Cream Cheese Shrimp Rolls

I am finally making the time to get this recipe posted!! Yay for me!  It seems like I’ve been busy doing insignificant things lately. While I do realize that I probably don’t always use my time wisely, I have been being productive!  For instance, this morning I made our first batch of fresh salsa using our own tomatoes and hot peppers!  This makes for a happy hubby since it is one of his favorite summer time foods!

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I’ve also been busy writing letters to my AB son who is just completing his 5th week of training in San Antonio. Basics are not allowed to have computers or cell phones unless authorized, so any communication with him is done the old fashioned way…hand-written letters!  He isn’t the greatest at writing back, but I must give him credit for trying. I think I have received 5 letters!  And we even got 2 phone calls last weekend!!!  Coming up with creative ways to correspond isn’t always easy. Here is one way that I did though:

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I’ve also been busy crocheting a baby blanket for our first grandbaby scheduled to arrive in early September! No picture of it yet since I don’t want my daughter-in-law seeing it until I actually give it to her!  And I’ve been making collegiate checkerboard Christmas stockings!  Here is a sample:

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Now, back to the shrimp rolls. You might have read my post about egg rolls a few weeks ago.   That night the hubby also created this recipe.  He and all four of my kiddlets love shrimp. I am the oddball here because I rarely if ever like shrimp or other types of seafood.  I know…weird, right?  These amounts are pretty much guesses since he didn’t write any of it down.

8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4 c. mayonnaise

1/8 c. ricotta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper

sesame seed oil to taste

2-3 tbsp. butter

splash of lemon or lime juice (or both)

1 c. small shrimp (can be chopped into tiny pieces)

about 6-8 egg roll wrappers

peanut oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and ricotta cheese. Stir in salt, pepper and red pepper.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add shrimp, sesame seed oil, and lemon or lime juice.  My hubby added the seasonings to the shrimp instead of the cheese mixture.  I don’t think it matters when you add them.  Stir until heated through.  Combine shrimp with cream cheese mixture.

Place a spoonful of mixture on each egg roll wrapper.  Wrap according to package directions and fry following the directions given here.   Enjoy!

Never Buy Spray Oils Again!!

I never bought spray oils when I was first married.  Then, after a time, I decided to give them a try, especially when I found them on sale and had coupons to match. We moms never pass up good deals, right?    I’ve used them often over the years and generally liked the convenience of prepping a pan for baking.

Last year I discovered that the coating on several non-stick pans was looking pretty grungy and ugly.  After doing a little research, I realized that the use of spray oils over time will ruin pans.  And the stuff isn’t exactly good for us either. I finally decided that I needed to stop using these oils for the sake of my own health as well as for the upkeep of my new baking pans.

I found the best solution the other day at one of the local housewares stores.  It is a spray mist container! I simply pour in my favorite cooking oil, screw on the lid, and pump the top several times. I can then spray my pans!  The concept is very similar to the spray container the hubby uses out in the yard to spray weeds.

The cost was under $10 with a 20% off coupon that I had!  No more buying spray oils for me!

The Merry, Merry Month of May

Today begins the merry month of May, and for me, it will be a marathon month.  I have lots going on beginning this Saturday and ending on June 5, so please pardon me if I don’t post much this month.

On Saturday I start my marathon of activities with an early morning flight out to Omaha to meet up with the Best Aunt Ever and drive back East. That drive, though it is 16 hours, will be a wonderful road trip!  We hope to be back home by the morning of the 5th.  On the 8th, the Best Aunt Ever and I will drive to Virginia  for the wedding of my girl and her Navy man!  The rest of the family makes the trip on the 9th.  You may remember about a year ago that my oldest 2 kiddlets got engaged within 24 hours of each other. You can read about it here.We had the first of the weddings last October, and now it’s time for the second of those weddings!!!  I am sooooo excited!

We will have a few weeks to rest and visit before we make the trip to Alabama for the wedding of my nephew and his girl.  Unfortunately, we will have to return home right after the wedding to allow  my youngest to be at home for his last Sunday. He leaves on June 3 for AF BMT. Once he leaves, he will be gone until January.  Saddness!    The Best Aunt Ever and I will also have to leave that day on our road trip back to Omaha so that I can catch my flight home on the 5th.

In the meantime, I want to share a new recipe for making your own laundry detergent.  Last summer I shared this recipe for making detergent.  I have been using it ever since…haven’t bought laundry detergent in almost a year!  Well, the other day I found a new recipe using the same ingredients.  I had no idea that I could make this detergent without cooking it to melt the soap!  I think that I will be making this new recipe from now on.  It is so much easier!

