Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prayers needed, please

My mother was in a serious car accident yesterday morning and is in a Trauma ICU. She's actually doing well considering she's 73 but it still isn't good. She has a badly bruised lung and one leg is broken in several places. She's refusing surgery for the break and is quite stubborn about things. She's in pain but has a deep fear of medications/anesthesia which is why she won't have the surgery. She's going to be out of commission for at least 12 weeks with or without the surgery. Please pray for Shirley and her husband, Floyd. And the other driver. All I know about her is her last name is Smith. We're trying to find out where she was taken and how she is. And throw one in there for my sisters and me, too....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pico de Gallo Chicken

low carb, chicken, broccoli, brussels sprouts
This was my dinner tonight and wow, was it great!

The man person made a chicken ranch sandwich with his plain broiled chicken and I had Pico de Gallo Chicken with brussels sprouts and a little broccoli slaw.

The chicken is so easy to make and you can add or subtract whatever you like to make it just right for you. And its low in carbs. If you leave off the cheese, its also fairly low in fat. I put less than an ounce of shredded sharp cheddar on the chicken but it gave it a nice color and a little bit of a cheesy flavor.

Pico de Gallo Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
red wine vinegar marinade (below)
pico de gallo (below)
toppings such as cheese or avocado, if desired

After marinating chicken, broil, grill or bake it (350) until the juices run clear. If you're going to top it with cheese, add the cheese about 5 minutes before it's finished cooking and cook until cheese melts and/or browns.

Remove the chicken from the oven and top with pico de gallo, avocado, or other ingredients.

Serve. Enjoy!


1 cup chicken stock (I used homemade defatted stock from chicken cooked a few days ago)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl large enough for the marinade and chicken. Place chicken in the marinade, cover, and put in refrigerator for at least one hour. Discard marinade after use.

Pico de Gallo

5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
green onion to taste, chopped (I use a lot)
fresh cilantro to taste, torn or chopped into small pieces, stem and all
jalapeno to taste, chopped (for me that isn't much!)
garlic powder to taste, optional but its better with it
freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 to 1 fresh lime or lemon (I prefer 1/2 a lime)

Mix everything together in a container, cover and refrigerate. I prefer the pico after it's been in the fridge a day or two and the flavors have mingled well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lean & mean Saturday lunch

low carb, lunch, broccoli, slaw
I'm off this weekend and plan to do some cooking for the coming week. But today I needed something light for lunch so I had broccoli slaw, half an avocado, 2 slices of deli smoked turkey, and a small amount of cheese. Okay, so if you're a carnivore like me, it's a really lean meal but I wasn't horribly hungry and since I'm focusing on keeping my blood sugar in line, lean is what I need right now. I'm also tweaking my insulins so I need to be very wary of carbohydrates. Of course, I need to do that all the time!

Ain't Diabetes grand?

The broccoli slaw is different and lends a little variety. It's also very easy to prepare. To a package of broccoli slaw mix I added a green onion, chopped, top and all, about 1/5 of a small green pepper, chopped, half a stalk of celery, chopped, some minced garlic, about 2 teaspoons of Ken's Lite Northern Italian dressing, a smidge of salt and some freshly ground black pepper, and a very light dusting of Splenda. I mixed it well, put it in a container, covered it, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days. The resulting salad is savory with just a slight sweetness to it. It would be better with vegetables fresh from the garden but since that isn't an option right now, this is as good as it gets.

Blood sugar before lunch - 110
Blood sugar two hours after lunch - 102

That works for me. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms

I got hungry awhile ago and stuffed mushrooms sounded good so I prepared some. The recipe I use is easy and simple and requires no hard to find ingredients. From beginning to end, it takes about 25 minutes and the resulting treat is worth the little bit of work. The recipe is easy to adapt, too, so substituting ingredients is a snap. As written below, each mushroom has about half a gram of carbohydrate so take two (or three, or four...), they're small.

