Monday, July 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

 I may have seen something like this on Pinterest, but I didn't pin it.

3 ingredients: box of lemon cake mix, can of strawberry pie filling, and can of lemon frosting

Easy steps:
Mix the cake mix and pie filling together,  spread into pan.

Cook according to directions on box.

Let it at least cool a little.  Top with frosting.  If you are watching what you eat and want this a little bit healthier top it with fat free Cool Whip instead.  In the picture below we did not use Cool Whip.

I apologize for not having a picture of the whole thing.  My husband wouldn't wait for it to cool enough, so we cut slices and smeared a little lot of frosting on top.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I found this recipe on pinterest. To see the original, click {HERE}
I found that I liked the blog so much, that I added their button to the side of our blog. Check out the Real Mom Kitchen blog!

1 package chicken breasts (2 or 3 boneless/ skinless)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can tomato sauce (8oz, I used the rotel brand for extra spicy-ness!)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 packet mild taco mix (original calls for enchilada mix)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups milk


1. Mix the seasoning packet, water, and tomato sauce together in the crockpot.

2. Add the milk and cream of chicken soup. Mix until smooth.

3. Add the chicken breasts into the mixture.
4. On top of the chicken, add the corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Mix it all together.

5. Cook for desired time. An hour before it's done, take out the chicken, shred it, and add it back to the crock pot. 

I didn't get a picture of the finished product, but we ate it over chips and with shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful! It was good the next day for left-overs too!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick Pickles

Hubby's garden has really done well this year. We have proof of that ALL OVER our kitchen counters just waiting to be canned and/ or eaten.

Today Hubby was craving some quick pickles (we called them sour cucumbers when I was a kid) so that's what we made today.

2 cucumbers (fresh from our garden)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water

Chop up cucumbers and place them in a bowl

Add the vinegar and water

Get your seasonings ready
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
1 tsp ground coriander 

Add seasonings to the bowl and mix

You might want to add more water to completely cover the cucumbers. Cover with plastic wrap and let them soak in the fridge.

You can make them in the morning and let them soak all day, or make them at night and let them soak overnight.

It's a quick and healthy treat!

** If you have a variation, we'd love to hear about it! Share your recipe in the comments section!**

Friday, July 20, 2012

Faith Friday- Mama said...

 Psalm 139: 13-16
 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb

 (old pic of the twins)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

You know, there are times I really feel like karma is a real thing. I might have been a difficult child growing up, and I remember my mother saying things like, "One of these days, you'll have a kid just like you." But I never thought it would happen.

Look at this face.

Two weeks old. I remember loving this time of The Kid's life. Bottles, diapers, burpings, and snuggles. I'm not sure what I did all day except stare at this little bundle of happiness. (Actually, I do remember. Laundry, dishes, and tearing my hair out...)

5 years later and I'm wishing we could go back to the 'no talking' days.

And the thing is, I know my mom probably wished the same thing when my sisters and I were growing up. Especially when it came to my younger sister, but that's another story.

little sis, me, big sis

My point is this- if you read the verse above it says that God had all of my days written in His book before I was even physically put on this Earth. I'm not going to go into predestination or anything like that, but think about it. God knew exactly who and what I was going to be before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye.

Not only that, but I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My students would agree to the fearfully, and Hubby better agree to the wonderfully.

Here's another one:

Jeremiah 1:5

New International Version (NIV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. ”

I don't know about the prophet part, but I do believe that each of us is set aside for different purposes. Even at such young ages, I can see different personality traits that shine through each one of my kids. I just need to teach them to use their powers for good and not evil.

When I think of those verses I can remind myself that everything that comes at me is part of His plan. The children I was blessed (and I am blessed) with are mine for a reason. They are stars in my life, and even when they are throwing tantrums, they shine brightly. Loudly, but brightly. I don't know what's down the road for them, but God does.

And, while there isn't a guidebook for parenting, I'm glad to know that God has a book with my children's lives in it. I can only imagine what wonderful things are in store for my precious angel blessings.

 p.s. I only call them precious angel blessings when they get on my nerves. I'm trying to speak the sweetness into existence. The house is loud right now due to bath and bed time. *sigh*

Mama said there'd be days like this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hide and Seek Meatloaf

I'm not a veggie eater, I'm more of a fruit lover. Hubby on the other hand, loves his veggies and only likes apples from the fruit category. Our kids are a wonderful combination of the two of us. Of course, it helps if you can't tell what veggies are being eaten.

This is my recipe for meatloaf that I use to hide veggies. I know everyone likes his/ her own meatloaf recipe a different way, but this one works for us!

