Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and the Day After

I am not a huge fan of the whole Thanksgiving meal, it's something I could easily (and have in the past) missed. I don't like turkey and I can make my own mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes anytime I want and well I want them like I want them, so it's easier to make them on my own. So Thanksgiving is my sister's holiday to host. This works out well for me so I don't have to fuss over a meal I don't care to eat. I also decided this year that Thanksgiving to me is allot like Valentine's Day for some people. Why am I being told to be thankful this one day shouldn't I always be thankful? I am a glass half full type of person, and I believe God takes care of His own. He won't let me down, and if He does it's something I just don't see at this time. So Thanksgiving is a non-holiday holiday for me. All this said (sorry I ramble) I was told this year to make an appetizer. Great! My Homemade Gourmet dips are on sale this month (you have 4 more days) and I ordered a bunch with my first order to have on hand. I asked my husband which he would like and he picked the Gusto Garlic Pesto Cheese Ball. It was super simple I left 2 cream cheeses (one 1/3 fat and one full fat) out to soften and then dumped them and the mix in the mixer beat for 1-2 minutes and dumped in a container. I was done! I got some wheat thins to go with it and cut up some broccoli (for my sister the health nut). It did not pair well with the broccoli after it set it was too hard to eat with the broccoli, and really I had that to appease my sister. The dip was what it's name says it's GUSTO! I could easily have made it into a cheese ball, but since I had to travel with it both to and from the dinner I chose to just leave it in the bowl. It had set nicely in the fridge overnight and would not have been too difficult to make a ball out of. So that was my Thanksgiving contribution.
Today (Black Friday) I actually thought ahead for dinner around 9am! I was looking in the freezer and saw some pot roast I had bought on sale. I decided that was what was for dinner tonight! So I pulled it out (frozen) dumped it in the crock pot added 4 Tablespoons of the Sunday Roast Seasoning and 2 cups of water and set it for 8 hours on high. This is not the exact recipe from the recipe cards or from the Keys 2 the Kitchen website. This was my rendition of what I had and what I wanted. I didn't have any root veggies so they could not go in. The pot roast itself was small so I didn't want to use the recipe for the 4lb one. So I improvised. Now if you know me you know that's not always smart, but this time it was great! Seven and a half hours later we had the pot roast with some Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and rolls. I asked my husband truthfully what did he think of this roast vs the ones I had done before (I used bullion cubes and a cup of water) and he was in favor of the new Sunday Roast Seasoning over the bullion cubes. I also preferred this as it had more flavors but did not overpower the roast itself. In all tonight's dinner was truly our family Thanksgiving dinner. My hardest critic my 4 year old child actually admitted to liking the meat! Now if you have a picky eater you are thinking no way, me too! I can't believe it she liked and wanted more meat and more of the potatoes! I know even picky kids like mashed potatoes, not mine! This was a breakthrough meal, if she will eat a meat that isn't processed, flattened, breaded and deep fried I am happy! That was the true success of the meal. I was told even picky kids will eat Homemade Gourmet, I am now a believer!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Family Meal