5 mushrooms with caps removed, stems saved
2 or 3 slices bacon (I use turkey bacon)
1/3 to 1/2 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 green onion, top and all, finely diced
A little oil or butter (I use a combination of both)
About half a cup of cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella and sharp cheddar)
Any spices you might desire such as salt, pepper, finely diced garlic, etc.

Cook, cool, and break into small pieces the 3 slices of bacon and put into a medium bowl. I cook mine in the microwave as it takes about 4 minutes and creates no mess.
Sauteeing vegetables
Finely dice the mushroom stems, celery, and onion, and sautee in olive oil or butter until tender.
low carb
Add the vegetable mixture to the bacon in the bowl and mix well. Add cheese and seasonings and mix well.
Unbaked stuffed mushrooms
Stuff this into the mushroom caps and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
stuffed mushrooms, low carb
I like them very hot and well cooked!

This recipe is very good with different meats such as breakfast sausage or finely diced chicken. Or you can just leave the meat out. I like to experiment with other vegetables such as diced black olives, capers, or pimientos but this morning I just wanted a quick stuffed mushroom fix! If there's any of the vegetable cheese mixture remaining after the caps are stuffed, I just eat it with a fork. :)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Breakfast meatballs pictures

I've received email and DMs from people on twitter asking if I'd post pictures of the breakfast meatballs so I made a batch tonight and here they are.
Breakfast meatballs
These are the meatballs before they're cooked

low carb, breakfast, meatballs
And here are some after they've come out of the oven. They're piping hot and ready to eat!

The recipe makes about 30 smallish meatballs which can be eaten with utensils or fingers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Breakfast Meatballs

As I've said before I'm not one to eat breakfast. I don't wake up hungry and the thought of food nauseates me most days until about noon. However, as a diabetic I really need to eat something when I get up. It helps get my metabolism revved for the day and it helps control the Dawn Phenomenon and Somogyi Effect, both of which give me grief. The problem is: what to eat?

Eggs don't normally appeal to me in the morning and toast, waffles, and pancakes are too high in carbohydrates for me. Now and then I'll eat non-breakfast foods such as leftovers from the night before or a turkey dog and some cheese. So, my standards on the days I manage to choke down breakfast are egg, sausage and cheese "muffins" or two or three of these delicious breakfast meatballs, each of which contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrate.

Breakfast Meatballs

1 pound turkey sausage (I use homemade but store bought is great, too)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons onion, minced (reconstituted dried onion works well)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (omit if you want mild meatballs)
5 ounces cheese, grated (use whatever kind you prefer - I like to mix cheddar, swiss, and a little asiago)
salt, pepper, and other spices to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients spices in a bowl and mix well. Roll meat mixture into bite sized balls and bake until done, 15 to 20 minutes.

These freeze well so after baking them I put them in the fridge to cool then put a few in a freezer bag or plastic container, label with the date and contents, and freeze. When ready to use them, I just heat them in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes or microwave them on high for about 4 minutes.

These are a great take along snack and as a bonus, most kids love them. Uncooked, this also makes a nice stuffing for peppers, squash, mushrooms, etc. Just fill your vegetables with the meat mixture and bake until done.

A little more of my family - wedding part II

Back in October I posted some of the photos from my oldest son's wedding and the following reception. I know, its taken me very long but here are more photos. :)

Austin, May 08
This is one from May of 2008 when Jeremy graduated from UT. It isn't the best picture but from left to right, Lydia (now my daughter in law), Jeremy (my oldest son), Shirley (my mother), and Jonathan (my youngest son) who got engaged December 25th.

Lydia & the dream girls
The lovely bride and her beautiful bride's maids after the wedding

The newlyweds dance at the reception

Jon & the happy couple
Jonathan toasts his brother and new sister in law

The photographer set up a photo booth at the reception and got some great photos! If you're going to have a wedding or are helping plan one, I recommend something like this at the reception. It was a lot of fun!

