A weeks worth of salad in a jar!

Ok. I know…I know. I haven’t posted for a while. I have no excuses, we have just been busy! But….that doesn’t mean I haven’t been faithfully trying new Pintrest ideas! Now I am going to try to catch you all up.

I came across this post about making a weeks worth of salad lunches and putting them in Mason Jars and storing them in the fridge. I thought it would be perfect for all those hard working busy parents (me) who need to have a little healthier meals but saving some time, and money!

The thought behind the pintrest idea was if the lettuce didn’t touch the dressing it wouldn’t get mushy. I LOVE salad so I thought I would try it. I have to admit I started out very small. I made two Monday night. I already had some wide mouth quart Mason jars so I pulled them out of the pantry, made sure I had lids and they were clean. I made a quick trip to the store to get the preferred goodies for my salad and went to town.

I estimated the amount of dressing on the bottom. it was maybe an 1/4 inch or less from the bottom of the jar. I used a natural creamy balsamic dressing that I had bought a few weeks ago and really like, but of course you could use any dressing you like. Some people were concerned over ranch dressing, but I think if it sat with the vegetables it would be just a little runny to help mix it over your salad. Or my other thought was to tip it upside down aprox 15 minutes before you were going to eat it and then shake it up. I wanted to make sure that all the vegetables that wouldn’t get soggy sitting in the dressing would go on the bottom. So I cut up some carrots. I used baby carrots I already had and just diced them into small circles. Then i added some grape tomatoes and cheese, I added some diced onion, and then some sliced cucumber. I was worried the cucumbers wouldn’t come out of the jar easily so I sliced them and then cut the slices into quarters. I then added some chopped up leftover steak, small broccoli florets, and then the cleaned red and green leaf lettuce. I really packed in the lettuce.

I took one jar with me on Tuesday and the second jar with me today. I was extremely impressed. The two salads I made were not soggy. The lettuce and vegetables were very crisp and tasty. The only think I would do differently would be to move the cucumbers up in the chain. maybe on top of the meat. They were marinated in the dressing, which was fine, but I wonder if they sat all week if it would be a little much. At lunch all I did was turn the jar upside down, give it some good shaking, and then pour it all on a plate.

All in all the end product was very satisfactory, and considering you would spend about $8-15 dollars at a restaurant for a similar salad what a great money saving idea! You could totally change up the salads on a weekly or even daily basis by adding different veggies, dressings, or meat! Next week I am going to make a weeks worth.

Here is a picture of the end product! Don’t they just look yummy??

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Homemade Pancakes

Well I was making pancakes the other day and thought even though this wasn’t a pintrest idea, it is a great recipe so I thought I would share it. Here it is:

1 1/2 c Flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1 1/4 c Milk
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter
Vanilla flavoring
Almond flavoring

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When making these pancakes I always make a double batch. The leftovers we keep in the fridge and the boys can microwave them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I started by mixing the dry ingredients together. The sugar I estimate. I know I put more than what is called for, but I like my pancakes a bit sweeter, especially when adding vanilla and almond flavoring.

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Then I added all the wet ingredients but the butter. The vanilla I would estimate I put in 1 tsp for a double batch and a couple drops of almond flavoring.

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I mixed them together and then mixed in the melted butter.

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The batter will be a little bit lumpy and that is ok. You are then ready to cook them!

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Here is a picture where you can see where the pancakes raise nice and fluffy.

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Bon Appetite!

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These are a huge winner at my house. My hubby who doesn’t care for breakfast foods or sweet foods eats these up!

Orange/Vinegar Cleaner

I have been trying to go greener on some of my cleaners, and not using such harsh items while still not breaking the bank. I came across this idea here.

I had some oranges, and some vinegar so I put some in a jar.

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I let it sit aprox 2 weeks to make sure it was good and orange smelling. After it had set on the kitchen counter (with the small miracle that nobody knocked it over or broke it). After I felt it was done I got a spray bottle that had been used before and just washed it out very well. I took out the orange peels and poured the vinegar mixture into the bottle using a funnel.

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I love the orange smell. I use it the counters, sink, and bathtub. I have yet to give up using my lysol wipes on the toilet. 3 guys in the house my toilet can get kinda nasty and I just don’t feel right if it isn’t sparkly clean! I am running out here shortly and have another batch in the making.

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Homemade Dishwasher Soap

So, since my laundry soap went so well I thought for sure I could make homemade dishwasher soap. Pintrest never misleads me right? Well…..

Here is the blog where I based my original recipe.

And the ingredients I used.

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I had HORRIBLE results. My plates are clear glass and they were cloudy and had this film on them. I then tried adding a couple drops of dish soap in with the dishes. That didn’t help, I added Lem Shine and the citric acid. That didn’t help. I added the dish soap, 1 c vinegar, along with everything else and NOTHING I did seemed to help. For some reason it didn’t clean the dishes very well either. There were still food stuck on them and my pans were horrible.

If anyone has any suggestions at all I am open to see if I could get it to work, but if not lets just chalk this one up to fail and call it good.

Body Scrub

With all the crafty things I have been doing, I figured I could make my own body scrub. The hardest ingredient to find was the vitamin E oil. I finally found it at a Whole Foods. I used Mortons sea salt in this batch, but have also used Epsom Salt or any type of course sea salt. poured the salt into a plastic container then put aprox 1/2 cup of vitamin E oil, and filled the rest up with olive oil. Then I added the Vanilla Lavender oil I got from Bath and Body Works until I was happy with the smell. I used a butter knife to stir it. Works great in the winter on my dry skin.

