Well I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken challenge and was able to get four dinners out of my one chicken. I was very excited! I even had enough leftovers for lunch the next day. After making the black bean chowder, I decided to make a stir-fry with lots of veggies and rice the next night. The next couple of days, we were a little tired of eating chicken and decided to have some other things for dinner. :) I actually still have a little bit of chicken leftover in the freezer to use for something else. I was thinking about making chicken and dumplings with it later. I as very pleased with how far that little chicken stretched for us! I would encourage y'all to see if you can come up with more ways to use a chicken and make it stretch farther for your family!
Hmmmm...sounds a little strange doesn't it? Well...I'm not going to be actually stretching a chicken, but I gave myself the challenge of being frugal and seeing how many meals I could get out of one whole chicken! I got the idea after seeing this article. I had a chicken in the freezer, and thought, "Why not give it a try?" I'm not finished with the challenge yet, but this is what I've done so far...
Here is my chicken! It's kind of a small chicken (I think four pounds), so I'm not expecting to get much out of this little guy. It will be interesting to see what happens though! Well yesterday afternoon, I just baked it in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Looking good!
This is all of the meat that I could get off of the chicken. Not much but we'll see. I put all of the meat in the freezer to be used later, leaving a little out for last night's dinner. I also put the bones in another bag and in the fridge to be used to make chicken broth. Waste not want not!
Monday: Chicken Enchiladas
Last night at dinner time, I wanted something extremely easy for dinner so I used my reserved chicken in chicken enchiladas (one of Eli's favorite meals :)) We had these with sour cream, green onions, and some fresh cilantro sprinkled on top. There was even enough leftover for him to take some to work today! Does that count for two meals then? :)
Tuesday: Black Bean Chowder
Tonight, we are having this for dinner! This soup is also really easy to whip up in a jiffy! This morning, I boiled the chicken bones in enough water to cover and cooked it until the broth reduced a bit. Then, I drained the broth with a colander and started throwing this soup together. There was enough chicken left on the bones to put into the soup, but I kind of picked it all off and ate it for breakfast. :) Plus this soup normally doesn't even have chicken in it. You can find this recipe here.
So that's where I am today! Two meals...or three if we're counting leftovers. I wonder what I'm going to make tomorrow...
What a rainy Friday it has been! We are hosting church at our home this Sunday, so a majority of my day has been spent scrubbing and cleaning the house. I'm kind of glad it was raining today because who wants to be stuck inside cleaning on a warm sunny day? :) It was such a lovely day though, and I was able to get all of my cleaning done and enjoy a visit this morning from a friend, also a young mother, that I had been talking to off and on for a while. Also, Esther ate her first bites of rice cereal this morning! I couldn't tell if she liked it or not. :) She made a funny face when I gave her a little spoonful and then seemed to enjoy it. One time I thought she had swallowed and, before I knew it, it was being spit out all over me. :) Silly girl.
Since today was so busy, I decided to take it easy for dinner tonight and throw together some sort of soup. I have been subscribing to Food Network magazine and in each issue there is some sort of "copy-cat" recipe from different restaurants. I decided to make "Broccoli-Cheddar Soup" that tastes identical to the soup at Panera's. Eli and I really enjoy it but don't eat it too often because it has quite a bit of cheese and butter. :) It is so good though...probably for those reasons. :) Here's the recipe if y'all want to try it...
Panera's Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
6 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 C. all purpose flour
2 C. half and half (I use milk to be less fattening)
3 C. chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 t. nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 C. broccoli, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 1/2 C. grated cheddar cheese
Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, then gradually whisk in half and half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to medium low heat and cook for about 20 minutes until thickened. Add broccoli and carrot and simmer until tender. Discard bay leaves. Blend soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and add cheese. Stir until melted and serve.
With the warmer weather approaching, I have been getting motivated to begin a bigger garden this year! Last year, my garden was looking rather sad. :) It still looks sad now but hopefully it won't for long! For our 16 month anniversary (yes we are still celebrating the months :)) Eli took me to buy some seeds to get started with. I went a little crazy because I want to plant so much this year and ended up buying 14 different packs of seeds! I'm planning on planting lettuce, spinach, beets, eggplant, squash, sweet peppers, spring onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers, and a handful of herbs. I have big plans for my garden, and I'm going to have to try really hard to be diligent with and committed to all of the hard work a garden requires!
