Monday, March 24, 2014

TopCashBack: Earn Cash Back When Shopping Online!

Hey, Friends!

Today I wanted to share a great way to save some money while shopping online!  While I'm not usually a "deal" blogger, I do like to share an awesome deal when I find one!

Last week, a friend told me about TopCashBack and already, I've earned a pretty good chunk of cash to put add to our Christmas savings plan!  All while making purchases I would be making anyway!

This morning, I spotted a great deal using TopCashBack.  Get paid to buy Gain Fabric Softener Sheets!  I scored my free fabric softener sheets (plus overage) this morning and here's how you can, too!

  1. Join TopCashBack.  
  2. They will send you an email to authenticate your account.  
  3. Once you authenticate your TopCashBack account, you can start shopping!  
  4. For this deal, log in to your TopCashBack account. 
  5. Search for 
  6. Click on the cash back button, you will then see 2 offers.  One for standard cash back for regular orders, the other for the Gain Dryer Sheets offer.  
  7. Click on the Dryer Sheets offer, you will then be directed to the site.  
  8. Search for the dryer sheets that are specified in the offer and add to your cart.  When checking out, be sure to use in-store pick up.  Also, when checking out, be sure to ONLY purchase the deal item to receive the $5.50 in your TopCashBack account!  
The Dryer Sheets in the offer are $4.88 plus tax.  My total order after tax was $5.17 with the cash back to be rebated to my TopCashBack account being $5.50!  So, it's like getting paid 33 cents for Gain Dryer Sheets!  

Hurry, since this deal ends in three days, or when supplies run out!  

Also...once you join and make your purchase using the link above, I will receive a referral credit!  You can also invite friends after you open your account and start getting referrals!  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chicken Pozole Soup

I'm not very familiar with Pozole.  I read somewhere that it's traditionally made with pork.  I also read that it's traditionally topped with shredded cabbage.  Well, we're throwing out the tradition since the only reason I made this soup is because it contained hominy, another food that I'm unfamiliar with, and I wanted to give it a try.

I switched up the recipe slightly, based on what I had on hand, what I thought looked good and what I wanted to use up from my vegetable bin.

Serve with quesadillas on the side or with a handful of crushed tortilla chips sprinkled on top!  Cheese or sour cream would also make excellent toppings!

Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was very eager to dig in!

Chicken Pozole Soup 
          adapted from Cans Make the Meal with Kelsey Nixon


  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided 
  • 1 cup onion, chopped 
  • 2/3 cup poblano pepper, chopped 
  • 1/3 green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic 
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) golden hominy (DO NOT DRAIN) 
  • 1 cup salsa verde 
  • 4.5 oz can diced chiles 
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, drained
  • 32 oz. homemade chicken broth 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano 
  • 2 cups pre-cooked chicken
  • In a large dutch oven, cook onions and peppers in 1/4 cup chicken broth over medium heat until onions begin to turn translucent.  Stir often, adding another 1/4 cup of broth if needed. 
  • Add garlic and allow to cook for another minute or two.  
  • Stir in the hominy and the liquid from the cans along with the salsa verde, tomatoes and diced chiles.  I added the chicken at this point, too, since it was still frozen.  Bring to a boil.  
  • Pour in the remaining broth, cumin and oregano, return to a boil. 
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes  
  • Traditional or not, we didn't know the difference.  Either way, we really enjoyed the flavors and texture of this hearty soup.  This will be hitting our table again soon!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giveaway: Arnold® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls, Pocket Thins® Flatbread, Thomas'® Bagel Thins® Bagels

Now that the snow is almost all melted -I can see more than half of my lawn- it's time that I start thinking about shedding some layers of clothing.  Soon, there will be no need for sweatshirts over long sleeves over undershirts.  Soon, it will be time to pack away the long pants.  Soon, the weather will be warm enough for short sleeves, capri pants, maybe even shorts.  And for the brave, bathing suits!  Gasp!  

