Showing posts from December, 2015

Moving into the New Year!

I love a New Year! I love the thoughts, plans and goals to be made and contemplated. I love the time of reflection on the past year.

This year one thing I want to do, or better yet, do again is spend more time journaling. I have always loved to journal my thoughts, plans, dreams and direction in life. It has been a way for me to stay focused on the things that are important to me. Those things that I contemplate at the beginning of the year and want to keep them in my thoughts as the year progresses.

I think journaling is healthy for the mind and helps to clear thoughts. If something is bothering you or you need to make a decision on something it can help to write these things down. I think journaling is good for the heart. It can be the place to write your prayers, to keep Scripture verses close to your heart, to daily remember those you love, a spot to remind you of all that you are thankful for each day and to share your thoughts with God.

I have a stack of journals f…

Our Christmas

It was a different year in some ways. While still a lot of people, it was the smallest celebration we'd had in some time. It was simple but very enjoyable. I did get a few gifts for my grandchildren and my children, but my children made a different choice. Most years my children draw names for their own gift exchange. This year, a few of my children were dealing with financial stresses and so I asked them all if they would like to skip the gift exchange. They all said yes, that would be a blessing to them. 

Several weeks before Christmas my email inbox was full of ads for stuff I needed, stuff I should buy and stuff to give as gifts, etc.. Now my inbox is full of ads that say.. “now you can buy what you didn't get for Christmas!” .. Not to mention I read today that there is a vending machine that allows people to exchange unwanted gifts for books.. really? So we buy, buy, buy to fulfill some sort of ideal.. and then we can take it back, buy what we really wanted o…

Menu Monday!

I hope you all had a good Christmas. Ours was very nice and I'll post more about that soon. One thing was for certain, I ended up with a lot of leftovers. We just got them finished up over the weekend. I'm looking forward to eating something different this week!! :)

My week's meals are looking like this...

Crockpot chicken and black bean soup
I'm going to just toss this one together. My plan is to use chicken breast, canned black beans, corn, chicken broth, tomatoes, Mexican spices and a few veggies such as carrots, onions, peppers. I'll serve it with chips & salsa

Crockpot Asian beef over rice
Beef is so expensive. I only buy it when I see it on sale, which is not that often. A couple weeks ago while shopping I found beef round roast on sale. I bought one. I'm planning on putting it in the crockpot and seasoning it with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and anything else that suits me. Cooking it all day until it can be shredded with a fork and serving …

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Dinner

So many details to take care of this week! It makes it hard to get to my blog! :)

I did however come up with my plan for Christmas Eve dinner. I like to make a large dinner and then enjoy the leftovers on Christmas Day so I don't have to do any cooking. Here is what my menu looks like:

Meatballs in sauce, done in the crockpot (the sauce is equal parts chili sauce and grape jelly. It's a family favorite)
Baked ham
Macaroni & Cheese (I'll making our favorite recipe, Laurie's Macaroni & Cheese)
Potato Casserole, again in a crockpot (hash brown little cubes, mixed with cream soup, sour cream, and cheese)
Brussel sprout salad (I've made this for the last couple of years and it is so good!)
Dinner rolls
Cookie platter
for dessert

Are your Christmas dinner plans coming along?

Menu Monday!

It's a busy week ahead. I'm still trying to figure out what to make for our family Christmas Eve dinner. In the meantime I need to focus on the week before this.

I've not done any Christmas baking this year. Which has been just fine. I guess I'm just needing a year off. :) I'll buy some goodies and maybe make a batch of fudge.

Now for the week ahead...

I made the pork chops I had on last weeks menu on Sunday. We have leftovers for tonight. Which is good. It's grocery shopping day and picking up last minute items before Christmas.

The rest of the week..

Salsa Chicken
This is one of those super easy, don't have to think too much recipes. Put into your crockpot chicken breasts, a can of beans, salsa, add some chopped up veggies (onion, carrots, celery), sprinkle in some taco seasonings or seasonings of your choice and cook on low for the day. Shred the chicken, serve in tortillas with lettuce and sour cream. Chips and salsa on the side.

Aidells Saus…

Recipe Review: Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

I posted about this recipe last week. It had been on my list of recipes to try for some time. I have to say, I loved it!! My family loved it too. I loved it because it took maybe 5 minutes to toss into the crockpot. My family loved it because it was so good. Win-Win...

It would make a super simple crockpot freezer meal as well. But considering how fast it goes together, to me it seems just as easy to put it together the day you are using it.

It does use frozen precooked meatballs. I buy mine from Costco in a 6# bag. They are very good and I can't say that for all frozen precooked meatballs I've tried.

The recipe calls for 3#'s of meatballs. Put those in the crockpot first, mix the sauce ingredients together (a can of pineapple and the juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, white vinegar & soy sauce). Pour over the meatballs and cook.

The recipe states to cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. However I found at the end of 4 hours my sauce had not thickened yet. I bumped …

Menu Monday!

