Author Archives: Manda

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

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Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

So this week lots has gone on.. I built a new planter with a trellis for cucumbers and watermelon.  I did a lot of research before doing this, and made sure to buy the right plants.  I got smaller watermelon plants, sugar babies and vine cucumbers so that they would grow up the trellis. I went to Lowes and got some untreated fence posts, for cheap and built a box pretty cheap.  I think next year I might do the cedar ones, because they’ll look prettier and we can put some on the patio.

The raised bed garden seems to be doing well. Peppers popping out everywhere and tons of flowers.  In the next few weeks I’ll have peppers coming out of my ears.  The onions, garlic, and lettuce are growing crazy as well.  Don’t mind the weeds, one of my goals today.

My Banana Peppers are getting big. 

The topsy turvy part is growing really well.  I have 4 tomatoes one you can’t really see yet, but its there.  The pepper plants on the planter might not have started growing yet, but they have more flower buds than the ones in the raised bed, and some of the have started flowering.  So a few more weeks and everything well be growing very well. My cilantro in the top of the planter is getting huge, I need to start making salsa apparently.

I am worrying about the topsy turvy tomato plants, that there isn’t enough room for the roots, maybe transplanting them into a bigger container. Haven’t completely decided, but I’d love them to produce a lot, and the bigger the roots the better chance they have.  I’ve been working on plan for a compost bin too, so that’ll be a project I should be able share with you guys too.

 

Meal Planning Monday 6/4

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Meal Planning Monday 6/4

Had some awesome dinners last week.  Some of those are on our must make again list. That salsa was amazing, I’ve been eating it for lunch almost everyday. The chicken was phenomenal as well.

This Week:

Monday

Cilantro Chili Turkey Burgers

Parmesan Baked Potatoes

Recipe CardRecipe Card

Tuesday

Ribs

Recipe Card

Wednesday

Skillet Lasagna

Recipe Page

Thursday

Dijon/Maple Rosemary Chicken

Recipe Card

Friday

Soup and Salad

haven’t exactly decided what soup.. but i’ll figure it out!

Saturday & Sunday

These are our cheat days or simply leftover days.

I’ll have links added to the ones that I’m using other people’s recipes, and then update with pictures most days and give you my recipe if its necessary.

I also filled out a sheet for you!  filled out the days of the week, not the grocery list, I have no idea what you have in your fridge.  I’ll try to get recipe cards out soon as well! So that you can use them and cook with me!

Please comment and let me know if you use any of the recipe cards or planning sheets!

Super Kids – Derby Race

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Super Kids – Derby Race

Yesterday was probably one of the best and coolest day I’ve had in a really long time.  I’ve know that my parents have been involved in this charity for a long time, but have never been able to go.  Since being unemployed (yes it sucks) I’ve been spending a lot more time helping them out with their endeavors and being able to do stuff with them.

The Super Kids Classic is a race that is held at the National Derby Race Course in Akron. They are a bunch of volunteers that get together fix or even make new derby cars for two kids.  They have drivers who are younger kids 8-15 ish sorry don’t have all the details in front of me.  The passenger is a kid with special needs.  These kids get to ride down the hill a few times with the drivers.  They are so excited and enjoy this so much.  It was such an awesome experience to be at the bottom of the hill where they finish and see how excited they were.

My parents are part of the group that runs to bottom of the hill.  It is a bunch of bikers who are doing such a good thing to make sure the cars stop and help get the kids out of the car.  They are there to hug them, clap for them, tell them what a great job they did, and to make sure if they are scared someone is there to hold their hands.  This is an amazing site to see, a bunch of bikers smiling and picking up kids that are usually in wheelchairs or who normally wouldn’t be considered for an activity like this.  What is even cooler, is that some of the kids will actually get to run in the National Race on July 20th.  The top three finishers will get to run their race in the national spotlight.  What an amazing experience.

I actually got to help my dad work on the cars, and meet all of the people behind the scenes.  These people are wonderful, most of them have kids that actually participate in the race or have children that are drivers.  They spend several full weekends and lots of money or connections to make sure this race get put on.  These people aren’t the ones who donate all the money, most of them have normal everyday jobs, some of them didn’t even have jobs or were laid off at the time. But they put all they can into making sure this race goes perfectly.

