Princess and the Frog- Dinner and a Movie

Princess and the Frog Movie Night was a HUGE success.  We had Mufaletta, Cripsy Frog Legs (Chicken fried potato wedges), Voodoo Punch and Spicy Caramel Corn.

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The gorgeous olive mixture that fills the mufaletta.

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Ray Bear Made some voodoo top hat centerpieces.  We also played Pin the Kiss on the Frog.

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A big mound of sweet and spicy caramel corn- Yes Please!

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Delicious!!

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To make your own Voodoo Punch:

VOODOO PUNCH:

Ice

coconut extract

grenadine

half and half

cream soda colored blue

Fill a glass with ice.  Add 1/4 t. coconut extract, a splash of the grenadine and a shot of cream soda.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with the cream soda.  For best visual effect, do not mix.

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Download your own Princess and the Frog flyer here:

The Princess and the Frog

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Strawberry Sweet Rolls- A Recipe From My Pond to Yours

Here on the Pond, this Mama Frog recently got a deep freeze.  When I did my monthly grocery shopping, Strawberries were $1.00 a lb.  Now, that seemed like opportunity to me.  So I bought 20 lbs and put them in the deep freeze.  As a result, we have been enjoying strawberry ice cream, strawberries on our waffles and strawberry scones.  This morning, I decided to make some sweet rolls, and The Boy asked that I add strawberries to them.  The result was delicious, and I want to share it with you.

STRAWBERRY SWEET ROLLS

Strawberry Sweet Rolls With Vanilla Glaze

Yield: 24 sweet rolls (2- 9×13 pans)

Sweet Roll Dough:

1 box cake mix (I prefer white cake)

2 pkg yeast

2 1/2 c. warm water

2 T. vanilla

5 c. flour

1 T. salt

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and mix for 5 minutes on medium speed.  If your yeast is fairly new, you do not have to proof it, although you can.  Once mixed, allow to sit until doubled in size.  I have a Bosch mixer and find that with the top on it, this takes about 30 minutes.

 While your dough is raising, make the filling:

Filling:

1 qt fresh or frozen strawberries

1/2 c. water

3 T. corn starch

1/2-1 c. sugar, depending on sweetness of berries

2 T. vanilla

1 T. salt

Add strawberries to a saucepan.  Combine water and corn starch.  Pour over berries and add sugar and salt.  Bring berries to a boil and then remove from heat.  Using a fork, or a stick blender, mash the berries into large chunks.  Add vanilla and let cool to room temperature.

Once dough has risen, divide in half and roll into a 10×14 rectangle.  Spread half the cooled berry mixture over the dough.  Roll tightly and slice into 12 evenly sized pieces.  Put into one of your 9 x13 pans.  I did not grease my glass pans, and had no problems with this sticking.

Repeat with second half of dough and remaining filling.

I put my rolls straight into a 350 degree oven, without raising a second time.  They puff up nicely and are light and fluffy.  They need to bake 30-35 minutes.

While they are baking, make your glaze.

Vanilla Glaze:

3 c, powdered sugar

1/3 c. whipping cream

1 T. vanilla

1 T. salt

Whip in your stand mixer, or by hand until a nice spreadable consistency.  Spread immediately on rolls after they come out of the oven.

Homeschool Mascots on the Pond

Here on the Pond we have the cutest pair of Homeschool Mascots.  2 years ago, we adopted these two guinea pigs.DSC05479

When we got them, they were still quite young.  I am still not sure if they are littermates, but they love each other.

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Turtle is the black and tan, named for her ressemblance to the candy.  She also has this affinity for these plastic domes that she hides inside and walks around under, like a Turtle.DSC05476

 This little lady is named Maggie, She was supposed to be named Grace after the pirate Grace O’Malley (see her eye patch) but I was outvoted and Maggie it is.

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Ignore the Mountain o’Laundry.  Sometimes it piles up.

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The pigs are great with the Froglets, even down to Tiny Tadpole.  Their care is relatively simple and they love to munch up any leftover fruits and veggies.  They stay in our kitchen, on top of the dryer and have learned to “wheek” when the fridge opens in hopes of a treat.  Do you have a homeschool mascot?

Rango- Dinner And A Movie

So Saturday nights on the pond are family Dinner and  a Movie nights.  I have decided to share these with you, in case you want to start this tradition with your own Froglets.  The conditions are – the movie has to be family friendly (each family has to choose that one on their own), dinner is served in a theme with dessert, popcorn follows and fun is had by all.  I had planned to do a cactus craft with the froglets to decorate for this movie night, but somehow in the rush of Saturday it didn’t happen.  😦    I make a poster to go in the house and one on the front door to remind the froglets that this is a special night, and to remind Papa Frog if he happens to be working.   (A printable PDF of the image can be found at the bottom of this page)

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LIZARD LEGS

One package chicken legs (we use the family size with approximately 42 chicken legs- no I reckon it is more like 10-14)

One bottle of marinade (or make your own)- this was a southwestern chipotle marinade

Marinade legs for 2 hours, then grill until cooked through.

TUMBLEWEED TOSSED IN PESTO

This was just 1 1/2 lbs of pasta with some pesto and parmesean cheese on top.

CACTUS SHREDS

Green beans and corn.

MUDDY WATER FLOATS

Root Beer Floats

What can I say?  I was not terribly prepared this past week for movie night, but I have found that if you are even slightly creative, you can make family movie dinner night work with any menu.  This month I am planned a little better.  So, stay tuned for Princess and the Frog, TMNT, Mary Poppins and Rio 2 (not necessarily in that order!)

