Monday, September 9, 2013

Garden Fresh Chili

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all enjoyed a fabulous weekend! We were able to spend the weekend as a family basically relaxing and celebrating the opening Viking season. Even though we didn't pull out a win, I was happy to be able to make my first fall meal! Nothing, to me, screams fall more than a steaming bowl of chili! I usually just throw a bunch of items in a pot and call it good, but yesterday's batch turned out too delicious not to share! Hope you enjoy and give it a try! The fresher the ingredients, the better the flavor. You'd be amazed at all you can add to this chili! My garden fresh veggies included: Squash, Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes, Roma Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Jalapeno Peppers, Chili Pepper, Onions, and Garlic...

Garden Fresh Chili

8 Medium Roma Tomatoes, chopped
1 Large or 2 Medium Tomatoes {I used Heirloom}, chopped
1 Large Green Pepper, chopped
1 Medium Red Onion, chopped
1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 small Zucchini or half a med./large, cubed
1 small Squash, cubed
2 small Jalapenos
1 small Chili Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves
1 lb. Ground Beef
2 Tlb. Olive Oil {I use extra virgin}
1-1lb 15 oz. Can Kidney Beans {light or dark, your preferance}drained and rinsed
15 oz. Black Beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. Tomato Sauce
15 oz. Water
8 oz. Tomato Paste
S&P To Taste
2 tsp. Basil
2 tsp. Parsley
1 Tlbp. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Onion Powder
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Paprika

1. Have a roasting pan pre-heated to 350 or a large pot ready on med. heat.
2. In a small saucepan Brown beef, drain grease and add to a roasting pan.
3. In same pan as beef, add 2 Tlbp. of extra virgin Olive Oil and sweat out onions. Add salt & pepper. After 3-5 min, transfer to roasting pan.
4. Roughly chop peppers and garlic, pulse in a mini food possessor and add according to desired heat, reserving so you can add more heat if needed.
5. Add canned goods to roasting pan, stir around, using the tomato sauce can, add a can of water to thin out the sauce {paste will make it too thick}.
6. Chop your larger veggies and then add them to the roasting pan.
7. Add your seasonings and spiced. These are just what I used and just a suggestion. Let simmer for roughly 2-3 hours. Tastes better and better the longer it cooks. Top with desired toppings. I LOVE cheese! LOL...

Hope you all enjoy this recipe and have a blessed day!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School

Hello everyone!

Ok, so first off, let me apologize. I'm a horrible blooger! Too many excuses to list, so I'll just leave it at that! For the 2 people that actually read this, I thank you for keep coming back to read my blog posts! :)

Anyways, Since I last posted, we finally got our spring, and summer and now here we are at the first day of School, which marks the start of fall for us! We didn't do much this summer, but we did enjoy each other's company and little things here and there. For me, my favorite days this summer were spent at a secluded beach with the boys. Love when I can get a beach all to ourselves because then it feels like I live on a lake without the added tax hike! LOL...

Last night, we got the kids ready for bed early for a 6:15am wake up call. We brushed our teeth, set out our outfits, climbed in to bed and read some new books. One was "The Night Before Preschool" by Natasha Wing and the other by the same author was "The Night Before First Grade". The boys really enjoyed these books because they were exactly what they were feeling and looking forward to for today. I got teary eyed just reading them. I knew it was going to be a hard day for me.

So then the alarm clock goes off at 6:00am and I set off to make breakfast. At about 6:30 I made enough noise to wake the boys up without jolting them awake. They joined me and daddy in the living room and we enjoyed back-to-school-breakfast waffles! I think the nerves set in because they really didn't eat much at all!

We headed out for the bus at 6:45, still not 100% light out and took some back to school pictures. I really love these moments because you can really capture the moments and look back on them through the years. For me, today, I didn't get all the pictures I wanted because though we waited and waited and waited for the bus to come, I called transportation at 7:15 and here the bus forgot to pick us up!!! So then I had to load all the kiddos and head to the transfer school so Lance could get on his 2nd bus of the morning and head out to his new school. We made the decision to switch to a science and magnet school for their one on one attention and focus on the outdoors/nature. I'm thinking this school will be right up our alley and that we will enjoy our time there! However, for today, I'm just hoping the return my kid! :)

I'm going to do a little photo bombing of our first day of school, but for your troubles of viewing them all, I'm also doing a freebie! Maybe you can use them still for this year or save them/pin them for next year!!!