For some of us...ahem, me...shedding of the layers will also mean working on shedding some pounds.  I really took to comfort eating during our colder-than-usual winter, and will need all the help I can get in losing the weight in order to feel confident in my warm weather clothing!  

When I am dieting, I'm never content with a baggie of celery sticks for lunch.  For me, that's the quickest way to send me off the wagon right into a bag of chips or other junk food!  When I'm dieting, I like to find low-calorie options for the foods I love.  Finding other alternatives for the food I enjoy, helps keep me from feeling deprived.  Helps keep me on the right track to achieve my weight loss goals.  

Arnold and Oroweat, along with Thomas' offer some great low-calorie bread options that are Weight Watchers approved!  

Arnold® and Oroweat® Products
All Arnold® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls are cholesterol-free foods, containing zero grams of Trans Fat and no high fructose corn syrup.

Arnold® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls
Weight Watchers®: 3 PointsPlus Value®
Flavors: 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain, Honey Wheat, Flax & Fiber

Arnold® and Oroweat® Pocket Thins® Flatbread
Weight Watchers : 3 PointsPlus Value®
Flavors: 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain

Thomas'® Bagel Thins® Bagels
All Bagel Thins® are 110 calories, cholesterol-free, low in fat and contain zero grams of Trans Fat
Weight Watchers®: 3 PointsPlus Value®
Flavors: Plain, 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin and Everything   

I had the opportunity to try three of the breads from the product lines listed above.  For my review, I picked the Healthy Multi-grain Sandwich Thins Rolls, Italian Herb Pocket Thins Flatbread, and the Plain Thomas' Bagel Thins Bagels.

Our usual sandwich bread checks in at 80 calories a slice!  I don't know about you, but for me, one slice of bread isn't enough to make a filling sandwich!  I love that I can create a hearty sandwich with these great products, only using a small portion of my daily calories for bread!  Saving 50 to 60 calories on the bread alone!  This allows me to create a guilt-free lunch, when using other calorie friendly fillings!

Using the Sandwich Thins, I made delicious Low-Calorie Chipotle Turkey Sandwich for under 217 calories! While I enjoyed this sandwich in the comfort of my own home, this would be great for on the go!

For breakfast, I made some yummy Salsa Verde Sausage and Egg breakfast sandwiches with the Bagel Thins.  At 371 calories, the calorie count on this was a bit higher, but still way under the count for similar sandwiches from the convenience store!

My favorite was the Vegetable Stuffed Flatbread with hummus using the Pocket Thins (recipe link to post soon).  For 213 calories, including the carrots I ate on the side, I ate a crunchy, vegetable sandwich that was so satisfying and delicious.  This is definitely a lighter meal, so if you are really hungry, pair this with a small cup of soup for a more filling meal. *note: the photo above is two servings.

For additional recipe ideas, check out the following links:
To learn more about the products offered by Arnold and Oroweat as well as Thomas' check out the links below: 
In addition to providing me the coupons for the products above as well as a $25 gift card to purchase my recipe ingredients, Arnold and Oroweat  and Thomas' is allowing me to give the same prize to one lucky reader!  Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter Form below:    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Although, I received coupons for free product to facilitate my review, in addition to a gift card to purchase additional recipe ingredients, all opinions are honest and my own.  Additional coupons and gift card are also provided for the giveaway.

Low-Calorie Chipotle Turkey Sandwich

Low-Calorie doesn't mean it needs to be boring!  I love finding new ways to cut calories while enjoying the foods I love.  In this case, a few simple changes saved me a ton of calories without skimping on the flavor!  

For this sandwich, I swapped out my usual mayo for some Chipotle Hummus.  That swap alone saved me 60 calories!  Using a sandwich thin, in place of traditional sandwich bread eliminated another 60 calories!  I enjoyed my sandwich with a side of carrots instead of chips.  The crunchy, chip-like shape of the carrots helped me to feel as if I was snacking on chips as I ate my sandwich.  

