Monday, July 30, 2012

It's A Plan!

A meal plan, that is...

Weekly Meal Plan: July 29 - August 4

Sunday:  Kung Pao chicken w/ brown rice and egg rolls

Monday: Buffalo Chicken Salads

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner

Wednesday:  Pasta

Thursday:  Bbq chicken, quinoa or brown rice, veggies

Friday:  TBD (grocery day)

Saturday:  Subs

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clean Laundry!

I've been putting this step off long enough - making my own laundry powder.   To be fair to myself, it wasn't so much procrastination, as an issue finding the washing soda at a local grocery store that kept me from jumping into this process.  But last grocery trip - I found it!  Right on the shelf next to the Borax.  I am in!!

Homemade Laundry Powder


  • 1 bar laundry soap  - such as Fels-Naptha
  • 2 cups borax
  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soap (note: this is NOT the same as the laundry detergent OR baking soda)
  • 1 cup oxygen cleaner - such as oxy-clean.  (Optional)

1.  Grate bar soap into a bowl.

2.  Add 2 cups Borax, 2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and 1 cup oxygen cleaner.  Mix well.


3.  (Optional) One cup of mixture at a time, blend in a blender until you have a fine powder. 

4.  Pour mixture into an airtight container.  Stir to mix thoroughly.


5.  Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of powder per load.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crockpot Gumbo

This is a delicious - and simple -  way to fix a gumbo dinner for any night of the week!  Most gumbos begin with a roux ( flour, cooked in oil, constantly stirring, until it reaches a color similar to peanut butter).  I have found with this recipe I can skip that time consuming step and don't miss anything in the flavor or consistency. 
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (I prefer a darker, more flavorful meat for this recipe so I use the thighs)
1 lb smoked sausage (andouille is best, but any good smoked sausage will do)
2 lbs cut okra
3 cans diced tomatoes
Creole seasoning
Thyme, Basil, Oregano

The recipe can easily be halved for smaller batches - just use 1/2 the amounts called for in meats and okra, with 2 cans diced tomatoes.

Place chicken into bottom of crockpot.



Cut smoked sausage into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.  Add to crockpot.



Add cut okra over meat.



Pour 3 cans diced tomatoes (juices and all) over other ingredients.



Sprinkle with thyme, basil, and oregano.  I have no measurements for these, as I just eyeball it.  I prefer fresh herbs over dried for this, but whatever you have will work fine.





Add creole seasoning to taste.

Cover crockpot.  Cook on Low heat for 8 to 10 hours.  Stir before serving.

I like to add cooked rice to my gumbo when serving it up.  And a dash of hot sauce. 



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Let's Eat!

Weekly Meal Plan for July 20 - July 27

Saturday:  Homemade Pizzas

Sunday:  Crockpot Gumbo

Monday:  Spaghetti with mushroom/black olive tomato sauce, Salad

Tuesday:  Crockpot roast w/ potatoes and carrots,

Wednesday:  BBQ chicken, coleslaw, potatoes

Thursday:  Loaded baked potatoes

Friday:  TBD - grocery day

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake

I am a big fan of chocolate.  I am also a big fan of the soft drink Dr. Pepper.  So when I heard tale of a cake combining both of these things - I was more than eager to give it a try!


The first thing I did was to Google "Dr Pepper Cake".  Which came up with about a bagillion hits.  And each recipe I looked at varied just slightly from the one before.  This gave me two options: a) pick one at random and see what happens, or b) go it on my own and see what happens.  I decided to go with option B. 


I took a regular chocolate cake mix (because I'm lazy like that, and because when one gets a crazy coupon deal on a cake mix one does not let it go to waste).  I made the cake according to the directions on the box, substituting Dr Pepper for the water.


I'm on a big bundt kick recently (it's so hot any icing would probably be soupy and/or melt off the cake anyway) 


Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Allow to rest on wire cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing to cake platter.


The results?  A nice, moist, delicious chocolate cake.  But no where near the Dr. Pepper-y taste I had been hoping to discover. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mom, What's For Dinner?

Weekly Meal Plan: July 14 - 20

Saturday: Brats and chips

Sunday: Raspberry Vinegarette Marinated Steak with Summer Salad

Monday:  Buffalo Chicken Salad

Tuesday:  Brinner

Wednesday:  Bbq Chicken, coleslaw, potatoes

Thursday:  Enchiladas

Friday:  TBD (grocery shopping day)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Girly Bow Flip Flops: NEW!!

Just added to Queen B's Busy Work :  Girly Bow Flip Flops



A Bow for Your Toes!





Show your girlie-girl side in these adorable flip flops. A cute and whimsical way to bare that beautiful pedicure.

Available in Black & White and Red & White.  Coming soon in Blue, Pink, and Yellow

Available in women's sizes 5/6, 7/8, or 9/10.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Custom Fun & Fluffy Flip Flops!

Just finished a custom order for a Queen B's Busy Work client.  She is a Scentsy consultant and wanted a pair of  Fun & Fluffy Flip Flops in the purple and green colors. 




Interested in a pair of Fun & Fluffy Flip Flops in your team, club, or business colors?  Contact us at: queenbsbusywork@yahoo.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'd Eat Off That Table

Furniture polish.  Another one of those cleaning items I feel I can't do without.  And yet I cringe a little every time I spray it onto my table, wondering what sort of chemicals are going onto the very surface where my family eats.

The answer?  Why, to make my own non-toxic furniture polish of course!!

Homemade Furniture Polish

1 Cup Olive Oil
2 Cups Lemon Juice or Vinegar (I prefer the lemon juice.  I think it's a mental thing in which I feel furniture polish should smell lemony)

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle.  Shake to blend well before each use.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Black Bean & Spinach Lasagna

I am not sure exactly where this recipe originated.  I got it from my previous boss several years ago, and I think she may have mentioned Southern Living magazine.  It is one of my very favorite recipes to make!

