Thursday, November 10, 2011

Create Your Own Cookbook

Hey, everyone! I'm using Family Cookbook to create a cookbook for our family. Click this link, and it will take you to where you can Create Your Own Cookbook! This site is great for making cookbooks for family, church groups, or any organization. You pick someone to be the main editor and they can add recipes that are given to them, or you can invite people to come and submit their recipes. The thing I really like, is you can either complete the cookbook and order them from the company, or you can make your own, by printing them off one by one! It even allows you to print off pages for the different categories that you get to edit according to what kind of cookbook you're making! So, if you do it yourself, I recommend getting a 3-ring binder and clear plastic sheet protectors and that way, every time you print a recipe off, you just slip it in the sheet protector and add to your cookbook. This is so inexpensive and easy to do and you still have a great looking cookbook that you made, that you can be proud of! Check it out!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Leaves...

I just had to share a picture that our daughter Hannah took, of some beautiful fall leaves, she arranged in a heart shape of course. She does such a great job with her photography and I can't take a good picture to save my life. lol But I just love fall, and wanted to share this, as the colors are so vibrant!

The little boy we babysit, just loves the leaves as much as I do. I asked him if he'd be upset with me if I cleaned up our yard and got rid of the leaves.
He said, "yes". lol but I think it's about time we cleaned. lol

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beautiful Fall!

I absolutely am loving this wonderful, fall weather! Cool mornings, and having to turn the heat on, or grab a jacket when going out, and the smell-just so fresh! I just love it! The little boy I babysit just turned 4 this past Monday. I can't believe it! And, he just loves the leaves! He has a little hot wheels that he rides, and it has a hidden compartment and he stores leaves in there! He's so cute! I asked him yesterday if he would be upset with me if I cleaned up all the leaves in our yard, and he said, "yes". LOL.

Well, I've gotten lazy in my cooking lately, it's either been fast or fast food. lol But last week I was so sick with a head cold, I just felt lousy all week, so cooking has been the farthest thing from my mind. Plus, even with the cold going on, we had to look for a vehicle for my hubby, and we finally found one. I'm so happy. It will mean less running for me. So, this week, I just have the little ones yesterday and today, then I'm off, so I hope to hit my house with some major cleaning for the holidays and maybe get started on some baking! We'll see how far I get! :)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Going to see our oldest daughter, and extreme couponing....

Hey everyone. Wow, it's been a busy couple of months around here. My cookbook project got put on hold, due to all our other involvements. But life is good. We're getting ready to go to WI to see our oldest daughter Sarah and her hubby, Matt, at the end of Sept. We leave the 22nd and come back the 26th. Time will go by way too fast, I know. It always does, but I'm just thankful we get to see them one last time before bad weather hits. So, we've been getting stuff done toward our trip, such as making our hotel reservation, and getting our van serviced, making other arrangements such as pet care, etc.

AND, our youngest daughter Hannah and I are planning a baby shower for one of our ladies at church. Such a sweet couple, they've been trying to have a baby for awhile and God blessed them and they're due in November. So we're having their shower the 17th, yes, not even a week before we leave on our trip! Am I crazy or what??! But it's all good, it's been fun to plan and I hope the shower itself will be fun, and memorable. It's so cute to see all these little baby things again!

Then, when we come back from WI, in October, our church will be starting our Seekers program again!! Yay! Seekers is a Friday night program we've offered in the past, to area kids that are between K-5th grade. They spend about an hour playing games like "Steal the Bacon", and relay-type games and then they're taken up to the sanctuary to be taught from the Bible. Our goal of course, is to see kids get Saved, and to hopefully reach their families through the program as well. We'd love to add to our church,  but the most important part is being able to add to the family of God, through their coming to know Christ! Seekers has been a fun way to reach people and we had to take a year off so we're hitting it hard this year! Ready or not, here we come!!

This is totally off-topic of these other things, but lately Hannah and I have been watching shows about people who are "extreme couponers". I love the idea of saving so much money through the use of coupons, but to be honest, I hate shopping to begin with, and like I told her, I will not be one of these people who has a stockpile for a year's worth of food. For one thing, I don't have enough room for it right now. And for two, I don't have the desire to spend an hour or more in a store just hunting down what I want to buy. However, that said, I have to give kudos to some of these people. This show we watched to night, the lady bought $600 worth of groceries-household, food, cleaning supplies, pet food, etc. and paid only...drum roll please... $17!!!!! Can you believe it?? Where do you weigh in on the whole couponing thing? Is there a "happy medium"?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Souped-up Meatballs and Hamburgers

We love burgers and meatballs, and if you're planning to serve either this 4th of July, why not "soup them up"? If you've never tried adding onion soup mix to your meat before cooking, let me suggest you try it now. It tastes so good and the meat is so moist!

Make patties and marinate for a few hours before cooking.

Patty mix:

1 1/2 lb hamburger
1 packet onion soup mix
3 TBSP water (or beef bouillon) 
3 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Mix the above ingredients and mix a cup of beef bouillon and pour over patties and let them marinate for awhile. Push the center of each patty in just a little bit with your thumb (patties tend to bow while cooking, and this prevents it), and cook as you normally would. You can also use this mixture to make your meatballs for spaghetti or other meatball dishes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow, it's been awhile!

I guess it's been awhile since I've posted. Things have been so busy around here. Between babysitting and church, church activities, and such, it's just been super busy.

We had such a nice day though, it only got up to the upper 70's I think, and I didn't have to work today, so some good friends of ours came to visit, then Hannah and I walked to see my mom (2 miles total!) and then tonight, our son had an adult Softball game. It's sure different watching him play now, that he's almost 20, than when he was little. But it's fun watching him play again!

Our ladies group at church has started a Bible study called "Women Who Made a Difference". It's really good, so far. It starts with Eve, of course, and I admit the study had me thinking of questions about Eve's life that I'd never thought of before, as well as some facts about her life that I'd not thought of. Like for instance: Eve had no mother or mother-in-law to ask questions of , no one in an extended family to rely on for advice, when raising their kids, etc. We blame Eve for so much, because truly man did fall through her, and her disobedience. But, in her shoes, how many of us would have been talked into doing something wrong ourselves? And back tracking just a little, did ya ever notice she wasn't at all surprised to hear and see a snake talking to her??? I mean, think about it, before they sinned, all the animals got along, none of them were afraid of the other, and even Adam and Eve didn't have to fear the animals. I suppose a talking snake wasn't a big deal back then. Just alot of little thoughts went through our minds as we talked about it, and it is making for a good study. The whole point of this first lesson though, was that even when we fall, God has a way of redeeming us. He'd told Adam and Eve that they'd be seperated from him and they were to a degree, but even in their sin he clothed them and blessed them. All we have to do is rely on God, and if we don't know Him as our Savior, we need to accept Him, and then live our lives to follow Him and serve Him. He will be there for us, redeeming us and making a home for us in Heaven.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The kids are headed home...

