My Kids Ate Seafood And Didn't Even Know It!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hubs was in the mood for some cheese and crackers yesterday, and was browsing around for a cheese ball recipe. He found one that looked interesting - Curried Cheese Ball. But when we read through the ingredients, we didn't have half the stuff, so we had to nix it. I told him I'd find one online, and while browsing, I ran across a recipe for a hot crab dip. YUM! Just the thing to hit the spot. It was easy, and I had everything on-hand already.

I bought a couple of cans of crab meat at Costco awhile back, and I thought this would be a great recipe to try them in! All I had to do was open the can and rinse/drain the crab meat, then use it as directed in the recipe. It took about 5 minutes to put everything together, and just a few minutes to heat it up on the stove.

The kids LOVED it! Of course, I didn't tell them there was crab in it. They just thought they were dipping their crackers into melted cream cheese. It didn't have a very strong seafood or crab flavor, and the canned crab meat was in very small chunks, so they had no idea crab was involved.

We served it with some of the bagel crisps we got for free at Smith's this last week, but the kids preferred theirs with the multi-grain tortilla chips from Costco (we have yet to find anything that those chips don't taste good with). When the bagel crisps ran out, we switched to pita chips, and they were great too!

Hot Crab Dip, from the Food Network Kitchen

Who Turned Out the Lights?!?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's that time of the year again when bad weather hits and hits hard. Snow and ice can wreck major havok on power supply lines, and it's not uncommon to experience a power outage at least once during the course of the winter. Are you prepared? Do you know what to do or not do during a power outage? Do you have your power company's phone number written or recorded somewhere in case you need to alert them to a power outage? Do you have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio so you can get weather updates and other information even when the power is out?

To help make sure you're ready, here's a great info sheet from the American Red Cross - "Power Outage Checklist"

Taco Pizza

This one was a big hit at our house last night! All of the ingredients were already onhand, and it came together fast, which is always a bonus after a long day of chores on Saturday.

Taco Pizza, a la Real Mom Kitchen

And, if you haven't guessed from the photos this last week, photography is NOT one of my natural talents...

And no, the burn marks on the laminate backsplash are NOT mine...they were already there when we bought the house...that's not to say that I haven't been known to totally burn a dinner now and then, 'cuz I certainly have, and when I botch a dinner, I usually botch it BIG! ;)

We have another keeper! (Cowboy Dinner)

Friday, January 28, 2011

I saw this recipe for Cowboy Dinner on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and since I didn't have anything else planned for dinner last night, I thought we'd give it a try.

It was terrific and it is definitely a keeper!

And I give it an A+ for food-storage-friendliness (yeah, I'm not sure that's really a word)...What I'm trying to say is that I was able to make the recipe with everything from food storage or regular pantry/frig staples that I always keep onhand.

What I'm Buying - Smith's 1/28 (Game Day Mega Event, Round 3)

So, you'll never guess where I went this pick up a few things they restocked overnight. ;)

(4) Finish dishwasher gelpacs, on sale 3.49 (2.99 after promo, .74 after coupon)
(3) Ken's salad dressing, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(3) Jello pudding/gelatin, on sale 1.19 (.69 after promo, .51 after coupon)

I used (4) 2.25/1 coupons for the dishwasher detergent [see SS-1/2], (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the salad dressing [see SS-1/9], (1) 1.00/1 hang tag coupon from the bottle of Poppy Seed Lite dressing, and (1) .55/3 printable coupon for the Jello [see GroupA at GrocerySmarts].

