Posts filed under ‘Menu Plan Monday’

6 Questions Google Answered Quite Well

Lorna and I decided that what the Bible doesn’t cover, Google does.” I recently wrote this as my Twitter/Facebook status. Below are some things I’ve needed to know.

1. Is it okay for my dog to eat raisins? No.  As few as 7 raisins can cause death!

2. What is a Dear Jane Quilt?  It is a Civil War quilt designed, sewed and finished by Jane Stickle in 1863. It has 225 different blocks.

3. How to shorten URLs for Twitter. When I want to link to a blog. fan page, website or news article, I need to shorten the URL in order to fit it and my comment into Twitter’s 140 characters. I am currently using Metamark. 

4. When does advent start in 2009? I am going to decorate the church before Advent and so needed to know when that is. If you want to help, call me. Advent starts Sunday, November 29. BTW – This week I will post an Advent Quiz.

5. Define debauchery. Why do I need/want to know what debauchery means? I’ve been memorizing Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” 

  • It means: too much indulgence in pleasures usually considered immoral, especially sexual activity and excessive drinking.
  • Debauch means: 1. a. To corrupt morally.b. To lead away from excellence or virtue.2. To reduce the value, quality, or excellence of; debase. See Synonyms at corrupt.

6. Potato Soup. Cooler weather means time to eat soup. Only thing is, I usually cannot make a decent home-made soup. But there are a lot of easy and yummy sounding potato soup recipes out there. I am looking for one that is gluten-, dairy- and egg- free. I think I can modify this cream cheese potato soup recipe quite nicely. (Scroll to the bottom of the post.) I even found a cream cheese alternative (at Whole Foods) that is free from gluten, dairy, and egg.  I’ll let you know how it tastes.

What have you Googled lately?

Related Posts

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Coffee Angel Food Cake

The last baby shower I helped coordinate was a morning one. Lorna, Shirley and I decided to serve breakfast foods instead of a typical frosting-laden cake. Fruit, orange juice punch, coffee, blueberry muffins, and pumpkin bread with an orange-cream cheese spread were all served.

But the piece-de-resistance was the coffee angel food cake. Without further ado, here’s the Cooking Light recipe I followed.

Ingredients for Cake

  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 (16 ounce) package angel food cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a small bowl, stir well 1 Tablespoon of   instant coffee granules into 1 Tablespoon water. Set aside.
  3. Prepare angel food cake mix according to the directions on the box. Fold in the coffee mixture, almond extract and vanilla extract.
  4. Divide the mixture and spoon into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife.
  5. Bake according to box directions. Cake will spring back when lightly touched. Do not over bake.
  6. Put the pan on its side to thoroughly cool for about 40 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cakes onto a serving platter. Set aside.

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 2 Tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 6 Tablespoons stick margarine, softened
  • 1 (1-pound) bow powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 3-4 Hershey’s Kisses

Directions for Frosting

  1. In a small bowl, stir well 2 Tablespoons of   instant coffee granules into 1 Tablespoon water. Set aside.
  2. With a mixer, beat margarine at high speed. Add coffee mixture; beat well. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until well-blended. Add milk; beat well. I used more than the 3 Tablespoons of milk called for.
  3. Put some frosting into a piping bag; set aside.
  4. Spread the rest of the frosting over top and sides of cake. Pipe a line of frosting along the edges. Grate Kisses on top of cake.
  5. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

I think this cake tastes best if made a day ahead. This is a beautiful looking cake and tastes yummy. It is the perfect dessert to serve with coffee and the rest of the breakfast menu.

If you make this cake, please be sure to snap a photo and then share it with us. Also share for whom/why you made this recipe. I didn’t take a photo, but the next time I make the cake, I will. Then I will update this post with the picture.

Note: Want to know how to make a degree symbol? Elizabeth from Weird and Surpringly Good shared this tip: Press Alt and type 0176. Voila!

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Menu for Week of January 12th

stewHere’s my menu plan for the week.

While the days will stay in their original order, the meal plans might not. :0)

  • Monday: Spaghetti
  • Tuesday: Vegetable Stew with dumplings
  • Wednesday: Bacon, sweet potato fries, eggs and toast with homemade plum jam
  • Thursday: Crock pot chili
  • Friday: Baked chicken and yams
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Waffles with cinnamon applesauce

Go here to see what the other 344 (so far) women are planning for dinner this week  Here’s a big thanks to I’m an Organizing Junkie for hosting this weekly themed post.

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So Why Don’t I Cook More Often? Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

I just made Sweet & Sour Pork. It’s  for a potluck at the Christmas C.A.M.P. I am attending at Church later today. It was soooo easy, inexpensive (pork was on sale), fast and tasty.

