So I have been ridiculously busy, like, the craziest two weeks I've had in a very long time! I'm glad all that is over, and we can now focus on Christmas. My favorite time of the year! But I must say, the pageant on Saturday was so much fun, and so very worth the stress and bustle to get everything done! My girls did phenomenal, Miss Spunk worked it on stage, and came in second place, and Miss Aleix Noelle won the talent award for the third year in a row! So proud of both of them!
Here are a few pics of Saturday night and my lil' and not-so-little ladies!
Cousins! Miss Spunk is in the middle, niece on right and great niece on left! <3
So this is going to be short, sweet and mostly all food, and after I get the food from the last week up, we will focus on the meal plan going into this week. I am so sorry I never got last week's plan up, I was under a very tight deadline with the design and printwork I was doing as well as trying to get two girls ready for Saturday night's pageant!
In lieu of me adding the recipes, I am just going to link to the recipes I used! Though my schedule is freed up, my house in need of some love. It's been feeling quite neglected over the past two weeks.
First, there are these wonderful little delights! Bacon twists!
This is the recipe I used: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/peppered-bacon-twists-54511.aspx
The only change I made was I used regular, uncooked, bacon. I baked it in the oven until it was almost cooked through, but still flexible enough to twist. Crispy bacon would not work well here!
These were really good! And really quite easy, which is a double bonus!
Next was spinach manicotti. I don't use a recipe, this is just something I came up with years ago. :) It's about the only way my kids will eat spinach, although every once in a while I'll find a small pile of spinach on the sides of their plates where they have rummaged through and removed it! Crazy kids!
Basically all I do is cook my spinach up in olive oil, adding a clove or two of garlic, or garlic powder will also work.
In a medium sized bowl, mix your ricotta cheese, an egg or two (depending on how much ricotta you are using) Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. I don't measure anything, I just dump it all in and do a sniff test! If I had to guess, I use about a cup of mozzarella, 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan, probably two tablespoons of Italian seasoning, about the same for garlic powder, and I always buy the large container of ricotta (32 oz maybe?), and I use about 3/4 of it, and typically have a bit leftover. I use one box of manicotti, and it feeds my family of 6.
This time I served it with the usual garlic toast and the Parmesan roasted asparagus I posted last week.
Cowboy Casserole, found here: http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-09-10T05:55:00-04:00&max-results=7
Pumpkin Cupcakes: I had every intention of using this recipe, http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/687358038//
However, as I got into the fridge to grab some ingredients, I happened to notice a batter bowl with "pumpkin pie mix 10/31" written on it (loving the dry erase marker on my storage containers!), and I thought rather than waste it, by mixing up a very similar pumpkin batter, I'd just add some baking soda and powder and flour and bake it for the same amount of time the recipe calls for. :) I would have forgotten completely about that leftover pie batter had it not been right there, written on the batter bowl!
Banana Applesauce Bread: http://8weekstoabetteryourecipes.blogspot.com/2012/09/banana-bread-8-week-friendly.html
This is a fairly healthy alternative to normal banana breads. Made with honey, whole wheat flour, and applesauce. I chose to make my own applesauce for it, since I had some apples that needed used up before they went bad. It turned out really good! I will definitely be making this again! Tiny Tornado absolutely loved it, and because of the ingredients, it holds together well when sliced, which usually is not the case with breads like this, causing a path of crumbs from Tiny Tornado.
Cream Cheese Dreams: http://themodelcouponer.com/use-it-or-lose-it/use-it-dont-lose-it-use-the-302-printable-pillsbury-grands-coupon-to-make-cream-cheese-dreams/
Everyone loved these! Only took me about ten minutes to throw together, and if you like cream cheese and cinnamon, this is the dessert for you!
Now, the next thing, Breakfast Pockets, I don't believe I'll be trying again. I think I'll stick with the same ingredients in tortilla shells. I know I must have mentioned in the past how much I dislike working with yeast, or any kind of dough for that matter. It's just not my cup of tea, and I avoid it at all costs. I thought I would be brave and try this one out... HA! They were edible, but not at all what I had imagined I was capable of in my head. I'll leave the dough-y stuff to the bakeries. I manage cinnamon rolls once or twice and suddenly I think I am spontaneously cured of my dough inadequacies. Notsomuch.
Anyway, if you are a better baker than I, you may want to try them out. I am sure they aren't nearly as complicated as the seem to me, and I know there are a lot of you who know your way around some dough!
So here is the link, if you would like to give it a go of your own: http://www.budgetgourmetmom.com/breakfast-pockets/
Where are my broccoli lovers?! I know you're out there! Last night we had BBQ ribs with mashed taters, broccoli with bacon, and mini cheesecakes. I was so stuffed by the time I was done at the table, I thought for sure the kids would have to roll me to the couch...
And the mini cheesecakes... so easy! All four of my kidlets adore cheesecake, I thought these would be a fun little surprise for them last night... They use greek yogurt and cheesecake instant pudding mix! Doesn't get much easier than that. Here ya go, friends, make sure you give these a shot, http://mom2mycrazy2.blogspot.com/2012/05/cool-sweet-treat.html
I did not use cupcake liners, because for whatever reason, though I bought them at the store, they never came home with me! I have a new muffin tin, so I greased it well and they came right out after being chilled.
Which brings us to this morning...
Stuffed french toast! And what's even better, I had leftover filling that The Hubby, Tiny Tornado and I used to dip our animal crackers in! YUM! In fact, it was so good, I am going to plan to whip some of this very same "filling" up for an appetizer at my holiday parties this year (like, all 4 of them I'm hosting!).
The recipe calls for it to be baked, after you assemble each serving, but I chose to make my toast as usual on the griddle and assemble it after. My kids actually ended up eating it sandwich style with no syrup (yay for no syrup before school!).
So that wraps up the food! I will post again in a bit with my $90 meal plan for the week!