Family Annual Beach Trip Time

We are so excited that it is time for our beach trip! All sixteen of us stay in one house for one week. When some of you hear this, it you may want to bring ear plugs and have a room with a lock on it. But for us, we love it! Four of our 8 grandchildren are 4 and under and the other four are teenagers so we may need those ear plugs but we LOVE IT!. 🙂

Before we head out I make more list and menus than any person should but I don’t like to forget anything. This is my first grocery list that will be added to several times:

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I put everything on my list and even the store that I will buy it at. Today I plan to make three different kinds of cookies to take with us. It is a busy but fun time for me because I like seeing everyone enjoy the foods I bring.

The burgers and flank steak are already made and in the freezer but there is a lot more to do before we leave. It is all worth it when you have these sweet faces smiling back at you:

And the older ones:

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The older ones may act “cool” but they still love the beach fairy and the food!

I will post more about our trip later and all the shenanigans……

 

……..to be continued

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Flower Planting Part 2

IMG_1042Here is an update on the flowers that we planted a few weeks ago. These pictures will show you how much your plants can grow in a short time. This is when we first planted our pots.

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This is 3 weeks later. Look at how much they have grown:

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These were planted 2 week

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All they require is water and sunshine!

Flower Pot Planting

Spring is in the air!! I love it when spring comes around and everything is “new” and “fresh”. All the trees are blooming with bright green leaves, the flowers are all starting to bloom with beautiful colors and the weather is beginning to warm up!! All of the cold harsh winter has disappeared, people are outside, children are outside playing in their yards, dogs are barking and fireflies are showing up, who could want more? New life has begun!

I love to plant things and watch them grow. I think it is in my genes. My dad loved to plant gardens and I loved to help him. My mom loved to plant flowers too so I got it from both sides!

Today, I want to show you how I do my flower pots. I am adding two videos to show you what type of pots to use and what to do with them.

And if your pot already has a hole in the bottom:

When choosing your plants make sure to check and see if the plant you like takes full sun or shade. Then think about where you are placing the flower pots. You don’t want to have plants that require full sun that you plan to put on a covered porch. We decided on full sun plants.

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I buy plants at the farmers market, Lowe’s and other little pop up markets around town. This year I have done several pots. I made 2 large pots for my daughter, a few smaller one and a couple medium size ones.

First, I fill the pots with good dirt almost to the top of the planter.

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Then I place my plants in the pot to try and get some style in what I want. I leave them in their little pots so I can move them if I choose to… I move them a lot.

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When I have it the way I like it I remove the pots and fill in the space around the plant with dirt.

These planter were just done and I will post pictures again in a few weeks of them. You will be amazed at how much they will grow and fill in.

 

You do have to water your plants daily if they are in the sun. I also Miracle Grow once a week in the beginning. Miracle Grow really helps your flowers grow to their full potential. I don’t put Miracle Grow on my tomatoes or herb. I have a organic fertilizer that deer hate for those.

With summer vacations coming up you can have a friend water your flowers or even set up a sprinkler with a timer to water hose that waters the plants when you are out of town.

Tip:

Terr-cotta pots require even more water because the pot itself absorbs the water too and the plant doesn’t get all that you give it.

Happy Planting!

 

Getting Dinner On The Table

Getting dinner on the table seems to be a difficult thing to do these days. We are all so busy with work, kids, kids sports and activities, extended family and the list could go on!

Since I enjoy cooking and planning meals it usually comes easy to me but on occasion I have “those” weeks too.

Today I want to share with you how I plan my menus for the week in hopes that it helps you get your dinner on the table. I don’t plan my menu by coupons or sales so if you are one of those who does, you may not care for my planning style.

First, I look at Pinterest to see if there is anything that strikes my fancy, then magazines and recipes that people have told me about.

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I make my list of 5-6 entrees that look good to me. I hand write my list on a full sheet of paper.

