Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pizza Inn Taco Pizza Copycat Recipe

Pizza Inn Taco Pizza was our all time favorite back in the day.  You know, the days when eating wheat seemed OK.  Noticed I said seemed.....LOL.  On a whim (and on the day after Taco night with extra ingredients) I decided to look up what exactly was on that Pizza Inn pizza we loved so much.  There is a huge amount of variation in the way folks prepare this recipe and what I wanted was THEIR way.

According to Pizza Inn Menu: "Our Original Thin Crust topped with seasoned taco meat, Cheddar cheese, crispy lettuce, and fresh diced tomatoes."

I usually do just make this sometime after a taco dinner, making sure I make enough meat for leftovers. This way I have enough leftovers for ONE pizza.  It really does make sense to make two pizzas though if you are going to go though all the trouble of browning meat and such.  This would also be a good time considering cooking some of your ground beef ahead of time! ;-D



1 Gluten Free Pizza Crust Recipe
1 can Refried Beans (or about 1 cup of your own ~ heated until soft)
1/2 pound Ground Meat
1/2 packet of Taco Seasoning (Make your own or use Or McCormick)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Crispy Lettuce
Fresh Diced Tomatoes
A few dashes of Hot Sauce (Optional)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees with pizza stone inside
Have your pizza peel ready
  • Prepare crust according to directs included in link above or use your favorite prepared crust (like Udi's).
  • Brown ground beef in a skillet making sure to crumble meat. 
  • Drain fat, add water and taco seasoning. Set aside. 
  • After crust is partially baked for 10 minutes, take crust out and spread refried beans on top of pie shell (leaving a 1/2 inch rim).  I usually do a thin spread, just to taste so you may have some leftover.
  • Add crumbled ground meat on top evenly.
  • Bake in oven on top of pizza stone for 10-15 minutes or until ingredients on top are heated through.
  • Take out of the oven and top generously with cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato.  
  • Serve with hot sauce and sour cream at the table.


I will be linking this recipe up to the following linky's:
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Mommy Solutions (Tuesday) at The Mommy Club
Gluten Free Wednesday over at Gluten Free Homemaker
Real Food Wednesday 
Works for me Wednesday
Creative Juices Thursday @ Momnivore's Dilemma
Potluck Friday @ Ekat's Kitchen

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 29th, 2011


I ran into some awesome deals at the grocery store this past shopping day.  Ground meat was 1.69 a pound, chicken was $.88 cents a pound, Ham butt was 1.29 a pound.  I purchased and prepared a months worth (woven in between the fabrics of time that I was studying). I really should have gotten and pressed more hamburgers.  Oh well.  This week Ground meat, chicken and ham are the theme.

Monday:
Ham Steaks, macaroni and cheese, baked beans.  I am slicing off the larger half of ham from the bone and then slicing it into steak portions.  

Tuesday:
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday:
Fried Chicken Thighs, potato salad.

Thursday:
Navy Bean and Ham soup, Cheese Rolls (a new recipe/method), home made cookies. I should be in a good place at this point with my studies and should be able to get this all done.  I'm using the remaining half of the ham and bone for this soup and tossing it all in the crock pot.

Friday:
Pizza, Salad and a Movie! The pizza crust here is good, my wheat eaters actually prefer it to the wheat kind.  I have started to replace the almond meal with flax and that works out nicely and I think actually gives it an extra crunch.  The real secret to these pizza's I make is the Pizza Sauce.  If you have not tried it yet, you really should!!!

Saturday:
TBD

Sunday:
TBD

Monday is actually Labor Day and we are all off in this household.  As I mentioned above, I have a few dinners made up in the fridge, such as: Home Made Hamburger Helper, Taco Meat, Chicken thighs, and cheese enchiladas.

I will be linking this to Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday.  A wonderful (and free) resource for menu planning ideas.  



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Friday, August 26, 2011

Vegetarian Fried Rice

Meatless Meals

I am not going to pretend that this is an Asian meal, it is not.  The only thing Asian about it is that it has Sesame oil it it, LOL.  I LOVE sesame Oil though.  Its very good and I just LOVE the smell the sesame oil gives this dish.   Go ahead and get yourself some rice paper wrappers and make some Spring rolls to go with it.  Its not that much more trouble, you already went though all the trouble to chop up all the veggies so why not?


