Monday, November 29

Hold Me

I put our tree up during Peanut's nap today...

 pray for unending patience as I teach her not to touch. 

Turkey Rice Soup

This a great way to use some of those turkey leftovers.  I am sure there are a lot of those out there.  I divided the rest of our turkey up last night, putting most of it in the freezer, but saving some for our White Enchiladas later this week.  And while getting 7 + meals out of one bird is nice (plus about 10 quarts of turkey stock), I am ready for some variation.  Combine that with the fact that our temps haven't been above freezing in over a week--well, this soup is just what the doctor ordered.


Turkey Rice Soup

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks, yes, I know....but it's way better for than the other stuff)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup flour
2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) turkey stock or chicken stock
2 cups cooked turkey, shredded or chopped
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup cream
Salt and Pepper

In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium heat and saute carrots, celery, onion until tender.  Add in flour.  Allow flour to cook for a minute or two and add in the turkey/chicken stock.  Stir to incorporate completely.  When the broth starts to thicken, add in the turkey and rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  
Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap

Sunday, November 28

Menu Plan Monday

Thanksgiving was fairly quiet around here....except for when dinner was ready nearly 2 hours ahead of schedule (read: nap time).  We decided to just go ahead and keep her up and Peanut was getting anxious  (because we never feed her) because she was hungry now 

Then it wasn't so quiet.

But other than that, the day was pretty uneventful.  A nice quiet day.  I hope everybody had a good day as well. 

In other news: we did follow the menu plan last week--let's see if I can do it again!

Sunday-Turkey Soup (recipe to come tomorrow--a yummy way to use some of that leftover turkey!), dinner rolls

Monday-Taco Salad

Tuesday-Pork Fried Rice, Pork Subgum

Wednesday-White Enchiladas, Spanish Rice

Thursday-BLT Carbonara,  Green Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Friday-Grilled Cheese, Fruit


For other menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, November 24


I have most of my stuff done for tomorrow.  I have my homemade green bean casserole made (no cans here!) and I just have to make the onion straws before I put it in the oven tomorrow.  The horseradish carrots are prepped and all my stuffing items are chopped and awaiting assembly tomorrow morning.  I even made my own bread and dried it out.  I know!  The potatoes are cubed in water, awaiting their boiling water fate right before the turkey is done.  The cranberry sauce is done as well.  The pumpkin pie (no topping though, just sweetened cream) is baking as I type and let me tell you that 40 minutes is a lie.  It's been in there for over 60 minutes and it's still not done.  But it smells wonderful and I am excited to taste my first ever homemade pumpkin pie.  Let me clarify--I've had homemade pumpkin pie, I've just never made it myself.  And can I just share that it was nearly impossible to find a pie recipe that didn't call for a can of sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk?  But then I got smart and looked on and looked at what the "celebrity" chefs do and they all do it the old fashioned way, so I was know, that whole avoiding processed foods thing again. 

Our little Peanut got to go out in the snow today.  She's a funny little girl--she's one that is gung ho about everything.  Eating, playing, running enands {errands}--you name it, she loves it.  But the snow?  Well, she didn't hate it by any means, but she didn't love it either.  Could be 'cause is so darned cold out there too, though, so I don't know...but I captured some cute pictures regardless.

I just talked to my mom and they are getting ready for their big day tomorrow too.  And I am little sad, because we aren't able to be there, but overall, I am just thankful.  I am thankful the rest of my family can share the day together.  I am thankful that our little family can share our day together.  I am thankful for the big meal that we are able to have.  I am thankful for our nice, warm home.  I am thankful we are all healthy (minus my sinus infection that is taking it's sweet time going away--but I am much better, so I am thankful for that as well).  I am thankful for the so many little things we take for granted.   I am thankful for so much.

Simply put, we are blessed. 

And I am grateful. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Tuesday, November 23

It is cold here

As I sit here typing this, it is 8 degrees outside.  And the expected low tonight is -3 degrees.  

Now that's cold. 

We didn't get a chance to play out in the snow today.  We ran errands after tumbling class and by the time we were done, it was lunch time and then it was nap time and by the time she woke up, it was dark out.  Yes, I am blessed--she still takes a three hour nap.  I know.  But I am sure Daddy and Peanut will venture out tomorrow after breakfast, with me at a safe distance, taking pictures.  (Read: standing inside the sliding glass door, taking pictures.)

Peanut received Thanksgiving gifts from both sets of grandparents this week, which she has been having so much fun with.  My mom sent her a slew of stickers which she has been enjoying endlessly, taking them off the paper and sticking them on herself or us.  And then she takes them off us and puts them back on the paper.  And the cycle starts over again.

