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Friday, July 27, 2012

Hamburger Sausage Gravy and Butterflies?

We have butterflies!  My mom purchased a butterfly net and house for Jon for one of his gifts (I think Christmas).  There was a card inside to send for some butterfly larvae.  We just got them not too long ago (they had a short supply) and here is what we saw today!  When we woke up, nothing much was going on.  But when we went to look around lunchtime, this is what we saw!!!

 Here is an escapee.  I tried to get a better picture for my mom and one flew out!  I was shocked since the instructions said it'd be a day or so before it could fly. How exciting!  We did however make sure to put him right back.

 In other news, my friend Kala told me about using hamburger for gravy and then uses spices to make it taste more like sausage.  I'm game to try anything, especially since we more often have hamburger on hand than sausage.  I found a recipe online, forgot an ingredient, changed up something else and it ended up SO good!  Recipe to follow below.  My sons loved this as did I.  This will definitely be put on our regular meal rotation.

Hamburger Sausage Gravy
1 pound hamburger (or turkey if that's what you like)
1/2 heaping teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup (or so) of flour

1. Cook hamburger on stove till no longer pink.  About half way through I added in the spices.  Do NOT drain.

2. Add in 1/4 cup or so of flour and coat the burger and cook for about a minute on medium heat stirring constantly.

3. Add in milk (maybe 2-3 cups?) till it just covers the meat.  Keep heating on medium stirring pretty constant till it thickens.  You can add more milk if you'd like.  I also add less and add if I have to. 

4. Serve on hashbrowns, biscuits or whatever you like.

5. To give it that extra special kick/flavor, my mother-in-law told me about adding a bit of chicken bullion.  It really does enhance the flavor!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Freezer Burritos

I was reminded by my sister-in-law that we needed to start making these burritos again to make life a bit easier.  In the past we'd layer the ingredients.  I saw a video on youtube where a mom mixed all the ingredients together, then filled the burritos.  That's what we did with these.  We made 24 freezer burritos (large and stuffed) for only $15.29 which comes out to about $.64 each.  If you do not use meat and make your own beans, it would be even cheaper.  Also, if you use cheaper rice you'll save money. We're very particular to using basmati or jasmine rice.  These are so packed that they will feed one adult or two younger children per burrito.  Add a nice salad and you've got a pretty healthy meal!

Ingredient Cost:
1 can tomatoes and chilies $.69
1/2 large package frozen chicken breasts $4
2 cans black beans $1.38
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice $.75
chicken bullion and spices were all under $1.00
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese $4.00
1 cup salsa $.50
3 packages of burrito sized shells $3.00
Total for 24 burritos is $15.29

Here's how we made ours.

1. Place chicken, diced tomatoes and chilis, 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, garlic powder and cumin in crockpot and cook on high or low till chicken is cooked through.

2. Shred chicken and put back in crockpot with juices.  This is when we put the chicken in a container in the fridge overnight so all our ingredients are cool the next morning.

3. When making burritos, purchase or make the shells, then warm them a bit so they are easy to fold.  I put 8 at a time spaced out (and stacked) on a plate and microwave till just warm.

4. Mix cooked rice, cooked chicken, drained beans, salsa and cheese all in one big bowl.

5. Next, fill your burritos, fold up and flash freeze.

6. Once burritos are flash frozen, put them in a freezer bag/container and freeze till ready to use.

7. Microwave till the buritoes are cooked through or place them in your oven (I've never done this so I don't know what settings or for how long).

A couple things to note.

1. the cheese and salsa help everything come together.  If you don't use them, they won't be as yummy and gooey.

2. These are much healthier than anything you can get from taco bell.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coconut Lemon Bars - Mmm!

I modified a couple online recipes today and came up with this.  I think next time I'll only use 1/4 cup coconut and see how I like it then.  Still the flavor is so good that Matt even asked for more.  Yeah!  Oh and I can't find a cord to upload my picture so I'll have to get that soon.  Sorry.

Oatmeal Crust
1 cup uncooked rolled oat 
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar 
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted 
pinch of sea salt

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2 Spread oats in a large shallow pan and bake for 10 minutes to toast. 
3 Toss with sugar, nuts, salt and melted butter. 
4 Press on bottom of 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

After crust has come out of the oven and is cooling, prepare the filling.

Lemon coconut filling ingredients:
4 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (finely shredded)

1. Put the eggs in the food processor (no need to wash the bowl) and pulse several times.  
2. Add the honey, maple syrup, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk.  Pulse several times until thoroughly combined.   Pour in the coconut and mix with a spoon. 
3. Pour the lemon mixture over the  crust Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the center of the lemon bars are set.  Let cool completely then cut into squares approximately 2 x 2 inches each.  Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Family Staycation

The above picture is Joshua eating a burger daddy made complete with a homemade bun and homemade ketchup.  It was made baby size.

That's right, instead of having a summer family vacation this year, we stayed home.  Hubby took one week off of work and we all just stayed here and enjoyed each other.  We had plans to go to a hotel for 2 days but cancelled those plans and we are so glad we did.  I asked hubby how his vacation was and he said it ranked up at the top.  When I asked him why, he said it was because we were all together, we enjoyed each others company and we had good food.  The good food was thanks to him.  It was SO hot and humid and this pregnant lady was so tired.  Hubby grilled like there was no tomorrow and it was all SO good!

So, in case you're all down about not having the funds to go anywhere, keep this post in mind.  We had a fabulous time here all together and spent $100 or less extra out of normal family expenses to have a staycation.  We rented a few redbox movies, hubby and I went out to breakfast alone a couple times and we made most of our food here at home.  We even had a fun ice cream night.  The kids played in the sprinkler and we got our kicks out of watching them.  My daughter was at my mom's house for a couple of those days and we ended up taking the boys to a local family festival full with carnival rides. It was wonderful!  

Enjoy your summer!