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup oats
1 egg
meatloaf seasoning
Worcestershire sauce
Tobasco sauce (not pictured)
veggies of your choice 
( we like carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower)


1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Thaw meat
3. Puree chosen veggies. 
We used carrots (a whole can of sliced carrots) and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

4. Mix the thawed ground beef and turkey, pureed veggies, 1/4 cup dry oats, 1 egg, meatloaf seasoning, a few splashes of worcestershire sauce and tobasco- all in a large mixing bowl. 

A real Southern woman would use her hands, but I'm a wuss and use a slotted spoon. I try to not touch raw meat. Eeeewwwww. 

5. Place meatloaf mixture into a baking dish.
If you like tomato sauce or ketchup on your meatloaf, this would be the time to add it to the top.

I love this dish from Pampered Chef. It helps with portion control and we have perfect sized left-overs!

6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour

We eat our meatloaf with rice or a size of veggies. (For those in my house not scared of vegetables) The only veggie I've tried to hide and it didn't work was peas. They made the meatloaf gritty. 

A friend of mine says she uses a box of Stove Top dressing instead of oats and meatloaf seasoning. 

I haven't tried it, but it's something to consider!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faith Friday: How to Gossip

Confession Time:  One of my biggest struggles is with gossip.  I don't tell secrets that others confide in me.  However, listening to others' gossip used to be a favorite past time of mine.

Then it happened.  I heard the gossip I didn't want to hear.  One of my friends was gossiping about another friend in a pretty hurtful way.  The big chicken that I am didn't say anything even though I should have.

I got angry.  How can she call her a friend and say these things about her?  Would she want those kinds of things said about her?  And the biggie:  if she says those kinds of things about her friends, what's she saying about me when I'm not around?

Then I got embarrassed. What do the things I listen to say about the kind of friend I am?  Of course that thought came to me much later, but hopefully next time I will do better.  For now I am practicing a different way of gossip.  Here are the rules in case you are interested:

1.  Think about why you are sharing what you are sharing.  Is it to get attention?  Is it to let others know "what kind of person" they are?  Oh, and telling someone something "just so they know" isn't a good reason, the other person's smart they can figure it out.

2.  Think about what you are hearing.  Would you want that said about you?  If the person being talked about walked in the room and heard what was being said would you be embarrassed to be sitting there?

3.  Think about something positive to say instead.  Lately I've been having a pretty good time telling others what people have been saying about them, but only the good stuff.  It surprises them.  In a good way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

I'm not really sure if they really are enchiladas, but you use tortillas, so it's related!

I made these for Hubby and the kids and it was a huge hit! I modified a recipe that I saw on Pinterest for my own evil purposes! (evil laughter here) For the original recipe, click {HERE}

All the ingredients I used were either low fat or low sodium- or both if available. 

2 cans chicken 
(the picture shows 3, but I only needed 2)
2 box frozen spinach- thawed
1 can corn (drained)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
flour tortillas (or corn- your preference)
1/4 package of taco seasoning
shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 and spray baking dish with cooking spray

1. Combine the chicken, corn, and spinach in a bowl

2. Place mixture in the tortillas and top with cheese

3. Roll them up and place in a 9x13 baking dish

4. Mix the cream soups in a small bowl and add the taco seasoning. (only 1/4 of the package) Spread the soup on top.

5. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 40-45 min


I made this again as a vegetarian dish and used 2 cream of mushroom soups, and substituted the chicken with a can of black beans and a can of mushrooms. De-lish!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Faith Friday- The Secret of Song

Ephesians 5:19

New International Version (NIV)
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,...

** I've always heard songs of the Spirit referred to as being Spiritual Songs. I like that better!** 

I've always thought that life would be much happier if we all would sporadically burst out in song and well choreographed dance. 

And how much better would it be to share the love of Jesus as well? 

 Think about it- I see someone I know in the grocery story and I want to share with them the wonderful sale I found in the produce section. Bring on a song about the Fruits of the Spirit- bananas are on sale!

Confrontations would take on a new light when we sing The Greatest Commands to the person we feel has wronged us.  

I've found myself singing in my head while driving down the road or doing the dishes. Personally, I love my Glee CDs from my sister. I'm not a big fan of the show, but those kids sure have some talent!
Most of the songs that Glee covers is recent pop songs, with a lot of Journey thrown in for good measure. The songs aren't all good, but they're not necessarily all bad either.

 I love be-bopping down the highway with my CDs cranked, singing at the top of my lungs. However, it's a little disconcerting when I hear my precious angel blessing (that would be my kids) sing, " Don't be a drag, just be a queen!" which is from a Lady Gaga song that Glee covered. 

Do they understand it? No. 
Does that make a difference when they sing it at the top of their lungs in the middle of Walmart? No. People are going to look at them and me and wonder. 

This is the song that my kids have been singing lately: We Are Young (this is the Glee version)

Hubby and 2 of the kids went on a baseball trip recently and this song came on the radio frequently. They came home singing the whole thing. Here's proof.

