This week was busy but fun. I helped my son work on his Eagle Scout project, which basically meant I was his chauffeur while he contacted businesses to support his project. My husband's family came to visit for an extended weekend, and we had a great time getting to spend time together. This week I'm back to work at the library, the boy goes to robotics camp, and the hubby does his normal work gig. :) Here's my menu for the week. For other menu ideas, visit
Sunday - leftovers from the family visit
Monday - Chicken soft tacos, Peaches
Tuesday - Chicken Fajita Salad
Wednesday - Kabobs on the grill, Salad, Strawberries
Thursday - Salisbury Steak (son request), mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday - Homemade pizza, salad
Saturday - Padre Island Shells, fruit salad

¾ c (3/4 stick) Butter Flavor Crisco Shortening
1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

(I always leave out the cinnamon, raisins and nuts.)


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheets with Butter Flavor Crisco. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.
2. Combine Crisco, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in raisins and nuts.
4. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheet.
5. Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Servings: Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies
My bloggy friend Lanny tagged me for this meme. I usually don't post this kind of stuff, but, what the heck.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are my “random” things. Not very exciting, but that' me. :)
1. I like Barry Manilow. It makes me feel very old (yes, I’m 38) and geeky to admit that.
2. I’m a stay-at-home mom wannabe. I love to cook and sew and take care of my family. I just can’t seem to give up my teaching gig (love those kids too much).
3. My 13-year-old son is actually a really nice kid and enjoys spending time with his parents. (Egads! A teenager that still claims his family – amazing!)
4. I actually wear an apron when I cook and don’t find it to be demeaning to me as a woman. I’m a messy cook and I have really cute aprons!
5. I have a secret desire to dye to my hair pink and be in a rock band. Sadly, I can’t sing and the only instrument I play well is the clarinet. Not quite rock band material.
6. I hate to clean my house. Luckily, my husband is somewhat of a neat freak and keeps it looking great.

Hmmm..... now to tag some others:






I know this has nothing to do with menu planning, but I'm so proud that I just have to share. My younger brother, Chris, competed in the New York City Triathalon today. We got to watch his progress online and even watched him cross the finish line live on a webcam - pretty cool! I'm so proud of his accomplishment. He completed the entire race in 3 hours and two minutes. Way to go, Brother! I think you're awesome!

You may have noticed that I didn't post a menu last week. We actually went on vacation! We spent a wonderful week in Wyoming visiting the Tetons and Yellowstone. It was so nice to escape the heat and humidity of Missouri. In Wyoming, we had mornings with temperatures in the 40s and daytime highs in the lower 70s. It was wonderful! We did some hiking and got to see some amazing sites (waterfalls, moose, a bear, Old Faithful, etc. etc.). We stayed in a very nice bed and breakfast in Jackson and had some fantastic breakfasts (yes, I took pictures of the food and I will post them later ). I should have a family vacation video to share soon.
This week its back to work at the library. I'm also going to help Corey work on his Eagle Scout project. On Thursday, Eric's family (all of them!) will be coming to visit. We are so excited to get a chance to have everyone together at our house. Here is our menu for the week. For more menu ideas, check out
Sunday - Leftover turkey and gravy, green beans, salad
Monday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad,French Bread
Tuesday - Filets, Sour Cream and Chive Potatoes, Pea Pods
Wednesday - Pizza Cups, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Chicken Pockets, Mac & Cheese, Spinach Casserole (recipe coming soon)
Friday - Out to eat with family
Saturday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Corn on the cob, Grilled Zucchini, Salad, Fruit

1 can buttermilk biscuits (sm. 10 count kind - I use the 100 calorie ones)
10 TB pizza sauce
2 ounces part skim Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped (I leave this out)
20 slices turkey pepperoni, chopped (or substitute your favorite meat - I'm using Turkey Italian Sausage)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin pan with no-stick spray. Chop veggies & turkey pepperoni. Flatten biscuits between palms, then pat into bottom and up sides of muffin pan. Spoon a TB of pizza sauce into each cup. Sprinkle pepperoni, onions and peppers evenly into each cup. Top with cheese, then bake for 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cheese is melted.
(You could easily add or substitute your favorite toppings .)

These tasty muffins are great with soups and stews, and I love to to serve them even when we grill. They are quick and easy to make when you want a nice side bread with dinner.

2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced

4 T butter, melted
1/4 tsp garlic salt


Heat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a small bowl, mix together egg, milk, garlic and onion. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture and melted butter. Mix together using as few strokes as possible. The batter should have small lumps in it. Pour into 12 muffins tins coated with cooking spray, filling about 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes or until muffins begin to turn golden on top. Test for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean. Remove from tins and cool slightly. Brush garlic butter over biscuits while hot.

I had some cilantro in the garden that I wanted to use, so I came up with this recipe. It turned out very well, so I thought I would share.

