Monday, August 22, 2016

Party Time!

Our little Aiden turned 2 years old on Friday & yesterday was his family party~  we had lots of fun celebrating the birthday boy.  As you can tell in some of the pictures, he wasn't too keen about leaving his toys and posing for pictures.

Cool decorations can be used when your dad works in "the business"

Dump Truck shirt I made him

Auntie Amy made cool cupcakes with white chocolate tools on top

cousin Bobby helping

Aiden immediately showed him ~ he could reach on his own

MaMa had to get some kisses

throwing the ball Granny bought him

present time

cousin Daniel came to party ~ or Baby as Aiden called him (Daniel is 15 months)
Thankful for ~
fun times with Aiden
being able to help
visiting with family
a healthy, happy boy

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

I was looking for a new recipe to try for dinner last night that involved ground beef ~ I already had some browned and wanted a simple recipe!  I looked through my Low Carb Pinterest Board for my Tortilla Soup recipe but ran across the Impossible Cheeseburger Pie recipe.  It looked interesting ~ I made a few changes since I didn't have the exact ingredients.  Dinner was a hit and we've already thought up a few ingredients to spice it up, we thought it needed a little something extra.  Like ~ season salt instead of regular,  the addition of chopped up bell peppers would have been good, and some good dollops of worchestershire sauce.  All that being said ~ we ate it ~ Greg and Will had seconds and took it in their lunches today too!  I doubled the recipe and made 2 pans and we have a whole one left.  It will be frozen and pulled out for a future meal.  We had lady peas with it.  Quite a tasty dinner.

Here is a link to the original recipe ~   I love her site, and can't wait to explore it more! 

Here is the recipe ~ and the changes I made last night ~

*1 pound ground beef or venison burger
*1 cup shredded onion
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/3 cup coconut flour (I used the THM baking blend for the 2 flours)
*3 tablespoons almond flour
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used regular milk)
*4 large eggs
*1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
*tomato (optional) didn't use

Instructions ~
1. Cook ground beef and onion in skillet until meat is brown, about 8-10 minutes.  (I drain mine in a colander to get the extra grease off)
2. Spread beef mix into pie plate and sprinkle with salt.
3. Mix together coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, almond milk and eggs.
4. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat. Sprinkle about 1 cup of cheese on top.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and top with optional tomato if desired, and remaining cheese.
7. Bake an additional 5 minutes.

Makes 8 servings. About 2 net carbs per serving.

My net carbs would change some because of the milk change in the recipe.  I used the THM blend because I had it, but Kroger now carries a gluten free baking blend, so I will try that when the other is used up.

I used my square pyrex pans. And cut my pan into 9 squares.  1 square was plenty for me but my guys at 2.  They also have 2 each packed into their lunches.  Greg thought that bacon would make a nice addition, so we may try that next time and brown it with the ground beef and onion.

But, even with the changes we are talking about ~ when my husband takes his first bite and utters "this is good", I know its a keeper!

Thankful for ~

folks that share recipes on Pinterest
having an easy print recipe button on the blog (which I don't know how to do)
finding recipes that don't include lots of fancy ingredients
an easy dinner to serve with a vegetable side
leftovers for lunches

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Flop

I had a kitchen flop this weekend....I ordered what I thought was pectin from Amazon.  It came in a 1 1/2 pound container and I bought 2.  I had purchased bulk pectin before and loved how the products turned out ~ last summer I purchased 2 bags at an Amish grocery in New York state that we visited.  I cooked down my blueberries, collected jars, rings and seals and was ready to go.  It did not work ~ I ended up with blueberry syrup.  Then I realized I had not bought pectin, I had ought a product named Clear Jell....its cornstarch, just thickens liquid for pies, sauces, etc.  WHY is jell in the name and why did it come up in the pectin section ~ I will be contacting Amazon about this. 