Low-Calorie Chipotle & Turkey Sandwich (serves 2) 

  • 1 Arnold Sandwich Thins, Healthy Multi-grain
  • 1 Tbs. Spicy Chipotle Hummus 
  • 4 thin cucumber slices
  • 2 oz. shaved deli meat turkey
  • 1 leaf romaine lettuce
  • sliced carrots 
  • Spread chipotle hummus on one half of the Arnold Sandwich Thins, Healthy Multi-grain roll.  
  • Place cucumbers on top of the hummus, this helps hold the cucumbers on the sandwich as you eat it. 
  • Finish building the sandwich by layering the turkey, lettuce and top of the bun.  
  • Serve with sliced carrots in place of chips.  
  • A slice of cheese would be delicious with this sandwich, but I was wanting to keep the calories low so I skipped the cheese.  
  • Any flavor hummus would work well with this sandwich, I love the smokey chipotle flavor with my turkey.
Total Calories:  
217 calories, including the carrot chips served on the side!  

*Calorie count is approximate and may not be accurate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Salsa Verde Sausage and Egg Bagel

During this long and brutal winter, I've really been packing on the pounds starting with the holidays and all of the sweets, then comfort food during all of the bitter snow storms.  Now, it is March and hopefully warmer days are in the near future.  In fact, we "spring ahead" this weekend, which means Spring is on it's way...then summer!  I will no longer be able to hide my weight gain under bulky sweaters and baggy sweat pants. Which means, I really need to get back on track and eat healthy meals and cut out the junk food.  

Instead of raiding the cookie jar for breakfast this week, I've actually been starting my day with a healthy meal. Here is an example of a low-calorie breakfast that I've been enjoying the past few days:  

Salsa Verde Sausage and Egg Bagel  (serves 4)

  • 4 Thomas' Bagel Thins, Original  
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles, Original 
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. skim milk 
  • ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbs. Salsa Verde 
  • Cook peppers in hot oil until almost tender. 
  • Stir in pre-cooked sausage crumbles.  Allow to cook until peppers are done.  
  • Scramble eggs in a bowl with milk. 
  • Pour eggs into the pan with the sausage and peppers, stirring and scraping bottom of pan. 
  • Season with pepper.  
  • Divide the sausage and egg mixture between 4 of the bagels, toasted if desired. 
  • Top each with a tablespoon of Salsa Verde.  
Total Calories: 1,480 calories*
4 servings @ 371* Calories per serving

(*calories are approximate and may not be accurate.)

371 calories may not seem very low, but considering that a similar sandwich runs close to 500 calories at a local convenience store, I think 371 is pretty good!

I've linked this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Pizza Pasta Supreme

Supreme Pizza has always been a pizza night favorite!  Lots of peppers, onions, pepperoni and sausage on delicious crust.  Mmm!  So good!

Inspired by my craving for pizza delivery, I decided to throw together a quick meal using the flavors of a supreme pizza!  The Jimmy Dean Crumbles really helped this recipe come together quickly.  I had this dinner on the table quicker than I could have ever gotten a pizza delivered!

Pizza Pasta Supreme

  • 1/2 box gemeli pasta 
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper 
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced pepperoni 
  • 1 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles 
  • 2-3 cups pizza sauce 
  • shredded mozzarella cheese, optional 
  • Cook pasta according to package.  
  • Heat oil in pan, add onion and green pepper.  Cook until tender, stirring often.  
  • Add garlic, pepperoni and #JDCrumbles.  Stir to combine and heat through.  
  • Pour in desired amount of pizza sauce.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 
  • When pasta is done cooking, drain.  
  • Pour into serving bowl and mix with pizza sauce mixture.  
  • Top with cheese if you like.  
This was a very delicious and simple meal to prepare.  I love keeping a package of Jimmy Dean Crumbles in my fridge for nights I need to throw something together really quick.  

