Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

What a beautiful song. What a beautiful reminder of what really took place 2,000 years ago. Take a moment and quiet your heart in this season that can bring such busyness. "It was not a silent night on the streets of David's town...but the baby in her womb, He was the maker of the moon, the author of the faith that could make the mountains move."
(Remember to pause the playlist at the bottom to hear the video.)

Monday, December 14, 2009


If you have not followed the NieNie Dialogues at all, you must. Stephanie is an amazing person. Her family is amazing (and so funny). Her story was just written about in the Arizona Central. I have started reading it and had to stop to urge you to read it too.

There are days when I am struggling with our girls and feel like I could be losing my sanity, then I think about Stephanie and all that she has been through. I think about her spirit and the battle that she faces each day before she even gets out of bed. It makes me realize how blessed I am and how I need to cling to each day and be the Mother that God has called me to be.

Take a few moments and read her story. It is incredible and it is heart-wrenching. She is a beautiful, beautiful woman!

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

My daughter and I made these before Thanksgiving and I forgot to share the recipe with you. They were divine and would be a great thing to share with loved one this holiday season.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
Mix above ingredients in a bowl.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs. slightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin
1 t. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar together. Add 1 egg at a time and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Mix. Stir in flour mixture.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
6 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Mix above ingredients together to make filling. Spread on underside of one pumpkin cookie and sandwich together with second cookie to make whoopie pie! Store in fridge.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (My Variation)

Have you been to the Farm Chicks site? Love it!!! It is adorable and oh so vintage. Serena is just the cutest thing ever and so creative. They have a cookbook out, The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen and my wonderful public library happened to get it and I had it put on hold immediately. It is so fun and has some great recipes. I made the Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup this past week for my family but I had no turkey so I guess I made Creamy Wild Rice Soup. It was delicious and will be made again I am sure for the family.

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
5 T. butter
1/3 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced carrots
1 small onion, chopped
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
3/4 c. wild rice
2 c. diced turkey, cooked
6 T. flour
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
1 1/4 c. half and half
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

For the soup: Melt 1 T. butter in a large pot. Add celery, carrots and onion. (I also chopped up 3 cloves of garlic and added it because I really like garlic.) Sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, water, rice and turkey. Bring to boil, lower heat. Cover and simmer for 40 min.

For the Cream Sauce: Melt 4 T. butter. Mix flour and poultry seasoning. Add to butter and whisk together for 1 minute. Stir in half and half until thick. Stir this sauce into the soup.

Stir in bacon, salt and pepper.

Like I said above I didn't have any turkey on hand and it was incredible without. I'm sure the turkey would make it even tastier, even chicken. Also next time I will probably just use milk instead of the half and half but that sure made it creamy yumminess!

Be sure to check out this cook book! It's one that would be a great addition to any recipe book collection!

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music, so sue me! If it has a Christmas ring to it, I will probably love it. My husband does NOT love Christmas music as I quickly realized our first married Christmas when I popped in my Harry Connick Jr. Christmas cd. It makes him grumpy. He is a music snob. He would tell you this too. (I can't find that cd anywhere anymore...hmmmm.) Anyways...over just the past couple of years we have found a few cds that we both like, well he tolerates and I thoroughly enjoy. It wasn't too hard on my part as like I said before, I love Christmas music. I thought I would share with the Christmas cds thatwe have been listening to most the past few weeks. I highly recommend them if you are in need of some new Christmas tunes. So there you have it...along with a Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra one, this is pretty much what is playing non-stop at our house. Ahhh...the sounds of Christmas.

What's your favorite Christmas CD? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Christmas Cookie

I am joining Mom's Creative's Christmas cookie exchange.

When I think about Christmas and all the yummy goodness that goes with it, I always think of one certain cookie, the Mexican Wedding Cake. This cookie has all sorts of different names, but this is the name that my mom called it and so I will always call it this too. They are melt in your mouth yummy! My mom made these at Christmas time. Another fave of hers was the Date Rum Ball but I am not a huge fan of this round, chewy cookie so I will help her memory live on with Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Mexican Wedding Cakes
1c. pecan pieces, ground
1 c. unsalted butter, soft
2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
Beat butter and 1/2 c. powdered sugar in large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 c. flour, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the other 1 c. flour and ground nuts. Form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 min. (pale golden brown). Cool 2 minutes. Place 1 c. powdered sugar in 9x13 dish. Transfer cookie to dish and roll until coated.