We had such a nice visit with them this past few days. But it's so hard when they have to leave. And wouldn't you know it, just when they come, my silly phone acts up. I tried to get some pics this weekend on my camera phone and wasn't able to. I couldn't find our camera anywhere, but thankfully we got a couple of pictures with some family members' cameras. I will upload them as soon as I get them. :)

Anyway, we just had a really nice time. Matthew has surrendered to preach and we got to hear him Sunday afternoon. My husband was about bursting with pride. :) Matt has such a testimony and it was sad but wonderful to hear again. To hear how God has brought him from where he used to be, the lifestyle he once had, to where he is now. His story is much like my own husband's story. God truly is good if we just trust in Him and follow Him.

So, anyway, while they were here, we had a family get-together here (a cookout) , and a potluck at church, and the boys went frisbee golfing at one point while the girls went to the mall. lol. we just had a really full weekend. So today they're making the rounds and saying good-bye to some family members before they head back to Wisconsin. We sure will miss them. It's so hard to say good-bye when they leave or when we visit them and have to come home. I must say though, after all we did this weekend, I'm pooped. lol. I just want to relax today. What's funny, is as I write this, our daughter Hannah and I are watching "A Walk to Remember" and it's sad, and my dh is watching a movie (a comedy) on his phone on Netflix, and cracking up! LOL!

I know we're all thinking today also, of loved ones that have gone on, and of course, the fallen soldiers. I can tell you from experience life is too short not to cherish your time with your family. We've lost several family members that we were close to, over a period of about 2 years. So, we try to cherish the time we have with our kids, and each other. So enjoy your day today. Spend time with those you love. Thank a soldier. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting ready for Sarah and Matt to come!

I haven't posted much this week because we've been so busy. Between babysitting and trying to get the house ready for our oldest daughter Sarah and our son-in-law Matt to come in this Wednesday, and all, it's just been really busy. I must confess, most of my online time, has also been spent looking for ideas for our wedding vow renewal in May of next year! I know it'll be a small, intimate ceremony, and of course, not a wedding, but still we have things in mind that we know we want, and so I'm looking into things now. I found a place online where I want to order our wedding invitations, it's Invitation They actually have pretty good prices, and they had an invitation that was actually for a 25th wedding anniversary celebration. I tweaked it online, to include our wedding vow exchange, and saved it for my dh to see so now it's on to other things. :)

But the main focus of this week, will be of course, our kids coming back. I know the week will go by super fast but I'm just thankful they're coming back. I keep praying God will lead them back here. Maybe someday. :) So, enjoy your week! I know I will! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spiritual Renewal (The Seasons of Our Spiritual Walk)

This was my devotion at our Ladies Spring Luncheon, Saturday, May 14, 2011

I have two favorite seasons; Spring and Fall. I love fall because of the changing colors and cooler temps. I love it when we’re just finishing up summer and after being so hot for so long, it’s just starting to get cool enough to wear a sweater. But spring is such a great season, with all the trees starting to turn green again, when winter is Finally over (or at least we think it is!!) and everything is made new again. We can’t wait to get outside because people start grilling again, and kids have baseball games, (which I have a tough time with, because I miss watching Nate play so much!), and you get to go swimming and fishing and you just can’t wait to get outside! Some folks plant gardens and enjoy watching them grow through the spring, and then getting to eat what they planted. You just think of everything being fresh again, and green, and it really is a time of renewal.

Well, since spring has sprung, we’re going to talk today about Spiritual Renewal. We know that we feel better in the spring than we do in the winter (it’s known as seasonal depression or blues in some cases). And our spiritual walk can have its own seasons.

1. One season that we go through is when we just get saved. We call someone who comes to know Christ, a “new Christian” or a babe in Christ. When you just get saved, just come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can’t wait to take on the world! I heard it said one time, that it’s like you feel so good, you want to attack the actual gates of hell with a water pistol! You just feel so fresh, and so new that you want to share that feeling with everyone else!

2. Then, though, there’s the season of your spiritual life where you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you go to church regularly, you read your Bible, and do all the right things, and sometimes without meaning to, you fall into a bit of a rut. That’s a place where you start to become complacent about your spiritual walk. We all get busy and it’s easy to get wrapped up in our daily lives with all we’ve got to do, as wives, moms, daughters, employees, or even bosses. We just get so worn out with everything we’ve got going on daily, that our spiritual walk takes a back seat. Having a daily devotion time becomes something we do “if we get around to it.” And sadly, that time usually doesn’t come, because by the time we get everything done during the day, and everyone satisfied that we’ve met their needs, we’re too tired to meet our own, with our personal time with God. When we go through this season for too long, we become spiritually rundown and tired, and maybe doubtful of God’s blessings and promises to us. But, just as we long to hear our family’s voices every day, God wants to hear our voices everyday as well, and not just during a prayer thanking him for our meals. He wants to really hear us telling Him our woes, praising Him for all the wonderful blessings He’s given and things He‘s done for us, and just to spend that time with us! God never moves. He’s always right there. It’s kind of like the couple that’s in the car and the man is driving. And the wife is leaning on the passenger door. The wife asks her husband why they’ve grown so far apart. He thinks for a moment and then says, “I haven’t moved.” If we’re to have a good relationship with the Lord, we must make sure we don’t grow apart from Him.

3. The next season I believe we have if we continue with the previous one, is that of backsliding. That’s a tough subject to talk about, because in all of our lives at one point or another, we’ve all backslidden to a degree. Maybe we kept going to church and seemed like on the outside things were fine, but we knew better. We got to the point that doing things for Christ just didn’t seem to be as exciting as it was once. That’s a tough place to be. I know, because I’ve sadly been there. You may think it’s horrible that a pastor’s wife would feel that way, but I have. I’m not proud of it, but it just goes to show you that everyone can go through it at some point in their lives. This season needs to be a very short one. If you find yourself going through this time, please let me encourage you to first of all, ask the Lord for forgiveness and then truly seek Him and His will and He’ll show it to you. He’ll let you know what He has for you to do, if you just ask Him.

4. The last season is just as exciting, I think, as the first one. This season is the one where we start to come back to where God wants us to be. It’s a time of Spiritual Renewal. Just like spring, where everything is new again, our spiritual walk can be too. Sure, we’ll shed tears for the fact that we ever got away from God in the first place, but we will be so renewed, as we start having our personal time with God, truly seeking Him and His will for us, truly praying for His guidance and then relying on Him to show us the way we’re to go. Psalm 23, a passage most often used for funerals, says in verse 3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. Christ wants to restore us-to restore our fellowship with Him, to lift us up, to encourage us, to refresh us on a daily basis. Just like the husband in the car, God hasn’t moved, so if our walk isn’t as refreshing as it should be, maybe we’ve moved away. If you’re in the season of your life, where you’ve gotten so wrapped up in daily activities that you’ve found yourself getting away from God and feeling drained, I want to pray with you, that you’ll find that place of coming back to Him, so that you can have that season in your life, where you feel refreshed, renewed and ready to follow Him.

