Friday, September 30, 2011

Chipotle Bean Burritos

My friend, AMH, pinned this recipe and she blogged about it later.  So, here I am doing the same thing.  She warned me that this may be a little too spicy for the little mouths that gather around my table so I proceeded with caution.  As I read through the recipe I decided that I would take beans out for the girls before the mashing of some of the beans and the addition of salsa.  That seemed to work as the girls gobbled it up without blinking an eye.  However, the beans for the girls were a bit dry when I started mashing them.  I added a couple of teaspoons of water.  Next time I think I will add some stock or something with more flavor.  Also, my girls love pico de gallo so I will give them that instead of salsa (although they sometimes devour salsa, too).  The original photo and recipe can be found on the website My Recipes.

Overall, this was a pretty yummy meal.  I think that I would actually increase the chipotle pepper after I take the beans out for the kiddos.  I know my spice isn't very old and I wanted to taste it a bit more.

We generally have all these ingredients on hand (or things that are easily done without or substituted) so this makes a cheap and easy meal for us.  Even my husband who is sometimes apprehensive about our meatless meals thought this was pretty good and was up for eating it again.  YAY!!

Chipotle Bean Burritos


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • (15-ounce) can organic black beans, drained
  • (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons refrigerated fresh salsa
  • (10-inch) reduced-fat flour tortillas (such as Mission)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 3)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 6 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 6 tablespoons light sour cream


  • 1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in chile powder and salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup water and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salsa. Partially mash bean mixture with a fork.
  • 2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture into center of each tortilla. Top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon onions, and 1 tablespoon sour cream; roll up.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Freezer Meals: Update

UGH!  I am not making it through this list as fast as I would like to at this point.  The only thing I crossed off this month was Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti.  However, I can add that I randomly made a tator-tot casserole and doubled the recipe.  So, I froze half.  Also, my very sweet, kind, and oh-so-gracious mother-in-law made two meals for me.  I'll add those meals (and cross them off because it's fun) so I will have a running list.

I think I need to sit down and look at the budget with Husband to see if we can extend the budget a bit so I can make these extra meals while still feeding us.  I had been doing pretty well with that but it seems like all of a sudden the prices went up in stores and the good sales came to a grinding halt.  I anticipate some good sales on certain items with the holidays coming up so we will flex when that time comes.

Also, a sweet blessing in timing is that Zaycon Foods will be offering their yummy chicken to all lower 48 states soon at $1.49/lb.  We'll probably get two units this time around.  If you are interested in using my referral link please let me know.  :)  Can't beat that price these days!  It will be a good stock up item for us and as my husband says, "I like meat!"  He's been good in enduring my "meatless" meals from time to time but he likes to remind me that he is an omnivore with more carnivorous tendencies!  Anyway, once we get the chicken I think I will be able to cross things off a bit more quickly with the purchase of a few simple items.  YAY!!

Of course, I am always finding more recipes that I want to try... never enough time :)

Tator Tot Casserole x 1
Mom C's Meatloaf x1
Stuffed Peppers x 1
Husband's Lasagna x 2
Italian Stuffed Meatloaf x 2
My Chile x 2
Veggie Chile x 3
Ren's Chocolate Muffins x 2 (has good stuff like pumpkin, flax, etc -- it's not ALL sugar)
Chicken Pot Pie x 2
Fiesta Chicken x 2
Fiesta Chicken (Green Version) x 2
Spaghetti Sauce x 3 or 4
Spinach & Artichoke Mac & Cheese x 2
Green Chile Enchiladas x 3 (or more at the request of Husband)
Spaghetti Pizza x 2
Turkey & Vegetable Meatloaf x 2
Meatballs (not sure how many yet)
Brown Bag Burritos x 1 (makes 20-ish)
Chicken Spaghetti (Pioneer Woman) x 2
Pulled Pork x 1 (more if meat comes on sale again)
Breakfast Burritos x 1 (will probably make more - cranks out about 16)
Chicken & Rice (Quinoa) Burritos x 1 (makes about 8?)
Baked Ziti x 2
BBQ Beef & Bean Corn Bread Casserole x 2
Bacon, Egg, Cheese Biscuit Cups x 1
Ham & Cheese Pockets x 1
Sausage Biscuits x 1
Twice Cooked Mashed Potatoes x 2
Cranberry Chicken x 2
Broccoli & Cheddar Soup x 2
Healthy Mama BBQ Chicken x 2
Lactation Cookies x LOTS!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coupon Organization

