Monday, August 30, 2010

Italian Sausage Pitas

I'm linking this to 12 Days of Bloggie-mas at A Moderate Life!

I found this recipe on a Johnsonville advertisement and it's been in my "to-make" folder for a long time. It's a very simple meal that could be adjusted to your family's taste. I would love to have added sauteed onions and peppers but that wouldn't have gone over well with the rest of the family. The leftovers reheated well (the baby wanted hers cold so I guess they are good that way too). They would be easy to stick into a sack lunch. They looks messy but they aren't. All that cheesy goodness holds everything in the pita :)

They freeze well too! I just pulled one out of the freezer and pushed my microwaves automatic reheat button. The pita was crispy on the top soft on the bottom, just like they were right out of the oven (I only brushed EVOO on the tops - I like the softer bottom so they are easier to bite into)!

Italian Sausage Pita

16 ounce package of sausage (I used a roll of Jimmy Deen) - use Italian spices, or just add Italian spices like I did
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 full pita pockets, cut in half (makes 8 sandwiches)
olive oil
pizza sauce for dipping
any other ingredients you would like on a pizza (I think green peppers and onions would be GOOD!)

Brown sausage and crumble. Combine sausage and cheeses in a bowl (along with any other toppings you might like). Portion the stuffing and stuff into the pita pockets.

Brush the outsides of the pitas with olive oil and bake at 350 until the pita is toasty and filling is melty (about 10 minutes). You could grill them as the original recipe says but I think it would be a bit messier.

Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

To freeze: Cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and then tin foil. Reheat in oven or microwave.

Go check out other Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!

This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party
Tasty Tuesday at Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom
Dish It at Frugal Femina
Tuesday Tastes at Crazy Daisy
Hon, What's for Dinner Wednesday
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story (Thursdays)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Elephant Cake

This morning I made this cake for my niece, whose only request is that it had marshmallows on it. She had been at my daughter's birthday party last month and saw that I used marshmallows for the Hippo's toes. Easy enough! The elephant had marshmallow toes :)

I guess she won't mind that I used marshmallows to prop up the ears. I didn't have enough advanced notice to make ears and let them dry so they could stand on their own. SO.....marshmallow propping will have to do :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kid Friendly Friday - Bread Sticks!

I'm linking this recipe to 12 Days of Bloggie-mas over at A Moderate Life!

I found this recipe for bread sticks over at Make It Do and decided to make them with the girls for an afternoon snack. I mixed up the dough before they got home so it could rise. The recipe says you don't have to do this but I think it makes them better. I divided the dough for them and they had an assembly line going. Mimi rolled the dough in strips and Bigs dipped them in butter then Parmesan cheese. Don't you love the funky shapes? They taste great and go great with dipping sauce.

EASY Bread Sticks

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast
3 1/2 cups flour (try different combinations of wheat and white together!)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
lemon pepper (or seasoning of choice)
Mix together warm water, sugar, salt and yeast. Allow yeast to activate (about 10 minutes). Add flour and stir in with a fork until dough holds together. Turn out onto floured board. Knead lightly into a ball. Divide into 32 equal portions. On floured board, roll out into bread sticks. Dip into melted butter and then into Parmesan cheese. Place onto greased cookie sheet (16 per bakers half sheet.) Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. This gives the bread sticks about 10 minutes to begin to rise. Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Go over to Confessions of a non-domestic Housewife for more Kid Friendly Friday ideas!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bargin ALERT!

A few weeks ago there was a coupon in the Sunday paper for $3 off 3 Johnson and Johnson first aid products. These kits were 97 cents so, using two coupons, Walmart GAVE ME 18 cents for taking these 6 kits :) Great for the car and in diaper bags!

10 Things you should NEVER pay full price for

10. Cereal - You should be able to get it around $1 per box, sometimes much cheaper.

9. Juice - Stock up when the buy one get one sales are on and use coupons as well. Sales tend to be cyclic so pay attention and you'll know how many to purchase to get you through until the next sale.