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
1 cup Carrots, shredded
1 cup Green Beans, French cup, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped on the bias
2 cups dry rice, cooked to package directions
   (Jasmine would be lovely but I usually use long grain white/brown)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Make sure it's Gluten Free)

  • Heat a 14 inch deep skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes in 1 to 2 seconds of contact.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil into the pan.  
  • Add Eggs and scramble making sure you break the egg into very small bits.  Set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into pan again.
  • Add Onion and Garlic.  Cook on high stirring often for about 1 minute.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into pan for a third time.
  • Add all the vegetables and stir fry over medium for 2-3 minutes.  
  • Add rice, egg and soy sauce.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure to stir and break up rice.  

Recipe Adapted from "The Breath of a Wok" by Grace Young

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 22st, 2011


Last weeks packed lunches went ok.  That's it, just OK. Turns out the two microwaves at my kids school typically has a very long line of kids waiting to heat up a lunch.  Add in two microwave Macaroni and Cheese cups (the gluten kind) and you are in for a very long wait.  They only really have a total of 20 minutes to heat and eat so a 10 minute microwave line is a problem.  I decided that since my kids will be gluten free forever (can't cure Celiac) and the best options for gluten free lunches are the microwaveable kind.......I have decided that I will DONATE a 3rd microwave to the lunch room. I believe that I will get my monies worth out of that donation over the next 12 years.  This donation of a 3rd microwave to the lunch room will make that long line go quicker.  I already spoke to the Chief Lunch Lady and she is A-OK with my donation.

My son did not like the pizza bagel last week.  I used spaghetti sauce and whenever I do that, he says that don't like the pizza (even if he does not know how I made it).  My daughter, however, told me she LOVED it!!!  This week I picked up some Udi's Pizza crust and cut out some circles to make lunchable pizza crusts.  We'll see how that goes.  My kids favorite lunches so far are Corn dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets and nacho chips and cheese.

I start back to school today.  Monday and Wednesday's I will only get home in time to get the children. I plan to try and serve easy dinners these days.  I also used my Friday off last week to start with my Friday Baking Day.  I made Whole Grain Flat Bread, a loaf of regular sandwich bread, Pizza Crusts and breaded my chicken fingers. Now I am all ready for my week ahead and won't feel stressed about dinners.

Monday:

Tuesday:
Breaded Chicken FIngers, Wild Rice, Broccoli

Wednesday:
Hotdogs, Baked Beans, Jiffy Corn Muffins

Thursday:
Taco Dinner on Soft Corn Tortillas, Rice and Beans

Monday:
Taco Pizza Night

Saturday:
WWE at the FedEx Forum for the boys, girls will have dinner and a moive

Sunday:
Spaghetti Dinner

I will be linking this to Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday.  A wonderful (and free) resource for menu planning ideas.  

CeliacFamily is hosting the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week so be sure to go over there and visit her.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lazy Day Gluten Free Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

What's that you say? You have been bitten by the lazy bug and you need a dish that feeds a crowd for the pot luck? TODAY!?!?!?!?!?!   Well believe me when I say this, "I've been there".  In fact just last weekend I woke up Sunday morning needing a pot luck dish to take with me by 9:30 am.   It takes very little effort to throw this soup together and I never come home with any leftovers.  EVER.  The best part? Nobody ever realizes that is was my lazy version of the soup either.  It tastes every bit as good as the kind you slave over the stove to make.

I want to point out that it is a tad bit on the garlicky side.  I think garlic makes everything better. I also want you to notice that I am not using thickener.  I had intended to but the soup turned out so nice and thick as it was that I did not need any. Probably because I don't add the cream.  You don't need it! ;-)

potato soup Pictures, Images and Photos


2 quarts chicken broth
2 (30 oz) bags Ore-Ida frozen cubed hash browns
1/2 cup Onion, finely diced (frozen)
2 cloves Garlic, finely diced (heaping from jarred)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 ground cayenne pepper
1 stick of Butter (yikes I know)
1 8-ounce package of Cream Cheese, room temp.
1 cup Extra Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Topping:
Extra Cheese
Sour Cream
Real Bacon Bits
  • Add all ingredients (except cheeses) into crock pot very early in the morning.
  • Cook on low for 8, high for 4 or until potatoes are cooked through/soft and broth starts to look creamy.
  • Using your emulsifier stick blender puree potato soup until entirely creamy.  Leave out 2 cups of soup if you want the soup slightly chunky.
  • Add cream cheese and cheddar cheese and stir until dissolved and fully incorporated.  Or cheat and use the blender for this part too! ;-)
  • Serve topped with extra sharp cheddar,  Bacon pieces and sour cream.
Note:
Some Jarred Bacon Bits contain gluten, proceed with caution.  I usually steal out a slice of bacon or two whenever I make it for breakfast to chop and store for just such a recipe.



