Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cooking with Crescent Rolls


In case anyone wants to make these, the original Pampered Chef taco ring version is here:

I have made countless variations of this recipe. One of which is using premade HEB chicken for enchiladas as I already mentioned. I have also used browned ground chicken mixed with a small can of diced green chilies.  Another version for breakfast is to make a mixture of scrambled eggs and browned breakfast sausage and a little shredded cheese.

If you do the tacos then you can put the lettuce and all that in the middle of the ring for presentation. If you do the other variations just pop a little serving bowl of sour cream or salsa in the middle.  I use the reduced fat crescent rolls, they are very good but will brown faster so watch the time carefully.  If you coupon you can often pick up the crescent rolls for like .25 cents and they last in the fridge a long time.

Tips for working with crescent dough - Bake them on parchment paper and drain everything you put on them or the bottom won’t be crisp. Also season the dough itself well, both the inside and the top will need salt, pepper, garlic powder or whatever matches what you are having.

OK two last “tricks” with crescent rolls:

In a round casserole dish place one package of Hormel pork pot roast and mix in one can of cream of mushroom soup and whatever frozen vegetables you like, add a dash of thyme. Top with four reduced fat crescent rolls. Voila – pot pie in under 20 minutes including baking time.

And dessert - unroll each crescent and brush with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar, then place an apple slice in the middle and wrap it up & bake it.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

I usually do these last two together since that way it uses up a whole can of crescents. (half for the casserole and half for four desserts)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Living Off the Fat of the Pantry

December has been c-r-a-z-y.  One look at the calendar of events and I knew that I had to plan well in order to get dinner on the table this month otherwise we’d wind up eating at Culver’s three times a week! So I did my shopping a little differently this month. 

Right before Thanksgiving a lot of canned foods were on really great sale at Wal-Mart. So I took advantage and bought several pallets of things we use often. This is what my little laundry room pantry looked like:


Next, I shopped for 25 meals all at once. So that we could get through the majority of the month only stopping in for milk and produce.  I don’t think this plan has been particularly helpful from a cost point of view (it would be except that the little trips to get milk and produce have a tendency to include some impulse buys – have you tried Ghirardelli Dark chocolate peppermint bark, oh-my-goodness ) but it has been awesome to go weekend after weekend without needing to do a big shopping trip. 

Our menu this month:

  • Angliotti and light-alfredo sauce, garlic toast and salad
  • Hot dogs, french fries and apple slices
  • BBQ baked potatoes & slaw
  • Steamed sausage and potatoes with parmesian cheese
  • Pizza Bites (Annie’s Eats) with marinara
  • Chicken, avocado, tomato, spinach wraps (Learned this from Jessica)
  • BBQ Little Smokies and Macaroni and Cheese
  • Pork Tenderloin in mustard sauce with mashed potatoes
  • Jambalaya
  • Chicken Enchilada Ring (HEB Chicken for enchiladas, wrapped in reduced fat crescent rolls, baked and then served with queso and sour cream)
  • Green Chili Stew
  • Ground Chicken tacos & rice
  • Heavenly Homemaker Lasagna Casserole
  • Beef Pot Roast
  • Beef stew over white rice
  • Blueberry scones (have you seen these over by the biscuits??LOVE)
  • English Muffins with canadian bacon slices and poached eggs
  • Green chili hashbrown casserole
  • Sausage saut√©ed in Worcheshire and Lime with couscous

I know that’s not 25 but some things we had more than once.

So this has been a month of casseroles and all kinds of good meals from cans and the freezer.  Being the the oddball that I am I don’t see any problem putting canned sloppy joe mix on homemade bread or serving canned stew with a salad made from delicate baby greens and heirloom tomatoes. That’s how I roll – I do the best I can and try not to obsess over the other stuff!

I will say this – if that commercial that has been playing lately where they put the beef stew over white rice has you intrigued – go for it! I’m eating it right now and it’s awesome!  Would it better if the beef and veggies were organic and the stew was homemade from scratch, oh definitely –no doubt about it.  But this is good too.  In one week I’ll be 38 years old and one thing I’ve learned is this – I can do ANYTHING but I can’t do EVERYTHING.