I like to coupon.  It's true.  However, when I watch a particular show about people who are extreme in this area I have a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that they spend 35+ hours a week cutting coupons, planning, etc.  I will soon have three girls three and under -- I don't have that kind of time to spend and if I did there are other things I would rather do with that time.  That's just where I am with things.  However, with the increase in food prices and our growing family I want to make our dollars stretch.  I have to find a happy balance.  So, I appreciate the coupon service that I subscribe to and the websites that do many of the coupon to product match-ups for me.

Another thing that was taking up a lot of my time was clipping the coupons.  I would tend to clip almost ALL the coupons (minus things like make-up or pet food or other things that I knew we would NEVER use, etc) -- I clipped because I thought, "If I don't it will be on super sale or free and I will miss out!"  It may not have been such a big deal if I only had one copy of each coupon insert.  However, there are week that I can end up with three or more of the inserts.  I didn't want to cut ALL of them out just in case.  Because then after they are cut they were entered into a spreadsheet.  UGH.  Drive me bananas!!

So, I streamlined it a bit.

I purchased a portable file box and some hanging folders.  My simple system was ready to put in place.  I mark the coupon insert boldly with a marker with the date on front.  Create a label for that date on a folder.  Slide them in and there you go.  When I get to where I need more folders I will return to the front of the folder and check those inserts for coupons that may still be good.  However, odds are they will all be expired.  Toss the old inserts in the recycle bin, create new label, and we are good to go.

Honestly, I have over a month's worth of inserts to file.  I have just been lazy lately.  Although, I think with about 30 minutes after the girls go down for nap I will be all caught up.  Easy peasy.

The downside to this method is that you are not as familiar with what coupons you have on hand.  I'm okay with that right now.  However, I can also look through the inserts before I file them to help with that some.  For those that like having ALL their coupons with them in the store just in case this is not the method for you.  I generally just take the coupons for the items that I will buy.  If I find a great deal at the store, I can always go back.  This just helps me stay on budget a bit better.  If I am looking for a particular coupon or if there is one available I simply consult a coupon database that is available through my coupon service and most sites that match up coupons for you.

This saves me the most time right now.  I may go back to the other way some day.  But for now, I really like the simplicity of this method.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ham & Cheese Sliders

I keep seeing this recipe being "repinned" on Pinterest and I always think to myself, "Good recipe, I need to blog about it."  This was one of the first things I tried from Pinterest.  It was originally pinned from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  (I need to look through this blog a bit more! HA!)

Ham happened to be on sale that week.  I will say because of the general expense of meat I probably would not go out of my way to make this meal again.  However, it will be in rotation for when we generally have leftovers of ham.  So, think Resurrection Day/Easter, Christmas or New Year's if that's your thing... or anytime it is on sale.  This recipe may work well with deli sliced ham if you find a good deal on it.  This meal was a bit on the expensive side for me because I got the swiss cheese in the deli.  However, my buyer's remorse was short lived with how well this meal went over with everyone AND I was able to use the cheese I had not only for this meal but for another meal and some lunches.

I actually halved this recipe because I didn't think we would need ALL of them.  Plus, I was running short on time (I forgot I still had to slice the ham myself!) and I had opted earlier to only buy one bag of rolls.  Next time I will make the full recipe as they were gobbled up and they would make AWESOME leftovers.  Just sayin'.

Ham and Cheese Sliders
adapted slightly from the Recipe Club

24 good white dinner rolls
24 pieces good honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy seed sauce
1 T poppyseeds
1 1/2 T yellow mustard
1 stick butter, melted
1 T minced onion
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm.

** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lessons from the Weekend

Friday evening started off well enough.  Grandparents were over for dinner to help me with the girls as Husband had a late appointment.  When Husband returned our normal evening routine fell into place and the girls were down for the night leaving us to enjoy a quiet night together.  Or so we thought...

