Moooooooove Over Pride…We’re Eatin’ for Free

Last Friday, much to Derek’s dismay, we dressed in our cow costumes and headed to Chick-Fil-A for our free meal. Two years ago we dressed as Star Wars characters so we decided to be “Rock Stars” this year.

Derek was completely mortified as we walked into the building. I reassured him this was only temporary, we’d get a free meal, the kids would enjoy it, and he wouldn’t have to dress like a cow for another 364 days.

Well, as we entered the restaurant, the store manager came over and took our picture. She very excitedly informed us that our picture would be on the stores’ Facebook page. I kept staring and smiling at her, completely ignoring the look of horror that suddenly came across Derek’s face.

When the manager walked away I looked at Derek and said, “It’s for the children.”

“And more importantly, the $25 meal we are about to receive for free.”

So I present to you…..

Moo Hendrix, The Stubborn and fiercely independent 6 year old who refused a name, The Black Eyed Cow, Sheryl Cow, and MooDonna

Picture of Family Dress for Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a

My chicken sandwich and waffle fries were delish!

Already contemplating our theme for next year….Derek is desperately hoping he’ll be out of town on business.

Dress Like a Cow = Free Meal

Friday (tomorrow!) July 8th is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A

If you and your loved ones dress like a cow your meals are FREE!

(Chick-fil A has a downloadable cow costume on their website.)

Partial costume = free entree          Full costume = free meal

Two years ago we dressed up in a Star Wars theme and ate for free. You do not need to have a theme to your costumes  but it added an element of fun. Here are our construction paper and reversed t-shirt ensembles from two years ago:Fortunately I translate baby faces and can tell you what she was thinking

Dammit lady – I don’t even eat solid foods yet and you have dressed me like this. Why must you do this? I will be beyond embarrassed. What if my friends see me? This family is a mess. I cannot wait till I go to college.

Hurry! Get a costume and have an “udderly” good time!

Undercover Veggie

Shhhh….my kids ate zucchini today but they have no idea.

Somewhere I failed as a parent in regards to my kids’ eating.

We are not one of those families where the kids eat everything on their plate.

“Oh, Johnny just loves his salmon with asparagus and sushi.”

No, it’s more, “Oh, Alex loves his hamburgers and grilled cheese,” over here.

But to be honest, I’m not really worried.

At one point my youngest sister ate only white food.

For years.

Mashed potatoes, pasta, mashed potatoes, pasta?

Seriously, I don’t know what she ate but she seems to be fine now.

Plus, her food groups have expanded to include green and red foods so there’s hope for my kids.

I have begun “sneaking in” veggies as a little backup for my confidence that all will be fine.

Caroline likes orange juice. In fact, she eats and drinks just about every fruit.

But not one vegetable. I’m sorry I misspoke, she is a corn on the cob connoisseur but that’s it.

So now she drinks her 3/4 orange juice and 1/4 carrot juice combo in the morning. She’s happy and I feel like I can color in one minor section of the food pyramid.

The boys are not much better since they do not stray far from salad and carrots.

I came across a banana chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe in blog world. What? One of these things is not like the other. Zucchini? There have been several gagging incidents at our dining room table over cooked zucchini. Amazingly, we’ve never had any gagging incidents from banana bread or chocolate chips.

Soooooo…I immediately printed out the recipe, gathered the ingredients, and made the bread this morning (naturally doubling the chocolate chips suggested).

I admit the smell was pretty enticing. When I announced the chocolate chip banana bread was ready there were whoops and hollers.

Well folks. Good news. Caroline ate her piece while Andrew had seconds and Alex had thirds. I am pretty sure they consumed exactly 0.05% of the daily serving suggestion for vegetables but it’s more than before.

Hmmm…anyone for turnip tiramisu?


Apparently the one sitting where they consumed a large portion of the brad was a fluke. Alex & Andrew are now refusing to eat the the very same bread they fought over exactly one day ago. Excuse me while I go bash my head on a tree.

A Watched Pot

Last week as Alex was searching for something for lunch he asked me, “Do you know how to make mac n’cheese?”

I took it as an insult.

While I am admittedly a bad cook, I can at least make mac n’cheese.

From a box that is.

Let’s not get all crazy and make it from scratch.

Plus, I’ve made it a good hundred times or so for him. Doesn’t he remember at least one of those occasions?

Alex decided he was going to learn the very detailed and complex process of making this gourmet lunch.

I walked him through all the steps and watched as he proudly served his brother lunch.

