Strawberry Fields Forever

Now you are probably humming that famous song from the Beatles, right? Sorry about that. The girls and I went Strawberry picking last week. We left early before the heat of the day. It was a perfect day for picking. Beautiful, blue, bright, sunny skies. There was a touch of a breeze to keep the bugs at bay. There were lots and lots of berries!

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We went to a farm in Whitefield, Maine that is organic. Strawberries are one of those fruits that is on the list of foods you should really try and eat without pesticides. Luckily there are a few good farms in Maine that are growing organic strawberries. Apples are also on that list but are a lot harder to find in organic ‘pick your own’ form.

Anyway, back to the strawberries.

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Isn’t that a beauty! And boy did they taste good. There were so many strawberries we didn’t really have to move along the row much. Just sit and pick.

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Of course you have to eat a few while you pick.

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It was a nice morning and I was very thankful to have the girls help me. This week they go to camp so I will go myself and I know it will take me a lot longer.

I froze most of this batch. I love having strawberries all year long. We use them in smoothies and pies but the girls will just eat a bowl of them straight out of the freezer. I cut off the tops, cut the berry in half unless it is really small and place it on a cookie sheet. When the sheet is full I put it in the freezer overnight. The next day I scoop the frozen berries into a freezer bag. Dip the bag in a big bowl or sink full of water to get all the air out and zip lock it closed. Then put the bag in the freezer. The reason I do it this way is that the berries freeze independently and they don’t freeze in a big lump. It is so much easier to open a bag and take a few out without having to separate them all from each other. Strawberries any time you need them!

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Picking your own fruit and freezing it is a real money saver. Frozen bags of fruit in a grocery store are about three times as much as what I can do for myself. Plus I am getting exercise, fresh air and making memories at the same time. So go find yourself some strawberries. And don’t forget to eat some too!

Happy Picking. ūüôā

 

 

What’s for Dinner – Menu & Recipe

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter as I did. Both my older boys came home for the weekend so the dinner table was full again. It was loud and fun with music, conversation, and lots of eating. We all got outside for a while on Sunday as it was a beautiful day.

We all hear that question, ‘What’s for dinner, or what’s for supper’. I even get ‘What are you making for breakfast today?’ I don’t plan out the breakfast menu. When I wake up I decide what we are having. It depends on our schedule, what time it is when I make my way downstairs and what time my husband leaves. Anyway this post and every Monday’s post is about dinner, or supper as some of us call it. Every Monday I will post a menu for the up coming week. I love getting meal ideas from other people and I hope that my menu may help someone. I also will post about a meal that was successful and offer a recipe. We all love recipe’s!

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We had a turkey dinner for Easter this year. I served all the fixings that would normally go with a turkey dinner. My husband always does a dry brine on the turkey and it is so very good. It locks the juices and flavor right in.

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Yummy broiled potatoes (both sweet and some russets) were a hit. I love adding a vidalia onion to the potatoes.

I had to change my menu around a bit last week, since we decided to have our big meal on Saturday instead of Sunday. My sons needed to leave Sunday to go back home to get ready for work and I didn’t want to stress with a big meal. On Sunday after a big breakfast we had egg salad sandwiches (use up all those hard boiled eggs!) for dinner and snacked off and on.

On Friday I made chicken enchiladas. Those are always a hit. I thought you may want the recipe. It is very easy and super yummy!

Chicken Enchiladas:

Package of 10 large tortillas

2 TBSP oil or butter

8oz cream cheese

1 large onion

Can of black olives

1/2 cup of salsa

2 to 3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

1 TBSP cumin

1 TBSP garlic powder

1 TBSP chili powder

salt to taste

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

One can of enchilada sauce. (We use mild and it has a bit of a kick, but if you like it hotter look for the hot!)

Cook onions in oil, add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add chopped olives and spices. Add salsa and chicken. Stir to incorporate. Add chicken and stir until chicken is covered in creamy sauce. Take off heat. Take about 1/4 cup of mixture and put inside tortilla. Roll to wrap and place in a greased glass dish that has edges. When the pan is filled pour the enchilada sauce over and top with a little more cheddar cheese if you like. Since the mixture is hot these won’t take long to cook. Cook in oven at 350 degrees until bubbly. If there happens to be leftovers these will reheat very nicely.

Here is my dinner menu for this week.

Monday: Salmon, basmati rice, and broiled brussel sprouts

Tuesday: Open faced turkey sandwiches with whole wheat bread and broccoli

Wednesday: Stir Fry with pasta

Thursday: Hamburgers on the Grill French fries and fried zucchini

Friday: Baked chicken parts with brown rice and green beans

Saturday: Beef roast, potatoes and carrots and cauliflower

Sunday: Spaghetti and sauce and crusty bread

Enjoy your week! If you have any meal ideas let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Menu Board & Recipes

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Mmmmm Fried Chicken! This is a favorite here in this house. It is relatively easy too. Here is the recipe:

Parts of chicken (I use legs and thighs)

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup corn meal (adds crunch)

1 TBSP paprika

1 TBSP garlic powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp thyme

Enough oil or shortening to fill a skillet up about an inch high

Soak chicken in yogurt for several hours

When ready to fry chicken mix dry ingredients in a paper or plastic bag (without holes)

Start to heat up oil in a frying pan or skillet. Don’t let it get too hot though. If it starts to smoke take it off and let it cool a bit.

