Sunday, November 30, 2008

Monday Meal Plan

Happy December 1st....oh Christmas is coming soon and I just can't wait. I love the holiday season, because its a time to celebrate the birth of our risen LORD and SAVIOR. Thank you God for sending the perfect gift to us!!!

December is such a busy month with lots of Christmas baking, parties and church events. Good thing I have had my "master" baking list prepared for a couple of weeks so I have been able to pick up some sweet deals. Already on the list I have made the inside of my peanut butter balls (they are in the freezer waiting to be dipped) and a batch of sugar cookie dough. This week I will be cooking up some more yummy treats.

Here is whats on the menu for this week

Monday: Corn Chowder and Biscuits

Tuesday: Not sure

Wednesday: Hamburger pie and Mashed Potatoes

Thursday: Beef stir fry, rice and Egg rolls

Friday: Spaghetti and garlic bread

Saturday: Out to our first Christmas party!!

For more meal plans head on over to Organizing Junkie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Making the list....and checking it twice

With December quickly approaching I thought it was time to share some of my Frugal holiday tips. Today I am talking about my Christmas baking list. This list is such a money saver!! Its easy to start your list as there are probably a handful of recipes (or more) that you make each season.

I created my list using google docs (this link will take you to a recent post on how great google docs is if you aren't using it. ) I started off by making a master Christmas list. This list has all my goodies that I bake, decorations (mostly craft supplies) that need to be picked up and a basic menu of whats cookin in the kitchen Christmas eve and Christmas morning. From this list two more list where created; one was a recipe list and the other an ingredient list. This is why I love google docs so much is that you can link your pages together. The best thing about google docs is that it can be shared with other family members or you can share it out with other women or familys if you do Christmas baking exchanges. Now with my list complete (for about 2 weeks) I have been watching the store flyers for the deals, this is the best part about having your list ready. You can pick up your ingredients for next to nothing prices if you know what you need for the holiday season. I have been buying little things here and there to get me started in my baking and storing it away so hubby can't find it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A wonderful cookie

So last weekend my wonderful sister in law and her family where suppose to be coming up for a visit. She is an independent Norwex Consultant so she was going to be hosting a party here at my house. Along with hosting a party comes the responsibility of being a great host (duah) so I decided to try to make a new kind of cookie. I had had these cookies many times before at our weekly bible study and was just reminded of the delicious taste again just weeks ago. After doing whatever good cook does (search the internet for a recipe) I had found the cookie I was looking for. I usually don't like to try new recipes on guest; ok who am I trying to fool....I am known for that even though hubby doesn't like it that much. I tried them out. OH the cookie was just what I was looking for mixed between a sugar and short bread cookie with the seculant taste of nutmeg.

The recipe (and the picture) comes from Taste of Home and to yours and my surprise I followed it. The only thing I did different was I sprinkled a course cane sugar on the tops and only baked for ~ 9 minutes to get a nice soft cookie. These were delicious and unfortenualty the party was postponded due to the big snow storm we got.

The other bad thing was we ate the whole batch of cookies Saturday night while some friends were over. So much for self control!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Going green in style!

I think a couple of weeks ago I posted all about these wonderful reusable bags that I had made out of T-shirts I had laying around. Well I just wanted to let all you readers know that they have been wonderful. Many people comment when I walk into the store with my "ZOOM" bag hanging over the shoulder. Also many cashiers take notice when you are using them at the grocery store. For all my Canadian readers if you have a PC master card you receive 50 PC points for every green bag you use and they count these. What a fashionable way to "go green".

For all you readers who didn't get the chance to read about my adventures in T-Shirt bag making check it.

My sewing adventures are getting fun; sorry I haven't been posting much. I am working on some new projects. I will tell you all about my Baby John's that I am making and selling also I have been working on my Christmas goody list and doing up some post of frugal Christmas decorations. Please be patient and keep watching for these exciting things. Also due to the many things I have on the go Question Tuesday will resume in the new year!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

Hello Readers! I am sorry about the so few post last week. It was a busy week here with lots of Christmas projects on the go; so that is where most of time was spent. Our meal plan went sort of as planned however I will be carrying over one meal from last week. This week I am trying not to buy anything. It's the last week of the month and since we spent a little extra this month on a delicious breakfast out I have decided to be creative (I mean that is the name of the blog right??) with what I have.