Overall it was an amazing day, I got to meet some spectacular kids who have lived longer than they were supposed to or have some of the biggest personalities I’ve ever met.  I was kind of sad, that such an amazing cause gets such little press, and that there were no people in the stands cheering for them.  I love watching this, and really am going to work harder on making every effort to get people there.  It is free to watch, which kills me that we couldn’t get more supporters.

I will do more for this event, because it definitely becoming more and more of something that gets to me.  If anyone wants to help or needs more information please e-mail me MandaMakesBlog@Gmail.com.  I’d love all the help I can get.

Today we are going to celebrate, we are having a picnic to celebrate those kids and all of the volunteers.  I even got to help with this, I used my coupons to get the hot dogs, relish, and a few other things for a lot cheaper.

This has been such a great weekend.

I do have picture, but they are on someone else’s camera.  I’ll post them as soon as I get to go through them.

Hope your weekend was a great as mine, and try to do something nice for someone else today!

Cupcakes & Appreciation

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No, I do not have kids. But man do I love when school is finally out! My mother is a school bus driver.  She is so much more fun and we get to do a lot of things in the summer.  Today is the last day.  She begged me to make some pretty cupcakes for the bus drivers to say thank you to all the drivers and mechanics.  So went to the grocery store bought some ingredients and begged my sister to help me.

We made the Pasta Sausage Bake, which by the way was delicious, I use a little less sugar though.  So we did that first, it was pretty easy to make, and put it in the oven to start baking cupcakes.

We decided to make two different cupcakes, for the different pallets. 😀 Strawberry Lemonade & Cookies and Cream.  Let me tell you, it was a decent amount of work, but totally worth it.  They were both amazing.  The cool part was that Cyndi got to learn how to frost cupcakes.  I can’t believe she hasn’t done it before lol.  But whatever it was such a great day and got to do a lot for some awesome people.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

inspired by Annies-eats.com

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

inspired by javacupcake.com

Like I said before both of these cupcakes were amazing, and probably ruined my diet, but worth it!

If I get time I’ll get some recipe cards typed up for these, but this weekend is incredibly busy.  We are doing a charity event with the motorcycle club all day tomorrow and a thank you picnic for the workers Sunday.  I haven’t been asked to bake for that yet, but I’m sure I will be Saturday night haha.  If you want to see an awesome charity worth donating or even going to go see check out SuperKidsOhio.org (they apparently haven’t updated their website since last year, but the basics are the same and the race is tomorrow.)

Have a great weekend!

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

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Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

After all the cooking earlier, finally got to dinner.  It was a little time consuming, but was definitely worth it.  I started this while everything else was simmering in the stock pot.  Pretty easy too!

Cover a baking dish and place the pork in it while you mix the spices together.

Then cover the pork on all sides with the mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  This was perfect to get other stuff done during the day.  Then pull out and let come to room temperature, at least twenty minutes.

Once room temperature place in a hot pan (we used cast iron), but I’m thinking next time after searing it that I’d put it on the grill.  But I did it exactly as the recipe stated.  So we seared it on the top for 7 minutes, flipped it over and did it again for 6 minutes.  Don’t touch the meat during this process, it lets the seasonings combine for a great crisp coating.

This process was a little smoky.  Make sure to open the windows!

After searing on both sides you’re supposed to let it sit in the hot pan for another 5 minutes and then pull out and let it rest for 5 minutes after that.  Once we did that we pulled it out to cut it and it was still not cooked all the way.  I already had the oven on for something else, so I put it in there in the skillet and cooked it for a few minutes and voila the pork was done!

Next slice it up and make tacos.

The tacos were delicious and even better with the Tomatillo Salsa Verde that I posted about earlier.

sorry if the pictures look a little blurry, used the wrong camera oops!

 

Hope you enjoy

Here is the recipe card already for you if you want to just print it here.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

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Monday for Memorial day, everyone in the family kinda did their own thing, and we didn’t even really eat together. So apparently my grilled turkey burgers weren’t happening. Too bad, because I was definitely looking forward to the salsa.  So since we are having tacos tonight, I decided to make it today with 1000 other things.  Started with cooking bone-in chicken in a stock pot with veggies for an hour.  I bagged the chicken broth for future recipes and used the shredded chicken and split it up for dinners in the future.  Helped that the chicken was only $1.50/pack.