Jon & Alisha
Jonathan and Alisha

The happy couple

Denise & Mom
Me, planting one on Mom's cheek

Mom, five of her grandchildren and one great granddaughter

That last picture is a great one and one we'll all love to look at years from now. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hey, what a handsome young man!

That's what I think when I look at this guy:
Aint he cute?
Of course, he is my son but I'm not biased. ;) Now, to get pictures of his brother...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday lunch to go

I work 3:30 to 9:30 tonight and though I ate lunch, I've packed a box to take with me for snack/lunch break.
crustless quiche, low carb, lunch
The top tier is leftover crustless quiche, a wrap leftover from a couple of days ago, and some edamame. The bottom tier is pineapple and raw vegetables. I have a sidecar of artichoke dip for the vegetables. I probably won't eat much of the pineapple but a bite here and there makes for a nice treat. And since I generally share with others, I'm packing more than I can eat.

Cheese & Spinach Crustless Quiche

Oh my, this is a fantastic dish! I found the recipe this morning and prepared it for lunch today and this quiche is both attractive and tasty! It's also low in carbs since it has no crust and no high carb ingredients.
quiche, crustless quiche, low carb, cheese, egg
I changed the recipe just a tad, using fewer eggs because I used less spinach, and I added garlic, chicken bouillon, crushed red pepper and about a Tablespoon of half and half. I also used a combination of mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and asiago cheeses. Next time I prepare it I'll add some cooked turkey bacon or turkey ham and see how that tastes.

Leftovers are definitely going in my lunch box today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Low carb snack & lunch ideas

Updated May 30, 2011

Here's my list of low/lower carb snack and lunch ideas. I update it when I find a new recipe or idea I like and if you have something to add or suggest, please leave a comment!

Dlife has a list of their Top 10 low carb and low cost foods. Also, check out the food porn thread at There are some very good looking pictures and recipes there. As usual, your mileage may vary. Just because peanut butter doesn't cause one person a spike in blood sugar, doesn't mean it works that way for every person. Let your body/experience/meter be your guide.


crustless cheese and spinach quiche (go crazy and experiment with asparagus, broccoli, and other vegetables)
wraps made with lean meats and low carb tortillas or flat bread (in great moderation for me) or lettuce
chicken and/or beef salad in low carb tortillas, flat bread or lettuce
egg wraps stuffed with tuna or chicken salad
spicy chicken & avocado
weiner winks
beef jerky
spiced and grilled small unbreaded fish fillets
breakfast meatballs
meatballs with light tomato sauce or lightly thickened broth
eggs - scrambled, hard boiled, deviled, turned into salad with low carb ingredients
bento box egg thing
nuts and seeds
meat crust pizza
chicken wings as long as they aren't breaded or loaded with sweet or starchy sauces


zucchini and red pepper "fries" - One of my favorites
edamame - I steam these lovelies in the microwave then pop them out of the shell, salt them very lightly and enjoy every bite! One cup of edamame, minus the shell, has 8 net grams of carbs. Also try mukimame, the same bean sold without the shell.
fried cabbage and onions - not too portable by itself but oh, so good!
broccoli slaw
cucumber, avocado, and tomatoes topped with cheese
cucumber, tomato and onion marinated in a small amount of vinegar, olive oil, and splenda
pico de gallo
low carb pasta (another in moderation food for me) mixed with chopped raw vegetables and a little Italian dressing
raw or cooked low carb vegetables - plain, stuffed, with a little cheese sauce, etc.
stuffed mushrooms
celery with peanut butter, tuna, cream cheese, etc.
vegetable chips


cheese, cheese and more cheese
cottage cheese with a few berries
cottage cheese with splenda and cinnamon or a little dry sugar free pudding
softened cream cheese with splenda and a little vanilla extract
cheese crispies - sliced cheese microwaved until brown and crisp
Atkins shakes - my favorite is the Dark Chocolate Royale shake, ice cold. Once in awhile I add a little banana extract and some ice and it's absolutely decadent.