Total: $6.85

I am having WAY too much fun with this sale! But I'm done now for this week, I promise. ;)

What I'm Buying - Smith's 1/27 (Game Day Mega Event, Round 2)

Thursday, January 27, 2011
There are a TON of items that are part of the Game Day Mega Event this week, many more than what Smith's could put in just one ad. The great folks at have scoured the store for all the extra deals. If you have already looked through the Smith's list this week, you may want to take a second look - they have added a whole bunch of additional deals! Here are some examples:

(2) Advil 24ct gelcaps, on sale 3.00 (2.50 after promo, .50 after coupon)
(1) Dial Complete 32oz soap refill, on sale 3.00 (2.50 after promo)
(1) French's Dijon mustard, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(1) French's Honey Mustard dipping sauce, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(1) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, on sale 1.79 (1.29 after promo, .69 after coupon)
(4) Jello pudding, on sale 1.19 (.69 after promo, .42 after coupon)
(6) Jello gelatin, on sale 1.19 (.69 after promo, .42 after coupon)
(2) Ken's salad dressing, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(4) Orville Redenbacher popcorn, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .99 after coupon)
(4) Philadelphia cream cheese, on sale 1.49 (.99 after promo, .74 after coupon)
(4) Pepsi product 2-liters, on sale 1.39 (.89 after promo)
(3) Wonder bagels, on sale 1.50 [not part of the Mega Event]

You can find all of the coupon info on the list at GrocerySmarts. The only thing that wasn't on the list was coupons for .55/2 for the Jello that I found on a display at the end of the Jello aisle. So I used those instead of the .55/3 coupons from GroupA.

There were a few other things on my list, but the store was out (like the Finish dishwashing tabs for .74, or the Ranch flavor of Ken's dressing).

I also had a 1.00 coupon from Cellfire that came off my order (was from a promo they did this afternoon).

Total: $26.15

The 15-Minute 72-Hour Kit - Handout

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
So, I'm a little late getting to the party on this one...but I have finally figured out how to use Google Docs to upload a file and make it available to share (since I haven't convinced the hubs to get our server back up and running since the move). is the handout I put together for the 15-Minute 72-Hour Kit class that I did last fall.

Link to handout

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this posted. I'm such a slacker! ;)

If you didn't catch the original post on this from March 2010, you can find it HERE (includes pictures of the kit I put together).

What I'm Buying - Fresh Market 1/26

Stopped by to grab a few good deals at Fresh Market:

(8) Farmland sausage links, on sale 1.19 (.69 after coupon)
(3) A&W soda 12pk, on sale 3.00 (2.00 after coupon)
(1) Smuckers grape jam, on sale 1.50 (.99 after coupon)
(1) Jif peanut butter, on sale 1.50 (.99 after coupon)
(2) Bayer aspirin, on sale 2.00 (1.00 after coupon)
(2) Western Family dozen eggs, 1.09 (.79 after coupon)

The soda is 3 for $9 with in-ad coupon, but then the 12pks had 1.00/1 peelie coupons on them as well, making them 2.00 each! The eggs also required an in-ad coupon (limit 2).

I used (3) 1.00/1 peelies for the soda, (4) 1.00/2 coupons for the sausage [see SS-1/9] and (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the aspirin [see SS-1/2].

The jam and peanut butter were in-store coupons that they send to your email once a week when you sign up (limit 1 each).

Total: $18.00

***NOTE: If you do the soda deal, make SURE you watch the register when they ring up the coupon - mine actually ADDED $2 instead of taking off the $2.

What I'm Buying - Smith's 1/26 (Game Day Mega Event)

It's another Mega Event sale at Smith's Food & Drug, just in time for the Super Bowl!

Here's what I picked up:

(6) Pace salsa, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, 1.29 after coupon)
(2) Hormel ChiliMasters chili, on sale 1.29 (.79 after promo, .04 after coupon)
(6) Hormel chili, on sale 1.29 (.79 after promo, .52 after coupon)
(12) Hunt's canned tomatoes, on sale .98 (.48 after promo, .33 after coupon)
(20) Kraft Easy Mac cups, on sale .99 (.49 after promo)
(2) Kraft Singles cheese, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .49 after coupon)
(2) Silk Pure Almond milk, on sale 3.29 (2.79 after promo, 1.79 after coupon)
(2) Oscar Mayer Lunchables subs, clearaned to .99
(1) Wonder bagels, on sale 1.50
(1) Hillshire Farm Deli Select lunch meat, clearanced to 1.20
(2) New York bagel crisps, 2.99 (FREE after coupon)

All of the items except the bottom four are part of the Mega Event.

