Barn Studio of Dance

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet and Sour Beef Over Rice: Crock-Pot Recipe

I really want to get into the habit of trying new recipes more often. I'm thinking that will be one of my New Year's Resolutions this coming year, so why not start gearing myself up for it now.

It's funny all of the cookbooks we have. Joe and I used to pick up a new cookbook almost everytime we went to Sam's Club while we were first living together so many years ago.

Those cookbooks have gone neglected lately since Food Network has gotten so popular and recipes are so readily available on the Internet.

Since I don't have a lot of free time since Gracie's arrival, it's difficult for me to find time to sit at the computer in the guest room to browse for recipes. So, while she's in her bouncy seat or her swing, I like to sit on the couch and flip through the pages of some of our cookbooks.

The recipe I want to share today is from the Rival Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Cuisine cookbook. I'm thinking about trying this recipe this week. I'm sure that I will be making some changes to it (since I almost always change something in a recipe), but for now, I'll post it as it appears in the book.

Sweet and Sour Beef Over Rice

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. margarine or butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 4-6 carrots diagonally sliced

Directions:

  • Cut beef into 1-inch cubes.
  • Mix together flour, salt, and pepper.
  • Dredge beef cubes in mixture.
  • In a skillet, heat margarine and olive oil and brown beef cubes.
  • Place browned beef in the Crock-Pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for carrots.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours or on High for 4-5 hours.
  • Add carrots and cook on Low 1 1/2 hours or on High for 30 minutes.
  • Serve over rice.
  • Serves 6.

I'll be linking this Crock-Pot recipe to Dining with Debbie's Crock Pot Wednesday.

I will also re-post MY version of this recipe after I make it (later this week), either here or at My Vintage Kitchen (my food/kitchen related blog), so be sure to check back!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: November 16th ~ My Week Without a Plan

After many weeks of posting menu plans that listed meals that we didn't get to the previous week, I decided to go without a menu plan this week to see what happens.

My OCD personality, is giving me a bit of stress when I don't stick to the plan as posted and I feel that I am re-posting the same meals week after week. I'm thinking that a couple of weeks of winging it, will help me to get back on track, take inventory of my freezer and pantry, decide what to stock up on for the next couple of months and also decide on some new recipes to try.

Today, I pulled a bunch of stuff from the freezer to thaw for meals, including the whole chicken that I've been planning to make the past few weeks but never got around to thawing. I'm thinking that I may be trying a new recipe with that chicken and also a
new recipe for some diced London Broil. I'll be sure to post them either here on this blog or at My Vintage Kitchen (my food/kitchen blog).

Also, today, I made
enchiladas using a different filling than I've been using. We were really pleased with the results! What a wonderful way to use up leftovers and make a some room in the freezer for the FREE turkey we earned by shopping at Giant for spending a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time. I don't remember the details, but buying baby formula and diapers was a big help in earning us that FREE turkey. We'll be picking it up this week!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disney's UP: $10 printable coupon

I read about this great deal on Thursday night. Sadly, I cannot give credit to the wonderful blogger that posted the information because I was trying to cram a month's worth of blog reading into just a few hours...midnight to 3:00 in the morning...need I say more?

At first, I wasn't going to blog about this, since I am usually the last to find out about great deals like this. But after asking my friend,
Lisa, if she printed out her coupon, she told me she didn't know about it. Lisa is way more on top of things in the coupon department, so I figured if she didn't know about this great deal, then maybe my readers don't know either.

Just in time for the holidays...a printable coupon for
$10 off Disney's UP DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack.

Be sure to act quick since it expires SOON. November 17th, I think. Also, shop around....I saw this at Target today for $26 and some change (can't remember exactly-I just knew it was more than I wanted to pay even after the coupon). Shopping at Walmart later, I paid $9.99 for it after the coupon!

Don't forget, you can print this 2 times per computer. Buy one for a gift and keep the other for yourself!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fridays Favorite Five: November 13th

It's been a quiet week around here as far as exciting things to post about. But not quiet enough for me to find time to blog (posting, reading, commenting). Grace has been keeping me super-busy! I want to thank everyone for stopping by this week and last week.

Here's my Favorite Five for this week:

  1. Chinese Take Out. Saturday was my birthday and as a rare treat, Joe picked up some Chinese food on his way home from work! No cooking, yummy food and easy clean-up! Perfect!
  2. Clearance Racks. On Monday, we ran some errands and I found a sweet little dress for Grace at Target. It was on clearance for 1/2 off! I posted a picture of it on Wednesday if you want to take a look. She's going to wear it for her first Turkey Day!
  3. Grace's new bath tub. She was getting too big for her plastic tub, so we bought her a new tub on Monday...again, at Target. It's a big, pink duck and she loves it! It's all soft-sided (kind of like a raft...you blow it up). She splashes and plays like crazy in it!
  4. FREE Chicken. A while ago, Chick-fila had a promotion to sign up for free chicken coupons. We finally got around to using them on Monday while we were running our errands. YUM!
  5. Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Milk Shakes. I was so excited to see that Chick-Fila had these already. They are a seasonal item and I thought that it would be too early for them to be selling them since it's not even Thanksgiving yet. They are super-yummy with bits of chocolate and crushed up candy canes. Mmmm!


