Saturday, July 18, 2015

Zucchini Season

Zucchini Bread Recipe, easily adapted to be Gluten Free
It's zucchini season in my garden.  I have been doing really good this year at picking them small (I can't take all the credit, my husband is usually the one that picks them.)  They usually get big and out of hand!  I had 3 in the refrigerator so I decided it was time to make Zucchini Bread. The 3 zucchini totaled about 2 pounds and I ended up with about 7 cups of shredded zucchini.  That meant that I could make 7 batches of bread.  I ended up making 6 because I wanted to try a Carrot/Zucchini Bread Recipe that I found on Pinterest. (I will let you know how that turns out soon.)  I made 3 batches of Gluten Free Zucchini bread by using Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend in place of the flour.  I like to add a few oats to this recipe (especially if I am using shredded zucchini that has been frozen.)  My family likes to eat it toasted with a little butter on it.

I like to make the bread and freeze it and then we can enjoy it all winter. I have shredded it and then froze it but I tend not to use it. 

I should add that I am not sure where this recipe originated.  My sister shared it with me years ago and I not sure who shared it with her.  I have adjusted it over the years by adding ground flax, oats, chia seeds and substituting gluten free flour to make it gluten free.

My other favorite zucchini recipe is Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins!  (recipe coming soon)

Digital Artwork on recipe card is from Panstoria.  (Link to Panstoria can be found on the bottom of my blog homepage.)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Flea Markets, Garage Sales, & the Farmer's Market

Saturday adventures with my husband.
This weekend my husband I ventured out to find a flea market in a nearby town. Along he way we found a local Farmer's Market and decided to check things out.  We sampled local farm fresh peaches, coffee, flavored rum and fruit flavored vodka.  Our big purchase was some sweet and salty kettle corn.

We finally found the Flea Market sign so we parked and went in.  The sign said $2 admission and it looked small so we were a bit hesitant.  One lady said that it was free today so we went in.  We didn't find anything cool so we were a little disappointed since we had been driving around for about an hour to try and find it!  We did, however, see a sign for a vintage market within walking distance.  This store did not disappoint.  We found some cool treasures but we only made one purchase, a vintage Ball jelly jar with a lid. I had never seen one before and I loved the metal lid.

On our way home we passed a Neighborhood Garage Sale sign and decided to stop.  We found several small garage sales.  We parked a few different times and walked around to several sales.  I got over 6,000 steps on my FitBit so I figured that if we didn't find any treasures that at least we would get some steps in. I found a few children's books & sheet music that I wanted to use for some craft projects.  We stopped at one house that only had a few items but we spotted an old Fire Alarm box.  We ended up chatting with the guy for over 30 minutes but in the end he gave it to us for $50 and threw in a beat up fire helmet.  I felt like we got a really good deal so when we got in the car I checked on ebay for alarm boxes.  I found several styles and none exactly the same but I they were priced between $200-$500!  We won't be selling it but I was convinced we really did get a good deal!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Painting the Vanity

Vanity photo by The Savvy Middle Sister
 This summer I am determined to complete some of the projects on my Project Bucket List.  I got motivated when I decided to turn my step-daughter's bedroom into a guest room.  I chose some colors that matched some of her wedding decor so I could utilize some of the decorations that we made for the wedding using Ball Mason Jars, burlap, and ribbon.

My first project was painting a vanity that my mom had given me several years ago. It wasn't a family heirloom or anything, in fact, it was a poorly painted piece of furniture but I liked it.  I attended an Amy Howard painting glass at my local Ace Hardware. I fell in love with the chalk paint and I left that night with a bag full of supplies.  I chose a white paint called Bauhaus Buff.  I put two coats of paint on the vanity, the stool, and the mirror.  I then sanded some of it to give it an aged look. I used the Amy Howard Clear Wax and Dark Antiquing Wax on it. 

I purchased some glass knobs from Craft Warehouse and my husband installed them for me.  I wanted some vintage glass knobs but I wasn't willing to pay the price. I may upgrade at some point!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What do you do with 80 pounds of chicken? Part 2

It has been two weeks since I conquered 80 pounds of chicken.  I have also had a chance to try a few of the recipes.  Many of the recipes I found on Pinterest.  I have linked each recipe to it's respective website (if possible).  

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Taquitos
I started out by putting 4 of the giant chicken breasts into my crockpot. I cooked them on high for 4 hours.  I added a little extra water (next time I would use chicken broth).  The chicken ended up sitting on warm for another hour.  I shredded it and made about 10 taquitos.  They were delicious but I was running out of steam so I used the rest of the shredded chicken in a couple of enchilada casseroles and then froze a cup or two of the shredded chicken to use later.  This shredded chicken had great flavor. I plan to make it again and use it in enchiladas or burritos.