So December has been my official prepared foods month and so be it.  Tonight I plan on spending some quality time in my PJ’s playing Go Fish with my little ones.

Oh, P.S – we’ve been eating off paper plates too! Shhh, oh the shame!

All About Bella

Bella is a girly girl, but she’s also sort of a rough and tumble girl. She prefers to dress in pink from head to toe but will run and tumble and play rough with Jacob. Bella has a twinkle in her eye and knows what she wants.  I’ll be honest, if I had to wonder which kid will be a handful as a teenager, it would be my daughter, but no worries, there’s lots of time for prayer and parenting between now and then!

This is Bella at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in San Antonio.  She decided to eat from garden, turns out she ate tiny red peppers.  She had to drink a lot of milk and hold ice on her tongue and lips.  It was quite pathetic and sad!  Later I asked her what she thought they would taste like – “Blueberry pie” she said mournfully.



This is Bella at her ballet dance recital dress rehearsal.  Her grandparents couldn’t come to the actual recital, so they came to the rehearsal. Too bad, Bella decided not to dance that day. See the line of girls on the left and then the pile of tutu on the far right? That’s my girl!

And below, a close up of Bella not dancing.


12.201000000006By the day of the actual recital, we really had no idea what she would do. She practiced in class, she practiced at home, but would she actually dance at the recital? 

These were taken in the little pre-show dressing area. She did not want me taking pictures.!

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We were thrilled when she danced her little heart out! She danced just great through both routines!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree


Tip Toe Teddy Bear


At the end she said really loud “See Mommy I didn’t lay down!” and everyone laughed. Of course there is video but it was done on the real video camera and so I need to load it up. 

Bella has ZERO interest in having her picture taken after the recital, even though they had a really nice picture taking area all set up.  Of course the picture taking area was set up AFTER the cookie eating area, which was a tactical mistake in my opinion.



Bella is a joy, she is full of life and laughter.  She loves to be scared, her favorite movies are scary! (Scooby Doo Where’s My Mummy and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog)  She loves skeletons and skulls and pirates and bad guys. Nothing phases her with one exception, the villainess in Little Mermaid!  She wants someone to watch that part with her every time!

Aside from dance and scary movies, what Bella loves most is spending time playing with her brother.

Their current made up game is called “Crash and Bash”. Crash and Bash involves our little pink grocery cart – they race around like trash collectors and collect household items in the cart (shoes, coats, toys, etc.) and then they stage a huge, on purpose CRASH and tump (why is this word showing up as a misspelling? tump is a word is it not???)  the whole cart over and then fall over into the pile.  This scenario ends one of two ways – either they fall down laughing hysterically or someone gets hurt and starts crying. Either way they get up and do it all again. Perhaps you can tell by my tone that Crash and Bash is not my favorite.  But it keeps them busy while I cook dinner and they clean everything up eventually, so I guess it’s OK. And they LOVE it so I don’t have the heart to stop them. I figure it will get old on it’s own soon.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

All About Jacob

This Fall Jacob continues to lose baby teeth.  In the past, the new teeth have been visible even before the old ones fell out.  Recently though, the baby ones are gone with no adult ones in sight. He is currently missing his upper incisor on one side and both lower incisors.  We told him he sort of looked like a tiger.


The week before Thanksgiving Break, Jacob’s Kindergarten class performed a Thanksgiving skit.  Jacob was an Indian. 

Thanksgiving Skit

TEN songs about Thanksgiving


After the skit we joined the kids in the cafeteria for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.


Jacob still loves to play with his blocks and he is as obsessed as ever with all sports. His great new love though is card games and board games. Or as he thinks of them “BORED” games (because they keep you from being bored).  Every day he talks about how much he wants Santa to bring him a checkers set. Between you and me, I’m pretty sure that Santa will be able to spring that!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hanukkah Mix Up

We have been talking about Hanukkah this week. Tonight at dinner we asked Jacob to explain what Hanukah was all about.

“It is about how God gave old people gas.”

