December 3, 2011

The gift of giving during the holidays - Long post~

It's December, it's holiday time, and yes I am one who has been out buying my family gifts, I hit the black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales, I admit it!  But it's those that are far away that most people forget about.. and it's not on purpose it's just not right here or in your line of sight, you tend to forget. 

So.  I work for a wonderful world wide pharmaceutical company in the Chicago area, benefits like you can't believe, profit sharing, pension, 401K stock, etc.  I am fortunate, I know and all my 12+ years I've been there I value all of it and am so thankful for that.  So we do various charity events, we volunteer for various groups, we have a giving campaign, food drives, etc.  I've always done the giving campgain to various organizations, I've donated time to build a deck at a development center for adults, I've packaged food in boxes at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Ive participated in school supply drives and many more.  This was the first year that I actually have seen a drive for our men and women overseas who are fighting for our country.

  Alot of what they were asking for I already had in my cabinets due to my couponing and CVS black Friday.  So I started to really think and ponder what all do I have I can donate. .  But.. I felt this was important becuase these brave women and men are fighting for our country and they are willing to sacrifice their own lives.  My dad was in the army, my uncle a Marine for 20+years, my brother in the Army reserves.  My mom and I used to love packing boxes full of goodies for my brother when he was away at bootcamp or advanced training, we sent everything from candy to books to new contacts for him even!   So I felt this was my way of giving back, it's not alot, I'm no way financially able to just buy eveything and send it as much as I'd like to, I know it's just not possible.

So I scrounged through my cabinets and found various items I knew that I had gotten while couponing and thought what a better way to share my savings then to donate it!  I also found various magazines, Sports Illustrated that my husband had, a snowmobile magazine and a couple of All You, just so they have something to read.  I've included items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, feminine needs, deodorant, sample size shampoos, soaps etc.  A nice variety of things..

Then the other I night I had a wonderful thought, I could get my boys, ages 8, 6 and 3 to help me bag up some of their halloween candy, we had a huge bowl and they have no need for it all.  So after my 8 year old said no I want my candy!  I knew something had to be done to explain and show them the gift of giving to others.  So last night we sat down and sorted through their candy, I explained to the older two that the soldiers don't have the ability to just go to the store and buy candy.  We can, they can't.  Simple as that.  It will mean alot to them that you are donating your candy for them and it will make you feel good about it.  Of course trying to rationalize this with my 3 yr old was impossible, but hey I tried.  I also proceeded to explain that these brave soldiers were moms, dads, grandpas, sons, brothers and uncles who would not be spending the holiday time at home with their own families. I said "you know there's some moms and dads over there that won't be with their kids on christmas morning to see what Santa brought them or there is young soldier's that are scared and spending their first Christmas away from their mom and dad."  That made them think and then they said "we want to make sure we are with you on Christmas mommy!"  I thought that was so sweet, I went through alot to have my boys and they mean the world to me.  So I just said "it may not be much but they will appreciate all we are sending them".  So when we were finished my 8 year old said "they will be so proud of me giving up my halloween candy for them".  I'm sure they will.

Thankyou for listening as I know this was long.. but it was felt that I needed to get it all out there and hopefully it will help people realize and open their own hearts!

So I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and stay tuned, as I have the 24 days of Christmas Cookies to post and share with I have some yummy recipes coming your way!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is what I have so far, I'm still hoping to get a few more things or find a few people willing to donate stuff as well:

Have a wonderful weekend!

August 24, 2011

Beef Enchiladas

I originally found the recipe for the No Fuss Tex Mex Rollups from Kraft, but didn’t like the Chili flavor that they used.  Also, using 1 lb of ground beef for my family of 5 just wasn’t enough.  So I kinda went with it and used what I had in the cabinets and it turned out wonderful!  I typically use Tostito’s salsa & everyone in my family loves this!  Very yummy and so simple/easy to make!  J   You can play with the ingredients some and use red peppers (as Kraft calls for in their recipe) onions or jalapenos.  We top ours with sour cream and my husband uses jalapenos on top of  it.  I’ve also made this using Taco seasoning instead of salsa to mix into the meat, I prefer the salsa aspect gives it more flavor with the onions, etc. that are in the salsa. 

1.5 -2 lb ground beef
1 jar any type Salsa
½  cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese
8 flour tortillas (medium)
Italian dressing
1 lg. container Sourcream (optional for topping)
Jalapenos or green chiles (optional)

  1. Brown meat in pan, drain.  Stir in ½ jar Salsa, sour cream and ½ cup cheese.  Mix well and heat slightly.  Remove from heat.
  2. Spoon meat mixture down the center of the tortillas (you can top with cheese if you like , I do..) Rollup each one up and place seam side down in a 13x9 inch pan.
  3. Drizzle Italian dressing on top and top with remaining salsa and cheese.
  4. Broil about 6-8 inches from heat about 5 minute or until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve warm and top with more sour cream, peppers or chiles.

Now on a side note, Look what my garden produced for me since Saturday!  I was so happy, I was able to can 3 quarts tomoatoes, freeze 4 pkgs jalapenos (going to can once the habaneros come in).  My beans and carrots did not fair well at all.  But the 2nd crop of beans I planted I got some.. so I have enough for a package I foodsavered.  Still considering whether or not I have enough time for a 3rd crop, hard to determine with our weather so iffy.. but we are usually pretty warm through October. So we'll see...

Beef Enchiladas
*adapted from Kraft No Fuss Tex Mex Rolliup*

(photo: Kraft Foods)