Archive | February, 2011

Crockpot Beef Enchiladas

17 Feb

Crockpot Beef Enchiladas

I have been making Crockpot Beef Enchiladas since the early days of our marriage and they are still always a hit!  🙂  They also taste great as leftovers.  I often took them with me for lunch and reheated them in the microwave at Southern. 

In a skillet saute 1 pound ground beef (or turkey), 1 chopped onion, and 1/2 green pepper chopped.

Add in 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, 1/2 cup water, 1 can of kidney beans (or pinto) rinsed and drained, 1 can of black beans rinsed and drained, 1 t. chili powder, 1/2 t. cumin, 1/2 t. salt, dash of black pepper, dash of red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes.

Spray crockpot with cooking spray so it doesn't stick. 🙂 Layer 1 cup bean and meat mixture, one tortilla, and 1/4 cup cheese-I use cheddar, Colby Jack or a mixture. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. Cook on low 5-7 hours.

I usually purchase cheap tortillas that don't fit perfectly in my crockpot. I usually trim off a little of the tortilla to make it fit. Then I take all of the extras and use for the final layer. (I usually use a total of 4-5 8' tortillas.)

A Valentine’s Day to Remember

15 Feb

Eli dressed up and ready to go. Don't' you just LOVE the tie! 😉

Last week Brandon asked if he could take me out for Valentine’s day.  Honestly I wasn’t that excited about going out to eat because I hate waiting an hour or more to eat.  By the time you get seated you are almost too tired to eat.  I agreed and so all day long yesterday I thought we were going out to eat. 

Dressed up and just waiting on daddy to get home.

I thought all along that we were going out to eat.  Yesterday is Monday (the day I usually make bread).  If you’ve been to our house you know that we have these crazy, crazy smoke detectors that go off ALL the time.  After hitting the button on the smoke detectors literally about every two minutes for an hour I was fed up.  I decided to do the self clean on the oven thinking the whole time that we were going out to eat and it could finish up while we were gone. 

Brandon got home and got a funny look on his face when he saw that the oven was on.  I explained that I was cleaning it and it would just take a couple hours but no big deal since we had reservations somewhere.  Then the confession came.  Brandon admitted to having secrectly planned to cook dinner!  🙂 

The cutest Valentine's Day dates ever!

I immediately tried to turn the self clean off but learned that an oven can be pretty stubborn.  We had a great laugh about it!  We are definately the couple where the girl would sell her hair to buy the man a case for his pocket watch while the man would sell his pocket wash to buy a hair brush! 🙂 

I felt like a princess. Look at that spread. 🙂

Eventually after the oven cooled off Brandon got to work making an excellent meal.  🙂  I couldn’t have been more impressed.  I am so blessed to be married to such a great guy! 

Yummy

To top it all off Brandon even washed the dishes while I took a nice hot bath and read a book.  I am so spoiled and thankful for my great husband. 

For Valentine's Day Eli gave his mommy a super good long nap. 🙂

In case you are wondering Brandon received some candy and a framed picture of Eli all dressed up in his Valentine's Day outfit! 🙂

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Card Idea

13 Feb

Our quick and easy Valentine's cards for family this year.

Elijah and I had so much fun making these the other day!  It was the first time we played with paint.  They worked okay but I think they would work even better if your child was slightly older (2 and up).  😉  To make these you will need pencil, pen, paper, 2 colors of acrylic paint (or other paint), and 2 paper plates. 

I cut a heart out of cardstock (blue paper) and then traced it on each of the cards.

 

Since we don't actually own any kid paint yet I purchased 2 bottles of acrylic paint for about 50 cents each. I used a paper plate to squirt a little paint in and then dipped in Eli's hands (one at a time). Then he took a nice bath. 🙂

After stamping both hands on the card we wrote a personalized message on the cards.  Then we erased the pencil lines. 🙂

We also made a get well card for Brandon's Papaw. He recently had heart surgery.

Travel High Chair Take 2

12 Feb

This portable high chair works great for chairs that do not have slats.

After taking Elijah with us to our first small group I realized that our old style portable high chair was not going to work.  It was a high chair that was wrapped around slats in a chair.  See picture below:

The first portable high chair-my favorite.

