Monday, September 19

Crock pot Beef and Beans

I meant to follow the directions but I forgot. Here is the original recipe. Below are my changes. 


1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck, browned and drained
6 medium potatoes, sliced or chunked
1 can beans, drained  or equivalent
1 can tomatoes mixed with 2 tbsp. flour 
salt and pepper

Put chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker/Crock Pot; layer with browned ground beef, sliced potatoes, and beans. Spread tomatoes or soup over all. Sprinkle with seasonings as desired. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Serves 4 to 6.
Like I said. I meant to follow the recipe. I used  1 lb beef. and about 1/3 of a huge onion.  Since I used home prepared dried beans I added Arizona Dreaming seasoning and salt too. I forgot to add the tomatoes. So we served this with your choice of salsa or leftover red enchilada sauce. I also love sour cream so that was on the table too.  My DH said he enjoyed it.

Thursday, June 16

Taco Quiche and Taco Corn Fritters

We've had two wonderful new recipes this week. Taco Quiche came about because I wanted quiche and Justin didn't want broccoli quiche (which I love and may still make for lunch tomorrow).

Taco Quiche

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup  chopped mushrooms 
  • other chopped veggies of your choice
  •  taco seasoning (2 packets worth - i have a great homemade recipe I need to share
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup biscuit/baking mix- make your own!!
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and taco seasoning over medium heat until met is no longer pink; drain. Spread into a greased 9-ix13. Sprinkle with cheese.
  2. In a bowl, combine the biscuit mix, eggs and milk; mix well. Pour over the cheese. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Taco Corn Fritters- modified from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers the links here are Laura's

1/2- 1 pound cooked hamburger meat seasoned with taco seasoning mix ( with veggies added in)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup masa (corn flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups frozen or canned corn

Brown hamburger meat and add  taco seasoning mix to taste.  Mix together remaining ingredients, stirring in the seasoned meat.

Mix everything together or just mix cornmeal. Scoop into muffin tins. If you didn't miz the meat into the corn batter scoop 1/2 full, make a divit, add taco meat, then scoop more corn meal on top (or so 18 scoops of batter, 18 scoops of meat and 18 more scoops batter.

Bake at 350* or till done for 20 or so minutes.

Serve with salsa and sour cream. Also great with chili or a western salad.

Wednesday, June 15

Little J's birthday

We recently celebrated Little J's birthday. All told it was a good birthday. He has a couple presents that we are saving since he is too young for them. Another we are saving until it gets warm again. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

This card is awesome!!

Cousin is trying to keep Little J from defrosting the cake.

Saturday, May 14

Teeny Tiny Tot School 10.5

 If you aren't familiar with tot school click on the button above. Basically it is about providing and enouraging fun but focused learning activities. I haven't taken picture of many of our activities due to being part of them, not having a camera on hand or just forgetting.
Getting a book to read. Typically Little J prefers to read on his own.

Enjoying the park and the swings for the first time.

Discovered climbing on boxes is fun. (Gross motor)

Spied Dad's yogurt bowl and spoon. Experimented with music. Eventually the trash can joined in. (Music)
Pushing the stroller across the park, engaging muscles and gross motor skills.
 We do read books every day. nearly without fail before naps we get a few in. Often another during play time. Little J also gets lots of time in playing with containers in the kitchen and trying to open and close drawers without pinching his fingers.

Monday, May 9

Parsnip Sweetie Sticks

I meant to by Turnips. I've never had, bought, or cooked either. So, i figured we'd try them. My DH is on a diet to lose some of the weight he's always had and some that he's gained slowly over the last four years.

Of this was borne the veggie of the week idea. Last week it was eggplant and cauliflower. I'll share those recipes later.

Parsnip Sweetie Sticks

Peel and cut parsnips. If using large ones cut out the woody centers.
Place in saute pan with melted butter and sprinkle with pepper and nutmeg.
Saute on low or medium low until soft and caramelized.

Wednesday, April 6

Little J's Surgery

 A week ago today at this time my baby was in open heart surgery, chest and sternum cut open, blood going through a machine, not breathing for himself, and unconscious.

Praise be to the Lord today he is doing great. He is at home in his bed napping. He spent the morning eating, reading books, playing, crawling, standing, climbing, falling, and snuggling. He is not wanting to get back into a routine, atuggles to nap, and wakes up several times a night, but other than that, he is his normal self.

Thank you for your prayers for him, his medical team, and his family. I thought I'd attach some pictures for you.
Little J can't settle down. We changed his meds soon after this. He's off the ventilator but still has 11  IV meds. You can see his incision. Below that are drainage tubes, to get the extra fluid and blood out of his body, and pacemaker wires, just in case. These came out Friday. You an see he is still on oxygen here. He has stickers on his chest to monitor his heart rhythms and electrical movements (basically an EKG ) its called telemetry. The thing on his head to to measure how much oxygen his brain is getting. He had one over his kidney too. Below he has is resting. He has a binder around his chest to keep everything still and to keep him form picking at it. You can see the central IV line in his right groin. He also has a line in his left groin and a catheter. in the left of the picture you can kind of see his trainage tubes/ ballons. His arms were restrained part of the time to keep him from picking at things or moving too much. That's what you see around his wrist.
Chilling with Dad watching TV. You can see his drainage balloons under his shirt here. He still has an IV, a hep lock, and the telemetry patches. The Blood pressure cuff is on so that he gets used to it so that it's easy to check his blood pressure. That way they get a more accurate reading.