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You can always try it using a variety of oils and smells to suit your purposes!

Homemade Laundry Soap

This is a recipe I have done twice now and I think this is the only way to go! I found the recipe duplicated on several blog sites. Here is the basic recipe that I used.

1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax
2. three bars of Fels-Naptha soap
3. one four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda
4. one box of arm & hammer super washing soda

All these items were in the laundry isle at my local Walmart. You can always add four pounds of Oxy Clean and/or you could add scented laundry crystals. The spouse doesn’t care for perfumed clothes so I opt for nothing smelly. When I made this last batch I made a double and put it in a 5 gallon bucket. I had a huge bag of baking soda I had gotten at Sams so I used my kitchen scale to measure that out.

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I started by shredding the Fels-Naptha soap with my cheese grater. My oldest son ended up doing most of it this time. Usually I get a big bowl and just sit in front of the TV and do it. Takes me about 20 minutes to shred all 6 bars.

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At that point I start layering the soaps. I start with 1 box of Borax, 1 box of baking soda, 1 box super soda wash, and 3 bars of the Fels-Naptha soap, then started again with the remaining amounts.

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To mix I took my husbands DeWalt drill and a paint stirrer and mixed it all up. It could get a little messy, especially the 1st time you do it, so you might want to do it in the garage.

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I have a front load washer, so for a regular large load I use 2 tbs of laundry soap and place it in the drum when putting in the clothes. For a smaller load I adjust accordingly. I used to have all sorts of problems with my washer smelling horribly and I don’t have those problems any more. For fabric softner I just use straight vinegar. I just pour it in the same amount that you would for your fabric softner in the same spot. Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar I promise.

Creamed Corn Turkey Soup

We were making supper tonight and had done beer can chickens and wanted to do something with the leftover chicken. This soup has been a favorite of ours for a very long time (over 6 years). I originally got it from the Kraft Food website.

I have used leftover turkey, chicken, canned chicken, or have boiled a chicken breast then shredded it and used it. If I boil the chicken I used the leftover water instead of chicken broth.

I started off sauteing the onions and peppers. For the double batch I used a whole onion and a whole red pepper. I never save any of the red pepper for the topping.

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While those are cooking I cubed the cream cheese and once the onions and peppers are good and soft I added the cream cheese.

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Then once the cream cheese was mixed and melted I added the creamed corn and mixed in.

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Once that was all mixed together I added the milk. I have found that warming the milk in the microwave helps. When the milk is cold it tends to curdle the cream cheese.

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Then I added the chicken broth.

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Then I added my chopped up chicken.

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You can’t really tell the chicken is in there, but I promise it is. Added pepper to taste and it is done! This is super simple and you can serve it once it is heated through. Love this soup!

 

 

Homemade starters for your bonfire, fireplace, or woodstove

I ave to admit. This is not an idea I got off Pintrest. I know the horror and the gasps inserted *here*. I got the idea as I had purchased some starters similar to these and when we were using them I thought, these are simple enough I could make them myself. I had some leftover wax from some candles that I used.

Ok, here is my disclaimer. I have used these homemade starters and they work great for us, but I am no way responsible should you make/use yourself!

Basically I got little paper cups (I believe you can find them at maybe Sam’s or a party supply store) and melted my wax. I poured the wax into the cups until they were equal to the top and let them dry. Vola! It was that simple. Usually when using them to start a fire we put it on a log and start with a candle lighter. What I mean is a long click lighter.

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When pouring the wax into the cups I do put something like cardboard or something under it as if you spill it is a quick clean up.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

We love soup at our house. I am always trying to come up with something that I can do that tastes really good, but doesn’t require me at the stove all day cutting up things, or stirring! Here is a great recipe I found here.

I didn’t take any photos of the process, but this is fairly easy. You just dump everything in the crock pot and forget it. The last time I made it I used 3 chicken breasts with the tenderloin part and I doubled the soup part of it. My hubby does not like beans so I just leave those out.

So basically my recipe was as follows:

3 split chicken breasts deboned.
2 cans 14.5 oz diced tomatoes with onions
1 10 oz pk of frozen corn (whatever is cheapest)
1 yellow onion chopped
28 oz can of mild enchilada sauce
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup milk
Shredded cheese of your choice on top after it has cooked.
This last batch I added some sliced mushrooms also

Here is a picture of the finished product.

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A double batch like this typically doesn’t make it a week.

Corn Dog Muffins

I found this and thought my boys would really love it! I found the idea here. It looked great, but I had some cornmeal on hand and no Jiffy corn mix so I set about finding a corn muffin mix. I found a great, super easy, muffin mix here.

I used 1 cup 1% milk instead of whole milk. I used about 4 hot dogs for the mix. The cornmeal I used was

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I sliced the hot dogs in half and then sliced them into bit sized pieces.

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I mixed together the muffin mix according to the recipe.

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I then added the hot dogs into the muffin mix.

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I had greased a muffin tin and just poured the batter directly into the pan.

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I cooked at 350 degrees until they were golden brown and the toothpick came clean out of the middle muffin. Here is a copy of the finished product. These are a great on the go with the kiddos. Quick and easy. This recipe makes about 12 muffins.

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