Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pepperoni Monkey Bread Recipe

This recipe makes a great appetizer, a light supper, or used as a side to go along with pizza. 
2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon organic sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup pepperoni slices, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
You can do this step in a bread machine or mixing bowl fitted with a dough fixture.  My bread machine died and I didn't feel like pulling out my mixer so I just did this by hand.
In a large bowl combine the yeast and water.  Let sit for a few minutes to make sure your yeast is working.  Add the sugar and salt and stir.  Add the flour and combine until the dough has come together in a large mass.  Place the dough into an oiled bowl
 and cover with saran wrap.  Let rise for 60 minutes. 
After an hour, remove the dough and cut into small 1/2 inch cubes.  Dust the cubes with flour to prevent them from sticking together.  Coat a Bundt pan with butter and flour. 
 Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a medium bowl.  Add the cheese, pepperoni, oregano, and garlic into the butter.  Toss in the cut dough and make sure it all gets coated with the butter mixture.  Start layering the cubes into the Bundt pan.  Let sit for 30 minutes for the
dough to rise a little more.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the bread and cheese are golden brown. 
While the pepperoni monkey bread is baking, simmer the diced tomatoes, parsley, and oregano on medium low.  Serve with the pepperoni monkey bread.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Song for the Day - From the Inside Out by Hillsong

 The other day I made a cake and it stuck really BAD to the pan.  I didn't have enough time to make another one so I figured I would decorate it nicely with bright, cheerful icing so no one would ever know the difference.  They wouldn't see underneath the icing anyway.   
How many times have I done something without the right attitude but I didn't care because people would only see the good works and not my attitude?  How many times have I been more consumed with what someone thought about me but never cared that Jesus was only looking at my heart?  How many times have I put on a happy face but inside I was fuming with jealousy or bitterness?
I love this song, From the Inside Out, because it's a beautiful prayer to God asking Him to take my ugliness that escapes within me and make my life glorifying to Him alone.  I don't have to put on a show so my life looks perfect on the outside...God only cares about my inside heart and soul.  If that is in the right place, my outward appearance will shine for Jesus.  And that is what He wants from me.

Menu Week of April 14 - 18

Egg, Turkey Bacon, & Cheese Biscuits
Cereal x 2
Cheesy Eggs & Toast
Hebrew National Hot Dogs
Leftovers x 2
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Grilled BBQ Pork Chops
Crockpot Chicken & Veggies
Pepperoni Monkey Bread
(new recipe to try)
Pinto Beans & Grilled Corn on the Cob

Friday, April 11, 2014

Earth Fare, CVS, Ingles, and Walmart Groceries for Week of April 6th - 12th

Another week with lots of grocery stops and I stayed so close to my $150 weekly budget! 
CVS Trip - I spent a total of $25.27 out of pocket and saved $29.76 and received $12 back in ECB's.  I'm hoping this is my last time buying diapers for a very long time!  I bought 2 packages for a friend that recently had a baby and the other 2 packages are for Shane.  He will be placed with a relative in the next couple of weeks.  Bradley is fully potty trained now so hopefully we can have a break from the expense of diapers.  The Mickey Mouse cup was a special surprise for Bradley.  He loves Mickey Mouse and he's searched the "cup bin" at CVS many times and they are always out of Mickey.  Today this cup was sitting right on top like it was waiting for him.  He was so excited especially since he will be meeting Mickey Mouse in person very soon!!

Earth Fare Trip #1 - My total was $34.12 and I saved $14.21.  The tortilla strips was the free item of the week and I loved this brand! 

Earth Fare Trip #2 - My total was $34.95 and I saved $2.99.  The all-natural turkey bacon was on sale for $1 with $5 purchase so that will be a nice treat with breakfast in the morning.  A little break in the milk consumption will be nice too!  I may finally keep my groceries under budget in a couple of weeks.

Ingles - My total was $49.24 and I saved $8.81.  The Stonyfield yogurt was on sale 10/$5 but some of the containers came up 98 cents.  I'm going to try and find time to take my receipt back and get about $4 back.  They had a great deal on Harvest Farms pork ribs that were on clearance.  The Dunkin Donuts creamer is a new item that is out and it was on sale and I had a coupon.  The crazy thing about this creamer is the non-sweetened had a bunch of nasty oils in it and the regular creamer had corn syrup in it.  I choose the extra creamy, extra sweet creamer which only had cream and sugar in it.  I'll take the sugar over corn syrup.