So, I went to Kroger and bought some pectin from Ball which I have used before.  But it didn't work either because I refused to add 7 more cups of sugar per batch to the mixture.  My fault, but that much more sugar is ridiculous.

I do have one batch of strawberry that worked.

Back to the Clear Jell, Greg remembered his grandmother making pies and using a similar product.  So he dumped 2 jars of the slurry into a pot, heated to boiling and added more clear jell, poured it over sliced strawberries in a pie shell and prayed for a strawberry pie.  Another flop.  The next morning he drained the liquid, mixed up strawberry jello and made it that way.

So what am I going to do with that much slurry syrup ~ I don't know.  But its in the pantry and will sit there till I decide something.

Maybe an ice cream sundae bar featuring blueberry syrup?

Thankful for ~

laughter over mistakes
plenty of canning lids
enough sugar for the flops
the pretty purple syrup

*Updates ~ my son in law and husband both want the syrup for pancakes!  I sent amazon a polite complaint ~ mainly because this product shows up under the pectin search engine ~ and they refunded our total purchase price on Monday.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

WWII Rations

I have always loved history ~ and I especially love historic cookbooks, diaries, etc. of housewives from different times.  Its fascinating to me to see how folks used to live, how they made do with what they had, how they coped with emergencies, etc. 

I borrowed a book of Amazon Prime this week entitled "World War II Christmas Cookbook" by Megan Rogers.  I believe it was published in England.  It was a quick cookbook to read and contained many "mock" type recipes for when the real thing wasn't available.  What really caught my attention was the list of ration items that each person was allotted in England during the 2nd World War.

This list is taken from the back of the book ~ it is for 1 adult per week ~ each child would receive half the adult amount

bacon & ham (3-4 slices/rashers)
other meats ~ 2 small chops
butter 2 oz.
cheese 2 oz.
margarine 4 oz.
cooking fat 4 oz.
milk 3 pints
1 packet dried milk per month
sugar 8 oz.
preserves 1 lb. every 2 months
tea 2 oz.
Egg 1 (a single egg)
+ 1 packet dried egg per month
sweets 12 oz.
You could get canned meat, fish, rice, canned fruit, condensed milk, breakfast cereals, biscuits, and vegetables in limited quantities on a point system. An adults monthly allowance might get you a tin of salmon or fruit, and 1/2 pound of dried fruit.  read flour, fish, game, sauces, and pickles were not rationed, but not always available.

This is not a lot of food.  Just think about what is in your grocery cart every week.  The above would all fit in a handbasket.

Then I started researching if the American Ration Equivilents were the same as England ~ and they were not.  But keep in mind also,  the War was raging in an around England for years.  The US came in later after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour. 

I found these 2 sites which has tons of information about the subject. ~ and and my favorite because of the graphics

Here are some pictures I found on Pinterest ~

Rationing in WW II. England. How greedy  wouldn't our later generations sound to an elderly person who's been through this? With  today's diets, when we take everything - luxurious food items or not - for granted?:

Rationing chart for 1940-1942 showing types of food and amounts allowed  Please remember that the amount actually available did not match this poster.:
I should put this in my kitchen: WWII ration poster... sounds a lot like Michael Pollan's food rules.:

Make this Pledge. Vintage WWII poster. #vintage #ration #wwii

Memory Lane: Make Do and Mend — Magic Jelly:

Thankful for ~

learning to be prepared
great reading
retro pictures
the bounty we enjoy now

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Apple Butter

Last fall, Greg and I made a trek to North Georgia to apple farms.  I got a 20 (? ~ don't remember exact weight) pound box of apples.  I cored them and cooked them down for apple juice.  Then I saved all the pulpy goodness and froze it.  I ended up with 2 Tupperware cereal containers full of pulp.  I pulled it out last week to start thawing in the fridge.  I made up this recipe based on some others I had seen on pinterest.  I don't know the exact weight of the pulp ~ both of my 6 quart crockpots were 3/4 full of the pulp. To each I added 2 cups of apple cider, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.  They cooked on high for about 6 hours, then I turned to low and they cooked overnight ~ my kitchen smelled amazing this morning!  This morning, I removed the lids, and ground everything together with my hand held blender.  Turned the crockpots back to high and let it bubble for about an hour with no lids to thicken ~ think of the consistency of Cracker Barrel apple butter.  I spooned this yummy, molten goodness into 4 half pint jars, and 7 pint jars.  Its water bath canning right now...20 minutes. 

