Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall, apple picking, applesauce and sunshine


I love fall.  School starts. Routine begins again. Life falls into a slower pace. 

We go apple picking. 

The weather cools down.  The sun shines and I want one in the kitchen.

And with all of those apples I want to make sauce.  And I leaned a few years ago it's pretty easy. 

Especially with this tool.  If you are even thinking about making anything with apples... Go get one immediately! 

Then it's pretty simple.  Peel, core and slice your apples.  Put them in a large pot.  Add water half way up the side. Add a cinnamon stick and bring it to a boil. 

Then lower the heat and cook it on low for an hour or so until it's the consistency of applesauce.  Remove the cinnamon stick and add a brown sugar to sweeten it to taste.  Sometimes it needs it; sometimes it doesn't based on the apples. 

Then I can it, in clean mason jars in a water bath on a boil for 25 minutes.  

Pretty simple, amazingly good. 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lunch is like our life... Avocado spread sandwich

What is it about lunch?  I love snacky food for lunch.  Or leftover bits and pieces mixed up all together. 

Kind of like life.  We take bits and pieces of places we have been and people we have met and go forward with it all mixed up inside of us together.

The beauty of life is that it doesn't end when it changes.  We have the chance on a new adventure and the second chance to make the most of it.

So go forward today with your bits and pieces and have a wonderful day. 

And if you happen to have bits and pieces of last nights taco night... Throw them together like this.  Because it's yummy!! 

1/4 avocado, smashed
2 tbsp plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
Splash of lime juice

Chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Mash up the avocado, add the yogurt and lime, salt and pepper.

Smooth it over toast and cover with chicken breast. 

Old ingredients, brand new lunch! 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bring back summer... White Castle style hamburger pie

I am so over winter.  I have probably said it a million times, but it's the end of March and it's still snowing. 

I am ready for the food of summer.  The burgers and hot dogs and brats on the grill.  The fresh veggies that come from grandpas garden and taste so much better than the ones from the store. 

I want to learn to can. I want to make jellies and jams and way more applesauce this year. 

I want summer.

But apparently the weather doesn't agree with me so I will make summer for dinner.

Like burgers... But I hate making them on the stove because of the grease and the smoke and the way that even the towel upstairs in my bathroom will smell like day old burgers.

So I will make hamburger pie.

And hey, why not make it taste like a White Castle burger because I hear they are pretty good.

And it was.  The best hamburger thing we have had next to a real charcoal burger.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion diced
1 pkg french onion soup mix
1 tbsp olive juice (or chopped olives) 
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c mayo
2 eggs
1/4 c milk

Brown the burger and onion in a oven safe pan. (I love my cast iron for this!) 

Drain the grease and add soup mix and olive juice.

Mix in half of the cheese. Add the rest of the cheese to the top.

Mix mayo,milk and eggs. 

Pour this mixture over the top.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Top with dill relish, ketchup and mustard and enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Home.  It's my favorite place. 

It doesn't matter so much which house we live in, just that my family is together there.

Our family has moved recently.  To a new city with new friends and a new home.  And a new school and schedule.  Things are definitely different. 

But there are certain things that make me feel at home whereever that might be.

Sunshine coming in the windows.

And certain foods just scream home.  
Like meatloaf.  Yummy. 

I love different kinds of meatloaf, but this last one was so tasty.  I will probably make it again.  

Honey BBQ meatloaf.  Two of my favorite things.  Honey and BBQ. 

This is my favorite BBQ stuff.  I love Memphis and I love Corkys.  But you can use whichever is your favorite sauce.  The apple was fantastic and is highly recommend getting an apple sauce for this meatloaf.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c apple BBQ sauce, divided
2 tbsp honey, divided
2/3 c panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dry rub seasoning
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce 

Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Mix beef, bread crumbs, 1/4 c sauce, 1 tbsp honey, dry run and worchestershire together.

Shape into a loaf, or a heart or whatever. 

Mix the rest of the sauce, honey, salt and liquid smoke together. Slather it on the meatloaf. 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Enjoy at home, wherever that might be.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrate everything

Any occasion is an occasion to celebrate.  

I have a bunch of Pinterest boards dedicated to just that. 


It's simple. I am trying to give my boys good memories of their childhood. 