Cooked Apples

Sorry it has been a bit since I last posted here on the blog! Days are filled with all sorts of activities!  Most of my time recently has been spent in getting all our tax information ready for our tax man to work on for us. Business taxes must be filed by March 15, so we usually try to get them ready close to the end of February.  I had them finished and to our tax consultant yesterday afternoon! Glad that is behind me!

The next event is Barbi’s bridal shower this weekend.  Because of her work schedule, she won’t get to arrive here until just about time for the shower to start, and then she needs to leave the following morning!  Wish she could stay longer, but at least she’ll be here for a bit. Less than 75 days to the big day!!

Since my last post our weather has turned rather balmy. We went from the frigid temperatures with snow and ice to warm temps (think 70s) with rain, thunder, lightning, and strong winds.  Oh, yes, and an earthquake, too! We have definitely experienced a bi-polar southern winter this year!  We are actually experiencing more normal temperatures this week as we approach March 1.

This morning while searching my fridge, I noticed that my fruit/vegetable bin still had some apples in it from the fall. While some were looking a little wrinkly, most were actually ok.  I pulled out the good ones, washed them, peeled, and cut them into 8ths.  I didn’t actually measure to see how many cups I had. I just threw them all in my large sauce pan…filled it about 3/4 full.

My initial thought was to just make them into applesauce, but then I remembered those delicious apples served over at one of my favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel.  Surely, I could figure out that recipe or at least come pretty close to it. And I did!  I didn’t carefully measure my ingredients, so this really was an experiment, but these taste wonderful!

Apples, cut into 8ths, peeled and cored (enough to fill your pot about 3/4 full)

about 3/4 c. brown sugar

about 3/4 to 1 tsp. cinnamon

1 to 1-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch together and sprinkle over the apples in the pot.  Stir to cover all the apples.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender.

I did not add any extra liquid to my apples, but let the juices from the apples be the liquid.  If you desire your  sauce to be a bit thinner, add a little apple juice to the mix until the consistency is what you prefer.  Enjoy!

Saving Money…Thrift Store Shopping

Life with little ones is all about saving money, right?  Whether it is at the grocery store, a clothing shop, or toy store, we moms want to get as much for our dollar as we possibly can!

Leighann over at Three Hobbits and a Giant shared her ideas on thrift store shopping the other day.  She has some great ideas, so I thought I’d share them here with you.  While you are on her blog, check out some of her recipes!

You can read her post here.

Cider Vinegar-Honey Morning Tonic

A lot of us have begun this new year with great plans for getting into shape, going on diets, and trying to get back into good health.  Unfortunately, by the end of January, most of these plans have gone by the wayside.

Sometimes the ideas we try actually work, and other times, they don’t.  What works for one, may or may not work for another.  Many years ago my mother (my cooking inspiration) realized that she definitely needed to lose weight when she went dress shopping for an event. I was pretty young at the time and don’t even remember what the event was. What I do remember was my mom’s sadness at having to buy a size 22 dress.  She was appalled at the weight she had slowly gained over the years.  Mom made a decision to lose weight so that she would never have to buy that size again….and she did!

Mom not only cut back on calories, but she decided to drink one cup of hot liquid about an hour before each meal. She would drink hot tea or hot broth before eating.  The idea here is to let the body know that food really is coming!  Mom discovered that she wasn’t as hungry when she ate her meals, and therefore, she ate less.  It really worked for her.  I remember her excitement when she was wearing a size 14!

So, whether you count calories or carbs or just cut back on your portions, the important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it.  Getting exercise is also a must!

I am approaching my mid-50s and have been blessed (so far) to have fairly good health.  Other than typical aches and pains, I  am rarely if ever sick.  However, last summer I began to notice slight headaches more frequently than I usually had and just a general feeling of sluggishness.  I wondered if my blood pressure was contributing to the headaches, so I began taking my blood pressure once a day and writing it down to keep track of it.  Sure enough, I noticed that it was higher than it used to be.

Anyone having very high blood pressure needs to be under a care of a physician, but mine wasn’t terribly high…just a little higher than it had been in the last few years.  So I decided to do a little research on ways to treat high blood pressure naturally.  Taking a garlic capsule and drinking this amazing tonic each morning have done wonders!!

I found quite a few articles on line about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, and decided to give it a try.  I knew it wouldn’t hurt, and it is is much less expensive and better for the body than prescription meds.  After several experiments, I came up with this recipe.  I drink 1/4 cup of this every morning and have found that my blood pressure is back in the normal range, I have more energy, and when eating better (cutting out the deliciously-bad-for-you carbs) I have actually lost weight.