Ready to go home.

One week after surgery.
He climbed up on this box 3 or 4 times.
(It's about 6" high.)

The first time he crawled off.
However, he did fall of twice.
A thought from today while playing. "He's got the tiny little baby in His hands... He's got the whole world in His hands."

Thursday, March 24

Wednesday, March 23

Books, Tools and Toys for Learning

Tools, Books, and Toys for Learning

·         Eric Carl (Have The Very Hungry Catapillar)
·         Bill Martin books
·         Virginia Lee Burton (have Mike Muligan and The Little House)
·         Margret Wise Brown books (have Goodnight Moon)
·         Dr. Suess books (have Ten Apples up on Top)
·         PD Eastman books (have Snow)
·         Richard Scarry books
·         Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
·         The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
·         Other classics (have The Mitten, A Pocket for Corduroy, Where the Wild Things Are)

Learning  Tools:
·         Pop beads
·         Pipe cleaners
·         Tubs and shredded paper and or rice for sensory tubs
·         Counting bears (or like)(sea animals, frogs, insects)
·         Colored clothes pins
·         Beads (with holes)
·         Beads and confetti
·         Pipe cleaners
·         Pompoms
·         Chalk
·         Paint
·         Construction paper
·         Safety scissors
·         Containers to keep things in

 Learning Toys:
·         Puppets
·         Push toys
·         Pull toys
·         shape sorters
·         wooden blocks
·         pail and shovel
·         pop-up toys
·         Doug and Melissa Toys
·         Magnets

Saturday, March 19

Gifts for Little J

Gift Ideas of Little J

Wooden hammer bench   or this one or similar

   - Dr. Sueus
   - flap books with sturdy flaps
   - Usborne
   -  Others- See book list

Latches board

Chunky magnets like these or these or these or others

Chunky/ jumbo knob puzzles like these or these so such 

Vehicles we have Tractors

Bath boat and other bath toys- we don't have any!

Push/ Pull toys like these or these or such

wooden tools (we have plastic ones)

Band in a Box

hand Puppets

outdoor toys like bucket, shovel, rake, balls

Good places to get things on-line

- Melissa and Doug
- Fat Brain Toys
- Back to Basics Toys
- Gummylump

Speedy Gonzolas

I didn't know little ones could progress from slightly mobile and beginning to creep (or swim in Little J's case) to being speedy Gonzolas. I have to post pictures and videos, but in the last two weeks my Little J has decided to take off. Considering that he was sick enough for a week that all he did was cling to me, that is quite a lot of progress!

He has decided that he if he puts his mind to it, he can do anything.
- Dashing all around the house
- Splashing in the dog's bowl ( and playing in his food if Mama isn't careful)
- Checking out the dog and kennel
- Unwind the toilet paper from the roll.
- Scoot along the couch
- Open the TV cabinet
- Do laundry
- Open drawers and cabinets
- empty the tupperware
- Stand and "jump" in his crib
- and other things too.

Since the weather has been nice (40s to 60s) we have been getting out and walking a lot too.

Six Months Old!

Wednesday, February 9

Make a roux- casserole makeover

If you ever cook from scratch, and I mean really from scratch - no cream of x soup or bisquick, you must be able to make a good roux. A good roux is the secret weapon of almost anything creamy. gravy, sauces, soups...

In case you don't know, a roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat. First you put the fat of your choice (butter or meat drippings work best) in a pan over heat until melted, hot and browned to the level you desire.  Secondly you slowly add the flour a little at a time while whisking. Picky cooks sift the flour first to "ensure" a smooth end product. Since I'm not that picky, I just whisk ferociously. After the flour and fat form a cohesive mixture slowly add in your liquid of choice, usually broth or milk. Again, add slowly, a little at a time whisking vigorously and checking for consistency.   Tada!

Anyway, this is an important element of my cream soup makeover dishes.  The hardest thing is the one can each of mushroom and chicken cream soups, but I found a solution!

Chicken and Rice Casserole
mushrooms diced (1 can of sliced canned or 4 fresh ones
*2+ Tbs rendered chicken fat (I used the stuff that was on my chicken broth after refrigerating it)
*2+ Tbs flour (white flour is best- one of the only uses for white flour in my house)
*1 1/4+ c chicken broth
*1 1/4+ c milk
*1/2+ tsp poultry seasoning
*salt and pepper to taste2 1/2 c cooked brown rice
6 hard boiled eggs diced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts
2 c cooked diced chicken
1c mayo (sour cream would work if you are opposed to mayo)
1/2-1 loaf crumbled bread
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter (I usually skimp here.