When I did my first order for $400. I made sure to get a Pantry Basics Collection. This is both so I can taste many meals without purchasing the items individually, and because it's the base for the 4 meals in 4 minutes. I can showcase these meals at your home party so you and your friends can learn more! The Pantry Basics comes with four Pantry Staples, the cute little containers, scoops and recipe cards. You save almost $20 when you buy the collection instead of buying the items individually.
The recipe I decided to try first was the Garlic Basil Seasoning meal which is one of the 4 meals in 4 minutes. The intention of the 4 meals in 4 minutes is to have meals in your freezer, but they can also be cooked immediately. I decided to do mine immediately. The recipe was Garlic Basil Seasoning, 3 pounds of Chicken and a can of tomatoes. I dumped the frozen chicken in the slow cooker (one bag from the grocery store) the can of tomatoes and the seasoning. Done. Cook 4 hours and enjoy!
My daughter is not a fan of new foods so I try and always have something on the table she will eat. That night I decided to make spaghetti with the chicken. The reasoning behind this is i figured it would make a good match, and my daughter would eat it. We ate and it was pretty good. I think I would have preferred it if the chicken had been thawed and the seasoning could get more into the chicken, but for a meal that literally took less than a minute to throw together it was great!
You might have noticed I did say I used 3 pounds of chicken. This is what the recipe calls for so that is what I did. I will probably go ahead and cut recipes in half in the future because we ate on this all week! Here were the leftover meals:
1. I took a piece of chicken and mixed it with the leftover spaghetti. This was okay, but dry. My husband doesn't like tomatoes so in saving the chicken leftovers I did not save many tomatoes.
2. I cut the chicken (mashed it really it was very tender) and heated it along with some Orzo pasta on the stove. This was a good pairing. The orzo is a small pasta and so unlike the spaghetti it was not as overwhelming and since it was fresh it wasn't too dry. I also added a little chicken broth to the chicken as I re-heated it. This was good but a little bland. Don't worry we had lots of leftovers!
3. I put the chicken and the orzo together to save and this was still enough to get another meal out of! The third (and final) meal I made was the saved chicken and orzo plus some velveeta cheese. I put in about 4oz of the cheese and melted it while heating the leftovers in the oven. When I went to stir it I made a bad) decision that it needed more cheese. I added another 3-4 oz and stirred that in also putting it back in the oven to melt the cheese and heat the chicken and pasta. I should have stopped with the first 4oz. We did eat the cheese chicken and orzo, but it was a little more cheese than it should have been. I don't mind the taste of velveeta, but I would have liked to taste the chicken and orzo also. The leftovers from this (about one more meal worth) went down the drain no way to save it from the cheese.
To recap: The Garlic Basil Chicken made 4 meals for a family of 3 and could have done one more if not for the invasion of too much cheese. I would say we liked the chicken and will most likely repeat this meal in the future, but with less cheese on the last rendition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Open House cooking!

I will start my chronicles of my cooking Homemade Gourmet with my first experience and that is my Open House. I made a menu of Taco Soup, Dip made with the Taco Soup mix, Texas Cornbread, and Cinnamon Sopapillas. I made these selections based on what I got in my starter kit (Taco Soup), what looked good paired with it (cornbread) and what I have been told is a great seller and just looked yummy (cinnamon sopapilla).
What I did not realize when I scheduled my open house is I would be busy until noon that same day. So this became a real test of the simplicity of the products! I started with gathering the ingredients to be sure I would not have a last minute run to the store (did I mention I was also busy the whole day before the party, and half the day before that). Once I knew I had everything together (Thursday night) I made my game plan. I decided I would do the Taco Soup (literally a dump and heat) the hour before the party started. The cornbread and the dip would somehow be made before I went to bed on Friday. Last the Cinnamon Sopapilla was put together the day before and cooked literally minutes before the party.
The cornbread was my actual first product I made. It was a very simple put the ingredients (eggs, milk, butter and the HG mix) in a bowl stir portion into the pan. I used mini muffin pans since this was for a tasting. Then cook. Simple! I will admit I overfilled the muffin cups, but that is no fault of the product just me. The mini muffin tins actually belong to my mother and grandmother and I don't borrow them too often so I don't know what "full" looks like on them. The cornbread still turned out great. I am not a huge cornbread fan, but these were moist and the right amount of sweet. I had no problem eating the leftovers!
Next on the list was the taco dip made out of the HG Taco Soup Mix. This was also very simple and I used the recipe on the back of the box. This calls for Taco Soup Mix (half a packet) Sour Cream, Salsa, Mayo and Cream Cheese. I dumped it all in a bowl and stirred. I then left it in the fridge overnight to set. I don't know about you, but I have a couple of dips that when I find them I can't stop eating them, this was one of mine! I am so excited to now have the recipe and it's simple!
I then prepared part of the Cinnamon Sopapillas. I lined my 9x13 with crescent rolls, mixed the HG Cinnamon Sopapilla Dessert Mix with one brick of cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat) and then topped with another tube of crescent rolls. I refrigerated this overnight.
When I got home at 12:15 (Open House starts at 1:00!) I started my taco soup. I dumped one can of corn, one can of tomatoes, one can of green chilies, one can of pinto beans and one can of water along with some precooked chicken I had sitting in the fridge and of course the HG Taco Soup Mix into the crock-pot and turned it on high. I did realize this would not heat it fast enough so I took a little more than half out to heat on the stove which took less than 15 minutes to a good warm temperature.
After dumping the taco soup together I melted some butter and mixed with the second packet from the HG Cinnamon Sopapilla Dessert Mix. I poured this on top of the 9x13 I had prepared the night before stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes and waited for the result.
Now if you aren't already impressed with the ease of making these things, I will tell you in my humble and honest opinion it was all really good! The Taco soup, which I am not typically a fan of was just right. I might add more beans next time and less chicken, but that's my preference. The cornbread as I stated before was just the right amount of sweet and moist. The dip was my problem all day I had to control my staying away from it! The cinnamon Sopapillas, well let my sales of that product speak for itself - of the 12 people who came to the open house 10 ordered some, the total order for the Sopapillas including 1 order that came from a friend at a Bible study the next day totaled 15. I would say they were a hit!
Are you interested yet? Check out all the above mentioned products and more at my website