So given all that, why don’t I cook more 0ften?

Below is the recipe. I modified it from my Sweet  & Sour Meatball recipe. Which I haven’t cooked in years!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Serves 4-6


·1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, sliced 1/2-inch thick

·1 tablespoon olive oil


·1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice

·3/4 cup water

·1/4 cup vinegar

·2 tablespoon soy sauce

·1/4 cup brown sugar

·1/4 teaspoon salt


·2 tablespoons cornstarch

·2 tablespoons water


·1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (Can use yellow onions or scallions)

·1 cup diced orange pepper (Can also use green, red or yellow)


Directions for sweet and sour pork

1.Cut pork about 1 inch long and 1 inch wide. Cook pork bits in oil in 400 degree oven, until lightly browned; drain. Or sauté in pan over medium heat until lightly browned; drain.

2.Drain pineapple; reserve juice.

3.Combine pineapple juice, 3/4 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and salt; pour over pork in skillet.

4.Cover and simmer, on the stove, for 1 hour, or until meat is tender.

5. Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a cup; stir until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pork mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

6.Add pineapple chunks, onion and green pepper. Cover and simmer sweet and sour pork for 10 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender.

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Ohhh – Lovely French Toast

french toastRemember the Banana Stuffed French Toast I was grateful for on Day 26?

I made them for myself this a.m. and they are still delish. And I’m still grateful for them.

Below is the figure-friendly recipe.


  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 slices cinnamon raisin bread
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced


  1. Put butter into the frying pan to melt and cover pan.
  2. Beat together the egg, milk and vanilla.
  3. Spread 1/4th Tablespoon cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  4. Put half of sliced bananas on two of the bread slices.
  5. Put the other slice on top, cream cheese side down. Now you have two banana cream cheese sandwiches.
  6. Put the sandwiches in the egg-milk-vanilla mixture and soak for about 10 seconds on each side.
  7. When the pan is ready ( drops of water sprinkled in the pan dance around), put the sandwiches into the pan.
  8. Cook until golden. Turn and do the same on the other side.
  9. Serve with butter and 1 Tablespoon syrup.

Do you have a favorite French Toast recipe? How about sharing it?

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Menu Plan Monday & Frugal Tips

bitoIt’s Menu Plan Monday again. I went shopping last night so I am all ready to make up some food this morning. I’ll make up a batch of the following foods for the freezer: Burritos, Quiche, Irish Soda muffins.

  1. Burritos (refried beans, salsa, browned ground beef, crushed pineapple, shredded cheese), Jello with yogurt.
  2. BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed corn/pea mixture.
  3. Hamburger with Gorgonzola cheese (came with a $1.00 off coupon so each quarter pounder was $0.50 each. There are two in the pack). Corn on the cob – first ears of the season and mixed green salad.
  4. Stir fry noodles with chicken (leftover from BBQ), carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms.
  5. Ham quiche made with hash browns, liquefied corn and carrots, mushrooms, onions and cheese. Irish Soda Muffins.
  6. Leftovers.
  7. Leftovers.

Click here to see the menus of other Monday Menu Planners.

One of the reasons I like to participate in Menu Plan Monday is so I’ll save money by not eating out or pigging out on convenience foods. Mary at Owlhaven (mom to 10 kids) has had an interesting frugal cookin’ carnival, a 3 day smack down: cook cheap, cook yummy. 15 blogger/cookers participated by shopping for and preparing their cheapest menus for 3 days. I gleaned some good ideas and recipes from these women. Click here to see Mary’s post.

Recently Mary was on a telephone interview (while at a soccer game) with CNN about frugal tips. Click here to read the 3 things she didn’t get to mention.

In a nutshell they are . . . .

  1. Clarify your own big picture. She asks, “Why are you living so frugally?” I want to pay off my student loans, help my kids and tithe more. I’d also like to visit friends in England. Mary says that having this big picture in mind will help me avoid the “poor me” syndrome when I decide to say “no” to that Tuesday staff lunch or beautiful plant.
  2. Tally your actual food expenses. This includes eating out. I can’t reduce the amount I spend if i don’t know the amount I spend. Do this for a month.
  3. Chop at your 10 list. After determining where the money is spent, look at the top 10 in terms of cost. Reduce the use or buy it cheaper. Mary has more to say on this and #1 and #2, so be sure to go to this post to read it in full.

I’ve never heard anyone mention #1 and #3. Between the tips from the cookin’ carnival and this list of 3, I’m hoping I can reduce my food spending 10%-20%.

