Showing posts from January, 2013

Freezer meals, Mac's travel, and more

After girls night, Tiff and I skimmed through the freezer meal cookbooks, and selected 6 recipes. They are:

Caribbean Pork Tenderloin
Mariachi Chicken Rolls
Beef Barley Soup
Dave’s Swamp Blues BBQ Chicken
Chicken in Herbed Mustard Sauce
Beef Stir-Fry (no peanut butter)

The bottom two are from Dream Dinners, while the others are from Fix, Freeze, Feast. Tiff is going to tackle the Chicken in Herbed Mustard Sauce and the Beef Stir-Fry, while I’m going to tackle the Beef Barley Soup and BBQ Chicken for my meals, and then Amber is going to tackle the Caribbean Pork Tenderloin and Mariachi Chicken Rolls.

We're planning to have them ready by February 9th, so we can exchange at Dream Dinners, well, outside of Dream Dinners, and I'm going to get to work on at least the BBQ Chicken this weekend.

Mac's flight from Albany leaves at 6 AM tomorrow morning, so he'll miss breakfast at the hotel. I called and asked them if they could possibly leave a grab and go bag in his room today,…

Mango Cranberry Chicken

For those who enjoyed the Dream Dinners Cranberry Buttermilk Chicken, you might want to try the Mango Cranberry Chicken recipe at Fix, Freeze, Feast. I've not tried it, but it sounds interesting.

What a Monday...

We had lousy weather on Monday. It started as snow, then turned to freezing rain, then just rain. Mac headed to Albany, Georgia yesterday. I honestly don't mind the time alone, as it's nice to not have to compromise on what we watch on TV, and it's nice to not have any pressure to cook dinner. I will admit that often, when he is out of town, dinner for me consists of cereal, a grilled cheese, or cookies and milk.

However, the day he leaves is always the tough part for me. I don't know if it's watching him say goodbye to the dogs, or dropping him off at the airport, but whatever it is, the day he leaves is the tough part.

It's a short trip--he'll be back on Thursday, so it's not like I won't see him for weeks. I'll see him in just a few days. Yesterday's weather didn't help things though, since it was extra dreary already!

The good news is that I'll have Geno snuggling with me while Mac is gone, as the typical dog routine is that Ge…

Sam Adams Beer Dinner

Arooga's is a local chain of sports bars out here. Their food is decent, they have a large draft selection, and they have Buzztime trivia. All of those can make for a very happy Wendy! I recieved an email about a Sam Adams Beer Dinner they were hosting, and Mac and I decided to try it. I purchased tickets online ($28/each), and we were told that once we did that, they had our names, and we didn't need to pick up tickets.

We arrived shortly before 6 PM, the designated start time, and snagged a little round, corner booth for just us. It was cozy, and nice because we could see everything. The beer tasting didn't start until almost 6:30, due to the Sam Adams rep arriving late, discussion about how to serve the samples, and attendees arriving late. We won't go there!

The first course was Angry Orchard Cider, paired with Hawaiian Flatbread Pizza. I'm not a cider fan, but this was cider for non-cider fans. It tasted just like apple juice. The pizza was very sweet. I'm…

SodaStream House Party!

I was selected to host a SodaStream House Party. The official title is, "SodaStream® Fizz & Football House Party." The basic principle is that I invite a bunch of friends, we all try the SodaStream concept, and SodaStream hopes that at least a few people buy it!

My Party Pack arrived yesterday, while Mac and I were at a Sam Adams Beer Dinner (more on that in another post), so our neighbor signed for it. When we arrived at home, I brought in the box, and then, while Mac was outside with the dogs, I ripped into it. I was so excited to see everything that it contained!

My Party Pack includes:
(1) SodaStream Source starter kit with 6 mini flavors
(1) SodaStream sample pack
(1) 1 liter bottle
(1) SodaStream T-shirt and whistle
(2) Full Size flavors
(50) SodaStream cups

For all partygoers:
(12) SodaStream foam fingers
(12) Sets of beads
(15) SodaStream $20.00 off rebate offers
(15) SodaStream product information inserts

Yes, you read that correctly... The Party Pack…

long weekend

I'd originally planned on driving a transport on Saturday, from Harrisburg to Hamburg, but it was cancelled on Friday, due to one of the dogs being ill and not filling one leg for the other dog. So, I took Saturday as a day to rest and generally not do much. I'm still not feeling well, so I needed a day with no plans.

Mac called me on his way home from the gun show, and a friend was going to stop over after Mac got home, so I got myself cleaned up, only to have Mac come home, covered in puke, because after not eating from Friday night, and only drinking Diet Coke on Saturday, without eating, while on the way home, his stomach decided it was going to file a protest. File a protest it did! He had to stop on the way home, then again when he got home, before he came inside. Once he got inside and told me what happened, I ordered him to shower, leaving his clothes in the bathroom. While he was showering, I threw his clothes in the washing machine. Once he was done, I suggested he e…

Dream Dinners Review--Cranberry Buttermilk Chicken

I've been rather under the weather this week. I've had an ear infection and sinus infection, and just haven't felt like doing much of anything! I cooked one night this week, although I need to cook the antelope meat today, and probably use it for chili tomorrow.