bread pudding
sugar free gelatin
cream cheese, splenda, and vanilla mixed and spread on a low carb tortilla which is then rolled and chilled and sliced
a few blueberries with crema mexicana and cinnamon


dips made with low carb ingredients
thick creamed spinach spread onto sliced turkey or turkey ham, rolled up and baked a bit (for extra good stuff, add a stalk of fresh asparagus)
broccoli cheese soup made with cream and broth
vegetable soup made with a small turnip rather than potato
zucchini and caulifower soup with rosemary and olive oil Triscuit crackers. The crackers have 2 grams of carbs per cracker so take that into account
hellzapoppin cheese "rice" - this is one of Dana Carpender's best recipes, in my opinion, and it's a great comfort food. Scroll down the page to find it.

Check back often as this list keeps growing!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

End of the week...

I got my taxes done tonight. How is that for not procrastinating? I get a refund...a whopping $67! I'll take it.

I have a meeting at work tonight at 9:30. It shouldn't last more than thirty minutes or so, probably. And I'm off tomorrow. Yaaaay! But I plan to do laundry in the morning and run a few errands. Being off means I don't have to pack a lunch but I'll probably prepare some things for the weekend since I work Saturday and Sunday.

The edamame I took to work today was great and my co-workers who tried it liked it, too. Two of them told me they didn't like black olives or beans but they ate some of both and liked them. One of them said to me, "You're making me like stuff I don't like!". I thought that was amusing.

I'm working on a list of easy to tote low carb foods for lunches. So far, its a nice list but if you have suggestions please let me know. I can always use more ideas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday doings....

I was off today and didn't do much at all. I caught up on recorded "House" episodes, watched "The Ascent of Money", which I recommend highly to anyone trying to grasp the financial situation our world is in today, and cleaned out my email inbox.

Dinner was carne picada cooked in a skillet with some spices and topped with cheese. DH had his in a sandwich and I ate mine plain with a side salad. It was simple and good.

Here's tomorrow's lunch:
lunch, low carb
The top tier is a whole beef, cheese, and onion wrap, a sliced spicy cream cheese wrap (both wraps made with low carb tortillas) about 1/2 a cup of edamame, celery, baby carrots, and mushrooms. I also have a sidecar of artichoke dip. The bottom tier is black olives and mandarin orange, most of which I won't eat. This is a lot of food but it will be used for break and lunch and I generally share with whoever needs a snack.

Okay, time for bed. I'm tired and have to get up at 5:30.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On the right track...

Perhaps the Japanese bento style lunch isn't what I really need but something like laptop lunch, the Americanized version, just might be the ticket. Yesterday I found a sweet little box on clearance for less than $2. It isn't an LL box but it will work so I snagged it and last night I filled it. It can't be microwaved but I'm more of a take-it-out-of-the-fridge-and-let-it-sit-on-the-counter-for-half-an-hour kinda girl, anyway.

Okay, keep in mind that I'm new to a) my camera and b) packing a meal that looks halfway decent (throw it in a container, screw a lid on, and go is my norm) so be gentle with me! Also, remember that I eat low carb most of the time so while I might occasionally have a little bit of potato, rice, or fruit, one third of my lunch won't be carbs! Most of it will be lower starch vegetables with a little meat and a dab of carb thrown in for good measure.

laptop lunch, food, vegetables

The top layer is dry roasted cashews, leftover beef roast, and broccoli with 2 Tbsp of rice thrown in for texture and a garnish of carrot and sugar snap peas. The bottom layer is a medley of broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots and water chestnuts. I also have a sidecar of celery and a delicious dip of mayonnaise, artichoke heart, and seasonings for my snack.

I know, that's a lot of broccoli and green stuff in general but that's how I like it. I guess what I'm going to do for awhile uses neither bento "rules" or equipment or laptop lunch equipment but it will be Denise's Lunch On The Go. ;)

I still want to have a genuine bento box and want to try making the contents appealing but in the meantime, this will get me going in my efforts to eat better at work. And that's my main goal with wasting less being another goal.