My mother in law also sent her a plush Larry and she has been loving him to death.  Literally--she hugs him really hard.  My MIL works at a Christian book store and was able to find one after I dropped the hint.  Who am I kidding?  I asked her if she could find one.  Thank you so much, D. 

We are definitely thankful for our little precious Peanut and our family who loves us. 

Cranberry Sauce or Relish?

I apologize as this might be a little late to make for the big day on Thursday, but if it inspires just one person, then I've done my job.  'Cause I'm so inspirational and all.  

My husband was never a fan of cranberry sauce before he met me.  I made my specialty--fresh cranberry sauce the year we were engaged--and I practically had to twist his arm to try some.  He told me, "I DON'T like cranberry sauce."  And I batted my eyelashes and asked, "Please?  Try mine?"  And he did.  And he was in love.  He decided that he did like cranberry sauce--and not just because he was marrying me.

(Let me tell you folks--this is the man who is not afraid to make suggestions about my cooking.  He's constantly telling me how I can improve in my craft.  However these suggestions usually entail adding more spice, more kick, more umph! and then I kindly remind him that Peanut and I have to eat it too, so he can add it to his own helping--which he does.  Liberally.)  

But this sauce or relish?  It's really that good.  And it's sooo easy--I really don't understand why you would ever buy the canned stuff.  Unless of course you are just a big fan of the log of cranberry sauce.  And this won't help you if that's the case. 

To be perfectly honest, the recipe isn't really mine--it's the recipe on the back of the bag.  Except I do tinker with it a little bit.  My mama taught me a trick years ago and it definitely works for me.  For a thicker sauce, decrease the water by half.  That's it.  You get a nice, thick, yummy Thanksgiving condiment.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 cup of sugar (I used dehydrated cane juice)
zest of 1 orange

Mix water and sugar in saucepan over medium heat.  Allow sugar to dissolve completely and bring mixture to a boil.  Immediately add in cranberries and bring back to a boil.  Berries will start to burst--this is what you want.  Stir occasionally and once nearly all berries have burst, stir in the orange zest.  Simmer another minute or two and that's it.  It's done.  Pour into a *heat resistant bowl and allow to cool completely before you refrigerate.  Once cooled, refrigerate until you serve. 

*I failed to do this the first year I was on my own.  I poured the hot sauce into a crystal bowl.  And this probably wouldn't have been that big of deal, expect my little apartment was cold.  And that made for a cold, crystal bowl.  We all know what happens when you mix hot and cold when it comes to glass/crystal.  Yes, it shattered.  And I cried.  Literally.  But it was because my mom gave me the bowl and that broke my heart.  Plus, I had to clean up the cranberries dripping off the counter and the shattered glass and go to the store for more berries.   So learn your lesson from me--just put them in a metal or plastic bowl until it's time to serve.

Trust me. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap at Premeditated Leftovers

Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday  
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap 
Rock 'n Share Wednesday at the Shady Porch 

Monday, November 22

Chipotle Beef Chili with Lime Crema

Outside our bedroom window it looks like this right now:

and from the looks of it, a good portion of the nation looks that way too--or at least the cold part.  Our expected high tomorrow is a whopping 18 15 degrees with a low of 1  -3 degrees (updated forecast!).  Yeah, soup sounds good right now. 

This is one of my husband's favorites.  In fact, it's one of my favorites too.  Now that we have a freezer full of beef, I can plan to make it a lot more.  It comes from that cookbook of the cooking classes my mom took years ago, but I have adapted it so much that I think I can safely call it my own--but the idea for it certainly didn't come from me!

The soup in of itself is really yummy, but I think the lime crema is what makes this.  And although we didn't have either when I made this last week, garnishing with avocados and cilantro is absolutely. wonderful. as well.

Chipotle Beef Chili

1 lb. beef stew meat
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. chili powder (or more)
28 oz. beef broth ~ about 8 cups
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp. minced canned chipotle chilies*
2 cans black beans, drained ~ about 3 cups (I used red beans this time and it was fine--didn't realize I was out of black)
Crushed tortilla chips

Mix everything in the slow cooker, except the tortilla chips.  Set temperature according to what time in needs to be ready--I mix ours up after breakfast and let cook until dinner time, which is usually around 6-8 hours.  Stir occasionally.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over crushed tortilla chips.  Top with lime crema and garnish with avocado and chopped cilantro, if desired.  

Lime Crema

1 1/2 cups sour cream
Zest and juice of one lime

Mix together completely.  I do this when I put the soup in the slow cooker, that way the flavors have melded when it comes time to serve.

