Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Freezer Chicken/Pork Taquitos...

Morning lovelies!! This past week I made cafe rio pork for dinner and we ended up having quite a bit leftover. Normally I would save it for enchiladas, but I forgot to buy some at the store this month. Because of my forgetfulness, I had to come up with a back up plan. I decided to use my leftover pork to make some taquitos to fill my freezer with. I love having these in the freezer because they are a quick meal option. Pair them with some sour cream or cilantro lime ranch for dipping and you are golden!!

I store them in gallon size freezer bags. Don't forget to label and date your bags! I like to store them in groups of 8. That is what my family will usually eat in one sitting. I love the recipe below because you really can tweak it to work with what you have on hand. I have used both chicken or pork. They both taste yummy. I have also made my taquitos with and without the cream cheese. It really just depends on if we want creamy taquitos or not. Either way is a crowd favorite around here. Get creative and make this freezer recipe work for you and what you have in your pantry :)

Freezer Chicken/Pork Taquitos

3 Cups cooked shredded chicken breast (or shredded pork works great too)
8 oz. Cream Cheese
4 Tablespoons chopped Cilantro
2 Tablespoons Lime juice
1 (6 oz.) can green chiles
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1 ½ Cups shredded cheddar cheese
small corn or flour tortillas
cooking spray
Combine all ingredients, minus the cooking spray and tortillas, in a large bowl. Mix well. Spoon mixture onto tortillas and then wrap up tightly. I used about one spoonful of mix per tortilla. I usually use whatever tortillas or cheese I have to use up. 
Place rolled out tortillas onto a greased baking sheet. Spray tortillas with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake Taquitos at 425' for 10-15 minutes.
To freeze: As you roll your Taquitos, place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet without touching. Then place your cookie sheet in freezer.  When your taquitos are frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and add them all to a freezer safe gallon sized bag. Label and add back to freezer. When you are ready to eat, place on a grease baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake @ 425 for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.

*I like to label my freezer bags with the cooking instructions. This allows the kids or Hubby to whip up a batch if Mom is busy :)

XO Danielle

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

10 Favorite Games to Play as a Family...

This week we have been playing a lot of games as a family. I am always on the look out for new fun games, so I thought it'd be fun for us to share our favorites with each other. I have put a list of 10 games together. I also have a great post, over on the Blissful and Domestic Facebook page, where you are all sharing your favorites too. I love all the encouragement friends. You guys are the best! 

So here are the top ten games my family totally recommend you to try ;)

This one I just found out in our shed. Somehow it got lost when we moved into our current house four+ years ago. We'll we have been playing this one all week long. It's a new favorite. It is very similar to Uno, but with different special cards. It's a fun one :)

I got us this one for Christmas, after reading a bunch of great reviews from other mommas. It is like Jenga, but a lot harder. You are using different length rods. This one has been picked for family night three weeks in a row. It is one of Libby's favs! 

My sisinlaw gave Keagan this one for Christmas a few years back. It is a strategy game, where you are trying to each find three items on the board. I really enjoy playing this one with the kids. It makes any afternoon fun :)
ummm...who doesn't love Clue? Everyone does right? I've been playing this one since I was a kid. I recently found this one in our shed as well and taught my kiddos how to play it. They've been enjoying trying to be detectives and solve the crime of "who dun it?"
This one I found at a thrift store when Keagan was only about 5. I taught Libby and him how to play it and we haven't stopped since. We love to play it in school. I ask them math questions or spelling words before each move. It is a great way to keep lessons fun. 
Oh how I can't say enough good stuff about this game. We first played it at a family game night with my inlaws. Soon after, we got ourselves our own. We've been playing it as a family since Libby was about 6. It's easy to figure out how to is kind of like tetris. The only down side is that it is for only four players.

Oh my gosh this is an absolute fun game! We love to bring this over to family gatherings because when you get a good group going..the fun does not end. Nothing but laughs are had when playing this game :)

Skip-Bo and Phase 10 are ones Hubby and I played when we were dating. It is fun to think we are still playing these games 12+ years later with our own children. These are easy ones to teach littles and they are great at teaching number patterns :)

What are your favorite games? We have a great discussion going on the Blissful and Domestic Facebook Page. Check it out :)

What are your favorite board games to play as a family? I'll be sharing my favorites this week, but I am curious what your favorites are?
Posted by Blissful and Domestic on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

XO Danielle

Monday, February 8, 2016

Canning Salsa the Easy Way & Some Grocery Hauls...

Morning lovelies! I feel like I have been a bit MIA around here for the past two weeks. Basically I spent one week consumed with regular mom stuff and canning. It felt like my week was crazy full. Then the next week I was gearing up for shopping, shared a grocery haul on my channel, and then we got just got busy again. This weekend though things slowed down and I was able to get some blogging in. I love getting on my little space of the web and connecting with all of you. It is such a fun part of my day.

So today I am sharing a few tips and tricks from when I canned salsa two weeks ago. Enjoy!

I've been needing to can more salsa for months. I ran out over the summer and had to wait till the weather cooled down to restock my pantry. We've been without salsa for months, so when I saw bountiful baskets had 25 lbs of Roma tomatoes for $17.00 I did a little shout for joy.