I used (3) .40/2 coupons for the salsa [see SS-12/5], (2) .75/1 coupons for the ChiliMasters chili [coupon HERE], (2) .50/2 coupons for the chili [coupon HERE], (4) .45/3 coupons for the tomatoes [see SS-1/23], (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the cheese [coupon HERE], (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the almond milk [see SS-1/16], and (2) Up to 3.99 Off coupons for the New York crisps [coupon no longer available].

I then got (5) $5.00 off credits for the Mega Event items (50 items total).

Total: $35.71

Curry Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

[Sorry for the unappetizing picture...]

Excellent easy Sunday dinner - we used the leftovers from the roast chicken on Friday.

I used a frozen pie crust dough instead of the puff pastry from the recipe.

It was not a very strong curry taste, but it was very good - just a little twist on the regular pot pie cream sauce. And I was very pleasantly surprised, this was not runny at all (I've made some runny pot pies in the past...).

Curry Chicken Pot Pie, à la Alton Brown

Why has no one taught me this before?!?

Monday, January 24, 2011
How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

YouTube video HERE


Just to prove...

Saturday, January 22, 2011
...that I really did make them, here they are (from tonight's dinner):

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos!

What I'm Buying - Maceys 1/20

Friday, January 21, 2011
Macey's has a great deal on Malt-O-Meal cereal this week. The giant size bags are on sale for 2.50 each! That's a great deal on it's own (they averaged about 42oz each, which is almost 3 times the size of the GM or Kellogg's cereal that I get for around 1.00/box) - but they are an even better deal when paired with the 2.00/2 coupon from the January 2nd SmartSource coupon insert!!!

(8) bags MOM cereal, on sale 2.50 (1.50 after coupon)
(2) bags Corn Pops, 2.00 (these are to try THIS recipe)
(2) Zesta saltine crackers, on sale 1.79 (1.29 after coupon)
(2) bunches bananas, .59/lb
(1) bag Dole spinach, on sale 1.99
(3) heads green leaf lettuce, on sale .79 ea
(8) roma tomatoes, on sale .79/lb

I used (4) 2.00/2 coupons for the cereal (see SS-1/2) and (1) 1.00/2 coupon for the crackers (see RP-12/12).

Total: $29.34

What I'm Buying - Harmons Case Lot Sale 1/20

Just a quick stop at Harmon's yesterday. I originally went just for the tomato sauce, but then picked up the SpaghettiOs (even though they aren't really a 5-star price) because we are out, and have been out for a few weeks now.

(1) case WF tomato sauce (48), on sale 12.00
(1) case Campbell's SpaghettiOs (24), on sale 14.16
(4) WF mushrooms stems & pieces, on sale .50

I didn't use any coupons.

Total: $29.00

Easy Roast Chicken & Vegetables

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another casualty of the invasion of the frozen chicken breasts last week was a whole fryer chicken that had to come out of the freezer to make room.

I used to be so intimidated by these things - we never had roast chicken when I was growing up, and I had no idea how to cook it. But I have some very yummy, very easy ways to prepare a great roast chicken, and now I know there is nothing to be afraid of.

Here's the basic recipe I used last night:

Seriously Basic Roasted Chicken, a la Jessica Seinfeld

I changed my veggies up, because my hubs LOVES roasted sweet potatoes and we had some that needed to be used. So I ended up with a pound of carrots and two very large sweet potatoes.

Oh, and I used an orange instead of lemon inside the chicken because, well, I didn't have a lemon! And I also added thyme on my chicken and sprinkled a little over the vegetables as well.

And here's another one that I have tried and REALLY like (it just takes a little bit longer because of the glaze):

Honey Roast Chicken, a la Mel's Kitchen Cafe

The two tips I've learned for roasting a chicken? Tie the legs with kitchen twine, and bend the wings back on themselves so they fit under the neck opening and therefore won't burn.

