Friday, September 25, 2009

Yea! It's Friday

Everybody needs to dance. The weekend is here. And, feel free to laugh.

This could have been my baby. She loves to dance. Now that you are smiling and feeling good get off the computer and do something fun with a loved one.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Corn Bread

Corn Bread

6 cups Marie Callendar Corn bread mix
2 Cups water
1 can creamed corn
Mix all ingredients. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.

This corn bread goes great with Chili's and soups. It is so most and tastes like it was made from scratch. Try it with the Chicken Tortilla Soup that is pictured with it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Fall is officially here and I love making soup when the first cold spell hits. It really hits the spot. The best thing about this soup is it is so easy to make. You just open up cans, dump, season, and stir.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Can chicken broth
2 Cans chicken or 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes
1 Can cream of chicken
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove pressed or
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients and heat until warm. Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese and sour cream.
Hints: Place raw chicken breasts in crock pot and mix with the rest of ingredients and cook on low until chicken shreds.

The longer it simmers the better the flavor.
Try serving it with Corn Bread.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kirkland Signature Whole Grain Nuggets

I love these chicken nuggets and more importantly so do my kids. I do not feel guilty feeding these to my kids on the nights when I need to have dinner ready in a hurry. They are made with white meat and the breading is whole grain. A healthier alternative to the fast food variety. These can be found at Costco. If you don't have a membership find a friend who does and add this item to your grocery list.
Here is how they compare to another leading brand-Tyson
Tyson bagged chicken nuggets have 270 calories/serving and 160 calories from fat where these have 210 calories/serving and only 80 from fat. You can look here to see the rest of the nutritional information on the Tyson bagged nuggets.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brand Comparison of Macaroni & Cheese

I admit that when it comes to certain foods I'm a bit of a brand snob. You know as well as I do that some brands are just better than others. Macaroni and Cheese is a staple at my house with 4 kids. The blue box,Kraft macaroni and cheese, is the only brand for my kids. They love it and they can tell when I have switched brands. In attempts to either save some money or improve our diet I have recently bought 2 different brands of Mac and cheese in addition to Kraft. Here are our opinions.

Our #1 pick is still Kraft macaroni and Cheese. The reason, everyone in the house loves it. It has great cheesy flavor. My complaint is sometimes it can be grainy.

Our#2 pick is Great Value Thick & Creamy Macaroni and Cheese. This Wal Mart brand is a very close 2nd. This one may actually be my 1st choice but, my oldest does not like it. Maybe it is because she has more refined tastebuds. The other kids noticed a difference but were still willing to eat it. It is very creamy and I love how big the noodles get. It is made with real cheddar cheese and no artificial flavors. The price is great too. At my Wal Mart it was around 60 cents a box while the Kraft box is around $1.

Our #3 pick is Annie's Homegrown. I think if we had tried other brands this one would still be at the bottom. It sounds and looks good reading the box but unfortunately it also tasted like the box. Not even my 18 month old would have more than a bite. It was grainy and did not taste right. It is made with organic pasta and has no artificial anything. Sorry Annie's, I can't even think of a pro other than I used a coupon to get it so I didn't pay full price.

Here is how they compare nutritionally.
1 serving for all 3 was approximately 1 Cup prepared pasta.
The numbers below are before you add the milk and butter. So, just what is in the box.
Kraft, GV, Annie's
Calories: 260, 250, 270
Fat Calories: 30, 20, 35
Total Fat 3.5 g, 2g, 4g
Sat. Fat 2g, 1g, 2g

Great Value actually looks to be the healthier one too. Funny thing is, I bought Annie's because it was organic. For some reason I thought organic meant better for you. In this case it doesn't appear to be.
I would love to learn how to make homemade macaroni and cheese so, please email me your amazing homemade recipes:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicken Supreme Recipe

This is one of my favorite recipe's my mother made. It is very simple to make and my family eats it up. The original recipe calls for regular Onion soup mix but I made it once with Golden Onion and fell in love. The pictures below is the Golden Onion version.

Chicken Supreme

1 C. non-instant rice
Lipton Onion soup mix (can be golden)
1 can cream chicken soup
1 3/4 cans water
2 1/2 lbs frying chicken, cut into pieces (4 chicken breasts)

Grease flat-bottomed 9 x 13 -inch baking dish; add rice.
Sprinkle soup over rice.
Place chicken pieces on top.
Beat chicken soup and water together and pour over chicken.
Sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350.


If you have a recipe you would like to share please email me the recipe or a link to your blog and I will feature it on Spice and all That's Nice

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Matters Most

Some days I feel like I spend more time looking at my computer screen than I do my own kids. How sad. It's time for me and you to fill our lives with what matters most and "never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved".

Establishing Financial Rules

If you find you are always arguing with your partner over spent money then it is time you establish some financial rules. It varies from family to family but my husband and I have found two that work really well or us.

Purchase Amount Limit Without Consultation. This is the amount of money either one of you can spend without discussing the purchase with the other person first. You could create a daily, weekly, or monthly amount. This does not include necessities like groceries. Obviously, the smaller your overall budget is for your house, the smaller this number will be. We have a really small income to work with so ours is around $20. Anytime there is something that my husband or I want to buy that isn't a necessity and that costs $20 or more we run it past each other.

24-Hour Rule. For purchases requiring a significant amount of money we always wait 24-hours before we make the purchase. During this time we each take a side, one pro and one con (even if we are both for it), and we each lay out our side. We look at all the positives and negatives so we can make a more educated decision. This rule also applies well for any impulse purchases. If there is something you find that you just have to have, wait 24 hours to see if you still "need" it. Most of the time you don't. Beware: Sales people hate this rule, especially those working off commission. I had a telemarketer tell me how stupid a rule that was. It is actually a smart rule if you are trying to stay out of debt.