Quick Turkey Chili

A couple of weeks ago, I was really in the mood for chili.  Since I had some chopped chicken in the freezer and a partially used bag of sausage crumbles, this recipe was very easy to throw together.

Quick Turkey Chili

  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil 
  • 1 celery rib, diced 
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, diced 
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chipotle salsa
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock 
  • 1 cup Jimmy Dean Crumbles, Turkey
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey breast, diced 
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained/rinsed 
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder 
  • cooked rice
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  
  • Add the celery, onions and peppers and cook until they start to get tender.  
  • Stir in the garlic, cook for just a minute or until fragrant.  Careful not to burn the garlic.  
  • Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
  • Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.    
  • Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.  
  • Serve over rice.  
  • Loved how easy this recipe was to prepare.  Using the fully cooked sausage crumbles really helped this meal come together quickly and easily.  
  • If you like your chili more saucy, add additional liquid (stock and/or salsa) and adjust the seasonings to your taste.  
  • We combined the leftover chili with the leftover rice and froze it for another meal.  I'll probably use it as a filling for stuffed peppers.  

Supreme Pizza with Jimmy Dean Crumbles #JDCrumbles

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Jimmy Dean. This could include Jimmy Dean providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

I enjoy cooking, but since we don't go out to dinner very often and rarely get takeout, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  For that reason, I love when I find a great tip or shortcut that helps me get dinner to the table quickly.  Prepping the veggies for all of my recipes early in the week or having chicken and ground beef pre-cooked in the freezer and measured out for specific recipes are both great time savers!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try Jimmy Dean Crumbles.  All of my previous experiences with pre-cooked meat from the supermarket never really went over too well, so I was pleasantly surprised that the texture and flavor of the fully cooked sausage crumbles were as if I had prepared them myself! The taste and texture were perfect, just like using fresh sausage...without the mess of having to drain a greasy pan!

Jimmy Dean Crumbles come in three varieties:
  • Original Pork Sausage
  • Turkey Sausage
  • Hot & Spicy Sausage
From the two bags of crumbles that we tried, I was able to create several recipes that both Joe and I really enjoyed!  Our store only had the Original Pork crumbles and Turkey crumbles and both were equally delicious and full of flavor.  Though, I'd really like to get my hands on a package of the Hot & Spicy as we tend to use a lot of hot sausage when cooking with fresh sausage.

For the recipe that I am sharing today, I used the Original Pork Sausage Crumbles.

To see the full recipe, scroll down past the photos!

This meal was so easy to prepare!  Just a 1/2 cup of each of the toppings can be chopped up fairly quickly! If you happen to chop your vegetables ahead of time at the beginning of the week, your prep time on the day of the meal can be cut down even more!  

Since my crusts only took about 7 minutes in the oven, I wanted to give my vegetables a head start in cooking.  Any color bell pepper can be used, but I especially like the flavor combination of the green pepper with the sausage crumbles!  I loved how fragrant this became just after cooking on the stove for a couple of minutes!  The house smelled just like sausage and peppers from the fair!

I picked up an inexpensive package of two personal sized crusts, but if you have a favorite homemade or store bought crust, use whatever you like!  Just be sure to prepare your crusts as instructed on the package. In my case, I brushed the crusts with a small amount of olive oil before layering my toppings!  

I baked according to the directions on the package.  7 minutes at 425 degrees.  Be sure to check the cooking times on your package.

This recipe calls for just 1/2 cup of the sausage crumbles.  Each resealable package contains about five half-cup servings, so there was plenty more left for additional recipes that will share in separate posts.  Don't worry, I'll provide the links here too, so they are easy to find!

As promised, here is the easy-to-read version of the above recipe!