Walmart - I spent a total of $10.41.  The snickers bar was free with a coupon I got in the mail and the containers and green beans are for a meal I'm bringing a friend tonight.
My total spent this week was $153.99 and hopefully with the error at Ingles, I'll get $4 back which will make me right on target this week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Feeding Large Groups - Meatball Subs (these can be made Gluten-Free)

I understand pictures tell 1,000 words so I guess I'm just going to have to make sure this post is 1,000 words or more since there isn't one picture in it.  I was making these meatballs for Growth Group this past Sunday and I was in a huge hurry and just didn't have time to take step by step pictures or even the final results.  But I can tell you out of 40 super sized meatballs there were only two meatballs left after 13 adults ate.  We have one adult that is gluten-free so I just swapped out regular bread crumbs for gluten free breadcrumbs.  Super easy and it doesn't change the taste at all.
Ingredients for Meatballs
5 pounds of very lean ground beef
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 large eggs
7 ounce package of  regular or gluten-free bread crumbs
8 ounces of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for Sauce
2 medium sweet onions, diced
1 tablespoon garlic
4 (28 ounce) jars of tomato puree
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Combine all the ingredients together.  It's easier to just combine with your hands.  Messy but a whole lot easier.  Roll into balls.  The size is completely up to you.  I like big hearty meatballs so mine are super sized.  This is where I wish I had taken a picture. 
Pour olive oil into a skillet and heat over medium high.  When oil is hot, drop the meatballs in the skillet.  You just want the outside to brown.  Don't worry about cooking it completely inside.  Once browned, place onto a paper towel to drain.  After meatballs are finished, brown the two chopped onions and one tablespoon of garlic in the skillet with the olive oil.  Once the onions and garlic are a nice golden brown color put into a large pot.  Add the meatballs and sauce into the large pot.  Continue to cook meatballs and sauce over medium low heat for 30 minutes, covered.  Stir very gently a couple of times while they are simmering.
Add meatballs to a hoagie roll and sprinkle with freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent Review & Giveaway

This sample of detergent came in the mail the same day that Bradley got new brightly colored underwear.  It was perfect timing to try out the new Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent and see how well it worked. 
Purex has a new anti-color-transfer technology that helps keep dyes from transferring onto other fabrics in the wash.  It reduces color bleeding accidents which happens to be a big Uh Oh in our house.
I've never liked sorting clothes.  The only items I separate from clothes are towels and sheets.  And that's just because I like washing those in warm water.  Somehow warm water kills more germs, right? (And yes, I know that warm water doesn't kill germs any better but it just sounds like it would)  So since I didn't like sorting our clothes, I always wash clothes in cold water to prevent the colors from running.  Now I can easily wash my colors in warm water and still keep up my non-sorting habit.
I used Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent yesterday and even threw in Bradley's brand new brightly colored underwear.  It was all washed in warm water.  There was only one pair of underwear that came out with just a tiny bit of red bleeding and everything else was picture perfect.  Leave it to me to read the directions AFTER the load was finished and it says on the bottle to wash new pieces of clothing separately at least 5 times before doing a mixed color load.  Oh well.  My life is so busy I probably won't think about washing a particular piece of clothing 5 times before combining.  I was happy enough with the results that it didn't bother me the one tiny little bleeding mark.
Would you like a chance to try this new laundry detergent?  Two lucky winners will win a Free Coupon Product for Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent! Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, April 23rd.  All you have to do is leave a comment below on how you follow Reflecting on the Simple Things in Life.

*The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex No Sort for Colors Detergent in exchange for a product review.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.* 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Honey Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm trying to cut us back on our sugar intake.  Some days we do well and other days...well,
it just depends on how stressful raising toddlers can be.  For our snack this afternoon I tried making peanut butter cookies and substituting honey instead of sugar.  I ended up adding 1/2 cup organic sugar since the batter didn't taste right with just honey, but cutting out the additional 1 1/2 cups of sugar is a huge step.  They turned out super soft, moist, and delicious.  And doesn't using organic sugar still make the cookie healthy?  At least it sounds better that way.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, whip butter, peanut butter, and honey on medium speed for about 2 minutes until well combined and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until combined.  Form dough into rolls and place on baking sheet.  Flatten with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.