Barn Studio of Dance

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 2012 ~ Week of November 19th


Guess what!  Last week's menu plan went as planned last week!  I know!  I can hardly believe it myself!  Granted, I only planned 4 meals for the week, but all 4 meals were prepared and served.  Leftovers filled in the other three days of the week, along with a bit pot of Chicken 'n' Dumplings.

Today, I'm planning on cleaning and organizing the kitchen.  I started a bit yesterday, but didn't get as much done as I had planned, since Grace was tearing things apart in the next room.

Meals this week will be easy, so I can keep on top of keeping the kitchen cleaned up.  I don't want to be up all night cleaning the kitchen on Wednesday night.  Plus, I want to get the rest of the house ready for Friday.  Since we don't participate in the Black Friday festivities, we figure we'll spend the day getting into the holiday spirit by decorating the house!  Grace is already getting very excited about putting up our many Christmas trees!  Yep, you read that correctly.  We put up 4 Christmas trees in our house!  Check back next week to see what I'm talking about.


Monday:  


Breakfast for Dinner.  



Tuesday:  

Semi-homemade Pizza 



Wednesday:  


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce 



Thursday:  

Thanksgiving Dinner 


Friday:  

Leftovers




Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Soup's On! Sunday Link Party ~ Week 3


Good morning, Friends!

I'm so sorry I am late with this week's Soup's On!  Are you all ready with your favorite soup recipes?

Again this week, I didn't get the chance to prepare a new soup recipe.  We had a fridge full of leftovers to use up and I wanted to avoid the grocery store until we had the chance to use what we had.  Early in the week, we enjoyed a nice pot of Chicken Noodle Soup that my brother sent over for my birthday.  That was super delicious!

Also in the soup category, I made a big pot of Chicken 'n' Dumplings for dinner last week.  Mmm!  So good!  Can't wait to make Turkey 'n' Dumplings next week!



*Soup's On! Sunday Link Party will begin every Sunday at 12:01am and will close on Wednesday evenings.

There are just a few simple rules, please:



  • Link to your recipe post and not your home page. It just makes it easier to find your recipe!
  • No Giveaways Please!
  • Provide a link back to this Soup's On! Sunday post somewhere within your post.
  • Leave a comment on this post after linking up. Let me know what you shared this week or simply say "hello"!
  • Check out some of the other recipes shared here this week!
  • Enjoy!   



Friday, November 16, 2012

California Wine Club Review and Giveaway

When Joe and I dated, instead of hitting a local chain restaurant on date night, we would prepare special dinners at his home on the weekends.  We would watch the cooking channel on TV, make a shopping list and head out to pick up what we needed to prepare our meal.

Since he didn't have a much in the way of cooking utensils, we would hit the mall first and pick up whatever kitchen gadget we needed.  Next up would be the grocery store always followed up by a trip to the liquor store (here in Pennsylvania, we can't buy alcohol at the grocery store) for a nice bottle of wine.

At the time, I preferred white or blush wines, so I usually played it safe with a White Zinfandel.  Now, I tend to prefer the bolder flavors of red wines.  I'm not going to pretend that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to wine and throw around a bunch of wine tasting terms.  I'll fully admit that I've purchased a bottle of wine based on the pretty label, rather than based on any research done beforehand.

As our schedules became busier, our weekend trips to the Wine & Spirits Shoppe were spaced further and further apart.  Instead of each weekend, it became more of a special occasion thing.  Not because we didn't enjoy a nice bottle of wine with dinner anymore.  Our schedules just didn't allow us to fit a special trip to buy wine into our weekly errands anymore.

Now, with a child, our time is even more limited.  Sadly, a nice bottle of wine is skipped even on special occasions because we just can't manage to find the time to make it to the liquor store before closing time.

Recently, I learned about California Wine Club.  When you're a member of California Wine Club, you can have your wine shipped directly to your home!  How convenient is that?  No matter your taste or budget, California Wine Club can accommodate your wine needs with four wine of the month clubs to choose from! Making it easy to stock your own wine collection or send a gift to a friend, relative or colleague.

For more information about California Wine Club's subscription plans, or to find out how the company got started, check out their website at www.cawineclub.com.

Also, look for them on the web:





California Wine Club is also offering a bunch of prizes in their Blogger Palooza Giveaway

Prizes include:


  • One of four, Three Month Wine Club memberships (A $150 value you can give as a gift, or keep for yourself)
  • One of 50 handy Two Bottle Wine Totes ($25 value)
  • One of 50 Red Tulip Music wine country CD's ($15 value)


Disclosure:

  • This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Fall Fun!