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After making my menu, on that same sheet of paper, I list MEATS, FRESH, DRY, DAIRY, FROZEN, CANNED and OTHER. From there I go through the recipes and see what I have and don’t have in my pantry of fridge.

I make a full list of everything I need by listing each item in the columns I had already written out on my paper. If there is anything like flowers, place mats etc. I write it at the top of my sheet to keep it in front of me. Sometimes I go to two store and sometimes three. Depending on what I am doing that week and how many people I am cooking for. Going back to my list I write an initial or the store name beside the item. Now I am ready to shop!

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Sometimes I go to the store and forget my list which turns out to be a bummer!!! My lesson in that has taught me to take a picture with my phone of the list when I write it. This way I always have my list in front of me.

When dinner time rolls around I am prepared and ready! This makes dinner so easy! Always having a plan in place makes life better! It doesn’t have to be a detailed French dish to get dinner on the table. Take healthy short cuts if needed. There are a lot of Organic pre-made things to help get dinner on the table these days.

This week I came up with this: Grilled Chicken Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce, Garlic Parmesan Bread and Salad. Sounds hard and timely, right? Well, let me share my trick.

I bought these at Costco (they come in double packs) We used both for 8 people:

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And then made the Alfredo Sauce, homemade (borrowed from Ree Drummond):

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:
In a saucepan or skillet, warm the butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan and stir until melted. Pour over pasta and enjoy.

I double the recipe for the amount of food I made.

Soooooooo easy and so yummy! Then just slice bread, butter, sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesane cheese. Serve with salad and bread.

This may have taken me 20 minutes. I hope this helps you get dinner on the table.

 

 

Zucchini Fritters

Last night I was struggling on what to make for dinner for some reason. I was trying to get inspired on something new to make. I had meat thawed but it seemed boring to me. I really wanted to spice it up some and do something new like make a new recipe.

I had gone grocery shopping so my refrigerator is full and I was ready to experiment.  I pulled out the zucchini and started thinking. I have seen many recipes with zucchini and my brain was spinning on what to make. I decided to make Zucchini Fritters. I wanted them to pop with taste! You know, one of those recipes that leave you wanting more!

From the refrigerator I pulled out:

  • zucchini
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • basil
  • cheddar cheese
  • parm cheese
  • sweet onion

I needed something to help hold this fritter together besides egg. I needed flour! This was a problem because I am have been doing the Paelo Diet. In my pantry I found almond flour so I substituted almond flour for white flour. I could not tell the difference in the taste of the fritter.

First, put your bacon in the oven at 350* for 12-16 minutes to cook while you get your other ingredients ready.

Next, I started shredding my zucchini. I used 4 zucchini that were washed but not peeled.

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Then I diced my onion up into small pieces and added to the bowl with the zucchini.

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You can use already shredded cheeses but I shredded my own and added to the onions and zucchini. Chopped my basil and threw it all in the same bowl. Added the eggs and almond flour and mixed. I used a spoon but you can mix with your hands. Last but not least, I crumbled the bacon in the bowl. Hoping that is the pop of flavor that I wanted with the hint of basil.

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Using butter, I heated up my large electric fry pan and made patties with my hands. I cooked them on both sides until they started to brown. Maybe 10 minutes per side. It is hard to say because all pans differ.

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This is my finished product:

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There is a sauce on top and I will give that recipe too. I love sauces on everything. If there is a dipping sauce, the better it is!

Recipe for Fritter:

4 medium zucchini (washed)

1/4 cup sweet onion (chopped)

2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese (shredded)

1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

2 eggs

1/4 cup Almond Flour

3 slices of cooked bacon (crumbled)

6 basil leaves (chopped)

 

Directions:

Put bacon in the oven at 350 for 12-16 minutes.

Shred zucchini, cheeses and chop onion. Add all to a large bowl. Add eggs, almond flour, and basil.

Crumble cooked bacon and add. Mix all ingredients well.

Get pan hot and use butter to cook with. Use medium heat. Cook on fritters on both sides until brown.