1. Warm the chicken fat in a skillet while dicing mushrooms. Saute mushrooms in skillet for a while. Spoon out shrooms with a slotted spoon leaving as much fat as possible. Put shrooms in 9x13 or bowl. (I mix the ingredients in my 9x13- no need to dirty another dish. )
2. Make roux. Add stock first, then milk. when creamy gravy sauce thing reaches consistency add seasonings. Salt and pepper liberally since you aren't adding cream soups.
3. Mix rice, chicken, mayo, diced eggs, water chestnuts, and sauce in 9x13 with shrooms till thoroughly mixed.
4. While melting butter, crumble bread into a bowl. Pour butter over and toss till well coated. Pour over rest of casserole.- If you are lazy or don't have the bread, breadcrumbs will work in a pinch.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or thoroughly warmed and bread is crisp.

Saturday, February 5

Cookies for Breakfast?

I saw this recipe at Heavenly Homemakers. It had to be worth a try. We are getting tired of chocolate chip banana muffins. (I never thought I'd say that but my DH pick up groceries for me - I know, he is wonderful- and succumbed to his craving for bagels leaving me to eat two dozen muffins. I should have brought them to school with me.)

If anyone ever wants to try a recipe but doesn't want to make it herself, give me a call. I'm forever looking for new nutritious things for breakfast for a hubby who eats while checking e-mail and weather then runs.

Breakfast cookies

1 c melted butter- olive oil worked just fine
1/2 c honey- reduced from 3/4c- they are sweet enough
2 eggs
1 t each salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk or kefir
2 c flour
2 c rolled oats
1c rasins

Soaking- Mix oil, flour oats and buttermilk. Soak overnight then add the rest of the ingredients, mix thouroughly and bake.

Regular way-
Mix oil through buttermilk. Then mix in grains. Finally fold in raisins.  Scoop onto baking sheet in heaping tablespoonfuls. (I ending up with 14 cookies per batch. They are big but I wanted to be able to take just one for a snack. )Bake 350 for 15 minutes. (Don't over bake them. They start to taste burnt quickly and that is no good.) Cool on a rack for 3-4 minutes. . - Seriously, they are really really hot.

Next I want to try cupcake quiche- maybe I can use wonton wrappers.

Thursday, February 3

Biscuits and Gravy

Yesterday was a snow day.  Even Justin was stuck out home most of the morning. It took him two hours to shovel out our driveway. We don't have a long driveway.  One of the drifts was almost up to my waist.
 On a day like that, what sounds better than comfort food? So we made Justin's favorite breakfast- Biscuits and Gravy. From scratch of course.

We've been searching for a good recipie for both biscuits and sausage gravy for a while. We finally found both. On the same website.

However, before I give you the recipe I have one more hint. If you have a little one at your house who demands attention when you are trying to prepare supper, prepare as much as you can when they are happy to play by themselves or during nap time. For me that meant making the biscuits and refrigerating them and making the roux. Or if you don't to make the biscuits completely, mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter and refrigerate that.

Without further ado, Biscuits and Gravy via  Mark Vogel

    For the biscuits: • 2 cups all purpose flour • 4 teaspoons baking powder • ¼ teaspoon baking soda • pinch of salt • 3 oz. cold butter, diced • 8 oz buttermilk
Combine and sift the dry ingredients. Gently knead in the butter.  Add the buttermilk and knead on a floured board just enough to bring the dough together.

It is vital that you knead gently and no more than is necessary or you will develop the gluten in the flour and make the biscuits tough. Good biscuits are as much a function of technique as ingredients.

Form a flat mass with the dough and cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter.  Don’t make them too high or the outside could become over browned by the time the inside is cooked.

Place them on parchment paper on a sheet tray and then into a preheated 400-degree oven.
Start the gravy immediately. It should be done close to the same time as the biscuits, which is when they are golden in color.
    For the gravy:• ½ pound ground breakfast sausage. • 2 tablespoons butter • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour • 3 cups cold milk • Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the sausage until it is cooked and has released as much of its fat as possible.  Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and do NOT drain the grease. You’ll need it to make the roux. (I said this was delicious, not health food).

You should have about 2 tablespoons of rendered pork fat.  Add the butter and melt it.  Then add the flour a little at a time over medium heat, constantly whisking.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Now start adding the cold milk a little at a time, whisking incessantly.  Toward the end of the milk add the sausage back in. When you reach the desired consistency add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the biscuits in half, pour the gravy over them, and enjoy one of the most embracing and comforting taste sensations known to man.

     A few points here.  The perfect roux has equal amounts of fat and flour.  If for some reason your sausage renders noticeably less or more than two tablespoons of fat, adjust the amount of flour accordingly. If you end up making more roux you will need more milk so have extra on hand.  Make sure the roux is cooked on no more than medium heat. We do not want to burn or brown the roux, just cook out the floury taste. Four things are necessary to assure a smooth, lump-free gravy. You must constantly whisk the roux and the gravy throughout the process.  You must add cold milk to the hot roux.  You must incorporate the milk a little at a time. And finally, keep the heat at no more than medium. You can adjust the consistency however you like, but a thick creamy gravy is the target viscosity.