Monday, February 28, 2011


The first deal that my family has bought lately is "SALT LAKE COUNTY PASSES OF ALL PASSES".  This is from KSL DEALS today only.  It includes unlimited admission to Seven Peaks Salt Lake (formerly Raging Waters), unlimited admission (single seating) to all Utah Blaze home games, admission to 6 events at Rocky Mountain Raceways, admission to 4 Utah Grizzlies Hockey Games, and 4 Real Salt Lake home hockey game tickets.  (Read the fine print before buying about the sport events.)  My family mainly bought these for the water park.

I also bought a $10.00 for $20..00 value for "Jump-n-Bounce" in West Jordan.  This will be a fun play date during the last days of winter.  This deal is from CITY DEALS and TODAY ONLY they have free shipping.  (They usually charge an extra 99 cents to mail the certificate to you.)

Also from CITY DEALS today was a $10.00 for $20.00 value for your choice of DEE'S FAMILY RESTAURANT.  We used to have a Dee's by us, and my kidults visit the one on Redwood Road for their cheese fries.
You can buy up to 4 certificates.  I will use one for cheese fries while my sister, Debbie, visits.  (Their milkshakes are great, too.) 
I will use the other 3 to "pay" my kidults for things I hire them to do at our house.  (Mark is doing our door frames, floor mouldings...)  They get paid for yard work, too.  This way I can pass my great deals on to them (*_*) 

Also today I bought $10.00 for $20.00 for "Pirate Island" in Orem.  We enjoy the food and the atmosphere.  If you get this one, use it soon.  See this deal by clicking on Groupon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Last weeks challenge was to try a new recipe and make a familiar favourite one?  If you did, how was your new recipe?  Share if it was good :)
I do this every week as I plan.  One (at least) new recipe, and one tried and true.

Do you know what you have in your freezer?  You will save money if you buy your meats on sale and freeze them in meal sized portions.  But, if you don't know what you have, you are not saving.  This week check out what you have in your freezer and plan 1 meal with something you have there.

Last Weeks Menu
SUNDAY-  David's birthday dinner.  grilled steak and salmon (It was really good.), steamed broccoli, green beans and corn, and "HASSELBACK POTATOES". (new recipe from "Joy the Baker". )  They took less time to prepare than I thought they would.  (I made 16, and did not put the garlic in them.)  Everyone really liked them.  Even my son that does not eat baked potatoes.  I will make these again. 
MONDAY-  Emily and Hilary used their discount coupons to take the whole family (+) for a fun activity and early dinner.  (More in MY 10 THINGS on Tuesday.)
TUESDAY-  Pick-A-Can (Eat what you want.  I did not feel good.)
WEDNESDAY-  German Pancakes (hmmm. Another family favourite I have not posted.)   Doug and I enjoy breakfast so I do breakfast for dinner at least every other week.
THURSDAY-  (I usually do slow cooker meals on Thursday because I have Cub Scout (Wolves) at my house.)  No Scouts this week so I tried "RUSTIC TOMATO TART", (a new pizza recipe from "Lick The Bowl Good").  Man was this good.  Next time (and there will be a next time) I will use prepared pesto instead of the mustard (which was good).  (This was my first free form tart shell.) 
The warm chewy cheese was wonderful.  Since only Doug and I ate here on Thursday, we had left-overs.  They were not that great  (way too soggy).

FRIDAY-  Dinner at our Cub Scout Pack meeting.  I took my Crazy Chocolate Cake.
SATURDAY-  Leslie had a friend over for (part of) the week end.  I tried a new make ahead oatmeal for breakfast.  I found "BAKED PUMPKIN OATMEAL" at Lynn's Kitchen Adventure".  I mixed the dry ingredients (and butter) on Friday night, and told the first one up to add the wet ingredients and bake. 
That was totally unnecessary.  This is a baked oatmeal that you keep in your fridge.  In the morning, remove what you want, heat it up and add milk.
The only change I made to her recipe was to use old fashioned oats instead of quick cooking.
We really liked this.  (in fact I am making more tonight for next week.)  The pumpkin is very mild (but you still have that added vegetable benefit).  The brown sugar and cinnamon are flavoured just right.  I think this is an easy and more healthful alternative for kids than the pre-packaged instant envelopes.

Have fun planning this week if this is something new for you.

Friday, February 25, 2011


... that I am posting on Friday because I am making it for our Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet.

