Thursday, August 21, 2014

Friday Pie Day... Our 1st Official Pizza

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week. My week started out great with my hubby taking Monday off work so we could have a fun play day with our boys and the good times just kept rolling from there (along with the thunderstorms)! I love nighttime thunderstorms! They are so relaxing and it really helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. My boys are the same way so this mama is well rested!! 

You know what else I love... PIZZA! You would have never guessed that right?! Why else would I create an whole day around the food?! I have been so excited to write share this recipe with you I almost didn't wait til Friday. But Wednesday Pie Day just doesn't have the same ring to it. 


I got the inspiration for this pizza from a Saturday afternoon Del Taco run. As part of our local library's summer reading program we got coupons for free tacos at Del Taco. The boys also got toys, a new book and free admission tickets to the Utah Natural History Museum along with other free coupons. I got a free book and ticket to the museum also. I love taking my boys to the library! They love to read, and by read I mean sitting down on mom's lap and get read to, and it is a great time for us to cuddle and recharge our batteries. But, back to Del Taco. So we got our free tacos and took them home and my boys loved them! 

This was just a few days after the whole Friday Pie Day idea came to me so I decided to give Taco Pizza a shot! And oh man am I so glad I did! It was sooo good! I used the homemade taco sauce from earlier in the week as my base and layered the toppings on from there. It was the best taco I have ever tasted...and it was a PIZZA!! From the kick of the sauce to the hint of garlic in the dough topped with everything I love on my tacos it was a little bit of heaven in every bite. Feel free to add or change any of the toppings to make this fit your favorite taco style!




Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 c taco sauce
1/2 lb ground beef
2 tsp taco seasoning (you can use 1/2 a packet from the store or try this homemade seasoning)
1/4 cup water
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Three Cheese Mexican Blend)
2 tbsp diced green chiles
2 tbsp tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp sliced black olives
2 tbsp lettuce, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°
Brown ground beef and drain grease.
Add taco seasoning and water to beef and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
While beef is simmering spread pizza dough out on pizza pan, making sure to 
have extra dough around the edges for the crust.
Brush on taco sauce. 
Add 1-11/2 cups cheese
Add all remaining toppings, including beef, and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. I cooked mine for 17 minutes and it was perfect.



Taco Tuesday meet Friday Pie Day!


What is your favorite pizza? Are there any pizza that your absolutely refuse to eat?!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Biggest Burrito You Will EVER Eat!

Ever had one of those days where you get so busy you forget to eat? You're running errands, cleaning the kitchen, doing your fourteenth load of laundry, changing diapers, getting sippy cups of milk and treats, taking kids to the park, kissing boo boos better, making the kids lunch, laying the kids down for naps. And then finally when you get a second to yourself to check your email or Facebook your stomach starts yelling at you... No, it's not a tiny grumble; it's a full on two-year old temper tantrum "FEED ME!" If you can't tell this happens to me on a semi regular basis. I know, I know it is super bad to not eat all day, and I do usually have a bowl of cereal and a banana before the boys get up, but most days I get so involved in what my boys and I are doing that eating gets pushed, well shoved really, down to the bottom of the list. 

One of these 'Oops I didn't eat anything today' days happened to me last week so I decided to add a few extras to the burritos I was planning on cooking for dinner. And let me tell you it was a HUGE success! Not just the size of the burritos but the flavor was great! The original recipe called for just beef and cheese but I added a few extras and it really kicked things up a notch! By the time dinner was over I was stuffed and there were leftovers too; which hardly ever happens when I make burritos. Not only was I happily full, but so was my husband. He actually stopped after one, and he's a professional burrito eater ;) (Love you hunny) 

So without further ado...





Recipe adapted from: Superheros in Jammies

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning (or 1 tbsp of this homemade taco seasoning)
1/2 cup water
1 can black beans
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup taco sauce (or you can use store bought)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
4 large burrito tortillas

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
Brown ground beef and drain fat.
Add taco seasoning and water and let simmer for 5 minutes.
While taco meat is simmering, in a bowl mix together sour cream, taco sauce and cream of mushroom soup.
Spread about 1/3 of the sour cream mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
Prepare the burritos by layering 2-3 spoonfuls of taco meat onto the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese then add 2-3 tbsp of Mexican rice and 2-3 tbsp black beans. Spoon over 1 tbsp of sour cream mix then roll burrito.
Cover burritos with remaining sour cream mix and cover with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.



Serve with remaining Mexican rice and black beans.





These burritos are super filling so if you aren't really hungry or have young kids this can easily be 6-8 servings. My husband, two boys (they are only 2yo and 14 mo) and my hungry self ate three of the four burritos and the fourth burrito was lunch for me for 2 days! You could also make these ahead of time and freeze them. All you'd have to skip is putting the sour cream mix in the burrito and on top. Top with sour cream mix and cheese just before putting in the oven.








Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homemade Taco Sauce

How many of you love reading the phrases on those Taco Bell sauce packets?! Back in the day, before I had kids (yes it was only 3 years ago but it seems like a lifetime ago), Taco Bell was the only fast food joint close to my work so a lot of times lunch consisted of a few tacos and some nachos. I know not the healthiest but hey, I was young! I remember always asking for extra sauce packets but rarely did I use them; I just wanted to see what funny phrases they had. 

