Friday, September 22, 2017

French Dip Sandwiches and Corn & Sweet Potato Salad

This week in Friday in the Kitchen I'll be sharing a couple recipes I've this week that we really enjoyed.

French Dip Sandwiches

I tried THIS recipe and it was so good. I did make a couple changes due to the fact that my hubby has MSG sensitivities and I can't use store bought beef or chicken stock. Any time I do, he has a reaction. So I only use homemade. Unfortunately I did not have any homemade beef stock. I replaced the beef stock with water and added 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.

The other change I made was to put all ingredients in the Instant Pot. I did not saute the onions first. I put them in, added the water, salt, and seasonings and then added my cut up beef roast. This made the meal extremely quick to put together. 

 My broth was not as dark colored as the original recipe shows, but the taste was fantastic.

Corn & Sweet Potato Salad

I mentioned this recipe on my Wednesday post. So easy and very tasty.

You will need a sweet potato, a can of corn, a can of mandarin oranges, a can of olives and a can of red beans. You can substitute any type of beans that you prefer. 


I cooked a sweet potato first. I cooked it in my IP but you could also bake or boil it. When it has cooled peel and cut it up.

Then I drained the canned veggies. I poured all the cans except the olives into a large strainer and let them drain while I prepared my sweet potato.

When you have all the ingredients ready to go, simply mix them together. Slice the olives and set them aside to put on top of the salad. 


To make the salad put a large amount of green leafy veggies on a plate...

You can add extra salad veggies on top if you want, but that is optional..

Top the greens with a few spoonfuls of the salad mix and top with sliced olives...

Add a dressing of your choice and enjoy!

If you want to turn this into a main dish you can also top with cooked, cubed chicken.

That is all for this week!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic..BUT Please download the picture to your computer first.. do not just directly copy and paste.. otherwise you are using my bandwidth..thank you! :).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
The best part of the week so far is .. RAIN! I'm not a fan of rainy weather, but right now I'm loving the rain as it has been putting out all the fires in our area. People are returning to their homes and the threat is gone. Unfortunately the new threat is with burned out mountains and lots of rain, there have been mudslides and potential for more of them. What a difficult summer it has been around here.

My son Jacob came to visit over the weekend. We had a lot of wonderful conversations for the couple days he was here. He has grown into such an incredible young man. Makes a mom proud.

On My To-Do List
I had originally planned to grocery shop on Monday, but something came up and hubby and I took care of other things. So today is grocery shopping day.

I hope to get some vacuuming done and laundry folded when I get home.

Then dinner. We'll be having french dip sandwiches tonight for dinner.

Projects I'm Working On
Cleaning. I've started some fall cleaning. I'm tackling one room at a time and going at my own pace. But the dust and cobwebs need my attention. A summer of windows open and the dust blowing in can be seen.

Today's Weather
Last week we had temps in the 80's and 90's, this week things have been cooling down a lot.  I'm thankful for the change due to the forest fires but I'm hoping summer like weather is not over (even though we are only a couple days from fall :)

High 59,  Low 49   Clouds and rain for the day

The View from my Deck (or window)
This morning there has been a pause in the rain.  More is in the forecast for today.  You can really see the blackened hills across from me caused by the fire.  

What I'm Reading
I finished Jeremiah and Lamentations and have moved on to Ezekiel.

I made a little more progress through Dracula this week, but not as much as I had hoped.

What I'm Listening To
The wind is blowing this morning and my wind chime is making it's pretty sound.   And I hear my hubby getting his morning cup of coffee. 

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
My hubby is currently fixing my dishwasher. It started leaking last year and I told him, no rush, he has a lot of projects to take care of and washing dishes for just the 3 of us is no problem. I've wondered what is more frugal, washing by hand or using a dishwasher. I've come to the conclusion that it really depends on the dishwasher.

Our dishwasher does not have a drying heat cycle. That alone can use a lot of electricity. It does heat the water up to a temperature to sanitize the dishes so of course that costs. My dishwasher also has a short wash cycle/water saving cycle. I think the difference between the two options, for me, is a... wash.. ha, ha.

