Saturday, October 31, 2009

Super Healthy Snacks!

Check out these delicious snack recipes posted by my fellow blogger Renee.

Oven Baked Zucchini Chips

You can use panko bread crumbs and 2 egg whites in place of the fat free milk.   Try a homemade marinara sauce, or low sodium store variety for dipping!


1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
Olive Oil Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Place milk in a shallow bowl.  Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Place coated slices on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

Popcorn with Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil

This is a recipe from food network chef Giada DeLaurentiis.  If you're tired of air popped popcorn or microwavable popcorn, then you will love this recipe.  The rosemary oil makes this version absolutely delicious.  It would be great with some sea salt.

3 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs (each 5" long) Or Dried Rosemary is fine
1/2 Cup PopCorn Kernels
4 Tablespoons Rosemary-Infused Oil (In a small pan combine the oil & Rosemary, cook over low heat about 5 minutes, let cool transfer to a 4 oz bottle & seal.  Refrigerate up to 1 month).

All you need is a large, heavy pot.  Stir in the kernels and 3 tablespoons of the rosemary infused olive oil. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the kernels have popped about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.   Toss with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shoe Sale!!!

OK ladies, look what I got today at Payless Shoe Store for $44.00!  There is a 50% off coupon good only for today, even off clearance items.  The coupon is good for your entire purchase including accessories!

Print your coupon here but it's only good for today;  Hope you can make it!!!

Click here

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What to do with Sheets...

I found this set of sheets by Better Homes and Gardens recently at Walmart.  They came in this cute little sack.

I love finding new sheets sets on sale.  My wheels start spinning about all the creative ways I can use them.

With my most recent find I made curtains for the windows in my family room plus matching curtains in my kitchen nook using red napkins folded in half.

This is a great way to get large pieces of fabric for very little money.  Don't be too impressed though; anyone can do this!  I don't even sew.  As long as you can iron, and own a glue gun you'll be well able to make all kinds of interesting curtains and various home textiles.

Have fun and see what you come up with!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mix it UP!

Fit TV

I don't know about you, but I love staying in shape.  I do it for me, and for my family.  It gives me energy, helps me feel and look better, actually multiplies my time, and improves my mood; who couldn't use a little of that!?

Over the years I've tried all different types of exercise including running, walking, aerobics, yoga, pilots, weight lifting, strength training, dance classes, and on and on.  I have to stay what i love most is all of it.  That's right!; I'm able to continue my journey of fitness, because that's what it is you know, a journey, because of this great variety.  If I chose only one or two types of exercise, I know i would have burned out a long time ago.  The variety keeps it spicy!

A great way to have that variety I'm talking about is Fit TV .  There are such a wide variety of shows and styles.  It has everything from yoga to belly dancing!
As a bonus it's free, convenient, and has a great assortment for all levels of fitness as well as personalities.  It has even gotten my husband excited and motivated about fitness!

Check it out!  Record a variety of shows, and carve out some time for you everyday, may I recommend morning before the kids are up.

You won't be sorry you gave yourself this priceless gift.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another interesting lunch

This was so delicious and so unique.  You have to try it!

I made a tuna wrap with an eclectic assortment of fruits and veggies.  Here's what I came up with.

I took 1 can of albacore tuna and drained it.  Next chopped some carrots, red onions, and green olives.  I added all this to a bowl with 1 tablespoon EVOO, and the juice from half a lime.
I seasoned it with some fresh cracked pepper and Mrs. Dash.
I added some chopped romaine and sprinkled on a handful of golden raisons not shown (this was an after thought).

This was so yummy!  I will definitely be making it again!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today I felt I should share some of my tips and tricks to try to get your children to want to read more.  Why is reading important?  I've sure you've heard it said, reading is the basis for learning.  I believe this with all my heart.

I have three boys that all enjoy reading.  How did this happen, you may ask.  Well it doesn't just happen, but with some strategic planning I truly believe any child can WANT to read.

From the time any of my boys can remember, they have had an assortment of books in each of their rooms.  All kinds of books; books about the world, true stories, fiction, silly books, scary books, devotional books, fantasy, reality fiction, animal books, historical books, joke books, whatever.

I think a mistake that many parents make is thinking your child should read or have only "educational books"  I believe all books can be educational because they're instilling a love for reading.

One area I can say I haven't scrimped much is purchasing books.  We go to the library frequently, and  absolutely love going to book stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders.  We'll go, and I'll get them a treat and me a latte;  we can just hang out for hours.

I few tricks I've used to get my children to read:

Open books, that you thinks he/she may be interested in, to a page or picture that they can't help but stop and look at.

Keep a magazine rack in the bathroom for "restroom reading"

every week or two I update and change out/rotate the magazine in my boys bathroom

Order or ask family members to order, as gifts, subscription to magazines

Limit the amount of "media" as I call it, your children are getting; when I say "no more video games"  nine times out of ten I'll find them all reading something!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What to do with a Block of Cheese

Today I'm going to show you one of the many ways I save money.  I have to admit I love cheese; I eat way more than I should, and have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.  But all that cheese can add up!  On your wallet, and unfortunately your hips (darn!).

I buy cheese at a wholesale club like Sams or Costco.  It costs me $4.75 for a 2 pound block.  To make the most of it, I take the block, and cut it into threes as shown.  Then I finely shred one third, coarsely shred the 2nd third, and slice and cube the last third.  Notice I put some of the slices in small baggies.  That way their ready for my boys school lunches.  They get so sick of sandwiches everyday, so I try to mix it up and give them cheese and turkey with crackers some days.  Having these bags prepackaged makes packing lunches much quicker.  I also like to have cheese cubes in the fridge for snacks.  We use the shredded on just about everything, and it makes dinner prep so much quicker.