Do you think that’s possible? I’m not sure cuz I’m not sure how much I spend on food per month.

What are your frugal menus? Shopping tips? Menu for the week?

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Spring Recipes – Educate Me

Do you serve different food in the Spring than in the Winter, Fall or Summer? What meals do you indulge in only during that season?

The one obvious change I make is the availability of fresh fruit and/or veggies. If pears are cheaper, I eat those. If asparagus is a good deal, that’s on my plate. However, I don’t tend to make things with the produce. I like it plain. Maybe because I don’t get it very often.

Although, CatLady makes a great pear salad. I don’t remember what’s in it. But I do remember my tongue being very impressed.

Like here is a great sounding recipe for a Strawberry Cream Dessert. It calls for 3 cups of fresh strawberries – that you mash up and mix with the other ingredients. I would rather EAT those fresh strawberries plain – with a dollop of whipped cream.

But I don’t have menus or recipes that reflect a season. Since it is Spring, I suppose salads are more popular. I’m not much of a salad eater, nor do I have many salad recipes. I have one for potato salad (killer recipe with a secret ingredient), macaroni salad and green stuff (cottage cheese, pineapple, pistachio pudding concoction).

For a mixed green salad, I just throw in stuff from my fridge – which doesn’t normally harbour many things from the veg department. Currently I am partial to adding orange segments and cooked walnuts. If you haven’t tried this, you MUST.

One website recommends that you eat these 20 foods because it’s Spring and these foods are good for you.

I googled recipes+spring thinking not much was out there. Boy am I wrong! 940,000 times wrong.

Family Fun has a whole page of ideas. From desserts, drinks, snacks, salads to grilling. Hey, I don’t just BBQ in the Spring/Summer. I grill year round – even in the rain or snow.

Gastronomical Three has Three Simple Dinners That Look Ahead to Spring. The pics make you wish you were invited to sample.

Click here to find the top 10 Spring recipes. This Chicken Focaccia Sandwich is a must on my list. You make the bread with refrigerated bread dough. Even I could do that. This Fruit & Cheese Salad looks good too. I’d like to give this Pear Bread a try.

Recipe Zaar has 4,9,29 Spring recipes. Click here to start on this Spring tour. What do you know! One of their top featured recipes is green stuff. My recipe is a little different, but this one looks yummy too. has a page with 10 low fat recipes for Spring. Besides the obligatory fish recipes, there is even a low fat version of creme brulee.

Simply Recipes is a great source of ideas and inspiration. She lists 17 Spring recipes. Look at this Crab Mango Salad.  This Ham & Asparagus recipe comes with step-by-step pictures.

YumSugar has compiled a slide show (with links) of 10 recipes that announce Spring. I’d like to try this Spring Minestrone Pasta. And try this Seared Fish With Spring Vegetables because I am trying to like fish and beets better.

 I could go on. There are still about 940,000 pages to visit. Spare me this time-consuming journey and share.

What are your Spring recipes?  Spring meals? Educate me; so I, too, can join in the Spring fun – this Spring.

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3 Soups for Dinner This Week (MPM)

Here’s my menu for the week.

Monday: Roomie cooked: Steamed beets (so tasty); salmon stir fry with brocolli, spinich and mushrooms.

Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup, Jell-o Fruit: Great for April’s Fools Day.

Wednesday: Chef Salad, Carrot Soup

Thursday: Sweet Potato Lentil Stew, Beer Bread

Friday: Pasta Primavera

Saturday: Soup leftovers, salad, bread

Sunday: No plans yet.  🙂

 The Carrot Soup, Sweet Potato Lentil Stew and Beer Bread are all new recipes. If they turn out, I’ll post the recipe.

I’m getting into soups. Have an easy one to share?

 Go here for more Menu Ideas from I’m an Organizing Junkie.

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“Shopping From My Cupboard” Menu For the Week

  1. Vegetable QuicheI made this Saturday for Sunday and have enough leftovers for today. It’s been a long time (decades even) since I’ve made a quiche. I forgot how easy and tasty it is to make. I sauted about 2 cups of veggies (celery, onions, thinly sliced carrots, zucchini) with 15 hash browns and put it in the bottom of my partially baked pie crust and topped it with 2 cups cheese. I blenderized 1 cup of frozen corn, 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, 4 eggs and 1.5 cups cream. I put this in the plate and then covered it all with another crust. The blenderized spinach gave it a nice green colour and no “leaves in the teeth” look.
  2. Vegetarian Chili over Brown RiceIsn’t chili the easiest meal ever? Just open cans of 2 types of beans, tomatoes and corn. Mix all with chili seasoning pack. I have some zucchini and carrots in the fridge, so I’ll probably put those in with some diced onion. Yummy, easy and fast.
  3. Pasta with Creamy Broccoli and Tuna (aka Tuna Helper) – Doesn’t the fancy name make it seem like it’ll taste better?
  4. Mushroom-Filled Tortellini with Roasted Garlic and Onion Pasta Sauce – My sista gave me these delicious dry noodles. I am looking forward to this meal.
  5. Homemade Cheese and Vegetable Pizza– Well really the crust is one of those mixes from Betty Crocker where you add water. My taste buds like it though. 🙂

