Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunday Dinner, January 10, 2010, & Baby It's COLD Outside!

Garsh, it's cold! I've lost track of the last time it got above freezing here and it's been positively frigid for Northeast Arkansas. We got a dusting of snow on Thursday, then flurries on Friday and another dusting of snow on Saturday.

The low for this morning was 2F and it's a balmy 20F right now, which is warmer than it's been in days. It's supposed to reach 30F on Sunday and then 40F on Monday which will seem like a heat wave. I know those temps don't sound all that cold to my more northern readers, but it's pretty cold for my neck of the woods, especially for this stretch of time.

Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm just reporting. I'd much rather it be cold than miserably hot and humid. This is my favorite time of year, even if I DO have my feet wrapped in a heating pad right now. The north wind blowing around my window here in my spare room is downright cold, even with the heat on.

In keeping with the cold weather I'm making a hot and hearty Sunday Dinner this week. Once again I'm making a big pot of white (Great Northern) beans seasoned with a ham hock and some bits of smoked hog jowl that I have left over from New Year's.

I've also fixed a big pot of okra and tomatoes, using some garden okra from my freezer stash. I'll fix a cast iron skillet of cornbread to go along with the beans and okra and tomatoes. Nothing fancy, just hearty Southern-style food that'll stick to our ribs and warm us from the inside out.

Now, what's for Sunday Dinner at your place this week? Share your menu/plans in the comments if you'd like.In spite of the frigidly cold weather this past week, my daughter JESSICA spent Wednesday and Thursday moving from her trailer in Jonesboro back to her hometown of Bay, very near my apartment. She's moved into an apartment catty corner and across the street from me and less than 50 yards away.

I'm very thankful that she was able to get an apartment so close to mine. I'm also thankful that her rent includes her utilities and is cheaper than the trailer she was renting which DIDN'T include her utilities.

Hopefully with the gas she saves from not having to drive back and forth to Bay and what she saves on her utilities this move will help her save some money and have more to spend on groceries and other expenses.I ordered and received MARY@OWLHAVEN'S new cookbook this week, FAMILY FEASTS FOR $75 A WEEK. Click on the link or the pic to check out the cookbook on

First of all, Mary didn't ask me to review her book and doesn't even know that I'm mentioning it in my blog post. We've been blogging together for almost 5 years now and we cross paths in the blogging world occasionally and more often on Facebook, but she's not a regular reader or commentor on my blog, though I read her blog daily.

All that to say that I LOVE this cookbook! And it's so much more than a cookbook, although the recipes are wonderful, using ingredients that most people already have on hand and are filling, hearty and economical to make, not to mention delicious.

I really appreciate the frugal ideas and hints Mary's included in her book. Although I'm a fairly frugal shopper and cook, Mary has many tips to save money and still cook delicious meals that I'll be incorporating into my shopping and cooking routines.

One of my favorite tips she mentions is cooking ground beef and chicken when you bring it home from the grocery store.

Most of the time you're going to brown ground beef for other dishes anyway, so why not cook it and separate into freezer bags all at once rather than pulling the frozen meat from the freezer, thawing it and then browning it?

I now have 5 lbs. of ground beef precooked and frozen in 5 individual freezer bags, ready to pull from the freezer and add to any number of recipes calling for ground beef. That will save me at least 3o minutes per recipe since I don't have to thaw and brown the ground beef.

The same goes for chicken. I bought a 10 lb. package of chicken leg quarters at Walmart for $5.98, which works out to roughly 60 cents a lb. I separated the legs and thighs from the back bone piece and froze 2 packages of legs and thighs to fry or bake whole. I boiled the rest of the leg quarters and the back bone pieces to make broth and then picked the meat off the bones.

I used the broth and half the chicken meat to make a double batch of SOUTHWEST CHICKEN SOUP, which you can find on MY RECIPE BLOG or by clicking on the link or the photo. The other half of the cooked chicken, about 2 cups, went into the freezer for another meal.

I also have soup leftover from the double batch I cooked that will go into the freezer for a later meal.

(I adapted the recipe from Mary's recipe for CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP, which is one of the recipes in her cookbook. I changed it so much I decided I'd better rename it. ;o)

From that 10 lb. package of leg quarters I'll get at least 5 meals, and more likely 6 according to how I cook the rest of it. That averages about $1 per meal or less for meat. Pretty good in this day and time, though we often eat meatless meals both by preference and as a conscious effort to eat frugally and healthier.

Just this one hint to cook meats in big portions, separate into recipe sized portions and freeze them is already saving me money and time in the kitchen. I heartily recommend Mary's cookbook!I need to go start my beans cooking and also take my shower and study my Sunday School lesson, so I'm going to finish up tonight by posting a few belated Christmas photos of Emmy, Jessica and me.Y'all have a blessed and WARM Lord's Day. May God bless you with all you need and enough to share is my prayer for each of you, dear family and friends.


the voice of melody said...

