Failure – BBQ Meatballs

B will eagerly tell you that sometimes I make bad meals. The flavors aren’t right, it wasn’t to our liking, it was too spicy, etc. But rarely do I ever BURN our dinner to a point that it’s inedible. I did just that last night.

I have made BBQ meatballs in the crock pot several times with no major problems. But last night’s were completely black. Disgusting. Yuck! I am about 100% sure it was the fault of the BBQ sauce I used. I’m not going to call out which BBQ sauce it was, but do know it was a store brand. I was disappointed with this same brand, different flavor, that I used in some BBQ chicken I made for myself in the crock pot for lunch a couple weeks ago. Definitely not going to use it in the slow cooker again.

I’m not convinced the flavor was that good before it was burnt, anyway. I’ll go back to Kraft (or as B would prefer, KC Masterpiece) BBQ sauce from now on.

So I’m not providing you with the recipe because it was a failure, and because I plan eventually I will redo it and I will provide you with the recipe then.


Pita Pizzas

Despite the potential for disaster, last night’s dinner went OK.

I didn’t get the beef and noodles we were supposed to have made.

I forgot to pull the pitas out of the freezer before work.

I didn’t cook up a pound of spicy sausage as I had anticipated doing.

Once I thawed the pitas and had them on the pizza oven covered in sauce, I found out that B had eaten all the leftover pepperoni from when his sister and brother-in-law had visited earlier this month.

So we had cheese pita pizzas instead of pepperoni ones. But I thought they were pretty good. G ate several slices of hers, B and I each ate two. Definitely something I plan on doing again!

Please note that I own a Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven that I bought B for his birthday a couple years ago. This thing is SO fun! I love watching and smelling my pizza bake! If you’re going to do this in an oven, I have no idea at what temperature you should cook these. Since you’re not baking the dough, all you’re needing to do is crisp up the pita and melt the cheese. 350-degrees should work, no?

Pita Pizzas

1 pkg whole pitas (bought on sale for $1/pkg)
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 jar pizza sauce
(Should have also had pepperoni, but you can top these with any of your favorite pizza toppings.)

Arrange three pitas on Pizzazz tray. Spread two tablespoons of sauce on each pita. Top with cheese and toppings (I added some crushed red pepper flakes to mine. B and G just had cheese.)

Set Pizzazz to cook both top and bottom for about 12 minutes, or until pita is crisp and cheese begins to brown.

Serve 3 pitas to everyone. I cut G’s into 6 slices, and the grownups got 4 slices each.

Repeat with remaining two pitas. By the time B and I ate our first pizza, the second ones were almost finished. It worked out well.

Meal Plan 1/14-1/20

Friday – Stir Fry

Saturday – B is out of town, so G and I are going to have Pancakes and Sausage links and Chicken Pot Pie from Pillsbury

Sunday – Meatballs w/ Peppers & Pineapples from The Pioneer Woman and Steak or Porkchops

Monday – Tacos

Tuesday – Beef & Noodles (Crock Pot) Pita Pizzas

Wednesday – Pita Pizzas Eat out, as B decided to go to OKC at the last minute.

Thursday – BBQ Meatballs (Crock Pot)

For my Breakfast: Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burritos Cold cereal. I failed to make these last weekend.

For my Lunch: Leftover Chicken Pot Pie

(Anything that isn’t currently linked to a recipe will be linked up the day after we have it.)

2011 in one word

As I was catching up on my Monday blog reading yesterday, I came across this post from one of the newest blogs I’ve started following, Keeping Life Creative. And since then, I have seen this idea popping up all over the blogosphere. I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon.

The idea is to pick one word and create a theme around it for the whole year. So for 2011, I am going to chose the word “focus.”

Definition of “focus”(as it relates to me) from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online:

a : focal length b : adjustment for distinct vision; also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image c : a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding <tried to bring the issues into focusd : direction

a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention b : a point of concentration

: directed attention : emphasis
All of these definitions speak strongly to me about what I want out of 2011.


I want to bring my overall life into focus. I would like to get a clearer picture of what I want out of this year and beyond.
I want to focus in such a way that I finish tasks I start. I’m really bad about starting something and then getting sidetracked. For example, I started crocheting an advent tree the week before Thanksgiving. It was an easy enough project that I should have finished it before the end of November, so it could be hung with the rest of my Christmas decorations when we got back from Dallas after Thanksgiving. It’s still sitting, unfinished, unassembled in a bag at the foot of my couch.


The desire to focus on tasks goes beyond my recreational activities. I get sidetracked and don’t fold the laundry when it comes out of the dryer. So it sits, in the basket, next to the couch until I get really fed up with the four(!) baskets of laundry that just seem to keep multiplying. Add in that G now thinks she needs to help me with everything around the house and all of a sudden the dirty clothes and clean clothes are all mixed together.


I want to focus on myself this year. This will honestly probably be the hardest thing to direct focus toward. I don’t do much for myself. I just don’t. But I want to get in better shape (and hopefully lose some weight in the process). I want to feel good about myself mentally, emotionally and physically. One specific thing I plan to do is get haircuts regularly. In 2010, I got my hair cut twice. Once in the late winter/early spring using a gift card my mom gave me at Christmas. The second time? The week of Christmas. Yeah… So I talked to the lady who did my hair just before Christmas and she said every two months is what she suggests. I am probably going to stretch it to every three months. That’s four haircuts a year, which is TWICE as many as last year. I think every three months is a feasible goal. Maybe I’ll go get a manicure or pedicure at some point this year just to spoil myself!