I ended up getting the tomatoes for 68 cents a pound. I bought 50 pounds of tomatoes. A quarter of that a shared with a friend, which brought my overall tomato cost to $25.50. I ended up canning about 37 pounds of tomatoes into salsa. I did this over a few days. I found time to cut tomatoes in-between school lessons and spent a few late nights canning and catching up on my chick flick watching. I'm one tired mama, but my shelves are full of salsa and that makes me REALLY happy.

I've shared how I can salsa in the past, so today I thought I'd share a few tips to make canning salsa easier. Canning is a constant learning process. I'm always finding new ways to cut down on time and create yummier jars of food.

For this batch I used the same salsa pack I did last time. It's called Mrs. Wages. I bought the bulk pack for $7 and was able to do 7+ quarts with that. I find it in the canning section at Walmart. I buy mine in the medium heat. My friend Jen used the same pack, but only use half the seasoning in her batch. This gave her a milder flavor. I've tasted both and they are equally yummy :)

To save time, I sterilize my jars in the oven. Heat your oven to 225'. Place your jars in a roasting pan and place in the oven. I put my rings and lids in the pan as well. Allow them to stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Keep them in oven until you are ready to use them. This keeps them nice and hot.

When heating my salsa, I divide my batch into two pots. I use to use a big stock pot, but found that I sometimes would burn the bottom. Dividing my salsa into two big pots has helped me keep from burning my salsa. Nothing is worse than taking all the time to can and then find out you burned the tomatoes. It stinks...literally. Thankfully this time around my salsa was burnt free. Success :)

I also try to can enough for 6-12 months. That way when I can something, I can get a huge amount done and then not have to worry about canning that item for quite a while. We now have enough salsa for at least six months. As you can and use up your food storage, you'll get a better idea of how much your family goes through of an item and how long it lasts on your shelves. I am still learning this, but am getting much better at judging amounts. Remember I said canning is a constant learning process?

The last thing I like to do, to keep things easy when canning, is to can with a friend. I had my friend Jen come over and we spent a night chatting and canning. It was a lot of fun. When I can solo, I always fire up my Hulu or Netflix to keep myself entertained. Canning can be a tedious process. Having something good to watch makes the time standing in the kitchen much easier.

So there are just a few of my tips and tricks that help me when canning. I just ordered a case of pineapple, which I am sharing with a friend. I'll be sure to share my tips and tricks for how to can pineapples, once I pick up my order this week.

I hope you are all having a fabulous Monday!! 

and in case you missed are two grocery haul videos I shared last week. Check them out :)

XO Danielle

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mom's Applesauce Muffins...

Morning lovelies! Are you ready for a new recipe? Today I am sharing one of my kiddos favorite muffin recipes. We love to have these for breakfast or for a yummy afternoon snack. Even hubby likes these, which is quite a compliment. Homeboy isn't a huge muffin fan, but these babies have him downing them two at a time.

These are also great to double batch and store in the freezer. Just thaw on the counter when you're ready to eat them. I usually thaw them overnight.

{Mom's Applesauce Muffins}

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbl ground flax seed
1 tbl ground wheat germ
1 tbl ground bran flakes
2 cups All-Purpose flour
1 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until moistened. Fill lightly greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Sprinkle with crumb topping (recipe below). Bake at 350' for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12-16 muffins.

{Crumb Topping}

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all together until crumbly.


XO Danielle

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I am Reading : January Edition

Hey friends! I've got a new video for you up on my channel. Today I am sharing what I am reading this month and a few other tidbits :) Enjoy!

XO Danielle

Monday, January 25, 2016

Smoothie Basics to Stock Your Freezer With...

Hey friends!! Today is a day to be celebrated. For the past 12 weeks I have wanted nothing to do with smoothies. I could eat the fruit separately, but talk to me about putting them together in a drink and my stomach would turn. Well this morning I woke up and my food aversion towards smoothies has let up. I was able to make my family protein smoothies and not get queasy. It was a hallelujah moment friends. Yeah for morning sickness taking a rest today.

As I was getting our smoothie supplies together, I thought it might be nice to share what my basic smoothie goodies are and how we like to use them.

I like to have a variety of frozen fruit. We use frozen strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, and bananas. I buy a few extra bunches of bananas throughout the month. I then freeze them to use when we are out of fresh bananas. Having a frozen option for bananas allows me to stretch out my produce trips because no matter what type of smoothie I make, I love a banana in it. I typically buy the rest of our frozen fruit at Winco. I get my bag of strawberries for just under $9 a bag.

We also use canned pineapple, peaches, pears, and mandarin oranges for smoothies. I buy these in bulk when they're on sale.

We like to add chia seeds often to our smoothies. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein and are full of omega-3 fatty acids. They actually contain more omega-3's than salmon. They also act like little scrub brushes in your intestines. My kids always think that tidbit is hilarious :)

We love to have almond milk, apple juice, and orange juice on hand. I buy apple juice in bulk, almond milk from Costco, and orange juice from concentrate at Winco. I store the oj in the freezer, until I'm ready to make some juice for smoothies.