*For the rest of of the can--I think they are usually sold in seven ounce cans--I throw the whole can in the food processor and puree it.  I portion out tablespoon amounts on wax paper on a cookie sheet, and freeze.  Once entirely frozen, I stick all the portions in a zip top bag and store in the freezer--no waste and they are pre-portioned the next time you need some. I have never used a whole can at once, but that's just me.


This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  
Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap

Sunday, November 21

Menu Plan Monday

I have been battling one bear of a sinus infection that has literally put me on the couch for the last three days, so I will make this short and sweet:

Sunday- Parmesan Chicken, baked potatoes Costco deli mac and cheese.  Hey don't judge--I was not cooking tonight.

Monday-Linguine with clam sauce, green salad

Tuesday- Nacho's

Wednesday-Baked Potato Bar

Thursday-Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, horseradish carrots, green bean casserole (all from scratch--my mama's recipe), cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie with sweetened cream



After all that, I think two nights off is okay, don't you?   For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Monday, November 15

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

I made a pumpkin ice cream last fall and it was quite tasty.   It was however, a little rich (even for me!).  It was an egg based recipe (it was cooked first) but I don't typically don't care for ice cream bases that have egg.  Not a french vanilla fan at all--but Vanilla Bean?  Absolutely.  Plus (and this is the primary reason), I don't like having to cook my ice cream bases.

Because I am lazy. 

And impatient. 

When you cook an ice cream base, you have to allow it to fully cool before making the ice cream.  The other night, when I had a hankering for pumpkin ice cream, and I wanted it sooner rather than later.  And I certainly didn't want to wait the 2-3 hours for it cool.

So I winged {wung?} it.  And it is definitely tasty enough to share with you. 

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar (I used dehydrated cane juice)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (the real stuff)
3/4 cup puréed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix whole milk and sugars until sugars are fully dissolved.  Add in remaining ingredients and mix until combined.  (Note: although the pumpkin is puréed, there will be some pumpkin pulp.  You can strain the final mixture through a sieve before processing if you desire a smoother texture.  But remember-- that pulp is good for you!)  Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and process according to manufacturers directions. 

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday

Faithful Provisions Pumpkin Recipe Exchange
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap  
Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap
We Are THAT Family's Works For Me Wednesday

Sunday, November 14

Menu Plan Monday

I actually did it again.  I followed the menu plan two weeks in a row.  For reals.  Maybe I can go for the trifecta?  Well for me, all bets are off...but stranger things have happened.  We'll see...

And have I mentioned that I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week?  Time to get that shopping done!  Until then, this is what we will be having...

Sunday-Spaghetti and green salad

Monday-Pork Chops (not sure what kind yet), sweet potatoes, green salad

Tuesday-Beef Enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, Spanish Rice

Wednesday-Chipotle Beef Stew with Lime Crema (recipe to come next week), Cornbread


Friday-Pizza with homemade sauce and homemade crust, green salad


For other great menu ideas, please visit the Organizing Junkie

Saturday, November 13

Mama's Girl

Peanut likey the Rocky Road ice cream...

but really, what's not to like?

Monday, November 8

Potato Soup

This soup is amazing.  Years ago, I remember telling my friend, Sarah, how much I used to love the potato soup at Tony Roma's.  That's when Sarah revealed to me, "My mom has a really good recipe for potato soup."  I think I must of called her mom immediately and got the recipe from from her--and it was like she gave me the world.  Okay, maybe not the world, but it was (and still is) a real treat, nonetheless.

That was years ago and I don't even follow the recipe any longer.  Does anyone else do that?  You've made a recipe so many times that you don't even bother to pull it out....and somewhere along the way it just sort of becomes your own?  The key is the cream cheese--it helps to add that yummy thickness that makes potato soup soooo good. 

Potato Soup - adapted from Sarah's mom

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock (that's six cups for all you folks out there like me)
2 1/2 pounds potatoes (I use baby red potatoes because I am completely lazy and I don't like peeling potatoes, plus the skins are good for you), cubed
(about) 2 cups of milk
6 oz.cream cheese, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

For garnish:

Shredded cheese
Chives or green onions
Crumbled bacon

In a large stockpot, saute the onions in the butter over medium heat until they are nice and soft.  Add in flour and allow to cook through--about 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the chicken stock and add in the potatoes.  Simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender but still hold their shape.

In a separate bowl, ladle out about 2 cups of the broth and add in the cubed cream cheese.  Stir to incorporate both and then use a stick blender to fully blend together.  (Note: you can also use a standard blender or food processor for this, but again, I am lazy and this is just less to clean up!)  The mixture will be thick and creamy.  Pour this back into stock pot along with the milk.   Allow this to heat through and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This a perfect, cold winter's day meal.  Garnish with shredded cheese, chives or green onions, and bacon if desired and serve with crusty bread and a side salad for a complete meal.