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PRINT YOUR MOVIE FLYER HERE:

RANGO

May Meal Planning Part 4 – In Which Mama Frog Unveils the Shopping Lists

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It has been the world’s longest day here today- if you want to get technical about it, is has been the longest week ever.  However, May’s lists are finally done.  I am shopping this Sunday.  Are you?

Print your shoppings lists below:

May Meal Planning LISTS 2015

May Meal Planning (Part 3)- Or Mama Frog Shares Some Downloadable Printables

I will have the shopping lists posted tomorrow, but I wanted to make sure you could get a head start printing and planning for May!  Here are some sample.  I included a cover page so you can tape it to a 3 ring binder if you choose, or slide it in the little clear pocket thing in the front.  I would love to know what you think!  Shopping lists are coming tomorrow.  🙂

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DOWNLOAD YOURS HERE:

May Meal Planning Cover 2015

May Meal Planning Menu 2015

May Meal Planning Recipes 2015

Meal Planning- This is How Mama Frog Does it (Part Two)- In which the Work Begins

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So, you have your recipes, and you have fit them into a monthly menu, right?  If not, see Meal Planning Part One- here.  You will no doubt have filled your menu with family favorites, new recipes to try and fun treats.  And if your meal plan looks like this:

Monday- Meatless Monday

Tuesday- Tacos

Wednesday- Spaghetti

Thursday- Chicken Bake

Friday- Meatloaf

Saturday- Breakfast for Dinner

Sunday- Leftovers

Well that is fine too.  Whatever menu your family is happy with.  I would suggest making sure you have actual copies of the recipes on hand.  Also make sure your menu has an extras section for any other items you make regularly, be they bread, cookies, lunches, or that church potluck every 3rd Sunday (Yep I grew up Baptist.  We potlucked).  You don’t have to have exact recipes, but you will want to list what ingredients each recipe uses.  I actually do this with recipes like my foil-wrapped chicken and potstickers.  I don’t use an actual recipe, since I have made them enough that I have evolved my own recipes.  Now here is how I like to do things, because this blog post is about my way.  You will no doubt find your own way 🙂

I like to have actual printouts of the recipes I am making.  Some of these are from month to month, some of these are new to this meal plan.  (At the end of the year I go back through the recipes we have made all year and make a book out of our favortites.  This year I plan to have one bound for my kitche.  These make great family gifts.  When my kids are old enough to move out I plan to send a copy of our family recipes with each of them).

I copy all the recipes text-only and paste them in a Word document, then I print them off.  Each recipe gets its own page.  Then they go into a three-ring binder with page protectors.  This month I need to replace my page-protectors.  They are several years old and are hard to read through anymore.  My calendar of meals gets printed as well and put in the front of the notebook.  (Don’t worry there will be pictures of this after I get my new page protectors).

Now comes the work.  I label 4 sheets of notebook paper thusly:  PRODUCE, DRY GOODS, MEATS/DELI, FRIDGE/FREEZER.  If you are new to meal planning, I suggest you also label a fifth sheet: PANTRY STAPLES.  I have been doing this long enough that pantry staples that I know I am out of go on the dry goods page automatically.  Before I even start I can add things like flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, oil, oats, brown sugar, and other staples that I know I buy monthly.  Don’t worry if you can’t make a list like this off the top off your head.  Just add the pantry staples, that a recipe calls for, to the PANTRY STAPLES list.  Then you can check that list against what is actually in your cupboard.  If you are increasing the amount you are cooking, then you may have a couple of months that require you to purchase a lot of pantry staples while you build up a good base stash.

One by one, I go through the recipes, adding ingredients to the proper page.  Tomorrow I will post my shopping lists for you to see in their rough form.  If more than one recipe calls for the same ingredients, you can use hashmarks to indicate that you need more than one item.   Let me give you a couple of examples:  If I am making scones and biscuits in a month, I know they will both need baking powder.  One jar of baking poweder is likely plenty.  But if I am making fajitas and stuffed bell peppers, I know I will need 2-3 peppers for the fajitas and 8 additional peppers for the stuffed peppers.  So while baking powder will be there singularly, bell peppers will have XI after it.   As I continue through I will keep adding ingredients, so I may end up needing 15 bell peppers for the month.  That gives me a very concise number as a base when shopping.  If I find bell peppers on sale, I may buy extras for the freezer, knowing that we will eat them in fried potatoes or a few to keep fresh knowing that the kids love bell peppers and dressing for a snack.  But at least I know what I NEED.

I also like to have the store flyer handy when making my list.  If I need ground chicken or turkey but I see that leg quarters on sale for cheaper than I can buy already ground (and they usually are), I will get legs and quarters to take home and grind myself.  If this is not an option for you that is fine, but keep in mind that if hamburger for burgers is $5.99 a lb and ground turkey is  $3.99 a lb, you can easily sub in and make turkey burgers.  Alternatively, instead of making burgers for everyone, you can also change your meal plan to include those legs and thighs, making half burgers and half grilled chicken legs.  The key to shopping within a monthly budget for me is flexibility.  It means thinking outside the box.

Many months, because of what is on sale, you will notice that our meals are heavy on chicken or heavy on meals that don’t use much meat.  That is because I am shopping within my local sales, and planning accordingly.  My budget doesn’t change just because the food  I prefer to cook is not on sale.   Another trick is to shop two or three different stores, time permitting.  You can often find different items on sale different places, making it easier to round out your month with different options.

So send the kids out to play in the spring sunshine, take your notebook and recipes outside and get your lists roughed out.  If they are messy or you make a mistake and put an item on there more than once, don’t sweat it.  We will get there.  Consider sides you might like to make, treats and snacks.  You are halfway there!