Saturday, January 22, 2011

Easy Chicken Recipes

I should have posted this one of the last 2 weeks when chicken was on sale at Buehler's.  This morning I put 3 packages of chicken in the crockpot.  I love to do chicken this way to use in recipes.  I usually measure it out & put 2 c. in freezer bags to pull out when recipes call for shredded or cut up chicken.

Shredded Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth if starting to dry out
Mushrooms, optional, depending on what I’m using it in

Add enough broth to cover chicken breasts. Cook on low all day or high for 4-5 hours. Shred chicken breasts with a fork.  I don't always add chicken broth unless I'm going to have it in the crockpot all day.

Barbecue Chicken-
12 oz. bottle barbeque sauce
½ c. Italian salad dressing
¼ c. brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce

Taco Chicken -
add to the chicken before cooking 1 taco seasoning packet

I used it in quesadillas but would be good in tacos, burritos or Mexican chicken salad. I used a mild taco seasoning packet.

Recipe I'll probably make for supper tonight using my chicken.

Hearty Chicken & Noodle Casserole
1 can (10¾ oz) Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ c. milk
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
3-4 c. med egg noodles, cooked & drained
1 can mushrooms
½ c. shredded Cheddar cheese
½ c. French fried onions, optional

Stir soup, milk, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, vegetables, chicken, & noodles in 1 ½ quart casserole. Bake at 400 for 25 min. Stir. Top with cheese and onions.
add to the chicken before cooking

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tips of making photo books

A few tips for making photo books easier
  1. I copy all of the pictures I want to put in my book into a separate folder to make it easier to upload.  I always name my pictures the same when I download them to my computer to make it easier to put them in order.  I use the format YYMMDD (ie 110121 for today).  This keeps pictures in chronological order across multiple years.  My mom & sister use a different format, so I rename theirs to match my format so when I go to put them in the book, they are already in order.
    1. For example, if I'm making a book for 1 of the boys, I go through all my pictures for the year, & copy them into a folder with their name on it.
    2. If I'm really organized, I might do this a few times throughout the year so it isn't as overwhelming.
  2. It takes a while to upload the pictures to Winkflash (or any site you use), so I usually set it up before I go to bed to upload while I sleep.  Winkflash does have a photo transporter that's a little faster.
    1. Again, I try to do this 2-3 times a year so at the end of the year it doesn't take as long.
    2. I try to keep them all in the same folder.  Occasionally I get too many & I have to do them in 2. 
  3. If you do a classic cover with Winkflash, then you can have the title embossed (except on the lighter colors).  If you use a window cover, it shows a picture.  If you are doing a vacation, I think the window cover is really nice.  If you are doing a specific year, I like the classic cover so I can see the title, but that's just my preference.
  4. You can choose a theme, which will automatically set up colors & layouts for you.  Once you select one, I haven't figured out how to change it.  You might want to look at the colors that will be used before you start doing too much work, in case you don't like it.  If you select one & then click create my book, it will get you started.  I think you have to start all over if you want to change all of them.  You can change them as you go, but it's each page separately.  If you add a page after you start, it doesn't change the rest of the book. 
    1. For example, I just did a book that had 4 different pages (Simple).  I added a page in the middle after I had a lot of it done, & it just repeat the color of  the page before instead of changing it to match the pattern if that makes sense.  It was A, B, C, D, A, B, etc.  I added a page between C & D & it became A, B, C, C, D, A, B.
  5. You can have it auto load into the book or do it yourself.  I like to do it myself, but then use their image organizer. If your pictures aren't in order, I definitely wouldn't do auto load. I can do a general layout of what pictures on which page, but it will pick a layout.  I can always change it, but I think it makes it faster.
    1. If you upload your pictures in order & they don't show up in order, go to your home page in Winkflash, you can change the sort on the top right hand top to Title (A-Z) & that will help sort them within your folder as well.
  6. You can put 1 - 9 pictures on a page.  To change the layout, under template, you can pick how many pictures you want to add on each page.  They are also some that include journaling.  The full page ones are nice.  I also use 9 on the page & they aren't too small to see.
  7. You can change the color background, on the background page.  I saw 1 book done with all black background & white font & it looked really nice.  I used to do all white because that was all they had & it wasn't bad.  I like simple so it doesn't distract from the photos.  You can also change the font & size and color of the font.
  8. I don't label every picture if it's obvious what's in the picture.  For the boys books, I just make sure every few pages I have a date somewhere so I know when the pictures where roughly taken.
  9. It does put a checkmark on the picture as you use it, so you avoid duplicates.
I'll add more tips as I think of them.  If you want to see some of my books, just let me know.

This advice comes from making multiple books & learning how to make things a little smoother.  If you only knew how long my first few books took.  I don't give you all of this information to overwhelm you but hopefully make it easier.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

FREE Online Money Management…

I haven't tried this yet, but I have heard good things from different people.

With the New Year here, I wanted to remind you about one of my favorite and FREE tools for managing money. …
Have you heard of ? … it is a FREE (which I love) site that helps you manage your money, create budgets, plan events, savings and more. I was skeptical at first, but after hearing great reviews from friends, I have started to track a few of my own projects with the mint software. Super easy to understand…and again … FREE. One of my favorite features is the Budget Planning … you can set it up to track savings for a trip, to get out of debt, to save for a home … and it is all right there in one place.
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To try check it out for yourself … just go HERE and get started. We have been tracking our own finances, goals and accounts for almost a year, and I am really impressed with how organized it keeps everything and how easy that it is to use. I got a little off track somewhere in August, but I am back now, determined to be organized in 2011. I am excited to hear what you all this of this service, it is actually a fun way to get a good look at a very important part of your life, your finances!  My husband and I have enjoyed the charts and graphs as a way to view our financial accounts, goals and dreams. It is a very visual way to get a look at your financial picture!