Monday, January 12, 2009

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

So this is a little late but today, the second Monday in January, is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. While I don't find this particular holiday to be exciting or even fun it is a little more practical than most holidays so I actually observe it. ;) Well okay, not really observe it but I did clean off my desk today. It wasn't a mess and has seen much messier days but seeing as how today was a holiday, I tidied it up a bit.

Here's my desk before:
Messy Desk!

And here it is after:
Clean Desk!

Yeah, there's still a black cable running over my desk even after cleaning but that's okay. I can deal with that as long as the rest of it is neat.

Although the day is almost over, if you haven't cleaned off your desk give it a quick neatening. You'll be glad you did.

Hmm, too bad there isn't a National Clean Under Your Desk Day. Or is there?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bento, anyone?

Okay, loyal followers, occasional readers, and long time lurkers, I need your input! I've been giving serious thought to making bento lunches for myself and want to know if any of you have experience in that department. I'd read a little about them a year or two ago but had pretty much forgotten about the concept until my friend Tracey and I started a Twitter discussion about them. Now I'm obsessed!

I admit I find the entire concept to be a little odd but it also seems like it would be fun and interesting so I'm game. I don't have a bento box yet but tonight I just had to get in the kitchen and play in an attempt to grasp some of the ideas. I ended up using a Gladeware container and cupcake papers to make my faux bento lunch for tomorrow. Yes, I took pictures and no, I won't post them. It's embarrassing they're so pitiful! But hey, I'm trying...

I found this great website, My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch, and it's basically bento for dummies. In fact, I found it by Googling 'bento for dummies'. Ha! It has photos, recipes, and basic information that even a simpleton like me can understand. And here's a video about crafting a bento.

But I'd really like to hear from any of you who have done the bento thing. I'd like to know about your experiences, especially if you made the lunches for yourself or another adult rather than a child. I told Tracey I can't see myself taking Hello Kitty rice balls to work and she said she takes Hello Kitty stuff all the time! Okay, so maybe I can work some kawaii stuff in there but really I'm going for healthy, low carb, and easy to eat. And I think bento is one way to help me stay on track with lunch at work.

Thanks for any ideas or comments!

The pizza that just gets better!

The no dough meat crust pizza I made last night was twice as good, if not more, this morning. After sitting in the fridge all night, it was so good I finished it all off for breakfast! I'm telling you, it's amazing today and it isn't because I'm very hungry. It absolutely just tastes better.

This will be a fairly regular dish around here and since it's such a basic recipe I'm going to play with it a lot and see what varieties we like best. I can't wait to create a Mexican version. Rod wants me to put his on a low carb tortilla. I'm not sure it will stand up to the weight of the ingredients but perhaps the stuff can be wrapped in the tortilla, if nothing else. I think I just want mine plain with a fork, thank you. :)

If you like pizza and are diabetic or are just watching your carb intake, trust me and try that dish!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No dough meat crust pizza - I love it!

I like pizza but it isn't my favorite food. What I like best about it is the toppings rather than the crust, which is way too high in carbs for me and causes a major blood sugar spike, but until tonight I hadn't found a good way to prepare just the toppings so I just rarely eat the stuff.

But I found this recipe for no dough meat crust pizza recently and it sounded like it would be easy and good so I made it tonight for supper. Wow, I'm so excited about it!

low carb, diabetes, pizza
I used browned ground turkey sausage rather than ground beef and used spaghetti sauce rather than pizza sauce because that's what I had on hand. Other than those two things I followed the recipe and used turkey pastrami, mozzarella cheese, chopped onion, chopped garlic, canned mushrooms, and chopped cooked squash (leftover from my Luby's lunch today) for toppings.

Meat and cheese "crust"
Here's the meat and cheese after being put in the pan. This becomes the crust of the pie.

Ready for the oven
Once the ingredients are put on, it's ready for the oven.