Makes 4 dozen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Christmas Wish List

Hubby in years past has asked me what I want for Christmas. I ALWAYS have a difficult time with this. I don't know why. It is hard for me to think of things that I really want. Weird? So I have been thinking about what I would like this year and I am going to put my list here for everyone (all 2 readers) to see. The funny thing is that this year we'll be focusing mostly on getting for our kiddos as hubby is back in college, we're trying to sell a house that we're still making payments on and renting an apartment in our new town, we are on a TIGHT budget. I think the kids are the only ones getting presents this year. So, I can dream! Ha! (You can click on all red or green highlighted words to see the item for yourself.)

1.) Perfume - I adore a good bottle of perfume and I am currently out. My dad started this love affair of mine with perfume. When I was a teen he took me Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve (our yearly ritual) and told me to pick out whatever I wanted for my present. I picked out a bottle of Eternity. I can still smell it. I still love it! The scent of perfume or even cologne can whisk me right back in time.

2.) The Office Season 5- I know this sounds silly but my hubby and I are huge Office fans and have all the seasons. It has killed me to know this one is out but we do not own it yet. I typically put an Office DVD in after the girls in bed just for background noise while hubby and I are working on things. We just giggle away.

3.) Sara Groves Fireflies and Songs - She is one of my favorite artists. This is her brand new CD.

4.) The Pioneer Woman Cookbook - I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman. This would be a welcome addition to my cook book collection (which is currently packed away since I have nowhere to put it).

5.) SLR Digital Camera - This certainly needs to be researched more and I know Santa will not be bringing one this year, but I'm dreaming here! I would love to have an SLR Digital to get those perfect shots of the girls!

6.) I Will Carry You by Angie Smith - This book is only available in pre-order but I would love to know that it will be coming soon. I have followed the Audrey Caroline blog for almost two years and this family has a very special place in my heart. I am so amazed at how the Lord has worked in their lives and turned tragedy into beauty.

7.) Clothes - I NEED some new clothes desperately. This isn't just a whim or just some girl who would really like the latest fashion trends in her closet. This Mama NEEDS some new clothes. My closet is SAD, SAD, SAD! VERY SAD! Do shoes fit into that category, because mine are in a sad, sad, sad state too.

8.) Anything from MD Sparks - Now I am not a jewelery fanatic, but I adore this etsy shop. Her jewelery is just gorgeous! I have a beautiful silver bird's nest necklace with the cutest 3 little pearl eggs in it. I LOVE this necklace and get TONS of compliments when I wear it, which isn't much as the baby LOVES to grab and pull it.

9.) Anything from Lisa Leonard - I think this hand stamped jewelery is so unique and sweet. I could handle anything from this site also bearing the names of my girls.

10.) Paula Deen Pots and Pans in Red - I love this set of of pans. I am using hand-me-downs and I am OK with that. My pots are fine but my skillets, well they are in bad shape. These are just gorgeous!

This was fun and now the first napper is up from naptime and ready to eat, so I must get. What do you want for Christmas this year? Link your list to my comment section if you make one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brunch Food

Yesterday I had the pleasure of enjoying making some fun crafts and treats with a very cool group of moms at a Mothers Group that I have joined. I was asked to bring a holiday brunch item to share. I remembered a recipe that a friend of mine had made for a brunch she held for a group of ladies awhile back. It certainly was brunch food and could certainly fit the holiday requirement. If you need a quick and yummy breakfast or brunch dish this season, this is perfect. Who can resist cinnamon rolls? These are out of a can, but with the mixture you pour over the top, they'll never know.

The one you know how much a jar of Maple syrup costs? I was dumbfounded as I only ever buy generic pancake syrup! It was worth it though. Yum!

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

French Toast Bake
1/4cup butter, melted
2cans (12.4 oz each) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
cup heavy whipping cream
2teaspoons ground cinnamon
2teaspoons vanilla
1cup Chopped Pecans
1cup maple syrup


Icing from cinnamon rolls

Powdered sugar
1/2cup maple syrup, if desired


Heat oven to 375°F. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces over butter in dish.

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with 1 cup syrup.

Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle icing over top; sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, spoon syrup from dish over individual servings. Serve with the additional 1/2 cup maple syrup.

Blustery Comfort Food

Winter is here, that is for sure. It has been a very cold and blustery day here. The wind is roaring and attempting to blow off the string of lights I hung around our door yesterday. My poor hubby had to walk around campus today and freeze to death so I was determined to make him something hot and comforting for supper. Chicken pot pie sounded good as I had the ingredients on hand. I found a very good recipe online and wanted to share it with you. This was delectable and will be made again, although I probably will just use milk next time. I don't usually have heavy cream on hand. The recipe did look a bit daunting with alot of steps, but it was really easy! (If you click on the recipe name it will take you to the site where I found this recipe.)