Someday I want them to think back and say, "remember how mom always made weird things like pi day hats? Or snowman bowling pins? Or heart shaped meatloaf?"  

Or shamrock smoothies on St Patricks day?  

Because I hope they realize that these things, silly as they may be, mean I love them.  

That I am trying to make their lives fun. 

That I think about them most of the time.

Because I do love them.  More than any silly smoothie will ever show.  

But it's a start.

So we had shamrock smoothies this morning.  

Because I am luckier than any four lead clover that these two are mine. 

2 frozen bananas
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp mint flavoring
Green food coloring

Break the frozen bananas into chunks. 

Add bananas, milk and mint to blender. 

Blend until smooth.

Add green food coloring until it's the proper shade of green. 


Friday, March 14, 2014

Feed a crowd: chicken cordon bleu casserole

I love to have people at our house.  The more the merrier.

Just come on in if we are expecting you. Wear your comfiest clothes, take off your shoes, put your feet up on the couch and relax.

I don't care if you've come for a cup of tea, a small group, a meeting, to watch a movie or play a game. I just want you to be comfortable.

Let's talk, let's hang out.  Let me laugh and cry with you. 

Let's be friends.

And for Pete's sake, let me feed you!

I really am an introvert.  Meaning, I recharge by being alone.  But I enjoy people.  I love having people in my house. I like them grabbing a coffee mug from the cupboard, looking in the fridge for some cream (there are always a few different kinds!) and just relaxing with them. 

So over the last few years of hosting small groups, band practices and other things I've found some recipes that feed a crowd.  This one is a hit!  My boys actually asked for the leftovers the next day. 

It's chicken cordon bleu casserole.  And it's tasty.  Ham, chicken and cheese... What's not to like?

If you tell me you're coming I might even make it for you! 


2 lbs elbow macaroni
2 chicken breast... Cooked
2 c ham, diced

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried onion
3 1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 c Swiss cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c panko bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta 1 minute less than package directions. 

In a pot, melt butter.  Add flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes in medium. Add garlic, onion, mustard and paprika.  Cook another minute.

Remove from heat and add cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put pasta, ham and chicken into a large pan.  Mix cheese sauce in.

Sprinkle with panko and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Serve to your company and enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I haven't forgotten about you

I just haven't cooked this week.  It was seriously a week of eating with friends, potlucks, and leftovers.

I like these weeks but it's not great for writing blog posts!! 

So instead I will share something I worked on in my kitchen today.

Just a little something to keep our minds on what is lovely while we sit in the living room and watch tv or movies or whatnot.

Because it's too easy.  Too easy to waste a crazy amount of time.
Too easy to let things that aren't okay get into my mind.
Too easy to think on things that aren't holy, aren't pure, aren't lovely.
Too easy to sit and let it in my mind and then out my actions and my words.

So it's a reminder.  Daily. 

Oh, and don't  mind the laundry in the background either. A little something else I'm working on in there today. ;)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Marvelous mashed potatoes for even our picky eater

My youngest has become a picky eater.  So many nights I hear, "why did you use stuff I don't like?"

The answer to that is actually really simple.  Because if I only made things he liked we would be eating a lot of pancakes.  And the only veggie we'd eat right now would be carrots. 

But I make what works for the rest of us. And that includes vegetables.  And we insist that he eats most of what is on his plate.  And I try to put at least one thing on there he likes. 
And he loves mashed potatoes.  So do I. They are cheap, tasty and sometimes full of fat and butter and calories.  But honestly, they don't have to be that way.  They can still taste good.

The way I make them they are tasty.  Four basic ingredients. One of them the key ingredient. 

Potatoes (I use one medium sized one per person)
And the key ingredient: onion powder.

Notice there's no butter, because I put butter on each serving.  

Dice, but don't peel potatoes.  The smaller you cut them the faster they cook!

Boil potatoes in water. 

When a fork goes through the potatoes easily, drain the potatoes. Leave them in the collender and return the pan to the burner, which is no longer on. 

Add 1/4 c of milk and then return the potatoes to the pan.  Begin mashing the potatoes, adding milk until it's the consistency you like.

Then add salt and the onion powder and stir it up well.  Taste it and add more as necessary. 

Serve and enjoy! 

Dressed up (tuxedo) oatmeal cookies

I love a good cookie.  A crispy cookie that is perfect for dipping and dunking in milk.  