Hot from the oven
Here's the pizza, hot from the convection oven!

On the plate
And here's a bit of it on my plate.

Note that its a bit watery. I think most of that was caused by using a spaghetti sauce that was a little on the thin side. Other than the watery aspect of this dish, it was great. Letting the pizza sit for a few minutes helped to set it and my second serving was firmer and had no liquid. Unless the bread crust is what you love in pizza, this should work to satisfy the craving for you. Honestly, it tasted just like a great slice of pie should taste...without all the carbs!

We liked it so much I'm planning a Mexican version of it soon. Ole!

Wow, I'm off this weekend :)

They're trying to rotate weekends off at my job and this weekend its my turn to be off. Yaaay! Unfortunately, we're a little short handed and I wouldn't be surprised if I get called in. If so, I'll survive but I do hope they don't call me. I have plans to cook and clean - how relaxing is that?

*I just got back from work*. I did get called in and worked for two hours and fifteen minutes. So much for my weekend off!

I've been reading a lot about The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 because we're trying to figure out if and how it might affect the eyeglass repair business. We've printed all 62 pages of the law but its so convoluted that making sense of it is nigh on impossible. Anyway, that's one of the things I'll work on this weekend.

I also plan to do some cooking, of course. We had our swiss steak like stuff made with the leftover tenderized steak served over brown rice. DH said it was "okay" but he isn't a fan of anything with tomato based sauce. I thought it was pretty good! Later we had hot and barbecued chicken wings as a snack. They were scrumptious. I'm not sure what I'll cook this weekend but I need to make the menu for the coming week and get that posted.

First things first, though. Laundry this morning! Tonight's dinner will be a new recipe for us. It's a low carb pizza recipe, one that doesn't have any 'weird' ingredients in it. Check back tonight as I'll write about it and have pictures.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sorry, but I *like* re-runs for dinner!

Tonight's dinner was excellent even though it was made entirely from leftovers. I talked to a friend on the phone while I was getting dinner ready and she said "Ewwwww!!" when I mentioned leftovers. I told her what I'd done with the leftovers then said, "Sorry, but I like re-runs for dinner!" and she made another disgusted sound. The conversation went downhill from there.

What's not to like about leftovers? Eating them as is or finding a new way to use them as Janelle and Jen seem to excel at or working planned overs into your menu are all frugal and rockin' ways to recycle your food! And hey, isn't recycling a big thing in our world?

Anyway, to make our meal I chopped what was left of a beef roast from earlier this week and put it in a bowl of leftover brown gravy. Then I added about a Tablespoon of dried onion soup mix, the spoon full left of baby carrots and potato that had cooked with the roast and heated it all. The gravy and meat was served over leftover fried rice from chinese food two days and we had sides of leftover green beans and leftover green peas. It was a little higher in carbs than we need or normally eat but the leftovers needed to go and we needed to eat. It was a win win situation, especially after we took a long walk to help with the blood sugar rise that could have come from eating those carbs.

Tomorrow's dinner will be from leftovers, also. There's leftover broiled tenderized steak and half a baked potato lingering in the refrigerator. The steak will more than likely end up in the slow cooker with stewed tomatoes and onions and be served over the potato and the small amount of fried rice that's left. A nice leafy salad and some brussels sprouts will finish off the meal. I can't wait.

Bring on the leftovers!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is this plant?

Update - the plant appears to be Disocactus flagelliformis, also called Rat Tail Cactus. I'm not 100% certain that's what it is but I think that's correct.

Someone in our office suite gave me this cactus because it was in their way and they were tired of bumping into it. It's a neat looking plant, I think, but we've had a few customers walk in and say something like, "Oh! Your cactus freaked me out!!"

I'm not sure how to care for it. Some of it is green and some is brown. I don't know if it needs water or if it's supposed to look like that.

Just what is this thing?

Strange cactus

Closeup of strange cactus

I moved it outside for awhile and got another picture.