Around 10 or so we heard a cry from Miss L's room followed by an odd noise and more intense crying.  UGH.  I told Husband as we ran to her room, "I think she just threw up."  Sure enough.  I'll spare you the details but this went on and off until about 1:30 in the morning.  In the process we also started 4 loads of laundry -- sheets, towels, pajamas, etc.  One stuffed animal made its way to the trash bin.  I don't think she'll notice for awhile.

I realized with two more children that will eventually be in "big girl" beds it will be a good idea to have some extra sheets for occasions such as this.  Sure I want the girls to have lovely sheets that are fun and cute on a daily basis.  However, for nights like the ones we had it would be good to have sheets that can take a beating and if it comes down to it are "no skin off my nose" if we opt to just throw them away.  My plan is to check in and see if Goodwill has some cheap sets or check out clearance areas and discount places from time to time for sets to have on hand.

I also had a fleeting thought to abandon my beloved colored towels for an extended season and just do white towels for everyone so they can be easily bleached.  However, I am not sure that I am ready to go that far...yet  Although, I did come to the realization that I need to replace some towels in our collection.  Or at least get rid of some because they have become overly worn, bleach spots, etc.  I need to be okay with making them rags or tossing them out.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention Reorganization.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bright Spots

A friend cleaning off Miss A's baptism certificate and Miss L making the connection of baptism and Jesus.

Miss L always asking if we are going to church and then being disappointed if that is not the end destination.  She's in the service with us so it's not like she is looking forward to toys in the nursery, etc.  She's met the pastor's daughter but they haven't had a lot of interaction.  We think she just loves Jesus :)

Miss L going up front in church on her own for instruction on different parts of the service.  She was so excited and she did SO well.

Miss L and Miss A splashing in the kiddie pool and not caring that it is 107 degrees outside.  Although, mama feels every degree of that!

*These are from several weeks back and I apparently forgot to publish them.  I guess better late than never.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Let me just say, my kiddos (1 & 2 1/2) gobbled this up!  That should be all you need to know to try this yummy meal.  I had just used the last of my sour cream a couple of days before so I didn't get to use that in these this time around.  However, my littles don't really like sour cream so I would have left it out of theirs anyway.  I put a little less chili powder in as my girls can be a bit sensitive but they didn't complain! I will add this to a regular rotation.  I had some left over chicken from another meal so it made it a pretty cheap meal.  However, I may try this with whole wheat tortillas next time around. (You can find the original recipe by clicking on the photo - they also have a print friendly version available there.)  Oh yes, this was also tagged on my Pinterest board.  Love.

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wrap

*Makes 6 wraps*
1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: on some of the wraps, I dotted the cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of reduced fat sour cream before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it made the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.
Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cloth Diapers & The Front Loader

I have a on off relationship with cloth diapers.  I'm okay with that.  When I first started to use cloth diapers I loved them.  I am pretty sure I drove my friends batty with diaper chat.  I found other cloth diaper companions in church and with "old" friends across the miles.  We were the few...the odd.

I was on again off again with them.  Morning sickness pushed me over the edge with Miss A and this one that I didn't want to deal with any sort of diapers really.  We are at a point that I am loving them again.  Not to the point where I can barely contain myself when new ones come out or I am always trying to figure out a way to justify some new diaper purchase.  I am pretty happy with what we have and I was "gifted" some cloth diapers for the newest addition in newborn sizes so we'll see how it goes when she arrives and once again I have two in cloth.

I think my biggest struggle has been fine tuning our wash routine.  Cloth diapers wash up beautifully in a traditional top loader.  It can be more of a trick in a front load washer, which is what we have.  I had our routine down pretty well in our old house where the water was soft.  Now we are in a place where the water is fairly hard which doesn't always let the soap do what it needs to be doing.  And while front loaders save on water I need more water in with my diapers.  What's a mama to do?

Awhile back I had bookmarked a page on the Knickernappies website that had several videos of different women and their wash routines.  I guess there really is a video for just about everything on YouTube!  I watched them all and finally came up with something that I think will work for our family.  Maybe this will help you?

FYI:  We wash about every third day, small load or big load.  That will probably change to every other day when #3 arrives.  I have mentioned this before but generally, when I am doing cloth my regular laundry routine gets better, too.  I am still working on that this go round.  HA!