Um..what? It took me a minute…then I understood, I had told him that it was a festival based upon the OLD testament when God provided OIL to the people. Somehow he turned that into “It is about how God gave old people gas”!

Kids are hilarious!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Renaissance Festival 2010

We go to Renaissance Festival every year.  Both children began going early in life (Jacob was 6 weeks, Bella was about 3 months) and the entire extended family looks forward to it each year.

This year, we got there around noon and the day seemed to fly by. Now with three kids in the group, gone are the days of lounging under a tree listening to  music and people watching and wandering in and out of shops. OK, I still shop but it is more strategic than it used to be!

I wish I had a picture handy of my brother – because Jacob looks a lot like him in this picture. Jacob’s Paw Paw always wears these cool hats at Ren Fest and this year he bought Jacob one.



Here was a fabulous costume I hadn’t seen before, we all thought it was a fox but later someone said it was meant to be Puss in Boots. Still I think it was like a fox – whatever it was, it was really neat.


The week before we went Jacob got his haircut. I don’t mean trimmed, I mean major major haircut. So be prepared he looks totally different!

I couldn’t believe that he wanted to do the bungee jumping thing but he did. He didn’t flip, and he didn’t do it for a real long time, but  he did it and had a great time.11.201000000014


Our kids still love the carousel. Here is Bella with Uncle Bob.



I like this series – Uncle Bob was teaching Jacob how to flip his hat from his hand up onto his head.


Earlier in the day we visited one of our favorite vendor Whimsys Muse, they take gorgeous fairy pictures and then go in digitally and make them really special and fun.  We had Bella’s done when she was an infant and I wanted to do them again.  They came out so cute!

Check them out here.

If you are a grandparent, might want to wait to order anything until you see what Santa brings :) 

The children love to ride the camels and elephants. Will rode with Bella on the camel and Bobby took Jacob on the elephant.



My handsome husband.


Cousin Lulu


Aunt Leaf (Leigh) and the girls.


Paw Paw and Grandma got fairy wings for the girls.



It was a really fun day, that went by sooo fast!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cutie Pie


Bella likes to feed the dog. The dog is very patient and never minds little fingers reaching around her bowl while she is eating.  We always love on the dog when we feed her and Bella will say “Aw she’s so cute..” tonight I told her “I think you’re so cute!” and she answered “Yeah, I AM!”

Saturday, November 13, 2010


As you can tell from the other post, we have had a really nice October full of fun fall & Halloween activities.  All of which led up to the big night of Trick or Treating which the children were so excited about (and us too!)

This year Bella was a Fairy Ballerina and Jacob was Buzz Lightyear.  Will took them for the first half hour and I passed out candy and then we swapped. The ended up filling their buckets TWICE!

Love this pose – they did this on their own.


In the background you can see some of our yard decorations.


Trying to show the back of her costume with wings but it was twilight and things were getting blurry! This was walking up to the first house of the night.


They loved this house because of the Scooby Doo decoration.  Our kids LOVE Scooby!


Back home, all worn out.


Mouth full of candy! Love that face!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Festivities

The weekends leading up to Halloween were busy ones for us. One Saturday we went to a free pumpkin patch that was sponsored by our home builder.


Afterwards we attended our neighborhood Fall Festival.  We rode the train and played games.



I love how cute Bella’s hair came out this day.


Another fun thing we did was make Halloween cupcakes


Here I was trying to take an artsy picture of the cupcakes.


And of course we carved pumpkins


Anabel is in a phase where she loves anything with skulls on it. I didn’t particularly encourage this – she just really likes them of her own accord. So when we sorted through the pumpkin pattern book this is what she chose.


This pumpkin Jacob drew out and I carved it for him.  So cute!


The Saturday before Halloween, we attended the Pumpkin Bash up at Jacob’s elementary school.  The school is nearby so we walked up there.


Here is Jacob and his Kindergarten teacher – she’s awesome and we love her!


There were lots of booths and games and a jump house. I had Jacob with me and I had the camera, so guess who we ended up with pictures of?



And we made pumpkin seeds – YUM!10.201000000138

Next post I should finally get to Halloween itself! And after that…Renaissance Festival!

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