Wofgang's Classic Chicken Pot Pie
  1. 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  2. 2 tablespoons Snipped Chives
  3. 3/4 cup Unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  4. 1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  5. 2 Egg Yolks
  6. 5 tablespoons Heavy Cream
  7. 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  8. 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  9. 1 pound Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  10. 2 medium Carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  11. 1 Stalk Celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  12. 1/2 pound Crimini or Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  13. 1 (10 ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
  14. 3/4 cup Frozen Petite Peas, thawed
  15. 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  16. 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  17. 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  18. 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  19. 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Thyme
  20. Salt
  21. Freshly ground black pepper
  22. 1 Egg beaten with
  23. 1 tablespoon Water
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare the pastry: Place the flour and chives in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the cheese and work in until just blend.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and 5 tablespoons of the cream.
  4. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the pastry dough, a little at a time, stirring with a fork until pastry comes together.
  5. Add remaining cream if necessary.
  6. Knead lightly until just combined.
  7. Press pastry into a circle.
  8. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  9. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and vegetable oil.
  10. Saute the chicken for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned but not cooked through.
  11. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl.
  12. In the same pan over medium-high heat saute the carrots, celery and mushrooms 5 minutes.
  13. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables to another bowl. Stir thawed pearl onions and peas into vegetables.
  14. Prepare the sauce: In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  15. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  16. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in stock, cream, and thyme.
  17. Return skillet to heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  18. Cook for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened and is smooth.
  19. Season with salt and pepper.
  20. Stir in reserved chicken and vegetables.
  21. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
  22. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon cooled chicken and vegetable mixture into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.
  23. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle 11-inches in diameter.
  24. Place pastry on top of chicken mixture.
  25. Trim pastry edge, fold overhang under and press gently all around baking dish to make a decorative edge.
  26. Reroll any trimmings and cut out to make a decorative design for top of pie.
  27. Brush pastry with beaten eggwash.
  28. Using a knife, cut 3 slits in center of pie.
  29. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, chicken and vegetables are tender and filling is heated through.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar
We have been doing lots of fun Christmas activities in our household with the help of our nifty advent calendar. The Mom's group that I have been going to at our new church gave out all of the materials and ideas for this. I was so excited about making one this year because I knew our oldest daughter would really get into it now that she is 3 years old and she has. She loves getting up in the morning and finding out what our special activity will be.
Advent Calendar
It was very easy to make. We were given assorted scrapbook papers cut into squares. I just rolled these into cones and glued one side down. We then hung them by the cutest little clothespins to a piece of yarn that was hung on our kitchen wall. It is so cute and adds a festive, Christmas spirit to our home.
Advent Calendar
Here is the list of our Advent activities:
1.) Go downtown to see the Christmas lights and take pictures of the girls.
2.) Make paper snowflakes to hang on patio door.
3.) Make a paper chain to decorate with.
4.) Write a letter for Santa Claus.
5.) Have family game night with Christmas music and hot chocolate.
6.) Go to the mall to see Santa and the Christmas decorations.
7.) Make a Christmas craft.
8.) Buy a present to donate to Toys for Tots.
9.) Make cookies and decorate them.
10.) Go to a local town (with Gigi, YEAH) and see the Christmas lights.
11.) Make Christmas cards to send to family.
12.) Go to the library for a Sound of Music for a preview performance.
13.) Have a Christmas tea party with our family.
14.) Read Christmas books together and enjoy some more hot chocolate.
15.) Drive around after Daddy is off of work to see the houses all decorated.
16.) Go to Christmas story hour at the library.
17.) Make a birthday cake for Jesus and read the Christmas story from the Bible.
18.) Watch a Christmas movie and camp out for the night by the Christmas tree.
19.) Donate canned food to charity.
20.) Go to Gigi's canata.
21.) Make and hang an edible treat for the birds.
22.) Be a Secret Santa to someone.
23.) Make Christmas cookies to give away.
24.) Open one gift before bed and leave cookies for Santa.
25.) Celebrate the birth of Jesus!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bath Paint

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a great blog, The Idea Room. I had so much fun reading her great ideas of things to do with the girls, especially my oldest daughter whom we affectionately nicknamed Peanut. One night for a bath time surprise I made her bath paint. Her favorite color is green so we only made green to use. She had a ball painting the bath tub walls and herself. I didn't put the baby in with her as the paint is made with dish soap and would thus result in some burning eyes. Peanut thought it was the best thing ever. The paint washed right off like it says it will do. I highly recommend this activity. It would especially help those kids who don't enjoy bath time, although that is not a problem here. Her recipe is as follows...

