Monday, June 29

Bountiful Harvest

We were able to pick some more cherries on Sunday. However, as I mentioned before, I don't really care to eat these cherries, but I wanted to make sure these didn't go to waste. So I decided to freeze them. First, I rinsed, stemmed, pitted, and halved the cherries.

I used the advice my mom gave me when freezing blueberries. I froze the cherries on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. (This way they won't be a frozen block when the recipe calls for say, only one cup.) Once these were frozen, I transferred them to a Ziploc bag.

Now we will be able to enjoy many more baked goodies in the coming months when fresh cherries are a distant memory. (Sigh...)

Freezing cherries works for me! Visit We Are That Family for other great tips.

Saturday, June 27

Menu Plan Monday

This week is going to be a hot one, so most of this weeks meals are going to be done outside. I have some hot dogs that need using up, so hopefully this is the last of them. :)
Monday-Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken, Mandarin Oranges, Toasted Almonds, Crispy Chow Mein Noodles and Oriental Dressing
Tuesday-Hot Dogs, Oven Fries
Wednesday-Grilled Hamburgers, Green Salads
Thursday-Parmesan Chicken (going to try grilling this), Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salads
For other great Menu Plans, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Fresh Cherry Muffins

My parents generously offered to let us come pick cherries from their small orchard on their property. As cherries are so expensive at the store and they really aren't in the budget, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to volunteer my husband. (Not really the outdoorsy type...) I am not sure of the exact variety, but I do know they are not Bing cherries. I love to eat the Bings and these just aren't as good for eating. But they are good for baking! I came home and made a cherry pie, which was scrumptious! I still had plenty left over so this morning I made cherry muffins. They were quite tasty as well. Definitely a recipe to try.

Fresh Cherry Muffins

1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottoms of muffin cups or line with paper liners.
Beat butter, milk and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Divide batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with topping listed below. Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Makes about 1 dozen.


1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and top muffins prior to baking. Enjoy!

Trying to use up some fresh cherries?  I also created a recipe for Fresh Cherry Scones with a Sweet Almond Glaze you might be interested in as well. 

For other great recipes, go to the Grocery Cart Challenge!

Thursday, June 25

BLT Chicken Salad

It was sooo tasty! I got this recipe from Stretch Mark Mama. I love yummy recipes that are easy to cook on those warm summer days. We don't have air conditioning, so I try to use the grill outside or the crock pot whenever possible on hot days. I just made sure to plan ahead to cook the bacon and chicken and I made the dressing in advance, so it was super easy to throw together when it was dinner time. I served it with some homemade focaccia bread. Delicious!

Monday, June 22

Menu Plan Monday

This week I've added some links to some of the recipes I'll be using. There are a couple of new things I am excited to try out this week! I'll let you know how they went...

Monday-Ground Beef Casserole, steamed broccoli

Tuesday-Grilled Hot Dogs, Macaroni Salad

Wednesday-BLT Chicken Salad, Focaccia Bread

Thursday-Hamburgers, Oven Fries

Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad

For other great menu and recipe ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, June 18

Guess What I Did on Monday?

So this is a little late in posting, but I went and picked strawberries on Monday and made some freezer jam! It was a lot of work (my legs are still sore from picking berries) but I know I will appreciate all the yummyness this winter when all the seasonal fruits are gone for a reasonable price that won't break our budget. You know, when you only can choose between the ever present apples, bananas, and oranges. It is way cheaper than buying berries (strawberries were $1.25/lb.) and the taste sure beats what you can buy in the store. And the color is beautiful. You know they say, you taste with your eyes first. :) I only got 11 pounds of berries and I am going to have more than plenty for my family, so there will be plenty for Christmas gifts too! Stay tuned when August rolls around when the apricots are in season...

Wednesday, June 17

Works For Me Wednesday--Food Processor Tips

I love to cook. It has been even more enjoyable now that I am a SAHM, as I can cook dinner every night for my family. (Yes, I realize this newness will wear off at some point.) But for now, I do enjoy it and like being able to try new recipes.
I wanted to share some tips using a food processor. My mom taught them to me and I wanted to pass these along as it seems so many people don't use them. Even the cooks on the FoodNetwork don't seem to use them.

My first tip is when using your processor to prepare a recipe that calls for fresh garlic, add this first. Simply turn on your processor (not the pulse option) and drop the peeled garlic through the feed tube. You'll have minced garlic in three seconds. No need to worry about big chunks of garlic or chopping it up before hand. This makes minced garlic super easy!

My second tip is when using your processor to prepare a recipe, don't bother trying to scrape all the food off of the blade. Simply pour out as much as you can from the work bowl and then put your bowl back on the motor with the attachment blade and turn it on for a second or two. The centrifugal force pushes all of the food on to the sides of the bowl, which is A LOT easier to scrape down with a spatula than trying to get all of the food off the blade with a spatula. I LOVE this tip.