If you have not ever made the decision to accept Jesus as your personal Savior-if you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your life,then I invite you to do that today, before it's too late.

Following are some pictures from our event. The ladies are playing "People Bingo". They each had a sheet of paper with 10 squares on them, and for each square there was a statement such as "someone who has blue eyes" or "someone who loves pasta". They then had to ask everyone these questions or look to see who had blue eyes, or ask who loves pasta, etc. and when they found someone, they'd sign that square. The first gal to have all her squares signed, won a prize. We all had a blast!

The lady in the pic below standing up, Dawn, decorated our event in colors that matched some coffee mugs and devotional books that we gave out at the end of the event (see pic below) 
 The colors were so bright and beautiful!

The coffee mugs had the same design on them as the books. The ladies that came to church on Sunday, for Mother's Day, received bookmarks and pens with the same design, then at the dinner, we gave out the books and cups. We got all of them from a company called CTA. They were all a big hit.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother's Day and Our 24th Wedding Anniversary

Wow, what a week! Or should I say, weekend! This whole week has been busy. But I'm so thankful for so much! Mother's Day, we had church of course that morning, but we cancelled evening services, because we also had area graduations. We went to the Events Center in town to watch our nephew Bryon graduate. I must admit, I was dreading going, because I knew it would be crowded, and I thought it would be miserable, but it wasn't. In fact, it was really nice, since they had it there and not in the school gym. We actually had comfy chairs to sit on and a/c was going. And, even though they had over 500 students graduating, it really went pretty quickly. So, the rest of that day, we hit grad receptions, and finally went home around 8:00. Since we couldn't go out and do anything then, the kids took me out for Mother's Day on Tuesday night. We had USA Steak Buffet and it was really good. I enjoyed my time with them. 

Monday, was our 24th anniversary! My dh took me out to eat, at The Buffet House (chinese place-one of my favorite places). We really enjoyed the dinner and time together. But oh, my word! He surprised me! We got to talking on the way to the restaurant and he asked me if I had it all to do over again, if I would marry him. I told him, "of course, I would!" He asked then, "would you do it next year?"  So, we're renewing our vows for our 25th anniversary!! Needless to say, I'm excited! Can you tell? LOL! I've been looking online at cakes, and proper etiquette for this type of thing. Although my family has told me to do it how I want to do it, not how others think I should. lol So, we'll see. I was looking for a nice formal dress, and my sis-in-law actually offered to let me wear the dress her mom wore when she and dad renewed their vows. It's such a pretty dress, it's a royal blue, which works well, since our colors were/are silver and blue. The only concern I had about the dress really, was that it might upset dad. I just didn't want him to get to thinking about mom and get really upset. But like so many have told me, it's a nice gesture to remember mom during the ceremony. I don't know yet if my mom will still be with us next year or not, but I know she won't make it out for the ceremony if she is, so we might possibly just have dh's dad there, as far as our parents go. But, I plan to have pictures of us just starting out, and so we'll have old wedding pictures laying on some tables for the reception, and it'll be kind of like they're there in spirit at least. I do believe they are. I may be mistaken but that's what I'm holding onto.

Anyway, I've almost felt like a school girl again, getting married for the first time with all the plans we're making, but it's so exciting and so romantic. We've already decided to have our kids be our attendants (I know some ettiquette sites say don't have attendants but oh well! LOL!) so we'll have Sarah (23) and Hannah (17) for me, and Sarah's hubby Matthew (25) and our son Nate (20) stand up for us. We're going to ask our previous pastor (2 pastors ago lol) to officiate. We're good friends with their family, and they felt called to pastor in Omaha, but we still get to see them every so often. So, I'm pretty sure he won't mind doing the honors. We'll ask his wife to play the piano for us. We thought about asking our son Nate to play and we still might, but we want him to stand up with his dad. :) So, now we're looking at songs. I don't want to go down the aisle with the wedding march. Been there, done that, and wouldn't really fit. So we're looking around and listening to some other music so we'll see. Well, enough rambling. If you're still reading, thanks. lol!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Italian Beef Sandwiches

3 - 4lb roast
1/2 cup water
1 T. Butter
1 - clove garlic, minced
1/2 1 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp dried oregano
1 - green pepper, sliced
1 - onion, sliced
1 - 10.5 oz can beef broth
12 sandwich buns or hoagie buns
sliced provolone cheese

Rinse roast and pat dry with a paper towel. Place beef in slow cooker, add water, butter and garlic. Cover and cook overnight on low for 8 hours. Stir in rosemary, oregano, green pepper, onion and broth; continue to cook on low for 8 more hours. When ready to serve, shred and serve over warm buns with provolone cheese. Melt just a bit and serve.

I got this recipe from Mommy's Kitchen. Tina said she got it from Gooseberry Patch's Christmas Pantry Cookbook. It's wonderful!! We had these last night and the only things I did differently were: I added the broth immediately after putting the roast in the pot. That way it could absorb all that flavor the whole time it cooked. And, I started mine early in the morning so we could have it at suppertime. The next time I serve this, I want to get some little condiment cups and serve the juice on the side, and make kind of a "French Dip" sandwich out of it. Very good, and soooo easy!! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Raspberry Jello Salad

This recipe was one that Brian's Grandma Eva Pielstick used to make. We miss her so much!

1 cup hot water
1 (3 oz) box raspberry jello
1 cup applesauce
1 (10 oz) box frozen raspberries, completely thawed

Dissolve jello in hot water and add apple sauce and raspberries. Put in 9x9" pan and chill.

1 cup sour cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Mix topping ingredients and spread on firm jello.

Raisin-Broccoli Salad

1 lg. bunch broccoli, chopped
10-12 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar

Mix salad, and pour dressing over. Mix well.--Linda French

Peach Salad

1 (16 oz) can peaches
1 (3 oz) pkg. jello
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Drain peaches; add enough water to syrup to make 1 cup liquid. Boil, then add 3 oz. pkg. of peach jello. Stir to dissolve. Cut up peaches. Add ice cream to jello and stir to dissolve; then add peaches. Put into 9x9" pan. Refrigerate until firm.---Linda French 

Caramel Morsel Bars

This is another recipe that Brian's Aunt Linda gave to us. :) Sounds kind of like a recipe I made the other day. :)

49 (14 oz) Kraft Caramels
3 Tbsp. water
5 cups rice cereal
1 cup peanuts
1 (6 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (6 oz) pkg. butterscotch chips

Melt caramels with water in saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until sauce is smooth. Pour over cereal and nuts and toss until well coated. With greased fingers, press the mixture into a greased 9x13" baking pan. Sprinkle morsels on top; place in 200º oven for 5 minutes or until morsels soften. Spread softened morsels until blended to form a frosting. Cool, cut into bars.

