I love fall - the cooler temperatures, the leaves crunching under my feet when hiking through the woods, baking with apples and pumpkin - it's just a good thing. :) This weekend we attempted to do our annual apple picking trip to Plaster's Orchard, but they closed too early on Saturday for us to make it. :( Instead, we loaded up the dogs and went for a short hike at our favorite Branson Trail - the Henning Homesteaders Trail. We've actually had a couple of rainy days this week, so there were some small waterfalls and a couple of great water holes for the dogs to cool off in along the trail. The weather was perfect for a hike, and it was a great way to shake of the stress of the work week.

By the way, I finally posted the recipes from my fondue party. Be sure to check them out. 

I have a pretty loaded week coming up. I have two computer workshops on different days after school, Corey has two cross country meets and a possible math contest, and I'll be spending a couple of days with my mom. I know I've said this a lot lately, but I'm SO glad I stocked my freezer right before school started. It is really saving me on these busy weeks. Hopefully this is a good example of how meal planning can keep you from eating out, even when you have a hectic schedule. :)

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Honey Baked Pork Chops (from freezer), Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries
Monday - Shrimp Fra Diavolo (this keeps getting bumped - hopefully I'll actually make it), Broccoli, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday - Tequila Lime Chicken (from freezer), Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries
Wednesday -Sloppy Joes (from freezer), Steak Fries, Broccoli, Applesauce
Thursday - Teriyaki Steak, Green Beans, Baked Potatoes (cooked in crock pot), Salad
Friday - Chili (from freezer), Salad, Peaches
Saturday - Eat at Mom's

For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.   

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted my book club at my house, and I served fondue for dinner. Fondue has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. It was definitely a special occasion dinner, but it was a family favorite. My youngest brother always requested it for his birthday dinner, and I hosted a fondue party for my high school girlfriends at least once a year. Now, when my mom did fondue, she always served 3 courses - cheese, meat, and dessert. The cheese sauce was the appetizer, and was probably everyone's favorite. Her sauce was simple - a can of tomato soup mixed with a block of shredded cheddar cheese. It might sound strange, but trust me, it's yummy. She would cube up a loaf of French bread and that's what we dipped in the cheese sauce. The meat course was always beef, and it was cooked in oil. Yes, I know it's not healthy, but it was very good. She served it with three sauces - a garlic butter sauce, a horseradish sauce, and a BBQ sauce. The three sauces were served warm. Finally came the dessert - chocolate fondue. We usually dipped strawberries  or angel food cake in the chocolate sauce.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I try to be a relatively healthy eater, and fondue simply does not fit into that category. That's one of the main reasons I don't make it very often. When I decided to make it for my book club, I knew I wanted to make it a smidge healthier (and I stress the smidge part). One of my friends is pregnant, so I knew I couldn't use any alcohol in the recipes (and if you've ever looked for fondue recipes, you know that many of them call for various liquors in the sauces and cooking methods). So, here's what I came up with for my party. Enjoy!

Appetizer Course - Cheese Sauce with Bread, Celery, and Apple Dippers

White Cheese Fondue


2 cups grated Swiss cheese
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb cornstarch
Dash of pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth

French bread, cubed
Celery sticks
Apple slices (dip in lemon juice or sprinkle with Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning)

Melt the cheeses in 1 3/4 cups chicken broth with garlic added. Keep broth barely under a boil, stirring until cheese is completely melted (it will be stringy).

Combine cornstarch, pepper, salt, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce in 1/4 cup chicken broth. Add to cheese mixture, stirring until smooth. Put fondue mixture into a preheated fondue pot and keep at temperature hot enough to maintain desired texture without scorching.

Serve with bread cubes, apple slices, and celery sticks (raw broccoli and cauliflower florets are also good if you like them).

Main Course - Court Bouillon (used for cooking the meat instead of oil) with Ginger Soy Sauce, Horseradish Cream Sauce, and Honey Mustard Sauce

Court Bouillon Broth
Many court bouillon recipes call for white wine, so I substituted chicken broth to make it safe for my pregnant friend. :)


3 cups water
2 cups chicken stock (or white wine)
1 lemon, juiced
1 medium finely chopped onion
1/2 stalk finely chopped celery
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 T fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf

Cubed raw meat to cook in broth (I used chicken breasts and beef sirloin).

Whisk all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain broth through sieve, discarding the vegetables, and pour liquid into fondue pot. Keep the heat at a high simmer to cook meat. Dip cooked meats into sauces.

Ginger Soy Sauce

1 cup lower sodium soy sauce
1 t chili sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t ginger
1 cup orange juice

Whisk together all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. 

Horseradish Cream Sauce

1 cup fat free sour cream
3 T prepared horseradish
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 t Worcestershire sauce

Whisk together all ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Honey Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Whisk together and chill until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving or heat briefly in microwave.

Dessert Course - Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

bananas (cut into bite sized chunks right before serving)
angel food cake


In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the chocolate chips, sugar, milk and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm.

