How to Make Pita on the Grill or in Your Oven – Monthly Food Column

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How to Make Pita Pocket Sandwiches

From Dennis Weaver at The Prepared Pantry

We teach a pita pocket sandwich class at our store. So it had better be good, it better be easy, and it better feed a crowd. That means that we tinker and tinker until we find the best way to make the best pitas in a hurry. Here we’ll tell you how to make both the pockets and the sandwiches.

How to Make Pita Pockets

We had a pita party. We made pita sandwiches for the crew. (There are benefits to working at The Prepared Pantry.) Just as homemade bread is much better than store bread, so are homemade pitas better. And they are really quite easy to make. Once your family has had fresh homemade pitas, you’ll never get by with store pitas again.

You can make your pita pockets with the recipe below or with a bread mix. Choose a bread mix to match the occasion. (We have over 100 bread mixes to choose from.)
Homemade pitas are easy to make with just a few ingredients and basic kitchen equipment. To make your pitas, you will need a mister, a rolling pin, and a baking stone. The baking stone, a pizza stone, is the key. You need a hot stone to quickly turn the water to steam and create the pocket. In the Middle East, they use a clay oven but we can replicate the process with a hot stone. And you can heat your stone in the oven or on a grill with a cover. So you can make pita pockets on your patio.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 7-gram packet of instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm (105 degree) water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

Directions

With your stand type mixer, combine about 2/3’s of the white flour, the yeast, and the warm water. Mix with a dough hook for about 30 seconds. (This mixes in and hydrates the yeast.) Add the rest of the flour, the whole wheat flour, and then the olive oil and salt. Knead with the dough hook for about four minutes on medium speed or until the gluten is formed. Add a little more flour or water if needed to get the right consistency. The dough should be slightly wetter than bread dough.

Remove the dough to a greased bowl and let sit for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size and is puffy.
Place a rack on the lowest shelf in the oven and remove the second rack so that you can reach into the oven with the formed pitas. Place a baking stone on the rack. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. If you are going to bake the pitas on the grill, place the stone on the rack and close the lid.

Form the dough into 2-inch balls. (If you have a kitchen scale, 2 1/2 ounces will make a nice pocket.) With a rolling pin, roll the balls flat to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Let these discs sit on the counter uncovered for ten to fifteen minutes.

Pick up a disk and spray it with water using a mister, so that the top slightly wet. Fold the dough over to trap the moisture. Dust an area on the counter with flour using a flour and sugar shaker. With the palm of your hand, pat the disk flat to 1/4-inch thickness again, turning once. If the disks are out-of-round, that’s okay. Repeat with the rest of the disks. Let them rest for ten minutes.

Place three or four of the flat disks on the hot baking stone in the oven or on the grill. An easy way to do it is to place the disks on a pizza peel and then slide the disks from the peel onto the hot stone. Close the oven door or the lid on the grill. Bake for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. The pitas should be puffy but not browned. Remove the pitas from the stone and let them cool on a wire rack. Continue until all are baked.

Baker’s notes:

It is the water turning to steam in the hot oven that makes the pitas puffy. If your pitas do not puff, there is not enough moisture trapped in the dough. They will still taste good.

How to Make Pita Pocket Sandwiches

There is no wrong way to make pita pocket sandwiches.

Cut your pockets in half. Some of your pockets will be hollower than others. That’s okay, use your thumb to compress the bread and hollow out the shell as needed.

For our classes, we use mayo, provolone cheese, deli lunch meat, tomatoes, and sprouts or lettuce. We form a sandwich bar and let people make their own sandwiches and add what they wish.

We set the ingredients out to be used in this order: Mayo, cheese, meat, tomato, and sprouts or shredded lettuce. Usually a half teaspoon of mayo will do. We cut the cheese slices and meat slices into pieces a little smaller than the pocket halves. We cut the tomatoes into slices and then into half slices or fourths. The lettuce or sprouts are the last item inserted into the pockets with enough is used to stuff the pockets.

