Welcome to the land of Denakis

Menu for 4.10 – 4.17.11 April 10, 2011

Sunday: Cheesy Penne Pasta Smoked Sausage Casserole
Monday: Sausage & Ravioli Bake
Tuesday: Crispy Chicken Burritos
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken Cassoulet
Thursday: Chicken with Cheesy Chili Sauce (Carry over from last week)
Friday: Burgers and Fries
Saturday: Chili
Sunday: Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy & Broccoli


Crispy Chicken Burritos (A Copy Cat Recipe)

  • 3 pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast, boiled until done
  • A Brick of Cream Cheese, (Low-fat ok)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • green onions, chopped (a bunch)
  • taco seasoning, about 1 tsp
  • Garlic Pepper seasoning, to taste
  • 20 8 inch tortillas

Shred or chop chicken.  Mix with all ingredients except tortillas.  Assemble burritos by placing about 1/8 cup (I use a scoop from Pampered Chef and do 2 scoops) of chicken filling onto tortilla, roll like a burrito and place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Assemble until you run out of ingredients.  Spray assembled burritos and bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.


I was so upset while grocery shopping today.  It seemed like a lot of my every-week purchases have gone up in price.  I’m mostly upset because it seems like they never went down after the last gas hike, so now they are just adding to it.  I was especially floored with the price of milk.  It’s gone up $.49/gallon in 4 weeks.  I spent $170.29 this week, which is about $40 more than I usually spend.  Add in extra gas expenses (simply because of the increase of gas prices and extra trips made) and this week is going to be EXPENSIVE!  This does not make for a happy me 😦

On a side note, anyone want to have a party so I can afford groceries and gas? lol… no, seriously…


Cost breakdown of HM Granola Bars May 2, 2010

Filed under: Other,Recipe,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 11:22 am
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Someone asked me to do a cost breakdown on my granola bars!  What a job!  But I did it and I’m happy to report that it cost me:
1.5 cup Peanut Butter: $1.17
1.5 cup Honey:  $.72
3 cups Cereal: $.43
3 cups Oats:  $.48
4 Tbsp Protein Powder: $4.32
1 cup Flax Seed: $.76
1 cup Trail Mix: $1.00
Total: $8.88 for 32 bars/ $.28 each bar

Now… buying all the ingredients cost a little more because obviously you can’t buy just what you need.  Here is what it cost me to buy each ingredient and how many it is a serving (and where I got it):

Ingredient *Total $ Svgs Svg size Where?
Peanut butter $3.12 32  (4 cups) 2 Tbsp Homemade
Honey $8.00 65 1 Tbsp Fred Meyers
Cereal $1.75 10 1.25cup Winco- Generic
Oats $1 13 .5 cup Albertsons – Generic
Protein Powder $14 13 27 grams (= to appx 1 oz) Fred Meyers – Designer Whey
Flax Seed $6.50 34 2 Tbs Bob’s Red Mill
Trail Mix $5.00 28 3 Tbsp Walmart
Total: $48.00

Prices may vary a bit depending on where you live and where you shop.

So, obviously it cost a bit to get the ingredients.  Some of these you might have around the house, I usually do.   And of course with these ingredients you can make lots of other stuff.

You might notice that my ingredients listed are slightly different than what my recipe calls for.  I didn’t have brown sugar on hand this week so I just compensated with extra peanut butter and honey.  I also added protein powder this week.  It was chocolate flavored.  Yummmmmm….


22 easy weight loss tips April 24, 2010

Filed under: Other,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 10:59 am
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Found this on a weight loss forum and really wanted to re-post it.  There is some GOOD advice in here! I’ve mentioned using a smaller plate to “trick” your brain into thinking you are eating more food and it’s listed here as #2!

barry on 04/02/10

Here’s 22 easy weight loss tips…

1 – If you love pie, stick with the fruit pies. Pumpkin and other fruit pies are lower in calories. Pecan pie has about 430 calories while the same slice of pumpkin pie is only 240. You can drop another 100 calories if you don’t eat the crust!

2 – To help downsize your portions, use a smaller plate. Instead of a dinner plate, use a salad plate for your entire meal.

3 – When eating out select soups you can see through. If you can see through them, they’re broths with fewer fat and calories.

4 – Stand up more throughout the day this helps to improve your fat burning hormone “Lipase” work and the average person can burn an extra 60 calories an hour just by standing!

