March 29, 2016

Basement - Construction Done!

I'm a bit overdue giving a basement update.  It's "done" and ready for paint and carpet, pending the final inspection today. My Husband is being held hostage all day today waiting for 3 different township inspectors to give the all clear.  We don't expect any problems. Everything looks really, really good.

It's crazy to think they actually only spent a total of 5 days at my house completing this renovation. It's also some what crazy that it took almost 2 months of scheduling different crews and inspections along they way to get it done but I won't complain. They showed up when they were supposed to show up and were respectful to our home while they were in the house.  Pretty much each crew was scared to death of our dogs (LOL)!

So, if you're looking for a good, reasonably priced company to renovate your basement (they also do  kitchens and bathrooms) I highly recommend The Basic Basement Company! 

March 25, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 13

First things first:  Happy Birthday to me! - - > I'm 29 (again).

(Easter is on Sunday)

Meal 1:  Ham

Meal 2:  Chicken Divan - pin ... I know. Last minute substitution last week to make Brisket!

Meal 3:  Easter leftovers

Meal 4:  Oven Baked Cheeseburger Sliders

March 18, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 12

Meal 1:  Chicken Divan - pin

Meal 2:  Tortellini Bake - pin

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Steak sandwiches

March 16, 2016

The Best Macaroni & Beef

This is my version of Macaroni and Beef and it's really good and very simple.  It's a one-pot dish that's a perfect weeknight or Saturday-night-in meal. I've included this on my meal plans quite a few times but I don't think I ever shared my recipe!

What you'll need:

1 lb ground beef, cooked & drained
1 can stewed tomatoes w/ onions, celery, & green peppers
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced green pepper (optional)
Salt/pepper/garlic to taste

What to do:

Brown the ground beef, adding salt/pepper/garlic to your taste. While the beef is cooking, puree the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce together.  When the beef is done, drain it well.  Add the sauce, elbow macaroni, green pepper (if adding), and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Once it's reached a boiling point, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

March 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

As part of my planned meals for this week, I made the Slow Cooker Pork Loin last night and it was so good I wanted to share the recipe today!  I followed the recipe exactly. There's no need to change a thing.  And yes, the resulting gravy is gooooood.

I got this in the crockpot a little late (around noon) and cooked it on high for 2 hours and then on low for about 2.5 hours. It was ready to eat by 4:30pm (so 7-8 hours on low may be a bit too long if you start with non-frozen meat. Keep that in mind!)

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Go forth and cook this!

March 11, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 11

Meal 1:  London Broil

Meal 2:  Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3:  Slow-cooker Pork Loin - pin

Meal 4:  Hot dogs

March 10, 2016

Brookies aka Brownie Cookies

I have a love/hate relationship with making brownies. Some of the from-scratch recipes are just okay and the box mixes aren't what they used to be, although Ghirardelli's brownies are probably the best box mix on the market and they are worth the extra money.  My problem with brownies is getting them to cook evenly and getting them out of the pan without making a mess.  Lining the pan with tin foil helps some.  You'd think I was an amateur baker but I'm not.

My solution to the brownie crisis lately has been making them in cookie form. It really is the best thing ever for portion control and ease of serving. I made them recently for a family gathering and they got a thumbs up from everyone!

They bake up kind of like a chocolate crinkle cookie but they taste like a brownie. You can even sprinkle them with some powdered sugar to make them look fancy.

All you need:

1 box of your preferred brownie mix - I recommend Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

1/4 cup flour

1/4  cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

(optional - add in 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, nuts, PB chips, whatever you like)

You can use a mixer to bring the dough together but it's a little stiff. With a little muscle, you can do this with a spatula and/or use your hands to knead it well.  Drop by the teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 9 minutes max.

Do not over bake. You want them soft and chewy!

Dare you to eat just one!

March 4, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 10

Meal 1:  Lasagna Rolls

Meal 2:  Beef Bowl w. rice

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Homemade Ckn Fingers/fries

March 1, 2016

Basement: Day 4

The basement people are almost done.  They came back yesterday and sanded. It took them 3 hours. It's hard to believe they were only in my house a total of 4 days so far! There is one more inspection (I think) and then they come to install the lights, outlets, covers, doors and trim.

We're currently on the hunt for an interior painter. We've decided not to do it ourselves lol  We'd rather focus on the finishing work. My Husband will be building the bar and we'll likely match the counter top on the half wall too.  I have a few ideas on what to use thanks to Pinterest but we'll have to see on what we can agree.

The floor will be carpeted for ease and warmth. And I'm considering a no-shoe policy for the basement but I'm not sure it would be followed but I guess I can try!