Diane, that cookbook sounds like it's full of great ideas and tips - thanks for sharing about it.

And, my goodness, your soup looks so delicious, I'll have to try and make some soon. I can almost taste it!

I'm praying for Jessica and her situation. Love and hugs to you and yours, as always. :)

nancygrayce said...

That is funny that you have a Bay High School too!

I'm really glad Jessica is so close to you.....she'll need all the support she can get to get through this!

Sammy said...

I'm so glad Jess moved so close by. I'm sure your support is helping her and Emmy so much right now.

You all HAVE been cold! Even to a northerner like myself! We hit about 15 degrees the other night and it was just awful! To think you all have been even colder!

Stay warm, my friend! Eat lots of soup and keep your tootsies in that heating pad! :-)

Belizegial said...

Diane, the soup pic warmed me up nicely. The temps are cold tonight here in the tropics and it has been drizzling on and off most of the day. Not as cold as where you are, but extremely cold for us.

Thanks for sharing the cute pics of Emmy.

Take care and stay warm.


Gigi said...

Crockpot of chili going on in the morning...that'll last me a week or more and it sure hits the spot during this cold spell.

Have a blessed Sunday and a wonderful week, Diane.

Pearl said...

Hoping to have a nice big breakfast that will tide us over for most of the day. I love having yummy hot buscuits and gravy. I am trying to have turkey sausage but I still prefer the other.
That cookbook looks very good. Will give it a look.
Emmy looks darling in her princess outfit.


Jen said...

so pleased Jess is much nearer to you Im sure it must be lovely and much more convenient :)

the book sounds great :)

Isnt Emmy a beauty

God bless you my friend
stay warm

Granny Annie said...

We are digging out of the frozen tundra to go to a restaurant for lunch. WhooHoo.

Do you happen to know a recipe for Harvest Soup that has regular white potatoes AND sweet potatoes? I used to have a recipe and can't find it.

Nancy up North said...

I just stumbled across your site and so don't know anything about the issues that you have been facing but I just had to say that you are truly blessed to have such a beautiful outlook on life and such a precious granddaughter (I presume).

I am having company for dinner tonight and bought a pork loin (very inexpensive here right now) that I will cut open and fill with packaged stuffing mix and bake in the oven (very tasty). I will then make a mixture of potatoes, carrotts, parsnips, onions and anything else I can find and roast in the oven at the same time. Allows me to spend time with my guests while the house smells great.

God bless


kkryno said...

That okra looks delicious! I haven't had that in so long...My Mom's mother used to make butter beans; I suspect they were lima beans. The pot of beans you show here take me back to her table years ago. She was a wonderful cook, too!

I'm so glad that Jess and Emmy will be so close. They will need the love of their family to help them through this time. You are all on my mind these days.

I still don't know what we're having for dinner, except that it involves a very large salad! ;)

Have a great week!

amelia said...

Leftover tuna noodle casserole for us tonight!!
It's great that Jess is now so close to you. I wish my kids were that close to me!! I hope she is happy or if not yet, that she will be soon. I hope her heart heals but it all takes time.

Mountain Mama said...

Happy Sunday to you Diane.
I'm sorry you are so cold. I just put some fuzzy socks on under my slippers. My feet get cold a lot this time of year. Your dinner sounds so nice. Especially the cornbread. One of your previous posts have got me on a Cornbread kick! Love the stuff!
I don't have any plans made for meals today. Just going to play it by ear. I do have some bean soup in the freezer and could thaw and heat that. I also have a loaf of bread in the bread machine that will be done in about an hour, Hmmmm... Beans and fresh bread. My kind of comfort food too.
Love you hon. God bless all

Jerri said...

Supper tonight for us is tacos....hubby is working,,,,son is visiting out and daughter and I love tacos.......


Lib said...

Trying again,I was able to leave Jess message:o)
We're snowed in here.
Fixed Salad and chili today.
Have agreat wk. Love,Hugs,Blessins',Lib

Rachel said...

That southern dinner sounds so good Diane! Wish I could have joined you for dinner! I ended up having breakfast food for dinner; eggs, toast, fried pork chops, and coffee. Pretty good though!

I didn't go to church due to our slick roads here. It did some melting today, which is good. Tomorrow is supposed to be above freezing and I'm past ready for that!

The cookbook sounds great! I love the precooking ground beef and chicken. The chicken I've done before but never thought of the ground beef! What a time saver!! Thanks for the tip!

Have a good week!