8. Pasta - You should be able to get a box for under 25 cents. Stack coupons with BOGO.

7. Deodorant - Walgreens and CVS often have these on sale with their programs. Use coupons and save even more!

6. School Supplies - Stock up during Back to School sales in the fall as teachers often request more items during the year. Have you SEEN how much supplies cost later in the year??

5. Crackers (Ritz, Townhouse, etc.) - BOGO and coupons - less than $1 per box. Great to send in for school snacks and make-your-own lunchables.

4. Soda (pop) - don't buy it unless it's under 25 cents a can! Sometimes gas station/convenience stores have the best deals. Always remember to check expiration dates as the turnover seems to be less in these stores.

3. Contact Solution - FREE - Walgreens and CVS often have this on sale with their programs. Use coupons and save even more.

2. Razors - FREE - Pair the drug store sales with coupons and get high priced razors for free OR even make money buying them!

1. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes - FREE, FREE, FREE. I have a huge stockpile of these and end up giving much of it away. Almost every week you can find them free with the drug store deals paired with coupons.

I understand that prices and sales vary with region, so your prices might be a little higher, but if you take 20 minutes each week to pair coupons with sales you can save a TON of money on the things you already buy. It's rare that I buy something just because I have a coupon for it but if I can get it for free I will try new things!

What are your couponing/sale tips?

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School and Work

Today is Little Bit's first day of preschool! She'll be going two mornings a week and those same mornings I am going to be teaching. It's been 6 years since I've taught and that was high school science. I am teaching two years olds this time around. I'm very excited to be back in a classroom! Little Bit is very excited to have her own lunch box.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Aloha Friday - What to do with these?

"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine:

I found these gems at Aldi this week and am thinking about adding them to a streusel muffin topping.......what else could I do with them?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

So now that the older girls are gone all day, there's another week until we start preschool, and it's still 800 degrees out, what shall we do??

Don't tell, but we have figured out the perfect thing!
Now we know all about trampoline safety...only one person jumps at a time, nobody under the age of three can jump, spotters are stationed around the trampoline at all times, you should not jump for long periods of time, anyone that has ever had a paper cut on their left pinky finger is not allowed. We get it.

BUT today we are breaking the rules! A sprinkler ON the trampoline. Slippery? You betcha! Did my two year old get some great air? She can jump! Did we stay on for long periods of time? Yes, we did! (Did we forget her swimsuit? No, just couldn't be bothered with it)

Are we rebels? Most certainly.

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday pictures at
5 Minutes of Mom, Sunny Day Today Mama, Seven Clown Circus, Experimental Mommy, Mrs. Cox's Slice o' Heaven& Mom Knows It All.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alarming Statistics

I got these alarming statistics from an article on Donald Miller's Blog and have a hard time believing them. Do people REALLY not read? Ever? As a teacher I often heard that some students didn't have any books at home. None. I cannot wrap my mind around that.

According to Para Publishing, 1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. And 42% of college graduates follow suit. 70% of U.S. adults have not stepped into a bookstore in the last 7 years and 80% of American families did not purchase or read a book last year.

Now Two Are In School

First day of kindergarten and second grade. Wow! They were both so excited. Me too, as they have wonderful teachers. We have been so very blessed to have loved each teacher our girls have had so far!

Monday, August 16, 2010

LATE! Birthday Pictures

For each birthday we have the girls pose in my wedding dress. It's our traditional birthday picture and my wedding dress gets used three times a year! Bonus! These two had birthdays in June and July so we aren't really THAT far behind :)
Mimi turns 5.
Little Bit turns 2.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mama Heart's Photo Challenge Week 2: Words


Mandey, over at Mama and The Dudes is hosting a weekly themed photo challenge. I missed week one but this week's theme is WORDS. This is what I found:

This is from my solo trip to Sanibel Island last fall. So very Florida.

This is from my summer trip in Kiev, Ukraine. Vladimirskaya Street.

And how could I leave out a name written in the sand?