Check out Susanne's blog, Living to Tell the Story, to read what other people loved about their week.

Frugal Friday: Lodge Cast Iron - Enamel Cookware



Today is Frugal Friday over at Life As Mom. Be sure to check it out for great money-saving ideas!


Even before the Food Network days, I've loved all stuff kitchen related: gadgets, dishes, cookware, etc.

When we lived in our apartment, I kept promising myself that when we finally bought a house, I would buy myself a fancy Le Crueset Dutch Oven. I could have bought one sooner, but I didn't want to waste it on that awful apartment kitchen.

So, we finally found and bought a house and I quit my job since it was too far to commute. We made the decision that I wouldn't return to working and we'd start a family. Well, with the lost income, I couldn't bring myself to keeping the promise I made to myself. Have you seen the prices of those things?

Even though I couldn't rationalize the cost, I still wanted one. I really, really wanted one. Okay, I wanted an entire set, but would settle for one.

One day, I was in Walmart. It was after Christmas and a lot of their stuff was marked down. Not just holiday stuff.

That's when I saw these:


(Sorry for the bad photo.)

They are made by Lodge. They are enamel-coated, cast iron dutch ovens. They are super-heavy and look really nice. And they are RED!

They were perfect and marked down from their regular price! I really wanted the larger one (6 quarts), but sadly, I had to leave Walmart that day without them. We just didn't have the money for them that day, since it was so soon after the holidays. We had to stick with just the neccessary items on our shopping list that day.

I went home and just knew that they wouldn't be there by the time we had the extra cash. But after a couple of trips to Walmart (again for just neccessities), we finally had some extra money. I happily put the large one (6 quarts) into our shopping cart!

A few weeks later, they still had the smaller one (3 quarts) and it was still marked down and I just had to have it!

Now, I don't remember the actual price I paid for each of these, but I do know that the the cost of both of them if they weren't on clearance wasn't even near the price of one of the actual Le Creuset pots.

Williams-Sonoma currently has a 5.5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven ON SALE for $230....that's the SALE PRICE!!! It's regularly $310.

At Walmart, you can get a 6 quart Lodge Color Enamel dutch oven for $65.97. Like I said, I was lucky enough to get this size and the smaller size (3 quart) on a clearance sale, but even at the regular price, it's a steal!

And since I've never cooked in a real Le Creuset pot, I have no idea if it's the same or not, but I don't think I am missing anything since I love to use my Lodge pots.

They are really great at keeping food warm. I can start a soup or stew early in the day and when it's done cooking the pot keeps it warm until dinner time! And they clean up easily too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REDnesday: November, 11th



I'm a little late for REDnesday, but didn't want to wait for next week to tell you all about the adorable dress I bought for Grace!

On Monday, I spotted this sweet little dress on a clearance rack at Target. It was the only one of it's kind and I was super lucky that it was Grace's size! Love the red courdiroy and the 1/2 off price tag!



This will be perfect for Grace to wear on her first Turkey Day, don't you think?

To read about more RED stuff, head over to REDnesday hosted by Sue at It's a Very Cherry World!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 9th.

Last week, I did really well following my menu plan. I never did get around to thawing the whole chicken for the crock pot, so that will get rolled over into this week's plan.



  • Monday: Fried Spaghetti (see below)
  • Tuesday: Bacon, Eggs, Fried Potatoes and Toast
  • Wednesday: Pork & Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
  • Thursday: Salmon, Rice, Broccoli
  • Friday: Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot
  • Saturday: Pork Chops, Mac n Cheese, Green Beans
  • Sunday: Leftovers


Leftover Spaghetti Tip:

A great way to serve leftover spaghetti is to fry it. Especially, when there isn't a lot of leftover sauce. When we have spaghetti (with meat sauce or plain sauce) for dinner and there is some left, I pack away the leftovers in the same container. Usually by the next day, the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Rather then opening another container of sauce (jarred or from the freezer) I will put the leftovers into a frying pan and fry it up until it's heated through. I like it to go a little longer than that and let some of the noodles get a little crispy!


My parents used to do this all the time when I was a kid and it's especially good with meat sauce. But the plain sauce works too! When my husband fries the spaghetti, he adds butter to the pan. I don't think that the butter is needed and prefer it without.


Free Sample:

Also, today, I want to share a free sample link that I found in my weekly email from MySavings.com. Click the icon below to sign up for your free sample.
Dunkin' Donuts. Dunkin' keeps me blogging. Try Dunkin' Donuts Coffee For Free. Get a Sample

I'm not a coffee drinker myself, and hubby doesn't drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee, but the sample could make a nice addition to a small gift since the holidays are coming!


I'll be sharing this post with the following blog carnivals this week:














Friday, November 6, 2009

Frugal Friday: Bissell Steam Mop - $10 Rebate

Now that Grace is almost ready to crawl (where did the time go?) we're concerened that our floors aren't quite clean enough.

