We had a FABULOUS Thanksgiving vacation! Thanksgiving morning, Eric, Corey and I got up early and ran the Turkey Trot 5K in Springfield with about 5000 other people. It was cold and started raining by the end of the race, but it was a lot of fun. By the time we got home, the temperature had dropped enough that it was freezing rain, and about an hour later, it snowed! It was so festive! My parents and my brother and his family came over for dinner, and we really enjoyed having the family together.

On Saturday, we met my brother and his kids in Arkansas to go hiking. It was a perfect day for a hike - no wind, sunny, and 55 degrees. The kids had a great time climbing on the boulders at Pedestal Rocks.

This week we are back to school and our other usual activities. The menu is pretty simple as I'm trying to use up items I have in the freezer. Plus, I don't have a lot of extra time this week to cook anything fancy. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Chili Ranch Grilled Pork Chops, Brussels Sprouts, Applesauce. Salad
Monday - Marsala Burgers, French Fries, Baked Beans, Salad
Tuesday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Salad, Apples
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Meatballs, Garlic Bread, Salad
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Turkey Sausage Pizza, Salad
Saturday - BBQ Chicken Baked Potatoes (chicken from freezer), Green Beans, Peaches, Salad
After a rough start to my week last week (stomach flu - yuck!), I am now back to the land of the living! And just in time for Thanksgiving. Woo hoo! I only have two days of school this week, and then it's all about family time and relaxing. Corey and I did have a date to the Harry Potter movie on Friday. It was awesome, and now we are anxiously awaiting part two in July!

My parents and my youngest brother and his wife and 5 kids will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'm very excited about having everyone over. I posted my Thanksgiving menu earlier, so check out what we will be eating. :) Eric, Corey and I will be running the Turkey Trot that morning, which is always a lot of fun.

I hope to do some extra cooking to restock the freezer over Thanksgiving break. I also plan to do some sewing, including making an apron for my swap partner in the Flirty Apron Swap. I've still got to decide which fabrics to use. Decisions, decisions...

Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week and great Thanksgiving holiday!

Sunday - Grilled Pork Chops, Oven Baked Fries, Green Beans, Pineapple
Monday - BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (from freezer), Baked Beans, Peaches, Salad
Tuesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Broccoli, Applesauce, Salad
Wednesday - Take my mom out to eat for her birthday?
Thursday - Turkey, Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Dressing, Basil Green Beans, Cream Cheese Corn, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Day Before Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Hot Rolls, Pumpkin Dessert
Friday - Leftovers!
Saturday - Taco Corn Bread Casserole, Fruit
I thought that Thanksgiving deserved a post of its own. I'll still be listing it in my weekly menu, but I thought I would highlight the dishes I will be making this year. My parents, my brother and his wife and their 5 kids will be joining my family at my house for Thanksgiving this year! Too bad my New York brother can't make it. :( But, you take what you can get. Here's what I am planning on for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey (not going to stuff it)

Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry

Wild Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing (new - pic coming soon)

Day Before Mashed Potatoes (with gravy)

Basil Green Beans

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (new - pic coming soon)

Cream Cheese Corn

Hot Rolls

Pumpkin Dessert
I love Brussels sprouts, but have never cooked fresh ones. I think I'm going to add these to my Thanksgiving lineup.

1 1/2 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, cut in halves
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper
white wine vinegar

Toss 1 1/2 pounds halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast cut-side down on a baking sheet at 450 until caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes. Drizzle with white wine vinegar and honey if desired.
I was watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay last night (way to go, Pioneer Woman!), and I thought his dressing looked amazing, so I think I'm going to give it a try. I'll let you know what I think after Thanksgiving.

1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets) in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl.

Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source - Bobby Flay
For the last few years, our family has created photo Christmas cards to send to friends and family members. Our favorite site for card creation has to be Shutterfly. They have so many creative designs. Eric usually takes our family photo, or we use photos from events throughout the year to make the card, and then we follow the easy process on the Shutterfly site to create our cards. I have to admit, I'm having a very hard time picking our card this year! There are so many beautiful designs and styles to choose from.

Do I go with a fun and silly folded card design?

Or do I go with a serious, classy flat card?

Or do I use this one where I can recap events of the year - pretty cool!

No matter which one I pick, they will be fabulous. The quality of the cards from Shutterfly has always been great. I never have to worry if they will turn out well or not. Plus, you have so many ways you can customzie your card, which is one of my favorite features of the site.

