Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My list of things I want to blog about is rapidly snowballing, so I realized that rather than expanding on various topics, I need to just compose a mish-mash post.

*I can hardly believe January is almost half over already! I've been participating in my own version of the popular pantry challenge, and am finally getting around to posting about it. For me, the overall goal is a financial one. I'm aiming to spend half (or less) of our usual monthly food budget. (Of course, this will translate into buying less, but I'm not limiting the amount of trips to the grocery store in January.) If I meet my goal, I want to bless someone else with the surplus, and I also want to tighten the reins on our food budget for the rest of the year (and maybe beyond). If I can make half the amount work for one month, I don't know why I can't live within a reduced amount all the time. I feel pretty motivated, and will plan to check back at the end of the month with further thoughts.

*It might seem silly to start thinking about next Christmas already, but I like to be on the lookout all year long for goodies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. If you're interested in participating next year, I thought this post was very inspirational: this family filled 45 boxes for just $45!! OCC is a very cool program, and they have a new option where you can track the destination of your shoebox. We just found out ours went to Honduras. How exciting!

*I've been wanting to share a link to a fun boutique that my friend Amanda is participating in. If you're looking for cute and sturdy reusable bags, or a variety of accessories, you should check out this site!

*Crockpot dishes are becoming a mainstay for our Sunday dinners. We don't get home from church until 12:15 or later, and it's wonderful to have our meal ready to serve. I'm running out of ideas, though! I just perused the recipes on this site, but am looking for some additional inspiration. We're tricky, because I don't eat any red meat or pork, and Eric is allergic to tomatoes and citrus fruits. If you have a crockpot recipe you think will fit the bill, I'd be most grateful to hear from you!

*Lastly, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember that I did some part-time work at a local college last year. Well, they've called me to pinch-hit again, and I'll be helping them out with some big projects for the next 6 weeks. Thus, I may be a little more scarce around here . . .

Thanks for reading, and stay warm. It's in the 20s here, which sadly feels warm after having temps in the NEGATIVE 20s!


Katie said...

Neat ideas on this post - thanks for the links!

Our homeschool group does OCC as a group, and each of the families brings items to help fill each box. We have also had good response from the community when asking for donations for this cause. One mother's dentist donated all the toothbrushes and toothpaste; Walmart was happy to donate shoeboxes; one member's church donated the shipping costs. We showed the promo video to the kids at the event and made a service project out of it. Fun!

One easy crockpot meal I was introduced to this fall was putting boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the pot along with 1/2 cup water and a full bottle of your fave BBQ sauce. (If chix was frozen, give it a good 6-7 hours. If it was thawed, it will only take a couple on HIGH - maybe longer on LOW.) When you see it is fully cooked, take a fork to pull/shred - should come apart very easily. Shred well and serve on a Kaiser roll or bun. Good sides are salad, chips, fruit, etc. I've made this a few times now, and I'm amazed at how easy this is.

Mom said...

Good post! :) I'm interested in the family that filled 45 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for $45 - wow!

You may already have these, but here are a few crockpot ideas:
1. White chili
2. Crockpot chicken (chicken breasts with potatoes/carrots/gravy - you've had this at our house before)
3. Chicken teriyaki (6-8 chicken pieces covered with a bottle of teriyaki sauce - cook on low about 8 hours or high about 4 hours)

Let me know if you want the recipe for the first two -- the third one is so easy, I included the "recipe."

Have a great day! Love, Mom

erin said...

our crockpot has been getting a major work-out this year! here is one of our current favorites:
chicken tacos -- 1 package of frozen chicken and half to 3/4 quarters of a jar of green salsa, cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Serve with corn tortillas and other taco items. It doesn't get much easier than that!
Also, I have a great recipe for corn chowder that I will send you if you would like it.
The 'Fix It and Forget It' Cookbook is full of great recipes - highly recommend it!

Hestermania! said...

i started stockpiling OCC goodies around Christmas time last year, and this year, had enough to fill 7 boxes without ever having spent a cent! i put in toys/games/little things the kids got for Christmas last year that they just didn't need, free toothpastes/brushes/school supplies from CVS i collected throughout the year, and every happy meal toy the kids got at any fast food place throughout the year (so i guess technically i paid for those) ;) then all i had to spend was the $7 a box! i was so happy, i can't wait to do it again this year

angie said...

Wow, so much to digest on this post.
The only crock pot recipe I can think of that meets your criteria is really only one ingredient: turkey breast. I buy one, thaw it, and rub it all over with olive oil. In several hours it is done, floating in its own broth, and ready for lots of uses. We love to shred it for sandwiches.

Kara K said...

Yay Carrie - good luck in your pinch hitting!
Kara K

Anonymous said...

What about the college deal? What??? Tell me tell me...maybe Saturday we can talk. :)

Love you!