Note:  This is the same recipe I also use for clam chowder--simply add in two cans of minced clams, or better yet, about 8 oz. of fresh, minced clams as well as 6 oz of crumbled bacon and there you have it--Clam Chowder!  


This recipe/kitchen tip is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap 
Home and Pantry Recipe Swap
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap 

Sunday, November 7

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I think this just might be a first.  I actually made everything on the menu from last week.  The menu for this week is brand repeats.  (Insert patting self on back here)   I am very impressed!  Let's see if I can go for a back to back--probably won't happen, but a girl can try, right?


Monday-Chicken Pasta Toss (I'll be using some of my pesto in place of the fresh basil), Green Salad

Tuesday-Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Horseradish Carrots

Wednesday-Shredded Beef Quesadillas (using leftover roast), black beans

Thursday-Italian Wedding Soup, Crusty  Bread



For other great menu ideas, please visit the Organizing Junkie

Monday, November 1

Everywhere a Quack, Quack

It was such a fun weekend.  As I had mentioned previously, my sister came to visit on Saturday, and Peanut was thrilled!  Have I ever mentioned that she LOVES having new playmates?  Well, she does.  And the Peanut was excited too.  

My sister has an iPad and she purchased some apps for Peanut to play around with.  It is amazing what kids will catch on to with very little instruction.  There are times when this is good and times when this is not so good.  There is this puzzle game where you put together puzzles of fruits and different animals.  My sister showed the Peanut how to do a handful of pieces and that was all she needed.  She absolutely loved it and she couldn't get enough of it!  I don't know what impressed me more, the fact that Peanut could do the puzzles or the fact that she pretty much has mastered the use of a touch screen.  Truly amazing.  And those iPads....aren't those fun little toys....maybe someday

Sunday, of course was Halloween.  We don't really "trick or treat"--I am not too much into the whole idea behind it and let's face it, I am a mean mom, and I never very rarely give the Peanut candy.  It's not so much the ingredients I am worried about (although those are terrible too) but I worry about her teeth and candy sticking to them for hours on end after she's eaten it and I don't want her getting cavities, etc, etc.  So we only stopped by our neighbor's house right next door and our landlords. 

Yesterday afternoon, I called my landlord to see if we could stop by when there was still daylight because I wanted to get some pictures of the Peanut.  They have this wonderful backyard that I knew would provide a beautiful backdrop for some pictures of the Peanut in her costume.  I hesitated about calling (I didn't know if that was rude or not, but my Mom said that she didn't think so) and I am so glad I asked.  I was pretty happy with how the pictures turned out....but I let those do the rest of the talking.


And can we just give a round of applause to Grandma?

Yes, she made the costume.

Have I ever mentioned how talented she is?  I might have.  Once or twice.

I was having issues finding a costume deemed suitable for a two year old (nothing scary, nothing too grown up, something absolutely cute....) for Peanut.  And we all know I have absolutely NO shame in imposing myself on my Mom and asking her to whip something I asked.  And my Mom obliged.  Isn't it absolutely darling?

Thanks so much, Mom. 

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I had seen the idea for this recipe in a magazine or online or on TV within that last couple weeks.  But I couldn't possibly make it easy on myself and write the recipe down or at least where I could go find it, so I had to wing it.  It wasn't hard and I think the pizza had a great mix of flavors, but I thought it was a little dry.   

Just sayin--I know we typically only show our wonderful successes in the recipe blog world, but there is always room to improve our cooking and techniques--our craft so to speak--and I could always use some constructive feedback! 

I think the next time I do it (there will be a next time--it was good enough to attempt again!) I will add in some cream to the pesto to make it a creamy pesto sauce--plus it will add an extra layer of flavor...and calories.  But you could also go for the red rather than the white--tomatoes and basil are always good too or you could add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil...decisions, decisions.

But in case I didn't completely scare you all off and you still wanted to give it a go, here it is....

Chicken Pesto Pizza

1 pizza crust (I did whole wheat)

2/3 cup pesto
1/3 cup cream or pizza sauce (I will be doing this next time!)
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced (tip:  the jar from Costco is really inexpensive and they come already julianned--is that a word?)
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread pizza crust in pan or baking stone.   Mix pesto and cream or pizza sauce and spread evenly over the dough.  Layer chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and cheese evenly over sauce.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until pizza is cooked through. 


This recipe/kitchen tip is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap 

What do you think?  What should I do differently next time? 


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