2 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. liquid dish soap
4-5 drops liquid food coloring
Stir and mix together until the color is fully incorporated and it has a smooth consistency. Add a small amount of water (2-3 T.) and stir.

Her post is here if you would like to see it.

I will be trying this homemade finger paint soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

This was sublime! Yum!!!! I have never made this recipe although it was sitting in my recipe box along with all of these other recipes I have never made. I am finding new joy in my recipe box! :) This is a keeper too. Hubby really liked this tonight for supper.

Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. sliced beef, steak, ground beef or meatballs
6 T. butter
2 t. worchestershire sauce
1 c. chopped onions
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 c. beef broth
6 T. flour

Combine all in the slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Add an 8 oz. cream cheese or 2 c. sour cream in last hour of cooking, and salt and pepper. Serve over noodles.

I used beef stew meat and Reemes noodles. Those are the ones in the frozen food section. I will never go back to cheap noodles. These taste like homemade. They are more expensive but WORTH every penny! They can be tricky to find, but look high and low. You will find them and they will be worth it. ;)

Golden Glow Pork Chops

I have had this recipe in my box for probably over a year but never tried it because...well because I haven't really cooked in forever. I made the same things over and over for my family when I did cook. So I finally pulled this recipe out and decided to make it. Boy was Hubby glad I did. He loved it and ate 3 of them. He even used it in his Facebook status. Ha. I will certainly be making this one again.

Golden Glow Pork Chops
5-6 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
29 oz. can peaches (reserve 1/4 c. juice)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. vinegar

Lightly brown pork chops in pan on both sides, using salt and pepper to taste. Place in slow cooker. Place drained peaches on top of pork chops. Combine remaining ingredients plus 1/4 c. peach juice. Pour over pork chops and peaches. Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours.

YUM! So easy!!!! I used sliced pork loin because it was on sale and it worked fine. I also used 1 t. pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon and cloves. I am NOT a fan of cloves so this was more subtle and it tasted fine.

I highly recommend this for a great fall or winter meal. I made mashed sweet potatoes and homemade whole wheat bread to serve alongside.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wet Burritos

We love Hispanic food! Our favorite places to eat are usually the Hispanic restaurants in town, although I really have enjoyed eating at the Indian places too! Our new town is blessed by many ethnic restaurants which has been fun to explore.

Tonight I tried a recipe that a friend had given me a few years ago. I had tucked it in my recipe box and forgotten about it. This week when I sat down to make our menu and my grocery list I found it and decided to try it. It was an easy recipe and turned out really yummy. Please see below recipe for a clarification on recipe!

Wet Burritos
1 1/2 lb. ground chuck - cook with 1/2 chopped onion and drain
1 1/2 pkgs taco seasoning - mix in recommended amount of water from pkg.
16 oz. can of refried beans - mix into meat mixture

16 large flour tortillas
8 slices of American cheddar cheese (cut each one in 1/2)

Fill each tortilla with 3 T. filling and top with 1/2 slice of cheese. Roll up tightly, making sure edges are sealed. Put in lightly greased 9x13" pan. (Each pan will hold 5.) Cover with sauce.

1 jar Homestyle brown gravy
16 oz. can diced tomatoes
10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
Mix above ingredients together and pour over top of burritos in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, covered. Add sliced green onions, sliced black olives, and shredded cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

I used 12 small wheat tortillas and only used one pan. It worked fine. I have been buying bakery made tortillas and my grocery store and really like them. On this last grocery trip I picked up a package for this recipe without really looking at the label. I made the recipe tonight and after we dug in I thought to myself, "Why do these have a sweet cinnamon taste? How did cinnamon get in here?" Then it hit me, I pulled the tortilla bag out of the trash and read the label. Sure enough, they were cinnamon and sugar wheat tortillas. Oops! Honestly it is just a hint of cinnamon so they won't be thrown out. Taught me to really read the labels!

Slow Cooker Beef and Black Bean Chili

This is turning into a recipe blog! Since our move I am certainly cooking much more and trying to expand outside of my usual recipes and things that I always make. I have enjoyed testing the new recipes as has my family enjoyed tasting them. I know I have mentioned it before but my absolute favorite recipe magazine is Everyday Food. Oh, I love it! I check it all of the time from the library and devour it from cover to cover. It always has great hints and tips. Typically the recipes are easy and use things that you have on hand. Sometimes there are some things that I have never heard of but that is fun too!

