Friday, December 23, 2011

Homemade Breadsticks


  • 2 cups Bisquick*
  • 2 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. salt (I used garlic salt)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine Bisquick, cheese, oregano, basil, and pepper.
    Add 1/2 cup water and stir until just moistened.
    You may need to add an additional 1-2 tbsp. of water if necessary.
  3. Divide dough into 12 portions.
    Sprinkle clean work surface with Bisquick, then roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch strip.
    Place strips onto prepared baking sheet, one inch apart.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tsp. water.
    Lightly brush egg mixture over breadsticks, and then sprinkle with (garlic) salt.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
    Cool on a wire rack.
  6. Makes about 12

    *Check out my post on how to make your own Bisquick mix here -

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eat at Home Challenge - Week 3

This week was pretty good. I ate out a couple of unplanned times but all in all it was still better than usual. We spent about $59 eating out this week.

Monday - Crockpot Chicken Noodles

Tuesday - Crockpot Chicken Stew

Wednesday - CHURCH Meal

Thursday - Chicken Stuffing Casserole (Ashley MNO)

Friday - Leftover Chicken Stuffing Casserole

Saturday - Pizza Takeout

Sunday - Baked Ziti

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Great Tip for Meal Planning

When I made/prepped all of our meals for the month, I had to decide how I would know what to eat each night. I am usually not good at saying, "We will eat _______ the 3rd Thursday of the month." What if something comes up or we aren't feeling that meal that night? So I decided to make a tentative schedule in Microsoft Excel:

28 29 30 1
Ginger Chicken Stirfry & Rice Pot Roast CHURCH DINNER - Meatloaf, Potatoes, & Green Beans Brown Sugar Chicken, Rice, & Veggies
2 3 4 5
BBQ Chicken Pizza Spaghetti Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Fajitas
6 7 8 9
Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, & Veggies CHURCH DINNER - Chicken Salad & Fruit Salad Leftover SS, MP, & Veggies (for Lee) - A,L,N to Greensboro Chicken Pot Pie
10 11 12 13
Lasagna Leftover Lasagna Crock Pot Chicken Noodles & Veggies Chicken Stew
14 15 16 17
CHURCH DINNER - Spaghetti MNO for Ashley - Eva's Chicken Casserole & Veggies for Boys Spaghetti & Meatballs BBQ Chicken, Rice, & Veggies
18 19 20 21
Italian Balsamic Chicken, Rice, & Veggies Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, & Veggies Chicken Parmesan Honey Soy Chicken, Rice, & Veggies
22 23


Baked Ziti

I tried to spread out similar dishes (ie Italian, beef vs chicken, etc). I didn't print it. I just go to the computer and check the planned meals each day. I know what I am planning to have and if I decide to make something different, I can just cut and paste and move things around. I have done this many times this month as various things have come up. I love it because I don't stress as much about sticking to the exact plan and don't have to erase and mark out stuff. Yes I am a perfectionist about certain things.

I hope this helps!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mix Together:
3 cups sweet potatoes (if you do canned do a big can and drain off syrup 1st)
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Put in Pan

Mix Together:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Sprinkle on top

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Add mini marshmallows.

Bake until brown.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eat at Home Challenge - Week 2

This week went pretty good. I threw in a couple of unplanned fast food stops (lunch for me, breakfast for Lee and me) that was about $11. The playdate was more than I planed (man those places get you on the food). So eating out was around $38 this week. Between last week and this week we did about $55ish.

Monday - Chicken Fajita Burritos w/ black beans and cilantro lime rice

Tuesday - Salisbury Steak w/ mashed potatoes and veggies

Wednesday - Church dinner

Thursday - Lee ate leftovers; we went to my mom's

Friday - Chicken Pot Pie

Saturday - Crockpot Lasagna

Sunday - Leftover CP Lasagna

Hoping this week is good. Have a moms' night out this week. Hoping to not spend much more than that and dinner at church. Hoping to be around $30 this week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Borax, Where Have You Been All My Life?

So when I ventured out to make my own laundry soap, I came across something I had never used before...borax. It is a huge box and I was done with my laundry soap, so I wondered, "What else could you do with this stuff?" My awesome friend, Jessica, is all about organic living and she told me that she uses it for cleaning purposes such as bathrooms.

I decided to give it a try today when I cleaned my kids' bathroom. Now I hate to admit that it was pretty dirty. It needed a good scrubbing. So I got out the borax and put some in the toilet bowl per Jessica's recommendation. I scrubbed and the toilet bowl was flawless. I put some on a sponge and scrubbed the old yuckiness and it looks brand new again. WOW! I love that especially living in a house full of boys if you know what I mean. I decided to try it in the bathtub also and the tub looks brand new.

