Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pantry Raid

So it looks like this is going to be one of those weeks where we raid the pantry to put together meals.

It's not so bad really.  You have to get creative, and you have to ignore the picky eaters in the house.  But my pantry is getting kind of low so we are getting down to the "Really, what did I buy that for" items.  So hopefully it can be restocked soon with deliciousness.

So this past week I have been craving soup.  Soup and sliced tomatoes.  I know - weird.  But I love soup.  Maybe it is all the snow and cold weather that brought on the craving, but seriously, I could eat soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and be a happy camper. 

Yesterday was another snow day for the kids.  Well, really more of an ice day because that is what caused the shut down of schools.  Why do I bring this up?  For one very important reason.  Being that it was all icy everywhere, and Rach was not feeling good, she was home also.  Rachel and A. also happen to love soup.  So lunch time rolls around and I am too busy finishing up a good book to rush to lunch.  By the time I do, all the soup in the house has been eaten.  Well all but the tomato soup and I was really in no mood for tomato soup.

So last night I raided the pantry in hopes of soup fixins.  This is what I found:

So Vegetable Beef soup it was with some added spice.  Turned out pretty good.  Some tweeks I will do next time for sure.

I am running dangerously low on broths though.  I blame this entirely on Big Lots.  Did you know Big Lots normally carries those big boxes of broth for $1.00 - $2.00.  Seriously!  They are my first shopping stop when I head into town.  Sounds ridiculous I know, but around here we are severely limited on our grocery shopping options.  And hey, if I can get broth for $1.00 and pick up Oreo's for the hubby for $2.00 instead of the almost $4.00 at the regular store.  Guess what?  See you at Big Lots!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 45 - SNOW DAY!!!

Week 45 of 52

Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Warm Snow Day

As has been discussed, we did not have any "real" snow in November or December.  January on the other hand, has given us plenty.  So much so that the kids had three snow days in a row with a weekend and a holiday thrown in between so they were off school Friday through Wednesday.  Whew - thank goodness for snow plows and salt!  Thursday they were off to school.

One of the snow days turned out to be pretty warm.  Well warm as far as a Michigan winter is concerned.  We got all the way up to a balmy 40°.  All the beautiful snow covered trees dropped their white blankets and we headed out to play in the white stuff.

J. and Z. had been working on a sled run and finished it off with a jump or two so the could catch some air.

Which they did.  Then they decided two would go down much faster than one so they gave that a whirl.

Then A. finally decided to come out and join us.  No sledding down hills for her however.  She said she would have until they added the jumps.  Our goal this year is to get her to discover the thrill of flying down the hill on a sled.  So far mission goes unaccomplished.

Probably because she saw too much of this:

Anyway they had a ball on their snow days and were not too happy to be headed back to school.  But soon enough they will be tired of all the snow and be whining about when it will be gone and summer here so they can head out to the lake.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 44 - Finally! The White Stuff!

Week 44 of 52

Location:  Big John Lake, Mi
Subject:  Snow!!

So it finally came.  Yesterday and all night long it snowed.  All day today it continued to snow.  Everything is so beautiful.  Goodbye ugly brown.  This morning I got up and helped Rachel shovel her way out of the driveway so that she could slowly make her way to work.  Ugh, what a job.  Thank you Dad for finding the house with the longest driveway in the neighborhood.  And thank you dear hubby for leaving the tractor with the snow plow and snow blower locked up in the pole barn.

So tonight is for cuddling up with some soup and a movie.  Maybe I can convince Cameron to build us a fire in the fireplace too.

In case it is cold at your house too, try out this Turkey Chili.  Oh so yummy.  I made it last night and actually took the time to write down ingredients as I went so I could make it again.  Very yummy, very spicey, and for those of you who really want to know, only 4 points for one cup on the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program.  That is without the cheese and sour cream of course.

2 t olive oil
1 C chopped red onion
1 T minced garlic
1 large jalapeño, finely diced
1 lb ground turkey
1 15.5 oz can light kidney beans
1 15.5 oz can great northern beans
28 oz low sodium, fat free, Beef Broth
1 small can Rotel Zesty Tomato and Green Chili Sauce
1 small can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 T corn starch
1/4 cup water

Saute onions in oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic for 30 seconds, then add jalapeño for 30 seconds.  Add ground turkey and brown.  Drain if necessary.  Add beans, broth, sauce, and diced tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Turn hit to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Stir together corn starch and water, add to chili and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Add your favorite chili toppings and enjoy.  This makes 10 cups of chili.

I didn't think about it last night but when you toss in the cornstarch some cilantro would be really nice in this also.  If you like a really thick chili then you could also toss in another tablespoon of corn starch.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 43 - Goofyness

Week 43 of 52

Location:  Florence, AZ
Subject:  Peek-A-Boo

New toys.  Well other people's new toys are so much fun.  My sister ordered a new light for her camera that attaches to her lens.  She sent me a link and I checked it out online but didn't order it.  While we were in Arizona I attached it to my fisheye lens.  Oh, let the fun begin.  A. fell in love with it.  It is pretty cool.

Cameron and I's anniversary is coming up.  A. hinted she might get one for me.  Honestly, I wouldn't mind.  Nope, not one little bit.  She would probably play with it more than me anyway.  Sneaky little thing she is.

Okay, so next week I promise to bring you an actual, thought out, photo of the week.  Things have been a little, well, extra hectic around here these past couple of weeks.

Love you all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Photo of the Week - Week 42 - ARIZONA

Week 42 of 52

Location:  Tucson, Arizona
Subject:  Arizona Wildflowers

In honor of our recent trip to Arizona, this week's photo is of my favorite Arizona wildflower.  I always loved these bright, happy flowers.  They made everything so sunshiny and happy.

Our trip out west was great.  The drive out was tremendously long.  We were driving into the big snowstorm that hit New Mexico/Texas/Oklahoma so we decided to avoid it and head the long way through Texas. Ugh!  That is the only word for it.  It makes the long drive to Arizona seem so much longer heading the long way through that big ol' state.

We arrived safe, sound, exhausted, and with full bellies thanks to a stop at a burrito shop for some breakfast burritos. YUM!!  We spent a few precious days with my big sis and her family.  Friday was girls day and gift exchange.  Then Saturday we headed to Tucson to visit family and friends down there.  It was good to see everyone.  Saturday we had BBQ at my other big sis's house and we had friends from Marana, Green Valley, and Silver City come to see us.  Miss my girls so much!  Sunday we vegged all day, gearing up for the big drive back.

We arrived home at 4 o'clock in the morning Wednesday and each of us headed straight for our beds and slept soundly.  Some of us until almost noon.  And those "some of us" were the ones that slept most of the way home in the first place!

It was a great trip, tinged with a bit of worry for events happening back home, but it was really good to spend those few precious days with loved ones.  We will be back in May, with hopefully a few more days to see everyone we missed this trip.

Love you all and can't wait to see you again!