I do have to say one thing that I have enjoyed about living in our new area is going to the grocery and seeing all of those things that I could never find at my old grocery. The grocery that I typically go to here has a sushi bar, Mediterranean olive and hummus bar, every kind of mushroom you could imagine, Polenta and so on! It is pretty neat!

So back to my recipe that I found in Everyday Food. It is for chili and was a hit with my hubby. He really liked this one and again it was so easy!

Slow Cooker Beef and Black Bean Chili

1 lb. beef chuck cut into 3/4" cubes
1 can (15 oz.) tomato puree
1 c. dried black beans, rinsed
1 med. red onion, chopped (I used a regular yellow onion.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. chili powder

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Add 2 c. water, 2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Cover, cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.

We topped it with some sour cream and shredded cheese. I also made the cornbread using brown sugar in the recipe. Yummy fall meal!

Peanut Butter Cookies

The other night after Hubby left for a meeting regarding his new blog Sound in Bloom, my oldest daughter asked, "Mom, can we make cookies?" We settled on my favorite Peanut Butter ones as we didn't have enough oatmeal for Oatmeal Cookies. I got this recipe out of a section of my dad's newspaper called The Amish Cook. It is a column that an actual Amish mother writes once a week. It is very interesting to read as it follows their lives and what they are up to. She always includes a recipe. Her recipes have never failed me! She recently published a cookbook which I would love to get my hands on, The Amish Cook's Baking Book.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c. shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. peanut butter
2-3 c. flour (I usually add 2 1/2c.)
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. chocolate chips or M&M's

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter, then all dry ingredients. Drop by large tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press with back of fork dipped in sugar for criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are brown but cookie is undone in center. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet a few minutes before removing. Makes 5 dozen.

I have never added the chocolate chips or M&M's but this time we added chocolate chips and they were super yummy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crock Pot Chili

My best friend emailed this recipe to me a few weeks ago. I finally got around to making it today and it definitely a keeper in my recipe box. It was so easy and even more tasty. Peanut ate two bowls of it.

Crock Pot Chili
2 cans great Northern Beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can Rotel, mild
1 can Chicken Broth
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 packet of Taco Seasoning

Add all of the above ingredients to the crock pot. Cook on low 8-9 hours. Halfway through cooking, add 1 package of cream cheese. Just before serving stir in shredded, cooked chicken. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.


I made homemade corn bread also. My aunt gave me a secret tip for delicious corn bread and I tried it out. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar to the corn bread mixture. It is delectable!

This was a great meal for a chilly evening.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Peanut and I (and Daddy but he might deny it if you asked him ;) have been watching Little House on the Prairie quite a bit (I usually watch and then pick which ones she can watch as some are really intense and way too much for a 3 year old. I am pretty picky about what I allow her to watch.). We discovered our library has all of the seasons. I thought Peanut might fall in love with it and sure enough, she did. She loves Laura, Mary, Carrie and baby Grace.
Happy trick or treating!  Cora is Laura Ingalls.
For her costume this year for Halloween I thought it would be fun to have her dress up as Laura and she LOVED the idea. I found a pattern for a prairie dress and bonnet, picked out some pretty blue and cream flower print, and got to work last week. Peanut was so excited about her Laura dress. This was my first experience at making a dress and really using a pattern by myself. Patterns are so tricky if you aren't really sure what you are doing. I certainly would not want an experienced seamstress to look at my work because when I wasn't sure what to do, I kind of did my own thing and made it work. I was tickled when I was finished and so was Peanut. I also learned that patterns run a bit big at least this one did. Oh well...she'll be able to play in it for quite a while.
Trick or Treat Trail
We got to test the dress out this past Friday night at a Trick or Treat trail at a local park. She was so excited to get dressed up and wear braids just like Laura. (Speaking of the braids, we just started watching Sesaon 7 (had to skip Season 6 as it was checked out) and Laura wears her hair up. Peanut noticed right away and said, "Mom, wear are her pony tails?" I think she likes the young Laura more than the older Laura.
Trick or Treat Trail
It felt so good to have my sewing machine out again. I haven't sewed in ages! Hoping to do some more stuff here and there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Enjoyment

Yesterday my dad and his "special" friend ;) came down to visit us and see our new home. We were so glad to have them. I gave them a tour of our community and we visited a local small town that is full of gift shops. It was a beautiful day out, a bit chilly, but the leaves are just gorgeous right now. It was such a fun time together. When we got back to our house, we enjoyed a yummy fall supper together of Old Fashioned Beef and Noodles, corn, homemade bread and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin cake. The cake was so easy and really nice way to end a beautiful fall day.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pumpkin
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. walnuts
1 c. oil

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

***I didn't have any walnuts so I didn't add those and it was just fine without.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yummy Supper Side and Dessert

Tonight I tried out another new recipe for supper and it was a hit. I LOVE onion rings but have never made them at home because it just seems to messy. I hate frying things due the mess and smell so when I stumbled on a recipe for Baked Onion Rings I thought, "Why not?" We had them tonight for supper and I will be making these again. I do have to admit that prior to the baking process, they sure didn't look like they were going to be any good.