Supreme Pizza with Jimmy Dean Crumbles 


  • 2 personal sized pizza crusts 
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup Jimmy Dean Crumbles, Original 
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced 
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic 
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce 
  • 3/4cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more if you like), divided
  • olive oil, for brushing on crust
  • crushed red pepper flakes, optional 

  • Preheat oven and prepare crusts as directed on package, brush with oil if needed.   
  • Heat olive oil in small frying pan.  
  • Add the peppers and onions, allow to cook for just a minute or two.  
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until fragrant.  
  • Add the pepperoni and Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles and cook until heated through.  
  • Spread 1/4 cup of pizza sauce over each of the personal pizza crusts.  
  • Sprinkle about a 1/4 cup of cheese on top of the sauce.  (use more cheese if you like) 
  • Divide the pan of sausage, pepperoni and vegetables between the two crusts.  
  • Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes if using.  
  • Top with remaining cheese.  
  • Bake in the oven according to directions on pizza crust package.  In my case, it was 7-10 minutes.  
  • Slice and enjoy!  
This pizza was so delicious and pairs nicely with a simple crisp salad!  We enjoyed it so much, we made it a couple of times already!  

So, to recap, Jimmy Dean Crumbles are full of flavor, have a great texture and offers both easy clean up and convenient packaging!  I say this product is a keeper!

Along with the opportunity to try this product for this recipe and review, I am also being entered to win a lifetime of sausage!  The blogger with the highest interaction via comments, likes and shares will win and will be able to share the prize with one lucky reader!

Here are additional recipes that I created using Jimmy Dean Crumbles:

I've linked this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Great UGLee Pen! Ergonomic Pen Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Ever since I was a kid, I've been a list maker.  I make shopping lists, chore lists, blog task lists, even bucket lists!  During my pregnancy with Grace, writing became and still remains difficult.  Cramping and numbness in my hands while writing even the shortest note.

When we switched to iPhones last year, I was thrilled with the "notes" feature.  It made making a shopping list really simple...especially since all I had to do was send it to Joe via a message or email so he would know what needed picking up on his way home.

Although, I found a solution to writing out my long grocery lists, there's still nothing like a hand-written task list to glance at on my desk while I sit at the computer.  For this reason alone, I was thrilled to come across the opportunity to review (and giveaway) the Great UGLee Pen!

I giggle at the name, but truly, this ergonomic pen lives up to it's name.  It's definitely not the most attractive pen in the drawer!

When the package arrived, I couldn't wait to open and try the pen!  There were three pens in the package.  I opened the black one first and was surprised at the size of the comfort grip.  I hadn't expected it to cover more than half of the pen.  It does make sense, though, as not everyone holds their pen the same way.  I tend to hold my pen closer to the point, while others may grip the pen toward the middle or even higher.  I like that the pen has finger tip grooves at multiple spots of the grip to allow the user to hold the pen as they wish.

Since I received three pens, I sent one into work with Joe.  He asked a co-worker to give it a try and he was pleased with how the pen wrote.  It was a comfortable fit, as he writes for most of the day and the smooth flow of the ink was good for lots of stopping and starting throughout the day.

I'm so happy to have the chance to give away a set of these comfortable pens to one of our lucky readers!
Enter to win using the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of March 10th

Last week was pretty crazy around here and we seemed to never be home long enough to get dinner to the table.  It kind of worked out though, since Joe wasn't feeling well for most of the week and didn't have much of an appetite.  Lunch meat,  salads, veggies with hummus, cold cereal and leftovers got us by for most of the week.  I guess that's how it goes sometimes.  

This week, I'm working on organizing my office.  Blogging from the living room just isn't working.  After spending several hours at the computer last week, I had a tension headache and horrible pains in my neck.  We've made a lot of changes around the house lately.  No remodeling or anything major like that, but changes to our furnishings and whatnot.  As a result, I was shoving extra stuff into my office until I thought of a new plan for those things.  It's to the point that I can barely get into that room and it really needs to get cleared out.  I see a trip to our favorite thrift shop in our near future.  I'll be bagging up unwanted items to drop off at the donation dock.  

Dinners this week will be kept on the easy side.  Well, since I tend to keep my favorite meals on the easy side anyway, these are just more simple than usual!  But I will be trying a new recipe this week, too!  


