Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Banana Split Pie

Makes 8 servings Active Prep Time: 20 minutes  Refrigerate Time: 2 hours

“This is so delicious.  How could it not be?”

1 8 inch graham cracker pie crust

1 8-ounce package cream cheese – softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 banana – thinly sliced

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (drained)

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 container cool whip topping

Chocolate syrup – for drizzling on top

3 maraschino cherries – for garnish

1)  Evenly place sliced bananas on bottom of pie crust.

2)  In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Spread over bananas.

3)  Evenly spread crushed pineapple (drained) over cream cheese mixture.

4)  Place strawberry slices over pineapple.

5)  Spread cool whip over entire pie.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with cherries.

6)  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

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The Green Smoothie

There seems to be a new movement.  It’s green smoothies.  My BFF, Marguerite, swears by them.  She’s even managed to almost convince me.  After a little research, it’s clear she isn’t the only one out there swearing by them. 

Green smoothies are exactly that.  Smoothies made with green food, well green vegetables, not lime jello.  This is a great way to get your daily serving of green vegetables all at one time.  Some are even calling it “A Health Miracle” with benefits that include: fighting cancer and diabetes, and losing weight. 

There are lots of recipes out there, so I recommend finding one that will suit your family.  This is the one I’ll be trying from thegreensmoothiechallenge.com

  • 6 – 8 oz. spinach
  • 1 pear
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berry blend, frozen
  • 1 handful frozen peaches
  • 1 inch piece of ginger with skin on
  • 2 dates
  • 4 scoops stevia
  • water

Place all ingredients in blender and fill blender with water. Mix until liquified.

I’m guessing it’s not rocket science.  Just a fun way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your very hectic schedule.  You can even stick a straw in these and drink them on the go.

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How to Read and Understand Food Labels

Reading labels will totally change how you eat.  In fact, sometimes when I really want something, I intentionally don’t read the label.  That always prevents me from eating something I shouldn’t.  If you are trying to eat better, reading the labels on the food you eat should be the first place you start.

Serving Size – This is the first thing you will see and the first thing you should check.  You might be really excited to read that your favorite chips have only 90 calories per serving.  Keep reading because there’s a good chance that 1 serving is only 9 chips making each and every chip 10 calories.  That’s just hypothetical, but you get the point.  This will definitely influence your decision to sit down with the whole bag.

Calories – (My least favorite word in the English dictionary) – Calorie consumption plays a big part in weight management.  According to the FDA, as a general guideline 40 calories per serving is low, 100 calories per serving is moderate, and 400 calories or more per serving is high.  This is important to keep track of because eating too many calories per day is linked to overweight and obesity.

Nutrients – Nutrients on a label are divided into 2 sections.  The first section contains fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  These are the nutrients you should limit.  Eating too much of any of these can be bad for your health.  At a glance, make sure these numbers are relatively low.  The second nutrient section lists fiber, vitamins, and other good nutrients such as Iron and Calcium.  These are the ones you want to get plenty of.  At a glance, make sure these numbers are relatively high.

Remember not to trust the front of any package.  Labels such as low-fat, low-sugar, are fortified are relative terms that essentially tell you nothing.  In order to truly know what you are consuming, you must read the nutrition label on the back.

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Onion Rings are OOOO So Yummy!!

I notoriously have mental blocks about cooking certain foods.  When I think of (used to think of) onion rings, I’d always picture the big Fry Daddy.  I just have visions of onion rings being a huge ordeal.  I also remember them tasting so amazing – way better than any restaurant could ever be.  That said, I’ve never (until recently) made onion rings. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with my Maw-maw Lucy while my husband was making hamburgers.  We started talking about her onion rings.  She convinced me how very simple they really are to make.  I was so inspired that I hung up and made them right away to go with our burgers – in less than 15 minutes.  So much for the ordeal, I had created in my head.  My family gobbled them up.  They were so easy and delicious, I made them again soon after.  They were devoured again. 

So, now I am so excited to share with you exactly how to make these.  Simply cut a large onion very thinly – actually this is a preference.  They can be as thick or thin as you like.  I like mine pretty thin.  Beat 2 eggs in a bowl.  In a large gallon size zip lock bag, add flour (1 – 2 cups), salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika.  I did a couple of good shakes of each.  Make sure the flour combination is mixed well.  On medium heat, heat a half inch of oil in a large skillet.  Working in small batches, dip your onions in the eggs and toss to coat in the large plastic bag.  Place onions in a single layer in the hot grease.  You’ll know it’s hot enough when it sizzles.  Brown the onion rings for about 2 – 3 minutes (until golden) and flip for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Place on several layers of paper towels to absorb oil.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Have I inspired you to try your hand at onion rings tonight?  I hope so.  You’ll be OOOOO so glad you did.