Fall is a crazy good time of the year. :) Crazy because of all the activities going on, and good because the weather is amazing! We finally got rain this weekend! If you aren't from the midwest, you may not know that we are in a severe drought. It has been the 3rd hottest summer on record, and we've had way too many 100+ degree days. Hopefully last Tuesday was our last of those. The crazy thing was that on Wednesday, the temperature got down to 46. Talk about extreme temperature changes! This weekend my brother from New York came to visit, so we spent the whole weekend at my mom's eating like pigs. :) It was even cold enough to turn on the fireplace, which gave the house a nice, cozy feel.

This is homecoming week at Corey's school, so he has a bunch of extra activities in the evenings. So, that means our meal plan will be a little goofy.

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Eat at mom's (loved not having to cook this weekend!)
Monday - Ott's House Casserole (gotta carb up the boy for his CC meet tomorrow), Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries
Tuesday - Steak (will grill when we get home from the meet - it's in our town), Green Beans, Salad
Wednesday - Bacon Wrapped Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser at school
Friday - Eat Out (Homecoming night)
Saturday - Steak Pizza (didn't get to it last week), Salad, Strawberries

For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.  
Fall is definitely in the air. :) Our temperatures have been in the 70s for highs, and 50s for lows. Fabulous! Much better than the 100 degree temps we dealt with all summer. Monday was Labor Day, and we didn't have school. We took advantage of our day off and went for a run. I was feeling so good that I ran my first 10K ever! I was so proud of myself. The rest of the week was busy, but good. I had my book club fondue party on Thursday, and I finally finished sewing an apron for my friend Melissa on Saturday. Isn't she cute? :)

I'm continuing to use my freezer stash to get through my weekly meals. Back in August I did some serious freezer cooking to prepare for the busy days at the beginning of school. Here is my freezer before:

and here is my freezer after:

Pretty nice, huh! Anyway, having some meals ready to go really saves me this time of year. Later this week I will finally be taking my mom to the oncologist. We can definitely use some prayers for that one. And this weekend, my brother is coming to visit from New York! I'm very much looking forward to some family time this coming weekend.

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Chicken with White Wine and Mushrooms, Green Beans, Peaches, Salad
Monday - Spaghetti with Meatballs, Broccoli, Salad, Strawberries
Tuesday - Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Broccoli, Salad, Applesauce
Wednesday - Orange Teriyaki Chicken, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Steak Pizza, Salad, Fruit Salad
Friday -Eat at Mom's (Sauerkraut and Dumplings - Yum!)
Saturday - Eat at Mom's

For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.  
This past Thursday I hosted my book club at my house and decided to do fondue. Since fondue seems like a retro 70s kind of thing to me, I used my grandmother's old dishes, which have a great retro look to them. :) Plus, they have great fall colors and the cooler temperatures we've been having definitely have me in the mood for fall. Fondue has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. My brother always asked for it for his birthday. I did three courses - cheese, meat, and dessert. I did do a healthier cooking style than what my family used to do on the meat course. My family always cooked the meat in oil, and I chose to do a broth-based fondue for the meat (much healthier).

Here are some pics from the party. I'll post my recipes for the sauces later.

This would be a great dessert when serving Mexican food as your main meal. The cake is very moist and has a great citrus flavor.

1 package lemon cake mix (could also use a yellow cake mix if you don't want the cake to have a strong lemon flavor)
1 (4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate
1/4 cup water
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup gold tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec

Tequila-lime glaze:
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon triple sec
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, vegetable oil, limeade, water, eggs, tequila and triple sec in a
large mixing bowl. Beat for 5 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer.

Pour batter in prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool completely.

Spoon tequila lime glaze over cooled cake. Glaze: Combine tequila, triple sec, lime peel, and sugar ina bowl. Stir until well blended. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze.

Recipe Source - Food.com
What a beautiful Labor Day weekend! We've been having temperatures over 100 degrees the last week, and this weekend, it seems that we are getting our first hint at fall. It's 55 degrees this morning! Love it! This will definitely be a day spent outdoors. :)

I survived my first week back at school. My mom continues to regain her strength and had a good follow-up checkup at the surgeon on Friday. Now, we just wait for the oncologist appointment in a couple of weeks. We've really had a nice weekend as a family so far. Eric and I went for a great run on Saturday morning (did my first 5K in a long time), and we got caught up on some cleaning and much-needed sleep. We went to my mom's on Sunday for my nephew Conner's 11th birthday party. It's always nice to spend time with family. And today, we're headed off for another run on this gorgeous morning, and then off to the woods for a hike.

The meal plan this week continues to use lots of grilling items from the freezer. The weather this week will be perfect for eating outside. :) I also have a great recipe for Margarita cake to share with you, and I'll be hosting my book club for a fondue party, so be sure to check back later in the week for details and recipes.

Here's this week's menu. Enjoy and have a great week! Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get fast updates from the blog. :)

Sunday - Eat at mom's for Conner's birthday (actually had Mom's Lasagna)
Monday - In-N-Out Burgers, Baked Beans, Salad, Strawberries
Tuesday - Cranberry Catalina Chicken (from freezer - didn't get to it last week), Noodles, Broccoli, Salad
Wednesday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches
Thursday - Fondue Party for book club (details and recipes coming soon)
Friday - Date night with hubby
Saturday - Pub House Steak (from freezer), Green Beans, Salad, Strawberries

Lunch soup for the week: Chicken, Black Bean, and Salsa Soup

For more menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com.