Yeah, it's cute and entertaining, but it's not the best song in the world for my 5 and 3 year olds to be singing. 

If we treated the verse above literally, then everything that comes from my mouth should be a song (which I love!) and should serve the purpose of encouraging and teaching others. 
I don't do that. Let's be honest, I don't thing anyone does that. It would look a little weird and might freak some people out. 

But the truth is even deeper. If the words from my mouth are a song to the Lord, that means that my thoughts are as well. I'd be constantly searching my mind for the perfect verse or song that would complement the situation at hand. 

So, I'm going to challenge myself to 3 things:
1. Listen to more uplifting music- I do have a plethora of Christian music. I should listen to it more!
2. Study more of scripture. I bet I can make songs myself! I do it all the time in my classroom and for my kids when we are practicing learning our verses.
3. Break out in song more frequently. Let's face it, I'm not easily embarrassed. I make a fool of myself in front of my students and kids All. The. Time! I shouldn't worry so much about what others think. Also, I'm pretty good at the song game. (When you think of a verse from a song that matches what someone just said) Why not play it with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?

Who's willing to play the game with me?

** I just love this song and wanted to share it!**

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Bunt Cake

Easy-peasy! Took this to a Girl's Night and it was a hit!

chocolate cake mix
can of cherry pie filling
*glaze if desired*
1. Preheat oven to the box's directions
2. Mix the cake mix and the cherry pie filling
3. Pour into the bunt pan 
(make sure the bunt pan is as greased as a hog at the county fair!)
4. Bake- 
this recipe will take longer to bake than the box says. Mine took around an hour. Make sure to check the middle
5. Cool the cake and add the glaze according to the directions on the jar. 

No picture of the fully prepared cake. That's because it didn't last long!

Crockpot Vegetable Soup

Hubby is attempting to ride the healthy train, so I decided it was time I bought a ticket too. Lately Hubby has been eating steamed veggies for dinner, with a small side of whatever I made for the main meal. Well, this time he can have a big bowl and not feel guilty!

This was my second attempt at making veggie soup in the crockpot. My first attempt was part of a school activity with my students, and you can check out that post {HERE} on my school blog. I gotta say, I think the first attempt was better, but the second was still pretty dang good!

2 cans carrots
2 cans corn
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can green beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can chicken broth 
(or use a can of tomato soup if you want it completely vegetarian)
chopped onions
garlic powder

I used 2 cans of veggies that my family likes, and obviously your family might like different veggies, so use the veggies your family will eat!
I chose the spices based on what you'd find in spaghetti sauce- since I know those spices go together. 

1. Open cans (all)
2. Drain the carrots, corn, green beans, and kidney beans
* You don't have to drain them all, but we like a thicker soup.*
3. Dump all cans into crockpot and add spices to taste
4. Cook (high or low)

I added Alphabet noodles the last 30 min of cook time. If you add pasta do it toward the end.

It was yummy and healthy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fluffy Lemon Brownies

This is not a bar.  This is not a cake.  It's not even really a brownie, but I really can't think of a better description than that.  It really doesn't matter even.  What matters is this:  two ingredients.  Bam!

Stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and nothing speaks to me more than easy dessert with few ingredients.  I highly suggest actually going to her blog to read all of the comments.  Her recipe was met with very, very mixed success.  I read all of the comments and took what worked the most for others.

You will need:
A box of Angel Food cake mix (best if it's the kind that only has 1 package of mix not 2 you have to combine)
A can of Lemon Pie filling (the 15ish ounce size, if 22 ounce use 3/4 the can)

Utensils you need:
rubber or silicone spatula
jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides)

First, you dump the mix and filling in.

  Then you have to stir it together.  This part is important.  DO NOT OVERMIX!  If you over mix your batter a kitten will die.  Okay, maybe not that, but bad things will happen.   Very bad things.  You should stir the batter until you mostly don't see dry cake mix.  It will be very light and fluffy.  If you aren't sure if you stirred it enough you probably should stop stirring.  Mine looked like this:

Lots of big bubbles.  Next spread it in an UNGREASED jelly roll pan or a half sheet cake pan.  I used a half sheet cake pan since I don't have a jelly roll pan.  It was a bit of a stretch in the half sheet pan but it does work.  It looks like the batter is too thin in places.  It will all be okay.  You need to use one of those pans.  Some people who tried it in a cake pan said it rose too much and got all over their oven.  Fun times.  Others said it was too gooey in the middle.

This wonderful creation goes in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Start checking it at 18 minutes depending on your oven.  Let it get just a little bit golden on the top.

Get really fancy with some powdered sugar.

Now here is something else important:  This is not a lemon bar!  It is not gooey!  It has a hint of lemon.  If you like lots of lemon add some juice or zest.

I haven't seen any in the stores but I Google-d and found out they make Key Lime Pie Filling...