Love and hugs,

Linda said...

So good to hear your news Diane. It's very cold here too. We Texans feel it's too cold as soon as it gets below 60 degrees! It's been below freezing for a few days. I don't like the cold, but after the summer we had it is a nice change.
I'm glad Jessica and Emmy were able to move close to you. Praying for all of you!

Michael Manning said...

Diane: Yes, it fell to 12 degree's in my old home town. I was very happy, indeed, to read about Jessica's new apartment. I feel very confident that this will be her year and yours too. lol to both of you! :)

The Old Gray Mare said...

Brrr! Freezing in KY too! I think the only time I've been warm this past week is when I'm in the shower.

It is a blessing that Jessica was able to find a place so close to you. I'm sure it's going to make things a bit easier for her.

The cookbook looks like a really good one. The tip you shared was a great one! Why did it never occur to me to do that? Duh!

Have a great week & keep warm!

Staci said...

Diane, please tell Jess and Emmy I am thinking of them!

Happy New Year to you!

Barb said...

I can't get over how much Emmy's growing. The photo of her looking in the mirror is precious.

Mary's cookbook sounds like a must have. I haven't read her blog in ages, so I didn't even know she'd done a cookbook, but I think I always knew that anyone who has as many children as she has is bound to know some pretty good tricks for saving money on food.

Mandy gave me Ree's new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks,marked fifty recipes that I must try.

Having Jess so close is going to make life easier for all of you. It's been such a blessing to only live three doors down from Krissy.

I hope it warms up a little for you soon. Heck! I hope it warms up a little out here in western Colorado soon too!


Cecil said...

He he he! No beans on Sunday!! Had Japanese instead! It was so good, wasn't it? Love ya!

MightyMom said...

girl, I made GUMBO!!

and then it got the 50s all week. go figure.

maybe you should make gumbo and see if it works for you too....

take care!

Dick said...

One night last year during winter our overnight temp got down to 8. That is about the coldest I've ever seen here and it set all kind of records. We are close enough to the coast that our weather is strongly affected by what comes off the ocean and, while it is often wet, it is usually also warm. Yesterday we went to a movie in the afternoon and while driving home, about 16:30, it was 61. That is warmer than normal here but I guess it is an El Nino year. Of course we also had about an inch of rain in 24 hours.

Putz said...

tell jess that i had a ggoood feeling about her the other night praying, why am i so caught up in her and gigi, is what i want to know, why not diaine???you????i JUST DON'T KNOW....

Brenda said...

Hi Diane,
It got up in the low 50's today, which is a miracle, 'cause it's been frigid here as well.
It's always nice to learn new frugal ways to help the food budget.
Glad Jessica and Emmy are so close for all of your sake!
We're enjoying Chels being home for a week 'tho she caught a head cold the day she got here. :(
Be blessed!

Dawn said...

I'm so glad Jessica got moved and is close by you.

As for the weather, it is very cold for you or for me. And for you it is the added humidity that makes it worse.

Sunday dinner was long ago - I can't remember what we did! I finally got the twins' birthday celebration up - come on over!

PEA said...

As you say, here in the north we're used to these kind of temps and colder, through our winters, but I know that's not normal temps for your corner of the world!! I was just on another blog and she was showing pictures of the orange trees in Florida, with icicles hanging from them!! I hope Mother Nature is done having her fun and will give you back your more normal temperatures! lol

That book certainly does sound quite interesting and any way to save time and money has got to be good:-)

I was so glad to hear that Jess has moved so close to you now, I think that was the best thing she could have done. I also think you won't worry so much about her, having her nearby:-)

Love those Christmas pictures, especially the one of Emmy looking in the mirror, what a sweetheart she is.

Take care my friend, love ya bunches. xoxo

moreofhim said...

Your beans and soup look so delicious! What a blessing you are to your family with your cooking (and in other ways, too, of course!).

I'm so glad that your Jessica and Emmy are closer to you. That will be good for you all. It's so good to be close to family.

I wanted you to know that I've given you an award on my blog. If you don't do awards, I understand, but wanted you to know I think you deserve one.

God bless you, my friend!!

Love, Julie

moreofhim said...

Okay, Diane. There's no laughing at Joe Namath. I know it's hard, but try! LOLOL I was hesitant to put that little tidbit about myself in there, but hey, it is what it is. Isn't it funny how we decide someone is just so cute when we're young and it sticks with us? Well, it does me, anyway. And remember, I like OLD guys! Remember Number 4 in my list? ROFL!!!

Thanks for coming by! I always love when you do. Many blessings to you and your family, my friend!!


Putz said...

so your daughter is deserting and going to facwecrap, well i still intend to track her and em through you, but i refuse to follow her ..........................