We spent a few hours working in the yard on Saturday.  Well, Joe worked in the yard while Grace played and I took some pictures!  

In a week or two, we'll have to put away some of her outside toys, so it was great to let her enjoy some time in her sandbox.


Grace LOVES tractors!  Any chance she gets she climbs up onto our beat up mower and pretends to drive! She likes to sneak over to "drive" the neighbor's tractor, too!  


By the end of the day, this leaf pile was as tall as Grace!  She had a blast running and diving into the pile.  Sadly, I didn't have the camera outside then, but am happy I captured a couple of pictures of her playing in the leaves!  


Probably the only thing she liked more than jumping in the leaves was standing in front of the leaf blower!  I finally had to take her inside so Joe could finish cleaning up the yard.  


I'm not sure how many more beautiful days we'll have like this, but we're going to enjoy them while we can!


Don't forget to enter our current giveaways! (Links are at the top of the page, below the header!)

Also, please join us for Soup's On! Our weekly link party where you can share your favorite soup, stew or chili recipes every Sunday (link goes live on Sunday and remains open until Wednesday)!

This post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Cheese Please Braided Spaghetti Bread

Oh, my goodness!  Dinner tonight was soooo good!  I wanted to rush right over to the laptop so I could quick share with y'all how wonderfully delicious our dinner turned out, but I needed a shower, had to feed the dog, load the dishwasher and all that other "mom stuff".

Of course, as I finally get to sit down to type, the day is almost over.  Which, I guess is okay since I probably won't officially share this post here until sometime next week.

Many months ago, after seeing me post about Fried Spaghetti, my friend Nicole told me about this recipe.  She told me that she made it and about how amazing it turned out!  I knew this would be a great way to use up some leftover spaghetti!  I don't know about you, but when we have leftover pasta and meat sauce, I usually just dump them both into the same bowl and pop it into the fridge.




While the original recipe instructs you to cook some pasta, measure out some sauce, etc.  I just measured out 2 cups of leftovers!  Perfect use for that small bowl of leftover pasta that normally wouldn't be enough for another meal.

For some reason, all recipes that involves anything having to do with dough really intimidates me.  Potpies, dumplings, pizza.  If it didn't involve a can of biscuit dough, I usually just skipped it.  While this recipe is a far cry from homemade bread dough, I still felt unsure about attempting to make it.  Which most likely accounts for it taking me this long to get around to finally preparing this recipe!

As always, I adapted the recipe.  The original recipe includes cheese which I left out.  People that know me in real life will probably assume that I omitted the cheese on purpose since I'm not a huge fan.  But no.  I loved the idea of mozzarella cheese, I just didn't think we had any in the fridge.  Turns out, I didn't look hard enough!

Also, the original recipe called for parsley flakes.  When it came time to add those, laziness caused me to skip the trip to the basement pantry to retrieve my spice jar.  Instead, I topped with some Italian Seasoning and some crushed red pepper flakes!  Mmm!  Perfect!



The recipe below reflects how this recipe turned out tonight, sans cheese.






Braided Spaghetti Bread (no cheese)

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf Rhode's frozen bread dough, thawed to room temperature
  • 2 cups leftover spaghetti with meat sauce
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Italian Seasoning, to taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Lightly spray work surface with cooking spray.
  2. Roll thawed dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap or dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. While dough is resting, reheat leftover pasta and sauce in microwave.
  5. if desired, run a knife through the pasta a couple times.
  6. Spread pasta and sauce mixture in a strip down the middle of the dough.
  7. With a knife, make cuts about 1 1/2 inches wide (keeping about 1/2 inch away from pasta) into the dough on both sides of the pasta.
  8. Fold the dough over the top and bottom of the rectangle, then continue braiding the stips left over right, right over left.
  9. Spray large baking pan with cooking spray (I lined my pan with foil, sprayed with cooking spray, for easy clean up)
  10. Carefully, move braid to the pan and brush top and sides with egg white.
  11. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.
  12. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
The result?  Amazing!  Joe and I really had to show some self control to keep ourselves from devouring the entire loaf!

We still had a bit more leftover spaghetti in the fridge, so I thawed another loaf of bread dough and made this again over the weekend.  I'll share those results, soon!

A lot of times when we try a new recipe, we'll discuss over dinner how we could make it in the future.  I was thinking added pepperoni would be good, while Joe thought adding some sliced hot sausage would be good.  Leftover meatballs chopped up would be excellent, too!  