Its really good.  Almost too sweet ~ next time I will try it with no brown sugar. 

I don't know why I waited this long to try crock pot butter, the pear/apple from last week and the apple butter from this week, were both really easy to do.  I guess I was hesitant because it was something new.

Thankful for ~
new taste treats
2 large crockpots
lots of jars and lids
time to experiment & taste

a very full canner

Monday, August 8, 2016

Full Freezer

Home Food Preservation Resources ~ my favorite canning book!:

When life blesses you with a full freezer, what do you do to make room?  I start canning!

Today, I've got 10 quarts of yummy vegetable beef soup and 3 quarts of cut up squash canned.  I am defrosting chicken to can.  Defrosting tomatoes to make into salsa, blueberries and strawberries to make into jelly.  I had 2 large Tupperware containers (their large cereal keeper) full of apple pulp from our North GA trip last year...its now in my crockpots with brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple cider to make into apple butter.

If I can find a good deal on ground beef, I will be browning and canning that also.

Amy has her request in for homemade chicken noodle soup, so that's a priority too. 

So far, this summer I have canned squash, green beans, salsa, watermelon jelly, apple/pear butter, and peach jelly. 

My favorite canning book is from the University of GA ~ So Easy to Preserve!  Its got very detailed instructions for preserving food for the future.

Thankful for ~

wonderful directions for pressure and water bath canning
the ease of meal prep with home canned goods
preserving gardens bounty & blessing
lots of jars to fill
getting over my fear of pressure canning
We all have to eat ~ I love this retro poster!:
I love this retro poster from Pinterest!

* Canning Guide:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Planning Vacation

We are having fun, researching and planning for our next trip to the "most magical place on earth".  We love to go and this trip will be no exception.  There are some new twists thrown into this year.

First, Mom/Granny is not going.  She went with us 2 years ago, but spent the week in the wheelchair.  It does get dizzying sitting down and being pushed through the crowds.  Wheelchair advantage, you wait in a much shorter line and there are special viewing areas on parade routes for wheelchair guests and their families.  Personal advantage, there is someone to hold your purse or camera bag.  Now, my beloved daughter has decided that me having some dizzy spells during the week could be an advantage cause we can get a wheelchair ~ that girl is all heart!

Second, we are taking an "extra" along.  Austin is going with us for the week and his parents will be going us mid week.  He has plans to take Amy on roller coasters, she has different plans!  This will be fun!

Third, since we are taking an extra, we aren't staying in a hotel or rv but in a timeshare condo.  We are using one of my sisters weeks ~ for much cheaper than one hotel room on property (but we would need 2 since we have a guest).  Its not far from the front gate at Disney, but we will have to pay parking.  Once on property, we can utilize their transportation system.  Having the condo means 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a small kitchen.  Most of our eating will be done in the parks but breakfast can be somewhat leisurely at the condo.

Fourth, we are buying the photo pass option for the week.  I've wanted to do this for the last several trips and this time its happening.  This means we will have "free" access to all the photos the photographers take in the character lines, on the rides, and just out and about.  "Free" access but we are paying for the pass!  It will be linked to our magic bands so we will see pictures of everyone even if we weren't on the ride with them.  We will still take our cameras a couple of days, to get scenery pictures and our own posed pictures of each other.

Fifth, we gave the kids the responsibility of paying for their tickets and their own meals.  They all have jobs and can help out with this expense~  I am sure there will be some we will pay for some during travel but not planning on too many.  Since they are all 20+, they will be on their own a lot of the time.  After Austins parents get there, we will probably stick together more.