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Family Night

Those of you who get my newsletters or emails have often heard me mention Family Night.  What is Family Night?  You can pretty easily guess by the name of it, that it’s a designated night just to hang out as a family.  For us, it’s always Friday night.  It’s a little harder in the summer because we are traveling a lot or outside late.  But, now it’s fall and time to put Family Night back in motion. 

At the Billesbach Pad, Family Night is always spent at home – free and clear of distractions.  We spend lots of time all week together away from home, so it’s a real treat to stay in and hang out.  The kids are in charge of family night, so they get to choose the dessert and the activity.  I have several recipes that I consider to be “Fun” food, such as Nachos, Quesadillas, Sliders.  It’s usually finger food.  I just have it in my head that finger foods are “fun.”  There’s always a dessert.  The kids get to choose the dessert, but if I’m not really in the mood to bake or go all out, I can easily persuade them into Sundaes, Shakes, or Root Beer Floats.  The best part is the activity.  It can be anything from a board game, to a craft project, to a science experience (that’s what Kate calls an experiment.) 

If once a week is unreasonable at your house, aim for once a month.  The first Friday, Saturday, or Sunday of the month.  It doesn’t even have to be at night.  Make 1 Sunday at month, Family Day.  The idea is to set in stone a time that you will make spending time as a family your highest priority.

My favorite memory is watching my husband (who is truly the best sport ever) play Pretty, Pretty, Princess.  I know the kids will always remember that and many other fun times we’ve had on Family Night.  And isn’t that what it’s really all about.

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Get the Dinner Conversation Flowing

One sure fire way to get everyone talking at dinner is to ask about their day.  The trick is not to ask yes, no or fine questions.  My favorite thing that I did growing up and that we do at our house is to let everyone tell what the best part of their day was.  It keeps the mood positive.  I also try to keep a mental note of things like spelling tests, class parties, and field trips so I can ask specifically about those things.  I think it’s also fun for the kids to hear about the best of our day as well.  It might be that I had lunch with a friend or got a problem solved, but no matter what – it’s sharing.

Other good starters might be:

  • Tell me about that book you reading.
  • How about that new movie about … coming out?
  • What did you have for lunch?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch?
  • Who did you play with at recess?

My kids prefer these types of questions over hypothetical ones such as…

 If you could be a celebrity, who would you be and why? 

Those might work at your house, but my kids look at me like I’m crazy.  We prefer a more natural line of questioning.  I also am sincerely interested in hearing what they had for lunch or who they played with.

 So use these tips to get your family chatting around the table.

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Who is the Meal Planning Mom – The mom behind the website?

I saw this on another blog and thought it was great.

50 (make that 25) things about me that may or may not surprise you…

I have a Webkinz and I log in almost every day.

I love frozen French fries.

My favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids and I border on addicted on them.

I don’t always feel like cooking.  Even I have days when I dread it.

I didn’t see snow fall from the sky until I was 26.

If you put a US map in front of me, I might know where 10 states are.  And don’t ask me to point out the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

I get lost even with a GPS.

I was willing to have as many kids as necessary to ensure my daughter had a sister.

From the time I thought about MenuForTheWeek.com until the time I bought the domain name was less than 15 minutes.

My 6 year old is convinced that I’m famous and tells everyone she meets – embarrassing.

I work 2 days a week as a geology tech for an oil company.  It’s the only non-domestic thing I do.

I once had a cookie business that did very well.  I was maxed out at the number of cookies I could make.

I love public speaking, which is the number one phobia; flying, not so much.  I’d actually rather speak in front of 10,000 people than get on an airplane.

I used to belly dance.

My sisters and I all have matching tattoos on our back.  I still claim mine was a result of peer pressure from my middle sister – she’s very convincing.  I do not, however, regret it.

I cook a lot of things that never make it to the menu – flops.  We’ve even had to order pizza.

I love getting new cleaning supplies and trying them out.  That makes me outright weird.

I have a bucket of list of things I eventually want to make; homemade flour tortillas are at the top.

I hate drama on any level and go to great lengths to avoid it.

My number 1 goal is to have a bestselling cookbook one day and endorse a major brand of food.

I could put cream cheese in everything I cook and be happy with it.

If I could only have 1 food for the rest of my life, it would be gumbo – which ironically enough is too time consuming to put on the menu.  Next would be boiled crawfish.  They might be first if they weren’t so hard to peel.

I truly believe that food cooked with love tastes better.

I’ve had to eat the words, “My kids will never….,” more times than I care to count.

I’m OCD about dinner going on the table at 6:00.  It’s always within 5 minutes of 6:00.

This list started out as 50 things about me, but I got bored with myself around 25.  I feel blessed to have a relatively boring life (that drama thing.)

So, now you can put some facts behind the face.

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