For protein powder, we stick with Target's Market Pantry vanilla and chocolate powders. We get them for under $20 and they last us about a month or two, depending on how often we use them. We also buy pb2 powder. It's dehydrated peanutbutter, so you get the pb taste and protein, but not all the fat and calories. We love to mix a scoop of chocolate protein powder, two tablespoons of pb2 powder, 1 banana, 1 tbl chia seeds, and almond milk for a yummy dessert smoothie. Oh this one is delicious! :)

Oh and I can't forget spinach. Spinach is a great source of folate and can be blended into any smoothie. Spinach is sneaky because it doesn't have a huge taste in smoothies. You can sneak it into your kids drinks without them realizing. Our favorite spinach smoothie is a handful of spinach leaves, 1 banana, 4 strawberries, 1/4 cup blueberries, and juice. Blend and enjoy!

We use our nutri bullet for mixing, but any blender will do.

What are your smoothie basics? Oh and what are your favorite recipes? I'm always looking for new smoothie ideas :)

XO Danielle

Friday, January 22, 2016

Why I Like to Have Pancake Mix in My Food Storage...

Growing up, my father always made pancakes on the weekends. He used his purple bowl (which he stills has to this day) and would whip up a batch of batter. Sometimes he let my brother and I help, which we LOVED. We always knew Saturday mornings were pancake day and that was something we looked forward to as a kid. I mean who doesn't like pancakes? We all do right?

Well over the years I have continued that tradition of pancakes on the weekends. The only difference is that I use a homemade recipe. I like to throw in extras or make the batter whole wheat if I desire. I like the "options" factor of going homemade. 

I do still buy Krusteaz pancake mix to keep in our food storage and today I thought I would share with you why. Now I know that I typically have flour and sugar, but there have been times when I am missing a few other ingredients. When times are tough and the money isn't always coming in, you don't always have oil or eggs on hand. When this happens, having a pancake mix in your food storage will help a ton. 

We will all have rainy days and no matter how well we prepare ourselves, there may be times when there just isn't extra money to go buy those few things we need to round out whatever we have on hand. We have had times in our life, when hubby was out of work. For all of my friends who have been in this situation, you know it is a scary thing to go through. Not knowing when the money will start rolling in again can definitely be stressful. When these times happened, we made do with what we had. We ate out of food storage, stretched our savings as much as we could, and honestly tried to not spend anything extra. 

Sometimes that meant going without. Sometimes that meant cutting our regular grocery budget in half, so that we could pay the electric bill. We've all been there right? We've all had seasons where tough decisions had to be made, so we could provide for our family. When this did happen, I turned to my pantry staples to make a meal for my family. We would combine our pancakes with canned fruits and call it a meal. Having this just once a week really helped to stretch our budget when times were tough. 

Pancake mix also has a fairly long shelf life...lasting about two years. You can add all kinds of things to your batter, like fruit, chocolate chips, pieces of sausage, etc. I remember my dad saying that his family used leftover pancakes for sandwich bread growing up. They did this because money was tight and pancakes were a cheap option to fill tummies. 

I hope to share more pantry staples like these, which are great to stock up on and have on hand for when the time to "make do" arises. I want you all to know that I know what it is like to not know how the bills are going to get paid next month. I remember that feeling of uncertainty and how unsettling it can feel. I do want to tell you though that if you do the little adopting a life of thrift, stretching your budget, putting money away for those rainy days, and stocking up when your budget allows...those rainy days will not be so hard. Knowing that you are preparing, as much as you can, for when the rain comes is a great comfort. We can do amazing things in our lives. We're in the drivers seat of our life and we can do hard things. I never want you to forget that.

May God Bless you and I hope this post finds you with a happy heart :)

Have a wonderful weekend friends! 

XO Danielle 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Only the greatest gadget for baking cookies...

Today I am sharing one of my favorite kitchen gadgets with you friends. This gadget is one that I resisted getting for years....for years people....because I was convinced I could get along fine without. Then one day I caved, while at Walmart. I picked up this goodie and have never looked back.

Today I'm talking about my Oneida Cookie Dough Scoop. Friends, I feel a little guilty because I should have shared this gem with you quite a while ago, but time got away from me. You know how that old story goes...

I got my cookie scoop probably a year or so ago. I was seeing all these beautifully shaped cookies on Pinterest and I wanted to know what these mamas were using that I wasn't. I realized that a big difference was how they were getting their dough on the pans. I was using this two spoon technique. It was a bit messy and a smidge on the time consuming part. Once I realized that a cookie dough scoop could make my baking process easier, I was first in line for this gadget.

I snagged mine from Wal-Mart for under $7. It makes scooping out the dough so easy. It has a trigger handle that allows the dough to come out in a happy little ball. My cookies now plump up and are pretty little circles.

This little gem has made cookie making an absolute cinch, so if you've been on the fence I'm here to tell you that you should jump. Jump over and get yourself a cookie scoop. Your cookies will thank you.

Now I want to know what your favorite cooking gadgets you use a muffin scoop? Are they as great as they look? Let me know friends :)

XO Danielle
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