So here is what we are cookin up this week

Monday: Pork chops with twice baked tex mex potatoes

Tuesday: Pizza Braid

Wednesday: Left over pizza

Thursday: Soup and jiffy biscuits

Friday: Sausage and Mashed potato

Saturday: Spaghetti with garlic bread (oh ya this was another meal that I am carrying over. Because of the 15-25 cm of snow we got this weekend our guest weren't able to visit.

Sunday: Meeting at the church

Well readers next week we will be in December....its so hard for me to believe my little one is turning one in almost a month!!! I am working on lots of post of frugal holiday shopping (the list has been made and checked twice), crafty and creative Christmas decorations and of course lots of homemade gift ideas. Be sure to keep reading...

For more great meal planning ideas check out Organized Junkie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Question Tuesday: Carob Vs Chocolate

What's the difference between Carob and Chocolate??

For many of you who don't know what Carob is...don't feel bad. I did really know much about either; just that I have seen it at the bulk barn before and some of my friends use it in their baking instead of chocolate. So we are going to walk through this together. Please be advised that I have never used carbo before in my baking (I have had it before in a cake and it tasted fine...the color was a bit lighter then a chocolate cake) so if you have used it before please feel free to leave some comments on your option of the stuff.

The carob fruit is a dark brown, flattened leathery pod (or legume). These pods have been around for ages as many scholars believe that this is what John the baptist lived off of as it is sometimes referred to as "locust bean".
To make Carob powder (or flour), that looks a lot like cocoa is produced by a continuous process of drying, grinding, and roasting the pods. The resultant flour has a versatile array of uses. It is an incredibly rich food source, and is perhaps the ideal "survival food" since it lasts a long time, requires no special storage conditions, and can be eaten with no preparations. Carob flour contains about 40% natural sugar making it naturally sweet (remember I have not tasted before...this is only what my research is saying). Although carob has a high sugar content it contains 60% fewer calories than chocolate due to it being lower in fat. Carob is caffeine free, a rich source of calcium and potassium, and contains small amounts of iron and some B vitamins.

Carob powder and carob chips can be used whenever a recipe calls for chocolate or cocoa. To replace carob for cocoa, simply use the same amount of carob. To replace chocolate with carob, use approximately three tablespoons of carob powder for each square of chocolate that the recipe calls for.

After all the reading on this stuff I think that I might pick up a small amount the next time I am out at the bulk barn...that is if its not too expensive. One thing to note is that many of the articles I read stated that although there seems to be some healthy benefits that it needs to be consumed in moderation along side a balanced diet, that includes a variety of foods from each of the food groups.

Here are some recipes I found that I will try when I get some of this stuff. If its cheaper then cocoa it may be the new ingredient in my baking. Niki can you help me out with some recipes and maybe the price??

Carob Cocoa

Carob Christmas balls

No bake carob cookies

If you have a question for please email at:

Referenced used for this were

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

Although the calendar is reading November the weather here has been so rainy and mild. The crock pot has been out on the counter as least once a week. I just love how I can throw it all in the pot, leave it, the house smells beautiful and we can enjoy a delicious meal as soon as hubby walks in through the door.

This weeks crock pot creation didn't turn out as I had hoped. I followed the recipe for crock pot chicken and Quino, it turned out sooooo mushy!!! I have never cooked with Quino so I am not sure what it was suppose to turn out like but I am telling you it was like pure mush. If any of you have experience cooking with this grain please help me out!

The new recipe I tried this week was such a hit!!!! This veggie pot pie was the most delicious thing I have tasted.

The best part of this recipe (besides the herb combination being delightful) was the sweet potato topping! Oh how yummy this was. When mixing the topping it was kind of a sticky dough so I just placed it on top of the pie and spread it out (to the best of my ability) over the top.

This is the scrumptious end product. After supper it was rated and place on the Peterson Favorite's. I gave it 5 stars and hubby gave it 4; it would have been a 5 if there was meat in it.

What's cookin in the kitchen this week:

Sunday: who knows...

Monday: Shepard's pie and salad

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday: Something fast in the car

Thursday: Shake and bake pork chops and Twice baked Tex Mex potatoes

Friday: Crock pot pizza

Saturday: Family is visiting!!! Spaghetti and garlic bread.

Head on over to Laura's site to see what others are cookin up this weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

carmel corn

This is a simple Frugal Friday post. A delicious snack of Carmel corn that cost a fortune at the the grocery store can be made very easily at home.