Homemade Gourmet

Well you have learned I am not the best at keeping up with the blog. Could be cause my only readers are my family. I am actually going to take a little different turn to the blog now and tell you more about my new home based business. Now if you know me you know I have tried and failed at the home based business route before. I attribute this to picking a product that my friend sold and going under her. It's a great product and I still use it, but it's just a saturated market at this point. Now I have started fresh with something I don't actually know anyone who sells it. It's a consumable product so if you like it you will come back to me for more. Now if you don't already know I am selling Homemade Gourmet. It is food based and basically meant to make your time in the kitchen less while still getting a great meal on the table for your family! Yes I have a website where you can find out more You will need to sign up as my customer and make your orders with that account to give me your business. Thanks in advance!
Now for my story...
I went to a friend's Mary Kay open house and she had a food product there for sale. I was wanting to try hard this year not to return to my seasonal job which overworks and underpays me, so I had a far fetched idea about starting up a new home based business for extra cash. The food product she had was pretty good and we talked about it some and I liked the idea of selling a food based product. I looked into this company and it didn't sit right so I dropped the subject. I did tell my friend and she said try a different food based one called Homemade Gourmet. Immediately I liked Homemade Gourmet! The mission statement is "With God's help, Homemade Gourmet strives to bring families back to the dinner table by providing quality, affordable, easy to prepare meals, education, and direct sales business opportunities." First thing I loved is the second word is God! The next thing is getting families to the dinner table. I don't know about your family, but we had breakfast and dinner at the table every day I liked it, and hope for my family to do the same. Next I had to look at the start up cost, $39! I can afford that! I then called the company found someone to be my upline and asked a million questions and decided to jump in with both feet!
At this point, you may or may not realize I had never tasted anything Homemade Gourmet and my upline is a stranger in another city (Waco). That's okay I am ready.
My friend (the same from above the Mary Kay consultant. Already had a party for another product planned and she agreed to be a test host for me. So I gave her my host kit from the starter kit and she cooked it that day for her party. It was delicious, (phew!) I got no sales that night, but some interest. I then planned an Open House for a Saturday afternoon. I realized when I went to order a few extra dishes, bags, order forms and catalogs I had to make a $400 order to qualify and make any order. So I went ahead spent more money I did not have and jumped into this now with both feet! The open house was a success! I have now qualified for my first prize as a consultant and feel this is a successful start!
What I plan to do now with this blog is to follow my tastings of the various things I make with my Homemade Gourmet products. Stay tuned!