I did manage to cook Monday night, in part because we weren't going to have enough time to go out to dinner, then come home for my White Shrine investigating committee meeting.

The Cranberry Buttermilk Chicken was very easy to prepare, as it involved cooking the chicken, then adding the sauce and allowing it to cook. Mac complained that there was too much pepper in the chicken, and I think that was completely my fault. :) I accidentally dumped extra in when preparing it at Dream Dinners, as when I pulled the measuring spoon out, it had some pepper on the handle, and I just tossed it all into the bag.

Mac helped me with dinner since I was feeling so lousy, so it was nice to have him in the kitchen with me.


Dream Dinners--March order

We already have our March order placed. I'm ordering:

Orange Asian Chicken (8 WW points)Southwest Pulled Pork with Confetti Cornbread (10 WW points)*Chicken & Pasta w/Lemon & Artichoke Sauce (13 WW points)*Golden Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce (8 WW points)Pub Style Chicken with Mashed Potatoes (11 WW points)*Pesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken & Walnuts (11 WW points for 5/ravioli)* We've previously had:
Southwest Pulled Pork with Confetti CornbreadChicken & Pasta w/Lemon & Artichoke SaucePub Style Chicken with Mashed PotatoesPesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken & Walnuts The Southwest Pulled Pork with Confetti Cornbread is the most recent test recipe I tried. Mac tried the Pesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken and Walnuts before, when I had a girls' night or some such.

I'm ordering 42 servings, and Tiff is ordering 30 servings. I'm ordering 2 servings of the Southwest Pulled Pork, because we really enjoyed it.

Depending on how we enjoy the Orange Asi…

Dream Dinners visit and assorted other things...

Like usual, I enjoyed my Dream Dinners visit on Saturday. The 9 AM session seems to be getting busier, so I think we may end up switching to the 10:30 AM session. Likewise, that gives us a bit of extra sleep, and extra time to grab breakfast.

After the session, I started cleaning the house, in preparation for the investigating committee. Yikes! We threw out 3 garbage bags worth of stuff, gave away a bunch of stuff, and found shoes I didn't know I still had!

I also vacuumed the furniture, the floors, etc. Oh, the dog fur! Cobaka sheds like crazy, and regardless of how often we dry mop, there's always more fur.

The investigating committee for Amaranth went well, and I believe I'll be riding to the initiation with two of the people from the committee. They insisted I allow Cobaka out of the bedroom, which I did. She, as predicted, figured that they were there to visit her, not me! She was in heaven with the attention!

Saturday, Mac will be at a gun show, while I'll be doi…


So, my budgeted savings for cooking breakfast every morning took a nose dive of sorts. I realized that, on Fridays, since Mac doesn't work, I never put any effort into making coffee or anything, since he won't be awake to drink it, and because then on Fridays, I can sleep in for an extra hour.

I've decided that I'm going to revise my budget sheet to reflect that on Fridays, I'm going to splurge and still pick up breakfast on my way to work. If that changes later in the year, great. If not, it's a small luxury that I'm going to take, in part because I can use the extra sleep!

I'm very grumpy today, for many reasons, and I'm thinking I need a mental health day soon!

Weight Watchers

I jumped back into Weight Watchers after Christmas. I decided that I really needed to follow the program, even if it meant limiting some of my food choices and such. I'm doing well so far, even with a happy hour at work, going out to dinner, etc.

Since Christmas, I'm down not quite 5 pounds (4.8 pounds), and I love that most mornings, when I step onto the scale, the number drops, if even by 0.1. :) It's keeping me surprisingly motivated. I forgot how wonderful it feels to see the number on the scale drop!

I think my biggest challenge with many of the freezer cookbook recipes is that I'll need to enter them into the Weight Watchers online recipe builder to determine their points values. I guess as I prep my meals, I can work on that at the same time, right?

More Random Thoughts

It's been a while since I've shared some of my random thoughts, so now is probably a good time.

I've lost 13.4 pounds on Weight Watchers, which while it isn't much, I should explain that for quite a while, I've not been following it, and have just really recommitted to it. I've found that if I plan my meals in advance, I do much better at following it. Yes, it gets boring, yes, it frustrates Mac, considering that on Saturday, I had 4 points left for dinner. He had a reuben, I had a grilled chicken salad with fat-free Italian dressing.

I've even found that I can eat out at places like Buffalo Wild Wings. I can't always get what I really want there, but I can compromise.