I have had this recipe (from Mary J.) since the early 80's.  It used to be the main cake I made.  It is fast, easy and good, and I always have everything I need.  I do a lot more cakes now, but this is the ONLY chocolate frosting I use.  It is basic, but always gets great reviews.

from Mary J.

BATTER - mix on low speed, then on high about 2 mins.
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teas. soda
2 teas. salt
2teas. vanilla
2 table. vinegar
3/4 cup veg. oil
2 cups cold water

Pour into sprayed 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350* for 35-40 mins.
(Or use large rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 min.  I use 9x13.)
Let cool before frosting.

FROSTING (This may be a common/standard recipe.  If so, it is because it works.) 
Mix well
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup softened butter (margarine will work)
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 tea. vanilla
2 table. milk

This is an easy go to cake to take.  (I grated dark chocolate truffles over the top.)

(I was going to link up to my favourite (and very fast easy) go to recipe, but I found out I have not posted it, yet.  HOW CAN THAT BE?  (That is sooo weird.  When I make it for a kidult to take somewhere there are always requests for the recipe, so I cannot believe it has not been posted.  Sorry.)
I will post it soon for a THROW BACK THURSDAY recipe.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have a little obsession (Well, one among many.).  I like to (must) clean my garbage disposal.  (I used to get a rag, wet it and load it with cleanser, pull up the black rubber flap, put the rag over my hand - and shove my hand in the little space to twist and clean.  Yea, it works.
After I started losing my left hand/arm from the crushed nerve, I came up with a new idea :)

At a $ stores you can buy dish or pan scrubbers with a handle.  I have never liked them for dishes, but now I buy them for scrubbing out my garbage disposal.  I wet it and put on the cleanser and scrub.  (You could put a rag on the brush if you wanted to.)  This saves my hands.  Cheap, too.
The brushes last 2-3 weeks each (They get smashed.) and I just stick them in the (dirty) dishwasher.

And I never forget to throw my tangerine/orange/lemon rinds down the garbage disposal for a fresh scent.
As a side note, NEVER peel your potatoes in the sink and send the peels down the disposal.  More than once someone has major clogged/stalled our disposal.  (I open a grocery store plastic bag in the side of the sink to collect them.  Do you compost?  My son-in-law got his worms for his. (yuk!))

UPDATE  THANKS MISSY for your comments.  Egg shells are really bad.  And don't even think of feeding it celery (or banana peels).  Some bulk helps to sharpen the blades and clean the disposal (ah, citrus rinds).  Think moderation.  Also, I have read a lot of places that you should use cold water when putting anything greasy down the disposal.  Hot water melts the grease grease to the sides, all the way down.  Cold will solidify it and wash it away.  (Or so I've heard and read.)
Have more tips for disposals?  Share them with us.

Next week, my favourite disposal cleaner.
In two weeks, a way to extend a product that I use DAILY.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Wednesday, (23 Feb.) is the last FREE DAY at Salt Lake City's HOGLE ZOO until next winter.  The zoo is located near the University of Utah on Sunnyside Ave.  (across the street from "This Is The Place Monument" park.)  Are you going for a play date?

"Joy is not in things - it is in us."  Richard Wagner

13 February, 2011 - 20 February, 2011

#1  (Almost) all of the Christmas is put away.

#2  I am back ed to trying new recipes, planning menus and a bit of shopping.

#3  On Monday night my vision stated going "weird".  Flashes of light, lots of floaters and a film over my right eye.  I looked on line and it said to see your eye Dr. quick.  It could be a retina detachment.
On Tuesday I called our favourite family eye Dr.  (Dr. Rob Gray @ Eyecare of Lehi).   He was out of town for the week.  I decided to call the Sam's Club Dr.  He said it was smart that I went in.  After a through search, he said that my there was a "vitreous detachment".  This COULD have made a macular hole or retina tear-and meant surgery and maybe blindness.  I am so happy that it was only a visual problem.
He said next time it happened I still needed to get it checked quick.  What!  This will happen again?  Yea.  Come to find out it happens once to EACH eye.  (It takes awhile to fully slide down.  I am sick of the fuzziness and floaters.)  It can be caused by trauma (my surgery?), usually not before 50 and usually by 80.
I am so happy that my vitreous did not pull my retina with it.  Especially because...