This makes 1 pint.  Drinking 1/4 cup each morning will make it last 4 days.

4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with the mother

4 tbsp. honey

3/4 c. hot water

1 c.  orange juice  ( I also use this.)

Mix the cider vinegar, honey, and hot water. Stir until honey is melted.  Add juice to make one pint.  Cover and keep in fridge. Stir before pouring your 1/4 c. serving.

I drink it first thing in the morning before my hot tea and breakfast!

Want to Be a Wedding Coordinator?

Hey, Everyone!

I am helping out my friend Brenda over at The Organized Bride.  Brenda is offering an e -class to help wedding coordinators. If you are interested, click on this link: Click here to visit The Organized Bride.
For everyone who signs up for the class through my blog, I get compensated!!  So we both win!  By taking this course, you will learn amazing things about helping brides on their special day.

Random Thoughts and Laundry Detergent

I realized the other day that it has been several weeks since I have written a post for this blog.  So sorry about that!  I thought that once our home schooling was over (we finished 20 years in May), that I would have more time to devote to this blog.  Well, the summer proved to be busy, and I just didn’t get back here like I wanted to.  The garden is about finished…mainly because we have had too much rain and not enough sunshine!  We are just now getting our figs…about a month later than normal.

However slow I have been in writing, though, has not deterred my faithful readers from stopping by.  Just yesterday we passed the 10,000 views mark for this blog!!  I am totally impressed and thankful!

Quite a few views have been for 2 posts I wrote about mailing letters and packages to college kids at The Citadel and those going through Basic Military Training (BMT).  I am so glad that I can be of some help to wives, girlfriends, and moms who are learning the ropes of military life.

Since I posted last, Ben has gotten settled in at The Citadel for his 3rd year!  (How is it possible that he is a junior??)  He was  busy preparing for all the new Knobs to arrive, and then working with them now that they have.  The rest of the SC Corp of Cadets arrive in the next several days, and then classes will begin.  Ben has a full schedule this semester!!

Wedding plans for my two oldest are coming right along.  We are almost at the 2-month mark for Russ and Hope!!  They are busy with wedding preparations and getting their apartment ready.  Barbi and Sam have set their date for early May, so we still have some time for preparations.

My youngest has been working part time for the hubby and looking for another part time job to help fill his time. He is waiting for just a few minor details to be worked out and then should receive his dates for BMT with the Air Force. He is seeking to be part of the SC National Guard.  So, it looks like another trip to San Antonio will be in the works sometime in 2014!

The other day I decided to try making laundry detergent.  I had seen a recipe on Face Book shared by several of my friends, so I decided to give it a try.   I got the recipe from this website:  http://www.budget101.com/myo-household-items/whipped-cream-super-laundry-soap-3993.html I followed the recipe and directions exactly as they were written…no experimenting this time! It uses just  3 ingredients plus water…borax, washing soda, and Fels Naptha.

After the “cooking” part of the process, the jars sit a few hours upside down.

002While they sit upside down, the white part you see here gets quite thick.  After I turned them over, I removed the lid and used a knife to break up the thick soap.  The next step (step 8 in the recipe) totally amazed me!   I never knew that quart mason jars could be attached to the blade of a blender! Seriously, how did I never know that??  It could have saved me work and time over the years when I was making other things!

004Anyway, blend the mixture until it looks creamy…like mayonnaise!  Be sure to label your jars to prevent anyone from eating it!  I have used this laundry soap for quite a few loads of wash and no one in the family has complained!  Not even my one who delcared, “You aren’t using that stuff with my laundry!”  Oh, yes! I am! and he hasn’t even noticed!

 

Citrus Oil Lamps

Have you noticed how many recipes seem to be popping up on your facebook newsfeed lately?  I see new recipes being shared all the time from one source or another.  I saw this experiment last week, but I have no clue which friend shared it or what the source was.  If I knew, I would be sure to post it.

Anyway, it looked easy and fun to try, so today I made an orange/coconut oil lamp!  Any citrus fruit can be used with any kitchen oil.  I used coconut oil with half an orange.

Use a citrus half that has a definite core showing in the center.

004Using a serrated knife, cut around the orange and down the inside to completely remove the fleshy part of the fruit. Be careful not to prick through the rind.

005Pour your choice of oil into the citrus half.  Light the core for a miniature oil lamp!  Since the core is damp, it may take several tries to get it to stay lit.  I think I used about 4 matches before it finally took hold.

006Mine has been burning about half and hour and I am beginning to smell a lovely aroma of orange and coconut!