Cori's Enchiladas & Enchilada Casserole
I made a 13x9 inch pan of Chicken Enchiladas using the recipe I created myself.  This meal is a favorite around my house.  It is the recipe that is most requested by the kids.  We cooked this pan up and ate it right away.

I also made 3 pans of Chicken Enchilada Casserole using the same ingredients and layering them into the pan rather than roll the tortillas into rolls. I used shredded chicken that I cooked in the crockpot. I cooked 4 of the giant chicken breasts in the crockpot with a couple of jars of home-canned salsa for 8 hours and then I shredded it with a fork. 

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (1 meal)
I made this meal the first night because I was dying to try it.  It tasted like a gourmet meal.  We ended up having plenty for leftovers.  I used 3 chicken breasts. I froze a couple of pieces of the leftover chicken because I wanted to find out if this would be a good freezer meal.  I will let you know soon!

Frozen Chicken Breasts (13 meals)
I did a quick freeze using a cookie sheet and 24 of the chicken breasts. I froze them for about 4 hours so that I could use my Food Saver and not have the juices get sucked up.  I made 8 packages with 3 breasts each. I also split some of the breasts into smaller pieces and created 5 other bags.  When I pull these out of the freezer I can do anything with them.

Cubed Chicken (3 meals)
The Zaycon Fresh Chicken has to be trimmed up a bit so as I was trimming I ended up with some smaller pieces of chicken that could be used for tacos, enchiladas, pesto, etc.  I decided to keep this separate from the rest and I bagged it up in one or two cup portions.  I even browned a cup of it so I can pull it out of the freezer and it is ready to eat or add to a recipe.

Canned Chicken Breasts (24 pints=24 meals)
I used my Presto Pressure Cooker and the recipe from my Ball Blue Book for Canning and Preserving book to can several chicken breasts.  I used about 21 breasts to get 24 pints.  I opened two jars the next day so we could try this and I was feeding four people.  I made a quick little Chicken Salad for sandwiches. I added a little chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  It was delicious.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

What do you do with 80 pounds of chicken? Part 1

What do you do with 80 lbs of fresh chicken breasts?

Well, you prep 30+ freezer meals, eat a little fresh, freeze some breasts for later and can it!  I ordered 80 lbs of chicken from Zaycon Fresh (my referral name is cmcori).  I planned several chicken recipes that I wanted to try and then did a little grocery shopping.  On pick up day, my friend and I, started in on making freezer meals.  We picked up the chicken at 2pm and spent several hours prepping the chicken and getting meals ready.  The next morning we canned several batches.  The chicken comes fresh so it needs a little "cleaning up."  There is a small amount of fat and little skin still on the chicken. 

Here is what I made:

-Green Chili & Chicken Lasagna (5 meals)

-Cilantro Lime Chicken (3 meals)

-Jalapeno Popper Chicken Taquitos (3 meals)

-Chicken Fajitas (3 meals)

-Chicken Enchiladas (1 meal) & Chicken Enchilada Casserole (5 meals)

-Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (1 meal)
  -Frozen Chicken Breasts (13 meals)

-Cubed Chicken (3 meals)

-Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

-Canned Chicken Breasts (24 pints=24 meals)

I will post my shopping list and links to the recipes as I try each one of them. Stay tuned for some delicious updates.

Most of the time I am only feeding two people and sometimes three so I could usually take one recipe and make three trays.  I used the 3-pack trays that measured about 5x7 from the Dollar Tree.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Taking a Leap

Today I took the leap in the blogging world.  I have been pondering the idea for quite some time.  I am excited to reach out to others as I share tips and tricks for everyday life.  I love to share my kitchen with others so I plan to share my favorite recipes and tips in the kitchen.  My favorite thing to do in the kitchen is to can and preserve the bounties of our garden.  I also have a passion for memory keeping.  I take photos daily and I document my family memories in meaningful photo albums. My family is my number 1. I strive to live with no regrets when it comes to family time.  I try to live each day to the fullest, forgive often, and laugh out load as often as I can.  I am blessed with an amazing family that loves to spend time together, whether it be at a sporting event to watch the kids, sitting around the firepit in the backyard, family game night or even our annual family campout in the backyard.  We connect via phone, text, facebook, and snapchat daily! 

Joshua 1:9