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Monthly Archives: March 2011

This is a lovely dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Great for Christmas or Easter morning, or even a brunch.  I love to pair it with my freezer peaches, as the tartness of the peaches compliments the sweetness of this dish.  You do not need to use syrup with this French toast  however,  when we moved in last fall there was a gentleman who gave us some of his homemade maple syrup, so we use syrup.  Oh mama….I think I look for foods that I can drench in homemade maple syrup just to get another taste of that stuff.  ahh…anyway…

12-14 slices of cinnamon swirl bread

6T butter

1t vanilla

1  1/2C   half and half

1C milk

1/2t cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

4 eggs beaten

1C pecans, chopped

1/2C brown sugar

2T dark brown corn syrup

Butter a 9X13 pan

butter both sides of the bread and line the pan with the slices with 2 layers of bread

toss brown sugar with pecans and sprinkle over the bread

drizzle corn syrup over pecans

mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over bread

let set 15 min at least

(you can freeze at this point)

Bake @350 for 45 min or till brown



I have been asked by many to explain my grocery shopping strategy.  I have ignored these request simply because though it is easy in my mind to follow, it seems difficult to put into words.  So now here we are, and I will try to explain why I am often asked at the grocery store “Is that item on sale?” or “What are you going to do with all that half and half”.

Now to start off, I plan. I plan a menu monthly.  I try to plan meals that I know my family loves and throw in a few new recipes to try each week.  Second, I buy in bulk and freeze.  Now, I don’t mean that I buy 20lbs of chicken and throw it in my freezer as soon as I get home from the store.  I mean I buy 20lbs of chicken and when I get home (or soon after) I will portion it out and cover it in marinade, or make it into a fabulous meal and freeze it for later use.  The third thing I do is buy what is on sale in bulk.  Be careful when buying in bulk.  Look carefully at the labels and cost comparison.  I am amazed at how often I find that if I buy 3 bottles of bbq sauce instead of the 1 large bottle, I save a bundle.  I used to run from one store to another to find the best deals on items, but I found  that was more of a time waster than anything.  I  found that cutting large amounts of coupons was a waste of my time as well.  I tried the on-line program that helps you with your coupon strategy and I found that I would buy more things that I would have never bought without the coupon. I just kept thinking, “Well, I have never bought this before, but it is such a good deal..”  And, most of the coupons were for processed foods, which we try to keep to a minimum around here.  I do, however use the coupon I get at the checkout, and I just signed up for Mperks at Meijer.  That saved me 19.00 the other day!

So, today at Meijer, my cart held the following

5 boxes of cereal-I like to make cereal bars for my kiddos breakfasts

18 cans of cream of potato soup- for making 9 chicken pot pies

8 pie crusts, tops and bottoms- again for the pies ( I have crust for 1 pie at home)

8 loaves of cinnamon bread-for baked french toasts, they were on sale

3 large bottles of ketchup- for bbq chicken wings for my freezer cooking group, also on sale

fresh fruits and veggies

48 eggs

2 gallons milk

3 half gallons of half and half- for both the pot pies and french toast

You see I buy what is on sale, in bulk, to cook in bulk and stock the freezer.

I buy most of my meat from Sam’s club, off my list from menu planning.  I also check the  mark downs they will have on meat and if that is a good deal I will buy as much of the sale meat as possible.

Is any of this making sense?

So, this week I am making pot pies and baked french toast in bulk.  For dinner we will have meals that have been previously placed in the freezer,  a new recipe I chose to try this week,  and every week we have a pizza night.   I’m sure you can see how after a while, you build up a supply in the freezer and only have to cook a couple of meals a week to keep it up.

Now, every so often I go a little crazy.  I will do a full week of freezer cooking and stock the freezer full. This helps keep a good variety of meals to choose from.  I rarely ever cook only one of anything.  If I am making enchiladas, I will make at least 2 or 3 and freeze the excess. I could go on all day about this, so  if you want to know more about freezer cooking, attend one of my workshops.  It seems as though the ladies I speak to gain a lot of useful information.

I try not to buy things that are overly processed or pre-made, if I can do them myself.  It cost much less to make them at home, and then I can control the nutritional value of our meals better.

So, buy doing this “method” of grocery shopping, I am able to keep a very well stocked pantry and freezer.  For instance, if you were to take a gander in my canning/pantry room right now, you would find plenty of ingredients for bbq sauces, marinades, and other things we use often as I buy those items when they are on sale.  If you looked in my freezer, you see several meals that are completely ready to reheat and serve.  You would also find frozen veggies that we often eat, and meat that was purchased by the case ( at case pricing) or on sale and is portioned out for meals.

I hope you find this helpful…I am always amazed at the looks I get when I fill my cart with a seemingly unnecessary amount of strange items…but I assure you, there is a method to my maddness!

Pour me a fresh cup of Joe and open a window…Spring is here! Oh..the plans I have! I have kept a list of things I wanted to learn, develop or master once I was no longer working outside the home…..And here we are. It has been a long, drab, and well..rather depressing winter. When we moved in last fall we basically unpacked enough to get through Christmas. To be honest, creativity felt as though it had abandoned my soul. I had little energy and even less inspiration to be creative and crafty.
Then we unpacked the basement. Oh the loveliness that poured out of those boxes! Matt had a plan to create a little place for me to be creative. It is still a work in progress….but it is still lovely! And oh the plans I have. Gardening…sewing…gifts….uhhh.

Now for that list.  There are tasks that I have dreamed of being able to do.  Ones that have been pushed aside while Matt was a full time student and I was helping him as a Custodian.  I fancy the thought of helping him with the planning, and preparing.  I also fancy the thought of getting to that list of things I would love to get to…so I must go…and get to it!