Everyone loves pita pockets

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From Dennis Weaver At The Prepared Pantry

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

No Bake Chocolate Cake Pops – Review – Cake It Easy

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This was a FUN one, and I was so delighted to get the chance to do the review! 🙂

Easy DIY Cake Pops Kit

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From Cake it Easy Pops.com

http://cakeiteasypops.com/

These were so fun to make and actually made me want to get back to holiday-mode! lol :p

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In fact, just as I posted on Facebook yesterday, I was singing “Happy Holidays” while making them!

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Below is what the DIY kit includes:

* No Bake Cake Pops Mix in Chocolate
* Rainbow sprinkles
* 10 cake pop sticks
* 10 paper cupcake liners
* A paper mat to work on

Very user-friendly and easy to make, in just 30 minutes!

Note: My batch made 14 🙂

You Will Need a Little Water and Oil

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Instructions On Back Of The Box…How Cool Is That!! 🙂

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Roll ~ Shape ~ Decorate ~ Enjoy!

They really do taste great!!! 🙂

I wish my grandson was a little older to help me make these…would have been so much fun! I’ll have to remember these and order some on the website a couple of years down the road. He will love it!!!

My ONLY recommendation is… Put them in the fridge for about 2 hours, versus 30 minutes before putting the sticks in…as I found them a little too crumbly and easy to fall apart.

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There are more flavors and variations to choose from…

Water can be substituted with cream cheese, frosting, melted butter and many more delicious ingredients. Cake balls can be dipped in some melted chocolate or candy wafers…I know, sounds delish!!

Other choices could be shredded coconut, nuts, cookie crumbs of any kind, chocolate chips and MORE!

TIP: The chocolate balls can be formed into any shape of your choosing…such as hearts, or anything you like. 🙂

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Inside The Box

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My Grandson! Isn’t he handsome?!! 🙂

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Visit Cake It Easy at http://cakeiteasypops.com/

Visit them on Facebook Here

Visit them on Twitter Here

You can also grab them on Amazon!

livelaughlove

Copyright © Cake It Easy Pops :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Save Money With The Menu Mom On Food Bills Each Month With Simple Meal Planning

Menu Planning CentralComing from the Menu Mom From Menu Planning Central…

If you are a busy mom, you will absolutely love this program. It’s essentially a no-brainer and so family friendly. 🙂

You WILL save money each month on your food bill, no doubt about it. Christine (the menu mom, herself) will walk you through some simple menu planning along with some nifty printable templates that will definitely help you stay on track.

Tons of Family Friendly Menus

With this simple plan, you will be able to gain easy access to some fabulous, categorized food shopping lists. It will make spending time in the grocery store AND at your dinner table a pleasant experience.

You will also get access to a FREE…Gooseberry Patch Circle of Friends Cookbook — One Pot Dinners…Let me tell you, it is chock full of a plethora of yummy one-pot main dishes.

 

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I got it free myself through my Kindle, and I could not believe all the recipes that came with this gem of a cookbook. 🙂

 

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As of January 9th, 2014, the above cookbook is still free!

 

Straight from the Menu Mom Website – Christine’s specialty is in traditional home style menus for busy families – featuring easy to prepare recipes the entire family will enjoy. She also runs the popular menu planning website — Menu Planning Central

 

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Copyright © The Menu Mom :: Menu Planning Central :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Grandma’s Cleaning Tips: Every Kitchen’s Beautiful in its Own Way- OR Not?!

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I love a nice, clean kitchen! Well, it’s not always clean or (clutter-free), for the most part. 😉

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a gal (Grandma) who likes to see change and updates every once in awhile. That definitely includes the kitchen! 🙂 A kitchen needs to be clean, sanitary and of course, full of warmth, charm and hospitality. If you don’t think your kitchen fits well in that category, do something about it! You’ve got your own imagination, use it! However, it does help if you are crafty by nature, and you have an eye for design.

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Let’s say your kitchen hasn’t been updated since the 90’s or even the 80’s. Yeah, you have your work cut out for you!