And I have this lovely cookie jar that belonged to my grandma that just calls me to fill it with cookies.

And I have this container of oatmeal that really needs to be used up.

And I'm craving a tuxedo mocha... You know the ones with chocolate and white chocolate.

Time to bake!  

1 stick butter
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp molasses 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg

1 1/2 c oatmeal
3/4 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda 
Pinch of salt
3/4 c chocolate chips
1/4 c white chocolate chips

Mix the sugar and butter in the mixer until it gets all nice and fluffy.

Add the molasses, vanilla and egg.  Mix until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  

Stir in the chips.

Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes until they have a nice lightly browned color.

Serve and enjoy! 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cheeseburger sloppy joes

Yesterday we were headed out of the house and I was supposed to put dinner in the crockpot so it would be ready when we got home.  But I had forgotten to pull the roast out of the freezer.  And the dinner I wanted to make required if to be cut up blah blah blah...  

So much for that meal plan.

Does this ever happen to you? 

It's so important to have a few easy meals that you can make when the meal plan fails.  Because it will. 

One of those meals for us is sloppy joes. We always have burger in the freezer so I just pick up some buns and we are good to go.  (Although this time I had to use hot dog buns since the store I stopped in was out of hamburger buns!)

This time I happened to have velveeta on hand too.   So we had cheeseburger sloppy joes.  Yum.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, minced
1/2 c ketchup
2 tbsp mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1-2 c velveeta


Brown the burger and onion together.
Add ketchup, mustard and dill. Combine well.
Add velveeta and stir over heat while it melts.

Put in buns.

Serve and enjoy! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Breakfast time! Chocolate and peanut butter banana bread

Our mornings used to be crazy... Up at 6, get showered, get dressed, eat breakfast, make lunches, get our plan for the day, get out of the house by 7:15 to get to school on time.

Since we have moved, our mornings are way easier.  I get up at 6:30, get lunches made, have some quiet time before the boys start moving between 7-7:30.  Then they get up and eat at the table and shower and even have time to watch a cartoon before we leave for school at 8:30 in order to be there for first recess.

So I have been making better breakfasts.  If I'm up at 6:30 it allows me to get something done that morning for breakfast that's hot and yummy.  We do pancakes, baked oatmeal and even toad in a hole.   But one of my favorites has always been banana bread.  And I love mine with peanut butter.  So I took the recipe that I like and added a few special ingredients to make it my own.  

3 ripe bananas
1/2 stick of butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 c sugar
3/4 tsp molasses

2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger

1 c chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mash up the bananas until there are very few chunks.  Mix it with the butter, peanut butter, sugar and molasses and mix until creamy and fluffy.  

Add the eggs  one at a time until they are well blended.

Mix the dry ingredients together and mix in until just mixed.

Mix the chocolate chips in by hand.

Put in a well greased loaf pan and add some sprinkles, because really, who doesn't like sprinkles first thing in the morning? 

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when you put it through the middle. 

Serve and enjoy!!

Fight the winter blues with color in your dinner!

It has been a long hard winter.



Lots of snow days and it's too cold to go to school days. 

I am over it.  

I have the winter blues! 

But my dinner is pretty, with lots of orange today.  Of course you could always add some red too, if that's your thing.

I made smothered chicken.  And it was pretty.  And tasty! 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp thyme
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

In a oven safe pan (I love my cast iron for this) sauté the onions, peppers and mushrooms over medium high heat until they start to soften about 5-6 minutes.  Add garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or two.

Remove them to a plate and add chicken to the pan.  I also salt and pepper this to make sure the chicken is flavorful as well.
Cook until the center is no longer pink.

Add the veggies back to the pan, too with cheese and then put the whole thing under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Don't walk away!!!! (Ask me how I know!) 

Serve and enjoy! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm back!

So much has changed in our lives over the last year or so... New jobfor the Husband, new house for us, new school for the boys, new kitchen for me.  

I've been making so many new recipes that I just love.  Pinterest has become my BFF.  So I thought I'd share some of them again, as well as finding a place in the cyber world to put them again.  

I am looking forward to sharing some of these exciting things with you, but as all ways it will be 

Mostly about the food!!! 

For now, here's a picture from our new house.  It's off the front porch facing the cold wintery world that we have had a front row seat for since we moved.