5 – Habits can make you fat or make you thin, gradually undo the bad habits and your waistline will follow.

6 – Why not take your weight loss progress online, either in a forum or start a blog. By writing about weight loss on a daily basis and posting pictures on your progress it can help keep your diet it at the front of your mind, and help motivate others.

7 – Take supplements, if you’re on a diet especially a strict diet you could be missing out on some essential nutrients that may help speed up the weight loss process.

8 – Eat more whole grain foods, this is because it contains bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat which also contains all the nutrients and fiber.The fiber helps to keep the digestive system clear and also removes some fat from your system.

9 – If you’re between meals and hungry, instead of heading to the refrigerator, pull out a pack of peppermint sugar-free chewing gum instead. The refreshing, minty taste of the chewing gum will help to suppress an overactive appetite and hungry thoughts.

10 – Eating protein with a meal helps to fill you up and stop hunger pangs later in the day. Studies show that protein can boost your metabolism temporarily and can suppress your appetite.

11 – Are you low on magnesium? Studies have shown that there seems to be a link between obesity and low magnesium levels in the body, this can cause you to eat more and lack in energy.

12 – Studies have shown that people who sniff peppermint before a meal eat less. The smell of peppermint tricks your brain into thinking it’s full.

13 – Rather than focusing on becoming thin focus on becoming a healthier eater. This can take some of the stress you may have about obsessing about food, and it will stand to you after you lose weight and continue to eat healthy.

14 – Eat slower, by eating too fast you don’t give your stomach time to register with your brain that it’s full, and you overeat. Take your time and taste the food on your tongue rather than just putting it in and swallowing.

15 – If cravings are giving you a hard time losing weight, brush your teeth. This makes any new food taste horrible and its also a signal to your brain that you’ve just eaten.

16 – Cut out clippings from magazines where people in your situation have successfully lost weight. Then put them in a scrap book. When times get tough you can refer to it to help motivate you to keep going.

17 – Eat spicy food, the spicier the food the more calories it takes for your body to digest it.

18 – Cook with non stick pans, by doing this you won’t need to use butter and oil to keep your food from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

19 – Don’t eliminate the foods you love, this will only build them up in your mind making you want them more. Treat yourself but do it in moderation.

20 – Drink ice cold water. German researchers have found dieters can increase their metabolic rate by as much as 30% by drinking 17 ounces of cold water.

21 – If you feel like you’re on your own losing weight. Why not join an online weight loss forum. By using a forum you can get support, weight loss tips and dieting buddies to keep you motivated.

22 – Don’t forget to use a measuring tape for recording your changing size when on a diet. Just because the weighing scales aren’t moving doesn’t mean you’re not losing weight.

Pasted from <>


Look at my new toy! April 18, 2010

Filed under: Other,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 2:18 pm

Walmart had these babies knocked down to $44!  The reviews are great and it is a MONSTER!




Update:  After returning this twice I decided to go with a smaller, yet better reviewed processor.  I miss the size of this monster, but I don’t miss the unreliability.  I ended up with a Black and Decker.


oh, so sad! March 29, 2010

Filed under: Recipe,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 10:25 pm
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I started making peanut butter a couple weeks ago!  Oh My Goodness, YUM!  And so stinkin’ easy!

You take peanuts –  (yea, duh, right?) If they are in a shell, you de-shell them, lay them on a cookie sheet and roast them at 325 for about 8-10 minutes.  Be sure to give them a shimmy-shake every few minutes!

Throw a few handfuls into a food processor and do some spurty chops and once the nuts are in tiny pieces just throw that sucker into high gear!  Stream in a couple tablespoons of canola or peanut oil while it’s processing and let it go for about 5 minutes, or until it’s the consistency you like.  Then I added a little splenda for flavor, but you could use honey as well.

Last week I bought some that were already honey roasted (OH MY GOODNESS!) and just made them right up in the  processor as they were!  Yumm!  It went fast!  They kids have never eaten so much peanut butter before (ok, me too…)  It was lovely on bread, apples, a spoon… you get the idea.