#4  I finished a book that I have been reading a little at a time.  (About 1 chapter a day until neck stuff.)
"The Gift of the Atonement  (Favorite Writings on the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ)"  I really loved this book and feel like it was just what I needed. 
My reading goal now is to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (in the New Testament) and Third Nephi (from the Book of Mormon) before Easter.  (24 April, 2011)

#5  For play date we had a fun little Valentine's Party with Logan, Layne and Annie.  Games, treats, heart lunch, crafts and puzzles...  Fun. (Pics later.)

#6  Every  single person was here for Sunday dinner (except Christy who was with her family).  David picked grilled steak and fish (which was excellent, Dear) for his birthday dinner.  Happy Birthday, David.

#7  Doug and I  watched a fun movie for our date night.  (We are very happy to plan at home date nights.)  We watched the new(er) "Sorcerer's"s Apprentice".  It was fun, and it was New York.  (Sometimes I watch a show or movie for the New York camera shots :-)

#8  I am making a fun new project.  (And practical.)  I will post it when I am done :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Planning Our Menu

I get a lot of questions about what we are having for dinner.
Next week I will post about how I menu plan for flexibility and success. 
This week I'll tell you what we ate. 

SUNDAY - Valentine's Day - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cashew Pilaf, Asparagus, Strawberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Pie
MONDAY - Chili Dogs (hot dogs left over from pigs in a blanket for kid's lunch on Friday)
TUESDAY - new Chinese Chicken recipe  (o.k., but did not save)
WEDNESDAY - Corn Tortilla Bake  This recipe is in our 30 MEALS/30 DAYS plan.  (An easy and fast family favourite.  I also made a batch for 2 of my married kids for dinner.  Bring back my dishes.)
THURSDAY - LUNCH - Baked Egg Rolls (from Red Couch Recipes ).  Instead of frying, I brushed a bit of oil on the top and baked (seam side down) at 425* for 7 - 10 mins.  I turned them over and baked 3 -5 mins.  We really liked these.  (I am making them again next week.)
DINNER - SLOW COOKER TOMATO BASIL SOUP (from 365 Days of Crockpot.  Click on her Good Things Utah link.) with grilled cheese sandwiches.   This was easy and Doug and I really loved it.  The daughter that ate it said she liked my other recipe better.  (My usual one is harder to make, but we will do a taste test.)  This stays in my file.  (I used 1 2/3 cup shredded carrots, no celery and 1/4 cup butter instead of the called for 1/2 cup.)
FRIDAY - Left overs.  A kidult was having a party.
SATURDAY - Left overs from the party pasta bar :)

Do you plan your meals ahead of time?  It saves money, time and stress. 
As you plan your menu for next week try to include 1 new recipe you have wanted to try, and 1 tried and true.  Have a great holiday week end.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Valentine's Day (week-end) was rather simple this year.  (How big can it be when there is still some Christmas up?  Hopefully I can lift soon.)
For dessert I made an updated strawberry cheesecake type dessert.

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL CHEESECAKE PIE  (could not think of a different name)

1 cup chunky crushed pretzels  (see note)
3 table. brown sugar
5 table. melted butter

Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9" pie dish.  Bake for 10 mins. at 350*.


1 8 oz. pack softened cream cheese (I used light)
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz.) softened whipped topping (we used to use "Dream Whip" and milk ;0)

Mix cream cheese and sugar, then fold in whipped topping.  Spread on cooled crust and chill.


1 large pack strawberry/raspberry Jello  (I used to use Danish Dessert)
1 bag (10-16 oz.) frozen sliced strawberries/raspberries

Disolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water.  Add 1 cup cold water.  Stir in frozen fruit until it defrosts, sorta. 
Carefully ladle Jello mix over chilled cream cheese layer.  (You may a bit extra.  Just chill it in a bowl.)

Chill until set.  This is best eaten on the day it is made.  Still good day 2.  Soggy crust by day 3.

note  I did my pretzels in my blender.   I had tried my bullet like chopper for my pretzels and it pulverized the bottom layer and left the top ones whole.

This is an easy dessert, and I had everything on hand.

I have been building a "Basket of my Favourite Things" to share with a follower when there are 60 followers.

I am 6 followers away from ""ing a winner of a basket of "My Favourite Things". (Remember, I only send the contents. The basket is too hard to mail.)

What's in the basket?

#1 A fun, boy themed, mini table photo album, with all the embellishments. (I love making these.)
#2 1/8" (36 piece) steel alphabet stamping set.

#3 A "Magic Eraser". (Man I love these. I hate yucky ones, so I cut some into 6-8 small pieces and put them in a plastic container. When I have a small job, I can just use a small piece.)