Oh, and if you don't have a probe thermometer/timer, GO GET ONE!!! They are about $15-$25 and are SOOOO very worth it. Put the thermometer end in the bird (thickest part of thigh or breast, but not near bone), put the bird in the oven, plug thermometer end into timer/alarm, set the temperature you want the alarm to sound at, and then sit back and relax until it beeps! No more guessing on whether it is fully cooked or not, and no more surprise "pink" insides...

I have this one from Polder, and love it! I have seen similar ones at Walmart starting at around $15.

What To Do With Leftover Ham?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I snagged a 10lb ham around Christmas time, thinking we might need it for our big family meal, but we never ended up using it so it went into the freezer.

Until the frozen chicken deals came along, and then it had to come out to make room for the chicken!

So I cooked up the ham a few nights ago, but 10lbs of ham is just a teeny bit more than what two adults and two little kids can handle in one meal, so there were tons of leftovers!

Here's one of the meals we have had to use up some of that ham:

Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Crescent Braid

It was delicious!

Putting Up Pork

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I haven't been feeling so great the last few days - we've had illness spreading through our family since Christmas and just can't seem to shake it. Although what I really wanted to spend my afternoon doing was sleeping, the pork just couldn't wait. So, from my 8 pork sirloin roasts from Ream's last week, here's what I got:

16 pints of canned pork + 1 leftover that wouldn't fit in the canner and was eaten for dinner last night

I canned the pork just like I do for chicken - raw pack.

Take your pork and cut into chunks (mine were about 1-2 inches). Pack it into clean sterilized jars. Add 1/4 tsp salt. Wipe rims; add warmed lids and then seal with rings. Place into pressure canner and process for 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.

You can cook your pork first if you'd like. If you do, you'll fit slightly more pork into each jar (because meat shrinks when it is cooked). But you'll also need to fill the jars with broth or hot water.

If you choose to go the raw pack route, don't add any liquid to your jars. The meat will create it's own broth right in the jar.

I took about 7 of the pints and added Montreal Steak Seasoning to it instead of salt, just to try. We'll see how they turned out.

I now have a bit of shredded pork in my food storage, ready to be used in dinners such as pork burritos/tacos, Cafe Rio pork salads, BBQ pork sandwiches, etc.

More Homemade Butter! (and pictures, too)

Friday, January 14, 2011
Alright, here's the skinny on the butter-making. The basic instructions? Take your cream and whip (churn) it until you can no longer do so. That's it. ;)

Start with this:

(I had actually whipped this for about a minute before I stopped to take a picture)

You'll get to what they call the soft-peak stage:

Then the stiff-peak stage:

You'll go through those first steps quite quickly. Just keep whipping...

Then the cream will start to turn from white to a pale yellow:

It will start to look like really thick whipped cream and will start to cling thickly to the sides of your bowl:

Keep going. You might want to stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides of your bowl. You'll start to see it turn a little grainy:

...and get grainier:

...and grainier. And you'll start to see a little bit of "shine" on the top - it will begin to look "wet":

(you can sortof see little spots of "shine" in the picture - that is the liquid being squeezed out as the fats and proteins coagulate)

It will start to look almost like bread crumbs or when you cut in butter to a crumb topping:

At this point you'll want to turn your machine down a bit (I turned mine down from 10 to about 7 or 6) because it will start to spit liquid at you. [These last steps happen very quickly, and you'll go from the crumb topping look to a big chunk of butter in a puddle of buttermilk in about 5 seconds, literally. If you're machine is still zipping away at highest speed, you'll slosh buttermilk all over the kitchen before you have time to turn it off.]

You'll start to see more and more liquid accumulate on the top:

Keep going for another minute or two, at a medium speed, and watch carefully because in a matter of about 5 seconds it will go from the picture above, to THIS:

It will clump up all together in your whip attachment and you wont be able to whip it any longer. You're now done (with the churning part, that is)!

You can now either pour off the buttermilk and save it (think cornbread, buttermilk pancakes, etc.) or you can just pour it down the drain.

