3 Hots: Week 2, Day 4

It’s Thursday already?!  Where has this week gone?

We had our homeschool co-op group here today, and that means each family brought a dish to share. Co-op lunches are generally junk-foodier (I made that word up. HA!)  than we usually make, and today was no exception.
Nacho Dip – Velveeta (which is Gluten Free. Who knew?!), hamburger and Ro-tel, served with tortilla chips
Egg salad sandwiches on Chebe rolls
No-Bake Cookies – made with GF oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate
Baked potatoes – Our Girl cut them in half lengthwise and put them cut side down on a baking sheet prepared with olive oil.  This cuts the baking time in half, and gives the potatoes a crisp, yummy side that reminds one of a french fry.  Nothing wrong with that!
Green Beans
Junk food every now and then isn’t so bad if you balance it with healthier foods over a period of days.
See you Friday.

3 Hots Week 2, Day 3

Busy day!  Here we go:

Grits – Living in the South means one doesn’t easily tire of grits.
Sausage links

Baked beans
Hot dogs
Steamed Veggies


Keeping carb portions small and vegetable servings big is a great way to help the family members learn to eat more of what is better for them and not over load on carbs and calories.

See you tomorrow.


Raising Responsible Adults

Make life easy on yourself:  Raise your kids to be responsible.

Middle of the week and busy!  We had several tasks that had to be handled today.  Both my husband and I work from home, and folks assume that we have all the time in the world to take care of those little demands that pop up in life with no problem.  We do have it much easier than most folks, with both of us available to juggle things, but it takes some planning ahead.
The best thing we have done to this end is to teach our kids to be
  • responsible
  • independent when needed
  • and obedient, so we can trust them
Today Man had the boys with him to take the dog to the vet, go to the Feed and Seed for fresh hay for the chickens, do some train watching (a must for boys), and get one of them to the eye doctor.
On my list was picking up the milk from the farm, visiting with family-friends, preparing to teach at the college tonight and meeting up with a friend to pass off one of the girls.  That’s a bunch of running.  I was about to load the girls up in the truck with me when it dawned on me that we needed to divide and conquer.
I turned to my 13 year old daughter and said, “I need you to make lunch, meet the UPS guy and send these emails to customers.”  She said, “I’ll take care of it,”  and I knew she would.  While I ran to meet the farm folks, she stayed home and cooked a balanced, nutritious lunch for 6.  No further instruction was needed.  She sent out a blast email for me, even editing the email.  She met the UPS man at the door, signed the electric pad and locked the door behind him. No TV. No Phone.
We aren’t the only ones raising our children to be responsible. Our closest friends have an almost-12-year-old daughter who lovingly cares for her 3 younger siblings, aged 3, 4, and 6, when her parents need her to.  She can do this while cleaning the kitchen and cooking dinner, while her mom, dad and older brother are working on building a new home for their family.  And she does this with a sweet heart.  It’s not all the time, but when the family needs her, she is willing and able.
I have many, many examples of parents preparing their kids for future success.  They are planning for it.  It takes time, effort and focus.  We have such a short time with our kids.  Such a very short time.  For this time to be sufficient, parents must have  a plan in place.
We decided early on that we were not raising kids. We were raising ADULTS.  This shift in our focus has made a world of difference.  We talk to them in the same way we talk to other adults.  We expect them to follow through.  We set expectations high, quite high.  Now at 11 and 13 we have two strong family-team members, instead of two kids who need direction and constant motivation.
Today I encourage you to commit to taking the time necessary to prepare your children for success in adult life.
Responsibility. It’s worth the effort.
~Carroll Sue

PS – No.  Our kids are not perfect.  We are not perfect parents. We are wretches dependent on our Savior.  This is not a forum for bragging, but a place to encourage parents that kids are growing into adults whether they are being prepared for it or not.  Prepare them.

3 Hots, week 2 day 2

Today was a re-run day as we used up some leftovers from the fridge.
Each time we use leftovers, we count that dish/meal as a -$0- cost,
because we have counted the cost in our original meal.
Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or breakfast)?!

Grits with cheese

We refrigerated the left over grits from yesterday morning, putting them in a left over Chinese take out container and spreading them out smooth and flat.  The girl sliced these into grits-cubes about 1×3 inches and browned them on all sides in a skillet, along with some sliced garlic cloves.  When all 6 sides had been seared, she sprinkled cheddar on top and lidded the pan for about a minute to melt the cheese. Talk about good!  Oh my!
I just wish I had thought to brown some Andouille sausage to go with it!

