Nervous

My baby-girl is having surgery tomorrow.  Yes, it’s just a tonsillectomy with adenoidectomy, but still she’s my baby-girl.

Yeah, I know.  Not so much a baby.  But, if you’re a parent, you’ll understand.  I’m nervous.  She’s all begging for her friend to come over and hang out.  
I guess it’s all part of being a parent, but it’s not fair.  I don’t like worrying all the time.  Worry about what could happen, what might happen and what could probably never happen.
See, she’s special.  She’s the one that seems to draw illness to her.  She’s the one with the extra allergies.  The one with the artistic sense.  She’s my sensitive child.  So, I worry more.  Things hit her differently.  She deals with them differently.  Which, in turn, makes me deal with all of it differently.
I know things will probably go just fine and she’ll recover in record time.  Just to prove me wrong.  But, I’m still worried as hell!

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Surprise!

So, I headed out to check the mail just like any other day.  I had a key to the big boxes (ours are really small).  I wasn’t expecting anything, so I got really excited when I opened it and found a huge bag in it.
When I got back inside, I grabbed a pair of scissors and opened it up.

This is what I found!

It’s from U.S. Cellular Customer Crew!  I’m so excited.  I cannot wait to use all of it!  This is what the note says:
‘Hi Cryssi!
We love all your hard work maintaining your blog and thought you could use a couple kitchen accessories to keep you going.  Keep up the great work! 
-The Customer Crew’
I mean, seriously, what other cellular company offers you awesome plans, points towards free stuff, a way for you to help other customers and earn points and sends you surprises? Only U.S. Cellular.
I am so honored to be one of their Customer Crew Members!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is Damien

He has Autism.  He is 8, almost 9 years old.  He attends mainstream school. He does not have an IEP.  He plays with his friends.  The few he has.  He has meltdowns.  He gets overstimulated, regularly.  
But, you know what.  We deal with it.  We do what is necessary to keep him functioning as ‘normal’ as possible, so he doesn’t get picked on, we don’t get frowned on when he has a meltdown, etc.
He is a math wiz.  Can’t read the best, but he’s getting better every day.  He loves his Hot Wheels and his Nerf guns.  He can’t handle losing on a game, but he’s getting better with his responses to it.  He loves to fish, ride his bike, play video games.  He doesn’t like being told no, but what kid does.  And, he sometimes just wants to be left alone.  Not touched.  Not talked to.  Just left alone.
See, Damien is a kid.  Just another active, misunderstood kid.  Some look at him and think we don’t discipline him enough and that’s why he has his meltdowns.  Some just think he’s a ‘problem child’.  
Damien is a gem.  He’s smart, creative, unique.  He’s got his quirks.  So does every kid.  It drives me crazy that people assume the worst whenever they see a kid like him.  Judgmental jerks, that’s what they are.
So, when you see a child like Damien in a store, in a restaurant, in a school, anywhere.  And he or she is having a meltdown, don’t assume he or she just needs discipline.  
My son has Autism, but Autism doesn’t have him!

No idea what to make…so here’s the result

I sat here and couldn’t decide what to make for dinner.  I thought, looked through my recipes, thought some more.  Finally, I just went to the pantry and started pulling cans out.

Here is the result.

Stuff Skillet

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
1 can creamed corn
2 cans diced potatoes
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C salsa

Brown ground beef with onion.  Add potatoes, garlic powder and cumin.  Stir and simmer on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add corn, ketchup, soup, salsa.  Stir to incorporate.  Heat on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.  Serve over biscuits or cornbread, if desired.

Dead Battery? No problem….

I, of course, have an Android phone.  I, of course, use it A LOT!

The other day, when I had TONS of errands to run, I forgot my car charger in our other vehicle.  Thank goodness I have US Cellular.  A quick stop at one of their stores and I’m back to errands with a fresh, fully charged battery.

I love the convenience of US Cellular’s battery swap.  Pop in, let them know you need to swap your battery. Give them your phone number.  They’ll switch your battery out and you’re on your way.  10 minutes, tops, from my experience.

One of the many features I love about being a US Cellular customer.  I am also a USCC Customer Crew Member.

Orange Chicken

I normally don’t take the time to make Orange Chicken, because I normally don’t have the extra time for it.  But, tonight, it sounds just right for dinner.

Here is the recipe for 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  •  
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  •  
  • Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I like broccoli with mine, the kids don’t.  So, I steam some broccoli and add it to the chicken mixture after I dish up the kids’ food.  

Here is Ash cutting the chicken.  I’m so happy she’s finally taking an interest in cooking.


And the sauce simmering at the beginning.
And, the finished product, with broccoli of course.

High Temperature Eye-of-Round & Au Jus

I honestly thought I’d never find a recipe that made an Eye-of-Round roast tender, but I’ve been proven wrong.