I'm thinking this might be the perfect food to serve the guys while they're watching some football!  Or as an appetizer for a dinner party.  Even as an alternative to pizza night!

No matter what the occasion, I know we'll be making many times in the next few months!  I'm already trying to decide when our next pasta night will be...just so I can use the leftovers!

Don't forget to enter our current giveaways!  (Links are at the top of the page, below the header!)

Also, please join us for Soup's On!  Our weekly link party where you can share your favorite soup, stew or chili recipes every Sunday (link goes live on Sunday and remains open until Wednesday)!


This recipe has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:


Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 2012 ~ Week of November 12th


Last week, we had a couple of changes to the menu plan.  Resulting in 2 new recipes. Crock Pot Chicken & Peppers (link below) and Braided Spaghetti Bread (recipe will post this week).  Both were a huge success.  Definite keepers!

This week is going to be Chicken Week.  Last week, I cooked up a lot of chicken and chopped and froze for future meals.  I originally planned on using it a few weeks from now, but since I need to work on a shopping list for Thanksgiving, I want to avoid grocery shopping for this week.  We have plenty to choose from between the pantry and freezer for this week.

photo credit: Home Crafts & the Old Ways

Chicken Noodle Soup

Over the weekend, my brother sent over a big bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup for my birthday.  (Thanks, Tom and Jen!) Since our meals were already planned out for the weekend, we didn't get a chance to enjoy it.  Today is the perfect day for this since I'll be catching up on laundry and other chores today and will appreciate not having to cook tonight!  




I'm really looking forward to preparing this simple, frugal meal again.  Grace and I have a play date this week, this easy meal will be a snap to throw together while she (hopefully) naps or relaxes on the sofa! 




Another easy meal since I have homemade broth and diced chicken already set aside for this recipe!  I'll just have to find the time to get some veggies chopped between my other chores today.  




We still have a bit of this leftover, (no complaints here!) so we'll be finishing it up one night this week.




I bought a spaghetti squash a while back and really need to use it before it's too late!  I originally planned to try a new recipe with it, but we just love this one so much! 



Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.



Also, please check out and link to Soup's On!  Our Sunday linky party featuring soups, stews and chilis!  Linky will be open until Wednesday!  









Sunday, November 11, 2012

Soup's On! Sunday Link Party ~ Week 2


Last week's Soup's On! was a great success!  Thanks so much to everyone that took the time to stop by for a visit and of course for sharing your great recipes!

While I made sure that I visited each one of your recipe posts, I didn't get a chance to leave a comment for all of you.  I apologize!  Between a very demanding 3 year old and a slow computer, commenting took longer than it normally should.  I will do better this week!

Shockingly, I didn't prepare soup this week.  In fact, I didn't cook much at all this week so I don't have a recipe of my own to share.  Instead, I thought I'd share a photo my aunt sent me earlier today.


Mmmm!  Doesn't that look delicious?  I wish I could eat a bowl right now!

And how about that gorgeous gingham bowl?  I am in love!

To find out more about this Chicken Vermicelli Soup, click on over to my aunt's webpage and scroll down in the comments to see just what makes up this wonderful soup!  While you're there, check out some of her other photos!  Home Crafts & The Old Ways is filled with all sorts of amazing photos of her projects and property she calls home!


*Soup's On! Sunday Link Party will begin every Sunday at 12:01am and will close on Wednesday evenings.

There are just a few simple rules, please:


  • Link to your recipe post and not your home page. It just makes it easier to find your recipe!
  • No Giveaways Please!
  • Provide a link back to this Soup's On! Sunday post somewhere within your post.
  • Leave a comment on this post after linking up. Let me know what you shared this week or simply say "hello"!
  • Check out some of the other recipes shared here this week!
  • Enjoy!  



Friday, November 9, 2012

Giveaway ~ Enter to win a Campbell's Soup Season Kit!

You all must know by now that I love soup!  During the winter months, we eat soup several times a week.  Sometimes, I make a big pot of one of our favorites and eat it all week.  Sometimes, I make a couple soups and alternate throughout the week.  I try to keep a few containers of homemade broth in the freezer at all times to make it easier to throw together a quick pot of soup.

Sometimes though, life gets in the way and I'm caught without a plan for dinner.  Or I have a plan but never got around to chopping the veggies or defrosting the meat or any of the other prep work that goes into making a big pot of soup.