The other morning before Joe left for work, he saw a commercial for the Bissell Steam Mop Deluxe. Later that day, I saw the same commercial. We discussed it over dinner that night and we really think it's something that would get a lot of use in our home. The floors through out our home are all hardwood, with the kitchen and bathroom being an exception (tile in bathroom, linolium in kitchen).

Later that night, while searching the Internet for additional information on the steam mop, I came across a $10 rebate offer from Bissell to make it an even better FRUGAL deal!

Purchases must be made between 10/19/09 and 12/31/09; postmarked by 1/15/10.

For more frugal tips and ideas, be sure to check out Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friday's Fave Five: November 6th.

I needed to skip last week's Fave Five partly because it's been taking me a while to get back into the swing of things after the baby and I were sick and partly because after being stuck in the house for a week and a half, I didn't have anything to post about. It was a really quiet week!

I'm really happy to be posting my Friday's Fave Five this week, hoping things will get back to normal again soon!



  1. We're better! Swine flu has left our house! Thank goodness! And it left us just in time for Halloween! Aside from Grace being a bit clingy lately, we're both feeling much better!

  2. Blog Friends. I'm really enjoying blogging. I just wish I could find more time to devote to it. In just the few months that I've been doing this, I've gained some new friends and it makes me very happy!

  3. Family Time. Tonight, Joe actually got home from work while it was still light out. It's been his habit the past couple of weeks to take the dog for a walk as soon as he gets home. When it's dark, the baby and I can't go since the field we walk is full of ground hog holes. So, either the baby and I walk Remmy while it's light out or Joe walks her when it's dark. Tonight was a great treat for all of us to go together. Grace didn't take her eyes off her Daddy the entire walk! He said she had a huge smile on her face the whole time! (I couldn't see her smile since I was carrying her in her Snugli with her back to my chest.)

  4. Loving the cool weather. I love autumn. The cool weather is so much nicer than the hot, sweaty summer. At night, while I watch TV, I am often snuggled on the recliner with both the baby and the dog on my lap. Soon, it will be time to have a fire burning in the fireplace and Remmy will constantly be whining for me to snuggle with her next to the fire.

  5. Grace's first Halloween. I am so thankful that we were both over the Swine Flu in time for Halloween. I would have been really bummed if we were stuck home for the baby's first Halloween! It was a really great day and was so nice to finally get out of the house for something other than a doctor's appointment! We dressed her up and took her to my parents' house for a little Halloween party and then took her to see her aunt and uncle for a little visit. Wednesday, I posted pictures of her in her Lady Bug costume, you can see them here. I also took some pictures of her in a little black cat costume that someone handed down to me. Isn't she so cute?!

    To read more about what made others happy this week, check out Friday's Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

REDnesday, November 4th.


Today, over at It's a Very Cherry World, it's REDnesday!

I've been wanting to post to Rednesday for a few weeks now, and I honestly thought that my first Rednesday post would be on my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen, since I have collected a bunch of red items (some vintage, some new) to decorate my kitchen. But since there is still only primer on the walls and the kitchen is a wreck, I thought I'd share my favorite red item with you today:






My favorite red item is my baby, Grace, dressed in her ladybug Halloween costume!

Isn't she cute?! I had a heck of a time getting a good picture of her. My camera is super slow and she doesn't sit still for very long!

Not only is this my first post to Rednesday, it's also my first post to include a picture! I'm not much of a photographer, so you'll have to excuse the bad photos! But you have to admit, the model is super cute!

I really love the way her costume turned out!

  • The black onesie was purchased from Babies R Us.
  • Her black tights were purchased from Kohl's.
  • Her beanie and red peony flower clip were ordered from Lemon Drop Baby Boutique's Etsy Shop.
  • Her ladybug tutu was ordered from Pampered Princess Boutique's Etsy Shop.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 2nd

Wow! How odd it feels to type "November"~ don't ya think? This year has gone by so fast...too fast!

Last week, I did much better in following the meal plan. I still strayed a bit due to some lingering chaos from being sick for a week and a half. But we avoided take-out and finished up most of the leftovers in the fridge.

This week, I am in a cooking mood. At least at this very moment. Last time I claimed to be in a cooking mood, I got sick and didn't manage to follow my menu plan at all! Hoping things go as planned this week!

  • Monday: Meat Loaf, sour cream mashed potatoes, brown sugar-glazed carrots and onions.
  • Tuesday: Freezer Night. (Pediatrician appointment near dinner time.)
  • Wednesday: Veggie Pizza.
  • Thursday: Leftover Night.
  • Friday: Spaghetti with Meatballs and Kielbasa.
  • Saturday: My Birthday...undecided about dinner...maybe some Chinese take-out.
  • Sunday: Crock Pot Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole.

Be sure to check out my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen. I'll be posting some recipes there this week. Look for my recipe for meatloaf, veggie pizza, & scalloped potatoes. Also, I may be trying a new recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and if I do, I'll post the recipe after I make it.

I'll also be sharing my recipe for Fudge. It's really easy and makes a great gift during the holidays...or whenever!

For more menu planning inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday hosted each week by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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