Supreme Pizza 
I had all the ingredients on hand except for the crust.
Over the weekend, I picked up a twin pack of crusts.
This quick and easy meal is just what I need
after a crazy weekend!  


Chicken Pozole  
I've been wanting to try Hominy for a while now.
It's one of those things I don't think about
until I see it in a recipe,
then it usually slips my mind until the next time.
Joe was watching the Cooking Channel a couple of weeks ago
and I saw this recipe and immediately added hominy to our shopping list! 


Stuffed Peppers
The filling for the peppers is in the freezer
so this meal should be a cinch to prepare!


Hot Dogs, Baked Beans
Sliced Potatoes 


Potato 3-Bean Soup
This meatless soup is the perfect soup for a Lenten Friday.
So delicious and hearty, you won't even miss the meat!


Leftover Night


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.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chili Sauce Meatloaf

Last week, Joe requested that I make two meatloaves with the ground beef that we picked up earlier in the week.  My original plan was to just pre-cook the meat the and divide into portion sizes to freeze for future meals.  I love just grabbing a bag of the meat for a quick meal.  Great for adding to a jar of sauce for a quick pasta dinner.  Or adding some taco seasoning for tacos or a big plate of nachos.  But as I stated in a previous post, Joe rarely makes requests.  He's really good about just eating what I put in front of him at dinner time without complaint.

I made two different meatloaves that day.  Here's the second meatloaf from that day:

Chili Sauce Meatloaf

  • 2 lbs. ground beef 
  • 2 Tbs. dry minced onion
  • 1 tsp. dry ground mustard 
  • 2 tsp. paprika 
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs 
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 5 Tbs. Chili Sauce
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Set aside 3 Tbs. Chili Sauce, Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  
  • Shape into a loaf on a baking pan or press into a loaf pan.  
  • Top with the reserved chili sauce.  
  • Bake for 1 hour.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  

  • This was a very tasty meatloaf that sliced down perfectly for sandwiches!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kid Crafts ~ Paint Palette from the Recycling Bin

Grace loves to paint!  Although, she loves to keep her colors separate, she often forgets to rinse or switch brushes.  This often results in some muddy looking jars of paint.  I have a plastic paint palette that I picked up several years ago but the wells aren't deep enough for my little artist.  So, I pour colors into other containers rather than letting her use straight from the jar.

I usually use the small condiment containers that pickles or peppers come in when we get takeout.  You know, the ones that are also great for Jell-o shots. I've even resorted to purchasing a big package of them since we don't get takeout all that often.

For New Year's Eve, our friends brought over some frozen appetizers.  After popping them onto a baking tray and into the oven, I knew I wanted to reuse this plastic tray and set it aside for a snowy, arts and crafts day.

Just as I suspected, this handy little tray with all the individual compartments holds the perfect amount of paint to keep Grace occupied for a while!  This particular tray was rinsed out and used a couple of times before tossing into the recycling bin!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of March 3rd

It's March!  January and February couldn't pass by quick enough for me!  Normally, I am not one to wish the time away, but last couple of month have been brutal!  I blame most of my attitude on the weather. Really, enough with the snow already!  The comfort foods, like soups and stews, that usually help keep my spirits up during the winter months just aren't enough to boost my spirits during these recent storms.  I just want this winter and the snow to be gone!  (As I type this on Sunday afternoon, we are expecting another storm this evening into tomorrow.***edit~we didn't get hit nearly as hard as we expected.  We were preparing for 8-12 inches and woke up to barely a dusting!)

Rant over!  

Since I am wanting to work on other things around the house (in addition to working on taking care of ME), I am planning some easy meals for this week:  


Chicken Bott Boi Soup
I'm now to the point that I don't really follow a recipe for Chicken Soup, 
I just throw it together and taste as I go along to adjust seasonings.  
I made a large pot of soup a few weeks ago, 
when I ran to the pantry to get a bag of noodles, 
I spotted several bags of Pot Pie (Bott Boi) Noodles 
and decided to use them in place of our usual wide egg noodles.  
Joe came in from the snow and said he really liked those noodles.  
After telling him that we had more bags in the pantry, 
he said "Good!  Make more!"  So, I did!  
I'll be making another large pot of soup this week.  