 

So let’s get this “virtual, kitchen-spruce-up” party started!

 

Walls

 

Say, you just bought or moved into an old house and the kitchen hasn’t been updated since the (early) 80’s, it most certainly requires lots of fun and colorful updating. Most likely, your kitchen has been generously graced with that awful yellow and green wallpaper! You KNOW the kind I’m referring to. 😉

 

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Time to get out the scrapers and get to work. I know, bummer! Although your hard work will be well worth it with a couple splashes of warm-colored paint. For me, I tend to like darker colors for (both) a dining room and kitchen!

Borders

 

Now borders are somewhat of a controversial nature; you either love them or hate them! For me, it all depends on the size of the room and colors involved. Sometimes a simple border makes a perfect statement and also encompasses the final touch. They also sometimes make a room look larger. You decide!

Cabinets

 

I remember some funky looking, white, metal cabinets WAY-BACK when I was a little girl. Thank goodness kitchen decor, appliances and styles have come a long way, seriously! Now you have various kinds of wood and colors to choose from. You can even get by with a couple coats of paint if you currently have some old, wooden cabinets. However, it will depend on just how old they are. Cabinets are a tad more expensive than paint and borders…choose wisely, depending on the look and style you are looking for. Most cabinets today, are good for fix ups.

You will find tips for cleaning kitchen cabinets Here

 

I would love to do this in my kitchen someday!
You could also remove a couple of the cabinet doors and just have shelves. Or, you could install glass in place of the doors. That in itself would spruce up a kitchen considerably.

 

Foliage, Flowers and Plants

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If you haven’t experimented with flowers or foliage before, you’d be pleasantly surprised at how much they can brighten up a room. Although for a kitchen, just some simple greenery will do the job nicely for on top of cabinets, (if there’s room). Small, colorful plants will always brighten up any window sill.

Flooring

 

Most people (today), have some kind of ceramic tile or wood flooring in their kitchens. Carpet and linoleum was more in style for a kitchen back in the days. However, a lot of old houses of course, had the wooden floors. You can dress up wooden flooring by polishing and with some stylish throw rugs.

 

Going way back in time, people had dirt floors

 

Also, if you have a large dining room or kitchen with a bay window, a nice chair or bench with some throw pillows (to match the rugs) would nicely compliment the rooms.

 

There is always room for improvement when updating decor and furnishings in your home. Most of the time, just the smallest things can make the most difference. 🙂

 

livelaughlove

Copyright © Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Low Carb Taco Seasoning – From Peace Love and Low Carb Blog

Taco Seasoning Ingredients

I love tacos!!! I thought this particular recipe looked yummy. 🙂

Since my daughter-in-law makes tacos at least twice per week, I thought maybe she might want to give this one a try. I think I will for sure, however, my hubby don’t like tacos…I will give this one a whirl just to eat or try something different for a change. And hey, it’s LOW CARB! 🙂

Of course I got permission from Kyndra Holley from Peace Love and Low Carb to post this recipe. I thought it would also be something my readers would benefit from.

This seasoning is a tad on the spicy side. If you do not care for spicy foods, simply reduce or omit the cayenne pepper. Use 4 tbs. of seasoning for each pound of meat used. To make taco meat, simply brown the ground beef, ground turkey or meat of choice and drain excess grease. Add 2/3 cup water and 4 Tbs. seasoning, reduce heat to low and let simmer 3-4 minutes until thickened.

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Ingredients

2 Tbs. Chili Powder
2 Tbs. Cumin
2 tsp. Onion Powder
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Celery salt
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Garlic Salt
(2 Tbs. Peace and Love)

Directions

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight spice jar when not in use. You can find the ones Kyndra uses – HERE!

