Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Snow is Coming...

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
or that is what the forecast says. Fortunately for us, it is a quiet Saturday evening at home. We have had a busy weekend already with working out, a couple of soccer games, a trip to the grocery store (before the storm rush), and continued work on organizing the house.

One of the 'projects' that I am continuing to work on is clearing out the freezer. At the end of December, I had succeeded in reducing the freezer contents so that I could move the items from the deep freeze into our refrigerator freezer. Now, I have started to restock the freezer through sales, but continue to work on eating those items that had been in the deep freeze - to help ensure proper rotation and that the food doesn't get old.

Today was the unplanned day in my menu plan. Looking in the freezer, I saw that I had some popcorn chicken on hand. My son is a huge fan of Chicken Bacon Ranch (anything), so I suggested that they have Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwiches for dinner tonight. They are tasty and satisfying.
We took some sausage rolls that we had left from Philly Cheese Steaks earlier this week, filled them first with the popcorn chicken, added some ranch and topped with some Hormel Black Label Bacon.

The kids enjoyed the Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches, but I went for a grown up grilled cheese. Two slices of crusty bread, provolone cheese, bacon and a slice of tomato. Toast it up in the oven for an amazing grilled cheese.

Whether you prefer a meaty sandwich or a gooey cheesy sandwich, you can't go wrong with having bacon in your dinner on a cold winter's night.
No compensation was received for this post. Product samples and thought starters are provided by Hormel through the Hormel Extended Family Blogger program, in which I participate. All opinions are my own or that of my family.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

T-shirt Quilt - Project Repat

No compensation was received for this post.

A few years back, one of my friends made a quilt for their child using their old t-shirts. I really liked it. Ever since then, I have been considering making or having someone make one for me. I have quite a collection of t-shirts set aside for the project, but haven't yet pulled the trigger. When I heard about an opportunity to check out the t-shirt quilts made by Project Repat, I jumped at the chance.

Check out this video:

Now, I just need to sort through and narrow down which t-shirts to use. Of course, I will share my finished project with you when I get the quilt back. No compensation was received for this post. I received a credit that can be used towards the purchase of a quilt. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Back to Routine

It is so hard for me to believe that the holiday break is over. Starting tomorrow, it is back to our normal routines. As part of the normal routine, I actually sat down and did the week's menu plan. Recently, I had been only planning a few days out, which was fine, but I did find us running to the store more frequently during the week. I was able to successfully empty my deep freeze to defrost it over the holidays, unfortunately, I moved some of it to my refrigerator, now my goal is to use all of that helps ensure rotation.

This week we are trying a few new recipes and enjoying a few family favorites. Winter sports and winter workouts for spring sports are starting up, so we are starting to have a few night time activities and a few weekend events entering our schedule.

Cincinnati Style Chili

Chicken Patty Sandwiches and Qrunch Burgers

Crockpot Lemon Chicken

Personal Pot Pies

Chipotle Glazed Meatloaf

Spaghetti Gratin


Now that the kids are back to school, breakfast will be cereal, oatmeal or toast most mornings and lunch will be a mix of the hot plate lunch at school or a packed lunch from home. My husband and I will stick with our standard routines. I do hope to get back to packing more. I seem to eat better when I pack, plus I am hopeful that it leaves me some time to walk at lunch(if the weather allows).

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Really Little Green Pouch - review/giveaway

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary sample was provided for the purposes of this review. All images courtesy of Little Green Pouch.

A while back, I shared with you about my experience with a new product, Little Green Pouch. One of the concerns that I had with those pouches was that they were a little bit bigger than felt right for the kids and I found myself filling them part-way. So, when I found out that they had a new product, appropriately named Really Little Green Pouch, I was excited to try them out. The Really Little Green Pouch is a convenient 3.4 oz size, compared to 7 oz for the original.

The smaller pouch offers all of the same features as it's larger version. It is dishwasher and freezer safe. The pouch is marked with a line to show 2 oz fill, as well as the maximum fill at 3.4 oz. The pouch is reusable and has a spot on back for labeling the contents/owner of the pouch.
They are easy to fill with a interlocking zipper bag closure (like on your sandwich bags). They are sold as a 6-pack and can be bought directly from Little Green Pouch or find them on Amazon.

As with the larger pouches, we filled these with an assortment of things. I liked that not only could I choose what to put in them, but also that I had more control over the ingredients and texture (some of the pouch items that I have bought and tried were too smooth, I like a little texture to my nourishment). We used them for smoothies, which we are a big fan of at my house. It is not only a great way to use up the assorted fruit in the house, but you can even sneak in some veggies for more nutrition. I would also use it as a way to pack homemade applesauce (we have been enjoying cranberry apple sauce over the holidays - yum!) and treats like pudding. You can find a great collection of ideas/recipes on Little Green Pouch website.