Turns out his first attempt was so successful he decided to cook it again today. This time though he drove me crazy. Off and on. Off and on. Off and on went the lid.

I explained the phrase “A watched pot never boils” to him in hopes of getting him to walk away for a few minutes.

I should not have bothered.

He thought his idea was much better.

I cannot wait to see what he does when I explain, “A chip on your shoulder.”

Homemade King Cake

We love King Cake around here.

Every time we have king cake the boys mention to each other, “Mom got king cake at school every week when she was little.” I try to tell them it only occurred during Mardi Gras season but I can’t deter their thoughts of what a pitiful school experience they are having compared to me.

My mom sent us a Randazzo’s king cake for Derek’s birthday. It was devoured in 3 days. The only reason it wasn’t gone faster was because I wouldn’t let them have it for breakfast. Alex “got the baby” in the Randazzo king cake so he knew it was his turn to provide the next cake.

Occasionally, Alex would remind me it was his turn to buy the next king cake . Our neighborhood grocery store was the only place which came to mind for buying a king cake but frankly, they looked quite unappealing to me.

While browsing the magazine section one day in Lowe’s, I started flipping through a Sandra Lee magazine. Behind all of the Valentine treats she was featuring was a small section on Mardi Gras recipes. Gumbo, etouffee, and king cake were listed as well as dirty rice.

While reading I whispered, “Homemade king cake.” Alex was at my side in a second. “Oh, can we try? Can we make that tonight?” Seeing as it was already 4:45 I appeased him by buying the magazine and promising to make the dessert soon.

A few days later, after gathering the supplies, I decided the time was right to make the king cake. We were once again stuck in the house all day due to ice. I was desperate for an activity (and frankly, something sweet) so I told the boys we were celebrating Friday night dessert early because of the weather.

Here’s a picture of our ingredients: 3 cans of cinnamon rolls with icing (we didn’t use the extra one shown here), a plastic baby, and sprinkles. Our sprinkles are not the traditional gold, purple, and green since we used what was in the pantry.

ingredients for king cake1) First we buttered the baking sheet.

2) We unrolled the 3 cans and separated each cinnamon roll.

3) We then formed an oval shape with the rolls. Sandra Lee suggests using 5 cans of cinnamon rolls but I thought that would be a tad gluttonous for us.

4) We baked the cinnamon rolls / king cake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

5) We waited 15 minutes for it to cool (Next time we’ll try 5-10 minutes) , covered it with the cinnamon roll icing, and then covered with sprinkles.

The finished product!

Considering they each ate the king cake 3 times in 24 hours I’d say it was a big hit. (By the way, Andrew got the baby this time).


We rarely eat fast food for dinner but I decided the other night was the exception. The boys had 3 activities we needed to be at, all around dinnertime. We drove through McDonald’s on the way to our 2nd and 3rd activities of the night. I decided Caroline and Andrew would eat once we arrived at Alex’s practice but he needed to eat in the car on the way.

Here was my order at the drive through:

I’d like a #13, a 20 piece chicken nugget (yes, all 3 kids polished this off with no leftovers), 3 milks, and 3 small fries.

After receiving the food,  I placed Alex’s food on a tray and handed it back to him.

Andrew immediately wanted to know, “When do Caroline and I get to eat?’

When we get to the lacrosse field I will give you your food.

“What’s my food?”

I got you some chicken nuggets, a small fry, and a milk.


What do you mean what. I got you the food you asked for.

“What do you mean I got a small fry?”

I got you a small fry, Alex a small fry, and Caroline a small fry.

“What! That’s all I get for dinner?”

What are you talking about? You have this meal every time we come to McDonald’s. There will be more than enough food for you.

Why do I only get one small french fry with my meal?”

Ohhhh. No, you get a small bag of fries. With many fries inside the bag.

“Good because I need more than just one fry. I thought you were only giving me one fry. I’m hungrier than that.”

My Super Bowl Victory

My Super Bowl victory has nothing to do with the Packers or the Steelers. My victory is one between man vs. food. Okay, woman vs. food. I’m talking about the ever elusive perfect potato salad. More specifically…my mom’s potato salad. I have dreamed of making it for years.

My mom makes the best potato salad. At every family gathering, whatever time of year, this dish makes an appearance based on popular demand. Now you may have this dish down pat but remember I am not a cook. The prep time, the layering upon layering of ingredients, and the need to chill overnight, were daunting to me.

I was always intimidated. But no more. I have conquered my potato salad fears and come out the victor.