That's why I'm so glad there is canned soup to fall back on during those busier weeks.  Yes, I know, canned soup isn't a new concept but there are only a couple of brands I trust when it comes to replacing my homemade soups!  Campbell's is at the top of the list in my book!

While most known and trusted for their more traditional soups like condensed Chicken Noodle Soup or Tomato Soup, there so many other flavors available.  Just in time for soup season, Campbell's has stepped up their game and introduced a new variety of products.  Check out the Campbell's website for more product information.



My family had the opportunity to sample a some of the new soup flavors after I received a Soup Season Kit from Campbell's and were very impressed!

  • My favorite is the NEW!  Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Kickin' Crab & Sweet Corn Chowder with Flame Roasted Onions & Cayenne Pepper!  

  • Joe really enjoyed the Campbell's Chunky Jammin' Jerk Chicken with Rice & Beans Soup!  



Campbell's has also given me the opportunity to giveaway a Soup Season Kit (similar to the one shown above) to one of the Under the Big Oak Tree readers!  Perfect for helping stock your pantry for the cold winter months!

Just follow the directions on the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:


  • Thank you, Campbell's for providing me with a free product, not only for myself, but for one of our lucky readers! All opinions in this post are both honest and my own. Individual results/experiences may vary.   


Giveaway ~ Enter to win a V8 Juice Kit

With so many unhealthy snacks and juices on the market, I struggle to find the perfect drink options for my family.  We all have our favorite go-to drinks that we can't seem to get through the day without, but I do try to incorporate healthier options into our daily routines.

When a representative from V8 let me know about some new line of juices, I was super excited to give them a try!  The day our V8 Juice Kit arrived, Grace was really excited to see the box.  She understands that most of the Fed Ex or UPS deliveries are items for me or Joe, but she suspected that there might be some bubble wrap in there and was more than willing to lend some help in tearing it open!



That's when she saw the juice boxes!  The bright colors and silly dinosaurs was all she needed to see to know that those items were hers!  She couldn't wait to try one!  Since it was time for her afternoon snack, I had no problem letting her choose which flavor she wanted to try first!  Grace picked the berry flavor and sat down and enjoyed sipping it between bites of banana!

While V8 is more widely known, at least in my opinion, for their canned vegetable drink (now available in bottles), they are a brand I trust and find comfort in serving to my family.

In addition to the new juice boxes, V8 has also introduced new flavors of their vegetable juice.  Joe was pretty pleased with the NEW V8 Original with a hint of Black Pepper.  He said since he always adds pepper to his V8 drink anyway!  Perfect for him to pack with his lunch and not have to skip on the pepper while on the road!

The only variety we haven't tried in the kit shown above, is the V8 Original with hint of Lime.  I plan on using that for cooking!  I'm thinking something Mexican that calls for both tomato flavors and a splash of lime juice!  I'm sure it will work perfectly!

You can enter for your chance to win a V8 Juice Kit (similar to the one shown above) by following the directions on the rafflecopter form below!  (Please wait for rafflecopter form to post before entering)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer:


  • Thank you, V8 for providing me with a free product, not only for myself, but for one of our lucky readers! All opinions in this post are both honest and my own. Individual results/experiences may vary.   


Giveaway ~ Enter to win a Melissa & Doug Trunki Suitcase

Joe and I love toys and can spend hours browsing the toy section of the department stores!  We often pick out toys for Grace that we want to play with too!  Melissa & Doug toys always top our favorites list!

Earlier this week, I told you all about the Melissa and Doug 20 Days of Terrific Twenty Giveaway.  Where they are giving away great items from the Terrific Twenty list to their facebook fans!

In addition to that fabulous promotion, Melissa & Doug is giving me the opportunity to giveaway an item from their Terrific Twenty list!  It was hard to choose just one item from such a great list of toys!



Finally, after a lot of thought and consideration, I thought that the Melissa & Doug Trunki Suitcase would be a fun prize to giveaway!  Perfect for your favorite kiddo to pack their clothes (or toys) for a holiday trip to Grandma's house!  Winner can select which Trunki they'd prefer!

Sounds great, right?!  For your chance to win, just follow the directions on the rafflecopter form below!
(Please wait for the rafflecopter form to post before entering)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:


  • Thank you, Melissa & Doug for providing me with a free product, not only for myself, but for one of our lucky readers! All opinions in this post are both honest and my own. Individual results/experiences may vary.   


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken & Peppers


Today's recipe has been adapted from a recipe I found on a Facebook recipe group for mom's in my area.  Many times a week, Tracy posts wonderful photos of meals she prepares for her family.  As soon as she posted her recipe for Crock Pot Chicken & Peppers, I knew right away I had to give it a try.  