Stuffed Peppers 
We love stuffed peppers and it's been a while since we've had them.
I'm going to try something a little different this time....
I'll let you know how they turn out!  

Baked Potato Soup 
While Grace played quietly in her room over the weekend,
I had the chance to watch a little Food Network!
Guy made a very delicious looking soup,
so I am going to give it a try!

Chicken Corn Chowder
This is and has been my all-time favorite soup!
I don't have just one recipe that I love more than the other,
I just love the combination of corn, peppers, potatoes, chicken
and's gotta have bacon!   

Family Date Night
We're running some errands today,
and we'll be going out to eat while we're out and about.


Crock Pot Chicken a la King 
It's been a while since we had this dish!
Love how easy this recipe is,
perfect for a busy day around the house!  

Today could end up being a big Sunday dinner
or just simply leftovers from during the week.
Depending on what our plans end up being for the day.  

Breakfast options for the week:  
  • Oatmeal 
  • Cereal 
  • Bagel Thins with cream cheese or jelly 
  • Smoothies
  • Fruit and yogurt 
Lunch options this week: 
  • Sandwiches 
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Smoothies 
  • Leftovers
  • Cheese and Crackers

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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Easy Meatloaf using Onion Soup Mix

In the past, Joe and I really only shopped for groceries at one store a week.  Lately, we've realized that we can save more money by purchasing certain items at other stores.  Ground beef is one of those items.  The price always seems so high at our usual store.  A few months ago, we discovered that we could pick up a family-pack sized package for $2.19 a lb at Wegman's.  Since we don't get there that often, the bulk-sized package works great for us, especially if we pair their low, everyday price with a $5 off $25 purchase!

Earlier in the week, Joe had an errand near Wegman's so he took the coupon and stopped to pick up a few things on his way home.  Usually, I package the ground meat into 3/4 lb. portions right away, but this week was pretty hectic and I just kept putting it off.  After the burgers I made for dinner that first night, I still had 5 lbs of meat to cook.

My plan was to just brown it all and then divide into recipe sized portions for the freezer.  Having pre-cooked ground beef really helps when you need something quick for dinner.  I mentioned my plan to Joe and he requested meatloaf.  Two meatloaves to be exact. (I'm sharing the recipe for one of them today) Since he rarely makes dinner requests, I decided give in and make meatloaf.  I just didn't want our usual meatloaf.

I looked to my friends on Facebook for suggestions, but I was too impatient to get started to wait for responses so I checked my pantry for a packet of Onion Soup Mix.  Just as I thought, I had one packet left from the box I bought over the holidays for dip.

Following the directions on the box, I switched up a few things: milk in place of water, seasoned bread crumbs instead of plain and chili sauce instead of ketchup.  I also sprinkled some brown sugar on top since I loved the onion-brown sugar combo when I made hobo packs a few weeks ago.  And since my free form meatloaves always fall apart, I took Joe's suggestion and pressed the mixture into a glass loaf pan.

The result?  A wonderfully, flavorful meatloaf that didn't fall apart!  In fact, the perfectly sliced leftovers made great sandwiches for lunch the next day!


  • 2 lbs. ground beef 
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix 
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs 
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce 
  • brown sugar (optional) 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Combine all of the ingredients (except for the brown sugar) in a large bowl.  
  • Form into a loaf shape on a baking sheet or press into a loaf pan. 
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on top.  
  • Bake for 1 hour.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  

We haven't tried the second meatloaf yet, but I prepared that one slightly differently since I only had one packet of soup mix.  Check back later in the week for that recipe!  As I mentioned above, my friends did provide lots of suggestions on preparing their favorite meatloaf and in the future, I plan to give all of their tips a try!  

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