Then the salsa! Grilling the 1 lb of tomatillos and 2-3 jalapenos (depends on the spice level you want.)

Grill them nice and crispy with great char marks on them!

After that bring them in the house.  This is the easy part.  Throw everything else in the food processor.   Tomatillos, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro out of the garden. YUM!

Process until smooth salsa texture.

Then chill before serving.  The salsa is in the fridge right now.  Tastes delicious and can’t wait to try it on the tacos tonight.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

serves 2 Cups

1 lb tomatillos (husked)

2-3 jalapenos

a bunch of cilantro

juice of one lime

Directions

Heat the grill.  Husk the tomatillos.  Place all tomatillos and jalapenos on the grill.  Grill until charred on all sides and mushy.  This could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on your grill.  Once charred bring inside and place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend til smooth.  Chill before serving.

Love this recipe, quick, easy, delicious!

Here are the links to the recipe cards I’ve already made for you.

Front   Back

Hopefully you try it soon.

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

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Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

So this week definitely a lot of growth and change in the garden! Its much more fun than I ever would’ve though to watch things grow.  I can’t tell you how excited i’ll be just to pick fruit off the plants.  Yes, I’m a nerd, and apparently I need more excitement in my life.

I had an interview early this morning. Cross your fingers! So I took pictures before I left this morning.  After the interview I had a long day, helping a friend pack and grocery shopping.  By the way, today was totally a meat and veggies day, and I love finding $20 of coupons just hanging there in the store.  And score a full rack of ribs for $10, I definitely need a good slow cooking recipe for those if anyone one has suggestions.

So back to the garden.  Lots of flower buts on the pepper plants, the onions are growing like crazy, and more tomatoes.  I’m loving this hot weather early.  Everything is coming up quicker.  I know that most of the pepper plants that are in the actual garden are growing quicker, but they had flowers when I bought the,   With the fact that I transplanted the plants into the topsy turvy garden twice, they are growing quickly and big!  I’m so excited, almost every plant has flower buds on them, here in a few weeks I should be over flowing with peppers.  I am thinking about moving my oregano and peppermint out of the top of the topsy turvy because I’ve been reading a lot and apparently they overtake the garden and actually can damage the root systems of other plants, which with how I measured for the pepper plants that could be a problem.  Luckily there are a few empty planters in our house, and Dad brought me a few more pallets home, so I can always build something.  I’ve been looking at this cute potting table I saw on Pinterest here.  I think those herbs that I’m repotting might go there! And since I mulched the “frog” pond all weekend and cleaned up the patio it’ll look cute.  Now for the pictures! Look how my garden grew.

Please excuse the photos, I couldn’t find my camera this morning, luckily my phone takes decent pix.

Would love to hear from you, thoughts opinions, criticisms, anything.  Please get ahold of me.

Manda

Meal Planning Monday 5/28

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Meal Planning Monday 5/28

I did much better last week, sticking to the menu, and taking pictures! You’d never believe I did photography for a living for awhile.  Sorry they pictures aren’t better sold my DSLR camera (tough times 😦 ), but hopefully I’ll get better at taking pictures while cooking with my other camera. Really looking forward to the recipes this week, and grilling out a little more!

This Week:

Monday

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Tomatillo Salsa

Recipe Card 1  – Recipe Card 2Recipe Card 3

Tuesday

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with a Spicy Apple Glaze

Recipe Page

Wednesday

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

Recipe Card

Thursday

Pasta Sausage Bake

Recipe Card

Friday

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Skillet

Recipe Card

Saturday & Sunday

I’m actually making dinner Saturday for the BF so here is what I’m making since I can actually use real veggies!

Eggplant & Zucchini Parmesan Casserole

Recipe Card

These are our cheat days or simply leftover days.

I’ll have links added to the ones that I’m using other people’s recipes, and then update with pictures most days and give you my recipe if its necessary.