Black Bean & Spinach Lasagna



  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 15oz Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 10oz Package Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with Peppers (pepper jack), divided
  • 2 16oz Cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 48oz  Jar Pasta Sauce (or 6 cups homemade sauce)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin 
  • 9 Precooked Lasagna Noodles (I always use "oven ready" noodles)
Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, set aside.
Mash beans with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl.  Stir in pasta sauce and cumin.
Spread 1/3 of bean mixture on bottom of lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.
Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach mixture, and 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese.
Repeat layers.
Spread with 1/3 bean mixture; top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining bean mixture.
Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
Uncover and top with remaining Pepper Jack Cheese.  Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. 



Raspberry Lemonade Cake



1 Box Lemon Cake Mix
1 3oz Box Lemon Jello Mix
1/3 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour pan.
Mix first 6 ingredients with electric mixer, until smooth and well blended.  Fold in raspberries.
Bake  38 - 45 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack.
Remove to cake plate.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Feed Me. Feeeeeed Me!!

Meal Plan for July 7 - July 13

Saturday:  Hamburgers, Coleslaw, Tatertots

Sunday:  BLT's, Chips (we're having a potluck lunch at church, so keeping dinner small)

Monday:  Breakfast for Dinner (aka: Brinner)

Tuesday:  BBQ chicken drumsticks, Coleslaw, Beans, Potatoes

Wednesday:  Enchiladas

Thursday:  Pasta, salad

Friday, July 6, 2012

5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

When one quits the paying job to stay home and manage the family, one begins to learn many lessons.  Most of these lessons come by way of the School of Hard Knocks.  It is then your responsibility to pass on this new found knowledge to others.  With that in mind here are my:

Top 5 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way:

  1. When gathering eggs, do not try to multi-task.  You ARE going to drop something.  And it IS going to be one (or more) of the eggs.
  2. A clothes line is great to help reduce the electricity usage and reduce heat in the house during the summer.  As long as you do not forget the clothes are out there when it starts raining.  Or gets dark.
  3. Buying all the canning supplies and leaving them sitting out on the counter does NOT magically make the canning process happen.  Apparently, there is work involved.
  4. Bears happen.  When they do - be grateful it was just the crab apples he ate.
  5. You may at some point realize you have not been out of the house for days and days.  You may also realize you don't have any idea what day it is at all. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

The switch to homemade cleaners is going smoother than I had even imagined.  And the savings is incredible!  My new favorite is my homemade glass cleaner.  I did some online research and looked at about a dozen different recipes for glass cleaner.  I mixed and mingled suggested ingredients and amounts, and this is what I came up with.  I think it works even better than the commercial brands! 

Homemade Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups warm water
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle.   Shake well.  Shake before using to mix any cornstarch which may have settled in bottle to avoid plugging spray mechanism.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lemon - Blueberry Cake

I started this cake with the following recipe for "Susan's Lemon Cake" by The Cake Mix Doctor.  For those who are purists and prefer to make a cake strictly from scratch - any good lemon pound cake or bundt cake recipe should work as the base.  My alterations to create the lemon-blueberry cake are in red:

 
1 Package Plain Yellow Cake Mix
1 Package (3 oz) Lemon Gelatin
2/3 Cup Canola Oil
2/3 Cup Hot Water  (next time I think I will try reducing this to 1/2 cup  to make a thicker batter)
4 Large Eggs

 
2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

 
  • Place rack in center of oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat 12 cup bundt pan with vegetable oil spray and dust with flour.  Shake out excess flour.  Set pan aside.
  • Place cake mix, gelatin, canola oil, water, and eggs in large mixing bowl.

  • Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping sides down as needed.  Batter should be thick and well blended. 


  • Fold blueberries into batter


  • Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with spatula and place in oven.

  • Bake cake until light brown and just starts to pull away from sides of pan - about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, and place on wire cooking rack for 10 minutes.


  • Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto serving platter.  Allow to cool completely
  •  Sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar.

Monday, July 2, 2012

And today... I'm Making WAFFLES!

For the first time in... well, probably EVER, there is no cereal in my house.  Not one single box.  Unless you count oatmeal.  For this purpose, I am not. 

We have chickens.  There is always at least two dozen eggs in my refrigerator at any given time.  Eggs make lovely, protein-filled breakfasts.  However, there are those in the home who do not have the time or energy to prepare an egg or two in the morning.  (time = man of the house, energy = me)

That is why today, I set aside an hour and whipped up a big batch of pancakes.  And one of waffles.


Once the pancakes and waffles were griddled or ironed to golden perfection, I stacked them (separating between them with some waxed paper) and bagged them up for freezing. 



Voila!!  Enough frozen waffles and pancakes to last for breakfasts all week.  And both batches probably cost me less than one box of a commercial brand. 


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hungry Mouths To Feed

Weekly Meal Plan for June 30 - July 6

6/30 Saturday:  Smoked Pork Loin (the man of the house is awesome with the smoker!), cole slaw, baked beans, rolls

7/1 Sunday:  Pulled pork sandwiches (made with leftover smoked pork loin), cole slaw, corn chips

7/2  Monday:  Black bean and quinoa enchiladas

7/3:  Tuesday:  Homemade veggie pizza, salad

7/4 Wednesday: July 4th cookout at my dad's - I'm taking mac n cheese, cole slaw, and blueberry lemon pound cake

7/5 Thursday:  Vegetarian tacos, seasoned rice

7/6 Friday: Grocery day - tbd
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