Now, let me tell you about food processors.  They don’t have to be real fancy.  Mine was an attachment that came with my blender I bought a year or so ago.  Of course IT BROKE TODAY!  Stripped the gear making hummus!  Oh, the catastrophe!  BUT where I was going with this is you can buy the little $10 electric food chopper and make up small batches at a time.  It will work!  I may have to go pick one up tomorrow if I can’t find a suitable replacement STAT on!  I bought my original small 1.5cup electric food chopper for $5 at Target about 13 years ago when I started making my baby food.  It lasted until I sold it at my garage sale last year.    That was through 3 different babies I made food for, plus whatever else I used it for.

Darn it!  If I hadn’t sold it, I could have fresh peanut butter right now…


It's the tools that make me this awesome. March 16, 2010

Filed under: Other,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 5:41 pm
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So, in case you didn’t know, I’m a big supporter of direct sales.  Especially WAHM (work at home moms) who operate some sort of direct sale business.  So that means that Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Celebrating Home, Avon, and all the others get my money before some big brand/store.
And I truly believe in the quality of what you pay for.  With that said, I think that everyone who knows someone in direct sales should help support them in business.  They believe in what they sell!  If the didn’t, they wouldn’t be in the business.  And before you say, “Well I can’t afford it!”  there are always ways to get it free or at a discount.  If they are a really close friend, I think they should be offering a discount, especially if you are a repeat customer, but that’s just me.  It also depends a LOT on their company policies and how it all works in the administrative side.  It may not be possible to offer a discount without it coming straight out of their pocket and it’s hardly fair to ask your friend to pay for you to have a discount, isn’t it?
So, anyway, the point of this post was so I could tell you my favorite items that I’ve bought recently and don’t think I could live without.  Ok, I could live without, but I don’t wanna!

Pampered Chef.  Seriously, I considered selling this stuff to get it all, but in order to do that, I would have had to do parties, and that involves dishes.  I hate doing dishes.  Above all other things, I hate to do dishes.  So that was out of the question.  But when I need something, I order from my friend Geli.  I got a good start on my PC products by hosting a PC show.  They have a great hostess plan.  If you haven’t hosted a show, I encourage you to, especially if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen.  More especially if you spend that time in the kitchen cooking.  Because while PC has some wonderful serving pieces, it’s really all about their kitchen tools that make it so much better.
My favorite-can’t-live-without:

  • Stainless Steel Bowls  I use these for everything mixing.  bread dough, cookie batter, casserole filling, etc.
  • Measuring Cups OMG, I had no idea I needed these until I got them.  I’m a fan of measuring utensils, but these have become priceless to me.  Even though the large 4 cup has disappeared.  Bummer.
  • Knives When they say the knives make all the difference, they aren’t kidding.  I didn’t spend full price on these cuz I’m not that nuts, but I did spend a lot more than I would have normally spent on plain ol’ knives.  BUT believe me when I say they are worth every single solitary penny.  And they come with a lifetime warranty, so they are worth it even more.
  • Stoneware I love me some stoneware.  It’s basically the most amazing cooking product ever.  Well, silicone comes close, but I don’t 100% fully trust that yet.  Stoneware has been around basically forever (I don’t know exactly – geez!) but it’s amazing.  And multi-use.  Microwave, oven, freezer, easy-peasy to clean, Genius!
  • Scraper Ok, I love these so much I have 3!  In two different sizes!  AACK!  I could easily have more too.  
  • Can Opener The best can opener ever.  Enough said.
I’m sure there’s lot more awesome PC products, and I have more, but these are my almost-use-daily-if-not-absolutely-several-times-a-day stuff.
Tupperware, so my disclaimer here is I used to sell Tupperware so I’m absolutely biased, but these are the things I use on a constant basis and don’t know if I could live without.  Ok, I’m sure I could live without, but I wouldn’t want to!
  • Modular Mates All sizes, colors, shapes, whatever.  These are the mother of organized cabinets.  I keep lots and lots in my Mod Mates.  I miss the ones I’ve lost, destroyed, given away.  I always want more, even if I have no use for them.  Oh, how I love my Mod Mates.
  •  Season Serve I use this way more that for it’s intended purpose.  My husband melted one half once and went right out and replaced it because he was afraid of me of how I would react of me being sad because it was broken.
  • Mix-N-Store Ok, in my house this is just called the big-ass-measuring cup.  I have 2.  I get very upset if it’s used as a leftover storage dish.  Just ask my kids.  But I use them regularly and love, love, love it. 
  • Stack Cooker. This is probably my number one most used item in my kitchen.  Mixing dishes, warm up food dishes, cook a meal dishes, serving dishes.  It’s my everything-dish.  And I have 2 sets.  And they are in constant use.  And looking up the link showed me they now come in purple, which may mean needing a third set.  Because mine are plain ol’ original 15 year old beige.  Definitely might need purple.
  • Measuring cups and spoons Really happy I can knock these out as one, but not so fond of the red.  I have white, love the white, love the sets.  I don’t think red would go very well with what will soon-be-my-new purple stack cooker.
  • Shape-o-ball toy Talk about a classic.  Every single one of my kids had one of these (And I’m pretty sure it was all the same one, but you never know.)  I’ve had to buy a replacement set of shapes, but that’s ok.  We had duplicates!  And when my original broke, Tupperware replaced the entire thing, free of charge because it has an amazing warranty on it.  Lifetime if I remember right.  Every baby should have one.  They learn shapes, they play with the contrasting colors and it rolls.  Awesome!
  • Don’t have this, but I want it.  Found it while searching for links for this blog.  You know, this is one of the things I love about Direct Sales companies.  They give.  And the give to worthy causes.  The Boys And Girls Clubs are a great program (one my son has participated with) and deserve to be fundraised for!
Ok, that’s all for now.  I may do more later.  These are just the most fresh in my b
rain because I use them ALL THE TIME!  I mean, seriously, I went away to the beach and I brought a mod mated (full of splenda) and  a stainless steel bowl because I was making cinnamon rolls.

