didn't turn otu what I had planned...but it turned out better. (:

OK I have a huge confession...I was making Hamburger Helper. I know, I know. But my honey was going to be late and my kids were STARVING. So I decided to feed them out of the pantry. Then I had EVERYTHING stick to the pan. Grrr...

I took the ground beef and rice (it was a Taco kind) that hadn't been scorched. I made some more spanish rice, added the hamburger to it. Then corn kernels. I placed corn chips on the bottom of the bowl and topped it with cheese. I also gave my kiddo's more tortilla chips to dip in.

They devoured it and my 5 yr. old told me that, "it's not gross, Mom!" I guess that is a compliment! Anyway I thought it turned out yummy!

Taco beef & rice:

Brown ground beef in skillet, drain.

Add taco seasoning and follow directions on pkg

Rice. You can cook it in a rice cooker and then add it. You can use a packaged kind of rice. Or brown, instant...whatever you like.

Put ground beef and rice in a bowl and mix.

Then add a can (or fresh/frozen) of corn.

Crush tortilla chips and put on the bottom of serving bowls.

Put mixture on top.

Top with sour cream and cheese.

**My kids like things simple but if you wanted to you could also add
*black olives
* put more crushed tortilla chips on top
*roll it into a tortilla

Very easy and yummy. Also a great way to use up leftovers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WFMW-summer reading

Have you signed your kids up for a variety of summer reading programs? Well I have. However, my kids are having a hard time sitting down and reading when tv & video games are calling to them.

They all LOVE to read, but they would rather read in their beds in the evening. So, to break them away from the tv, we have started DEAR time.

DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read! Before any video games are allowed, they have to do at least 30 min. of reading.

It has been a nice break from the electronics.

Of course all their morning jobs are done too! (:

That's what works for me! (:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monkeyin' Around

My baby turned one on Saturday! I can't believe how fast the time went. I swear it was the fastest year of my life!!

Being that he is only a year old, he had no idea that it was even his birthday. But you can't have a birthday without cake right?!

I had found this Taste of Home magazine and absolutely loved the fun ideas in it. But the cover is what really caught my attention! They looked so cute and were way easy!

Monkeys for my little monkey!

What you will need:
1 box of choc. cake
1 container of chocolate frosting
nilla wafers
nutter butters
black & red decorating gel
candies to use for the eyes (the magazine says to use pastel candy for the eyes but seeing as though it isn't near Easter, I just used regular M&M's) So I guess just pick what color of candy you want)

Bake and cook cupcakes according to directions on the package.

Frost, set some frosting aside to use as hair

cut a side off of one of the nilla wafers

put 2 black dots (close together!) for nostrils using the decorating gel

then make a mouth with the red gel

place on cupcake

place 2 candies for eyes and put a black dot with the gel as a pupil

cut the nutter butters in half. Scrape the pb off the cookie (eat it or toss it lol)

attatch a nutter butter to each side

using leftover frosting, pipe some hair on to the top

** I have a fun decorating gun by Wilton that I LOVE. That is what I used for the hair. But you can also put the frosting in a ziploc and cut a corner off. Or skip the hair altogether!**

Friday, July 9, 2010

little things

It is always the little things that make life fun, isn't it?

One day as I was unpacking, my daughter asked if they could eat their lunch outside. I started to say no...and then thought why not? So I took a basket and filled it with a few things for their lunch.

They had fun eating outside and it was a good reminder to me to stop and smell the roses! Life doesn't always have to be scheduled right?!

We're JAMmin'!

I have always wanted to make jam. OK maybe not always but for a long time. While we lived on Guam, prices would vary from 1.50 a lb. (best price I ever saw) all the way up to $7 for a lb! It was crazy!

A few weeks before, we moved, the price of strawberries dropped. My dear friend Anne and I had planned a jam making session, so she could teach me how, but we both couldn't fit it into our schedule. :(

Well fast forward a few weeks. While keeping the kids corralled so that they were not in the way of the movers, I sat down and looked at a Kraft Food & Family Magazine. I love this magazine. It used to be free but not anymore. I love their recipes and good tips. Anyway...on the very last page was a recipe for making jam!

Camarillo (were I now live) and Oxnard are famous for strawberries. So we have found them as low as .88 a lb! Hello?! They are so good.

I made jam one sunny afternoon. My son was my taste tester and loved it!

My daughter told me, "Mom, you have changed my mind about jam on toast. This is so good!"

My son told me, "you should get an award for this jam!"

So I guess it is a keeper. (:

Friday, July 2, 2010


My kids love and adore scrambeled eggs with ham chopped in it. However, they do not, absolutely do not, like fritattas! Crazy kiddos.

Ben loves eggs and so he and I usually have a frittata while the kids just have the scrambeled eggs.

So how do you make it?

-use as many eggs as desired
-put in a bowl and whisk together
-add your ingredients

We like:
...and whatever is in the fridge that we want to use up (:

-pour into baking dish (I do grease mine)
-bake at 350 for 25-30 min

I like to serve it with bisquits, fruit and juice. A yummy breakfast that is easy to make!

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