I really love the stuff and was craving it a few years ago when I found the recipe on the Hillbilly house wife web site. It may not be the healthiest snack but we only enjoy it every 6 months or so!! It's great for when you are going to parties or when you are having company!!!

For more frugal ideas head on over to biblical womanhood.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Muffin Magic

I have heard a lot of talk on how great silicone cook wear is for a while now. However whenever I would look at it in the stores it was so expensive I just couldn't justify using it without knowing anyone who really LOVED using it. Well my mind was changed when my friend Niki posted about her experience using ones she had picked up from our local dollar store.

Immediately I needed to get to the dollar store to pick some of these up and try them for my self. I am pretty sure it was probably the next day that I ran out to get some to see for myself if they really worked. I mean for $3.00 I picked up 18 cups. Some stores wanted $8.00 for 6 cups!!!! The next morning (after washing them) I whipped up a batch of my favorite Honey Bran Muffins, lined the tines, scooped in the dough and waited 20 minutes to see how well they worked.

So here are my conclusions:

1. The lining peels off like nothing even when they are hot.

2. Half the muffin isn't left on the lining
3. The muffins are a perfect shape (not like that matters to little ones but to some of us it does)
4. Best of all the pan is soooooo clean!!!! I didn't take a picture because I figured some people may not believe me, may have thought I just took a picture of my clean muffin tin... heheh. For this one you will have to find out yourself.

Also some may be wondering if this is safe to use. If you click on Niki's link there is an article in her post about the safety of using silicone to bake with.

Since I have picked this little guys up we have had a fresh batch of muffins every week. With the no hassle clean up...its a great way to start my day!!!

Head on over to rocks in my dryer to see whats working for other people

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question Tuesday

~ Can Canada's Food Guide be used for weight loss??~

What a great question!!! You see Canada's Food Guide defines and promotes healthy eating for Canadians. It describes what amount of food individuals need and what type of food is essential for a healthy eating pattern.

Healthy Eating Pattern is what I would like to stress here. You see this NO DIETING picture is the same as a little pin I wear on my jacket. It attracts a lot of attention from people especially when they know that I am a Dietitian. You see as a Dietitian we stress healthy eating habits because we see from a lot of clients, family members and friends that fad dieting, which offers a glorious ending, doesn't end in long term weight management. Here is just a short of list of why diet's don't work

  • They are hard to follow over the long term and they do not teach us how to change our eating patterns.
  • They are nutritionally unbalanced usually leaving out one or more of the food groups.
  • The weight that was lost from the diet is quickly regained.
  • Decreases metabolism making it easier to gain weight.
  • Fosters poor eating habits which lead to periods of starving and binging.
  • Diets decrease your self-esteem when the weight is re-gained and you feel like you have failed.
Now that I have quickly covered why diets aren't good for you lets start looking at what you can do to maintain a healthy weight for your body type. Before we look at Canada's Food Guide which is the best model for a healthy lifestyle lets take a glace at Body Mass Index (BMI). In basic terms your BMI, lets you know if your weight is in a healthy weight range for your height. Using this calculator you can determine first if you need to drop some pounds to be in a more healthy weight range. Now that you have your BMI lets get started on a more healthy life style.

Meet the new Food Guide...OK so its not that new. This food guide was released February 2007 after being worked on for several years by many different individuals. It contains more information than before to help Canadians make wise choices about the food they eat and how to stay healthy.

The beautiful food rainbow is still seen in the newer food guide. With each arc representing a different food group. The emphasis of the food guide is lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains while limiting foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt.

The guide is now more specific to gender and age. Now you can simply look up how many servings you should be consuming each day. It may seem like a lot but that is where the middle section or portions comes in. You know that when we look at 7-8 grains a day we think "oh my I am going to gain so much weight eating that"; but the other morning I went to grab a bagel and noticed that the label was for 1/2 the bagel which was equal to 2 servings. Meaning if I would have eaten the whole bagel I would have consumed 4 servings just for breakfast.

This should help show you what a serving is. Also this is a good list of portions you should be consuming. If you are trying to loose weight you could cut back on the number of servings, say if the food guide recommends 8 then you could eat 6 or even 7 servings. Here are three important things you can do to start your healthy life style according to Canada's Food Guide

1. Portion your food. Actually eat the serving sizes recommended. To do this in our house I have what I call the magic ladle. Its a scoop that is 1/2 cup measure. That way when I am serving our mashed potatoes, rice or vegetables I know that we are getting the right serving amount. That way if I need to give hubby two servings he is getting the right portion and not too much.