#4 A "McCormicK Cinnamon Grinder" (I love the burst of freshly ground cinnamon on french toast, pie, pumpkin milk shakes, oatmeal...)

#5 "Ice Cream!", the cookbook, by Cuthbert and Cameron Wilson (recipes and ideas for the smaller freezers)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Out and about and wanting something sweet, that you  (I mean me) can count as meal?
For me it is STARBUCKS Vanilla Bean Creme Frapachino.  (The 16 oz. Grande size?)

A few months ago I mentioned that I wanted one and a daughter said they were probably about 1000 calories.  I changed my mind.  Then I came home and looked it up on line.

Here is the story.
It has 390 calories, with 16 grams of fat (10 sat.)  No fiber, but 5 protein.  And 10%  vit. A, plus 15% calcium.
BUT WAIT!  (This is the cool part :)
If you leave off the whipped cream it only has 4.5 gram of fat!  (2.5 sat.) 
Only 260 calories and 2.5 grams fat (1.5 sat.) if you have it made with 2% milk.  (Still no whipped cream.)
And the truth is I get the 12 oz. size with whole milk and no whipped cream.  (200 calories and 3.5 grams fat.)

Not too bad for an easy on the go treat.

Starbucks (as well as most chain resturants) have nutritional info. on their website.

Next Wednesday I will share one thing I buy at a dollar store.

Monday, February 14, 2011


"Where there is great love there are always great miracles."  Willa Cather

#1 I went to the neurosurgeon on Tuesday and do not have to wear a brace anymore.  I can bend "with deliberation" and ride in cars  Whoo Hoo.
After my appointment Doug and I went to lunch at TOCANOS (in the Gateway) with a "glad you can go out, mom" gift certificate from the kidults. 
TOCANOS is a Brazilian restaurant with salad bar(s), hot sides,and servers that bring a great variety of meats to your table throughout the dining.  It was really good.  (Now I know why my kidults + Lincoln and Logan love it there.)  I was really impressed with the quality and attentiveness of the servers and management.  THANK-YOU VERY MUCH, KIDS.

#2  Doug (and Mark) took me grocery shopping on Saturday.  And Lindsay drove me to Cub Scouts.   I got to go to church on Sunday.  I am happy I can ride in cars, now.

#3  Emily brought home BBQ ribs (from Market Street Grill) on SUPER BOWL SATURDAY since I could not go to the SUPER BOWL PARTY at Grandma's and Grandpa's.

#4  I read John Grisham's new book, "The Confession".  I enjoyed it AND it is great to be able to read again.

#5  Yep, I can read again.  I have had fun reading blogs on the computer.  And I am happy I can post on MY blog again :-)

#6  In several places, and with different themes, I have seen the year long "52 P" Project.  It involves taking a picture each week that will illustrate your year.  I am happy to be doing that.  (Only 1 problem.  My memory card has been lost since Friday night.  UGH!)

#7  Ashley has a pair of earrings that I love every time I see them on her.  Leslie, Lindsay and Hilary looked at the store they were from, with no luck :( 
Mark and Ashley checked at both store locations.  No luck :(  Then one day a box came UPS.  Yep!  Mark and Ashley had ordered the earrings for me on line.  THANK YOU!  I love them.  A lot. (Not sure they were me, but they are now.)

#8  I am really happy (and so grateful) That Leslie and Lindsay dye my hair for me.  I used to dye my own hair all the time until about 1 year ago.  One of my daughters came home from work with a story about a woman (now known as SPOT) who had missed a part of hair and walked around with a large gray "spot".  Yes I do appreciate their attention to detail :)  (If I had shaved my head at the beginning of my spine problems, I wonder how long my hair would be now?)

#9  While everyone was gone on Super Bowl Sunday, the little screw fell out of my glasses and the lens fell out.  No reading or computer use until someone could take them in.  (I looked hard for the screw.  Even used a magnet.)  When Doug came home, he found the screw still in the hole.  He fixed them for me :)

#10  I can cook again (and unloaded the dishwasher).

I will post pics when the memory card is found.
On "What I Buy, Wednesday" I will share one of my favourite treats to buy when we are out.


If you are still looking for a last minute Valentine, I have found an EASY one.  I can not remember where I saw it first, but as soon as I tried it I started thinking about variations.