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quick and Easy Gluten Free Coconut Cake

One Cake Mix, Endless Possibilities

Today I am adding another recipe to my Cake Mix Recipe Collection. I am using the same pre-packaged gluten free yellow cake mix that I use in all my cake mix recipes.  If you recall from previous posts, this is the only cake mix I can purchase locally.  It is simply amazing that one little box of cake mix can create this heavenly coconut infused masterpiece.

When I originally made this cake I poured most of the batter into a 9" square dish for a Church Pot Luck.  The recipe is enough batter for a 9 x 13 pan but I needed to make sure it turned out good enough for non gluten free eaters.  For some reason I always bring an un-tried gluten free dish to these pot lucks ~ lol.  I don't know why I do this but I needed to try the cake out first.  Besides, its just cruel to make an awesome cake and not let anybody in the house eat any. SO......I used the remaining batter in a small 8" round cake pan for our family to try out as dessert.  Once the whole "trial" cake disappeared in an ugly display of sugar induced greed, my family then declared that the second one CAN NOT go to church the next morning.  I giggled with delight, but they meant it!  It was that good.  So. Incredibly. Good.  One taste leaves you addicted.


Eating this cake is an absolute delight and you will most definitely need to make it again!


1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1 box Coconut Cream flavored Jell-O instant pudding mix
3/4's cup Canned Coconut Milk (mix well before measuring)
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Oil (or melted butter)
1/2 teaspoon Coconut Extract
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk (or Coconut Milk)
Frozen Whipped Topping (thawed)
I small bag of Sweetened Flaked Coconut


Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Spray bottom of a 13x9-inch pan.
  • In large bowl, beat cake mix, jello, 3/4 cup coconut milk, eggs, oil and coconut extract, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Pour batter into 9 x 13 pan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, checking with toothpick every 2 minutes after 35 minutes. When toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven. Cool 5 minutes.
  • With long-tined fork or a skewer, poke top of hot cake every 1/2 inch.
  • In medium bowl whisk can of condensed milk and whats left in the can of cream of coconut with whisk until blended.
  • Microwave on High about 1 minute 30 seconds or until heated.
  • Carefully pour mixture over top of warm cake.
  • Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or until chilled.
  • Take out chilled cake and top with Whipped Topping and flaked coconut.

Other great Coconut Cake Recipes on the web:

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 15, 2011


Have you seen my back to school gluten free lunch ideas post yet?

Well the kids were put on the school bus.........I'm going to miss those little buggers.  We had such a fun summer but they were still super excited to get on that bus.  I'd like for that enthusiasm to go all year long!  Both children are extremely happy with the teachers they ended up with but truth be told, all the teachers at our TINY school are great (and no, they don't read my blog ~ LOL)!!!

The kids pack their own lunch was a RAGING success.  The excitement they showed grabbing their lunch bags to pack up was a site to see.  My son grabbed his Planet Lunch Box.  He just loves how this lunch box opens to look like a tray.  In his compartments he packed Grapes, carrots, fruit roll up and the biggest compartment he squished in his spicy nacho Doritos.  The main event of course was his nacho Lunchables and water to drink.  I still highly recommend this lunch box, the bag held up GREAT.  In fact it is still good as new.  My daughter (the littlest Celiac) is using her Easy Lunch Box (yup its still holding up). She copied her big brother and also packed a nacho Lunchable, carrots, grapes and Funyons.  I also included in her lunch box extra cheese dip and ranch dip for the carrots.  Her bag washes well and still looks new all except for the bit of fray that is around the grommet.  

I did not make my dinners ahead this week like last week with exception for the Cheese Enchiladas.  Those I made up last week.  Instead I choose dinners easier to make in their entirety.  Onto dinner shall we?