Ham Rolls

This recipe was given to me by my husband's Aunt Linda. I don't know if I've had these before, but I can't wait to try them! :)

2 1/2 lb. ground smoked ham
2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 eggs
2 cups milk

1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry mustard
2 cups tomato sauce

Mix well and shape into 20-25 rolls. Cover with sauce after meat has heated through (20-25 minutes). Bake at 350º for 1 hour uncovered in 9x13" dish.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter Everyone!!

I know I'm a day early, but I probably won't be on the computer much tomorrow so wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter! I've been tempted to hunt down some pictures of our kids when they were growing up and doing Easter Egg hunts to post. I still might if I have time. That is one aspect of Easter that I miss, seeing the kids' faces when they got their baskets, and seeing them running around trying to find the Easter goodies we hid. We did however, made sure our kids knew the Real Reason behind Easter; Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins and on the 3rd day being resurrected! I truly hope that if you are reading this and you don't know Jesus as your personal Savior, that you'll read the page I have titled "Free Gift". You can know Jesus as your personal Savior but you must ask him into your heart. Please read that post and it'll explain it alot better. 

On the flip side of all this, if you have little ones, do enjoy the hunts, the candy, the new clothes, etc. because let me tell you, they grow up WAY too fast. I am looking forward to the day when we can celebrate with grandkids and do it all over again. :) Until then, I'm just thankful for my family, and for the times we had to do the hunts and such with them. I'm thankful that God has helped us with raising them and that even though we all have our own faults and have done things we're not proud of, I know that our kids do want to serve Him and they're trying in their own ways to do so. What more can I ask than that? 

Easter has been kind of a sad time for us, for the last 3 years too, because my husband's mom went to be with the Savior ON Easter Sunday (2008), right around 6:00 pm. I'm sure even though we'll enjoy each other, we'll all be thinking of her tomorrow. We lost his father's wife (his step-mom) too, the week of Easter a year later. So, Easter has been kinda hard for us. But we know we'll see them again one day, because they did accept Jesus as their Savior. and that is so comforting to know! :) It really helps us get through that time.  

So, speaking of Easter, what's gonna be on your table tomorrow? We have family and some friends from church coming over, so we're excited. It should be fun. We'll have Ham, that my sis-in-law is making, and mashed potatoes, a corn dish that my friend Dawn gave me the recipe for, and salads, and a couple desserts-one will be The Neely's Strawberry Shortcut Cake. We enjoyed it so much last week, I was asked to make it for Easter so I will! :) I'll also be making Sarah's Lazy Day Cobbler. What are you making? Do you have some traditions that you'll hold to?   

Cream Cheese Corn

3 (8 oz pkg) Cream Cheese
3 sticks butter
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
3-4 (16 oz pkg) Frozen Corn

Mix all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for about 4 hours. Yum!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Perfect Pancakes

Now, I need to preface this recipe with saying, I used my cast-iron griddle to make these, and I'm still getting used to cooking with cast iron again. lol The first batch I made stuck to the griddle, and the batter was too thick, and you name it, it was a mess. BUT I learned what I did wrong. First, I used regular all-purpose flour, and if you use all-purpose flour like I did, for each cup of cake flour, use 1 cup all-purpose, minus 2 Tablespoons. So, you end up with 3 cups flour, minus 6 Tablespoons. Hope that makes sense. Anyway, it makes the batter thinner-mine to begin with was so thick it was unreal. So, I added about 1/2 cup milk and it was fine. But the next batch I made, I used the accurate straight-across measurements.

Then, if you use cast-iron, make sure your fire isn't too high, low-med and that you keep your surface greased well. They don't need to float in grease, but just make sure they don't stick. I kept putting more oil on my griddle after each set of pancakes I made. I'd remove the pancakes, and grease it down, then add the next batch. They turned out great! I love 'em!! I serve mine with syrup or powdered sugar, which I love. What I would like to know, though, from someone who wants to weigh-in on this cast iron subject, is how you keep your griddle or skillet greased easily between cooking pancakes and such. I just kept pouring oil on mine (I was out of spray) and spread it around. Any other ideas?
3 - cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (or 3 cups MINUS 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour)
1/2 - teaspoon salt
3 - tablespoons baking powder
2 - tablespoons sugar
2 - cups milk or buttermilk
2 - large eggs
3 - teaspoons vanilla
4 - tablespoons butter (melted)
Lots of butter and syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined. Melt butter in the microwave and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup.

Note: I got this recipe from Mommy's Kitchen. Thanks, Tina!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cranberry-Cinnamon Jelly

2 c. Bottled Cranberry Juice (not cocktail)
3 1/2 c. sugar
1 pouch Certo (liquid pectin)
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine

Place juice in saucepan. Add pectin and margarine. Bring to boil (full rolling boil) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar & Cinnamon quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Ladle into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8" from the top. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with flat lids; then screw bands tightly. Invert jars for 5 minutes, then turn upright, of use water bath. Makes about 4 half-pint jars. It's wonderful, especially at the holidays!


1 lb. browned Ground Beef
1 jar Prego (Or other spaghetti sauce)
Corkscrew Noodles
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Combine first three ingredients, top with lots of cheese and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes or until cheese melted. Can microwave also. for about 10 minutes. Can also add pepperoni if you'd like to kick it up a little. 

Homemade Tacos

1 lb. Ground Beef, browned
1/2-3/4 chopped Onion
Salt and Pepper
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 can chili without beans
Chili powder

Taco shells
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Onion
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or cheese blend like Mexican)
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce

Brown and drain hamburger and onion. Add taco seasoning, chili powder, chili and salt & pepper to taste. Serve on warmed tortillas or taco shells and use favorite toppings. I add chili to mine, because it makes it stretch but also gives it a good flavor and consistency. Yum!

Homemade Cooked Salsa

20 c. Chopped Tomatoes
2-3 Chopped Onions
1 T Regular Salt
2-3 Chopped Green Peppers
2 T Garlic Salt

For mild to medium 3-4 Chopped Jalapeños
For hot 9-15 Chopped Jalapeños
3 lg. Chili Peppers (optional)

Boil jars and rings. Boil mixture for at least 10 minutes till thickened & place in drained, hot jars. Seal.

Smothered Chicken

6-8 Chicken legs, thighs or combination
1 tsp of Lowry's Seasoned Salt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Cajun/Creole Seasoning
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
3/4 c. flour
4-6 c. water
2 Tbsp. Chicken bouillon
pepper to taste
splash of Worcestershire sauce
canola or vegetable oil for frying

Preheate the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken lightly with the seasoned salt. Whisk the creole/cajun seasoning into the flour and dredge chicken through the seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Add the oil to the pan (up to about 1 inch in the pan) and fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides; set aside on a rack to drain.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the hot oil and drippings and saute until tender, but not overbrowned. Stir in the flour, a little at a time, untill fully incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Begin adding the water, one cup at a time, blending each cup in before adding the next. Stop when gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Stir in the chicken bouillon and bring to a boil. Add pepper to taste and a splash of Worcestershire sauce if desired. Remove pot from heat and add the chicken pieces back into the pot. Turn each piece to coat all sides. Transfer covered pot to the oven and bake for 350 degrees for one hour, gently stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking and turn over the pieces. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. For me, it was more like 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once done, remove pot from oven and allow to rest on the stove for about 5 minutes. This will continue the cooking process and allow the meat to absorb the juices.