Weird cactus sitting outside

And here's one of new growth

New growth

If you have an idea what it is and how to care for it, please let me know. I want to give it a great home.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another non-food post but still...

This morning I read this article about banks and the money they received in the bail out and just fumed. Hours later I'm still mad about it. Does anyone else see this is as patently ridiculous or is it just me? I simply can't fathom the reaction of the banks - what do you mean you don't know where the money is? What do you mean you won't comment? Absolutely irresponsible.

Can you tell I'm a little mad about this situation?

Are we obligated to pay old debts and charge off debts?

This is so not food related but I wanted to find out what others think. Do you think people have an obligation to pay a charged off debt?

During a conversation with one of my sons this morning he said he got his credit reports last week and there were two charge offs from almost seven years ago. They're both due to roll off soon and other than those two he has about $3,600 in non-student loan debt. Apparently he plans to tackle the two charge offs at some point down the road but not any time soon. He agrees we might have a moral obligation to pay such a debt but isn't concerned about it.

I, on the other hand, think we definitely have a moral obligation to pay debts, even old and charged off debts. So what if the company got a tax break on the bad debt - we still owe them that money and not paying it is theft.

What do you think? Do we or do we not have an obligation to pay old/charged off debts? Input greatly appreciated!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Corn Chip Chili Pie

Corn chip chili pie is one of my favorite cold weather recipes. I'd planned to have it for dinner one night this week but made it today for lunch instead in an attempt to ward off hunger and the desire to go buy Chinese food at $20 for the two of us.

It turned out very well and I think the addition of a little pico de gallo to the top of the pie was one reason. I got busy while it was cooking, though, and left it in the oven a little too long. Fortunately, that didn't seem to hurt it much.

Corn Chip Chili Pie

I'm still adjusting to the new camera and having problems getting all of what I want in the picture but I think the photo isn't too horribly bad. Is it?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Denise tries something new!

I've prepared the same basic meals for 26 years, give or take, and have reached a point where I want to try some new dishes. Well, I'm jumping in with both feet this week and plan to try two that I've found recently. Hopefully, I'll actually get them made and we'll enjoy them.

So without further hullabaloo, here's the menu for the coming week.

Tonight we're having broiled barbecued beef short ribs with baked beans and salad. If there are any ribs leftover I'll take the meat off the bone, cut it into small pieces, and use it in soup. Wednesday night we'll have whatever I make at my mother's house, presuming I go over that day.

Assuming there are no ribs left to make soup, the rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Crockpot Cheese and Vegetables with homemade wheat rolls

Corn chip chili pie, one of my all time cold weather favorites

Meatloaf Casserole with green beans and salad

Baked chicken tenders with steamed spinach and salad

And that's it for the week, short and sweet, easy and tasty...I hope!

Hop on over to Menu Plan Monday and add your menu for the week. It's always fun to see what others are serving and I've gotten some fantastic recipes that way.

Ohhh, can I have one of these?? Just think what I can do with it!

That's what I'm going to say to my husband when I spring my latest kitchen wish on him. What, you don't have kitchen wishes? Sure you do! You know, those things you wish you had in the kitchen, the things that will make your life easier (or so you think), the things that make your heart go pitter pat when you see them.

Well, this is my latest kitchen wish and while $100 isn't cheap it's a whole lot cheaper than that Aga range I want someday! Yeah, if wishes were horses beggars would ride. The first wish is doable but that Aga range, ehhhh not so much.

Honestly, I don't know if I would really use the first thing very much but I'd like to try!

Speaking of the Aga, I finally got the brochure I requested. Oh, be still my heart. The pictures from it are going on the wall over my computer..after I take pictures of them to post here. Yes, I'm going to take pictures of the pictures. Guess I need to wrap the keyboard in plastic to protect it from the drool....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A few recipes in my 'have to try this soon' list

I keep a running list of recipes I want to try. The list seems to just get larger as time passes, mainly because I don't get around to trying the recipes. But one of the things I want to work on this month is trying new recipes. I'm tired of the same meals and actually making some of the recipes on my list should help.