Monday:
BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs, Wild Rice 

Tuesday:

Wednesday:
Church Dinner's start back up again!


Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Mexican Rice

Friday:


Saturday:
Aromatic Veggie Fried Rice
I'd like to attempt a GF Egg Roll too!


Sunday:
TBD




For other great dinner ideas visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday linky roundup.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gluten Free Lunch Ideas

Do you need gluten free lunch ideas?

If you are a working person and really don't have time to make every-thing from scratch then this is the post for you.  I have been a little bit panicky this year about lunch for my two gluten free children.  Why, because I too am going back to school.  I seriously needed to start putting some thought into streamlining my morning routine.  What I have decided is that every lunch that the kids and I discussed and agreed upon will be made up or packed up a ahead of time and stored in bulk.

Also changed this year.....my kids will be in charge of packing their own lunch out of my made ahead options.  I will have around at all times the following items and they are free to select one fruit, one veggie, one pantry/carb item and one entree.  I of course will be there to supervise but I wanted them to be more involved in their packing.  This list below is not complete, it is only a start.

As a side note: I pre packaged up the snacks in snack sized baggies and used 2 ounce containers to fill the sauces, dips and cheese (etc). 

Made Pizza Bagel's using Udi's Bagels

Corn Dogs made with my handy dandy Corn Dog Maker.  
Use either my copycat Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix or your favorite 
pancake batter works nicely too.
(This is not an affiliate link, State laws prohibit Amazon 
Affiliate program participation where I live.)

Cheese Sticks and snack baggies full of Celery, Carrots,
 Grapes and eventually Strawberries, Oranges and Apples.
2 oz. cups of ranch, caramel & chocolate sauce will be available too.
Apples will be sliced and soaked in Pineapple Juice to prevent browning.

Pamela's Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies and Extreme Chocolate Cookies
Mi-Del Pecan Cookies on the other side (my daughter's favorite)
Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels (with Fritos Mild Cheddar Dip)

This little Nachos Lunchable is Gluten Free

Can you believe that this item above 
and Amy's Rice Mac & Cheese 
are my kid's favorite?  

Ore-Ida French Fries that can be quickly cooked in the microwave.
probably will send in a hamburger with this.

And last buy not least, my kids favorite
Chicken Nuggets


Other Options not pictured
Sandwiches (cheese and meat on frozen bread and placed back in the freezer)
Bagel's and Cream Cheese
Salad with Lunchmeat Roll-ups sliced and placed on top
Extra saucy Macaroni and Cheese (which I did make up and freeze but not photographed)

Other Snacks include:
Raisins
Fruit Snacks
EnviroKids Cereal Bars


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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gardening Journal: August 9th, 2011

I know I mentioned this before but we are officially getting ready to directly plant some seeds in our garden for the fall.  On the list is sugar snap peas, spinach, turnips, radish, red beets, and broccoli.  I need varieties that are bug resistant because I'm so fed up with bugs this year.  Despite the valiant effort of my hubby they bugs got the best of those squash plants are have now moved onto the tomato plants. I was speaking to a local master gardener and he told me to move the location of our garden.  Umm, can't do that.  LOL.  I am almost wondering if all these issues mean giving gardening a break.

This is what I did with all those Jalapenos.  
There is another harvest ready to be picked.  

This extremely large watermelon makes me happy
in the midst of all our other problems.
It was not as red as some store bought watermelons 
but every bit as sweet.

And the two yellow squash that lived despite the constant attack

The Sweet Potatoes are looking great.


Vine Borer's got the Zucchini and the plant is not totally gone


And so they (squash bugs) moved onto the tomatoes.  
Can you find it on that tomato?


I will be linking this post to:
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Harvest Jalapeno Poppers

Harvest Recipes

It took me a while to realize what to do with all those Jalapeno's we were getting from our garden.  All I can say is WOW man! We had only a large handful at best last year.  This year we have massive amounts of peppers. I have no idea what the difference is.  Was it our especially HOT summer?  I was chopping them and putting them in the freezer for whenever I make mexican food (and suffering 2nd degree pepper burns on my hands for all the next day).  That is when it hit me, Poppers.  Poppers is on the post-it note stuck to my computer as a work on recipe.  It has been staring at me the entire summer, yelling as I ignored it.  Lisa, why have you forgotten me?  Why have you not made me as you promised?  I have no excuses except too busy having summer fun! :-D

I'm not going to lie to you here.  I HATED putting these poppers together.  It is an extremely time consuming task.  They are so tiny, this recipe makes so many of them and for the most part I had to double and triple dip them to get the coating to stick to the pepper.  You will literally stand there performing the same task for over an hour.  I never was any good at mundane tasks.  But the final results are well worth it and I WILL do it again.  I have a freezer full of poppers now plus extra filling for the next harvest.  Maybe I will even recruit help with the process to make it more fun.