My last tip is fast and easy bread crumbs. Simply butter a piece of bread and put in the processor. Pulse until fine crumbs. It's as easy as that!

For other great tips, visit We Are That Family.

Sunday, June 14

Menu Plan Monday

Gosh, the weeks go by so fast! My mom always promised me when I was little that time would fly by as I got older. I never believed her. I do now. Boy, was she right! Here is yet another week...
Monday-Taco's with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream
Tuesday-Baked Potato Bar with chili, sour cream, cheese, and broccoli
Wednesday-Roast Beef, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans
Thursday-Pork Chops, roasted potatoes, broccoli
Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad
A fairly easy week. Hopefully the forecast is right, so I am not heating up the house unnecessarily. :)
For other great menu plans, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 12

Sundried Tomato Pesto

My sister shared this recipe with me over a decade ago and it is always a hit! A food processor really helps with the preparation.
Sundried Tomato Pesto:
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sundried tomatoes in oil

*1/3 cup olive oil

In your food processor with the blade running, drop in cloves of garlic to mince. Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and salt. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add tomatoes, pulse until coarsely chopped. With blade running, add enough olive oil for desired consistency. *I usually only use a tablespoon or two, as the tomatoes in oil provide enough. Serve with toasted sourdough baguette slices. Enjoy!
For other great recipes, visit Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Tuesday, June 9

Works for Me Wednesday--Cleaning Your Microwave

I hate cleaning our microwave. And I am probably the one that gets it the most dirty too. Ironic, I know. I just found a tip (from a magazine? although I can't remember which one) for such easy cleaning. And it's frugal. And it's earth friendly. But I love the easy part. Simply set a bowl of water in your microwave with several tablespoons of lemon juice and boil the water. It took about four minutes in ours to boil. Then let the bowl sit in the microwave for ten minutes. The steam softens any cooked on food (not that that ever happens in our house) and you can just wipe it down with a cloth. It's as easy as that!

For other great tips, please visit Kristen at We Are That Family.

Now it starts to get hard...

Our little girl is a happy little girl. Although she is only 9 months old, she seems to genuinely enjoy life. She is fascinated by everything (read: mom has to keep a close eye on her) and smiles constantly. My husband and I love her to pieces.

She had her nine month check up today and her pediatrician told me that she is in the beginning stages of "separation anxiety" which he said is completely normal. And healthy. I knew this would come at some point. But I (really, we--my husband and I) fear we have spoiled her in that she cannot soothe herself and fall asleep on her own. She either has to fall asleep breastfeeding, or she has to be rocked to sleep. She is grown very attached to mommy, which I wouldn't trade for anything.

In the last few weeks, when she wakes up for her middle of the night feeding, she falls back asleep in my arms and then within ten minutes (although it is usually just seconds) of laying her back down, she is screaming. Rubbing her back and talking to her quietly is of no use, she will not go back to sleep. She requires to be rocked/swayed back to sleep. Until being a parent, I was of the strict belief that you just have to let babies cry it out. Yeah. Right. Easier said than done. Please pray for wisdom (and some patience too) for my husband and I as we walk this new path. It should be interesting. :)

Monday, June 8

Menu Plan Monday

Although this is my first posting for MPM, I have been doing this for several months and boy, does it help with the budget! Plus it just makes the evenings go much smoother. All that to say it has been working really well! So here goes...

Monday-Grilled Hot Dogs, Green Salad

Tuesday-Tacos with Cheese, Black Beans, Lettuce and Tomatoes

Wednesday-Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice

Thursday-Hamburgers, homemade potato salad

Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad

I guess you can tell that we like to grill and love Mexican food. :) For other great menu ideas, visit Laura at the Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, June 3

Mandarin Orange Cake

I love this cake. My husband's family has been making this for years and it is oh so good. It is super easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand to make it if I need a dessert in a pinch.


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 cans Mandarin oranges, drained

Mix cake ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. milk

Combine ingredients and boil until sugar is dissolved. Pour over hot cake.

The cake is good by itself or you can serve it with whipped cream or Cool Whip if you are in a hurry. Enjoy!

For other tried and true recipes, visit Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Monday, June 1

The Dog Days of Spring?

We had a wonderful weekend. The weather here has been husband says it's weekends like these are the reason people even live here. Ahh, the Pacific Northwest. We had tremendous weather here this past weekend. In the high 80's, possibly even the low 90's. We don't get many days like this in May or spring, for that matter.

Our daughter got her first taste of this beautiful weather. My parents have a large yard (much bigger than our postage stamp) and they got her both a new swing and swimming pool to enjoy. And enjoy she did! I am sure she will get her grandparent's money's worth of both her new toys. And to make it even better...the little suit she has on was one that I bought when children were just a twinkling in my eye. I saw it on the clearance rack almost three summers ago. I was sooo happy that it fit, as our little peanut is a little aggressive on the growth chart. But she is happy and healthy and that is all that really matters.

I am looking forward to many more weekends like this this coming summer. With even more memories...


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