Tracy's recipe is super-easy ~ using 6 boneless chicken breast, chopped green peppers, canned sauce and diced tomatoes (packed with basil, garlic and oregano).  I made changes based on the chicken available in my fridge and the veggies in my bin that needed to be used.  I also added some Italian Seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes to add a little zing!  



Crock Pot Chicken & Peppers

Ingredients
  • 3 bone-in, spiit chicken breast, skin removed
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 29 oz. can tomato sauce*
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic & oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 box rigatoni pasta
Cooking Directions
  1. Place chicken in crock pot, and cover with remaining ingredients (except pasta).
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours*.
  3. Remove chicken and place in a bowl, allowing to cool slightly.
  4. When cool enough to handle, remove bones from chicken.
  5. Add meat back to sauce, stir to combine.
  6. Allow the chicken and peppers to cook on low while preparing pasta according to package directions on the stove.
  7. Pour cooked and drained pasta into a serving bowl and top with the Chicken and Peppers Sauce.
  8. Enjoy!

*Notes:

  • The original recipe called for Contandina Sauce and DelMonte diced tomatoes.  
  • Since I used bone-in chicken, I wanted to remove the chicken before it started to fall off the bones so there weren't any stray bones in the sauce.  At about the 6 1/2 hour mark, I removed the chicken from the sauce and placed it in a large bowl and allowed to cool for a bit.  Then followed the remaining steps of the recipe.  
I loved this meal and plan to keep it in mind next time chicken is on sale!  So easy and so flavorful!  I may have to make this the next time we have company for dinner!


Don't forget to come back on Sunday and bring your best soup recipes for Week 2 of Soup's On!



Last week's party was a huge success with a very delicious grouping of soup recipes!  Please stop by and show your support for week 2!  The party will go live at 12:01am on Sunday!  



This recipe post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thanks ~ Day 7


Today is my birthday, so of course I am thankful that I am alive.  I'm thankful for my parents who met, fell in love and started a family oh so many years ago.

I'm also thankful for Facebook.  Because of that social network (and the little birthday reminder in the sidebar of all of my family and friends) the birthday wishes kept rolling in all day making me feel so very special and so very loved!

Thank you again, to everyone that took the time to think of me on my special day!

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

I'm sure you've heard me mention before how much we love Melissa & Doug toys at our house.  Santa is always sure to put Melissa & Doug toys under the tree every year since Grace's first Christmas.  In fact, out of all of the many toys this child has, those are the toys she plays with the most!  

That is why I am so excited to share this exciting promotion with you today!  

Now that Halloween is over, everyone is starting to gear up for their holiday shopping and looking for ideas for the loved ones on their lists!   

To help make holiday shopping for your kiddos a little easier, Melissa & Doug has unveiled their Terrific Twenty gift guide and to celebrate, they are hosting a "20 Days of Terrific Twenty" Giveaway on their Facebook page!  


Every day, (starting November 6) for 20 days, Melissa & Doug will be giving away one item from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of their lucky Facebook fans!  You can enter every day for your chance to win!

Sweet, huh?


Melissa & Doug are also allowing me to give away one item from the Terrific Twenty list to a very lucky Under the Big Oak Tree reader!  Be sure to check back soon for more details!

Disclaimer: 

  • Thank you, Melissa & Doug for providing me with a free product, not only for myself, but for one of our lucky readers!  All opinions in this post are both honest and my own.  Individual results/experiences may vary.  








Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Thanks ~ Day 6



Today I am thankful for leftovers.  I always tend to cook too much for just the three of us and love incorporating the leftovers into our menu plans.  It's a perfect way to get out of cooking without having to spend the extra money on dining out or ordering a pizza.

After chasing Grace around the park earlier today, the last thing I wanted to do was worry about cooking dinner!  We got an early start for the park, so I didn't get a chance to throw dinner in the crock pot before we left the house and it was too late by the time he came home.  It was a relief to know that there were easy options in the fridge just waiting to be reheated in the microwave!


Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thanks ~ Day 5



It was a hectic day for so many around me today.  After a week off of school for a lot of the kids in the neighborhood and surrounding towns, I'm sure it was difficult for both kids and parents to get back into the swing of things.

With that in mind, I was a little extra thankful today that we made the choice for me to be a stay at home mom.  Grace and I were able to spend another day cuddling on the sofa without any schedules other than the line up of Grace's favorite shows on Disney Junior and PBS.

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