More Cleaning Recipes March 11, 2010

Filed under: Recipe,Tips & Tricks — Desiree @ 5:51 pm
Tags: ,

Did you know it’s way, Way, WAY cheaper to make your own cleaners?  I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but it seriously is!  Not only is it WAY cheaper, but it cuts a LOT of chemicals out of your life.  Do you need chemicals to obtain clean?  NO!  Seriously, NO!  There I’ll say it one more time for emphasis:  NO!

Here are my homemade cleaners.  It’s super-duper nice that they are basically made from all the same ingredients.  And most are so easy even my kids can mix them up when needed.  Here is my disclaimer:  There are not MY recipes.  I’ve researched all over the internet to find ones that I liked using.  With that said, if I have the site I got them from, it’s listed, but if it’s not, it’s so far gone I can’t remember.  Also, with my trial and errors and notes, any original recipe may have been altered.  But these are the concoctions that I currently use! 🙂

  • A great Dishwasher powder soap recipe im currently using is
    4 cups washing soda
    4 cups borax
    1 cup sea salt
     mix well and store in a 6 cup air tight container use approx 2 tablespoons with each load.  The salt acts as a scrubbing agent.
    ALWAYS use vinegar in your rinse aid 🙂

Scouring Powder

1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1 cup salt
Blend and store in container.
Use like you would Comet.

Multi Purpose Cleaner 
1/4 cup baking soda
3/4 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1gallon (16 cups) warm water
Mix all ingredients and store. 
Pour into spray bottle when needed.
Here is my next test:  To make my own liquid dish soap.  I’ve been researching different methods so I’ll list them here, try them out and then let you know what I come up with.  As for the Castile Soap, I was able to find some at Safeway (Dr. Bonners 18-in-1, in the health food section) that was already scented.  I’ve heard this works just fine, just be sure to omit the essential oils since they are already added.  It came in Mint and Lavender.
Recipe #1: Liquid Castile Soap
This method is by far the easiest because the base is pre-made within the castile soap.
1. Grab some liquid castile soap from your local health food store. Castile soap refers to any soap that is made entirely from vegetable oil.
2. Mix 2 cups of castile soap with 1/2 cup of warm water in a recycled dish soap squeeze bottle.
3. For scented dish soap, add a few drops of essential oils.
4. Shake well before using
Here is another one:
Recipe #2: Soap Flakes
Buy soap flakes where you usually purchase laundry detergent.
1. Combine 2 cups of soap flakes with one gallon of warm water.
2. Place the mixture in a large, non-reactive pan and warm over medium heat until the soap is completely dissolved.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and remove from heat.
4. After letting the soap cool, add a 1/2 cup of lemon juice or 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Either of these 2 ingredients will help the soap to fight grease.
5. For a scented soap, add a few drops of essential oils. Mix well.