2 cups (1 bag - 10-12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 can chocolate fudge canned frosting (NOT WHIPPED)

In a microwave dish, layer chips and microwave 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave another minute and stir in your can of frosting.  Stir well, scrapping the sides, until fudge is smooth and the gloss is gone. 
Spread in a greased (about) 8x8 dish.  (Can be lined with sprayed foil.)

That's it!

I made this Saturday for a basketball game.  It was a hit.  A BIG hit.  (I know, it sounds weird.) When I brought the fudge out, I just said it was a new recipe-no details.  People commented on the flavour and smooth texture..

As I looked into other ideas I saw that some people suggest adding a pinch of salt and 1/2 tea. vanilla
for added depth. 
Some suggest after melting the chips, that you melt the frosting, also.  (It will set up.)
I used 2 ingredients and it was great.  (And it is cheaper than the chips, evaporated milk, sugar, butter, marshmellow cream... that I usually use.)

Ready for just a few variations?

Milk chocolate chips/Cream cheese frosting

Milk chocolate chips/German chocolate frosting

Peanut butter chips/Chocolate frosting

Peanut butter chips/ Vanilla frosting

White chocolate chips/Vanilla frosting

Now, think add ins ;)  Nuts. dried fruit, 2 layers of different kinds of fudge, coconut...
I found some ideas at

Do you already have everything you need to make this Valentine treat?  If you try this, tell us what you make.
And, have a great day!

Friday, February 11, 2011


One month after surgery and I get to do more.  I can not drive, but I can ride :0 )  I can go grocery shopping, but not buy very much :(   I can do laundry (and yes, I want to), but not lift or carry.  Yet.  (The Dr. gave me my x-ray and I am thinking it will be fun Halloween decor.  Plus, I will get 2 more.)

This week I made dinner twice.  One night I tried a new Chicken Enchilada Soup.  I had high hopes for it but... nope.  I (we) really love the Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe that my sister in law, came up with.  Plus, it is easier (very easy) AND cheaper (you probably have everything already) to make.  So I decided to link back to that soup post as we near the end of winter??  (It is the one I take to our church soup social and I always get requests for the recipe.)

In conjunction with our soup social (end of March) is our Cub Scout Bake Sale Auction (fund raiser) so I am trying new recipes for my auction item/s.  Do you have a recipe that gets requests?  (Last year I took Peanut Butter Cup Brownies.  (Cassidy, one of my followers, bought them.  Thanks, Cassidy :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I am starting something new on Wednesdays. I will post something that I buy (usually) regularly, and why I buy it.  I am not being compensated and the product/idea/words are my own.

Today I am sharing my dishwasher soap. 
Have you noticed problems with your clean dishes?  For my daughter it was a grainy coating.  For me, it was dishes not coming clean, and white streaks on my stainless steel door.  The reason for the problems is that some states have outlawed phosphates  (phosphates help soften water and keep food from redepositing on the clean dishes) in home dish washing detergents.  (So far 16 states have outlawed it and Utah is one of them. The compliance deadline is in June.)

I had been using Cascade liquid.  My daughter was using Cascade powder, which caused more problems.  We were buying it at Sam's Club/Costco.  My daughter told me her mother in law liked an orange bottled soap, so we started looking for it.  We found it at Maceys Grocery Store in Sandy.  (Maceys has several locations in Utah.)  
It is called, "SUN SATIONS", and manufactured in UT.  According to the code on the bottle there are no phosphates in this dish washer soap.  I have really been pleased with it.   Another real advantage to SUN SATIONS is the price.  My 75 oz. was under $5.00.  Whoo Hoo!

We found a 26 oz. (blue) box at DOLLAR TREE, so I tried it. (I could not tell from the code if it has phosphates.  It is manufactured in CT.)  While I have only used it once, it worked fine.  An improvement over Cascade.

UPDATE 18 Feb., 2011 - At my local Winco the bottle is repackaged as "SUN".  I bought it and still find this liqued superior to Cascade liqued.  PLUS (drum roll)  only $2.94 for the 75 oz.   

We would love it if you shared your favourite dishwasher soaps.
Have a product that you really recommend?  We would love to have you share.


Next Wednesday "WHAT I BUY" will be a treat.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I have added a VERY FUN new "PLACE(S) I VISIT"
Now I can visit Times Square at the click of my computer.

With these live camera shots and cell phones I can have my brother and his family wave to me when they are there.  Any other relatives going to New York before I (try to) go with Debbie and Matt in August?  Call me when you are there.  :)
(To visit Times Square click on the link on the right side of my blog, under "PLACES I VISIT".)
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