Once I get the card job finished, I've got to get our photo book picked! We make a photo book each year to highlight our family's events. It's a great way to scrapbook if you are not a scrapbooker. :)

Want to try Shutterfly cards this year? Shutterfly is offering bloggers 50 free holiday cards absolutely FREE!  Now's your chance.  Visit Shutterfly for more details

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, I will receive a promotional code for a package of 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly. Thoughts and opinions about my experience with Shutterfly are my own.
My post is going to be short today. I've got the stomach flu. :( Lots of  new recipes this week, so pictures will be posted soon. I'll write more later, but here's the menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday -Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Green Beans, Onion Roasted Potatoes
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday - Chicken, Black Bean, and Salsa Soup, Salad, Sinfully Sweet Cornbread
Wednesday - Tator Tot Surprise, Peaches, Salad
Thursday - Eat at book club
Friday -Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Steak, Brussels Sprouts, Baked Potatoes, Salad
The next time I make this soup, I will be doubling the recipe. Yum! (The picture is horrible - I forgot to take a picture when I first made the soup, and had to take a picture of leftovers that I heated too long in the microwave.)

12 slices Oscar Meyer Center Cut Bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c. chicken stock
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
2 oz. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t. black pepper
Sour cream and green onions for garnish, optional
1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside. Drain bacon grease from the pot. Cook the onions in the pot for about 5 minutes, until tender.
2. Add potatoes and chicken stock to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove a few scoops of potatoes. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
3. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Slowly stir in to stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Stir mashed potatoes back into pot.
4. Add 1/2 c. shredded cheese and the reserved bacon to pot. Add pepper. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with some shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream (optional - not included in nutritional information.

Recipe adapted from - Cooking During Stolen Moments
This is the best cornbread I've ever made. Even Eric loves it, and he doesn't eat cornbread!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or lightly grease a nine inch round cake pan. In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk, and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Recipe Source - Mom Advice
This is a very tasty soup, and it's super easy to make!

3 chicken breasts, diced
1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp homemade taco seasoning
2 cups cooked black beans
2 cups cooked red beans
2 cups homemade chicken broth
2-3 cups water…depending on how thick you like your soup
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup store bought salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the diced chicken breast in the oil with the taco seasoning mixed in. (If you have cooked and shredded chicken, that will work too!)

Once the chicken has cooked through, add the cooked black beans, the cooked red beans, the broth and water.  Stir in the frozen corn, no need to thaw, as well as the salsa.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is so much better than the packaged stuff - no salt!


1 part chili powder
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4 – 1/2 part crushed red pepper


Mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container.

Recipe Source - $5 Dinners
This is a very hearty soup that is super easy to make.

1 pound lean beef stew meat, cubed
1/4 of an onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 15 oz can mushrooms, drained
2 cups homemade beef broth
2 1/2 cups water (Use however much you need to get the “soup-i-ness” that you want)
1/2 cup pearled barley
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

1.Brown the sides of the beef cubes in a large saucepan with onion and crushed garlic. Once all sides have browned, add the beef broth and water.
2.Bring to a boil, then add the pearled barley. Let cook at a rolling boil for 20 minutes.
3.Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from $5 Dollar Dinners
Our family had a great weekend! I'm finally getting over my stupid cold and feel like a human again. Corey traveled with the cross country team to state contest and had a great time. The team got 9th place. Eric and I actually got to spend some nice time together while he was gone. We went for a "romance run" together on Friday evening and decorated the house for Christmas (yes, I'm one of those annoying people who decorates early - it makes me happy). Just look at this tree and tell me it doesn't make you smile. :)

This morning we participated in the Bass Pro Outdoor Festival. Eric ran his first official half marathon and finished in 1:56. Corey and I ran the 5K. Corey got 2nd place in his age division and and 10th place overall. I finished the race, which is great for me considering I haven't run since July when I injured my leg. :) I may not be speedy, but at least I'm out there.

This week is a busy one for activities, so the evening meals are definitely on the simple side. Our football team is in playoffs, which means the band has to play. Corey has district band auditions, I have computer workshop, we have the cross country banquet, and we have another 5K on Friday night. We definitely can't complain about being bored. On weeks like this, my menu relies on things I can cook ahead or pull out of the freezer. (On a side note, I didn't get to last week's Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce. I still wasn't feeling well and resorted to take-out Chinese.) Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break so I can cook more! Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Roast, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans
Monday -Red Beans and Rice (Just Zatarans out of the box with sausage added in), Salad, Peaches
Tuesday -Leftovers
Wednesday - Chili, Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Thursday -Eat at banquet
Friday - Chicken Spaghetti (gotta carb up for the race), Broccoli, Fruit
Saturday -Soup (to be decided), Chick-be-Quicks (having company over to watch BOA finals)