I am in love and his name is Borax. :)

Do you guys have any ideas for using borax?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Frozen Waffles and Pancakes

We love waffles and pancakes in our house, especially my 1st born son. He requests them nearly daily. While I enjoy making them, I don't always want to pull it all out and make a mess. So what I do is make a ton one day and freeze them. I let the extras cool and then I lay them flat on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen you can put them in a freezer bag. Then you just put them in the toaster and they are hot and fresh that morning. It is like having those Eggo waffles all ready to go without all of the additives. I personally think they are better the 2nd time because they get crunchy around the edges.

Any tips for cutting down on time for breakfast?

Baked Potato Soup - Tastes Just Like Outback's

I LOVE OUTBACK! It is in my top 5 favorite restaurants. Lee used to take me there all the time when we were dating and had way less expenses (ie kids, mortgage). My favorite thing there isn't the steaks even though they are is their baked potato soup. It is awesome!

I thought it would be fun to make baked potato soup since I had a ton of potatoes. I got this recipe from Crock Pot Girls (they are great). It was just like Outback's. This could be a problem. LOL!

Here is the recipe:

Baked Potato Soup


6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, diced
2 cans (14oz) chicken broth (roughly 4 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut up into cubes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 cup milk, cream, or half and half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Put potatoes, onion, chicken broth, butter, salt, and pepper in crock pot.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low 8 hours.
Mash the potatoes.
Add milk, cream, or half and half and cheese and stir until combined.
Garnish with extra cheese, bacon (bits), and/or sour cream.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eat at Home Challenge - Week 1

This week went great. We ate at home every night except for the planned night at church and one quick trip from me through McD's drive-thru for breakfast on my way to setup for a church event. So we spent $18 eating out this week. YAY!!! That is awesome.

Here's what we had to eat this week:

Monday - Lunch: Chili, Dinner: Ginger Chicken Stirfry
Tuesday - Lunch: Chili, Dinner: Pot Roast
Wednesday - Lunch: Leftover Pot Roast, Dinner: Church Dinner
Thursday - Lunch: Tacos/Quesadillas, Dinner: Brown Sugar Chicken, Rice, & Veggies
Friday - Lunch: Tacos, Dinner: Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
Saturday - Lunch: Leftover BBQ Chicken Pizza, Dinner: Spaghetti
Sunday - Lunch: Family Get Together, Dinner: Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

This week I am looking forward to being around $20-25 for eating out. I know we are doing church dinner and a playdate at a jump place (Groupon deal and it includes pizza and drink so I will probably buy Nathan and myself something there).

What are your tips for eating at home more?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Chocolate Cake

I had this cake at Cracker Barrel and it was insane. I was messing around on Pinterest (my new obsession) and found a recipe for it. I thought I would try it. It turned out heavenly. Here's the recipe:

Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Chocolate Cake

Ingredients for Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Coca Cola
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Cake:
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease (AKA Crisco) a 9x13 baking dish.
Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a big bowl.
In a pot melt butter, cocoa powder, and Coca Cola over medium high heat until it boils.
Remove from heat and add to flour mixture and mix well.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add to baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Don't overbake. It's done when a fork comes out clean.

Ingredients for Icing:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Coca Cola
4 cups powdered sugar

Directions for Icing:

When the cake is almost done, start the icing.
In a pot melt the butter, cocoa, and Coca Cola over medium high heat until it boils.
Remove from heat and carefully whisk in powdered sugar.
When the cake comes out of the oven, pour the icing on while it is hot and spread evenly.
Let it cool.

Easy Peasy Pizza Dough

I attempted to make my usual pizza dough recipe but something must have been up with my yeast. The dough had a funky smell. So I found a pizza dough recipe using Bisquick and water. Figured that I would try it. It turned out great.

Easy Peasy Pizza Dough

2 cups Bisquick mix
1/2 cup warm water


Put Bisquick in bowl and form a hole in the middle.
Add the water and mix until dough forms.
Put in the pan and top as you wish.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (or 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Red food coloring

Beat butter in mixer until blended.
Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, and salt and mix scrapping sides as needed.
Add flour and mix until done.
Divide dough in half and put white in container and into fridge.
Add red food coloring to the other half and mix until blended and right color.
Chill dough 20 minutes.
Divide each dough into 6 pieces and put on cookie sheet.
Chill dough 20 minutes.
Roll dough out into 12 inch strip.
Chill dough 20 minutes.
Twist dough into candy cane shapes.
Chill dough 1 hour.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes until firm but not brown.
Let cool.