2. Make wise choices: This food guide gives examples of foods you should consume that are the best foods with in their food group. For example consume one dark green and one orange vegetable every day.

3. Satisfy your thirst with water: This is one category where many people could cut back on calories. So many people consume large amounts of pop and juice. This has what we call lots of empty calories. Meaning they are adding to your daily diet but they don't help you nutritionally. Next time you are thirsty go for a glass of water instead of the soda or juice and save yourself those calories.

The guide provides lots of information to help us Canada's live healthier life styles for example limit fats, sugar, salt, and increase physical activity. The Food Guide is filled with so much helpful information to get you started on a healthier life style. Once you begin to recognize what a proper serving is and begin to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk products and leaner cuts of meat you are on your way to becoming a healthier family.

Another way if you want to get the members in your family eating according to the food guide have them do this fun activity of printing out their own personalized food guide. This has been helpful for us to have these posted up in the cupboards. That way we can make sure we get our recommended servings with the foods we enjoy.

If you want to get started teaching your family how to eat healthier and you are the main cook I would encourage you to read this post on menu planning and begin planning your family's meals according the plate description.

If you have a nutrition question please email me at:

Also if you feel like you would like me to help you get started on a healthier eating plan email me, I would love to help !!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

Last weeks menu went very well. The new recipe from last week was winter vegetable casserole. I found this recipe in a vegetarian cook book that hubby gave me years ago. The winter vegetables I choose (because they were on hand) was potato, squash, and carrots. The recipe called for pumpkin and turnip but I didn't have these. You parboil the peeled and chucked vegetables for ~8 minutes; while they are cookin you mix up a batch of basic white sauce when the sauce starts getting thick you add nutmeg. Dump the sauce over the vegetables and top with crushed bread crumbs mixed with walnuts or pecans. Since I have a large box of bran flakes I used them instead. OH this tasted very yummy.

Also another recipe I tried just last night was home made donair sauce. I got the recipe from Niki; but when it wasn't getting fluffy I started searching the net quickly to find some tips. Here are some recipes and tips that I found for next time. I learned that the less you stir the better (I over beat mine) because it comes out thicker.

Oh and one last thing about last week. I used my slow cooker to make beef stew and it turned out delicious!!!

What's cookin in the kitchen

Sunday: Left over pizza, garlic fingers and donair sauce

Monday: Veggie Pot pie

Tuesday: Sweet and Sour sausages, rice and frozen veggies

Wednesday: Supper in the car

Thursday: Crock pot Chicken and Quino

Friday: Pizza Braid with carrot sticks

Saturday: ?? Leftovers ??

For more meal plans head on over to organized junkie

Friday, November 7, 2008

Frugal Friday

After watching my mother- in- law whip up a pair of leg warmers for the babe in seconds I figured that I could probably start learning how to sew as well. So I made a "play date" with my cousin for our babes to play and asked if she could teach me how to sew. She was more then will to help me out. So I sent her along directions for the two projects I wanted to do. The first one was for leg warmers since I still had a couple of pairs of socks to do and the second set of directions was for these lovely hand bags!!

Thats right readers these hand bags were made from old T-shirts. Most often it turns out whenever I attend events I am usually left with an over sized T-shirt that I can only wear when 9 months pregnant. Some of these T-shirts are really nice and I just find that they sit in the closet or get used as rags. It wasn't until one day my good friend Laura told me that she had been making re usable grocery bags out of old T-shirts with a quick search on google I found the directions and it became my number 2 sewing project. Here is how they turned out.

They can be used at the grocery store to put your groceries in. One thing they suggest in the directions is not loading them up with really heavy stuff like jugs of milk.

With the remaining scraps from the sleeves I put in a inside pocket on the inside back of the bag. This will be useful to put my grocery list, pen, calculator or anything else I may need to take to the store.

These bags may also be used for a diaper bag for when I am just running some quick errands. All my belongs plus some diapers (its big enough for the cloth diapers) and wipes can be placed in here. I also made this beautiful purple bag out of my favorite ZOOM T-shirt. I will be using this one as a purse as I made the handles a little larger to put over my shoulder.

After my first sewing day (2 T shirt bags and 2 pairs of leg warmers) I feel very accomplished! Because T shirts can be picked up quite inexpensively I think that these will be come my new gifts. Little baby or child size shirts also work great for lunch bags and gift bags.