Prep Time – 5 Minutes
Cook Time – 0 Minutes

Makes Servings: 1 Batch

Per Serving:
Calories – 133
Protein – 6 g
Carbs – 17 net g
Fat – 5 g

You can also find her cookbook Peace, Love and Low Carb – The Cookbook – 3 Ingredients to a Healthier You Here

Enjoy!~~

Copyright © :: Kyndra Holley :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Saving Money Cooking for a Group

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This of course applies to grandparents as well. 😉

As a parent, I know just how much kids, especially teens, can eat. It seems like they are forever standing in front of the refrigerator and moaning about how there is ‘nothing’ to eat. After many years of trying to please them and always having snacks on hand, I realized something. All this snacking was wasting a lot of money and made them less likely to eat the meals we prepared for dinner.

While a snack every once in a while is fine, eating snacks all day long can get expensive fast. That is why my family has decided to limit snacks and focus on eating healthy home cooked meals. However as the economy has struggled so has my family. We are all trying to stretch the budget in various ways, and one of the ways we have discovered to be very effective is to stretch our dinners.

Here are some of the ways we make our food go further:

Using healthy fillers – Many times when you cook a recipe it can easily be stretched by adding fillers. Fillers are cheaper foods that can be added to a recipe without affected the flavor. Things like rice, potatoes, oatmeal, bread crumbs, beans, tofu, and even some vegetables can be added to dishes to make the meal go further. When I cook hamburgers, for example, I often make the meat go further by adding in some oatmeal. Not only does it give the burgers a great texture but it is also more filling, healthier, and enables me to make more burgers for later use. When I make shepherd’s pie or other casserole dishes I often add nutrition and make it go further by tossing in diced carrots, chopped onions, sliced green beans or peas. I also serve meals with a salad and other healthy and inexpensive side dishes. This allows us to fill up on those things and just eat a small amount of the main dish or meat. Items like baked potatoes and rice are a hit on everyone’s list and are very cheap and easy to make. Even bread can be served alongside meals to fill up hungry teens.

Making one pot meals – As I said, I cook a lot of casseroles. I love those meals because you can throw everything together and cook it all at once. You can also clean up very easily. One pot meals are easy to stretch by adding in extra veggies and filler and cutting down on meat. For example, I love to make a Mexican casserole that is full of flavor and yet only uses one pound of hamburger to feed up to eight hungry people. In addition, I add black beans, tortilla strips and veggies to make the meal stretch without having to use extra meat. One pot meals also help our electric bill. Instead of cooking three things on the stove and one in the oven I can just bake everything at once and be done with it. On hot days, I will even use a slow cooker to reduce energy use and heat buildup in the home while cooking. It is very easy to toss everything in before I go to work and have a tasty meal when I get home.

Cooking several meals at a time – Another way to stretch our food we discovered was to cook several meals at once. For example, we often buy a whole chicken, which is much cheaper than just the parts, and cook it. Then we separate the cooked chicken into baggies for separate meals. One can be for chicken enchiladas, the next for chicken salad, and the next for chicken casserole. By cooking and separating the meat ahead of time, we can complete our meals faster and use less meat in the process. We can even mix up two casseroles at once. It is just as easy to double a recipe and then freeze half as it is to make a single batch. Then later on you have a meal ready to go instead of being tired and ordering a pizza.

Reducing portions – Speaking of reducing the amount of meat in a recipe, you also need to keep in mind what proper meal proportions are. The majority of your meal should not be meat. It is not only expensive to eat that way, but it is also unhealthy. Instead focus on filling your plate with fruits, vegetables and healthy grains. Many times we feel like we are not full until we are stuffed. However, that is not a good way to measure satisfaction. Try to limit your family’s portion sizes and it will save you money and keep them healthy. You can also substitute healthy and inexpensive items like fruit or pudding for dessert instead of expensive pastries or fatty ice cream.

Keeping it simple – As you can see, even dessert can be a simple and yet fulfilling experience. By keeping the food you eat every simple you can reduce the amount of fat and sugar that goes into it and also how much it costs. While it may seem fun to cook with exotic ingredients you will find that it is a strain on your budget. Instead, substitute in simple foods that are inexpensive as well. A plain baked potato can be turned into a gourmet meal with just a few healthy additions like green onion. Rice has a variety of ways it can be prepared for a healthy meal. You do not need to have five courses for dinner either. Try to limit the amount of food you serve so that everyone just has enough to be satisfied. It may take some experimentation, but you can find a method that works for your family. This not only reduces the amount of money you spend preparing food, but it also reduces the food you waste through uneaten leftovers.

