Monday, March 29, 2010

Bagels, bagels everywhere

Through the work of a few families in our church, our church body receives donations from a local grocery store and Panera Bread. These donations are intended for single moms, the unemployed, underemployed, and finally, the church at large (in that order). Some weeks there are not a lot of donations to go around, and sometimes there are boxes and boxes and boxes and everyone goes home with food. As it happens, we Giedds had quite the collection of bagels in our freezer from this situation. However, bagels for us are more of a bonus. I don't generally buy bagels when I buy groceries so it wasn't exactly a "savings" in our budget. But I want to be a good steward of what God has given to us, so I set out to make these bagels fit into our menus, and more than just bagels and cream cheese (which is a treat now and then, but not exactly healthy for everyday). I wanted to make food that would fill in meals and would therefore save us money.

First, I had two bags of blueberry bagels. For these we decided to make Blueberry Bagel French Toast. Just take your bagels and slice the bagel halves in half once more so they're just around 1/4" thick. This helps tremendously so the bagels can soak up the eggs. Also set out your bagels to dry for a few hours or overnight and that will also aid in soaking up the goodness. Use your own french toast recipe and have at it.
It helped very much that we made these for breakfast on a very snowy morning. The husband and kids devoured these and since I had many bagels, I made extra and stashed them in the freezer for a fast breakfast later.


Next up, cinnamon sugar bagels from Panera. As you can see, we had plenty of these for the purpose, but I think you could also use Cinnamon Raisin bagels. I suppose I cheated with these since this next one is a dessert recipe, since we don't often plan dessert menus. However, this would be totally acceptable for a hospitality dessert (yes, it's that good) and that would save you money. I give you Cinnamon Bagel Bread Pudding.
I used this recipe from Allrecipes for the custard (which I doubled for 6 bagels) but also set out these bagels for a few hours so they would soak up the custard well. Just use the recipe and swap out bagels cut or torn in pieces for the bread. Of all the recipes I came up with, this was my family's favorite.



Lastly, I used onion bagels. These Onion Bagel Pizzas were lunch or a light dinner for us, but you could also add things like pepperoni or sausage and make it heartier for your family. I added some leftover lasagne tomato sauce (you could also use spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce, but I used what I had on hand) and mozarella cheese and sprinkled some oregano over the top.
You can bake these in your conventional oven (I used my parents' toaster oven though) until they're heated through and the cheese is melted.

The kids thought these were great. Also, the portion size for them was just perfect.

So there you have my first three meals with bagels (I might be posting one more if my idea pans out) But I didn't even touch into Bagel Sandwiches! Use plain, onion, or everything bagels for the bread in turkey sandwiches or tuna salad or homemade Egg McMuffins, etc. (I'd probably cut the bagel halves in half again for sandwiches.) When you start to think about it, the possibilities are really endless.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Swagbucks!

Do you ever do online searches? Of course, the obvious answer is "yes"! I know, especially as homeschool mom, I use the internet a lot to aid in schooling, to find store hours, etc. A few years ago I discovered a website called Swagbucks that rewards you when you use their search engine. When you do a search, most of the time, they deposit "Swagbucks" into your account and when you earn enough, you can cash them in for cool things like gift cards. I even know of a few ladies (also homeschool moms) that use Swagbucks exclusively to fund their Christmas budgets. Since I joined about 2 years ago, I've cashed in for at least 4 Amazon gift cards (And that included a 1.5 year hiatus!) Check out the "Swidget" on my sidebar, just under all of you lovely followers, and click on "Sign Up". And in case you were wondering, it is completely, totally, 100% free and there are no nasty ads! I consider Swagbucks to be a great way to earn giftcards (and other things, but I like giftcards) for something I already do.


P.S. Just as a reference, I just started using Swagbucks again about 10 days ago, so all of the bucks that you see on my Swidget (except 4) have been gained in the last 10 days.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March...

We all just love it when Uncle James drops by.

Adam sprouted his first tooth on his 9 month birthday, and the second one just broke through last Wednesday. (Sorry this picture is so blurry~ I was literally wrestling with him to get a shot.)



This was a random shot caught in the midst of a whole bunch of other shots centering around hot chocolate, but I included it in this post just to show you that Josh is doing great and he is still quite the happy guy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Never a Dull Moment...


Boys. I love my boys, but they scare me all the time. Last week at Bible study, Josh ran or tripped into a table leg. The entire room (~50 people) went silent and all I saw was Josh's face absolutely covered in blood. :(
Praise God, he was fine. His Mama was not so fine. He burst the entire layer of skin and it was horrific to see. But, the tremendous bleeding stopped very soon. I was so thankful it happened at Bible study where we had so many friends to talk us through the whole ordeal and offer advice. As you can tell from the above and below pictures, Josh is still quite traumatized. (Just kidding.) His biggest concern: "Mom, my shirt is dirty. Would you please wash my shirt?" I'm just thankful his head is as hard as it is.


And just an aside, we had at least 2 bigger guys at church on Sunday tell him how cool his scar will be. God is teaching me so much about raising boys.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Texas Pictures, Finally

A couple weeks ago we headed down to Texas for a mini vacation. The kids and I had never been down and Tim had visited a long time ago. Funny, also, this was our first vacation in whiche we were not on a business trip or visiting family. We headed south on I-25, cut across New Mexico at Raton and went southeast from there.


We saw plenty of wind farms and oil pumps along the way. (What are they called? I know there's a better word for "pumps" out there. Are they derricks?)
ETA: Dabney just said that she thinks they are "oil scoopers."


We ate our token tacos.

And we saw some great buildings. This was in Ft. Worth. We also really enjoyed seeing the historic stock yards as soon as my camera battery died. :(
We loved the weather. Some of us were in shorts, but most Texans were wearing jackets.


McDonald's had free wi-fi, but our hotel room, though it included a kitchen, did not.

There was a Cheesecake Factory right across the street from our hotel and one night, Tim and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner. The kids were excited about their chicken nuggets.


This is Dallas, while we were making our way back home.


On the return trip, we looped around Texas (through Denton) and up through Oklahoma and then went west across Kansas, then finally home.



I just had to include this picture. This is the stoplight closest to our home. I think sometimes we take for granted what we have every day, so when we were on our way to run some errands last week I was struck again by the beauty of our mountains. I LOVE where we live.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Texas Trip Randomness


These are apartments over these stores in Ft. Worth. I think living over a shopping center would be so cool.



Don't you want to stroll in here and buy a hardback?



"100,000 Pesos? We do not have 100,000 Pesos."


Dabney was dying to get a picture with "Donald McDonald".
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