Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What to do with your leftovers from Thanksgiving!

So Thanksgiving has come and gone.... now the trees are going up, the lights are being hung and the carols are being sung, but you still have a fridge full of leftover turkey? What to do with it??? You have the cold turkey sandwiches, turkey noodle soup, and many many other ways to use it. This year though, a friend of mine posted that she was making home-made Turkey Pot pies. YUMMM! And why the heck have I never thought to make these? Well first, because maybe I thought only Marie Callender could make them! I never thought to make them at home, well duh!! So she sent me over her recipe and I was excited!! I told my hubby what we were having for dinner,  and well that is when the excitement stopped. He looked at me and said, "yeah I don't like those because of all the veggies in them." DANG!!! Ok back to the drawing board for this one.... Then it dawned on me, Meat and Potato Turkey Pot Pies for him and the normal ones for me and the kids. We were back in business!
So I made these up... Not following the directions completely. I had left over gravy and wanted to use that up and so I thinned it out with chicken broth and also used ham to fill up two of them since we didn't have enough turkey. While I was making them, I got THE LOOK.... you know they "yuck! Do I have to eat that" look!! I tell ya, making 5 people happy when you cook is a slim to none bet! But they all had to eat at least one piece, and guess what.... EVERYONE, yes you read that right, everyone went back for seconds. Not only that but my hubby took it for lunch the next day and him and the kids came home from school and work that day and ate it for a snack!!!! Holly Cow I thought... I hit this one out of the park!! Way better then cold turkey sandwiches!
Moral of the story... this will be on our dinner menu a lot more. While I was making it, I thought, those little chickens they have at the store, the rotisserie ones for about $5.00, one of those would easily make 2 more pot pies, and how cheap and easy would that be.

So here is the recipe that she sent me...

And this is what I did to make 2 pot pies...

Turkey Pot Pies
2 boxes of Pillsbury Pie Crusts
6 washed and diced up potatoes
3 stalks of celery
1/2 of red onion
About 2 cups of diced up ham
2 cups of leftover turkey diced up
3 cups of turkey gravy
1 can of chicken broth
1/3 cup of flour per pot pie

I greased up 2 pie pans and preheated the oven for 350. I then rolled out 1 pie crust and placed in the bottom of each pie pan. I then diced up the celery, onions and potatoes. In one bowl I mixed half of the potatoes, all of the onion and all of the celery, setting the remainder off to the side. Then I diced up the Turkey and the ham, mixing them up. Then I took half of turkey and ham and added them to the veggies in the bowl, tossing and mixing them well. I then added the mix to one pot pie. With the left over turkey, ham and potatoes I mixed them up and added them to the "veggie-less" pot pie. On the stove I made up the gravy and mixed it with the chicken broth. I then sprinkled 1/3 cup flour over the top of each pie. After the gravy was warmed up I added it over the top of each pot pie. Then I rolled out the remaining 2 pie crusts and covered each pie, crimping the sides together and making small slits in the top for steam to be released. I then cooked them for about 45-60 mins until the top was brown. When they were done, I let them cool and set up for about 10 mins before cutting and serving.
I really hope that your family enjoys this as much as ours did!!

Yummy English Muffin Bread

This is by far my families favorite bread! And I love to make it!! The recipe makes 4 loafs which I love because I can freeze some, give some to friends and family or like most of the time, we use them. This bread makes great sandwiches, toast, or just to have a piece of bread and butter. And lets face it, when your a mom, you don't have time to make bread daily, so 4 at once, hey I will take it!!
Not to mention it makes your house smell oh so yummo and is super easy!!

English Muffin Bread

5 1/2 cups warm water
3 package quick rise yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
11 cups flour, all purpose flour


Mix all ingredients together. Spoon dough into four very greased loaf pans. Let the dough rise in the pans until it reaches the top, (it takes about 20-30 mins) then pop them into the oven for 45 minutes, or until brown on top. Let rise in pans until dough reaches the top of the pans, and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. About the last 10 minutes before the bread is done, brush it with melted butter. When done, remove from oven and let it cool completely before cutting and serving.
Give it a try, I am sure you will love it!!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Turkey

One of my favorie dishes yesterday had to have been the bacon wrapped turkey. When we made this last year for the first time, I did it as more of a joke for my husband and dad. I really didn't think that the turkey would have been that good. But ohhhhh wow! The bacon seals in all the juices of the turkey, and all the drippings from the bacon drips down into the turkey meat and it is amazing! So I thought, ok well we might as well try it again this year.
When I make my turkey, in the roasting pan I always line it with onions, celery, and carrots, and maybe a lemon or two. Then I also stuff the same things into both cavitys of the turkey. I place the turkey on top of these veggies to help give it more of a taste then to just have it sittng on a rack. After it is in the pan, I then lift the skin carefully without ripping it and stuff butter mixed with minced garlic, Italian seasoning and a little bit of Johnny's seasoning. I rub down all the meat under the skin and then begin to wrap it with bacon. Once it's all covered with bacon I then pour about 2 cans of chicken broth into the pan and pop it in the oven. Once it's all done cooking, you will want to remove the bacon and skin from the turkey and let stand for a few minutes before you carve it. The turkey is oh so good!! It's super juicy and not dry at all! Give it a try!