Snowball Tree Sugar Cookies

Snowball Tree Sugar Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Green food coloring


Beat butter in mixer on high for 30 seconds.
Add sugar and beat until combined scrapping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add milk and vanilla and beat until combined.
Add flour and beat until combined.
Remove 1/2 cup of the dough to use for tree base.
Add green food coloring to the rest and mix until well blended and the color you like.
Let doughs cool in the fridge to be easier to work with.
Roll green dough into small balls.
Put 4 balls, 3 balls, 2 balls, and 1 ball in order to make a tree and gently push together.
Add the base of the tree and gently push together.
Bake at 350 10 minutes on the middle rack and 2-4 minutes on the top rack.
Let cool.
You can drizzle with some icing and decorate to make them prettier. I am not that brave.

Peanut Butter Bite Cookies

I love baking cookies!!! It is my favorite dessert to make. I am always on the prowl for a new one to add to my recipe binder. Here is a great one that I made today for a cookie swap I am going to tomorrow night.

Peanut Butter Bite Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened*
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
Miniature peanut butter cups, halved**
**I used Reese's peanut butter baking chips and Hershey's chocolate baking chips (I put 2 of each in the middle)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixer, combine butter and peanut butter and beat for about 30 seconds.
Add sugar, baking powder, and salt and beat until combined scrapping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add egg and vanilla and and beat until combined.
Add flour and beat until combined.
If dough is too soft to work with refrigerate a bit.
When dough is ready to work with, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls.
Press the balls flat and put the chips/candy in the middle and wrap the dough around.
Put them on a baking sheet and flatten a bit.
Bake 8 minutes on the middle rack and 2 minutes on the top rack.

*To soften butter sit on counter for a little while or put in microwave on defrost for roughly 15-20 seconds checking every 5 seconds so it doesn't start to melt.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brown Sugar Chicken

1 lb chicken breasts or tenders
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp pepper

Mix BS, WV, garlic, SS, and pepper.
Pour over chicken.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

I put the chicken in a freezer bag and poured the marinade in and froze it. I let it thaw today and baked it. IT WAS YUMMY!!!

A Month of CHRISTmas

I love CHRISTmas!!! We celebrate CHRISTmas for an entire month. Here's what we do:

#1 - We are doing a Jesse Tree this year. Each day you read Scripture, pray, and make an ornament for the tree. This is new for us this year. I will be sharing as we go. Last year we did The Advent Event which was similar and we loved it. Keeping CHRIST in CHRISTmas is big to me. We enjoy winter stuff and Santa stuff, but CHRIST is the reason we celebrate this season.

#2 - We have at least one fun activity to do each day of the month. I was going to plan them out and have a way for Luke to pick one each day, but then thought it would be stressful if we couldn't do the thing on the sheet each day. Instead I have a major list of what I would like to do and some plugged in on specific days.

Here are some of the things we are doing:
December 1st - Make countdown to CHRISTmas
December 2nd - Make cookies for cookie swap
December 4th - Family CHRISTmas get together
December 6th or 8th - Jump house playdate
December 9th - Go to Children's Museum and see Santa at the mall
December 10th - CHRISTmas musical at church
December 11th - Family CHRISTmas get together
December 13th - Homeschool day at the museum
December 17th - Serve homeless people downtown
December 18th - CHRISTmas caroling with church
December 23rd - CHRISTmas Around the World party
December 24th - CHRISTmas at Meemaw's house
December 25th - Santa at our house, CHRISTmas at Granddad's, CHRISTmas at Grandma's

Also on the list:
Write letter to Santa (before December 9th)
Make homemade ornaments:
Reindeer handprint ornaments -
Salt dough hand/footprint ornaments -
Make gingerbread house from a kit
Make snowflakes out of popsicle sticks -
Make snowflakes out of qtips -
Make snowflakes out of gumdrops and kabob skewers -
Make popsicle stick snowmen -
Make marshmallow snowmen -
Make handprint mittens -
Make a gift for Jesus
Have a birthday party for Jesus
Act out nativity
Go on a CHRISTmas light drive
Have CHRISTmas movie night with popcorn
Read CHRISTmas books each night
Polar Express - give out ticket, wear PJs, read story, drink hot cocoa -, do crafts, watch movie -
CHRISTmas shop for various people

What are you doing with your kids for CHRISTmas?