Mac and Cheese
Black Beans
I know this sounds like a bunch to eat in the middle of the day, but everyone had just a little of everything. That is the beauty of leftovers. HA!

Lettuce wraps – Yes, we just had these at the end of last week, but they are such a fave and so easy and pretty-dog’gone-healthy.  We also used up the leftover rice, cabbage and celery.

On our Monday shopping run, we bought three packs of whole cut up chicken that was less than 1/2 price (came out to about 80 cents a lb.).  That Sweet Man of Mine fileted the breasts and diced the meat up for us to use in the lettuce wraps recipe. We left the rest of the meat on the bone and seasoned it before putting it in freezer bags. Those 3 packages of chicken will make 8 meals.  Altogether the chicken cost about $15.00, and we will get 8 meals out of it, that comes out to an average of just under $2.00 for the meat for those 8 meals.
We also took the breast bones, necks and backs, added veggies and rendered 4 qts of stock which we will use for soup base.  That is quite the deal.   Planning your meals according to a set cost/meal is a great way to stick to your budget.

See you tomorrow.


3 HOTS – week 2

We did our weekly produce and meat run this morning and got some great deals.
Here is what we got for 1.49 each:
2 – 12 oz mushrooms
2 – organic celery
3# organic apples
5# organic potatoes
3 16 oz bags of grated cabbage (for slaw and stir fry)
3# oranges
3# lemons
24 oz organic cucumbers
1 lb organic baby spinach
3 organic Romaine lettuce heads
all of that for less than $18.00

It never hurts to ask your produce people at your store when produce is marked down, and then arrange to shop accordingly.

Grits with cheddar cheese

Chili with ground beef, corn, black beans and Carroll Shelby chili seasoning.

Dinner –
We had another family over for dinner tonight, and that was a lot of fun.  Planning for 4 more adult sized appetites doesn’t just mean doubling what I am fixing, it means taking into account that some may want seconds.  I am adjust up to 10 – 12 servings of every thing.  (We had a great time, by the way!)
5# Boston Butt (Rubbed and left in the fridge for 48 hours), cooked 350 for 4 hours Roasted Veggies  – carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic
Marinated cucumber and onions in cider vinegar, sugar and dill weed
Cole Slaw
Apple and Blueberry Cobbler with homemade peach ice cream

I hope your week is off to a great start!


3 + 3 = 6 Hots

I am posting for Saturday and Sunday together, and taking Sunday off.

Our church, Simple Truth Bible Fellowship, has a covered dish lunch every Sunday.  This gives us a chance to eat, talk and get to know each other a whole lot more than just shaking hands and chatting in the foyer. It also is a great way to save money, as opposed to eating out every Sunday. Saving money is always a winner in my book!

Saturday is a relaxing, take care of a project or two, kind of day.  We sleep in a bit, have a late breakfast, a late lunch and then a light dinner. 

Sausage Gravy (left over from Friday)
Bacon – everything is better with bacon!


Egg drop soup –   homemade, of course. We use Bragg’s Amino Acids instead of soy sauce. The flavor is terrific and there is the health benefit of the Amino Acids.


Asian Lettuce Wraps (here is the PF Chang copy cat recipe we use http://www.theculinarylife.com/2010/pf-chang-lettuce-wrap-recipe-copycat-recipes/ )The secret is to cut your meat and veggie pieces really small. I like to use ground chicken or pork for this recipe, as that is faster than dicing the meat. I marinate the meat in the stir fry sauce for about an hour, for more flavor.

Sunday  (My faveFaveFAVE day of the week for so many reasons.)


Left over biscuits from yesterday


Tacos!  We got some mini shells (24 to the pack for 1.69) that are GF.   Browned 3 lbs of hamburger meat, added  a can of Ro-Tel, a cup of frozen corn, sliced green onions, and our homemade chili seasoning and a 1/4 tsp of Chinese 5-spice (my secret ingredient for chili, tacos, etc.).  We will put the meat in the shells and then folks can add on the cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, etc.


We are eating at my mother-in-law’s house, just doing the cooking here. 
Both of our moms live here in town and we make an effort to visit weekly. 
We all LOVE spending time with them, but life can crowd the really important stuff. 
Making the effort is so worth it!!

Ham Steaks with pineapple and cloves
Mashed potatoes
Tossed Salad
Corn bread

I do hope you have a terrific Sunday and take time to Worship with your family.  Enjoy your time.


3 hots this Friday

We wind down the week rather junk-foodie.
Usually when I make one fun food, I surround it
with healthy sides.  Not so today. Went all out.

