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 sautéed 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!

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