This is really good! My family said I need to make this again. The gravy is amazingly good! We were topping our mashed potatoes and bread with it, as well. I got this great recipe from
Mommy's Kitchen!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rainy Spring Day

It's rainy here, today. In fact, it's supposed to be off and on all week. I love rain, but mainly when it's warmer. Our family is strange, I guess. We've played baseball in the rain and we go walking in it, when it's in the 80's. We have so much fun! My hubby has to work tonight, (he works late on Tuesdays) and so supper is pretty much a grab-and-go for the kids and me. 

I am thinking about trying some cast iron skillet biscuits. If I do, you can bet I'll post about it later. IF they turn out right! LOL!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Neely's Strawberry Shortcut Cake

Have you ever seen the show Downhome With the Neelys? I just love to watch their show. Being origninally from Texas, I love their Southern accents and the wonderful dishes they make! This is definitely one of them!

1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons cognac
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (recommended: Jell-O)
Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Follow cake directions as written on cake mix box. Remove from oven and cool cake completely. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine strawberries, cognac and sugar. Let macerate 20 minutes. Invert and release cake onto a decorative platter. Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip.

Mix gelatin as directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency. Using a straw, poke holes all over the cake. Pour gelatin into holes and spread over the top of the cake. Spread layer of macerated strawberries on top of cake. Spread layer of whipped cream on top of the strawberries, making pretty swirls and ripples. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Note: I omitted the cognac. I just used a little bit of water instead. The cake was delicious!!

Slow Cooked Swiss Steak

2 lbs round steak or chuck eye
1 medium Onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 - 26 oz jar ragu spaghetti sauce
(mushroom & green pepper or garden combination)
1/2 - jar water
½ - 1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 - bay leaf (optional)
flour for dredging

Cut meat into steak size pieces. Add salt and pepper to flour and toss meat lightly in flour mixture. Brown meat in 2 T. of oil. Place meat into Dutch oven or crock pot. Add sliced onions and peppers. Add the jar of spaghetti sauce and a 1/2 of jar of water and chili powder, cover and cook until meat in tender. Cook on high for about 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.

Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes or rice.
My wonderful Mother-in-law used to make Swiss Steak and it was sooo good! I found this recipe however, for Swiss Steak you make in your slow cooker (crockpot), from Mommy's Kitchen and it's wonderful! If you want pictures showing how to assemble it all, go to MK, and Tina will show you. You've heard that old adage, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and so I will direct you there. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gooey Butter Cake

This is a fantastic recipe! It was given to me by a family member (My husband's father's wife, as he puts it. She's gone now but we got to be pretty close. She shared a few of her recipes with me.) Mine came out looking kinda funky, with the sides brown but rolled over on top of the cake. I dunno. But it was really good! My hubby suggested I top it with cherries or strawberries next time. I should have taken a photo of it when it was first baked. I can't now, it's gone. lol!

Gooey Butter Cake

1 Yellow Cake Mix
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter or margarine (=1/2 cup)

Mix above ingredients and spread into buttered 9x13" cake pan. Note: This mixture will be very gooey, and will not pour out. You have to use a mixer and you have to spoon it out. Then mix:

3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 Tsp. vanilla

Pour over first mixture. Bake at 350 degrees till golden brown. Approx. 35-40 minutes.

As I said, mine turned out looking kinda weird but it tasted really good! LOL! Enjoy! I'll try to post a pic of mine when I make some more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easy Punch

2-2 Liter Bottles Sprite, 7-Up or other Clear Soda
2 Large Cans Pineapple Juice
1/2 Gallon Raspberry Sherbet

Thaw sherbet for a few minutes while pouring the rest of the ingredients together in punch bowl. Add sherbet and stir. This is so easy but so good! You can substitute other flavors of sherbet depending upon your event and the colors you wish to use.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp. Romano Cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic salt or one clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Parsley Flakes
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

sugar (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. If this is a little too tart for your own personal taste, add a little sugar. You can enjoy your Olive Garden Salad Dressing for about 10 days if stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Another great use for the Olive Garden Salad Dressing is you can use it for a marinade for vegetables or even meats that you might like to grill.

I got this recipe off of a website called
CopyKat Recipes. Stephanie has lots of other recipes that are just like those you'd find in your favorite restaurant. Check out her site!

Olive Garden Salad

1 Bag American Blend Dole Salad
4-5 slices read onion
4-6 black olives
2-4 Pepperochini (if you like a sweet pepper you could use Banana Pepper)
1/2 c. croutons
1 small tomato, quartered
Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese

Chill one salad bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Place bag of salad in bowl. Place on top of lettuce sliced red onion, black olives, banana peppers, tomatoes and croutons. Add some freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese. If you'd like, add plently of Olive Garden Salad Dressing on top. I left out the peppers and olives, since some of us don't care for either. But it was still really good, with the Olive Garden Salad Dressing.

I got this recipe and the Salad Dressing Recipe to go with it, from a website called CopyKat Recipes. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Loving Cast Iron Cooking!

I have to say I'm loving cast iron cooking! I guess I stayed away from it because for one, those skillets get pretty heavy and for two, I wasn't sure about the care of them. I'm so glad that I'm getting back into it though! My new grill/griddle combo is getting alot of use, lately with hamburgers and other meats, and my skillet is seeing many casseroles. Both my skillet and grill/griddle combo were preseasoned. But I've been learning how to better care for them, so they hopefully last me a long time!

Some say not to use soap of any kind on them as it breaks down the seasoning. I have only used a mild dish soap once so far, when I grilled burgers and some of the grease was trapped between the grates on the grill. I wanted to get that "taste" of burger out of it so when it came to cooking chicken or something else, we wouldn't have that lingering. But if you make sure once your cast iron is washed at least with hot water, then wiped dry, (you might dry it on top of the stove after wiping it dry-this method pulls away any water remaining) and reseasoned (add a little oil back to the pan and heat for about another minute or two on your stovetop) it will no doubt last a long time. Do be sure it's completely dry of water, however because any water remaining can cause it to rust. Let your pan cool completely before storing. I am storing my skillet(s) and grill/griddle on the shelf of my microwave cart. I've placed paper towels on top of both to protect them. Now they're ready to go when I am! :)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Smothered Chicken

6-8 Chicken legs, thighs or combination
1 tsp of Lowry's Seasoned Salt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Cajun/Creole Seasoning
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
3/4 c. flour
4-6 c. water
2 Tbsp. Chicken bouillon
pepper to taste
splash of Worcestershire sauce
canola or vegetable oil for frying

Preheate the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken lightly with the seasoned salt. Whisk the creole/cajun seasoning into the flour and dredge chicken through the seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Add the oil to the pan (up to about 1 inch in the pan) and fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides; set aside on a rack to drain.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the hot oil and drippings and saute until tender, but not overbrowned. Stir in the flour, a little at a time, untill fully incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Begin adding the water, one cup at a time, blending each cup in before adding the next. Stop when gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Stir in the chicken bouillon and bring to a boil. Add pepper to taste and a splash of Worcestershire sauce if desired. Remove pot from heat and add the chicken pieces back into the pot. Turn each piece to coat all sides. Transfer covered pot to the oven and bake for 350 degrees for one hour, gently stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking and turn over the pieces. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. For me, it was more like 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once done, remove pot from oven and allow to rest on the stove for about 5 minutes. This will continue the cooking process and allow the meat to absorb the juices.