This last week was busy. I had grandkids here for a couple days and that always keeps me on my toes! I made one change from the planned menu. I was planning on having a few extra people over for dinner and decided instead of my planned cranberry chicken I'd make meatloaf and a potato casserole. I served it with green beans and a salad.

In light of that the cranberry chicken is going to be tonight's dinner. I was going to cook it in my dutch oven, but I'll be busy grocery shopping and running errands today so I'm doing it in the crockpot. If it turns out good, I'll share it.

One meal from last week that was a huge hit with my family was the Hawaiian Meatballs. They were so easy to make. I'll share about this one tomorrow.

The rest of the week is looking like this:

Fish Sticks
Costco makes some really good quality fish sticks. My family always enjoys them. I'll make mac & cheese to with them and serve some veggies on the side.

Sausage Potato S…

Family traditions

Family traditions... how do they start? I once said.. if you do something once with your kids.. it will be a tradition and every year after that they will say.. Remember mom.. when??... Traditions are like glue.. they hold families together. Christmas is a great time to reflect on family traditions.

We had for many years a Christmas tree decorating tradition. I would make cheap store bought frozen pizza, have cocoa, eggnog, candy canes, Christmas cookies. Then we would decorate the tree. This tradition had its start very simply.

One year, we had 5 or was it 6 little ones?? We went out and bought a tree and brought it home. The kids were so excited. But the reality was that dad needed to get the tree in the stand and string the lights on before the kids could put the decorations on. But they all just stood there when the tree was brought in looking at dad and waiting for all the fun to begin. He felt a little stressed by it all. 
I jumped in and told the kids.. lets have som…

Menu Monday!

Last week's menu turned out well. I made a few changes. Instead of spaghetti I cooked a pork shoulder roast in my crockpot. It fit better with my busy day. I dumped a jar of my homemade pickled cabbage over it all and let it cook all night until the next afternoon. It was delish. I served it with rice.

When my enchilada night came around I still had pork roast left, not a lot, but enough that I did not want it to go to waste. I also had rice leftover. I chopped up the pork, added the rice and a can of chili and used this to fill my enchiladas. I made my basic enchilada sauce to spread over it all and topped it with cheese. I know it sounds strange, but it tasted great and the family ate it up.

I am always happy when I can creatively use up my leftovers. Just takes a little thinking “outside the box” sometimes. :)

This weeks menu seemed challenging. I felt like I had no ideas floating through my brain... Ha, ha.. But I looked around my freezer and pantry to see what I …

Homemade Gift Idea: Dish Towel Apron

I posted this idea a few years ago..  but it is so easy and so quick to make..  and is darn cute!!  Just thought I'd share it again!!  

Christmas is fast approaching! If you’re in need of a quick gift idea this dish towel apron may be just the project. It requires basic sewing skills and goes together very quickly. Using dish towels means no raw edges to think about!! :)

You will need 2 cotton dish towels that coordinate and some ½ or 1 inch twill tape.

I purchased my dish towels at Target. I got 5 in a package and the cost was $10. You will use 2 for the apron. I figured $4 an apron was pretty good (plus the cost of the twill tape, I had some on hand already). For my pack of 5 dish towels I got 2 aprons and an extra towel for my kitchen, or it could be put in a gift basket along with the apron.

You can find detailed instructions for the apron on this site:

Lay out your towels…

Sew them …

Internet Issues and Winter Weather

I'm back online!! Woo Hoo!! I changed my ISP on Monday, they said they would send the modem overnight.. and there would be no interruption in my service which was set to start on Tuesday... Unfortunately we had no internet access on Tuesday.. and my modem did not arrive.. I called.. they said it would be here on Wednesday.. It did arrive and then I had to wait for IT son #1 to come home.. he got it set up but could not get it to talk to the router.. waited for IT son #2 to come home... he got that working and we are back in business now. The only thing worse than being without internet for 2 days is no electricity.. thankfully I had that.. :)

I had to laugh a bit. Whenever I go on vacation I make of point of leaving the internet world behind and I don't have any issues with it. And to top it off, 20 years ago there was no internet in my house. But when I lose it I realize how much I appreciate it. It was a challenging couple of days. I'm thankful for all the i…

Thanksgiving, Memories and Remembering what is Most Important!!

Years ago I had a house full of young ladies all learning homemaking skills. They cooked and baked and cleaned right along beside me. On Thanksgiving we would get excited. We baked everything from scratch. The many pies, dinner rolls and stuffing were all baked right in our own kitchen. They loved it. Today they always talk about those years. It was part of what made our holiday special.

Today, fast forward many years and I have no daughters at home to help me make all those pies and dinner rolls and goodies. And I have more people to feed on a holiday dinner. There are spouses and grandchildren and boyfriends/girlfriends... and I am the one to make it all happen. So for the past few years, that is what I have done. This year I was stressing a bit. My oven failed on me, my microwave died (due to a brown out), and I have family coming for Thanksgiving! I looked at all my options.. and this is what I found... Costco … Costco makes amazing pies and awesome dinner rolls (and t…