Baked Onion Rings
1 1/2 c. cornflakes
1/2 c. dried breadcrumbs, plain
1 egg
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. flour
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 medium Vidalia onion, quartered crosswise, broken into rings
(discard small center rings)
2 T. olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Run cornflakes and bread crumbs through food processor and put in pie plate. Whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Drop onion rings in egg mixture. Dredge in crumb mixture. Place on large plate. Pour oil on rimmed baking sheet. Place sheet in oven for 2 min. Remove and tilt so oil coats sheet evenly. Arrange onion rings on sheet. Bake, turning once for 16 min. Season with salt.

I don't have a food processor, so I ground the cornflakes in my mini-food chopper and mixed them with the bread crumbs. This seemed to work fine. I also didn't have any buttermilk, but made my own by putting 1 T. vinegar in my glass measuring cup then adding enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid. Mix this together and let sit for a 5 minutes so it thickens.

I also made an onion ring sauce to go along with the onion rings. Yum!

Onion Ring Sauce
1/2 c. mayo
1 1/2 t. ketchup
1 1/2 t. horseradish
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. ground cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients. Chill at least one hour before serving.

And for dessert our favorite Blueberry Pie recipe. A friend of mine from church made this for us after we had our first daughter and we were in Blueberry Heaven. I had forgotten about it until another friend from church made the same pie for us this summer when we were in the midst of packing boxes before our move. I finally got around to getting the recipe. We have been enjoying this recipe as I am trying to use up our frozen blueberries.

Pie Crust
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oil
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 T. milk
Mix together all ingredients with pastry blender. Pat into pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Blueberry Filling
Bring 1 c. blueberries and 1/2 c. water to boil on stove top. Simmer for 2 min.
Mix 3/4 c. sugar and 2 T. cornstarch together. Stir into blueberry mixture. Stir until thick and bring to boil for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 T. lemon juice. Let cool.
Add 3 c. fresh blueberries. Pour into pie crust. Chill in fridge.

This is MUCH better with fresh berries, but it's yummy with frozen also!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cinnamon Oat Pancakes

Hubby usually has to head out for classes and work before lunch so I try to make a late breakfast for us that is filling. That way he isn't starving during his class. Today I made a batch of Cinnamon Oat Pancakes for us. I found the recipe in Everyday Food. This little magazine is one of my favorite recipe magazines. I check them out of the library and scour them for new recipes. This is a keeper! I will be writing this one on a recipe card and filing it.

Cinnamon Oat Pancakes

2 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. milk
2 large eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Grind 1 cup of the oats in a food processor. Combine ground oats with flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another large bowl whisk milk, eggs, and oil. Add dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and 1 cup oats.

I do not have a food processor but a mini food chopper. It worked fine to grind the 1 cup of oats in that. I also used quick oats, which is all I had on hand. These were so yummy! I made all of the pancakes and froze the leftovers. You just layer on a cookie sheet, freeze 30 minutes, then put into freezer bags. When you want to use them, warm them in a toaster over or in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Treat

This evening we had an easy supper. We were all rather full from eating out with friends after church today. Some sweet dear friends from home were down for a music festival here in town and to visit their daughter who is also at the university. They always make a point to see us and took us out for lunch. The last time they were here they took the girls and I to a really delectable Indian restaurant. Today they treated us to Turkish food. My only ethnic cuisine up to this point in my life was pretty much Mexican and Chinese food. I was a bit unsure about trying these new foods, but was genuinely surprised both times. After our Indian excursion, I even drug Hubby to the restaurant the following Sunday because I was craving it something bad!

So back to my original thought...this evening we were not all that hungry and I was not ready to make a big meal, so I pulled out a pumpkin pancake recipe that had been nicely filed away in my recipe box and tried it. YUM! These pancakes are super moist and so wonderful. I will definitely be making these again during the fall season. A perfect meal to make for fall!

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 c. flour
Pinch baking soda
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. sinnamon
1/8 t. ginger
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 egg well beaten
1 1/4 c. milk
2 T. melted shortening
1/2 c. canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato, cooked
Combine flour, soda, sugar, and spices. Combine egg, shortening, pumpkin and milk, then add to flour mixture, beating until smooth. Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle, turning only once. Serve hot with butter and syrup or powdered sugar.