This is really good! My family said I need to make this again. The gravy is amazingly good! We were topping our mashed potatoes and bread with it, as well. I got this recipe from Mommy's Kitchen.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Spring Cleaning and a poem

Wow, we've had some absolutely beautiful weather this week! I'm so happy to see the higher temps and the sun again! LOL! With all my spring cleaning, and going over recipes from family members that have passed on and that I miss so much, I glanced at a little, wooden kitchen sign that I got when Brian's Grandma Eva passed away a couple of years ago. She had it in her kitchen for years and now I have it in mine. Although it's pretty worn and hard to read, I thought it was pretty neat and wanted to share the poem.  

My Kitchen Prayer

Bless my little kitchen, Lord,
I love it's every nook.
And bless me as I do thy work,
Wash pots and pans and cook.

May the meals that I prepare,
Be seasoned from Above,
With Thy blessing and Thy grace,
But most of all Thy love.

As we partake of earthly food,
The table Thou hast spread,
We'll not forget to thank Thee, Lord,
For all our daily bread.

So bless my little kitchen, Lord.
And those that enter in.
May They find naught but joy and peace 
And happiness therein.  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I can't wait till May!!

I'm so excited! We just found out two days ago that if nothing happens between now and then, our oldest daughter, Sarah, and her husband Matt will be coming to see us at the end of May! We can't wait! It's been a year since we've seen them. In fact, we went up to WI last March. So to know they're coming, is so exciting! I can't wait to get our spare bedroom all ready for them!

It just hit me though, how busy May will be for us! Of course, mother's day, which may be a little harder this year for us. We lost my husband's mom in April 2008 to a stroke. Now, my mom is in a nursing home with terminal breast cancer. She wouldn't go into a doctor for many years, and I knew she had some health problems but never dreamed they were as bad as they are. So this may be our last Mother's Day with her. 

But anyway, getting back to May and happier thoughts, our 24th wedding anniversary is the 9th, too. Then, the 10th we have graduations (one of our nephews) and some friends of ours have kids graduating. Then we have a tentative ladies luncheon that I've got to get finalized, a potluck at church, our kids coming, Memorial day and whew! lol I suppose we'll be bored the rest of the year. lol. Nah, not a chance.

Monday, March 28, 2011

So excited!!!

I just got my new BIG cast-iron skillet in today AND my new stovetop grill/griddle combo! I feel stupid though, because when I ordered the skillet, I guess I didn't realize just how big it would be! I ordered the 15" one and it's big enough for me to feed an army! LOL! Had to crack up over that one. I may have to get the smaller one for daily cooking. But, I love the idea of having it for Sunday dinners when we have family over. No more using two skillets to fry something. And, I can't wait to try the combo. That just sounds too cool.

On a different note, it's snowing here, and it's supposed to be spring, but it IS Nebraska. As I was outside today taking the trash out, I thought about the pioneer women and what they endured during the snow and in general for that matter. I love that time period, and books like the Little House series, the Love Comes Softly series, etc. but I am glad I wasn't brought up during that time period. Makes me feel bad though, for days when I complain about having to cook a meal, when I'd rather have take-out, or complain about doing laundry, or other mundane tasks. Just think, we complain about having to do those things now, when we have so many modern conveniences. Imagine us, having to do those tasks like they did back then. Just another reminder from the Lord to thank Him for laundry to do, food to cook, and so much more.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Snowy day today..

 Where, oh where has our little Spring gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?? LOL! Ya gotta love springtime in Nebraska. You just never know what kind of weather you're gonna end up with. We had beautiful spring time weather last week, and now it's snowing again. The bright spot in all of this, is that it's not cold. Not really cold, that is. And the snow although it's sticking, some, it's melting at the same time. lol. Going down one of our streets yesterday, my van windshield kept getting doinked with snow, as it fell in clumps from the trees! It was wild. Good thing I realized it was going to happen or I might have freaked the first time it hit!

We're babysitting for some friends today, and the kids are all playing the Wii-bowling. It's so much fun. I've gotten to the point, that I actually like Wii bowling better than real bowling, just because I can't throw a heavy ball anymore. I used to throw a finger-tip drilled 13 pound ball when I was in my 20's. Now that I'm uh...well, not in my 20's anymore, I can't. I usually throw about an 8 pound ball, much to the dissatisfaction of my dh. He keeps telling me that to be more consistent, I should throw a heavier ball. Oh well. It's all good. :) Well, off to do something constructive. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artisan Bread

I just love this recipe for Artisan Bread, that Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François came up with. I love homemade bread, but I hate taking the time it usually takes to make it. Having to mix, knead it, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again...It's just too time consuming. This recipe for Artisan Bread is made without any kneading! You mix it in a bucket or big bowl, let it set on the counter for 2 hours. Then, you can either make a loaf or two, or let it sit in the fridge till you're ready to bake it-up to 2 weeks!! The artisan free-form loaf called the French boule is the basic model for all the no-knead recipes. The round shape (boule in French means “ball”) is the easiest to master.

If you make the following recipe, you'll end up with enough dough for 4 loaves. They tell you to pull off a grapefruit-size ball. An easier way for me, is to mix it all in a plastic square bowl I have, and when it's mixed and raised, I mark the dough down the middle both ways (across the middle to form a + so to speak. Then, i just cut the dough and form the ball. I usually make two loaves at a time.

Basic Master Recipe

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 TBSP Salt
1 1/2 TBSP Yeast (active dry or quick rise)
6 1/2 cups flour (level)

Pour yeast into water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well,  but do NOT knead. Use a wooden spoon or other to mix it with. Cover with lid-not airtight. Lift a corner if needed, to allow gases to escape. Let rest on counter, then you can either make a loaf or two, or put in refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough so it won't stick to your hand. Cut off a ball about the size of a grapefruit (or divide your bowl like I do, into fourths and remove a fourth). Dip the ball in flour and then turn in your hand, pulling the dough down and under itself; make a nice even ball-should only take about 30 seconds. 

Put a little corn meal or flour on the counter or a pizza peel. Place the dough on top. Let sit for 40 minutes to an hour. Does not need to be covered. 