With clean hands, press all of the butter solids into a ball. Squeeze it a little to get more buttermilk to drain out.

You can put it in a container in the refrigerator at this point, but I've read that it can still have buttermilk in it and that can tend to make it go rancid, so many places suggested to wash it.

I filled my mixed bowl with cold water (if you use warm you'll melt the butter) and then kneaded it a few times under the water. Pour off the water, and repeat one more time, or until you feel like you've gotten most of the buttermilk out.

You'll then end up with this:

I started with 2.5 pints of whipping cream, and ended up with 11.2 ounces of butter and just under 2 cups of buttermilk.

The buttermilk will be used in some cornbread this weekend, and some of the butter was used tonight for this:

(Pizza dough and breadstick recipe HERE)

(Pizza sauce recipe HERE)

More Butter!

I made more butter on Wednesday. I had a ton of leftover whipping cream from Christmas that had to be used before going bad. I even remembered to get my camera out and take pictures along the way so you could see the various stages in case you want to try this yourself!

Only, I haven't had a chance to prep the pictures and write the post yet. Check back later tonight when I will hopefully have the full post up with pictures.

Did I mention that although I managed to churn my own butter that morning, by dinnertime I had apparently completely forgotten how to cook and burned simple breaded Chicken Parmesan? does THAT happen? ;)

What I'm Buying - Ream's 1/13

Thursday, January 13, 2011
I stopped by Ream's tonight to pick up some of their pork sirloin roast at 1.49/lb. I'm going to try canning it. I think I'll do some just plain, and then I think I'll make pulled pork (either a Cafe Rio or Kahlua pork) and see how it does.

While there, I picked up a couple quick produce items:

(4) pkg pork sirloin roast, abt 4.25lb each, on sale 1.49/lb
(6) leeks, on sale .99/lb
(2) heads green leaf lettuce, on sale .99/lb
(4) green peppers, on sale .49 ea

Total: $31.37

My new favorite food storage meal!

Monday, January 10, 2011
I was pondering what to make for dinner the other night, and I remembered running across this recipe on another blog, so I thought I would try it out.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

They were SO easy to make, and very quick! I would have taken a picture to share with you, but they were gone by the time I could get the camera out. (But there is a great picture at the link above.) Seriously - the recipe made a tray of about 20, and I thought there was no way we would eat all of them. Fast-forward about 25 minutes later and they were ALL gone - every last one!

I used regular salsa (instead of green salsa) because that's what I already had open in the fridge. And I used a Colby Jack cheese instead of Peppercorn because, again, that's what I already had in the fridge. I think they turned out fabulous, even with the modifications.

I also used a jar of my canned chicken, which saved quite a bit of time because it is already pre-cooked. I had chopped green onions in the freezer already, and I keep one of the big jars of minced garlic (from Costco) in my fridge, so I didn't have to buy anything special for this recipe.

I served them with extra salsa and sour cream for dipping - yum!

This one is definitely going in my permanent recipe binder.

[My all-time favorite incarnation of the taquito is the authentic "flautas de papa" - taquitos filled with mashed potatoes, then fried in manteca and covered with a little shredded lettuce, some queso fresco and some crema - talk about died and gone to heaven! Yup, THOSE are MY comfort food! *swoon*]

Vacuum Packaging for Food Storage

Saturday, January 8, 2011
I was able to find some Hershey's Kisses last week for 50% off, plus I had coupons for 1.00/2, so I got the bags for about .75 each. I'm not a big chocolate eater - I'm allergic to dairy and overly sensitive to caffeine. But sometimes you just gotta have chocolate, and nothing else will do! So I like to grab a few bags to have around. But if you've ever stored chocolate for longer than a month (am I the only weird one who has uneaten chocolate sitting around my house?) you know it starts to go brittle and dry out, and gets that lovely white color to it. Yuck! What's a girl to do?

FoodSaver to the rescue!! I take some of my quart canning jars and use the jar sealer attachment for my FoodSaver to vacuum-seal my chocolate. Then I stick the jars on my shelf and open one periodically throughout the year when the urge for chocolate strikes, or when I need some for a recipe.