Do you wash your dishes by hand or use a dishwasher? What do you think is more frugal?

Fitness and Health for the Week
I've had my FitBit for a little over 2 years now. I'm finding I have to charge it every 3 days now instead of 7 or 8 days. I'm thinking it's time for a new one. Due to my recent health issues, I've not been walking like I was, but I do like to push myself each day to get as many steps in as I can. And I'd like to get back to those 10,000 steps or more a day again.

I tried a new salad this week. It was a mixture of corn, sweet potatoes (cooked), mandarin oranges and small red beans. I liked it a lot. I would fill my bowl with lots of green leafy veggies and top with the salad mix. Salads don't have to be boring and routine. There are a lot of ways to jazz them up.

That is all for this week! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Menu Monday!

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a good start.

Today I'll be doing a little grocery shopping so yesterday I cooked up a pot of Asian Chicken Noodle Soup. I have soup for tonight and enough to pack for a couple meals for my hubby's work lunch. I'll freeze his portions for use later in the week.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

French Dip Sandwiches
Last week I had a couple things pop up that changed the menu plans so I have this on my menu again. You can find the recipe I'm going to try HERE.

BBQ Pork Chops
I'll probably make these in my IP (Instant Pot), but I also want to make a loaded potato casserole and cooking the potatoes in the IP is much easier. If I plan well, I can do both but if I'm going to have a busy day I'll probably start the pork chops in crockpot earlier in the day. I'll serve a big salad made with lots of fresh leafy greens.

Skillet Beef & Broccoli
I came across THIS recipe for beef & broccoli that looks fairly simple to make. I'll serve this with sliced fresh fruit.

That should do it for the week!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday in the Kitchen - Meals Preps for the Work Week

Meal Preps for the Work Week

No matter if it's for your work week, your husband's or lunches for the children doing a little prep work each week can save time. And of course, packing your own lunches is not only much healthier but also very frugal.

For more then 30 years I've packed lunch for my hubby to take to work. He works 4 – 10 hour shifts each week. Between the long days and commuting time he is gone for almost 12 hours. So he eats a lot of food at work. He spreads his meals times out between his breaks and lunch.

Over time I became more efficient in the process of preparing his food. Typically he takes to work with him: 2 wraps & chips, a main dish, salad, fruit and a bottle of homemade lemonade.

When his work weeks begins I assemble all his food. It takes me a little over and hour to put it altogether. Having it all ready to go saves me a lot of time and means no matter what I'm doing or what's going on packing the daily lunch is a quick process.

Here is what I do to get him ready for his work week...

I start the process by making 8 wraps at once. My hubby is pretty simplistic in what he likes to eat and does not mind repetition. So I make the same thing weekly.

I start by pulling out all the ingredients. I cut up a few tomatoes and slice some cabbage. I use cabbage in the wraps because it stays fresh for the whole week. Lettuce can sometimes start to deteriorate when it is sitting with cut up veggies such as tomatoes. 

I spread the tortillas with mustard (Dijon is his favorite), and then put lunch meat, tomatoes and cheese on them...

Then I drizzle a bit of ranch dressing on and top with the cabbage..

Finally I roll them up and place 2 of them in a container.

Next I move on to the salads. I put salad dressing in 2 of them and add the dressing to other 2 in the middle of the week, again I do this so the lettuce does not get soggy and fall apart. I put dressing and cut up veggies at the bottom of the container. Then I pile the salad greens on top. When he goes to eat it he shakes up the container to distribute the dressing and veggies. 

After the salads are made I pack 4 containers of chips. Typically it is a combo of regular chips and tortilla chips...

Finally there is the main dish. During the week as I cook dinner for us I will set aside enough for him for his work week and freeze it if needed. This week I had leftover chicken biscuit bake (a change on my menu due to a busy day). I divided what I had leftover into 2 containers. I already had 2 containers of black bean chicken chili in the freezer. 

Now the work week's food prep is complete!