Photo Credit: Bert's Blog

I had completely forgotten about those little guys until a few weeks ago when I found this incredibly delicious looking recipe for burritos (Recipe coming soon) that called for taco sauce as one of the ingredients. Of course I could always buy taco sauce but what fun would that be?! So I started perusing Pinterest and found this pin for Copy-Cat Taco Bell Sauce and it was just what I was looking for! Plus I had everything I needed already! This sauce is super easy to make and is great on tacos, burritos, nachos or any other type of food you'd like to add a little bit of a kick to! 


This makes about 2 cups which was enough for me to make 4 HUGE burritos and a special treat I'll be sharing with you on Friday (any guesses what it could be?!) 

Ingredients:

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil and turn heat to low.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Let cool before storing in fridge.


You can keep this sauce in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 6 months.

Check back tomorrow for the burritos I made this sauce especially for!

August Budget Challenge Week 2 Recap

Happy Tuesday Y'all! I hope everyone had a great week last week! Have your kids started school yet? I know here in Utah some kiddos start school tomorrow and some next week. The last few weeks of summer sure can be hectic; running around to get all the last minute things and trying to squeeze as much fun outdoor activities you can in to the last few days. It can be draining physically, mentally and on your checkbook.



How are you doing on your August goals? My goal was to only go the store one time last week and I stuck to that goal; until I realized I needed cheese from Costco. But still we only spent only a little over $30 for the week so I wasn't too upset about our surprise Costco trip. We would've spent less but when we went to Smith's to pick up a few things we HAD to walk past the toy section and all their clearance was 50% off. My boys spotted some Monsters University toys that they just had to have and we caved! Because when we go on walks and this happens....
 How can you say no?!

Here's my week in review:

Balance from Week 1: $142.28
                      Smith's: $24.40
                      Costco: $17.39
Total for the month: $184.08

We are going to make one more big trip to Smith's this week which will be about $65 and maybe $60 more at Costco and we should be set for the month. Unless something crazy comes up I definitely think we are going to be able to stay under our $300 goal. Do you think you'll be able to stay in budget? If not, are you reworking your numbers and setting a new goal? I know sometimes in the past I have had unexpected expenses come up and on the months that I sat down and looked over numbers I always felt much better at the end of the month compared to months I just said "Ah forget about it" and stopped keeping track.

I have been thinking about putting together a series on ways to cut your grocery bills and spending habits ans possibly even offering personal consultations. But I'd like to get a feel if it's something many families would be interested in. If I offered printables on ways to cut your costs in different departments in the store (i.e. meat, produce, toileteries etc.) would you use them? Let me know and if I get enough interest I'll start working on them!

P.S. If you do ever have questions or would like help in your own personal situation feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email (sgarrison05@gmail.com) I would love to help!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Be a Part of The Next Great Food Trend

Everyone has heard of 'Meatless Monday' or 'Taco Tuesday'. I'm here today to let you all in on the next big thing for weekly dinners... I'm calling it 'FRIDAY PIE DAY'. You heard it here first folks! I'm a big fan of routine, especially with my boys. We have a set schedule every day and it really helps things run smoothly around here. They know what to expect and I know what I need to do as well. That was one reason Friday Pie Day sounded so appealing to me. My boys love pizza. Like they would eat it for every meal if I let them! Once they get in a habit of getting to eat pizza once a week, (hopefully) they won't be asking for it every day. I'll let you know how that goes.




You may remember on Monday I told you about the Round Robin Giveaway I was a part of earlier this week on Instagram... To win all you had to do was tell me what your favorite pizza toppings were. No, I wasn't trying to make you hungry and crave pizza, though if I did I'm truly sorry ;) I was gathering information so I can create some of YOUR favorite pizzas! Every Friday I will create a new pizza and share it with you here on the blog. If you follow me over on Instagram you can get a sneak peek of the following week's recipe. 

To start things off I wanted to give you the recipe I use to make my dough. I feel that the crust on a pizza can take a good pizza to a great pizza. I have used the same pizza dough recipe since I have been making pizza. I have tweeked it here and there and really made it my own. And I love the way it tastes! Recently I started using garlic salt instead of regular salt and I love the extra garlic taste. It's just the right amount of garlic; it won't protect you from any vampires, but it has a good taste.



Ingredients:

1 packet active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 1/2-3 cups flour
1 tbsp oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl mix together yeast, sugar and water. Let bloom for 15 minutes.
Mix in one cup of flour and stir until completely combined.
Add garlic salt and mix thoroughly.
Mix in one cup of flour and stir until mostly combined. It will be hard to stir once dough gets sticky.
Flour a clean surface and roll dough onto floured surface.
Cover your hands in flour as well and make sure to get in between your fingers; that is where the dough is going to want to stick the most!
Knead for 3-5 minutes until dough is soft and not sticky. Add more flour as needed. You should be able to pinch it and have it go back right away.
In another bowl pour oil in and cover the sides.
Put dough into bowl and roll around so dough is covered with oil.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 40 minutes.
Punch dough down and knead for another minute.
Smooth out on pizza pan (or a jelly roll pan works if you don't have a pizza pan) and make sure to add extra dough on the outside perimeter for the crust!
Add your favorite sauce and toppings and cook for 15-20 minutes at 425°

Dough can be made ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.