These are the 2 rules that work for us. You may have more or different versions of ours. The key is to find what works best for you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Removing Crayon from Unwanted Places

If you have children in your house you have or will experience crayon in unwanted places. I have had crayon on my walls, furniture, carpet, and clothing. My children aren't the only ones to blame. I accidentally washed a blue crayon with my clothes- blue crayon ended up all over the clothing. Do not try and vacuum up crayons either because they can become lodged in between the rotating brush and the vacuum and just spread crayon all over your carpet. So, should any of this happen, here is what you can do.

If you have crayon on walls, furniture, any hard surface the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works magic. You just get it wet and wipe. I would test it on a small part of what you are cleaning first just to make sure it won't ruin it but I haven't had a problem yet. You can get a free sample here as well as read how other people use it.

On Carpet that is 100% polyester/rubber back/short pile spray it with a little WD-40 and then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

For Carpeting scrape off as much crayon as you can with a knife or a spoon. spray the area with WD-40 and let sit. Work the stain out with a stiff bristle brush and then rinse out with liquid dish detergent and water.

For clothing spray the area with WD-40 let stand and spray the other side. Apply liquid dish detergent and rub and work into a lather. Blot away the stain with paper towels. Wash clothing in hot water for 12 minutes with laundry detergent and color safe bleach.
If these tips don't work on your surface or you have a question about a particular surface or type of crayon you can visit Crayola and find a complete listing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Debt Reduction and Elimination

"There are only two types of people who deal in interest--those who
understand it and those who do not understand it. Those who understand it,
collect it. Those who do not understand it, pay it." -Deseret News 1/9//93

There are several kinds of debt but most fall into these categories: consumer debt, educational debt, vehicle debt, and home mortgage. In June of 2007 the total US consumer debt, not including mortgages, was 2.46 trillion dollars. If you are one of the many Americans in debt, the time is now to get out of debt and find financial freedom. One way to get out of debt is to contact a company who specializes in eliminating debt. However, expect to pay them some money for this service. This may be a great method if you are so over your head in debt that you don't know what else to do. I recommend getting out of debt on your own by following these steps.

First, perform a little "plastic surgery" and cut up your credit cards. You might wish to keep one for emergencies but make sure it is only used for that. I have a friend who placed her credit card in a bag of water and then placed it in the freezer to ensure it was used only for emergencies. Only spend money that falls into your budget parameters and pay with cash. If you can't pay cash then don't buy it.

Next make a list of all of your current debt and include information like; total amount due, minimum monthly payment, and the interest rate. Now call all of the companies and ask them if they can give you a lower interest rate. Most people qualify for a rate lower than what they are getting so you need to ask.

The last thing to do is create a debt elimination plan/chart. I've created a sample on you can view here. Here is how it works. List your debts starting from the smallest one first to the largest one. Every month pay at least the minimum amount due. Once you pay off your smallest debt, add that minimum payment to the 2nd smallest debt. Once the 2nd debt is paid off apply that payment towards the next debt and so on. It is a snowball effect. The sum you pay towards a single debt increases but the total amount you pay towards all your debt remains the same. By following this method you will get out of debt faster. Once all your debt is paid off you can then place the total monthly payments you were using to pay off debt into your savings account. If you need this clarified more please ask and I will explain it. Looking at the sample chart here will help out too.

If you currently do not have debt congratulations! Please share with us how your family stays out of debt.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Balancing Work and Family Life

It has been a little crazy around here since school started and I'm trying to balance everything out. So after a week my life isn't completely balanced out yet but it is significantly better. For some of you, work might be paid work and for others, work is housework. No matter what your work is, you need to have balance so you can have a happier and healthier you.

First you need to set a goal. What is your ultimate goal for you? Is it to have a happy/healthy family? Is it to see your kids grow into successful adults? Is it to have a home that others will feel welcome in? As you make decisions think about your goal and ask yourself how your decision will impact your ultimate goal.

Next, you need to determine what your values are. A value is defined by relative worth, merit, or importance. Sometimes our values can conflict with each other. For example, you might value getting to work early but you also value seeing your child off to school. When you are faced with conflicting values, look at your goal and choose which value is more important and act accordingly.

Setting priorities and managing time are two of the most important aspects of achieving a balanced life. Determine what you need to accomplish and when and write it down. Keep organized. My biggest problem is prioritizing. I spend a lot of time working on things that don't move me closer to my end goal. You may have daily priorities, weekly priorities, monthly priorities, and yearly priorities. Sometimes you can combine a couple of priorities and manage time better. Two of my priorities are spend individual time with my children and fold laundry. I can accomplish both of these by having a child work with me to fold the laundry. My child learns a skill and we have time to communicate with each other. On occasion, I have conflicting priorities. I like to have my kitchen cleaned before I leave the house but some mornings I haven't got it done and I need to leave to Yoga class, another priority of mine. When this happens I have to look at my overall day and determine which priority will benefit me most for the day.

The last thing to remember is to just let go. We can't be supermom/dad all of the time. The last couple of weeks I've realized I was trying to do too much at once and needed to let go of something. I chose not to post new blog posts and instead used the time to catch up on some much needed housework. If you are a mother you know guilt. Don't feel guilty for letting something go to achieve more balance. It is a waste of energy and time.

When, not if, you find your life out of balance, take a step back, look at your overall goal, reassess things, and make adjustments. The sooner you do so the better off life will be for you and your family.