Foodie Friday: November Menu

I love fall. Just love it! And, P.S. it’s my birthday. Here is my November menu, chalk full of wonderful, fall comfort foods!  As usual, the recipes can be found on my November Menu Pinterest Board.


PDF Version: November Menu


November 1: Beef stew with garlic mashed potatoes
November 2: Slow-cooker sausage, green beans and potatoes with salad
November 3: Chicken tortilla soup
November 4: Green chile mac’n cheese, wilted greens, baked sweet potato
November 5: Leftovers and brownie bites
November 6: Pancakes, sausage and fruit
November 7: OSU Tailgate! Simple, perfect chili, stuffed jalapenos, and brownie bites
November 8: Spicy oven fried chicken, green beans with pecans, red pepper and onion
November 9: Chicken and corn chowder, broccoli and cranberry salad
November 10: Meatball subs (I just use frozen meatballs and jarred marinara) sauteed cauliflower
November 11: Homemade pizza, caesar salad
November 12: Leftovers and pecan tassies
November 13: Ham and cheese omelette, spinach, fruit
November 14: Fancy hotdogs, salad
November 15: One-pot chicken and potatoes, salad
November 16: Cheeseburger sloppy joes, green beans
November 17: Cheese quesadillas, guacamole, fruit
November 18: Potato soup, salad with apples and cranberries *there is no recipe on pinterest for this. I make my potato soup like this: Cut up 4-6 bacon strips and fry in your soup pot. Peel and dice potatoes and add to bacon in pot, pour in just enough chicken/beef broth to cover and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Use potato masher to roughly mash potatoes. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and a splash of milk. Top with green onions.
November 19: Leftovers with mini butterscotch chocolate chip cupcakes
November 20: Mollettes, chile lime corn
November 21: OSU Tailgate!! Pork green chili
November 22: Perfect pot roast, butternut squash with cranberries
November 23: Roast chicken (use the brine!) lemony brussels sprouts, baked potato
November 24: Grilled mozzarella, tomato and avocado sandwich, chicken noodle soup
November 25: Caprese lasagna roll-ups, salad
November 26: THANKSGIVING (I’m not hosting this year)
November 27: Turkey and sweet potato hash, orange cranberry parfaits
November 28: OSU Tailgate!! Barbacoa Tacos
November 29: Salt and pepper prawns, wilted spinach, roasted carrots and parsnips
November 30: Slow-cooker cheesy tortellini, Swiss chard

New Texting Law in Oklahoma

A new law was passed in Oklahoma in May 2015 and goes into effect Nov. 1. It’s purpose is to make the state’s roadways safer and save lives. House Bill 1965 makes texting while driving a primary offense.

Oklahoma has had a Distracted Driving Law in place for a number of years, which made texting while driving a secondary offense. This means a driver could be cited for texting and driving only when stopped for another traffic violation. Under this new law, drivers can be pulled over and given a $100 ticket when observed texting and driving, even if no other traffic laws were violated. Oklahoma is the 46th state to enact a ban on texting while operating a motor vehicle.

HB 1965 was named for Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers Nicholas Dees and Keith Burch, who were struck by a driver who was texting in January 2015. Dees was killed in the accident and Burch suffered serious injuries.

While the new law applies to every driver of a motor vehicle, novice drivers in Oklahoma – including drivers with permits or graduated licenses – risk suspension or loss of license if they text or use a handheld cell phone.

Using a cell phone in any manner while driving is a safety hazard. There are three types of distraction while driving when using a cell phone. The first distraction is visual. The driver actually takes his eyes off the road for several seconds. Second is manual distraction, which involves the driver taking his or her hands off the wheel. And lastly, cognitive distraction takes the driver’s mind off driving. And this all happens while covering as much distance as two or three football fields. The consequences of distracted driving can last a lifetime. No text message is worth that cost. In 2013 alone, drivers distracted by electronic devices in Oklahoma were involved in 14 fatal crashes and 602 injury crashes.

Technology is a wonderful way to stay in touch. When traveling down the road, keep your focus on the road. Let the phone ring, chime or buzz. Once you reach your destination, then is the time to return that call or text message.

Cold Winter Months- Home Maintenance

In Oklahoma it’s still pretty warm during early fall, but we all know that winter is coming. Great Plains winters can be extremely mild or extremely brutal. Not knowing how this particular winter will go, we should all take steps to get our homes ready for the brutal. In order to keep your home comfortable in the winter without spending a fortune on heating costs, now is the time to get your home ready for the winter season.

I’m going to give you some ideas for how to save money this winter and save your fingers from bitter cold! You sure don’t want to be outside fixing gaps in the chimney or caulking around windows and doors when the wind is blowing 40 miles per hour and the temperature is below freezing. Take advantage of this early fall weather to make any needed repairs.