So today, as we took or photos, tears were in my eyes because I'm just that way. I cried at orientation night too! LOL...Its hard to believe that we have a 1st grader in the house and a 1st year preschooler! I was most worried to send Adam off to preK than sending Lance on a bus that would bring him 20 min. away from us! Adam is on the shy/quiet side and I wasn't sure how he would do, but he went into his classroom without clinging and I was able to leave without any tears. Ah, sweet success! However, on the way out, I did have tears from Jack as he thought it was his turn to go to school! Uh-oh! When Adam arrived home, he was all smiles and talking about a new friend he had made in his class. I'm so thankful that Cooper is an outgoing child who can help Adam feel included! So anyways, here are the pictures from this morning with my boys...

I also went back and reminised a little over the past 3 years of 1st days of school with Lance! Oh how they grow!!!

Anyways, hope you all enjoy a wonderful day and many blessings to you and your family!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

German Chocolate...Cookies?

Hello everyone!

Well, today is Sunday, and I typically don't post on Sundays, but there isn't really much to do. I woke up early this morning with the intention of going to church, only to find out we have a blizzard and most church services were cancelled for today. I'm not sure if ours was, but I still opted to stay home. As I type this, I can't believe all I've done today and it is only 1 o'clock! What? Seems like time is standing still! 

This morning, the kids and I made Red Velvet Heart Pancakes, we watched Dispicable Me {Never gets old!}, had a pillow fight, played Super Nintendo {cause that's how we roll}...And then, noon hit and I was bored. I found myself going to the fridge, for no reason cause I know I wasn't hungry. And on the top shelf I found leftover German Chocolate Frosting and German Frosting from my VEGAN cupcakes...Hmmm...I was tempted to open up the containers, grab a spoon and start going to town. But...I was able to contain myself and decided a Cookie would be a better avenue for these leftovers. I don't know if it's been done before, but it's been done now! LOL...So then, German Chocolate Cookies were born. I have to admit, they aren't bad! LOL...Anyways, here's the recipes and I hope you enjoy!

Red Velvet Pancakes
Adapted from Recipe Girl's Recipe
1/4 c. Butter, at room temp
2 Tlb. Sugar
2  Eggs, at room temp
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 c. Whole Milk + 2 Tlb. Lemon Juice
1.5 c. Flour
2 Tlb. Cocoa Powder
1.5 tsp. Baking Powder
.5 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tlb. White Vinegar
1 Tlb. Red Food Coloring
1. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice, set aside for 5-10 min. Heat up griddle or pan. Get out heart shaped cookie cutters and cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, set aside.
3. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla until smooth.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to stand mixer. Whisk until combined.
5. Add white vinegar and red food coloring and mix until smooth.
6. Pour small amounts of batter into cookie cutters. Cook until bubbly, remove cookie cutters and then flip. Cook 1 more min. and remove from heat. Serve with choice of topping! {recipe girl served her's with a Cream Cheese Frosting...may have to test that one out next time!!!}

German Chocolate Cookies
2 c. Flour
.5 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1.5 sticks Butter, Softened
.5 c. Sugar
.5 c. Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Add baking soda and salt.
4. Add flour 1 cup at a time.
5. Mix in German Chocolate Frosting {found HERE} & German Frosting {found HERE} until just incorporated {Should look slightly marbled}.
6. Using a small icecream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 7 min.

7. Remove parchment paper from baking sheets, allow to cool. Drizzle German Chocolate Frosting over cookies. Sprinkle with hearts! {Can skip this step or decorate for other holidays}

Until Next time...


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Icecream...

Yup...I just typed that.

Strawberry Cheesecake....ICECREAM!

I've been on an icecream kick latetly, so decided to test out a recipe I saw here...I changed things slightly, but it still turned out SUPER nummy! Let me know what you think!

