I like to twist things up from time to time, so instead of the usual ground beef recipe, I occasionally make it with Polska Kielbasa instead.

Sausage Spaghetti

1 pkg Polska Kielbasa, sliced, then halved
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1/2 pkg angel hair pasta
1 can/jar Spaghetti sauce

Boil spaghetti according to package. While spaghetti is boiling, heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook until translucent. Add the sausage and cook on medium for about 5 minutes, then add the sauce and the basil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

Serve with Garlic Bread and Salad.

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Pork Lo-MeinI have been a fan of Menus4Moms for many years, and hate that they are no longer offering their Basic Menus for free each week, so I delved into the archives to see if I could find a way to use the leftover pork tenderloin that I had in the freezer. Came across this recipe, which as I usually do, made my own adjustments to, and it was awesome! Here is what I used to make mine:

Quick Pork “Lo Mein”

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. cooked pork roast, cubed
2(3 oz.) pkg. pork flavored Ramen Noodles
1 3/4 cups water
2 cups frozen California Vegetable Mix
2 tsp parsley
1 1/4 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in wok over medium high heat. Add pork and stir fry until reheated, about 2 minutes. Break apart Ramen Noodles and add to skillet with water, seasoning packet and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until noodles are soft.

Egg Drop SoupI served the Pork Lo-Mein with Egg Drop soup. I was worried that my kids would not like the soup, but my eight year old ate tons of it! I did not use green onion in mine, but it is better that way – my kids hate them. Here is how I make mine:

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat chicken broth, salt and pepper to boiling in saucepan. Add onions. Pour eggs mixture slowly into boiling broth, stirring constantly with fork to form shreds of egg.

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Shepherds Pie
5 lg russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup whipping cream
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 can of peas, drained
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons parsley

Boil potatoes for about 15 minutes in salted water until tender.

While the potatoes boil, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season meat with salt and pepper. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a medium sized casserole dish with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika, and parsley and broil until potatoes are evenly browned.

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TalapiaI LOVE fish… well not all – I detest bones, but love most other fish; especially in sushi!

I make a homecooked meal nightly (almost) and here is what is on the menu tonight – I cook the Potatoes first, then the fish; they stay pretty warm while the fish cooks:

Baked Tilapia
* 2 lbs. tilapia fillets
* 1 tsp. salt
* Dash of pepper
* 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
* Lemon Pepper to taste
* Paprika (optional)

Sprinkle both sides of fish fillets with salt and pepper. Arrange into an ungreased baking dish. Melt butter, and brush onto fish; Coat with spices to taste. Cook uncovered into a preheated 350°F oven, until fish flakes easily with fork, for 25 to 30 minutes.

Oven Roasted Potatoes
* 1/8 cup olive oil
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 large potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel mine)

Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir in potatoes until evenly coated. Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.

Buttery Carrots
* 5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
* 1/4 cup margarine
* salt and pepper to taste

Cook carrots in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Drain off most of the liquid, leaving bottom of pan covered with water. Stir margarine and spices. Simmer and stir until the margarine melts. Return carrots to the pot, and toss to coat. Cover, and let sit for a few minutes to allow flavors to combine.

This dinner is a hit with all five – even the picky 8 year old boy loves this!

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Every week I sit down and peruse several different websites, my cookbooks, and my handwritten tried and true recipes to make healthy meals for my family of five. I tend to use what I find as a base and add my own twist to each recipe, hoping to come up with my own tasty concoction to use over and over again.

Here is this weeks menu:

Monday – Baked Talapia – Oven Roasted Potatoes – Buttery Carrots

Tuesday – Shepherds Pie

Wednesday – Quick Pork “Lo Mein” – Egg Drop Soup

Thursday – Sausage Spaghetti

Friday – Breakfast for Dinner – Bacon/Vegetable Quiche

Saturday – Leftovers

Sunday – Crockpot Lasagna

You can find all the recipes, and photos for my meals here on my blog, and you can see my full menu plan here on this calendar.

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Back to Homeschool 2011

Let the boo-ing commence… yes, all our public schooled friends don’t have to go back to classes until the 10th, but my little Einsteins start back today. And they actually did not really have a problem with it. They were very eager to get going again, and to learn about the new things I have implemented for the second semester of our classes.

I have been collecting home school materials – mostly free, and much from yard sales, for over 8 years. I did not mind if they were textbooks several years in advance of where my kids were learning; a good deal was a good deal. During the week the kiddos were visiting with family, I decided to dust off a few of those books and see if they would be helpful, and interesting for expanding our daily learning activities.

I chose a Math, Spelling, Language, and Science that fills one of each of their workboxes. In the books they can read their lesson, know what to do, and know where to stop. I think this is really going to work out. I add Literature, History, Health, Art, Penmenship, and fun activities to their boxes each day as well.

I love using “Day’s in History” for teaching and building interesting topics for us to research, discuss and document. I subscribe to several email lists that send me ideas, and I keep everything organized in OneNote (I LOVE this program). I have been using this for teaching History all year, and we will stick to it because it really gets them involved.

While I was getting everything ready to get started again, I took note of how much that I have that I can no longer use. I am setting another goal to go through my school room and pull out all the PreK, K, 1st and 2nd grade materials (and there are boatloads) and manipulative items to re-gift to someone else. Quite the project it will be.

Well, on to filling my work boxes and Happy Monday to all! 🙂

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What’s on the Menu – Beans N Greens

There are a multitude of traditions with the aim of getting the New Year off to a prosperous start, with the vast majority hoping to bring good fortune in love and wealth in the coming year. Whether this is achieved by eating certain foods, or partaking in particular activities depends on your geographical location.

Here is how we roll each year in our home!

Beans N Greens

What else do you eat on New Years Day?

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A New Year with New Goals

Old: Not designing & developing websites, not blogging, not sharing my homeschooling journey, not sharing my trips and vacations, not sharing my (other) passion, cooking and recipes, not using my camera everyday.

These are the items that are a part of my 2011 goal list, and on this NEVER used site, is where I am going to start.

I am an amazing designer – why I just stopped? Who knows. Why I stopped blogging – that ties into the lack of design, since that is what I most often talked about.

I quit noting my lesson plans online when a couple snagged my daughters URL for their “wedding site”. Never let your long owned domains lapse even a day! – they got a VERY heavyweight domain of mine -making over 9 years of work left sitting on a server with no face. Her site was where I documented everything homeschool. That was discouraging.

I have neglected the blog that I share with my husband, and we took plenty of trips, both on the motorcycle, and in our RV that would have been great to write about and share, but I hate the design (not mine – a template)… again, this goes back to the not wanting to design.

There were several times over 2010 that I did photograph some of the dishes I made, but I shared all of them on Facebook instead of posting to a place that is more mine.

My camera aggravates me – I have an awesome camera that the LCD screen cracked on only 2 months after getting it by someone else, so I can’t take the kind of photos I am capable of.

I know what you are thinking (if you are still reading)… the same thing as I am. Excuses.

So, no more for me. I am getting back on track in 2011.

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Life Handbook For 2010

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do it. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

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