This recipe, found on AllRecipes, is perfect!  It’s tender, pink in the middle and perfect for french dips!  Which, is what’s for dinner tonight!  I mean, look at how perfect this looks and it’s moist and tender too!

High Temperature Eye-of-Round

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 pound) beef eye of round roast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Season the roast with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Do not cover or add water.
  2. Place the roast in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Roast for 21 minutes (seven minutes per pound) then turn off the oven and let the roast sit in the hot oven for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open the door at all during this time!
  3. Remove the roast from the oven, the internal temperature should have reached at least 145 degrees F (65 degrees C). Carve into thin slices to serve.



Next, the au jus.  Now, making the roast with the above recipe leaves little juices in the pan.  So, take about 3/4 c hot water and dump it in the pan after you remove the roast.  Take a spatula or mixing spoon and scrap all the little bits left from the roast up off the bottom of the pan and mix the water and bits around.  Dump into a larger saute pan, as you’ll be adding the beef back to it before serving.  Add 2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade.  Add one packet onion soup mix.  Stir to incorporate.  Heat to boiling.  Turn down to low and let simmer about 5 minutes.  Add 1 c red wine.  Turn up to medium and cook until it reduces by almost half.  Turn back down to low, add beef back in and let simmer for just a few minutes to incorporate the au jus flavor into the beef.  Serve on crusty rolls, with au jus on the side for dipping.

Enjoy!

Disgustingly Easy Stuffed Pork Chops

We buy pork loins.  Then, cut them into chops, roasts, country style ribs.  It’s cheaper and makes for more meals in the long run.  The last of the current loin is 4 butterfly chops.  I’ll be making them into stuffed pork chops tonight, with a cheater recipe.  Here’s the recipe.

Disgustingly Easy Stuffed Pork Chops

From the kitchen of: Carol in the Carolinas
  • Pork Chops, extra thick (1 1/2 inches). One per guest
  • Stove Top Stuffing
  • Butter
  • Water
  • A Pan and a Bowl
Split chops down the middle creating a pocket. Preheat Oven to 375. Prepare Stuffing in a bowl with hot water per directions on box increasing water by 1/4 a cup. Foil line Pan and spray with Pam or grease with butter. Lay Pork Chops in and stuff with stuffing with a good size mound overflowing. Bake uncovered for 30-40 min until pork is done and outside edge of stuffing good and brown/crispy. Serve. Inside will be juicy and flavored! Looks fancy but they’ll never know how easy!

Burgundy Beef and Portabello

Ingredients
1 lb beef roast, cut in 1″ strips
2 Portabello caps, sliced 1/8″ thick
1 Onion, sliced thin

2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 C Beef Broth
1 – 1 1/4 C Shiraz or other full bodied Red Wine
3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Marjoram
1 Tsp Clove

3 Tbsp Parsley
1 Bay Leaf

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Hot cooked egg noodles

In a Dutch oven or nonstick skillet, brown beef and onion in butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, wine or broth, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons parsley, bay leaf, clove, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is tender.

Combine flour and remaining water until smooth; stir into beef mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles. Sprinkle with chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley for appearance, if desired.


Return to Couponing

I took a break from couponing for a few months.  Mostly at my husband’s request, because we were running out of storage space for what I was getting and my daughter desperately needed her dresser back.

So, today, after 4 months, I returned to couponing.  I needed conditioner, because we all know it goes so much faster than the shampoo ever does!

CVS, here we come!

This was my ‘haul’ today.  Not a lot, but still a great deal in the end.

I got three Dove Nourishing Oil Conditioners ($3.50/ea), one Dove Men + Care Body Wash ($4.50), four Gillette Custom Plus 3 razor packs ($7.79.ea), one Physician’s Formula Eye Shadow pack for hazel eyes ($11.29), one black glitter nail polish ($1.99), two Crest Pro Health mouthwash ($5.99/ea) and one Clairol Nice & Easy non-permanent hair color ($6.99)

I used 2 $1/1 Crest Pro Health MFG Coupons, 1 $1/1 Dove Men+Care Body Wash MFG Coupon, 2 $1/1 Dove Nourishing Oil Hair Care MFG Coupons, 1 $.75/1 Dove Hair Care MFG Coupon, 2 B1G1 Gillette Disposable MFG Coupons, 1 $2/1 Gillette Disposable MFG Coupon, 1 $4 off $12 CVS CRT Cosmetic Coupon, 1 $2/1 CVS Clairol Coupon, 1 $2/1 Clairol MFG Coupon.  In addition, I earned a total of $32 in ECBs and used $25 of those.

I spent $22.08 and saved $65.99 or 75%.  Not a bad return, if I do say so myself.