Eating seasonally – When you think about making your meals and you are looking to reduce your costs you should think about eating seasonally. This means that you plan your meals around the foods that are available in your area at this time. Things like pumpkins are on sale in the fall and strawberries in summer. By planning your meals around what is on sale and what is grown locally, you can save a lot of money and help the environment by reducing transportation costs. Seasonal food also tastes better and is generally fresher and better for you than foods that are shipped half way around the world.

Meal planning – One thing that has been a lifesaver for my family is meal planning. Instead of being tired and hungry when we got home from work and then trying to throw something together, my spouse and I started to plan our meals ahead of time. By looking at what is on sale at the store, what is seasonal, and what our family enjoys we have been able to set up a weekly meal plan. Every week we decide what we want to eat. We look up recipes and write down the items that we will need. This has also limited unnecessary trips to the store.

Spending an hour or two on the weekends chopping and cooking saves us tons of time when preparing meals later in the week. We also do not throw in unhealthy frozen meals or spend money on fast food because we are too tired to think of something to make. We can just come home and have the recipe right there and the ingredients all ready to go.

As you can see there are many benefits to stretching your cooking. It doesn’t matter if you are cooking for two or for eight, the same idea stands. You can make food go much further if you plan ahead and eat in proper proportions.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

Weight Loss Update – Good News and Not So Good News

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Yeah….Finally lost 30 pounds!! I’m feeling so much better too. 🙂

My last doctor’s appointment, I was taken off my blood pressure meds. I sure didn’t think I’d ever stop taking those1 LESS pill I have to take daily.

 
 
 
Read My Original Nutrisystem Post and Review Here

The Weight Loss Has Seemed So VERY Slow For Me!

However, my doctor said it is NOT! I’ve maintained a loss of 1 pound per week and that’s actually quite healthy.

Ok, I thought, well that’s great news! lol

Some Unexpected Health Stats Though


My cholesterol has been slightly elevated! 🙁 Wow!! The doc wants to check it again in January and to limit my fat intake and keep working out.

I was not giving a second thought about cholesterol on the labels, I was always checking the fat, calories, protein etc…!!

So then I began checking all the labels for cholesterol…and sure enough, most of the pasta food items had 25 to 30 MG of cholesterol. And I was of course eating a lot of their pastas. I also checked their other food items (that were not pasta items) and a lot of them had the same high cholesterol. 😮

The food is really good, don’t get me wrong!

However, I’m on my last batch of the food items and eating it every other day; and for the days I don’t eat the NS food, I have been eating healthy meals, fruits and veggies throughout the day.

Honestly, all the NS plan has really taught me was “PORTION CONTROL” and eating the small meals/snacks throughout the day…which IS good, and I’ve lost the 30 pounds. The plan has also gotten me super motivated! Another plus 🙂 🙂

I’m so determined to get this weight off, that I’ve saved some of the bars (which they are NOT high in cholesterol) and will be taking them with me on our upcoming vacation. I will eat those for lunch along with a small salad wherever we go. Also, where we are staying will have some walking trails, (that I will be checking out)! :p

So, all in all…it’s good news and some NOT SO good news here today for my weight loss update…

High motivation for getting healthier here for sure!

livelaughlove

How to Make Stuffed Burgers – Monthly Food Column

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“How to Make Stuffed Burgers with Recipes”

 

Great For Outdoor BBQ’s This Summer!!

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From Dennis Weaver From The Prepared Pantry

 

* You can mix the filling right into the burger before forming the patties
* You can put a layer or meat, then a layer of cheese or other filling, then a layer of meat.

 

 

 

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For the first method, add grated cheese, peppers, onions—whatever—right into the burger meat before forming the patties.