Here are some of the recipes on the list:

15 Minute Steak Soft Tacos
Cabbage Roll Meatloaf
Cranberry Scones
Crockpot Cheese and Vegetables
Healthified Lasagna
Meatloaf Casserole

Cheddars Spinach Dip

1 cup half and half
1 cup monterey Jack cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces green chili peppers
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeƱo, chopped
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, squeezed of excess liquid

Mix all ingredients. Cook at 400 degree for 1/2 hour in serving dish.
Serve with tortillas.

Crockpot Reuben Dip

This delicious and easy five ingredient dip recipe is perfect for a spread for football watchers.

8 oz. cooked corned beef, coarsely chopped
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed, drained, chopped
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Thousand Island salad dressing

Mix all ingredients in 1-1/2 - 3 quart crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Stir to combine and scrape down sides. Dip will hold for 2 hours on LOW. Serve with party rye bread slices, pretzels, pickles, and french bread cubes. Serves 10 to 12.

There are a lot of other recipes I want to try but these are just a few. Now, I need to find ways to work those into our menu, even one new recipe every week or two would work.

When you find new recipes do you try them immediately or save them up and work them in later?

Depression era recipes & help with leftovers

I'm something of a collector of recipes, especially really thrifty ones. I suppose it comes from raising kids on a very limited income but even though it's just me and the man person now and we're doing okay financially (thanks to YHWH, Dave Ramsey, and our own hard work) I still cook frugally and collect recipes for very inexpensive dishes. In light of that, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Depression era recipes with y'all. Some of these I've found on the web and where I know the site, I note that by making the name a link. Enjoy!

Depression Cake

1 cup shortening
2 cups water
2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a saucepan combine the shortening, water, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one 9 x 13 baking pan.

Stir the flour and baking soda into the cooled raisin mixture and mix until just combined. Pour batter into the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This is actually a very good cake and it's excellent when frosted with homemade icing.

Another Cake Recipe

1 cup water
2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lard (shortening)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Place water, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, lard, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan and mix. Bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes. Allow to cool, then sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into cooked mixture. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for one hour.

Rice Pudding

Grease a glass 9" x 13" Pyrex dish with solid shortening. Preheat oven to 300.

½ cup long grain white rice
½ cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk, diluted to make one quart
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon to taste

Place all ingredients except cinnamon in pan. Generously sprinkle top with cinnamon. At least once during the baking, stir cinnamon crust into the rice and sprinkle the top with cinnamon again. Let bake until rice is tender, approximately 1 ½ hours. Cool and serve or refrigerate and serve cold.

Meatless Loaf

1 cup rice
1 cup peanuts crushed
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients together and bake in a loaf pan for 30 minutes or until loaf is set.

Meatless loaf sounds like a very odd dish and it is but it's tasty!

Homemade Dumplings

This is how my paternal grandmother made dumplings

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons shortening
3/4 to 1 cup milk
2 quarts broth or more

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add shortening then milk until thick batter is obtained. Drop by teaspoonfuls in boiling broth cover and cook covered 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid while cooking.

Bread For the Poor
That's what the same grandmother called this fried bread

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Stir in enough water to make a batter and pour into greased cast iron skillet. Fry like you would a pancake until brown on each side. Spread with butter and jelly and enjoy. Its also nice when sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

And there's a new blog, Not Just Leftovers - Brand New Meals, about creatively using leftovers. Kudos to Janelle for starting it up!

Free 100 Day Meal Planning Kit

For just a few minutes of your time, you can get the free 100 Day Meal Planning Kit from Menu In A Box. Hurry, this is good for one day, January 1, 2009! This ebook has just about everything you need for 100 days of meals. Just add money (to buy the groceries) and you're ready to go. :)

And a happy one to you!

New year

Where ever you are, who ever you are, wishing you a great 2009! May it be bountiful and blessed....