About a month or so ago, my family brought me more plants from my old herb garden including more boxwood, my evergreen tree, and clematis. Dad and the boys planted everything for me along with a crape myrtle and some butterfly bushes that Eli's parents gave us. I am excited to watch them grow as we get into spring. LORD willing, I will get my garden in ship shape and ready to be planted within the next couple of weeks. I am hoping to be able to can and freeze a lot of veggies this year. I remember getting to help Mom can tomatoes, salsa, pickles, beets, and other things from our garden that Dad planted. I hope to get really good at canning (with a lot of practice) so that I can teach Esther one day. It's beginning to become a lost art!
I'll post more pictures as my garden progresses.
Last weekend was absolutely beautiful! On Saturday, the first day of spring, we woke up to what I thought to be a perfect day to welcome in the new season. With it being so delightfully warm and sunny outside, Eli wanted to take little Esther and I to our favorite park to spend the day. With our picnic lunch, quilt, and stroller in tow, we headed off to our destination. Needless to say, the park was packed full with people who were also wanting to enjoy the spring sunshine...so packed that we spent about 20 minutes trying to park the car. :) We ended up having quite a time trying to parallel park on a crowded narrow street. My husband gets my praise for that one! I was certainly no help at all. :)
After walking quite a bit, we found a very secluded spot under a shady tree on a hill overlooking the park. The branches filtered the sun onto our quilt...giving perfect warmth to Esther who was busy soaking in all of the bright colors of spring around her... the vibrant blue sky, blooming white trees, little violet flowers growing in the grass, and my bright orange shirt. :) We had such a lovely day! Eli and I enjoyed being able to spend time together on such a beautiful outing, and we were able to talk for a bit while Sugar was busy herself chatting at the leaves and birds above her.
On our way back to the car, we passed by
the gazebo where Eli and I were married and then took our picture by a
blooming tree standing next to the path that I walked down on
our wedding day. It's neat to keep visiting the spot where we had
gotten married so we can reflect on how much our life together has
changed since November 16, 2008. A year ago I would've never thought
that I'd be pushing a stroller carrying a pink-cheeked baby girl around
the very spot that we exchanged our vows and committed our lives to
each other. God's plan for each of our lives is truly amazing! I wonder
where we'll be next year at this time!
Anyway, I have rambled long enough about Saturday...sorry. :) That is how we celebrated the first day of spring!
Greetings from Baby Land! My goodness, I can't believe how much time has flown by since my last post on the blog! It's amazing how so much of your time can be taken by a little lump of "sugar"...actually all of your time. As you may have noticed...I havn't written in quite a while! Sorry. :) I am enjoying my roles as a wife and mother very much, and find myself constantly learning new things every day! I'm still trying to figure out how to keep the house clean and all of the laundry done with a little baby who loves to play all of the time. :) It is a very fun adventure though even if it can be overwhelming sometimes!
Little Esther is almost four months now and is keeping me quite busy. She is smiling all of the time now, and I love it when she coos and laughs. It's so neat to be able to watch her grow and learn new things herself! She is starting to roll over now and is sitting up and grabbing things a lot. She loves to be busy! Eli and I are trying to keep her on a routine, and so far it's working out really nicely. She is sleeping more and more through the night...which is VERY nice. :)
I'm hoping to start writing again on here, but I'm afraid it may be every now and then. Eli and I don't have a computer or internet right now, so I'll only be able to write when I can. I will do my best to keep y'all updated though, and I love to blog and don't really want to give it up!
Hello everyone! I hope y'all are having a wonderful time preparing for the holidays! Eli and I are finishing up some last minute Christmas shopping and are looking forward to visiting family tomorrow and the next day. Esther is doing beautifully and is starting to coo and suck her thumb a little bit. :) She loves when Daddy looks at her and kisses her, and she is fascinated with our Christmas tree lights as of late!
Yesterday, my good friend Micah came over for a visit with her sister Lee and her mom. Micah was so gracious to take some beautiful pictures of Esther! She is a wonderful photographer as you can see if you visit her blog. She set up a little photo shoot in our kitchen and snapped away at Esther, taking tons of pictures! Esther was fascinated with the camera. :) Thank you so much Micah for taking her picture! They are beautiful! If y'all would like to see the other pictures that Micah took of Esther, go here. I still can't believe how sweet they are! I might just hang them all on my wall. :)
Merry Christmas Everyone!