For the latter method, we used to tinker around with a burger press making two thin patties and then squeezing a layer of cheese between the two and pressing the edges tighter to seal in the stuffing. That works. Now there is an easier way—a stuffed burger press.

With a stuffed burger press, you can make conventional burgers or stuffed burgers. The stuffed burger press creates a well, and indention in the burger patty that you fill with cheese or other goodies. Then you add more burger and the press forms the patty with the filling inside.

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* Get a conventional burger press

* Get a stuffed burger press

For us, one of the real advantages of stuffed burgers is that we can use lean meat. For most burgers, you need a relatively high fat content; use 80% or 85% lean burger. It’s the fat that makes the burger juicy and satisfying. But with these burgers, you can use leaner meat because there is cheese, butter, or bacon interspersed in the meat. And it takes less cheese to make a cheeseburger this way.

It’s fun to be creative with burgers. Surprise your guests and make Cheese-Stuffed Burgers, Buttery Onion Burgers, or Tex-Mex Burgers. Here are eight great burger ideas to get you started.

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Make Cheese-Stuffed Burgers. Instead of placing the cheese on top of the burger, use a stuffed burger press to make stuffed patties. Or toss grated cheese with your meat before forming conventional patties.

Make Swiss and Mushroom Burgers. Make a cheese-stuffed burger as above but with Swiss cheese. Top the burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Make Tex-Mex Burgers. Toss your ground beef with diced green chilies, chopped cilantro, and shredded Monterey jack cheese before forming the patties. Mix in some taco or other southwest seasoning.

Make Cheese and Herb Burgers. Make burgers as for Tex-Mex burgers but instead of chilies, use your favorite herbs.

Make Buttery Onion Burgers. Freeze a cube of butter then grate it as you would cheese. Mix the grated butter, a chopped sweet onion, and your choice of spices into your ground beef before forming the patties. (To keep the butter hard, place the grater and a plate or cutting board in the freezer before use. Make sure that the meat is ice cold.)

Make Blue Cheese and Bacon Burgers. Mix crumbled blue cheese into the ground beef. Cook and top with crisply fried bacon. If you are cooking on the grill, try wrapping the bacon strips around the burger patties before cooking. Secure the strips with toothpicks.

Make Italian Burgers. Mix one part ground beef with one part ground Italian sausage. Form patties. Season with additional oregano and basil or mix some in a little Italian dressing. Use a stuffed burger press if you would like to put cheese in the center.

Make Chuck Wagon Bacon Burgers. Microwave bacon until it is partly done. With kitchen shears, snip the bacon into bits. Mix the bacon bits into your ground beef along with your favorite seasoning. If you would like a little more flavor, open a can of mild diced chilies and mix that into the burger. Do not over mix the meat. Form the burgers with a burger press.

Make Asian Burgers. Pick your favorite Asian sauce — Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is one of our favorites—and mix it into your burger. Because it’s interspersed through the meat flavoring every bite, it won’t take a lot. Seasonings for Your Burgers.

We have a terrific selection of seasonings for your burgers

* The Prepared Pantry spice line includes a broad range of spices and some blends.

* The Colorado Cattle Company is a line of barbeque and grilling spices. The original burger and steak seasoning is one of my favorites for burgers.

* Yellowstone Seasonings has several very good regional blends.

* Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont has a wonderful in of International and North American spices.

* Gresham and Myers is a line of rubs that work very well for standard seasonings.

Dennis Weaver and his wife, Merri Ann, are the founders of The Prepared Pantry Dennis is a baker and a writer. Dennis is the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking.

He is a food columnist and has written articles for websites, newspapers, and magazines. You can follow Dennis and get his articles and recipes by subscribing to the newsletter at The Prepared Pantry.

livelaughlove

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Review: Nutrisystem and New Lifestyle

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Good Morning!