OH now I need to get my self a sewing machine! heheh... For more frugal ideas check out Biblical Womanhood

A special thank you to my wonderful guest model Rebecca

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Apple Treats

With the abundance of apples we still have from all our picking adventures I decided the other day that I need to start making more things. Apple butter was one recipe that I had not yet tried so I thought I would give it a go. Following a simple recipe I placed the peeled, cored and sliced apples into my crock pot to bake for the day. I don't really know what apple butter is suppose to taste like; it's a bit sweet but I think that it will be delicious on fresh biscuits.

This week I had to make snack for the Pregnancy Resource Center so with lots of pureed pumpkin in my fridge, that hadn't made it to the freezer yet, I decided to make Niki's pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. I totally forgot until reading the recipe that it calls for 1/2 cup of apple butter (pretty sure apple sauce can be used as well).

The remains of the apples (peels, cores and seeds) were placed into a large pot to be boiled down for the juice. Instead of canning the juice this time I put it into the crock pot with some spices to make my first batch of apple cider.

Hot Apple Cider

8 cups apple juice or apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
2 allspice berries
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 orange peel, cut into strips
1/2 lemon peel, cut into strips

1. Pour apple juice into a large pot or crock pot.
2. Place spice into pot along with orange and lemon peels.
3. If cooking on the stove top bring to a boil and then reduce heat, or put into a crock pot on low or warm, to low to keep drink warm. If you are making in the crock pot, put on high for 2 hours to allow it to get hot. Then reduce heat to warm or low.

This recipe fills your house with a delicious aroma! Its so nice to be able to enjoy a hot drink on these cold nights.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

50 lbs of squash

This is an annual harvest time routine. Because we love squash this is the best time of year to get it and of course in bulk means even more savings. This bag cost us $16.99 at a local store that's 0.34 cents a pound!

Hubby and I have been doing this for a couple of years now so we got the hang of it down pretty good. It was such a blessing this year to have two extra sets of hands around to help out. First what we do is cut the squash in half, then the half's in half, and finally the quarters into 3rds. Did you follow all that! hahah

"Where are you Genieve??"

So what we are left with is a lot of little sections of squash. This makes it easy to scoop out the middle. That way we can hold the piece like a pistol when we are peeling it.

After the squash is peeled we chop it into chunks and place it into freezer bags. Then hubby takes this neon green straw that we have and sucks the air out of the baggies.

The assistant then uses a tie to seal the bags! When we have all the bags sealed they are taken down to the deep freeze to be stored until we need them. This is no easy job to do. Its one that makes your hands sore, tried and orange. But we did have fun...Right guys??

You just got to think of how pleasant the squash will be when you are enjoying it out of season. I will enjoy it even more when I know I only paid 34 cents/ pound!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Question Tuesday

Due to no time, a sick husband, lots of house work, cooking, errands, and a tired and cranky babe; question Tuesday will be postponed until next week. Thanks for everyone who is leaving me questions. I am really enjoying doing the research to find your answers. I am sorry for the inconvenience but please check back next Tuesday to find out about Canada's Food Guide and weight loss.

If you have any question please contact me at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monday Meal Plan

Another Monday is here and WOW is it getting colder out side. NO more joking around we are officially in soup, stew, roast and crock pot mode.

Last weeks meal plan went well. We started the week off with a birthday party for our friend Weiwei. I decided to make spaghetti for this occasion.

The one thing I haven't conquered yet is portions for pasta. I ended up cooking so much pasta that our meal plan last week was all centered around spaghetti. Hubby had it every day for lunch and we had spaghetti pizza twice for supper.

The new recipe for the week was Mexican Chicken Soup.

After a few adjustments (like using taco beef instead of chicken and hot salsa when I thought it was mild) it was a great tasting chip dip! hehehe it was way to spicy to eat as soup so we got out the bag to taco chips and used it as a chip dip. Needless to say we have lots of 1 cup portions frozen in the freezer. I will try the recipe again following it to a tea!

This weeks menu

Sunday: Pot luck (bringing baked beans, squash bars and homemade bread)

Monday: Pork chops and winter vegetable bake

Tuesday: Mexican Rice with taco chips

Wednesday: Eat on the run. Left over Mexican Rice

Thursday: Wheat berry soup with Jiffy Biscuits

Friday: Sausages, Mashed potatoes, Squash, fiddle heads

Saturday: Whatever we can find.

For more great meal ideas check out organized junkie
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