Take chicken out of yogurt and shake off excess yogurt. Place a few pieces of chicken in the bag of spices and shake to cover chicken. Place the chicken in heated pan of oil. Fry at medium heat for 10 minutes or so on each side.

Serve with sides of your choice.

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Another favorite this week was home made spaghetti sauce and garlic bread sticks.

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Lots of carbs I know but also lots of taste. It is okay to load up on the carbs sometimes! Right?

Here is my recipe for Garlic Breadsticks

Use any pizza or bread dough that you enjoy. You could even get some of the frozen dough that they sell in the store.

After the first rise separate the dough into 16 balls. Shape into logs about the same size and put on a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You could spritz the logs with water at this point too, but you don’t have to.

Melt some butter while the bread sticks are cooking.

When they are done pull out from oven and brush breadsticks with butter and sprinkle salt and garlic powder over the tops. Then return to the oven and broil on low for a few minutes keeping your eye on them so they don’t burn.

Serve with pasta and sauce.

Here is the menu for this week:

Monday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes and broiled carrots

Tuesday: Home made chicken nuggets and salad

Wednesday: Shrimp and asparagus over angel hair pasta

Thursday: Squash & Zucchini broiled with soy sauce over rice noodles served with pot stickers.

Friday: Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday: Baked salmon with home made french fries and broccoli

Sunday: Baked Turkey and fixings with birthday cake

Yes there is a turkey in the menu. I have had it in the freezer for a while now and I want to cook it up before it gets too warm to do it. Since Easter is this weekend and it is my oldest sons birthday I thought it was the perfect thing.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

Beef Stew & On the Menu Board

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Beef Stew can be hard to get right. I remember some of my stews early in my marriage and motherhood that had to be choked down. That is if it could be chewed at all. It is pretty easy to ruin stew beef. I finally have it down to a science now and thought I would share my recipe.

2 lb stew beef

7 to 8 med. sized carrots cut in chunks

4 yellow potatoes cut in chunks

2 stalks of celery sliced

1 sweet potato or 1/2 butternut squash cut in chunks

large onion cut in strips

3 garlic cloves chopped

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup red wine (optional)

thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper

3 Tbsp oil

4 Tbsp butter

With a dutch oven or other pot with a tight fitting top pour oil onto bottom and heat on med. heat. Add stew beef and sear all sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When cooked on all sides add flour and stir around. Add water up to about 2 inches of the edge of pan. ¬†You need enough water, but you don’t want it to seep out and onto your stove. Cover with top of pot and cook on medium low heat for a few hours. You don’t want the water to boil hard. Just a simmer. The key here is to cook the beef slow. That is what makes it tender and tasty! You can check it every so often. You don’t want it to be too done, because then it looses its taste and texture.

When the meat is pretty tender turn off the heat and set the pot aside. In another pan add butter and melt. Add onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, celery, squash and saute until the veggies are tender but not too soft. They will cook a little more after you add them to the beef. Add everything to the stew pot where your meat is and stir around.  Add a little more salt and pepper and any herbs you choose. You could add the wine now if you wanted. If you need to add a little bit more water or broth now is the time for that too. Heat until it boils softly then turn it off and put on cover until ready to serve. This stew is best with a fresh loaf of bread or biscuits.

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I was a little more careful in my planning this week so I didn’t have too many of one type of meal. Towards the end of last week I did have a few comments about yet another stew or soup! Of course that didn’t stop anyone from eating it. They wouldn’t dare! Here is my menu for this week. You will notice that I only go to Thursday this week. We are heading out of state for a few days. I don’t know what is on the menu for Friday thru Sunday but I am hoping it will be good!

Monday: Steak, bean and cheese quesadillas

Tuesday: Fried chicken, baked potatoes, and salad

Wednesday: Grilled Tilapia, brown rice and broccoli

Thursday: Spaghetti and sauce with garlic bread sticks

Have a tasty week!

 

Sunday Dinner & On the Menu Board

We try and have ‘Sunday’ dinner every week. It is a tradition that many families have. The dinner is not really that much more special as far as the food goes but it is the way it is presented. It is Sunday. Many Sunday’s we have more of us at the table. It is special.

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This Sunday we had a roast chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots and gravy. We lit the candles and dug in.

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I always get a wing. I love them.

On Friday we had a big Lasagna and chocolate cake. We celebrated my husbands birthday. That also was special.

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And of course, chocolate cake. With M&M’s, one of his favorite candies.