  1. I toss in all of our diapers and wet bag.  I set the washer for a regular wash on cool.  I then set my kitchen timer for about six or seven minutes.  This lets the diapers get nice and wet and tossed around a bit. NO DETERGENT.
  2. I turn off the cycle and the water drains without a spin cycle.  This will trick your machine into thinking that it has a bigger load and will add more water when you start the next step.
  3. I add 2 TBS of Rockin' Green laundry Detergent to the soap container.  Select Heavy Duty cycle (never Sanitize as the machine increases the temp of the water which may be too hot for PUL), Hot water, add the extra rinse/skincare rinse, and press start.  I set my kitchen time for about another six or seven minutes.
  4. When I know that the washer is done filling I grab a pitcher from cupboard and get the water as hot as I can from my kitchen sink.  I fill the pitcher and pour this into my washer manually through the soap dispenser.  Depending on the size of the load I will do this 2 to 4 times.  You want enough water in there that they swish around but not too much where they are just hanging out in the water.  If you are trying this for the first time I recommend to pitchers of water, wait 5 to 7 minutes, and then look in your wash bin and evaluate from there.
  5. After the cycle is finished I usually pull out my wet bag (as it can hold water sometimes) and hang it up to dry. (Sometimes, not always I repeat steps 1 and 2 here)  I then set my washer for another regular hot wash, NO DETERGENT, extra rinse to make sure all was rinsed well.
  6. Hang everything out to dry in the hot Phoenix sun.  The sun's UV rays help to kill odor causing bacteria, will help to remove any stains or discoloring, it's cheap, and even the thicker diapers dry uber fast.  Even in the winter here I try to do this as often as possible.  Other wise inserts and prefolds (and sometimes fitteds) go in the dryer, AIO's and pockets are hung up in the girls bathroom.
There you have it.  So far so good.  It seems to be holding the ever popular microfiber stink at bay.  With each wash it gets better.

Do you have a specialized routine for your cloth diapers and a front loader?  Tips?  Tricks?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

Not too long ago a friend posted on her blog about all the lovely things one can find on Pinterest.  Anything really from food, crafts, photography.  If it's on the internet it can be "pinned."  She posed the question to her readers if we are on said website do we do anything with the things we pin.  While I have not done anything with the crafty things I have pinned I have made several recipes that I have pinned.  It has actually become my go to place to plan my meals.  Granted, some things you find there can be quite extravagant.  However, you can find super simple and budget friendly meals as well.  So begins the many meals that will be tagged with "Pinterest."  Oddly enough, I found this recipe on the same friend's recipe board!  However, the original recipe can be found on

For whatever reason I didn't use the beer in this recipe.  I wanted it to be a lighter beer (as in color) and I think all we had on hand at the time was a stout.  Maybe next time.  It was a really yummy meal.  I made the mistake of getting smaller tortillas than the called for 10-inch.  Get the 10-inch people!  I made mine in a cake pan rather than pulling down the spring form pans.  Probably beautiful either way.  But the spring form will allow for easier access.

This is a great recipe and the kiddos loved it.  We had a tiny bot of taco meat left over so I threw it in just for kicks.  If I were making this again it would be perfectly delish as it is written.

  • Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

  • 4 flour tortillas (10 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces beer, or 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 1/2 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a paring knife, trim tortillas to fit a 9-inch springform pan. Use the bottom of the pan as a guide. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add beans and beer, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in corn and scallions, and remove from heat. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  4. Fit a trimmed tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with 1/4 of the beans and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat three times, using 1 cup cheese on top layer. Bake until cheese melts, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove side of pan; sprinkle pie with scallions. To serve, slice into wedges.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Well, here's the first public photo of our little princess.  Our OB office doesn't allow us to video or take our own photos of the ultrasound so I had to rely on the scanner.  I'm a little lazy about taking it back to the office to do it.  For whatever reason it didn't do a great job but it gets the job done.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Miss L and showed her this picture.  I pointed out the nose, cheeks, lips, tummy, chest.  I asked Miss L, "Do you know what this is?"


"And where is this baby right now?"

"Mama tummy," as she puts her hand on my tummy.

"That's right!  You're so smart!"

She takes the picture from my hands and begins to inspect it a bit more.  After a few moments she put the photo on my tummy and exclaims, "Match!"


I think she gets it.

Heart.  Melted.