Last year I asked my mom to let me help her make the potato salad so I would learn the process. I watched as she created it layer by layer but I was sure I would never be able to recreate it. I’d like to say I promptly went and tried to make it soon after but that would be a lie. I didn’t even think about attempting it until a few days ago.

For some reason I felt sloppy joes and potato salad would be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. I bought the ingredients and waited until the kids were in bed on Saturday night. I read the recipe several times. In fact, I read each step several times. I put the finished product into the refrigerator and hoped for the best on Sunday.

As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised with my potato salad. It was good. Really good. After the years of worry and self doubt about tackling this recipe I scored! In fact my husband liked it too. On Super Bowl Sunday I had roughly 6 servings of the potato salad a few scoops of the potato salad with my sloppy joes.

Now I’m going to go through the family cookbook to figure out what recipe to try next!

potato saladDo you have a family recipe you’ve always wanted to master?

Honey Cornbread

So I was sitting in bed last night watching “The Mentalist” when I mentioned to Derek that I didn’t have a post for today yet. Suddenly a topic popped into my head. I announced, “I should share the cornbread and chili recipe we had tonight. Those were good.” Derek responded, “Yes, the cornbread would be a good one to share.


Me thinking.

“Oh I get it. You didn’t like the chili.”

“I’m not saying that. It was good too.”

“Right. I think that was very clever how you phrased it.”


“You are in charge of dinner tomorrow. I’m out.”

So, in light of our conversation I will only be sharing the cornbread recipe. Apparently it’s good enough to share.

Honey Cornbread

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 and 1/3 cups milk

2 and 1/3 cups flour

1 and 1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup corn meal

1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar adn butter. Add in eggs, honey, and milk. Mix well.

2. Mix together flour, baking powder, corn meal, and salt. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Batter will be lumpy.

3. Pour batter in greased 11 x 14 inch baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. (I cooked mine in a 9 x 13 pan for 28 minutes. I think it could have been taken out a few minutes earlier – just watch it carefully).

Anyone have a tried and true chili recipe?

recipe found at

Financial Goals Updated

As I mentioned in a previous post, Derek and I have made some financial goals for our family this year. One of the ways I was going to directly help was keeping an eye on the food budget.

January’s goal was to spend $125 less on groceries/eating out a month (compared to 2010 monthly average).

Before I give you the results, here are a few “happennings” concerning eating during the month:

Derek’s birthday dinner, cookie cake for $24.95 (yes, I could have made one, no it would not have been as good), ladies night out for me, kids eat free night at BBQ place, Ben & Jerry’s dessert trip, Double Dip trip for dessert, coffee and breakfast for a friend, several meatless nights, bought diapers and wipes (yes, that’s included in this budget for us), several impromptu visits to CVS for gatorade due to the flu, and we ate out on several occasions.

So…how did we do……..(drum roll here people, work with me)

January 2011 food groceries / eating out budget was $328.35 less than our 2010 monthly average! Yeah for us!

What was the key to our success you might ask? Well, let me tell you. I ignored looks from my husband when I knew he wanted to go out to eat. No, seriously, I think it was our meal planning and cooking some meals ahead of time. It’s always easy to go out to eat when nothing is prepared at home. But if there is a casserole already sitting in the fridge, we’re more likely to go home and eat it.

I used this little form to keep track of all the food purchases. The form actually has 2 months on it. I cut off the top section to keep in my wallet for January and will use the bottom section for February.

It helped me keep a constant watch on what we were spending.

Here’s a peek at our January form filled out.

Thank goodness my birthday is today, February 1st. Just in time for our food budget to be huge. We are going to eat like kings tonight. Who cares if we have beans and toast the rest of the month. OK, maybe not but it’s fun to dream.

Now onto our February goals.

1) February’s goal is to spend $175 less on groceries/eating out a month (compared to 2010 monthly average).

Yes, we were very successful in January, but anything can happen and I’d still like to consider $175 a big achievement in the end.

2) February house goal: anything we buy for the house (decorations or furniture) has to come from money we earned by selling items on craigslist or ebay.

We have several items in our house which I’ve wanted to get rid of and replace for a long time. Sometimes it’s hard to justify getting a new lamp when the one you have works just fine. This goal could be a total disaster but I think it’s worth a shot. Don’t worry, I bought a gallon of paint last weekend so we would at least have a project to work on while we figure out this whole craigslist game.

So that’s what’s new with us in the goals department.

How are you doing with your 2011 goals?