Ingredients:3 4oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 T olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
3-4 T chopped, fresh cilantro
1 T minced garlic
1 t fresh rosemary

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Put chicken in a glass pan or large ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate for 1 hour. Heat grill to medium-high heat and oil the grill lightly with olive oil. Place chicken on grill and cover for about 5 minutes. Turn to other side and grill 5 more minutes. Keep rotating every couple of minutes until chicken is cooked through.

I used some of my mutant zucchini last night to make this tasty side dish. Here's what I did:
Slice a zucchini into 1/2 inch slices (or a little thinner). Marinate them in Italian dressing for a couple of hours. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the slices on the grill, cover and cook for about 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, turn them over and grill for 4 more minutes. Keep rotating every couple of minutes until they have nice, brown grill marks and are soft without being mushy. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Well, I thought we might never get anything from our first attempt at a garden. First, we kept battling rain that washed away all of our green bean seeds. Then we had two hail storms that pounded our tomato and watermelon plants. Our latest challenge was an invasion of Japanese beetles - YUCK!!!! This first set of photos I took on June 26th. You'll see that we did get some good starts on some tomatoes, we got a few pea pods, and we even had one watermelon. The sad thing is that the watermelon just happened to be the exact same size and color as our dog's tennis ball...... Yes, she picked it and brought it to my husband, hoping for a game of fetch. Corey was not at all happy with her, as he was very proud of his first watermelon.

This next set of photos I took today so you could see our progress. I planted one zucchini plant, which is huge, but as of last week when we left for vacation, it had yet to show any signs of producing any zucchini. When we got back Friday, I found a wonderful surprise!

Now I need some ideas of what to do with these mutant zucchinis! If you have any great recipes to share, I sure could use some. :) I did grill some last night, and they were wonderful. My tomato plants have not been so great, which is a huge disappointment to me, as they are the whole reason I wanted a garden. They keep growing, but they have nasty brown spots on them that make them virtually inedible. Any of you master gardeners know what this is and how I can get rid of it? Our green bean plants are finally thriving and should give us some beans by the end of the week. Then I have to learn how to can - YIKES! (I'm very scared of pressure cookers.) Corey's watermelon patch is taking over and has many melons that he can't wait to eat. Nimbus the wonder dog has been banned from the garden area to help preserve his precious fruit. His pumkin plants are also doing well, and one even has a baby pumkin.

Well, that's the garden update for now. I appreciate any advice anyone has to share. :)
My eMINTS teachers have been working very hard this week learning how to integrate technology and construstivist learning principles into their classrooms. We met at my house this week due to the school hallways being waxed. To celebrate our week of hard work, we had a recipe party during our lunch break today. Each teacher brought a favorite dish to share and we posted the recipes here so we would all have access to them. To find the recipes from our party, just click on the label titled "recipe party". Here are a few pictures of our luncheon. Thanks for sharing, Minties! It was fun. :)


1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (canned or frozen and thawed)
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Dash ground pepper

On the side:
Crackers, Chips, toasted bread

1. Boil the spinach and artichoke hearts in a cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander when done.
2. Heat the cream cheese in a small bowl in the microwave set on high for 1 minute. Or, use a sauce pan to heat the cheese over medium heat just until hot.
3. Add the spinach and artichoke hearts to the cream cheese and stir well.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the cream cheese and combine. Serve hot with crackers, chips, or toasted bread for dipping.

Recipe from Casey Chambers

My mother-in-law makes these in the summer and they are quite good. I don't normally eat cucumbers, but I really enjoy these. You will see two recipes here. The first one is my mother-in-law's and the second is from my friend Stefanie. They are both very similar and tasty. :)

Mother-in-law Version:
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
Thinly sliced onion
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Mix together. Best when chilled for several hours. Will keep for several days in 'frig.

Stefanie Version

3 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced; peeled (some skin is okay)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin and separated into rings
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste (or diet sweetener)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Layer cucumbers with the onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add white vinegar, water and sugar. Mix by tossing vegetables. Taste mixture and adjust for taste.
Cover and chill for 2-4 hours before serving

Recipe from Stefanie McKoy

Makes 2 footlong sandwiches

2 (1 lb) packages frozen meatballs, Italian style
2 loaves bakery Italian bread
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 dash garlic powder
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large pot combine frozen meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Heat over medium until meatballs are heated throughout. Meanwhile, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder and set aside. Slice Italian style bread loaves horizontally with serrated bread knife. Cut loaves into three- or four-inch sections to make small sandwiches.Spread cream cheese mixture on insides of each sandwiches' tops and bottoms. Preheat oven to 350°F. When meatballs are heated, spoon onto sandwiches and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Put sandwich tops on and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Recipe from Melissa Kern

fresh spinach (or other lettuce)
1 green bell pepper
1 red or yellow pepper
1 cucumber
cherry or grape tomatoes
1 package of feta cheese
balsamic vinegrette dressing

Chop up salad and veggies, toss in fetta cheese, and balsamic dressing to taste.