Now that we have the canvas made let's get to creating a masterpiece! Check back next week to see what pizza will make the cut for the first FRIDAY PIE DAY!

If you can't wait until then check out the guest post I did for Debi over at Practical Parenting a few weeks ago. It is my favorite pizza to date... BBQ Chicken.






Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's for Dinner?






I have a confession to make. I am horrible at posting meal plans... Horrible!!! I keep saying I'm going to do it and then one of the boys wake up or I have to start dinner or every smoke alarm in the house goes off at 7am... yeah that happened last week. Don't worry there was no fire just a routine check by the management where we are renting our townhome from. But seriously seven in the morning is a little ridiculous. But no excuses now I am going to post our meal plan for the first half of August (even though we are just about through with it). I'll post the second half of August's meals next week after I make our list.

Breakfasts:
Eggs and Toast
Cherrio's
Pancakes
French Toast
Scrambled Eggs and Bacon

Lunches:
Turkey Wraps
Totino's Pizzas
Quesadillas
Chicken Nuggets
PB&J's
PB & Banana Wraps
Leftovers

Snacks:
Applesauce
Soft Pretzels 
Cereal
Fruit Snacks
Bananas
Grapes
Plums

Dinners:
Bacon Ranch Chicken Casserole with Green Beans
Pizza with Cheese Bread
Burgers with Fries and Zucchini
Spaghetti with Black Bean Meatballs and Zucchini
Chicken Alfredo with Green Beans
Black Bean Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries and Zucchini
Honey Lime Chicken Tacos with Black Beans and Mexican Rice
Smothered Burritos with Chips & Salsa
Tacos with Black Beans and Mexican Rice
Tuscan Style Summer Veggie Soup

So far we have ate at home every night except last Saturday. My mother-in-law invited us over for dinner last minute so we ate there...but we didn't spend any extra money. So we've done really well at sticking to our budget.

As I get more recipes posted I will add links to every meal (all except scrambled eggs and cereal, I'm pretty sure those everyone can make).

I would love to hear what you have planned for dinner this upcoming week? Or if you have any favorite recipes you'd like to share I'd love to try them!




P.S. Don't forget to enter the Round Robin Giveaway I'm apart of on Instagram. I'm giving away a $25 gift card to World Market and there are more than 30 other prizes up for grabs! Giveaway ends Friday morning!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August Budget Challenge Week 1 Recap



Hi there my loyal readers. I hope everyone had a good weekend. This weekend we spent a lot of time with family which was nice. It also cut down on all trips to the grocery store; which was just an extra bonus. I've found that where most of our money goes is on the quick trips to the store to buy one or two things. That $5 trip quickly turns into a $30 trip. Especially with two little boys who want EVERYTHING they see! 

When I was talking to my husband about this month's budget challenge he was excited but he added "Have you budgeted for dollar cars?" (Dollar cars are what Rohrl, my two year old, calls Hot Wheels) It's our way of getting he and his brother to sit still and not touch every single glass jar or breakable item they see. It wouldn't be too bad if we got them one a trip but my boys have the best puppy dog eyes and they usually get 3 or 4... or 5. It doesn't help when your husband is a car enthusiast as well and HAS to get every Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini or Ferrari he sees. Seriously, our Hot Wheels collection is ridiculous!

Where was I... Oh yes; back to the budget challenge. If you missed my first post you can check it out here.
My goal for August is to spend no more than $300 on groceries. That includes diapers, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. This week we took a big step in cutting expenses by getting Rohrl potty trained. This is one proud mama!! So as a treat he got to go to Target and pick out big boy undies. Out of all the choices, Cars, Jake & The Neverland Pirates, TMNT he chose plain ol' grey boxers just like his daddy. TMI, sorry.

So, last week we only went shopping twice. We had our first monthly big trip to Smith's and then a few days later we went to the bread store and Walmart and Target. One of the biggest way we cut expenses on a monthly basis is buying bread at Franz Bakery Outlet. It's the same bread we buy from the store but at a fraction of the price. Plus, if they have any bread that is expiring within a few days you get a free loaf with any purchase. So I pay $.81 for 2 loaves of bread.

I spent a bit more than I wanted to but I did stock up on snacks for the next 2 months or so and we got a big bag of candy for a class my husband was teaching. Check out my post on Facebook to see how to get 20 boxes of snacks and drinks for just $.75/box! 



Here's this week's break down:

Smith's $76.68
Franz $.81
Walmart $29.00
Target $35.79

Total: $142.28

With only having to make one more big trip to the store this month I think I'll still be able to stay under $300.

How are you doing on your goals? Did you buy anything fun? Leave a comment and let's help keep each other accountable :)