At about 30 minutes into resting time, preheat oven to 450 degrees. If baking on a stone, place the stone in the oven to preheat. Have a metal pan on the bottom rack of oven. Slice bread across the top with little, quick cuts to create a bit of an Artisan design. (see picture) Put bread on stone or cookie sheet and into oven. Place 1 cup hot water in pan and close oven door. This water will help steam the bread and make it crispy. 

Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Take out and let cool on a rack before cutting. The recipe doesn't call for this, but I pour a little olive oil across the top of the bread when it's done baking to soften up the crust. I like the crispy crust, but it makes it hard to slice. Sprinkling the oil across the top and down the sides, makes it easier to slice. 

If you buy their book, you can have other recipes for other types of breads using this basic recipe, as well as sandwiches, rolls, etc.  


Slow-cooked BBQ Pork Sandwiches

1 (3-4 lb) Pork Roast (Pork butt)
1 bottle bbq sauce
salt, pepper to taste

Buns, bread or sandwich rolls

Place pork roast in crockpot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill with enough water to cover. Cook on low overnight or on high for 6-7 hours. Remove roast from crockpot. Pour off water. Pull or cut roast apart, and place back in crockpot. Pour in one bottle of bbq sauce and stir till well-blended. Let cook till heated through. Serve on buns, bread or rolls, and as-is, or add toppings such as onion, green pepper, or any toppings you desire. This will be very tender, and it is sooooo good! I usually serve mine with big buns or rolls, and with chips and a salad. Enjoy!  

Low-Country Smothered Pork Chops (Paula Deen)

This is a wonderful recipe for pork chops. My son told me it was "awesome"! I love hearing that! This is one of Paula's recipes. Enjoy!

4 center-cut pork chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spread on a plate
2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
2 yellow onions, trimmed, cut lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly roll the chops in flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the pan. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about half a minute longer. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet. Add chops to pan and place vegetables on top of pork chops. Pour in the broth and sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cover pan with foil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chops are tender.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hearty Chicken-Noodle Soup

12 oz. bonelss, skinless chicken breast, cubed
4 cups water
2 lg. onions, chopped
2 TBSP. parsley, snipped
2 TBSP. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. crushed, dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1-12 oz. pkg. Reames Frozen Egg Noodles
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups celery
2 cups milk
1 cup frozen peas
2 TBSP. all-purpose flour

Place chicken cubes, water, onion, celery, parsley, bouillon, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf in a large Dutch oven. Bring to boiling. Add the noodles, carrots, sliced celery, return to boiling. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes or until noodles are almost tender. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk and peas. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour until smooth. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
This recipe may take a little time to prepare, but it is well worth the wait! It is a wonderful alternative to traditional chicken noodle soup. Time could be cut, by using canned or frozen carrots.

Homemade Beef Stew

1 pkg. stew meat
3 TBSP. shortening
6-8 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomatoes
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
4-5 potatoes, cubed
2 TBSP. vinegar
salt, pepper to taste

Flour and brown stew meat in shortening on low flame. Add 6-8 cups water and onion. Simmer 2-3 hours. Add tomatoes. Cook 1/2 hour and add carrots, and celery. Cook 45 minutes longer. Add potatoes and cook for 1/2 hour. Add vinegar, salt and pepper. This can also be adapted for the crockpot: Brown stew meat on top of stove in shortening. Place meat and remaining ingredients into crockpot. Cook 5 hours on high.

Texas Taco Dip

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, mashed with liquid
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 TBSP. chili powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped pimientos-stuffed green olives
Taco chips

Combine meat, onion, & garlic in 1 1/2 qt. glass bowl or casserole. Stir to break up meat. Cover tightly with saran wrap, turning back the edge to vent. Microwave at 100% for 4 minutes, stirring twice. Drain off excess fat. Add beans, tomato sauce,chili powder and salt. Mix well. Recover, leaving vent and microwave at 50% for 8 minutes, stirring once. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Spoon into chafing dish and set over low flame or double boiler. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and olives. Serve with taco chips.

Tortilla Appetizers

1-2 pkgs. tortillas (flour)
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1-8 oz. pkg. sour cream
1 can chopped black olives
1 can diced green chillies
1-8 oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese

Mix ingredients; spread on tortillas. Roll up, and chill over night. Slice and serve with or without salsa.

Spiced Cranberry Cider (Wassail)

2 qts. apple cider or juice
1 1/2 qts. cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
4-3" cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon slices. If desired, float one lemon slice in each cup. Makes about 25 servings (1/2 cup each). This is soo good!

Breakfast Casserole

6 eggs, beaten
1 lb. Little Smokies (cocktail wieners) or 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage, browned and drained
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bread, torn into pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix together all ingredients except mozzarella cheese. Pour into greased slow cooker. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Cover and cook 2 hours on High, and then 1 hour on Low. Enjoy!
Serves 8-10

Mini Cheese and Onion Pastries

4 oz (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 (8oz) cans Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
2 tps oil
1/4 tsp dried dill weed

Heat oven to 375º. In small bowl, combine cheese and onions; mix well.

Seperate dough into16 triangles; cut each in half diagonally to make 32 triangles. Place rounded teaspoon of cheese mixture on center of each triangle. Bring corners to center over filling, overlapping ends; press gently to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. brush each lightly with oil. Sprinkle with dill.

Bake at 375º for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salisbury Steak

I found this recipe at Mommy's Kitchen and it's soooooo goood!!

2 - pounds ground beef
1 - package Lipton’s French Onion Soup Mix or Store Brand
1/2 - cup cracker crumbs
1 - egg
2 - packets (0.75 oz) brown gravy mix
+ the required amount of water stated on the gravy packet.
1 - cup sour cream
1 - small can mushroom stems, optional
egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes

Make hamburger patties using ground beef, bread or cracker crumbs, egg and soup mix. Fry or grill until patties are browned on both sides. While the hamburgers are cooking in a bowl mix together the dry gravy mix, water and sour cream. Mix to combine. Spray. a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick and lay cooked patties in the pan. Cover the patties with the sour cream and gravy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 - 40 minutes, turning patties halfway through. Serve with egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

This recipe is sooooo good! My family just loved it!! It's definitely a do-over! In fact, I'm making it for Sunday lunch when the family all comes over. :) I served mine with mashed potatoes and corn. The gravy this makes is just so wonderful!! Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bought myself a present!

I can't wait! I bought myself a cast iron griddle/grill combination! I bought it off ebay and can't wait for it to get here! My cholesterol is a little high, and the doctor wants me on a low-fat, low-carb diet. Ugh. I can't eat! Just kidding. LOL! But I found this bargain and thought it would be nice to start grilling more chicken, fish and burgers, etc. So, while I wait for it to come, I'm going through some of my recipes and some new ones I've found and trying ti whittle away the extra fat, at least. That'll be good for me for so many reasons. I also live with IBS and it's hard because I never know for sure which foods will make me feel bad. So, onto new discoveries, new recipes and to hopefully bring my cholestrol and weight down! Hoping it all helps dh too. His cholesterol was good, but we could both stand to lose some weight. Hopefully now that spring has sprung, we'll be able to get out and do more and trim down and get healthy! Any tips out there?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gorgeous Weather!