There is plenty of food here for the other two nights and/or lunch.

I am trying to clean out the pantry and this week’s menu is doing just that. What meal can you make with ingredients just from your pantry?

Go on over to I’m An Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday ideas. Or leave a link for your menu there.

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Cherry Fudge Brownies Instead of Dump Cake

I know I said I was going to bring a dump cake to my hospitality class, but I didn’t have a cake mix. So I did a Google search on “brownie mix with cherry pie filling.” With 268,000 results I had quite a few recipes to choose from.

I finally settled on the following one:


  • 1 box fudge brownie mix
  • Ingredients listed on box of brownie mix
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 small jar marshmallow creme – I didn’t know there were different sizes.


  1. Mix fudge brownie mix according to directions on the box.
  2. Pour into pan. (My directions said to put into a 9 x 13 inch pan.)
  3. Place cherry pie filling by drops on top of brownie mixture.
  4. Place a drop of marshmallow creme beside cherry drops.
  5. Swirl the marshmallow creme through brownie mixture by pulling a knife through the batter.
  6. Bake brownies according to directions on the box.


  • I had trouble with swirling the marshmallow creme through brownie mixture as the creme was too solid. I ended up using my finger to pull it apart.
  • I did swirl my knife through the cherries.
  • When I took it out of the oven, the marshmallows had exploded and covered most of the top of the brownies.
  • The brownies must’ve tasted great because by the time I got to them several adult males were getting every drop of brownie from the pan.

I will try this again and make sure I get a taste. I am also looking forward to trying the other 3 recipes as well.

Do you have a favorite cherry brownie recipe?

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Cooking 3 Meals in a Menu Plan for One

This week I am cooking according to an unambitious menu plan: 3 dinner meals. Unambitious is better than “paring Fritos with chocolate pudding or having popcorn and canned corn for dinner.” Go to Menu Plan Monday for a wider variety of menus.

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup. See the middle of this post for the recipe. Truly yummy and easy!

Tuesday: Spaghetti sauce with chicken chunks over elbow macaroni.

Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Thursday: Ham fried rice (with lots of veggies) over chow mein crispy noodles.

Friday: Spaghetti sauce with chicken chunks over elbow macaroni.

Saturday: Ham fried rice over chow mein crispy noodles.

Sunday: Potluck at my hospitality group. I have pineapple and cherry pie filling, so I’ll be bringing dump cake. Click here and read comment #7 for the recipe.

What are your standard go-to meals?  

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Hospitality Goofs and Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hospitality Homework for last week was to invite someone over for a meal.

Tuesday night my guest showed up along with the torrential rain that has inundated northern California.

Problem – I thought our meal was for Thursday and I was in the midst of writing two papers due for Wednesday. One of the papers was on communication! Good thing my prof didn’t know that in reality I flunked that test.

Afterwards I thought about how I could’ve handled it better. My house was astrew with books, papers and projects. Not much food of the healthy kind was available. But I could’ve taken us to a nearby restaurant, since I needed to eat as well.

On Sunday we finally had a meal together: Chicken Tortilla Soup, oranges, Best Ever Muffins (which weren’t) and water. No salad because the fixings were yuck. Despite all this, we had a tasty meal and fun time.

My guest even asked for the soup recipe; which could be renamed as dump soup. So here it is as given to me by Lori.

Dump the following in a soup pan and heat until warm:

  • 1 can (12.5 oz) chunk chicken breast
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of black beans (pinto beans are NOT a good substitute)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of kernel corn
  • 2 can s(15 oz. each) of chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (canned tomatoes with seasoning are NOT a good substitute)

Serve over tortillas and top with shredded cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, and olives.

If you have more time, money and a sensitive palate you could try this version that tastes like it came from Applebee’s. Truth be told, I prefer the one that tastes like it came from Lori’s.

What are some of your hospitality goofs? Favorite dump meals?

P.S. A good dump cake recipe is here. Read the 7th comment for the actual recipe.

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