Eat New Round 2

Well my family survived being guinea pigs for a week!  If they are honest, I think they might say they actually enjoyed it!

In my last post, “Eat New Challenge,” I detailed recipes that we were going to try for supper last week, along with providing links to the recipes.

What were the results?  Well, since you asked….

Sunday – The copy cat recipes for KFC Extra Crispy Chicken and Cheddar Bay Biscuits were tasty as was the jalapeno corn dip.

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Sunday is also the day I prepared the Vanilla Bean Cream Pie.  Let me just tell you, this is THE best pie I have tasted in a very, very, very looooonnnnggggg time. Everyone wanted a second piece and was asking for another pie to be made!  So it is definitely a keeper!

Monday – Corndogs – these were good, and I don’t like hotdogs much.  I used white coarse ground cornmeal, instead of the yellow specified in the recipe, because it’s what I had and what I use.  I didn’t want to buy something new for just this single use.  I found the procedure easy and using a glass to batter the hotdogs, was complete genius!

Tuesday – The Crockpot Carnitas were one of my favorites for the week.  Super easy and super tasty.  No complaints in this house at all.  I decided to serve it with some Mexican fried rice.  The recipe was pretty straight forward and was easier than I anticipated.  You can find that recipe here.

Wednesday – The Cuban Beef tied with the Carnitas this week for me, for being the best.  It had a few more steps than I was prepared for, especially when preparing a side dish that needed a little babysitting, but it was amazing.  And, surprisingly, this was my kids’ favorite dish of the week, beating out corndogs!  Can you believe it??  The Avocado fries were not as tasteful as I hoped for.  I believe they have great potential, but I couldn’t put my finger on what ingredient I would want to add to give it a kick.  Some may find them excellent, but for my family, we will probably pass next time.  A good result that did come from making these, is learning the flour, then egg, then panko breading procedure.  I am planning on trying this to create baked onion rings!

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup.  Delicious, easy to make, and best of all, my kids devoured kale like there was no tomorrow!  Next time this graces my table, it will be accompanied by some crusty garlic bread and tossed salad.

Friday and Saturday are our unpredictable days and so meals are always prepared with our pantry/freezer staples.

One thing I learned in trying new things is it is hard to plan side dishes that compliment the meal (e.g. Thursday).  I think this is something I may develop a better skill for as we continue our “Eat New Challenge.”  I don’t have really picky eaters, but even so, I also learned this past week that it’s even easier to have them try something new when my husband and I are joining in!

Although the week has already begun, I want to share with you what’s for supper….

Sunday:  White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Monday – White Bean Soup with Bacon

Tuesday – LEFTOVERS 🙂 Easy peasy

Wednesday – Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Thursday – Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

This week’s dessert is Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes!

I’m really looking forward to the soup tonight.  It’s 64 degrees here and breezy, so it’ll be the perfect meal on this fall-like day  Plus it has bacon, it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is involved!

What about you?  Up for trying something new?  Join me in the “Eat New Challenge!”  Comment below with a new recipe you’re trying, I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for dropping by ~Kim~

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Anyone Want Waffles?

“YES!!!”  was the answer I received to this question, from all three boys, almost in unison.

We had some milder temps here yesterday, accompanied by some freezing rain.  The result?  Our schools were on a two-hour delay.  That means the bus doesn’t pick the kids up until 9!  Just enough time to prepare them a tastier breakfast than the normal cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.

I don’t know about you but I love cooking with buttermilk.  Pancakes, bread, biscuits, and even cake, all taste amazing with buttermilk as an ingredient! 

One thing that I think everyone should have in their recipe stash, is a tasty take on buttermilk waffles.  So to help you with that, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to share my recipe with you.

Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk waffles

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick of butter, melted (or 1/2 oil, in a pinch)
  • 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon of packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • optional ingredients – 3/4 tsp vanilla or maple extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat eggs, then add the remainder of the ingredients.  Stir until it’s just smooth.  Don’t over do it! 

Pour prepared batter onto a preheated waffle iron.  If you would like to (and who wouldn’t) sprinkle some mini chocolate chips onto the batter before closing the iron, or even some chopped nuts.  Or blueberries….

Blueberry Waffles

Yum!