I didn't have any ginger, so I used 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I also added a bit more flour as the batter seemed a bit runny.

Hope you can make a batch of these this season!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Transplanted South

I am still here. Things have just been pretty crazy. We packed up our home of 7 years and moved south. Hubby is going back to school to finish his undergrad work in the field of Informatics. We moved to a larger university town. We are loving the community down here and all that it has to offer. I really do miss home. It is so difficult to be away from friends and family. I headed home last weekend and it was so wonderful to be with people who know me. I had a hard time this week after coming back. I just said today how great it would be if we could wrap all the good things up together...this great community and our friends and family. That would be perfection!

We moved to a smaller place, a town home. That being said, I don't have much room to have all my craft things out. Not really sure what to do about this. Everything is still packed away. Hoping I can steal away a nice corner of the small rec room in our basement that is filled with Hubby's recording equipment and my daughter's kitchen set.

I kind of came to a halt in the unpacking process so the rec room is not a pretty sight yet. I still may be able to figure out a crafty corner down there. I hope so. I have been itching to sew some curtains for my girl's new bedroom.

We've only been here a month and I am SICK of eggshell white!!! I don't plan on painting though. There is no way with two little ones and Hubby gone most of the time. I also do not like to paint. If we were buying a home, then maybe, but not while we are renting. So....we need bright pretty curtains. I have some neat red curtains for our living room but I keep forgetting to buy a rod when I am out shopping.

I wanted to share a really sweet video that I stumbled upon on one of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago. The music is from one of Hubby's favorite musicians, Sigur Ros.

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


This photo essay is powerful.  May we never take a day of health for granted.  (Click on the right hand circle at bottom of the essay to go through the pictures.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yummy Roast Recipes

I am thinking that this is going to turn into a place for me to share my recipes with you rather than my crafting. I haven't crafted in forever because I never have time. I always have excellent intentions of sewing when the girls go down for their naps but then I am so worn out that I don't. That is also when I try to catch up on laundry and dishes and reading blogs. Ha! :) I do have to cook though. I have been really doing my best to cook more. I had gotten into such a cooking rut especially after our first daughter was born. I am slowly easing my way out of that rut. It had gotten so bad that one afternoon my hubby saw our crock pot out with a roast in it and asked, "Are we having company tonight?" Oops! :)

So, I have two recipes to share with you. I did not seek out permission ( took me like a good two minutes to think of that! I'm tired!) to share these. I hope it is ok but I figure they were shared with me, so it is fine. :)

My sister-in-law shared the first with me. It is for Pot Roast. Oh if you don't have a crock pot, then these won't be so easy. Sorry!

Sister-in-Law's Pot Roast
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 bottle of Italian Dressing
1 Chuck Roast
Assorted Vegetables

Pour the soup and dressing into crock pot. Stir together. Add roast and spoon sauce over top. Cook on low 8-9 hours. Add veggies about halfway through cooking.

I used potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Yum...the dressing add so much zip to the basic, boring pot roast. Loved this and so did hubby.

Now for Beef and Noodles...after we had our baby our church friends brought meals to us every other day for a month. God bless them! It was wonderful to not have to worry about getting groceries or cooking. Bliss! This is one meal that we got that I quickly sought out the recipe for. I made it for my family last night and it was a hit!

Old Fashioned Beef and Noodles
3 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 t. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. chopped onion
2 lbs. extra lean beef, cut into 1 in. cubes
2 (12 oz.) pkgs noodles
Combine all ingredients (except noodles) in a slow cooker; mix well. Heat on low for 8-9 hours. Prepare noodles according to pkg. directions. Stir into sauce. Serve.

I did use a chuck roast instead of the stew meat because it was on sale and much cheaper. After it was done cooking, I just took it out, shredded it and added it back into the sauce. And if you make this, use the Reames frozen noodles. They are just like homemade and worth the extra cost. Yum!

Also I did make those Jammin' Salmon Burgers and they are keepers. I bought the ingredients to make them again very soon. I had my in-laws over for those and everyone liked them. I also made Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges. These get made ALOT in my house...and frankly to tell you the mistake I made is embarrassing. I make these all of the time...well being tired much more than I was 2 months ago, I grabbed the cayenne pepper instead of the chili powder. Oops! They were so I don't recommend switching the two when you make them!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tasty Treats

We have quite a thing going for salmon in our home right now. For our anniversary my hubby took me to a nice restaurant and we both ordered blackened salmon with blue cheese broiled on top. Oh my gracious. I will be recreating this item in my own kitchen very soon. It was to die for. :) For now I just bake a huge salmon fillet. I found a little jar of spices especially for salmon, so I douse that on before I bake the fillet.

