parmesan garlic bread…yum

So this is a great thing… I mix up all the ingredients, set it on the counter, and by dinner time the butter is softened and it can be mixed and spread on your choice of bread. The recipe calls for a loaf of French bread, but I’ve used it on leftover hoagie rolls, hamburger buns, plain bread, etc. Also, since there’s just two of us I have mixed up some and kept it in the fridge for a few days and used it to make individual toast at several different meals. So… without further ado…

  • 1/3 c. softened margarine or butter
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I’ve also used garlic powder)
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • Loaf of French bread, halved lengthwise

Mix first four ingredients well. Spread on bread. Lay open face on a baking sheet and broil until browned to your liking.  Super easy and good!

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frugal fridays- girls weekend

I remember in college I had a friend who had an older sister or aunt or someone who once a year had a “girls week” with her college friends. They had been to Lake Tahoe and the beach and all sorts of fantastic places. I remember thinking how wonderful and luxurious that sounded and how I wanted my roomies and I to do just that.

Then reality set in… with jobs and families and gas prices… these kind of retreats sound great but would never be feasible for me or for most people for that matter! Last year though, my college roommates and I decided we wanted to get together. 1 was in GA, 2 in SC, I was in VA, one of us was in England, 2 were expecting babies, and all of us had jobs.  We were so blessed to come together at the house of one of the girls for a weekend. (it coincided with the one from England’s trip to the States and a baby shower for her) 

We all chipped in for food or brought something towards a meal, we ate at the house and cooked together, just like we did in college. We talked… we didn’t feel a need to go out or “do” anything, we just talked for hours… and hours. It was fantastic! It was a wonderful time to reconnect without feeling like we had to go “away” or do anything fancy.

I’m super excited because now, one year later, we’re doing it again this weekend!!! I’ve been looking forward to it for months!

two income trap

Yesterday I watched a really interesting video posted by Meredith at Like Merchant Ships. It is Elizabeth Warren’s presentation of her researching findings comparing spending in the 1970s and now. In a nutshell, she discovered that middle class families are living on two incomes much more now, not because they are spending more on things like clothes and food and entertainment (in actuality this spending has gone down, taking inflation into account). But instead spending has drastically increased in the areas of housing, health insurance and education. So, in a one-income family these areas become even more challenging.

Meredith posted again to get responses on what families are doing to beat the two-income trap.  I definitely agree with these ideas! We had a really interesting discussion about this over dinner last night. We definitely saw the impact that health insurance can make when we changed jobs recently. And working in higher education the rising costs are very evident to us… though I feel like the affluence of students attending has also gone up (we are continually shocked by the number of students driving Lexus, Corvettes, BMWs, etc. on a college campus).

Anyway, the video really had some surprising info in it to me and the follow-up post is also interesting, worth a look!

is it true?!?!?

I just cut up a ton of onions tonight and my eyes are still burning! Why didn’t I read this post earlier?!?!

works for me wednesday- my freezer

Here is my new freezer and attached to the front… my new freezer list. As you can see, since the freezer is new, the list is very short.  We’re working on that though!

My plan is to create a typed page of everything that is stocked in the freezer and then with pen mark off and add on until it gets to a point where it needs to be updated. My mom suggested a white board… also an excellent idea and if I happen to see one while I’m out and he asks to come home with me then we might give the white board a try. For now though…. this is it.

I also have my shelves divided. Top shelf- premade meals (there’s nothing there right now), second shelf- meats, third shelf- fruits and veggies, bottom basket- other (right now there’s some cookie dough and walnuts). I’m hoping to use the doors for beverageish items and for frozen baby food when we get to that point.

So as you can see… even though it’s only been with us a short while, the freezer already is working for me! Check out Works for Me Wednesday for more great ideas. Next week Rocks in my Dryer is hosting the “Mom I’m Bored” edition of WFMW. Since I don’t have a child… yet… I am going to have to dig deep and think of something personal, something from when I was young… this should be fun.

chicken in the hand

We have a new strategy for keeping Finn off the counter while we eat…we pull a chair up to the corner of the table between us and set Finn in it. It works like a charm, he just lays down and hangs out while we eat.

Then there was tonight… We grilled chicken tonight and Jon and I sat down to dinner and put Finn between us. Then Jon got the generous idea to give Finn a bit of chicken (I think my husband is going soft on me… he is normally TOTALLY against giving the cat people food…).  He put a little piece in the middle of his palm and set his hand in front of Finn who immediately went crazy! The cat started smelling and licking every one of Jon’s fingers, but he couldn’t seem to make it to the chicken that was just laying in Jon’s hand. We tried this a few more times and though he got a little faster, he always smelled and licked every finger before realizing the chicken was right there in front of him the whole time. 

Its a good lesson for us… how many times does the Lord lay blessings right in front of us, free, delicious gifts just for us… and we are so busy looking for the blessing that we are blinded to what He’s already provided. If we weren’t so frantic we would see it right there in front of us.

Lord, help me to see the many blessings you’ve given me that are right in front of me!

super easy chicken parm

This is what we had for lunch today, it was super easy and a definite “do-again.” It came from a recipe my sister got at a wedding shower.

  • 6 chicken breasts (I just used about 3 and cut them into strips)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I used Aldi’s brand)
  • 6 T. parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. mozzerella

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour in sauce and stir in 4 T. parmesan cheese. Add chicken, turn to coat both sides. Cook, covered, in 375 oven for about 30 minutes (that’s how long it took with the chicken cut into strips). Remove and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. of parmesan and mozzerella (I just had a cheese blend that I sprinkled on top since we didn’t have mozzerella on hand). Cook for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted. Serve over pasta.

Like I said, I only used 3 breasts, so I sort of eyed the amounts and adjusted accordingly and it worked out fine. Definitely didn’t have to be an exact science. Also, I got everything ready before church and just stuck it in the oven when we got back which worked out well.