 

Sauce:

In a small food processor add 1/2 cup Dukes Mayo, 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt, 4 garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon dill. Add 1/8 cup dill if fresh. I rough chop my herbs and garlic before adding it to the food processor. And there you have a wonderful, full flavored sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cooking With Friends

Last week I got together with my small group ladies and cooked! It was so much fun to cook with my friends. Everyone did and amazing job at preparing their food!

Our menu for the night was: Spicy Flank Steak, mashed potatoes, asparagus, salad, oil and bread. We had chocolate chip cookies and coffee for dessert.

Since we were going to eat together, I had already made the marinate for our meat the day before. I kept the meat refrigerated over night but took it out of the fridge to bring the meat to room temperature on the day we were cooking it.

When everyone arrived things were set up to make the marinate for the Flank Steak they will be taking home.

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Each person had a recipe and all the things they needed to full fill the recipe.

Everyone worked hard to get their fresh garlic & ginger peeled and chopped. I had made the potatoes, asparagus, bread, dipping oil for the bread and salad before they arrived to make sure we had time to get it all in and enjoy our dinner together.

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As many of you know, I like a pretty tablescape! I feel that a tablescape makes everyone feel welcome and it’s pleasing to the eyes which makes the entire experience better.

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After everyone was finished making their marinate we grilled the meat that I had made the previous day. After cooking 5-7 minutes per side on a medium grill, you must let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Then cut against the grain of the meat. If you cut with the grain of the meat it will be tough and chewy.

All of the ladies were “hands on” with this project. Some are not as savvy in the kitchen but everyone helped out.

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In the end we had an amazing dinner with lots of chatting about our lives. They say that you can learn more about people around the dinner table than anywhere else and that we did!

When the night was over we knew something new about everyone and how to pray for each other through the week! What a wonderful night it was!

If there is someone you are wanting to get to know better…cook with them, have dinner with them. It is amazing what comes out in conversation!

Recipe for flank steak:

Spicy Flank Steak

One 2 to 3 lb. Flank Steak

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup brown sugar

2 TBS of spicy sesame oil (use plain sesame oil if you don’t like hot)

4 good size fresh garlic cloves minced

2 TBS of fresh ginger peeled and shredded with lemon zester or cheese shredder

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (use less if you want it less hot and more for the extra heat)

Use a small bowl and add all ingredients together to make marinate. Use a gallon size ziplock bag to place the meat in and add the marinate. Marinate for at least 3 hours. You can even mix this up a day before and marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator. Sometimes I even freeze mine with the marinate. After removing the meat save marinate.

Grill on each side 5 to 7 minutes for medium and longer for well done.

When you bring the meat in from the grill, let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Slice thin and cut against the grain of the meat.

Cook marinate in a small sauce pan. Boil on low for 5-7 minutes and serve as a dipping sauce of pour over the steak and serve.  Serves 4 to 6 people depending on steak size.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

Wreath Making

This past week our sewing group decided to make wreaths instead of sew. We each had to bring a grapevine wreath and flowers that we liked. Also, ribbon if you wanted to make a bow for your wreath. I had a few glue guns and others brought some too.

It is always fun to me to see the different things that people bring but even more so, the creations that people come up with. We have one who says she is not creative at all and she did a great job!

All types of flowers were brought in, even some flowers that were re-purposed.  I loved the cotton and moss stems.

We all put our stuff out and just started creating. Even the non-creative people. We used floral wire, glue guns, flowers, moss and greenery. Everyone helped each other.

When making anything you have to just start layering. You try a few things and it just seems to work. If you are not sure that you are going to like it, wait to glue the flowers to your wreath. You can also use wire and remove the flowers for a clean slate and start over.

Here are a few pictures of wreaths that six different people came up with. It is so cool how different we all are!

It was a lot of fun and not expensive. Some people bought stuff at the dollar tree. Get together with your friends, do something different, have fun with it and go home with something to keep!