Here is my version of this long time recipe, enjoy!


2 8-ounce packages of Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 ounce pack (2 cups) Extra Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Tablespoon Bacon, chopped (about 2 slices)
1 teaspoon Onion Powder (McCormick Spices)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper
12 Jalapeno Peppers, sliced horizontally from stem to tail (seeds removed)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 cup Flour (I used Brown Rice)
1 cup Bread Crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Panko Style)
Frying Oil


  • Mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon bits and red pepper until throughly combined.
  • Spoon mixture into jalapeno peppers.
  • Place egg and milk mixture in one bowl, place flour in another and finally bread crumbs in a third bowl.
  • Dip stuffed peppers into the egg, the flour, the egg again, and finally the bread crumbs.
  • Repeat egg and bread crumbs a second time, making sure the entire popper is coated.

          (Freeze at this point)

  • Heat oil in skillet until 350 degrees.  
  • Fry Peppers for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove and allow to drain on paper towels.


Note:

Some Jarred Varieties of Bacon Bits are NOT gluten free.  I usually save a slice or two from a Sunday breakfast and chop it up and put in the fridge for just such a recipe.

If you like your Poppers mild, remove all the seeds and membrane.  If you want the heat kicked up, leave the membrane and some seeds

You may have to go with the egg and bread crumbs a second time.  I was finding that the crumbs did not stick well and needed a second dip.  It really de


Other great Jalapeno recipes on the web:

The Whole Gang's Gluten Free Jalapeno Poppers
Epicurious has a recipe and they are leaving their jalapeno's whole.
and finally one of Allrecipes most popular versions


I will be sharing this post with:


What's on your Plate @ Good Cheap Eats
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SS&GF
Tasty Tuesday @ BB@B
Gluten Free Wednesday's @ GFHomemaker
Thursday's Real Food Weekly @ TWG
Foodie Friday by Designs by Gollum

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 8th, 2011



The countdown begins.  One week left until school starts.  The kids are all ready and a tiny bit excited (even if they won't admit it).  They have new shoes, socks, undies, outfits, book bags, supplies.  Back to school shopping can be pretty costly but lucky for me I am not only a recipe blogger but also a member of the frugal sort as well.  I purchased two pairs of sneakers for gym at payless this weekend using several of their codes available and spent only $20 between clearance sales and coupons.  Next was backpacks, socks and some shirts off the clearance rack (including an angry birds shirt for the son) at JC Penney, used a $10 off $25 coupon, and spent $20 between clearance, sales and coupon.  The school supplies I have been collecting over the past month by sale surfing.  Kroger for example had crayons for $.25 whereas they were $.40 at Walmart.  I shopped at Target on their Clearance rack and purchased shirts for $1 or $2 each.  Not just last years shirts but really cute/pretty awesome items.  Target has that really nice girls line and even those items were on the clearance rack for a good price.  Walmart panties were on sale for $4-ish on rollback.  11 pair per pack, WOW!  I feel really good at what I accomplished and how much I saved!

Lunch ideas are brewing and in the works.  My son will pack this year too and has agreed on 6 lunches.  My son really eats very little veggies so my packing options for him are limited.  So far he has agreed to eat carrots, oranges, grapes, apples.  The lunch thing makes me nervous, just as it did last year.  I think I am am going to start a journal of the lunches I end up packing.  

This week I made up most of my dinners in advance.  The fried chicken is marinading in buttermilk and spices, coating flour and spices blended, chicken cutlets breaded, hamburgers pressed, rolls made, and chicken breasts deboned (broth made) and marinaded.  I came across this idea over at 5 dinners in one hour and wanted to give it a try.  Im not so great at getting it all done in 1 hour but everything I make is from scratch and I'm sure this is the way for most Gluten Free households.  I'm de-boning my on chicken breasts,  making my bread products from scratch.  You get the drift. The blog reads like its mainly for regular dieters but any recipe can really be converted to Gluten Free.  Any recipe could be made ahead.  Just stop at the cooking point.  And if you want the work all planned out for you, stop on over this this site.  (P.S. the owner of this blog noted above has no idea I mentioned her today!)