I have also found the jar sealer to be very useful for sealing up jars of baking chips and brown sugar. I bought a bunch of baking chips when they went on sale right before Thanksgiving, and also picked up several packages of brown sugar during those same sales.

So, since I was amassing quite the collection of chocolates and chips and sugar, I knew it was time to get them out of their packages and into some longer-term storage solutions. Here are the results:

Each quart jar holds:
(2) bags baking chips
or (2) bags Hershey's Kisses
or just under (1) 2lb bag of brown sugar

I ended up sealing about 12 lbs of brown sugar (some of it in the tall canister), 8 jars of candy, and 4 jars of baking chips, along with a large canister of baking chips and 5 vacuum bags of baking chips (I ran out of jars). Oh, and I also took 2 bags of caramels that I bought before Thanksgiving and vacuum-sealed them in a bag so they will stay fresher longer until I need them.

[I bought the FoodSaver, used, on eBay in 2009, as well as the jar attachment.]

Food Storage Shelves are Done!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Did I mention that we finally finished putting away all of the food storage a few weeks ago? It took forever, but we finally have everything out of boxes and bags and up on the shelves. (Except for the pasta, which is in plastic bins - I think I'm going to put it into #10 cans the next time I get a chance to rent a portable canner.) Thank goodness!!! It's definitely a lot easier to find stuff down there now, and I can actually see what we have. ;)

I put a thermometer down there yesterday and it says we're at about 48F - AWESOME!!! I've moved our potatoes and extra fruit down there so they will keep longer than in the upstairs pantry (at normal room temperature).

What I'm Buying - Ream's 1/5

Thursday, January 6, 2011
My last stop on Wednesday was to Ream's. They had some great prices on some great produce!

Here's what I picked up:

(2) 1lb baby carrots, on sale .98
(2) WF yogurt, on sale .33
(2) pkg fresh boneless skinless chicken breast, on sale 1.39/lb
(1) bunch bananas, .59/lb
(2) heads broccoli, on sale .99/lb
(3) heads green leaf lettuce, on sale .78 ea
(14) roma tomatoes, on sale .69/lb

No coupons used.

Total: $17.07

What I'm Buying - Maceys 1/5

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Great deal on General Mills products this week at Maceys! Buy 10 participating items and save $5 with the in-ad store coupon. Combine this with manufacturer coupons for even more savings! Check the list at for more details.

Here's what I picked up this morning:

(8) Yoplait Gogurts, on sale 1.69 (1.19 after store coupon, .84 after manufacturer coupon)
(2) Yoplait Splitz, rang up 2.49 GRRR!!!(supposed to be 1.69 on sale, 1.19 after store coupon, .69 after manufacturer coupon)

I used (4) .75/2 coupons for the Gogurts [see GeneralMills-1/2] and (2) .50/1 coupons for the Splitz [see GeneralMills-1/2].

Total: $10.06

It SHOULD have been $8.41...but at this point, since Maceys is a 20-minute drive away, it's not worth it to go back and ask for the $1.65...

What I'm Buying - Fresh Market 1/5

Associated Food Stores are running killer deals on boneless skinless chicken breasts this week!

Because I planned to put the chicken in the freezer for later meal use (as opposed to canning it), I wanted to get the chicken breasts that were already frozen. So Fresh Market was the place for me.

This is what I got:

(3) 10lb boxes IQF boneless skinless chicken breast, on sale 13.90 each (that's 1.39/lb)

No coupons used.

Total: $42.95

Ream's has boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.39 this week as well, fresh, in the SuperSaver packs. Or you can pick up a 40lb box (fresh, not frozen) for $54.00 - that's $1.35/lb!

Macey's has 20lb boxes of IQF boneless skinless breasts for $1.49/lb.

New cannery prices for 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011
The Home Storage Centers (LDS Canneries) have updated their prices for 2011. You can get the new price sheet at