The first thing to do is schedule a service for your home heating system. It is not a good idea to wait until the temperature drops. If there are any problems with the system, you want to get them fixed now so you know your home will be warm when it is time to turn on the heater.

One of the easiest things to do to help cut your winter heating bill is to simply adjust the temperature on your heating system. When you are home, set the thermostat at least to 68 degrees, as recommended by the Department of Energy. When you are asleep or out of the house for longer periods, turn the thermostat down. The more you turn it down, the more you save. Or you could use a programmable thermostat to make it easier to adjust the temperature in your home when you’re not there.

You want to be sure to seal any air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around the chimney and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulking or weather stripping around leaky doors and windows.

Also- keep your curtains or blinds open during daylight hours and let the sun help heat your house while it’s up! It’s free and can be effective at helping your heater warm your house.

While a nice fire in the fireplace can be warm and inviting on a cold winter’s night, keep the damper closed when it is not in use. An open damper is like keeping a window open in the winter. Cold air comes in and warm air escapes.

One way to maximize the heat from your fireplace is to install a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room. However, if you don’t use your fireplace at all, consider plugging and sealing the chimney flue.

It’s understandable if you want to spend these last few weeks enjoying the warm weather, but by taking care of these issues now, you’ll save yourself time and money, as well as avoid frustration in the future.

Stay warm!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Winter Emergency Kit




Back in the Spring, I posted a blog about emergency kits for tornado season. Now that the weather is turning cooler, it is a great idea to get out that old emergency kit and re-stock it for cold-weather emergencies. Here are a few things to include:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Hand-warmers
  • Non-perishable foods that do not need to be cooked like jerky and granola bars
  • Water for drinking
  • Water for bathing or flushing the toilet in case the pipes freeze
  • First aid kit
  • Wrench for turning off water-again in case they freeze/burst
  • Blankets/sleeping bags

It’s also a good idea to put together a car-emergency kit for winter. I remember one winter storm that happened as I was traveling from Fort Smith, AR to Tulsa, OK. I was halfway to my destination when freezing rain started hitting my car. It was scary, and I should have had an emergency kit with me in case I became stranded. Here is a good list for you to use:

  • Cell phone with portable charger
  • sleeping bag/blankets
  • spare coats, mittens, boots, hats
  • red or blaze orange signal cloth strips
  • medium-sized snow shovel
  • jumper cables
  • tow chain
  • tire chains
  • maps & compass
  • snow brush/ice scraper
  • gas line antifreeze
  • flashlight and spare batteries
  • repair tools (pliers, screwdriver, adjustable wrench)
  • 100 foot 3/8 inch rope
  • drinking water (1 gal/person)
  • high energy food
  • cellular phone or CB radio
  • reading materials
  • deck of cards
  • hand warmers (chemical type)
  • fire extinguisher

Check out these two Fact Sheets for more information!Prairie Fare_ Gearing Up for Winter Travel — Winter Storm Information Survival Equipment, Don’t Be Without It! — Winter Storm Information


Foodie Friday: Tailgate Safety


As you have probably seen from my September and October menu plans, we like to tailgate! It’s great fun and great food, but if you are not careful or do not understand the basics of food safety, it could be a fast-track to an awful food poisoning event. I have some tips to share for tailgating food safety right here!

  • Wipe down tables with a disinfecting wipe before covering them with plastic table covers. Most of the folding tables used at tailgate parties are stored in not-so-clean environments. Just a quick wipe will go a long way.
  • Set up a hand washing station. So many of the problems at tailgate parties come from unclean hands. Easy fix:
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Of course we all know to keep cold foods in an ice chest, but what about Dad’s famous chili that was made at home and brought to the game? Carry hot foods in another ice chest- sans ice. Ice chests are insulated containers. It’s the ice that you add that keeps things cold. If you don’t add ice, it will keep things hot!
  • Keep raw meats separate. Cross contamination is a big risk for these kind of parties. If you are transporting raw meat, keep it in it’s own cooler. You’ll need a different one for ready-to-eat foods and drinks.
  • Bring a food thermometer for grilling or heating foods on site so that you know they’re really done!
  • food temps
  • Always place cooked foods on a clean plate. Never put foods back onto a plate that held raw meat.
  • Clean up! Remember trash bags and tote boxes for dirty dishes. Also remember storage containers for leftovers and be sure to store everything in the ice chest before heading to the game. Remember the 2 hour rule- if it’s been sitting at room temp for long than 2 hours, it’s time to toss it. If you’re not sure, just get rid of it. Better safe than sorry!

Happy tailgating and Go Pokes!