I also filled out a sheet for you!  filled out the days of the week, not the grocery list, I have no idea what you have in your fridge.  I’ll try to get recipe cards out soon as well! So that you can use them and cook with me!

Please comment and let me know if you use any of the recipe cards or planning sheets!

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

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Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

Today was an incredibly long day.  Got to sleep in, but as soon as I woke up, it was lets go Garage Sale Shopping.  I actually am looking forward to my sister finally moving out (just so I can stop shopping for stuff for her!) It was actually an allotment sale, so we got to walk around, get some sun, and find a few things.  We found her bedroom furniture, something big we really needed to check off her list.

Then we got back home, found room for all the toilet paper and paper towels we bought for $4 each, Love Coupons!                My sister and I, spent a lot of time cleaning out the garage, and organizing.  Mom noticed right away, felt good to actually find a home for that stuff.

Next we got my (yes all mine) new motorcycle out, so I could start learning how to drive it.  Was a little scary but did pretty well for my first time out and didn’t drop it.  Yes there are pictures, but I’m not sure I want to show them as of yet.

Now for dinner! Dinner was awesome, really happy with how it came out.  It was fairly easy, and if you time it out right works out pretty well as well.  Only thing I’d probably change would be to use brown sugar instead.  We also didn’t do the broccoli like in the original recipe here.  I cheated and heated up some frozen veggies which added more than just broccoli.  This is a keeper, and the first thing my sister, Cyndi, said was, “Make sure there is a recipe card for this one.” I’m guessing that is a good sign.

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

adapted from thekitchn.com

Serves 4 to 6   Total time Hour

For the seasoning:
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

For the chicken:
Olive oil, for cooking
2 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) split in half crosswise
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Box of Pasta

For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (2% or whole) (I actually used almond milk)
1 egg yolk
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup packed freshly-grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. For the blackening seasoning, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over highest heat or until scalding hot, about 5 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is very hot, dredge the chicken in the melted butter; then thoroughly coat in the blackening rub. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until blackened on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a lightly-greased sheet pan. Cook in the oven until chicken with the cut chicken strips, this only took about ten minutes. After out of the oven I sliced in bite sized pieces.

While the chicken is in the oven, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then cook pasta as directed, usually about ten minutes, until al dente.

To make the sauce, in a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, and egg yolk. Add the garlic cloves and bring to barely a simmer, stirring constantly, over medium-low to medium heat. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, watching carefully to not cook the egg. Turn off the heat and stir in grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine the pasta, sauce, sliced chicken. If you are in need of some veggies, I threw some frozen veggies to add color, and for the healthy aspect of the dish!  Once all plated serve immediately, and enjoy!

Here is a typed up recipe pages just for you  Get it HERE

Recipe Cards, Pages, and a few Extras

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Recipe Cards, Pages, and a few Extras

So I know I’ve been fairly quiet the last few days, but I’ve been super busy!  Yesterday I kinda relaxed and played in Photoshop a lot with my sister.  This all started because she is moving out here in August, and she is freaking out about not having recipes and being able to cook.  So I made recipe cards for her.  Ones she’d appreciate, plus I made them in Acrobat with fields that she can just enter, and then all of her recipe cards would look the same.  So then I started creating other ones, and different patterns, and it started spiraling out of control, to where I have been on Photoshop for two days straight trying to get all my ideas out.  I have most of them ready to go for you guys to use and download, for the black ones.  You can use the PDF files to actually type on or the JPG files to print and write out your recipes on.  This is a great idea to get all the recipes from your grandparents/parents before you can’t.

Here is what I came up for you.  Please comment if you use them.  Please don’t claim as your own or sell them.

Thank you!

Summer Butterfly Recipe Card 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Pink N Purple Recipe Cards 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Red N Black Recipe Cards 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Romantic Recipe Cards 4×6

No Pictures as of yet

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

No Pictures as of yet

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Meal Planning Monday Sheets

JPG        PDF

Full Page Green Recipe Page Without Lines

JPG    PDF

Full Page Green Recipe Page With Lines

JPG     PDF

I’m going to start using these for my recipes as well! If there is one you like more than others let me know, so that I can use them more often! Enjoy!