I tried something different for breakfast this morning. Typically, breakfast is a McDonald's Egg McMuffin. While it fits into my daily points, I know it's not the healthiest option. Likewise, since we're on a quest to save money this year, spending $2.50/weekday for breakfast …

Freezer Cookbooks Are Here

Two of the three freezer cookbooks are here: Don't Panic-Dinner's in the Freezer and Fix, Freeze, Feast. In looking at Don't Panic-Dinner's in the Freezer, it calls for you to cook meats and such and basically, devote a day to cooking the meals to go in the freezer. It's also written more for people who are going to each prepare a few meals and trade with each other. I guess, if I could find a few people who also wanted to participate, that might be a nice option to supplement Dream Dinners.

Fix, Freeze, Feast is written more in the style of Dream Dinners, except that you typically prepare 3 meals worth of food for each recipe. This too would work well if others wanted to trade with each other. I've not spent enough time looking at the recipes to decide which ones I want to try, but I'll work on that tomorrow.

Cash back for grocery purchases!

I'm big into trying to snag extra cash any possible way. After all, extra cash is always good, right? For quite a while now, I've been a member of Grodo. You join, register your credit/debit cards, and they automatically track your spending at certain grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. If you spend more than your typical monthly spending at one of those, you get a percentage of that back. The only negatives are that their participating merchants are limited, and that you need a minimum of $100 before they'll send you a check. In my area, the participating merchants are Weis, Rite-Aid, and Sunoco. It does encourage me to spend more at Weis and less at Giant, but all within reason.

If you care to join, you can click here. Fair warning, if you use the link to join, I receive a percentage of what you spend as well, but that doesn't affect what you earn.

If you earn points, miles, or cash from your credit/debit cards that you already use, Grodo does not impact t…

Freezer Meal Cookbooks

I realized, as I tried to plan meals for next week, that we have an empty freezer for the first time in ages. Not completely empty, but empty of meals. We have lots of antelope, elk, and mule deer, but we only have two freezer meals left. My January Dream Dinners session isn't until next weekend.

I'm kicking around several different ideas, from increasing my Dream Dinners order every month, to preparing some freezer meals at home, and then having those to use as well. Since my last attempt at preparing freezer meals at home didn't go well (Mac wasn't a fan of the ones I prepared), this time, I'm using cookbooks, not just recipes I found in other blogs and such!

I've just ordered three cookbooks, all geared towards preparing meals, freezing them, and then thawing and cooking later.

They are:
Dream Dinners: Turn Dinnertime into Family Time with 100 Assemble-and-Freeze MealsDon't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make AheadFix, Fr…

Domestic Goddess Dislikes

Mac and I don't have human kids, just two furry, four-legged kids that don't speak English, but other than that, I guess you could say I'm the type that thinks women can work full-time and still be domestic goddesses too! Before Mac and I were married, I took pride in being able to work full-time, cook dinner most nights, and keep a house that wasn't a disaster area. However, I've never been a fan of doing laundry, so the house that wasn't a disaster area usually included a perpetual pile of laundry.

When I was in college, I used to have a male friend who had a washer and dryer in his apartment. I'd usually head to his place to do laundry, although, I seem to remember at least a few occasions, where he'd either just do my laundry, in exchange for dinner, or would at least take care of folding my laundry. Those were the days!!! I really dislike the folding/putting away clean clothes aspect of laundry. I don't mind the sorting, washing, or drying, bu…

Dream Dinners Review--Fruit Stuffed Pork Roast

For New Year's, Mac and I decided to have the Fruit Stuffed Pork Roast from Dream Dinners. I didn't order it, but rather, a coworker who also does Dream Dinners (thanks to me), ordered it, then decided she wouldn't be able to use it, so we swapped. She's taking my Chicken Marsala.

The pork roast came with a glaze and a bag of pecans. Obviously, I didn't use the pecans, and the little plastic container with the glaze opened during one of the transports, so we opted not to use the glaze. It probably saved us a bit in regards to calories!

The directions for the pork roast were a bit confusing. They stated to insert a knife to make a slit, lengthwise, then turn the knife 90 degrees and make another slit, to form an X. Somehow, that just doesn't make sense to me. In part because it involved playing with sharp objects, Mac volunteered to tackle that. He made two cuts in the pork roast. I don't quite know how he made them, but it resulted in a nice open area, allo…

Dream Dinners Review--Bruschetta Chicken

Tonight's dinner was Dream Dinners Bruschetta Chicken. Mac was hunting this afternoon, and this was a quick meal for once he arrived home. I served it with Caesar salad, asparagus, and garlic bread. It was incredibly easy to prepare, as I simply cooked it in a skillet with some olive oil, then added the sauce, allowed it to simmer, and then served it. This also had the option of slicing the chicken, placing it on skewers, and baking it, but I opted for the quicker version.

It had a very, very nice taste and texture to it. It had a sweeter taste than I thought it would, but that's not bad. It still had a bit of a garlic flavor, but the sweet taste was very enjoyable. I used asparagus that was "steam in bag" but it ended up being overcooked. I joked that it was like Gramma asparagus, because my grandmother, when cooking veggies, would always overcook them.

I would definitely order this meal again, as it was very yummy and also very easy to prepare.