MONDAY
Fried ChickenMac and Cheese, Corn on the Cob

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY
Hamburgers, Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli

THURSDAY
Chicken Breasts, Cheesey Rice

FRIDAY

Some of the remaining options left for the weekend:

BBQ Country Style Pork Ribs, Wild Rice 
Roasted Chicken Legs, GF Rice a Roni Mix 
Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Corn Bread Cheese 
Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice
Aromatic Veggie Fried Rice
Baked Potato Soup, Fresh baked dinner rolls

For other great dinner ideas visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday linky roundup.



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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gardening Journal: August 2nd, 2011

Battle of the Bug

Caterpillars, Beetles and Bugs....Oh my!

Have I mentioned to you lately how much bugs give me the creepy crawlies?  I accidentally touched that horned tomato worm from last week with my fingers and had to jump up and down yelling gross, gross gross.  LOL.

It is really a challenge to be an Organic Gardener.  I can totally see why Farmers for a profit turn to chemicals.  You plant your garden and nurture your plants with such high hopes only for them to be squashed, by a squash bug no less.  The first year of gardening is blissful and fruits of your labor are abundant.  At least it was in our experience.  This was before the bugs knew you were growing a paradise in their honor.  It is so disheartening to see those dang bugs sucking the life out of your beautiful plants.

Caterpillars are easy, BT works gorgeously and is safe to use. Spray weekly and this should do just fine.  We did not spray BT early on in the season, instead we had row covers.  Those not covered (the squash plants) were invaded by the vine borers.  A timely vacation prevented us from fighting back.  Fine, if at first you don't succeed, try try again.  Right? We planted new squash/zucchini plants.   Time of the year is too hot for the vine borer to be very active so enter stage right......those darn Squash beetles.

Plan of Action:

You really have to inspect your plants.  These crafty little Beetles lay the eggs under the leaves and you never realize you have a problem until it is really out of hand. I should point out that Squash beetle lay reddish brown eggs in groups on the leaves. The vine borer will lay individual eggs of the same color on the stem.   First thing we did was remove the mulch.  The mound of mulch provided a safe place for the adult bugs to hide.

Now that we have squash bugs trying to invade, you can find us every weekend morning and every weekday evening laying beside the raised beds inspecting the plants with a bucket of hot sudsy water. We diligently scrape off any eggs that can be found and squash any beetles that can be caught with pliers....LOL.  Gross I know.  But it is an all out battle.  There really is no great safe preventative chemical product like BT for the Squash Beetle. These beetles can fly so going to the dollar store and getting your kids some nets and allowing them to help catch the flyers is also a fun idea.  Have them plunge what they catch in the sudsy water.  Last night my dear sweet hubby sprinkled Diatomaceous Earth on and around the plants.  The jagged nature of this product is supposed to puncture and injure the bugs.  This morning we found no new eggs or bugs.  YAY!

The adult Squash bug looks like a stink bug only longer.  The adult vine borer looks like a red wasp.  It might scare you, go ahead and catch them with your net anyway.

In summary, next year I think I will try and find a resistant plant to use for our cucumbers and squash plants.

See how beautiful and healthy they look?
Remember how they looked last week?

Even with what we have been going through with the 
squash bug, there are still lots of fruits on the vine.
The white powder is DE.

Sweet Potato Bed seems to be doing Nicely

First Arrow: overgrown Tomato Plants.
Second Arrow: Overgrown Water mellon Plants
Third: Water mellon

Next year I swear, those tomato plants will be no more than 2 per raised bed.  I NEED to be able to get inside the plant to harvest.  At this point, that is not possible.  It is just too dense.

I think the vines will ultimately grow over like this regardless of what you do.  Maybe better spacing next year for this too.

No pictures of the jalapenos but I assure you, they continue to be the mega producers of the year.  We continue to get a GIANT bowl full a week.