Today is the last day to enter my $25 Walmart gift card giveaway!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Cook Peach Ice Cream

On our way back from our summer vacation we, of course, had to purchase a bunch of beautiful Georgia peaches. We bought a ton, most of which I froze for peach crisp. I had a few that needed to be used and chose to do peach ice cream. I made another no cook peach recipe last summer than contained sweetened condensed milk. This recipe was much more creamy and less sweet. I prefer this one. The recipe made enough for two batches in my small ice cream maker (although I didn't know it when I prepared it) so I put half of the unfrozen mix in a mason jar and kept it for about a week in the refrigerator. It didn't discolor or anything and was just as perfect after being frozen a week later.

Amazing No Cook Peach Ice Cream

3 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 or 3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped (need about 2 1/2 cups )
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a blender, blend eggs, sugar, and 2 cups of chopped peaches (save the other 1/2 cup) until smooth. Add cream, half and half, vanilla and salt and blend well. Add the reserved chopped peaches but do not blend (unless you don't like fruit chunks in your ice cream, then, puree them all).

Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

ENJOY! I LOVE THIS STUFF - don't tell my family that there is a little bit left over in the back of the freezer :)

Go check out other Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!
Enter to win a $25 Walmart Gift Card in my General Mills promotion HERE!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Have Been Changed to Bring Change

We sang this song at church yesterday and it pretty much sums up my Ukraine trip. What an incredible experience I had with the team I traveled with and the orphans we were there to love. More on the trip in the next few weeks!

Aaron Niequist
In Jesus’ name I’ve been changed, I’ve been filled,
I’ve been found, I’ve been freed, I’ve been saved!
In Jesus’ blood I’ve been loved, I’ve been cleansed,
And redeemed, and released, rearranged

But how can I show You that I’m grateful?
You’ve been so generous to me.

How can I worship more than singing?
And live out Redemption’s melody.

I have been blessed – now I want to be a blessing
I have been loved – now I want to bring love
I’ve been invited – I want to share the invitation
I have been changed – to bring change, to bring change

In Jesus’ name we are changed, we are called,
We are chosen, adopted, and named!

In Jesus’ blood we are loved, we are healed,
We’re forgiven and free of our shame!

We want to show You that we’re thankful
Flooding Your world with hope and peace
Help us to worship more than singing
Giving Redemption hands and feet

We have been blessed – now we’re going to be a blessing
We have been loved – now we’re going to bring love
We’ve been invited – we’re going to share the invitation
We have been changed – to bring change, to bring change
We have been changed – to bring change, to bring change

Thank You for this new life, thank You for the invitation!
God, we want to live it loud enough to shake the nations " in Your name!

We have been saved – we’re going to shout about the Savior
We have been found – we’re going to turn over every stone
We’ve been empowered – to love the world to Heaven
We have been changed – to bring change, to bring change
We have been changed – to bring change, to bring change
We have been changed – to bring change, to bring change
©2003 AARONieq Music

Many of the kids in our eighth grade group.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

CSN Stores Review

Now that it's back to school time you may be looking for backpacks and lunch boxes. CSN Stores sent me these to review.

The High Sierra backpack is beautiful! I'm kinda wishing I needed a backpack for some reason. It has dark grey trim and a garden patterned front. It has tons of room and looks like it will make it through a year or two with my daughter. She is pretty rough on things but it looks durable enough to take it. I love the way they constructed the straps. Not your ordinary backpack straps but what they call, "Yoke-Style, S-Shaped, VAPEL mesh AIRFLOW padded shoulder straps with Suspension System and integrated media/cell phone pocket".......this just translates to it being comfortable (and has a pcoket that she can hide stuff in - she is not getting a cell phone!).

The Hoohobbers lunch boxes are adorable. I can never find lunch boxes that I like. We used lots of reusable packaging so it tends to be a little bulky and hard to fit into normal lunch boxes. These have plenty of room. Even though the angled corners cut off some space their depth makes up for it. We'll see how these pretty fabrics hold up to lunch and then washing (they are machine washable!). They are almost too pretty for a PB&J. They are made in Chicago (yeah! US made). Again, if only I needed a lunch box.....

I highly recommend either product. Head over to CSN Stores to fill all your backpack and lunch box needs (and just about every other need, as they have over 200 stores to choose from).