They are great for packing in lunches and also for packing in the bag on my bike when we head out for family bike rides. Since they are freezable, we could even use them as a small ice pack and ensure the contents were still cold at lunch time.

What would you put in your Really Little Green Pouch?

Courtesy of Little Green Pouch, I am able to giveaway to one A Busy Mom of Two a 6-pack of Really Little Green Pouch - 3.4 oz. Reusable Pouches.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through January 12th and is open to residents of the USA. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winner will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary sample was provided for the purposes of this review. All images courtesy of Little Green Pouch.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Day After Christmas

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays with their family. For us, we got to celebrate with my extended family over the weekend and have been able to enjoy some quiet time at home this week. It used to be that I had to work the entire holiday period with just Christmas and New Year's Day off, so I am definitely thankful to be at a point where I get to spend an extended period of time at home just hanging out with my kids. It is very relaxing and we have watched movies, played games and simply hung out together.

We enjoyed our big meal for Christmas at lunch time. Since it was just the four of us celebrating, I once again went with a turkey breast. At Thanksgiving, we had a Jennie-O Oven Ready Bone-In Turkey Breast and it was so easy that I decided to do the same for Christmas. When I got to the store, they only had the Oven Ready Boneless, Skinless Turkey Breast, so that is what we went with. Just like the bone-in product, it was very easy to prepare - going right from my freezer to my oven. I definitely appreciate not having to thaw it for a few days in advance, like when I make a traditional whole turkey. I also really like that the turkey breast gives us just enough meat for the main meal and one or two leftover meals.

When it comes to leftovers, the family doesn't seem to enjoy having the same meal again, so we always mix it up. My husband enjoyed an open face turkey sandwich - white bread, piled high with turkey and mashed potatoes and covered with gravy. My kids wanted paninis, which we make on our waffle maker most of the time, and a side of sweet potatoes.
I had some bacon in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I fried up the Hormel Black Label Thick Cut Brown Sugar bacon. I prefer to buy traditional bacon and fry up the whole package, putting the balance of what was not needed in the freezer for future sandwich making. I know that I could always use a ready-bacon, but I like having some bacon fat on hand for making eggs and my kids can use it straight from the freezer for their sandwiches. The brown sugar on this bacon provided a wonderful aroma while frying and a great touch of sweet to the bacon.

Today, we used the turkey and the bacon to create Turkey Bacon Ranch Paninis (or Wafflewiches perhaps is a better name).
Simply place your slice of bread on the waffle maker, add turkey, bacon, ranch and a bit of cheese, top with another slice of bread and close the cover. Once the bread is toasted and the cheese melted, the sandwich is ready to go.

How do you use up leftovers?

No compensation was received for this post. Product samples and thought starters are provided by Hormel through the Hormel Extended Family Blogger program, in which I participate. All opinions are my own or that of my family.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
One of the joys of the holidays is not only having time to spend with family and to relax, but it also means time for extra reading (and watching sappy holiday movies - but that seems to be more limited as my kids get older and don't want to watch with me and don't go to bed as early).
As the holidays approached this year, I started reading The Secret of Pembrooke Park, by Julie Klassen. I have previous read The Dancing Master (you can see my review here), also by Julie Klassen and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for The Secret of Pembrooke Park (it did not disappoint!). As I began to read the book, I discovered that not only was this period literature with some tales of romance, but also a mystery! I have long been a fan of mysteries and to have one set against the background of England in the early 1800s was awesome.

The characters were wonderfully developed in this story. Of course, there were some facts about the characters that were not fully disclosed and others that were revealed in time, by design since the story was in part a mystery. I quickly found myself worrying about Abigail's safety and second guessing whether she could trust those that were around her. What was their history and what did they want with Abigail and her family? I worried about whether she would find love and more importantly, the right love for her.

The mystery and the intrigue that the author developed really pulled me in to the story. I found myself wanting to read "just one more chapter" (and they weren't short) before calling it a night. I even took the book to the gym with me and walked on the treadmill, instead of running, so that I wouldn't lose that time and could continue to read the book. My son was impressed that I managed to read the over 450 page book over the course of a few days, but with as good as the story was, I simply didn't want to put it down.

From the back cover:
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances—and her dowry—Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks . . . or very real danger?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it if you enjoy period literature, romance and mystery. I look forward to reading more books my Julie Klassen.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.