I finally took action and started a new plan; (eating plan that is), for weight loss and also for my health. I started the Nutrisystem plan. Nutrisystem is quite the controversial program, and I knew that upon joining. 😉

 

 

 

This will probably be the most open (about me) blog post I’ll ever write

I’m not trying to impress with my writing in this post…as it’s not a formal article. It’s just MY JOURNEY.

I’ve made many goals, over and over again to lose the weight and get healthy. However, here I am NOT at my weight goal…again, still!

I’ve even written (actual articles) about me becoming healthy and my weight loss in the past. Well this time, this is the real deal. I’m not messing around any longer. YO-YO dieting is probably the most dangerous thing you can do to yourself; so brutal for your heart!

Despite what quite a few people think, Nutrisystem IS a good program to get you eating smaller portions (at a time) and eating your daily servings of fruit and veggies. I’ve learned so much about protein, carbs, fiber and portion size in the past month and a half. I’ve also made it my mission to always read labels.

Do some of the NS bars and entrees have a little too much sugar or carbs? Yes, they do. There are preservatives in Nutrisystem products; they also have frozen meals that are shipped with (dry ice). When you think about it, not everyone is going to have enough space to freeze 28 days worth of food.

The article at the end of this post will give you a bit of information on preservatives

I’ve lost 14 pounds since March 11th. 🙂 To my surprise, I don’t feel deprived at all. However, I do admit to craving soda every once in awhile. I do allow myself one soda per week; that is on Friday nights when we go out. Yes! I gave up soda, and I drink water…Lots of water! I’m drinking approximately 60 to 70 ounces of it every day, and sometimes more. When I drink soda now, it tastes a little too sweet. Still is good though! Three of my favorite snacks now are peanut butter and celery, tangarines and carrot sticks. :)lol

Here’s a huge thing for me; I’ve been able to NOT gain weight when dining out, and also on the weekends. When dieting in the past, I would fall off the “diet” bandwagon on both occasions. I’ve found I don’t like using the word diet now; it’s just called eating healthy and changing eating habits. A lot of it is lifestyle.

I’m making changes for the long haul

I’ve tried many, many things for weight loss in the past. This includes starving myself…not good at all, I know. 🙁 I’ve starved myself in the past couple of years for our vacations; and only to gain much of it back. I know this all too well. Was I aware it wasn’t healthy and in fact, quite dangerous?! YES, I did! I have a serious eating problem; something that’s substantially difficult to admit to myself. 🙁 I’m sure some of you can relate to my fait. If so, I’d love to hear from you. 😉

Below are my (before) pics; I’m hoping I can share the (after) pics in maybe a year from now…hopefully before. If it’s beyond a year, oh well. We’ll see. 😉

In 2008…This is a pic at Anna’s wedding shower. Looking on, I’m on the right of Anna, Anna’s Mom is on the left.

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In 2011…in California

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Please Note: In addition to the Nutrisystem food, I had to shop for fruits and veggies to go with my meals. They are labeled as “powerfuels” and “smart carbs.” That was something I didn’t know about the program when I ordered. In fact, that’s a part of the program that is rather vague.

The specific plan that I ordered costs a whopping $250.00 per month. Yep, mighty expensive! And, let me tell you that extra expense has been a bit difficult. I don’t expect to stay on Nutrisystem throughout my whole journey to skinniness! lol…

At some point, I will switch to Healthy Choice/Weight Watchers and will eat the same way and still include plenty of veggies and fruit. I will be a pro at reading labels!

I do like the Nutrisystem food, (for the most part)

There are only 4 things that I didn’t like. You can go online and adjust your choices before your next shipment.

I know, nothing exciting! lol However, the lightly sweetened cereal was good 😉

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Obviously, NOT NS! It was a morning snack…100 CAL Pack of almonds – (powerfuel)

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The Nutrisystem plan offers a lot of pastas. However, they also have chicken breast (which was good), turkey and beef patties

Raviola…one of my favs, light, cherry applesauce, carrot sticks, and 1 slice whole grain bread with Smart Balance spray buttter

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Tuna casserole….DID NOT like this one at all! And I usually love tuna casserole. LOL

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Rasberry-Orange pastry – Breakfast

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Chicken Salad, Very good

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Pizza, didn’t look as good as it tasted in the pics and looks really small, I did have veggies with it. lol Very good

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A dessert…all desserts (and breakfasts for that matter) is all good (to me).