The reason the above high chair didn’t work is because the chairs  at our friend’s house do not have slats.  Since we are at their house regularly for small group (a couple times a month) I decided to make something that would work on their chairs.   We eat dinner at their house so this was important to me.  🙂  

They have these super cool new chairs that are just solid in the back (meaning there are new slats).  They do have a slat along the back so I came up with this with the help of this tutorial.  I did make some changes.  Instead of using ribbon as suggested I made 4 straps.  Two for the back of the chair to make it fit securely to any chair and two to wrap around the child to secure him to the chair.

Cut 2 pieces of fabric 28" X 3 1/4". Fold each in half lengthwise. With right sides together sew along long side and 1 short side. Turn inside out and press.

The ties made above are used on the back of the chair instead of the ribbon.  To make ties to go around the child’s body cut a piece of fabric 80″ X 3″.  It might be cheaper to buy the ribbon if you are using all new material.  Since I was using an old sheet I had plenty of fabric to make the ties.  With my wiggly son I was a little nervous about the ribbon.  If he were older (and I had ribbon on hand) I probably would have used that. 

Between the two portable high chairs I have made I prefer the first portable high chair .  It is much simpler in design, easier to sew, and a little quicker to use.  It also takes up a little less room in a diaper bag.  We have found the first one to work on every occasion except one.  Start noticing the next time you are at a family or friend’s house to see what type of high chair would work best for your situation.  🙂

Elijah loved his bumbo seat!

If you have a new baby (or expecting) you might want to look into the Bumbo seat (pictured below).  You can purchase an optional tray to go with it which I highly recommend.  Not only did we find it to be a great portable high chair and seat when Elijah was younger, but we used it daily at our house.  We took it on vacation, out to eat in restaurants, to a week at youth camp, and to Wed. night church suppers among other things.  Babies can sit in it at 4 months old which is great since they can’t sit in a regular high chair until they can sit up.  For Elijah this took a while. The only bad part about the seat was that Elijah outgrew it by about 9 months because his thighs were too big!  I would say it would work even longer for skinny babies.  🙂

Handstitched Felt Love Banner

12 Feb
The Love Banner

A couple of weeks  ago I saw this fun tutorial on making a Valentine’s Day banner.  I had decided last weekend that I was done making Valentine’s Day Decor after making a mantle banner and wreath. 🙂   Then the other day I happened upon it again and at Brandon’s encouragement I decided to make it.  What do you think?  My favorite part is the love birds.  😉  Unlike most of my projects this one did NOT require a sewing machine at all.  It is 100% hand stitched and was quite fun.  The tutorial for this is also quite good.  You can print off a pattern to use to cut out the pieces.  (This was great for me because I am quite the pattern gal.)  It even explains how to do the different stitches if you are new to embroidery.  Let me know if you decide to make one too! 🙂

Menu Planning Monday Feb 7-13

7 Feb

This week we are looking forward to enjoying some meals with family.  We will also be keeping it fairly simple this week to allow more time for some spring organizing and closet cleaning.  🙂 

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Apple Cranberry Muffins, Smoothie for Brandon.  (He takes one with him a couple times a week drinks it in the car on the way to work.)
  • Lunch: Chicken, Veggie, and Biscuits Casserole,  Salad, Herb Bread.  
  • Dinner: Wild Rice and Turkey Crockpot Dish, Veggies, Herb Bread
  • To Do: Make Yogurt, Bake Herb Bread, Thaw Chicken.

February

  • Breakfast: Yogurt, Blueberries, Homemade Granola
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner with Bryan and Renee (menu subject to change) 😉 : Baked Herb Chicken, Lemon-Basil Carrots, Green Beans, Bread, Apple Pie?
  • To Do: Bake Apple Pie

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Muffins, Cottage Cheese, Fruit.
  • Lunch: Chicken and Noodle Veggie Casserole
  • Dinner: Flavorful Fish, Mrs. Karen Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes.
  • To Do: Thaw 1/3 pound Hamburger

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Orange Spice Rice Pudding
  • Lunch: Hamburger Macaroni Skillet, Veggies.
  • Dinner: leftovers
  • To Do: Thaw hamburger, sausage.

Friday:

  • Breakfast: French Toast, Bacon, Fruit.
  • Lunch: Beef Enchiladas
  • Dinner: Lentil Rice Casserole

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Apple Puffed Oven Pancake
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Beef Barley Stew, Grilled Cheese

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: Cream of Wheat and Fruit
  • Lunch: Fettucine Alfredo with Broccoli and Chicken, Carrots
  • Dinner: Chilli, Buttermilk Cornbread (at the bottom of the page), Veggie Sticks and Dip

 In case you are wondering our menu often changes in regards to when we have a certain meal.  🙂  For example, sometimes we decide to make Thursdays meal on Wednesday night instead.  The menu is great because I don’t have to dream things up on the spot.  I look at it in the morning and know exactly what we are having for supper or if that doesn’t sound good at the moment I’ll just switch it out for another day.