So I have now mentioned focusing on my crafts, my housework, and myself. But there are two things that are very important that I also need to focus on. B and G. I want my quality time with both of them to be of a much better quality than they have been. I don’t have a large quantity of time, so I want to have highly quality time with them. Sometimes, when I get home from work, all I want to do is veg a bit. But G wants to play, and play and play and play. It kills me to put off her requests just because Momma doesn’t feel like it, or is fixing dinner, or trying to finish eating, or because it’s a little bit cold in the basement. That’s going to change. Yeah, we still can’t go play outside when it’s dark. But I can make up for it and go outside on the weekends. A lot! We can go for walks! And I can put her in her stroller and go on a walk myself (thus taking care of her and my needs!)


And once G goes to bed, I need to devote more time to B. Plain and simple. We need more time together. And now that we have a Wii, maybe that’ll help… We are both very different people than we were when we got married, and sometimes I wonder who he has become. We need to reconnect. We need to laugh together. I need to show B how much he really means to me.


Finally, I want to focus on this blog. I really enjoy the IDEA of helping people with limited amounts of time to cook instead of eating out. It saves you so much time, money and health to eat what you cook at home. I am going to try to get away from boxed dinners (Hamburger Helper, I’m calling you out!), despite the fact that it is so darn easy to fall back on. I’m going to bring out my crock pot / ahem slow cooker more. I want to expand our menu, and for it to be things that B likes to eat!
So “focus” is my word for 2011. I challenge you to choose a word that describes your goals for the year. There are so many great words out there just waiting for you to dedicate your year to them! Check out the link at the beginning of this blog if you want some more ideas.

First Trip to Aldi

In all seriousness, the first time I went to Aldi, I spent $10 on groceries for our week. Granted, I utilized a lot of things from our pantry…

I decided to set my budget at $60 for groceries (remember, dog and cat supplies do not count). I used HALF my budget the first week.

Here’s my list for my 12/3/10 shopping at Aldi:
Light Sour Cream $0.89
Cream Corn $0.39
Beef Bouillon Cubes $1.39
Tastes Like Butter $0.99
“Healthy” Cream of Chicken Soup $0.69
Ranch Tortilla Chips $0.99
Small Round Tortilla Chips $0.99
Split Top Wheat Bread $0.99
Soft Taco Sized Flour Tortillas $0.99

And my spoiler item:
(2) Silicone “Sil-Pat” Mats $9.99 ea (These are HUGE! Larger than my big cookie sheets. I goofed and thought they were $6.99 ea [as that was the only sign I saw at the time], but those ones would have been the size I wanted. Live and learn…)

Total spent at Aldi: $30.36 incl tax

I also spent $10 on a cat bed for my female cat and her four newborn kittens! (I have four kittens that will need homes in 5-7 weeks. *hinthint**winkwink**nudgenudge*)

I stopped at Dillon’s for dog food (again, not in the budget, $15), Hamburger Helper (on 10/$10 sale, bought 5) and frozen entrees for lunch (Michelina’s on sale for $0.88 ea, bought 5.) So basically I spent $10 of grocery budget at Dillon’s.

Total for the week: $40.36 (This will be exciting when I start using Dave Ramsey‘s envelope system and cash…)

Meal Plan 12/10-12/16

I will write about my Aldi shopping trips shortly. But first I wanted to share our meal plan for the next week:

Friday – Eating out with B and G

Saturday – Lunch=French Toast Sticks (from freezer stash)
Saturday – Dinner=Balsalmic Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions (From my inspiration to blog!)

Sunday – Lunch=Hamburger Steaks w/ Brown Gravy & Mashed Potatoes
Sunday – Dinner=Slow Cooker Fajitas

My Breakfast – Breakfast Burritos
My Lunch – Chef Salad

Monday – Italian Beef Sandwiches (This recipe is one of the reasons I chose to start the Aldi challenge!)

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Chili

Wednesday – Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday – Spaghetti

Not letting this go

First, let me apologize to at least the ONE person I know of who is following me here. After I posted the Aldi thing, I starting doing a lot of research and decision making, and also went to points south to have Thanksgiving with my in-laws.

I have made the leap. This week marks the second week in a row that I have shopped at Aldi. I have set a budget of $60/week for groceries, toiletries, and other household things. Not pets. That’s an important decision I made. My dogs eat super-cheap Dillon’s Old Yeller dog food ($15 for 50 lb bag most of the time), and now that there are 8 (yes, EIGHT) dogs living at my house, I go through food pretty quickly. The cats also consume things. I didn’t want to have to sacrifice our menu in order to feed my dogs or cats. So they’re on their own.

I am now on a Friday-Thursday week instead of the Saturday-Friday week I was when I started. I know this is very odd for the blogosphere, so I don’t think I’ll ever go mainstream with this, unfortunately. But I want to help you! So I’m back in the game. Today!