I have a 6 inch Belgian waffle iron.  A single batch of this recipe makes approximately four for us.  I normally make a double or triple batch.  Then the kids reheat the leftovers in the toaster to have for breakfast throughout the week!

Buttermilk Waffle

If you’ve never make a recipe with buttermilk, I think you should give it a try.  It definitely adds to the flavor and texture of whatever you make.  A great benefit of buttermilk is even after it is opened, it still keeps for a good while.  Just close that lid up tight! 

Are you looking for more tasty sweet breakfast treats?  Check out these past posts:

Bananas for Breakfast

Fancy Banana Bread

Do you have a post you made about a great breakfast treat?  Post a link in the comments!

If you don’t already, follow me by email by entering your email address on the side of the page.  If you’d rather, jump on over and like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by ~Kim~

 

THE Best Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just over a week away. Eight days, if you’re counting. My kids are. I am too! This time of year is so full of traditions. I think that’s why I love it so much!

Making Christmas cookies has been a tradition I have participated in ever since I was little.  I can remember helping my Mom and Granny making them, and now I make them with my own kids!

I’m guessing if you’d type in “Christmas cookie” for an internet search, it would probably get millions of hits! That could be overwhelming!!  So to help you out a little, I thought I’d share with you my favorite cookie recipes of all time.

<< The following links take you to a printable copy of the recipe or the web page the recipe originates from.  I do not claim any of these to be my own creation, but they were passed to me as a handwritten recipe from my Mom.  The origin is unknown>>

 

Pecan Tassies

Peanut Butter Cookies – I have tried many, but this is still the best.  I guess Jiff might know a think or two about peanut butter after all 😉

Walnut Frosties

Sugar Cookies – These are the best to make with the kids, they LOVE to cut them out and of course decorate them!

Fudge – This isn’t “real” fudge but it tastes pretty darn close, plus it’s super easy!  It is a great versatile recipe.  You can omit the nuts, or you can change it up by using different flavored chips.  I’ve already tried it with peanut butter chips, and a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter!  I bet it would be amazing with some mint and chocolate mixed!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – the use of pudding in this recipe makes it unique.  They stay thick even after they cool.  If you still have trouble keeping the cookies from flattening out, use 1/2 cup solid shortening and 1/2 cup butter, in place of a whole cup of butter!

IMG_0304Walnut Frosties - Christmas Cookies

I wish I had more cookie pictures to share with you, but my kids and I are planning on baking Sunday and Monday.  They are so much looking forward to it, maybe more than I am!

 

Whether you’re leaving cookies out for Santa or giving them as a gift, there’s just something special about homemade Christmas cookies.  I hope one of these recipes catches your eye, maybe even inspires you to start a new baking tradition in your family.  If you try any, I’d love to hear how they turn out!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?  Would you share?

I Need Marshmallows in My Hot Chocolate

Brrr!  It’s still “fall” here in the midwest, but you couldn’t tell it by looking outside.

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Old Man Winter has decided to make an early appearance.  Which, quite frankly, happens pretty much every year.  The only people who seem surprised by it are the meteorologists.

Having snow for us, often leads to the start of the school day being delayed, or in the case of both Friday and today, canceled.  A snow day can only mean:  snow ball fights, building snow forts, sledding….and getting cold!  And what better to remedy the cold of wintry weather, than a steaming cup of hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows!

But, what do you do when you don’t have marshmallows?  I don’t know about you but I need marshmallows in my hot chocolate!!

Well, it is something I’ve always wanted to make.

But, I don’t have corn syrup.  Most recipes call for corn syrup. 😦

So I turned to the web for a recipe using only sugar.  Yay for me, I found one!!

The recipe I used is on food.com, you can find it here.

I followed the instructions word for word (almost!).  It was easy….and I took pictures to further illustrate the steps.

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn't sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn’t sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

After transfering the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After transferring the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this.  I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this. I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After it was poured in the pan.  Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

After it was poured in the pan. Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

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I’ve decided after today, that hot chocolate is waaaay better with homemade marshmallows!  It was unbelievably easy to make these, I really hope you give it a try!

Maybe next time I’ll try mint extract instead of vanilla….or maybe strawberry….or….

What do you do to warm up from the winter’s cold?

P.S. Here is a recipe for AAAA-mazing hot chocolate!