It's nice not to have to pull all the ingredients out of the fridge, chop and cut up and prep the same things each work day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic..BUT Please download the picture to your computer first.. do not just directly copy and paste.. otherwise you are using my bandwidth..thank you! :).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
I'm pleased to report that the fire which caused us so much concern is now contained. They were able to get a fire line around it. It is currently at 250 acres and have a large crew and helicopter working on it daily. The fire on the other side of the river continues to burn and threaten more homes. We are praying for rain. It may be the only thing that stops the fires.

We have been getting back to normal here, or at least trying. It's difficult mentally to set aside the fact that you have a 250 acre fire going just 4 or so miles away from you. The sound of the helicopter flying back and forth from the river and the smoke are constant reminders that there is still an issue.

My hubby began working on chopping up the tree we had cut down a couple weeks ago. He did some of it by hand and then borrowed a neighbors log splitter to do the rest. Yesterday he was able to finish the cutting and got it all stacked in our wood shelter.  Should keep us warm and cozy this winter!

On My To-Do List
Today is grocery shopping day and then I have a few basic household chores on my list such as vacuuming, laundry, changing sheets. After that, if I have time,  I have some web work to do.

Projects I'm Working On
I sure have Christmas on my mind and wondering what, if any, homemade gifts I'll do this year. I always like making some of my gifts. Considering it's the middle of September, I should have time to get moving on any projects that I choose.

Do you make any of your own Christmas gifts? If so, what kinds of things have you made or are planning to make?

Today's Weather
The weather is cooling down and we have rain in the forecast coming on Sunday! This is fantastic news for the fires still burning in our area.

Today will be cooler and few more clouds.

High 72, Low 50

Fall is in the air! :)

The View from my Deck (or window)
You can still see the haziness of the smoke sitting on top of the mountains on the Oregon side of the river. 

What I'm Reading
I'm almost done with the book of Jeremiah in my Bible reading. I'm about half way through Dracula.

What I'm Listening To
Clocks ticking, cats scampering around my back porch and hubby getting his morning coffee.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I made a fast and simple air freshener for my bathroom. All that is needed is a small canning jar, baking soda and a few drops of essential or fragrance oil. 

I used a 4 oz jar, but any size will work. Add ¼ to a ½ cup of baking soda to the jar, and add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential or fragrance oil. Cover the top of the jar with some cloth (I cut a piece of scrap fabric a little larger then the the top of the jar for mine), put a canning ring on the jar over the fabric. Shake to distribute the oil. It should smell nicely right away.. :) Whenever you would like to freshen up a room, just give it a shake. 

Super easy and super frugal..

Fitness and Health for the Week
Same program continues, walk as much as I can, eat a clean diet with lots of fruits and veggies, take my vitamins and extra B12.

That is all for this week! Hope you are having a great week. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Menu Monday!

Hope you all are doing ok this Monday morning. So many things happening all over our country, fires, hurricanes, flooding. My heart is heavy with it all especially as I've dealt with a bit of the disasters as well.

It seemed to take me longer then usual to get my menu organized this week. My mind is on so many things, but I did put together my plans for the week.

I did not get chili made that I had on my menu last week. I'm going to make that today. When I made the black bean & spaghetti squash meal last week I cooked extra black beans for the chili. I have about 4oz of cream cheese in the fridge that needs to be used. So my plan is black bean chicken chili. I'll cook the chicken in my IP and shred it, add the black beans that I have and the cream cheese and then salsa and chili powder and cumin. I don't have a recipe, I'll just wing it. :) I'll serve this with chips & salsa and sliced honeydew melon.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

French Dip Sandwiches
These looked really good and easy to make (recipe HERE). I'll give the recipe a try. They would go good with chips and a salad.

Fish Sticks
I like Costco's fish sticks. Pretty sure they are the best I've tasted. They have them on sale this month so I'll be buying them when I go shopping. Fish sticks, tater tots, and broccoli will be our simple but tasty meal.

Grilled Chicken
With a few warm days in the forecast this week I figured at least one meal on the bbq would be good. I will marinate my boneless, skinless chicken before grilling. I also have almost a pound of shrimp in the freezer. I put some of them on skewers and grill as well. I plan to serve baked potatoes and coleslaw on the side.

That should do it for the week!