Friday, January 29, 2010

oh my goodness

It is snowing here!! We have around 6 inches and it is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

[26/365] happy birthday, dad!

Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday sweetie!! You just get better!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Easy Dinner

Tonight I decided to just roast two chickens for dinner. I also fixed seasoned rice, green beans and clover-leaf rolls. Easy and delicious!

The key to good roasted chicken is to dry the skin before adding any spices. I added cracked pepper, salt and thyme. Then cook it at 400 to 425 for an hour or so. The chicken will be tender, juicy and have a crispy skin.

roast chicken

These rolls are a breeze to make. Go here for the recipe. Trust me, you will love these rolls!


Even better: 2.50 per person!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Good Inexpensive Recipe

tortilla soup

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from simply recipes

6 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup (I used more like a whole cup))
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeƱo chile, seeded (leave a few seeds for spice), veins removed, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken ( just use a whole chicken!)
1 ripe medium avocado
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz) (or other mild, melting cheese)
Chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half; cut halves into 1/4-inch strips. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry strips in oil, 1/3 at a time, until light brown and crisp. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels. Reserve.

Heat oil remaining in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chile; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in broth, tomatoes and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken; heat until hot.

To serve, peel and pit the avocado. Cut into 1-inch slices. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4 or more

This is just delicious!! Add or subtract what you would like. I add corn and/or black beans. It is just good.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homeschooling Technique and Tip

Hayden has always been more of a challenge to teach than the girls. He is busy and prefers to stay busy. I remember putting numbers on the floor, calling out a problem and having him jump, roll or some combination of both to the answer.

Friday he was getting tired of sitting and we still needed to do spelling. We have two plastic bats sitting in a large pot by our door. (don't ask) He had pulled one out to hold, so I pulled one out and swung at him telling him to pay attention. (whatever works)

He decided to start a 'sword' fight. Ok, fine, I can do this. So I started calling out spelling words and he started spelling them while we banged bats and took jabs at each other. Multi-tasking is so much fun!

Tip: While swinging a plastic bat, don't look away to read another spelling word and smack your son up side the head. ughhhh...(he should have blocked it)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moving Forward Musically

Hayden and Sarah were asked by their music teacher to join a praise band he is starting. It will be good experience for them and playing with others helps your timing, confidence, etc.

It is funny because it is at our old church, so we will be probably attending sometimes as we seek where God would have us worship. We don't know if He will place us back there or not at this point.

So, they have begun practicing and are enjoying it. I am so glad as I was afraid that Sarah would not want to do it. She is shy about playing around others, but she jumped in there. That's my girl!!!

Here are some pictures from practice.

Sarah in the ZONE!

Sarah and Hayden

Hayden is second from right.

Sarah and Hayden

Sarah, Hayden and Rob. Rob works for us part-time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Kitchen Battle and A Good Dish

I am a cook, Hannah is a baker. We sometimes clash in the kitchen. She has to have everything measured precisely, which I realize is important in baking. In cooking... not so much. I throw things in according to my preference. She gets all bent out of shape when we are cooking dinner and I am not following the recipe exactly. I say, GROW UP!! hehe


So, last night we were making White Chicken Enchiladas. Oh my, they are amazing. Add some homemade guacamole on top and you will sing the Hallelujah chorus!

This dish requires at least two skillets to fry the tortillas, you can mix the chicken mixture and put in a bowl, then make your cheese sauce. It is worth it though.

I kept Hannah busy frying the flour tortillas while I made the sauce and chicken mixture. Sneaky me!! That way she doesn't question my every culinary move, which is terribly presumptuous on her part if you ask me. Young whippersnapper!

Here is the recipe:

  • 2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken (I cook a whole bird)
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 8 to 10 flour Tortillas
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • 2 tsp. diced jalapenos or more (I like more!)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften. Place tortillas on a cloth to drain. (use cloth, not paper, resuse!)

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 minute, just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and put in bowl. (reuse this skillet to make cheese sauce below)

In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute. Stir in some more jalapenos.(the more the merrier!) Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Add salt and pepper as needed. (stop right here and dip a chip in this stuff, it is amazing)

To assemble, spoon chicken mixture in tortillas one at a time. Add some shredded cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 dish.

Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

*Don't forget to make the guacamole, you will not be disappointed!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today at our house. The snow is beautiful and it is still coming down. What a winter wonderland.

photography by Hannah Queen

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Love My Slow Cooker and Other Stuff

hardworkingLast night I put a huge pork butt in the slow cooker and this morning... tender meat!!! It is magic and convenient! All I had to do was pull it apart and put barbecue sauce on it. We can eat on this for several days.

Tonight I fixed chicken pot pie for dinner. It so easy. Here is the recipe I use. Put any kind of vegetables you want, we like carrots and broccoli. (I don't measure my veggies)

*Cook whole chicken and remove meat. Set aside. Cook veggies a bit to soften. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

*Take qtr. stick of butter and melt in a pot. Add half a chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 cup flour. Then add 1 cup milk and 1 cup chicken broth and mix well. (may need additional liquid if too thick initially. You do want it to thicken though. Add salt and pepper.

*Put one pie crust in bottom of 9x13 pan. Add chicken and vegetables. Pour liquid mixture over top and add second pie crust.

*Cook at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Eating at home is vital to our budget. I have figured cost and on average I can fix a meal that is under $3.00 per person. Compare to 8.00 + a person to eat out and there is no earthly reason to eat inferior food out.

Hannah graciously made us brownies tonight!!! Love ya...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For 2010

This year I am going to focus my blog more on what we are doing as a family to conserve and reduce consuming. As I have already stated the economic downturn has not been nice to us and we have been reshaping much of our lives. I must say it has been done with a good attitude most of the time!

For awhile we have been composting, recycling, turning off lights, using reusable bags to shop, and using towels in the kitchen. We added chickens in 09 for eggs.

More recently we have been paying more attention to our food costs and cooking at home almost exclusively. I plan a menu for the week and we pretty much stick with it.

This situation is a blessing. The children spend more time developing their talents, I am learning more about sewing and we are learning that being consumers is not entertainment. This is probably a big DUH for most of you, but I wasn't raised this way. My mother did not sew, knit, play an instrument, she barely cooked. Shopping was her entertainment.

Most importantly I remember that God promised to supply our NEEDS, not our wants. That is liberating.

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26: 3-4

Friday, January 1, 2010