Who I Am: November Edition

Happy fall everyone!  I live in the midwest and the leaves have changed, are falling, and making a colorful carpet on the ground.  I hope you are all doing well!

I had planned on making this my December topic, but due to recent events I have decided to do it now.  I had originally picked December because it is the month the birth of my Savior is celebrated, and it just seemed fitting.  By now, I’m sure most of you figured out, that I am a Christian!  First I want to talk a little about that, then I move on to why I moved the topic up to November.

I was raised Catholic, sort of.  I went to a Catholic school from first through eighth grade.  I learned the “rules” and attended church with my class.  On occasion I attended church with my mom.

I believed, but my faith wasn’t very strong.  I prayed, but rarely.  I was lost, so to speak.

I actually didn’t start attending church on a regular basis until I was about 17 or 18.  I have my husband (then boyfriend) to thank for that.  I grew a little in my faith, but still wasn’t there.  It planted the seed.

As time passed, I was married, children came.  I knew I was blessed.  I prayed more often.  I knew there was something more to this life.  I knew I needed to be closer to God.

For me, spiritual growth didn’t come from going to church.  For some, this works, but I didn’t find Him just by walking into a specific building once a week.

It wasn’t something others could do for me.

My faith grew when I decided to let God in my heart.  When I opened my eyes to all He has done and continues to do in my life.

I began reading the Bible regularly, studying is more like it.  I am lucky to have my husband, among other faithful people in my life, that I can talk with and learn from.

When I love God, I find life is so amazing.  I find it easier to find the good and appreciate things more.  I find new meaning in attending church, wherever it may be.

It also inspires me to share that love.  And so, part two of my post…..

I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to share that love, by assisting in teaching children at church.  Let me just say, children are amazing!  They are so eager and open to the Lord, when given the chance.

Recently, though there have been some recent changes in our life that makes it hard to continue to teach at church.  The biggest, is our church closed. We found a new one, but it’s further from home.  Plus, our youngest is struggling a bit with adjusting to school (he started kindergarten).

It was a bittersweet decision.

The bitter?  I will miss all the kids and fellow teachers.  They are truly the most wonderful group of people! We had loads of fun.  I will miss working with them all!

The sweet?  More quality time with my kids!

This week was our first home lesson.  We always tried to teach the kids about faith, God, praying, etc., but it was done (and will continue to be done) randomly, as situations arise.  Now I have set aside a day a week for Bible study.  My struggle will be the age differences of my kids and making the lesson relevant (and exciting!) to all.  I believe we are off to a good start.  This week we studied a little in the Gospel of Luke and began faith journals.

I’ve found some great online resources, like Bible Study Planet, Calvary Cirriculum, and Ministry-t0-Children.

The best part, though?  Wednesday evening, after study time, we all gathered around the table to pray before supper.  Each person takes a turn saying something they are thankful for, and my little 5-year-old W, says “learning in the Bible with Mom.” ❤

greatest gift

 

Here are the links to past Who I Am posts:

Who I Am: February

Who I Am: March

Who I Am: April

Who I Am: May

Who I Am: June

Who I Am: July

Who I Am: August

Who I Am: September

Who I Am:  October

Only one more month to go, if you have anything you’d like to learn about me, leave a comment!

~Thanks for dropping by~

 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

 

Who I am: October Edition

I blinked my eyes and the beginning of October came and went.  Halloween is fast approaching and I am not doing a good job of creating a blogging schedule.  I apologize to you all.

This month’s “Who I Am” post took some thinking.  It’s probably the most obvious thing about me, but I struggled with whether I should write about it or not.  Wondering what you, my reader, might think.  What the reaction would be.

Well, here it goes.

I am a mom.

A mother.

You’re probably thinking, “It’s October and you are just now writing about this?  Why the hesitation?”

Because I didn’t always want to be a mom.

It wasn’t even on my radar.  At all.

I’ve heard other moms say that they couldn’t wait to have a baby, it was their “life-long dream,” or their “purpose.”  I would think, “wow!  Motherhood was their goal?”

I didn’t understand.

Growing up, I wasn’t around babies or little ones very much.  I was an only child.  My cousins had little ones (that I LOVE!), but we lived far from them.  I didn’t experience a lot of the growing-up process, as I would only see them a few times a year.