I have to say, after having all the snow and ice, we have some beautiful weather now! It's sunny and warm and just gorgeous! I worked on our front yard a few days ago and now I need to work on cleaning up the sides of the house and the back yard. So, hoping I can get that done this weekend.

I've been having fun looking up new recipes from After trying Tina's roast beef the other day, I'm encouraged to try more! My family loved it! I admit, I'd gotten used to making the same-old, same-old and I think that's one reason I'd gotten tired of cooking, and I know they grew tired of eating it. So, here's hoping I can pull off an all-new menu! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beautiful Spring Weather

is finally here! I am so hoping that this officially means NO MORE SNOW!! I know we actually had a pretty mild winter, for us. BUT, I'm still sick of snow and ice and so ready for spring to be here! I love working in the yard, and letting the little ones we babysit, play outside. The little girl is in school right now, so she at least gets recess and time to play outside, but the little boy is here all day, and he sure needs time outside. If it doesn't rain today, I'll take him out for awhile.

I actually love the rain, in fact dh and I go walking in the rain! We love it! It's so fun to do, when it's just a light rain, and the temps are high enough that you don't chill. We've gotten so many looks and people laughing at us, as we go walking down the street in the rain! It's so fun! If you've never taken a walk in the rain, I recommend you do so. There's nothing like the smell of fresh rain and the feeling you get, walking hand-in-hand with your sweetie in the rain.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No-Fail Potroast

1 - 2 or 3lb beef pot roast of your choice
(I prefer chuck roast)
1 - 10.5 oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 -packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix (dry)
Vegt. or Olive oil or pan spray (to sear the meat)
salt and pepper (to taste)
Carrots & Potatoes

Rinse the roast with water and pat dry with paper towels. Sear meat on stove top before adding it to the crock pot. Add a little oil to a fry pan (vegt. or olive oil) or use cooking spray . Salt and pepper your roast. Bring the heat up and really get that pan hot. Add the roast and let it sear for about 5 minutes. Then flip it over and sear the other side. Add roast to the crock pot.

Mix the onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup. Pour over roast. Cover and set slow cooker on low and cook for 6 - 7 hours. Turn pot roast over about half way through cooking time.

About a hour before the roast is done start to prepare the carrots and potatoes. Peel carrots and potatoes and cut into pieces. Par-boil veggies for about 8 - 10 minutes in a pot of water before adding to crock pot. That way the veggies cook all the way through and they are not mushy when the roast is done. Drain the water off the potatoes and carrots. Remove roast to a plate and add veggies to the crock pot the last hour of cooking. Replace the roast on top of the veggies. Season with a bit of pepper and cover and cook the last hour.

The meat just falls apart and this recipes makes it own gravy. This is so wonderful the next day for roast beef sandwiches, or in flour tortillas or just warmed up and served with some rice.
Recipe from: Tina at Mommy's Kitchen Thanks, Tina! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Count Your Blessings

A devotion I shared at our Nov. Ladies Meeting:

Erma Bombeck was quoted as saying, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times (in football games) take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” With Thanksgiving coming up twice for us (once at church and once with our family), I thought that pretty much summed it up. :)

I know for me, when I’m having a particularly “down” day, if I start praising God and thanking Him for the people in my life, the good things that are going on and quit focusing on the bad things, I feel so much better. The Bible tells us we’re to be thankful for everything, and at all times. I know this is hard, believe me. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

“Thanks” occurs 73 times in the KJV”— Thanksgiving” occurs 28 times
“Praise” occurs 248 times—“Praises” occurs 29 times.

A few things we need to be thankful for:

1. Our family and friends-
Time spent with them-we never know how much time we have with someone. Anyone could have a car accident or a sudden move, and we might not see them again or maybe not very often, so we need to treasure each day/time we have with them. We personally have lost several family members over the last few years so we are well aware of just how time seems so short with people you love.

2. Little things like clothing, food; shelter-
(a) Laundry (clothing)-
When was the last time you started a load of laundry and said “thank you, God for these clothes to wash, and this washer and dryer that work”. We had a fire in our mobile home the 1st day of January 1988, 6 months after we were married. Thankfully noone was injured or lost during the fire (Well, sadly we lost our two little parakeets, but no people were hurt and our dog was safe) We lost so much though, including clothes, bedding, etc. I was only 19 at the time, and going to church shortly after without my makeup, clothes, etc. was hard for me, especially when someone younger than I was, mentioned I looked so different. But I was thankful because we received so many bags of clothing, blankets, etc. that at the time, I ended up with more clothes than I started with! How great is our Lord! So when I get frustrated about the mounds of laundry that face me each week, I have to stop and thank God we have clothes to wash and that my washer and dryer work so I don’t have to go out and do laundry like we did when we first got married. With our kids growing up and leaving home, you’d think I’d be happy about not having that person’s laundry to do (they all know how to do laundry but I just do it most of the time), but I’m not. I stop and think about it, and realize that person is not in my home anymore. So, while I have their laundry to do, I am thankful.

(b) Food-
I don’t like to do daily cooking that much but, I love to bake though. But even though I get tired and wish some days that I didn’t have to cook, I have to see the big picture and be thankful (1)that I have a family to feed, and (2)that we have food to make. (not that I don’t love pizza and stuff like that!) We may not always have what we want at home to make, but if you have beans, or lunch meat, be thankful! There was a time in my life when I was little, and my mom was working two jobs to make ends meet, and food was hard for her to buy. So we ate alot of spaghetti and cheap things like that. And yes, you do get tired of it, but you also praise God because you have food to eat.

(c) Shelter-
How often do we thank God for our home? I know some of us have things that need fixing in our homes, or we don’t like the neighborhood or don’t like certain things about our house, but we need to stop and be grateful that we have a home to live in. So many people don’t have one. I personally lived with my mom, in our church for a few weeks, when I was little, as we were between apartments. Not a real pleasant experience although we were thankful for the place to stay. Visit a homeless mission just once, too, as I did, and you’ll be so thankful for your home. So the next time you’re cleaning or doing dishes for what seems like the billionth time, smile and praise God you have a home to keep clean!

3. Our salvation-
This one seems so obvious to us, we know if we’re saved, that we’re going to Heaven someday. But on a day-to-day basis, with all the other “stuff” going on in our lives, how often do we stop to think that God is real and we have Him there for us all the time, unlike those that don’t yet know Him. I can’t imagine going through some of our trials without Him.

I don’t know what kind of traditions you have for Thanksgiving at your house, but one we still hold to, is one that Brian’s Grandpa Pielstick started years ago (it may go back farther than that)-we all have to have a verse about thanksgiving, praise, etc. to either read or have memorized and share with the family before we pray and eat.

A Thanksgiving Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night
For health and food, for love and friends
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Give thanks…