Tonight I was at my mother-in-law's and we were watching The Food Network which is our tradition. They did a show all about the best burgers ever and one recipe was for Jammin' Salmon Burgers. I am going out and getting the ingredients and this will be made very soon. Can we give out a loud Yummo!

We have also been going through asparagus like it is going out of style. It is seriously the easiest thing to make. I just snap off the ends and wash it up. Then heat up some olive oil in a skillet, add the asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Just keep turning and when they are bright green, they are done. We like them with a bit of a crunch left in them. My 2 year old daughter loves them also!

That's what we're loving right now!

Another One!

Here is another fun giveaway at Make It, Take It, Love It.  The giveaway is from Bebe Chic.  She has some adorable items in her Etsy shop.  The contest is open until June 1st, so go sign up!

Friday, May 29, 2009


I have been dying to get my hands on one of those cute crochet headbands with a bow or flower on it for this new little addition to our lives.  She was born on March 30 and is SWEET!  Look at that smile.  It is to die for!  

I found out about a great giveaway at His, Mine, and Ours.  I think you should definitely head over and sign up!  There are some super cute things in the Etsy shop!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pray for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan
Click on picture above to take you to MckMama's blog to catch up on how baby Stellan is doing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting My Creative On

I have a couple of things to share with you....

My hubby's birthday was this past Monday, so I decided to make him a fun birthday cake. Hubby is very much into the tech world. He is an Apple loving man, so in honor of his love for all things Apple, I made him his very own iPod birthday cake.
Happy Birthday Daddy
I was very happy with how it turned out. He got quite a kick out of it.

My daughter who is 2 1/2 has been needing some work when it comes to color recognition. Now being a 3 year old preschool teacher, I tend to analyze everything and am a bit concerned that we are not getting the colors down. (The teacher in me also says, "It's fine...she will get it, just keep plugging away!) I decided to make color bean bags for us to use to work on the colors. I used the tutorial that I found here. I did change the measurements just a bit and didn't use quite as much rice. I busted a needle on my sewing machine due to using too much rice. They turned out cute and we have had fun with them. In fact tonight the bean bags were used as cupcakes while my daughter had an imaginary birthday party for her and I.
Bean Bags
And I have to share this picture of my little one measuring her own fabric while I worked away on the bean bags. It was a proud moment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some More Things to Share..

I wanted to share some pictures with you of the other item that I made for my daughter for Christmas. My mom passed away this past October after a VERY long battle with Alzheimer's Disease...over 10 years. My dad wasn't sure what to do with all of her nightgowns, so I took them. I decided I wanted to make a quilt for my little girl...Mimi's quilt. Now having just taken up sewing a few months ago, I went basic. I just cut out squares from the nightgowns and sewed those together. And instead of quilting it, I knotted it. My mother-in-law helped me with the binding which seemed a bid foreboding to me. She is an avid sewer and quilter and to whom I owe my new hobby of sewing to. I think the quilt turned out very nice. I even got a bit creative and cut out some of the pockets from her nightgowns to use on the quilt. Peanut, my daughter's nickname, can stick her little stuffed animals or other treasures in there.

I also wanted to show you something that my mother-in-law made for her younger grandchildren that have baby dolls. She found a website with patterns for American Girl doll quilts and made them. Isn't it adorable? I love it so much as does Peanut who likes to wrap her babies in it.

And just for is a picture of the snowman that my daughter and I made together today before naptime. She had fun learning about big, medium, and small. Her favorite part was adding the fun shape stickers to Mr. Snowman's body. He is proudly displayed on our fridge now.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homemade Journals

I made journals for my daughter's cousins for Christmas this year. (Ummm...I still have a couple to make and send yet. Oops! I need to get busy!)

I just used one of those black and white steno books from the school supply aisle, a glue stick and some scrapbooking supplies. I think these turned out cute.
Family Journals
Family Journals

Family Journals
For my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law, instead of making journals, I made them family recipe books. I had them email me some family favorite recipes with a snippet of why the recipe is special to them. I then printed these out and glued them inside the book. I divided the book into sections like appetizers, main dishes, desserts and sweets, and misc. using cardstock tabs that I stapled to the first page of each section. Then I just covered the front, back and inside covers with scrapbook paper and supplies. Then the recipients can add more recipes over the years to pass on to their children.

Family Journals Family Journals

I wish you could see them better. I was happy with how they turned out.