Honestly, it really didn’t occur to me how little I knew about babies until I started dating my husband.  He is from a large family (11 kids)!  As you can imagine, his life experiences and view of things was much different than mine.  He is the third youngest so, by that time, most of his brothers and sisters were married with kids.

We would visit his siblings often, especially his one sister and her husband.  They just had a baby about the time we started dating.  Seeing, my then boyfriend, interact with the new little baby amazed me.

I’m talking life altering amazed.  He was so natural.  So happy.

You could just feel how much he enjoyed the baby.

Thinking back, I can still picture him holding his little nephew, laughing and talking to him.

I know it sounds crazy, but I knew that moment, that I wanted to be a mom.  Without a doubt.

I FINALLY understood the “dream.”  Feeling the happiness and love, I knew I wanted that too.

Now that I am a mom I can’t imagine a life without my kids.

They fill every day with wonder and adventure.  Fun and laughter.

They inspire me to be better.  They give me new purpose.

They teach me more than I think I can ever teach them.

They are my joy.

I love them and I love being a mom!

I read this once, and I can truly say, that

“My greatest blessings call me ‘mom!'”

 

If you missed any past “Who I Am” posts, check them out here:

Who I Am: February

Who I Am: March

Who I Am: April

Who I Am: May

Who I Am: June

Who I Am: July

Who I Am: August

Who I Am: September

 

Did you always know you wanted to be a parent?

 

Thanks for stopping in…Kim

Let Me Share….

Long time, no post.  With the exception of the Who I Am for August, I have been missing from the blog world!  Don’t think it has been because I have forgotten all of you lovely folks!  It’s just, well, life happened.  We were able to squeeze in a family vacation before school started, I’ve been preserving garden harvest, the kids started school, etc……

Instead of telling you a step by step narrative of what my life has been, I wanted to try something fun, and well, easier 😉  Over the last month or so I have been reminded of a lot and learned some new things that I want to share, so here it goes….in no particular order…..

  1. Raccoons are smart little creatures.  They like the taste of chicken, my chickens to be exact.  I don’t like raccoons.
  2. Watching kids play with a broken 15 foot piece of clothes line, like it’s a jump rope, is funny.
  3. I miss my clothesline.
  4. You can sometimes find dependable people are ones you may least expect.
  5. My kids are awesome.
  6. Some people will let you down.  Some people will let your kids down.  I don’t want to be that person.
  7. Much wisdom can be gained while picking berries with someone 30 years your senior.
  8. Blackberries taste better when you pick them.
  9. Sending your kids off to school after summer break doesn’t get easier.  Ever.
  10. Never leave for a family vacation without extra blankets, especially if 3 boys share one bed.
  11. The days spent canning are well spent, especially when your son explains how much better food tastes if it’s homegrown.
  12. Holding your tongue can be hard sometimes.  Really hard.  But it’s often the best thing to do.
  13. It’s hard not to judge those that judge you.
  14. My youngest son hates school in the morning, but thinks it’s “awesome” by afternoon.  I wonder his feelings on mornings? 😉
  15. My husband does a lot of things to help me.  A lot.  I see it everyday, but I don’t always get the opportunity to thank him (I need to do better).
  16. My husband is amazing
  17. I like how my house looks when it’s decorated for Independence Day, that’s why it still is.
  18. My baby is five months old.  FIVE MONTHS???? When did that happen??!!??
  19. Being patient, especially with those you love, results in a better outcome than the alternative.
  20. Your children notice how you treat others.
  21. Children possess more wisdom than most adults are willing to give them credit for; listen to them, you may learn something.
  22. Kindness is awesome, remembered, and often reciprocated.
  23. Don’t be disappointed in “unanswered” prayers.  The Lord sees all, knows all, and although His answer to your prayer may be different from what you expected, it will be ok.
  24. Putting an end to procrastination is difficult.
  25. I have missed blogging.  Way more than I realized until I sat down to write this post!

There you have it!  I could go on, but 25 seems like a nice number.  It’s funny, sometimes, how one little thing can remind you of something you’ve known all along to be true.  It can open your eyes and remind you to be thankful, kind, understanding, etc.

Do you have any tidbits you’d like to share from your life experiences?  Or stories that go along with what I’ve shared?  I would love to hear them, just post a comment below!

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Thanks for stopping by!       ~Kim