Sixth, we got our tickets through James' work at Caterpillar.  They have a discount for employees and their families.  We got 7 day tickets with the park hopper option for the price of regular 5 day tickets.  Quite the savings over the 5 adult tickets we bought.  Amy has already hooked them up to our magic bands. The photo pass will get linked the week before we go (could take 3 days for that to show up on the bands).

Sunday afternoon we sat down and planned our park days and have our "fast pass" wants written down waiting for that magic 30 day window to open up.  Since we aren't staying on property we have to wait ~ that is a disadvantage but only a minor one. 

It will be fun to take character shots with our adult kids!  I've got plenty of Amy as a little girl with her favorites and the comparison pictures will be fun.  Her alltime favorite has been Ariel.  I would love to get a picture of Greg with Grumpy dwarf...just would be funny!

Greg and I planned a couple of activities just for us.  We are going to do the cooking demos and tastings at Epcot during the Food & Wine festival ~ made our reservations the other day!  Also going to eat at the 50's diner at Hollywood Studios ~ never been and am looking forward to it.

Disney has several apps that come in handy ~ first is my Disney Experience on the official site.  It keeps track of your reservations and you can link everything through there.  We found a "hidden mickey locator" app the other day ~ its not free but Greg will enjoy having it and searching for the hidden Mickeys.  There are free vacation countdown apps, park apps to tell you how long lines are for rides or character shots, parade times, etc. Pinterest has a plethora of crafts, activities, autograph book ideas, etc. to DIY your trip as much as you please.

Best tip I read and will pass on ~ Disney gives away ice water in cups at any counter service restaurant or snack cart that serves fountain drinks.  All you do is ask!  We take in a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.  This is a huge money saver and the water is icy cold.  I would much rather spend money on a cinnamon roll at Gastons tavern (the BEST ever) than buy an overpriced bottle of water. 

And you can take in drinks and snacks for your own picnic or munching in line.  Pretzels travel better than chips.  Good snacks are trail mix, granola bars, pb&j, etc.  Chocolate will melt ~ just keep that in mind!  You cannot take in any glass bottles and I don't think aluminum cans.  We have carried in soft drinks in plastic bottles, capri sun type drinks and juice boxes with no problem.  Freezing the juicy type containers the night before is good for your lunch bag and will usually thaw by lunchtime. They will check all bags going into the park for safety reasons.  This includes purses.  The security lines go quickly and keep in mind ~ they are just doing their job! 

Thankful for ~
this opportunity to travel
taking 3 young adults with us
having options
savings thru the condo stay and tickets
photo pass

Here is a few pictures from the past ~

That Viking looks a little too ambitious!

traditional, we are going to Disney shot ~ take one every trip

ready for muppets 3d at Hollywood studios

try the gray stuff, its delicious!

7 years ago (7), last time Katie went with us

looks like we are waiting for the parade to start ~ and everyone is hot!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Almost Fall

Its been a long hot summer ~  I think the weather we lived with for 10 years followed us from Mississippi.

And while I like all the seasons...I am dreaming of fall.  Walking in crunchy leaves in cool air (as opposed to walking in crunchy leaves because they died from lack of rain and fell off the tree prematurely), sitting outside and reading, wearing sweaters and cuddling under quilts ~ you get the picture!

I've been scanning pinterest and lots of back to school ideas have popped up ~ school started in our county today.  And with those school pins have been comfort food pins.  Or fall/winter foods that we enjoy ~ thinkgs like chicken pot pie, lasagna, vegetable soup, chicken n dumplings, etc.  While I won't have those all the time ~ too many carbs ~ I  indulge once a week in a truly decadent, comfort food meal.

Thankful for~
the Seasons
different foods for different times
Its almost football season

Hopefully, August will fly by just like July did.  Its got lots filling up its days so far!