I also think it taste better to have freshly shredded, sliced, and cubed cheese versus the prepackaged store variety.

P.S.  I love these containers I got at Ikea; they shred and store the cheese, and only cost $4.99

I Love Ikea!!!

I would probably spend between $12-$15 on the equal amount of cheese at the grocery store.

Fall Decor for Free!

OK, well maybe not free but 1 penny;  I'd say that's pretty close!  Yesterday I was shopping at Publix  as is my normal Monday routine, and I noticed the 1 cent item was Publix brand candy.  Now for those of you who don't know, or aren't Publix shoppers, every Monday they have the mystery one penny item, at least they do here in Georgia.

As I went through the candy display, I was thinking about what to do with the candy.  I could give it to the kids class, donate it to church...I certainly wasn't going to bring it home to eat, or give to my kids to eat.  Finally I chose the candy corns because they reminded me of fall.  Later that day I was inspired to start playing with them.

Look what I came up with!!!

I had this orange flower and filled this glass with candy corn

I picked up pines cones from my backyard and poked the candy corn into the holes

Decorated pine cones instead of candles for a unique centerpiece

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time to Bake!

amish baked oatmeal

When the weather turns cold, there's nothing I love more than baking (OK maybe shopping).   I love the way home baked goods warm up the house, and bring my boys, including the big one,  running to the kitchen.

Today I felt like baking up a storm.  I made peanut butter and jelly cookies, and amish baked oatmeal.  For the peanut butter and jelly cookies I suggest using your favorite PB cookie recipe, and instead of pressing them flat with fork tins roll them in balls, and make a thumb print in the center.  Fill the hole with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of preserves, all fruit, or whatever jam you prefer.  Then bake them as directed by your recipe.  Be careful not to overfill the cavity, or the preserves will ooze out during cooking.   Notice a few of mine that I overfilled.

As for the amish oatmeal this is a great, nutritious, breakfast.  I reduced the butter and added about a half cup of applesauce.  I also reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup.   It's always good to sneak in an extra serving of fruit or veggies when you can.

I always try to use the highest quality ingredients I can.  For both the cookies and oatmeal I used whole grain flour, omega three enriched eggs, organic peanut butter, real butter, and whole grain oats, real vanilla, etc.

I often double recipes, and freeze half of things like cookies, muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc.

Notice the pic of the preserves.  They're packed with all kinds of fruit and very little sugar.  I got these at Costco, which incidentally is where I get a lot of my all natural and organic foods at a substantial savings.
Check it out as well as these recipes, and let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What's for lunch?

What's for lunch? A question I seem to be asking myself everyday around noon or so. Usually it's leftovers, or maybe a sandwich, but now and then I come up with a creative way to use what I have on hand. This time it turned out amazing!

I had a half used box of chicken stock, all kinds of diced peppers, and baked potatoes from dinner the night before. I decided to whip up a spicy, creamy soup that turned out to be delicious and super nutritious. It was just what the doctor ordered for a crisp fall day.

I used
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced green peppers
1/2 cup diced, mixed yellow, orange and red peppers
1/4 cup diced jalapenos
handful or two fresh spinach
a few carrot sticks broken up
2 small chopped baked potatoes with skins
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cup milk
cumin, garlic, and salt to taste

Saute the onions, carrots, and peppers using olive oil for about 5 min, then add the chicken stock, potatoes, and seasoning. Heat until boiling. Add milk, heat through and serve. This made 3 big bowls; hubby loved it btw!

The point of this isn't to suggest you run out, buy all these ingredients, and try to make this yourself, although if you want to, knock yourself out ;) . It's to show you how easy it is to make a fabulous meal with what you have on hand. I'd love to hear what creations you come up with!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blue Monday...Err Friday

Let's Talk laundry. We've all got it, some more than others, but still it's there...this ominous pile that never seems to go away, or does it? Years ago, according to my mother, Monday was laundry day. Blue Monday they called it. Women spent one day, the whole day, washing laundry by hand, Yuck!

Today most of us are fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer, but that doesn't mean you have to do laundry every day. Your in charge, not that giant looming pile! I suggest picking a few days a week to do laundry. For me it's Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Maybe you could get it down to two or even one day. Whatever your preference it helps to have a plan.

Pick which days suit you, and stick to it. Also once it's done, put it away, or better yet get the kids involved. I put my children's clothes in piles and have them put it away. It's so nice not to have laundry lying around, and in process everyday.

Having a schedule for chores like laundry gets them done and off your brain, so your free to focus on more important things. Hope this helps you. Let me know what you think.

How do you get chores like laundry done more efficiently?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My First Post!!!

Wow, it's my first time blogging, hopefully it's not that obvious LOL, and I'm so excited about this new adventure. I'm looking forward to sharing my ideas, experiences, and even a few failures, as a way of helping other moms. I am anticipating making lots of new friends, and sharing with as well as learning from many of you.

Let me introduce myself. I'm Vanessa Pierce; I am married to a wonderful, supportive husband of 19 years. We have three boys Austin 17, Ethan 11, and Zachary 9. I am a

Would be Professional Organizer
Clean Freak
Teachers Helper
Former Homeschooling Mom
Coupon Clipper
Money Saver
Shopaholic (do those go together?)
Budget Cruncher
Time Manager
Healthy Eater (most of the time)
Devoted to Fitness
Errand Runner
Mother. Whew!!!

Check back soon at which time I will be sharing my ideas in some and maybe all these areas.