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Two elements that are crucial to ANY weight loss plan is drinking water and working out. And it’s all been said before; however, it’s SO TRUE! I’ve learned to drink enough water during the day in order to keep losing. That’s been difficult for me due to the simple fact that I’m not that crazy about plain water. Yes, I’ve tried the flavored water; I don’t like them! lol

I’ve slowly learned to actually like water. However, it has to be cold. I’ve heard a lot of people say they like “tap” water; well I don’t 😉 I’ve noticed on the specific days that I didn’t drink enough water, those pounds didn’t move. If you’re trying to lose weight, drink plenty of water!

Recently, we were at Applebee’s, and I ordered water with lemon (2 wedges). It was really refreshing. When we go there now, I always order the (half) chicken Caesar salad. I love it! Then when we get home, I’ll eat my Nutrisystem dessert. Their desserts are pretty darn good considering it’s “diet” food.

Something that I just realized…I’ve basically given up red meat! Not that I actually crave it

I’ve recently started back with my workouts. I get up at 5 AM, (excluding weekends) to get it out of the way and also get an early start with my work day. I’m being very honest here; sometimes it’s extremely difficult to make myself get up when my phone alarm goes off! I do give in at times and sleep in. However, it just gets me down knowing that I was lazy that day! So, it’s just better all around if I just get up and get it done. 🙂

What am I going to do “when, NOT if” I get to my goal weight? How am I going to maintain? Hmm… Well, for starters, I’m going to keep working out and drinking water. In addition, I will stay with my small portions and eat healthy foods in general. This will also include snacks in between meals to keep my metabolism going good.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that metabolism is the whole key to losing the weight. And it all makes perfect sense; I knew it did all along…just me and laziness, I guess that’s my excuse. lol

Drink plenty of water, don’t starve, eat healthy at meal time and snacks in between meals, and workout

I’m placing myself accountable to everyone that reads this blog post! LOL

Hmm, well the most important person is me…

I’m going to be accountable to me. 🙂

I’m also putting my walking shoes back on and getting back to my walks (in between helping Anna with Cheyanne and Wyatt)

So there you have it, a little about Nutrisystem and also about me.

I hope the next important blog post will be about my new grandbaby with pics!!! 🙂

As Promised, The Article About Preservatives is Here

You can also access the Nutrisystem site Here

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Family Friendly Meal Planning :: Frugal Meal Options & Printable Grocery Lists

Menu Planning Central Half-Off Sale

With spring in full swing, I find our family desiring to spend more time outside enjoying the weather and that leaves me less time to spend in the kitchen. However, we all still want to eat, and we don’t want to spend the money eating out frequently. I have returned to focusing on simple family friendly meals from one of my favorite resources – Menu Planning Central.

Within Menu Planning Central you will find pre-made family friendly, healthy, vegetarian and frugal meals with printable grocery shopping lists.
It is so easy to print off your menu for the week, shop and cook! 🙂


Personally, I LOVE the My Menu Maker Software offered to members. Here you can pick and choose from over 1700 recipes (or add your own) and create a
meal and shopping list that is perfect for your family. They even allow you to enter in allergies and food preferences to make choosing recipes
quick and easy. The monthly resources and bonus’ (Many not mentioned on the sales page) are worth quite a bit in and of themselves!

Christine “The Menu Mom” has just let me know that she is running her annual half-off sale for Menu Planning Central this week! Now is the time
to check out Menu Planning Central, and you have nothing to lose, as she offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

Go take a peek and I’ll see you on the members only Facebook Page after you join!

This resource should make your spring and summer meal-planning much simpler! Simply Print, Shop and Cook – feeding your family has never been
this easy!

You will LOVE it! PROMISE!

 

Get It Here

 

 

livelaughlove

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