I didn’t get a chance to snap that picture before people dug in. I got the recipe from¬†Add a Pinch. ¬†We made frosting from a recipe I found¬†here. I have to say it was one of the best chocolate cakes I have made. Actually the girls helped me so that could have been the reason.

This week on the menu board:

Monday: Clam Chowder with crusty bread

Tuesday: Chicken soup (from the Sunday chicken)

Wednesday: Chili from the freezer corn muffins

Thursday: Beef Stew

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Chicken ala King

Sunday: Pork Roast, sweet potatoes and onion and green salad

Have a tasty week!

On the Menu Board

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Here is our menu for the week:

Monday: Tacos – (Yes this was on last week’s menu. The girls went on an overnight and my husband and I went out!)

Tuesday: Salmon, rice, broccoli & cauliflower

Wednesday: Sausage, cabbage, potatoes, onions and peppers

Thursday: Squash soup and bread

Friday: Lasagna and Birthday cake!

Saturday: Beans and dogs and a veggie

Sunday: Baked whole chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots.

 

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Last Week¬†the chili and corn bread were a big hit. I got the corn bread recipe off of the¬†Food Network¬†site. It is the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. It was the best cornbread I ever made. The chili recipe is my own. I literally just throw a bunch of ingredients in a crock pot and let it cook. So easy! So tasty!

I do use dry beans, but cook them ahead of time. You can use canned beans. I use black and red, but any favorite bean would be fine. I try and watch my salt intake and I feel the canned beans have a lot of extra salt.

Chili in the Crock pot

2 qt mixed beans (black, red, pinto, black eyed…)

2 onions

2 peppers

1 lb hamburg (I have also used chicken) fried in skillet with a bit of oil

1 qt stewed tomatoes

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp tumeric

1 tsp pepper

Add everything in a crock pot. Put on high for one hour then turn to low for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with cornbread, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Do you put up a menu at your house? Do you struggle to find meal ideas every week? I know I do. I thought I would share my ideas and if you feel like it you could share yours. Comment below and leave a link to your menu for the week.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

On the Menu Board

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Although I am no chef I do love to cook. ¬†I am the main cook for my big family and they love to eat. Luckily they usually like to eat what I make. On Sunday afternoon I set aside time to create a menu for the week. It isn’t because I am super organized. The main reason I post a menu on the bulletin board is that I get tired of telling each person what is for supper. Seems like they still ask but now I just point to the board. Have you ever told someone what is for supper then ten minutes later someone else asks and you answer “You just asked that!” and the person says “No I didn’t that was so and so” ? I forget who asks me and I get a little tired of answering five or six times.

 

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Another reason I post it is that my husband is great at remembering to take out anything from the fridge that needs to thaw. I am not great at remembering to do that. Before we head up to bed he will look at the menu and take out the hamburg or chicken or whatever needs to thaw for supper the next day.

 

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It can be a challenge to come up with meals because I love a little variety. I don’t like having the same thing week after week. Plus I want the meals to be healthy. Most of our meals are made from scratch so it takes a little extra planning. I think it would be helpful to have different meal ideas to pick from every week. I hope that if you make a weekly menu (and you read this blog) you would be willing to share yours. I am making Monday my menu sharing day.

 

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Here is my menu for this week.

Monday: Chili with cornbread

Tuesday: Steak Fahitas

Wednesday: Teriyaki chicken on the grill with asparagus and brown rice

Thursday: Goulash (American Chop Suey)

Friday: Pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and onions and carrots and applesauce

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Beef Roast with roasted potatoes and broccoli and cauliflower and rolls

 

A Meal that worked really well and everyone loved last week was Thai Noodles and Stir Fry Veggies.

Here is the recipe:

Thai Noodles

Various stir fry veggies, like Bok Choy, onions, pea pods, garlic, carrots, broccoli…..

1/4 to 1/2 cup Soy sauce

2 Tbsp of Thai paste (mild)

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp oil

First thing soak the noodles in hot water.

Cut up veggies and start cooking the hardest vegetables first in a wok or deep pot. In my mix it was the carrots. Then add the next vegetable that takes longest to cook. Keep adding until all veggies are in. Mix up the soy sauce, Thai paste, honey and oil. Add to the veggies. Cook for a bit longer and transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Add some soy sauce and oil to wok and put in the Thai noodles. Stir and cook until soft. It shouldn’t take long if you soaked them. You can either add the veggies at this point and serve or you can put noodles on each plate and then add the veggies. Serve with extra soy sauce and a little hot sauce for those who like it a bit more spicy.

I think it would be fun to share your menu for the week. Tell about a meal from the previous week that worked really well and why. Maybe even share a recipe. Does that sound fun? Until I have added the Linky Party link I would love for you to leave a comment with a link to your blog post with your menu. Thanks!

If you see a meal in my menu that you would like the recipe for let me know. Enjoy your week!