Hoppin’ Johns and Buttermilk Cornbread

7 Feb

How can black-eyed peas taste this good? They sound awful. 🙂

This past week we ventured out yet once again to try a new inexpensive, yummy, healthy recipe.  This delicious dish has only 260 calories per serving and serves eight so enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound black-eyed peas: you will find these in the grocery store in the dry bean section.  (They taste a lot like navy beans I think.) 
  • 1 medium ham hock: (you could also a chicken carcass I would think.)
  • 8 c. Water
  • 1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. basil
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice.

Rinse peas and soak in water in a large stockpot overnight.  The next day combine all of the ingredients except the rice.  Mix well and simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes.  Remove the ham hock and remove the meat.  Place the meat back in the pot along with the rice.  Simmer about 1 hour or until the rice in tender.  Throw out the bay leaf.  Serve with cornbread-recipe below.

Buttermilk Cornbread

This cornbread is so yummy I have made it 3 times this past week!  I’m sure you will enjoy it too. 

In a bowl combine: 1 c. buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk take a cup of milk and add 1 T. lemon juice.  Allow to stand 5 minutes and you have buttermilk!), 1 beaten egg, 2 T. oil, 1/2 c. cornmeal.  Let soak 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9″ iron skillet or pie pan.  Then add: 3/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 T. baking powder, and 1/2 t. salt.  Pour into pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Valentine Wreath

6 Feb

So simple yet so much fun!

Not only was this wreath lots of fun to make but it was easy.  🙂  For some reason wreaths have always intimidated me.  (This is only the second one I’ve ever made the first being n 4th grade.)  I wish I could say I came up with this idea but alas it is not mine.  If you would like to make one check out Our Best Bites for the tutorial.  Instead of the felt sheets I purchased 8 inches of 72″ felt by the yard in 3 colors which was on sale at JoAnns. I also used about 12 glue sticks so make sure to buy accordingly!  I purchased the foam wreath from JoAnns and since they came in white I didn’t have to paint it. 😉

Valentine’s Day Garland

5 Feb

Easy Valentine's Day Decor

Are you looking for an easy, inexpensive Valentine’s Day craft to decorate your home?  Try your hand at this simple banner made from scrap fabric.  I made mine out of woven cotton scraps but it would be even easier to make out of felt since felt does not fray.  You will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of background fabric (pink swirl)
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of fabric or purchase 1/8 yard of solid fabric for lettering
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of interfacing or purchase 1/8 yard
  • 2 1/2 yards of ribbon, string or rick rack

Either draw or print out the letters L O V E. Mine are about 4" high. Pin them to your solid fabric and interfacing and cut out.

Take your background fabric and fold it so that it is longer.  (If you purchased your fabric this will be the opposite way that it is currently folded.)  Along the fold cut out 6 rectangles 5″ X 8″.  You can either leave them square along the short side or make them pointed like mine. 

If you are using a woven cotton fabric you will need to turn under all of the sides 1/4". If you use felt you can skip this step.

This is what it should look like when you are finished sewing the edges. Press with a hot iron. Fold in half and press again.

Iron the interfacing to each letter. Then center the letter onto the front side of the background fabric. Using a small zig zag stitch sew right along the edge.

Take your ribbon and sew the first pendant on at 16″.  This will give you plenty of length to tie the banner to something.  Then sew each of the other consecutive letters 6″ apart. 

Hang up and enjoy your lovely Valentine's Day decor.

Split Pea Soup

3 Feb

Quick and easy Split Pea Soup

If you haven’t ever had split pea soup you must try it.  Don’t let the name scare you off! 🙂  This is delicious, nutritious, and quite inexpensive to make.  It takes a matter of minutes to throw this in the crockpot which is perfect for a busy day.

In a large crockpot combine:

  • 1 pound split peas
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery (you can actually leave the leaves on)
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. cooked chicken or ham. 

Cook on low about 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  Before serving puree with immersion blender.  You could also simmer on the stove for 3 hours if you don’t have a crockpot.  I think split pea soup is usually served with ham meat in it, but I found that this was just as good with chicken. 

Elijah loves Split Pea Soup! It was much easier to just let him drink his from a straw. 🙂