Breakfast –


Lunch – We ate lunch with our co-op (homeschool) group today, and every family brings a dish to share

  • Pigs in a blanket (Little Smokies wrapped in gf dough and baked

  • Buffalo Chicken dip with Fritos

  • Sausage balls

  • Cake with fresh strawberries

Supper – continuing our junk food theme

Hot wings (On our Monday shopping trip, we picked up wings that had been marked down to .99/lb. Woo-hoo!
Cole Slaw
Green beans
Fries (We found organic  potatoes marked down to 1.49 for 3 lb bags Monday)  – The Girl sliced them pretty thin, laid them out on towels to soak up the water from them for 15 min, and then put cajun seasoning on them. They were crisp and tasty.
Homemade blue cheese dressing for the wings

Tomorrow we will eat much more healthy. HA!

Hope you have a terrific weekend!


3 Hots: The Saga Continues…

I do not like to run out to the market unless it is for a scheduled shopping trip, so when I go, I stock up.

This saves time, gas, frustration and money.


Blueberry Muffins and Eggs
Coffee and Milk


Pizza, with hamburger, spinach and mushrooms. (I got the mushrooms and baby spinach for 1.49, Monday.)
Salad – the kids get to make their own salads. I fill their bowl with lettuce, then they can choose from grated carrots, frozen peas, raisins, diced celery, 1 TBS of shredded cheese, etc.  They have to eat all of their salad before they can have their pizza. Pretty smart, eh?!


We brined 2 chicken breast for 24 hours (bring 2 c of water, 1/2 c brown sugar and 3 TBS of salt to boil, stirring frequently until the sugar and salt are one with the water. Put ten ice cubes in a bowl and slowly pour in the water mixture.  Add more ice if needed to lower the temp of the water. Place chicken is a zip top bag and cover with the brine. Park it in your fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 for about 20 – 30 min, until the internal temp is around 17o.  Those 2 breasts fed 5 of us tonight at dinner.

Green Beans
Cole Slaw (left over from last night)

I prefer to have just veggies and meat for dinner with out starches. We sleep better without a feeling of being too full.

Until tomorrow,

Carroll Sue

Day 3 – Three Hots

My husband has been teasing my about the title of my posts this week.  So, just to be clear, we are talking about MEALS and not MEN.  HA!

Using my fresh produce means that I can’t plan my meals until after I make my produce run.  We got 4 pints of blueberries marked down to 1.49 on Monday.  I didn’t see that one coming, but am so thankful for that blessing.  We also got two 3 lb bags of organic apples for 1.49 each.  Buying marked-down produce means that I have to use it or prepare it for the freezer or canning immediately.



Blueberry Pancakes – oh-so-yummy!  Our Girl put twice as much sugar (raw brown) in the batter this time for the purpose of not using syrup.  She didn’t want the pancake to get squishy around the berries, and thought the syrup would make them squishy.  With this we had coffee and milk.



We made peanut butter sandwiches with the leftover pancakes – Brilliant!  – and served these with a cup of veggie soup from last night. Love using leftovers!  It is just like throwing away money if I leave food in the fridge until it goes bad.  UGH! I hate when that happens!



The kids put ribs and back meat in the Crock Pot (which I loving call the Crack Pipe) with some BBQ seasoning and fruit juice to cook all day.  Made some Saffron Rice and Cole Slaw to go along with it.

Plan your meals, even if it is just the night before.  Know where you are going and make sure nothing goes to waste.

Well, this is fun.  I really am liking this exercise. Yea!

See you tomorrow!  ~CS

Three Hots on a Tuesday

Today I was on the road for our business, so the kids had the run of the kid-tchen on their own.


BREAKFAST was simple this morning: Sausage and Eggs, and bananas.  We butchered our pig, Skillet, the week before Christmas and we have some terrific, lean sausage.

For LUNCH, the Girl made burgers, fries and carrot sticks.  This was a big hit, especially with Dad! 

I called on my way back into town tonight and was so excited to find out that they were making my favorite rainy-day dish for DINNER:  Vegetable Beef Soup and Cornbread!  YUM!  The Girl made the cornbread in our biggest cast iron skillet, so it was crispy and tender.  I like a little hot sauce and sharp Gruyere in my soup.  (My mom makes some wonderful hot sauce, sister!)   The Boy likes sour cream in his soup.  We were all quite satisfied!

One of the most used skills I have taught the kids in cooking is to build flavor profiles.  For example, if we are having tacos for lunch, we wouldn’t use Italian seasonings.  We would build the flavors with cumin, coriander, chipotle, etc.  If you stick to a consistent profile in the different elements of your meal,the dishes meld together well.

See you tomorrow! 

~Carroll Sue