Strawberry Cheesecake Icecream

14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
8 oz. Low Fat Cream Cheese, Softened
1 stick of Butter, Softened
8 oz. Whipped Cream
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 pack Graham Crackers
1/4 c. Butter, melted
14 oz. Strawberries, chopped
1. In a stand mixer using whisk attachment, combine sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, butter, whipped cream, lemon juice & vanilla until smooth and creamy.
2. In a food processor, pulse crackers until crumbly. Add butter and pulse until incorporated.
3. Add cracker crumbs, don't mix yet. Add strawberries and using a spatula, fold in cracker crumbs and strawberries about 4 folds.

4. Pour into a loaf pan, cover and freeze overnight. Eat & Enjoy!


Photo Bomb Gone Wrong

When my friends go to the bathroom, they typically leave their cell phones either on the couch, table, or in their purses. Me being me, I think it's funny to play pranks with their phones. So I tend to "Photo Bomb" the heck out of their phones. I have given myself away from time to time, but there are other times I keep it a secret and let them discover the "bomb" all on their own. I never thought this would come back to haunt me...until now.

We had some friends over a while back. My friend got up to use the bathroom and left her phone on the couch. Yes, I photo bombed the heck out of it, to the tune of 58 pictures! It was hillarious. I wasn't looking my best because it was a friend and we were only watching a movie. But I still didn't think anything of it. I should have warned myself of the party to which I was "bombing" wasn't pretty. But the retaliation, was even less better looking! LOL...Total case of "Photo Bomb" gone wrong!!!

Fast forward to last night. I came home to this "lovely" piece of artwork on my fireplace mantle. It included 8-not-so-purdy-photo bombed photographs of me at my finest. I'm sure she meant it to be a horrific addition to my home, but little does she know, I LOVE it! I think it will be a focal point in our house for a while! 
Anyways, my lesson I learned was to know your target. Study their behaviors in their environment as well as others. Know their reactions and actions...and then target accordingly! LOL...Mission-so-not-accomplished, yet I'm still satisfied with the outcome!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heart Valentine's Banner

Hello everyone!

So I've been going around the house, and I realized something was missing. We have absolutely NO Valentine's decorations in our house. After much debate, I printed off our names, cut them out as hearts, added a border, poked holes and added ribbon to "tie" everything together and ta-da! LOL...The entire project took less than 20 minutes and only cost me what I had in my craft room as far as supplies! Not too shabby. Maybe I'm addicted enough to create some more LOVE art around the house!
Lance was so impressed with my banner when he got home, he came and gave me a great big hug and says "I absolutely LOVE your banner! It shows how much you love us!" I'm raising such sweet sweet boys, they really do spoil me, so I'm glad to return the favor and spoil them right back! Anyways, hope this banner gives you some ideas of your own! Happy crafting!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Potato Thins-Similar to Potato Skins

Hey everyone!

Hope you all enjoyed the super bowl! Wow, what a nail biter! I had the 49ers winning by 3, but instead, Ravens win by 3...oh well. I didn't really mind who won anyways. I was just in it for the food!!! We had a couple people join us at our house and we were having fun munching on the snacks, chatting, watching the commercials and of course, the lady of the hour, Beyonce!!! She is such a stunner! Can't believe she just had a baby!!!

Anyways, the day before the Super Bowl, I came up with this summer yummy side dish to go with a not-so-inspired main dish. These are super delish and would be super easy to take along to a pot-luck or party to share! Hope you enjoy!

Potato Thins Appetizer
Serves 4

4-6 Potatoes, thinly sliced
2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
6 Strips of Bacon, diced
2 Tlb. Chopped Green Onions
2 Tlb. Olive Oil
S&P to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Boil sliced potatoes in water, once you reach a boiling point, cook 3 min. longer. Drain & pat dry.
3. Spread potato slices out on baking sheet. Sprinkle with Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper, Cheese, Bacon, and Green Onions. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Cool slightly and serve! Pair it with sour cream, greek yogurt or salsa...absolutely delish!