Recipe from Christy Patrick

2 bunches of spinach
1 pint of fresh strawberries

Wash spinach and slice strawberries. Place both in salad bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil
2 green onions chopped
1/4 T Worcestershire sauce

Mix dressing together and let set to enhance flavor.

Recipe from Erika Solidum

Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 jar of carmel
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
toffee bits

Bake Devil's Food Cake mix according to box directions. While cake is baking, mix 1 jar of carmel with 1 can of condensed milk. While cake is hot, poke holes (with fork) in it. Then pour mixture of carmel and condensed milk on hot cake. Let cool completely. Then, put 1 container of cool whip on cooled cake. Sprinkle crushed heath bars on top or use Toffee Bits. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe from Becky Ramer

1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. frozen limeade concentrate, partially thawed
2 tbs. orange juice
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip

Beat cream cheese, limeade, and orange juice in medium bowl on medium speed of mixer, until well blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with cut-up fresh fruit or vanilla wafers. Jazz it up: serve in a wide brimmed margarita glass dipped in sugar.

Recipe from Miranda Snowden

Serves 10

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1 can green chilies
10 flour tortillas (I prefer soft taco size)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup green onion
1 cup shredded colby cheese
1/2 cup picante sauce
8 oz. sour cream

Mix cooked, diced chicken, chopped green onions, chopped green peppers, shredded colby cheese, diced green chilies, and picante sauce. Roll mixture in flour tortillas. Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Place some of soup mixture in bottom of pan. Place rolled tortillas in pan and cover with remaining soup mixture. Add more shredded cheese on top, if desired. Cover with foil. Bake 20-30 minutes at 350.

Recipe from Tracie Gones

In a 9 X 13 pan spray Pam

Press in crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix together-
1 white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 box strawberry jello
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Pour into pan

1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Drop into cake mixture and swirl with knife

Bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes

Pour one carton of thawed frozen sweetened strawberries over baked cake while hot.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1-8oz. cool whip

Beat 1st 3 ingredients together and fold in whipped topping.

Frost after cake has cooled. Refrigerate

Recipe from Mary Arnold

I know, another post that's not about food. I couldn't help but share my latest crafty project result. :) I finished my second messenger bag today and I think it turned out very nice. I just love this bag pattern because it is the perfect size for a laptop. It also has a nice interior zipper pocket and large front and back exterior pockets.

Last week was the first week since December that I did not post my menu for the week! I wasn't being a slacker. We were in San Antonio for the National Education Computing Conference. Both Corey and I were presenters at the conference. Yes, I mean Corey! My ever-so-ambitious 13-year-old son submitted his own proposal to present at an educational technology conference (the national one, of course) and got accepted. I guess that's what happens when your child is forced to go to computer trainings with his mom since the age of two. Poor guy. ;-) Anyway, we had a nice trip and our presentations went very well. A friend stayed at the house for us and took care of the dogs, which was nice for them so they didn't have to go to the kennel. Today we dropped the boy at scout camp for a week, and it's back to eMINTS training for me this week. We did have a great 4th of July cookout at our house with Eric's parents. I grilled chicken and brats, and made some fun appetizers and a great dessert.
My menu will reflect the fact that the boy is gone (yep, that means fish) and that I haven't had time to do a lot of planning. For more menu ideas, visit
Sunday - got take out food from Yen Ching (taking advantage of the boy being gone - he hates Chinese food)
Monday - leftover Chinese (yes, I'm being lazy)
Wednesday - Grilled Salmon (just marinated in viniagrette dressing), Brussels Sprouts, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Chicken Fajita Salad, Strawberries
Friday - Chicken soft tacos (use leftover grilled chicken from previous night), fruit salad
Saturday - on the road to Yellowstone!!! (friend is staying at the house again)

My mother-in-law always makes these appetizers when we have family get-togethers and we all fight over them. The first time I saw them, I thought they were weird, but they are now one of my favorites. :)


Claussen Kosher Dill Minis
Budding Ham or Beef (the really thin stuff)
Cream Cheese (I use fat-free)


Take two slices of meat and spread them with cream cheese (I whip mine to make it easy to spread). Take a pickle and place it on the cream chesse-covered meat, and wrap the meat around the pickle. Cut the pickle into slices. Eat and enjoy!

This is a fast, easy pie that is relatively low in fat and calories. I made it for our 4th of July dessert tonight and changed it up a bit by using white chocolate pudding instead of regular chocolate.

1 Reduced-Fat Graham Cracker Pie Crust (6oz)
1-1/4 c. cold skim milk
2 pkgs (4-svg size) sugar free fat-free chocolate flavor instant pudding mix
1 tub (8oz) fat free Cool whip


1. Beat milk, pudding mix, and ½ of the whipped topping in medium bowl with wire whisk 1 minute. Mixture will be thick.
2. Spread in crust. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding layer.
3. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Garnish as desired.

Servings: 8
WW Points: 4 per serving