I will be linking this post to:
Wordful Wednesday parenting by dummies
Wordless Wednesday @ 5 minutes for mom
Wordless Wednesday @ Proverbs 31 Mommy





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Chex Cereal Sale at Kroger

Today is the LAST DAY to Save $6 dollars instantly when you buy four boxes of General Mills Cereal.  This translates to very inexpensive Chex Cereal.

Scenario:

+2.99 per box
-1.50 off Per box when you purchase 4
=$1.49 per box after discount.
-$1.00 off of Two Boxes (load coupon onto your Kroger card)
-$1.00 off of Three boxes (Print from Coupons.com)
OR
-$.75 off of 1 box (also from Coupons.com)


Warning, Kroger will only let you use one paper coupon with the loaded e-coupon.


Thats only $.99 cents a box.  Remember today is the last day to participate in this deal.


Notes:

  • It takes about 15 minutes for Kroger to load the e-coupon onto your card.
  • I think the sale is good even without the extra coupons as I often purchase this cereal at $3 a box.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of August 1st, 2011


It is August already.  This is the month my children will be returning to school. Actually the first day of school is only two weeks away.  My newly promoted 3rd grader is very nervous.  Is 3rd grade hard?  Will I be able to get good grades? He has always heard that 3rd grade was difficult.  We did some studying over the summer, my kids called it Mommy School.  LOL.  I'm not a homeschooler but did my best to try and keep they up on what they learned already.

I have done very little in the kitchen the past few weeks.  I mean I cooked dinners and fed my family.  The dinners served are extremely simple though.  I like to cook and love to try out new things, but lately the fight to get my kids to eat said gourmet items is weak in me.  We would much rather focus on our fabulous OUTDOOR activities.  My daughter told me just last night that she is so happy that we always have such lovely things to do.  That gives me the warm fuzzies!  :-D. We never leave home without a food plan though. What do I end up packing for outdoor activities? Fresh fruits, veggies and ranch dip, nachos and cheese, cereal bars.

My mind has been swirling around food though.  SCHOOL LUNCHES!  What can I do ahead?  My baking day will be my day off from school, Friday.  That also happens to be cleaning day as well since its my only day off!  I need a plan.  I am toying with the idea of making my meals up in advance for the week.  Sort of like OAMC only for just a week.  Our local Whole Foods market sells UDI's now (yay!) so I can let go of some of my make ahead items (maybe).  Bagels are a purchase option for us now and although I really don't like UDI's wonder bread type bagel it suits my daughter just fine.  She has absolutely NOTHING negative to say about it.  I can make a pizza on that bagel half.  Heck, she is even good with just a bagel and cream cheese for lunch too. And you know how a gluten free packed lunch does not fare well when bread is involved, the more stale consistency this bagel will take on by lunch time would actually be a complement to the bagel's texture.  Im our opinion anyway.  Only problem is the market here is small and they run out really fast.  You can not rely on your favorite products to always be there.  Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited that they are offering these products in first place, its just more competitive.

So far my plan for hot lunches is to make ahead and freeze in individual sized portions of:

Macaroni and Cheese.  With this recipe I notice that if I decrease the amount of pasta in half that gives me more cheese sauce to add into each portion.  This is absolutely necessary for freezing and reheating this dish.  Lack of adequate cheese sauce makes the re-heating not so lovely.

Cheeseburger Macaroni.  This dish is my ace in the hole.  My kids love this dish and will eat it EVERY time I serve it and without fight.  WIth such love, I thought this would make a great hot lunch option.  Again I will it make up making sure I have extra sauce and freeze individual portions.

Stuffed Shells.  I was thinking of ordering some giant shells from Tinkyada and stuffing them.  Then I can portion them and top with sauce.  Every time school serves ravioli, I can pack this for them.  No real recipe though, this is still a thought in process.

OK, enough chatter, onto the menu.  More ordinary food for us this week.

Meatless Monday:
Cheese Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Rice.
OEP canned enchilada sauce (tho good) is not a good substitution for Amy's Cheese Enchiladas.  Still on the hunt for a duplicate recipe.

Tuesday:
Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, quick brown gravy.

Wednesday:
Rosemary Chicken, Cheesy Rice, veggies

Thursday:
Taco Dinner.  Im wondering if there are enough ripe tomatoes out there to serve at this meal.

Friday:
Home Made Gluten Free Pizza 

Saturday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sunday:
TBD

For other great dinner ideas visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday linky roundup. Print
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