Just a forewarning.... it makes everyone smile and then fall asleep quickly :)


Grasshopper Balls

Holly mint chocolate goodness batman!! I have never made truffles before because I always thought they would be too hard. Wow, not these. Start to finish I was done in about 30 mins. My husband thought I had slaved all day! I made these a few days before Thanksgiving. We had my Uncle, Dad, a few of my Dad's friends and our family here once they were done. So I let them all try one, well I went back into the kitchen after awhile and they were all gone, so I am guessing they were pretty good. On Thanksgiving I made the rest of the batch (I had doubled the first batch and kept the dough in the fridge.) And they were a huge hit too.
These are super gooey and soft inside and the hard chocolate on the outside holds it all together and makes them amazing! OHHHH SOOOOOO GOOOD!!!!
So you have to give these a try... 30 mins, 3 ingredients, and your a star!!

Grasshopper Balls
 1 pack of Grasshopper cookies (or thin mints when they are in "season"
1 package of cream cheese
1 pack of backers chocolate
First take your food processor (or a rolling pin and baggy) and grind the package of cookies the finest you can get them
Take your package of cream cheese and beat until smooth in your mixer. Then  add your cookies to your cream cheese and mix together. Place in fridge for at least 20 -30 mins.
Once your dough is chilled in the fridge, in a double boiler, melt your chocolate until smooth. While that is melting, take your dough and make it into balls. I tried this with a melon baler to make them all perfect and round... it didn't help though. I then went for the good old fashion way of just rolling them in my hand. it works just fine. - I let the kids do this part too and they were cracking up at the chocolate getting on their hands and laughing at each other. - They had a blast!
Once all your balls are rolled, and your chocolate is melted, take two forks, roll the ball with the forks in the chocolate and then remove with the two forks and place on wax paper. Let cool and outside chocolate harden and serve. You will completely enjoy these! I am still amazed how fast and easy they are. Have fun with these - decorate them for Christmas, roll them in mint chocolate, etc. Have fun! And enjoy!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Wash Potatoes

On Thanksgiving we had 10 people total, since I think that I have to make extra food every time, we ended up with enough food to probably feed 30 + people. I made 15 lbs of potatoes, a 20 lbs turkey, and a 16 lbs ham and tons of other things. (Make sure you check out the before and after pictures below... not much changed, though we were all so stuffed after we couldn't eat dessert.)
But when I saw this the other day, I had to try it. I saw that you take the potatoes that you are going to use and put them in the dishwasher and put them on rinse. I thought if this works, thank goodness because I hate washing potatoes. So I gave it a try for thanksgiving... and it did great!! Just remember not to have it on hot water, just on rinse. Thought I would pass on this time saver to you to try. Now if I could find one to peel the potatoes too..... I will work on that one.



Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving, and other holidays for that matter are important to me. Not only to be with family and celebrate, but one big part that is important to me is to make sure my girls learn something from the holiday. Weather it be leaning how to make a meal, a dish or how to make a craft, I want them to know how to do these types of things when they get older. This year I we had some new traditions we started, while caring on others.

I think one of my favorite ones is this Thanksgiving tradition. We go to the dollar store and pick out white plates. The girls get to draw turkeys, thankful sayings etc with colorful permanent markers. Then you bake them for about 40 mins on 350. When you remove them, be careful because all the writing on it will be wet and wipe off if you touch it at all, and they are very hot! Let them cool for a few hours and you have a plate you can eat on, and hand down. My plan is to have the girls make these each year till they move out. Then I can give them a set of plates to have for their first thanksgiving. I hope they enjoy this tradition as much as I do.
The other new tradition we started yesterday, was each person at thanksgiving signs their name, date, and what they are thankful for on a table cloth. Then the table cloth is passes to the person who is having thanksgiving the next year and we do it all over again. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at what people said and who was there and so on from year to year. I think it would be fun to do something like this too for Christmas.

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

Happy Black Friday!! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Did you try anything new for your meal? We did, and they were all a big hit!! I will have a few posts today on so oh so good treats!
This first one, I had seen a few different forms of this. The first one, was with strawberries, the second with raspberries. While I bought both, the kids had got to the strawberries before I did. So, even though I am just showing the raspberries, this would work for both berries, or any kind really.

Chocolate Filled Raspberries
Bakers Dark Chocolate (you can use what ever kind of chocolate you want, dark just sounded good with these - and it was!)
Wax Paper
Turkey Baster

With a double boiler, start by melting your chocolate. While that is happening, get a piece of wax paper and lay it out close to your stove. Try and keep your raspberries in the fridge and cold until the chocolate is melted, this makes them cold enough to help set the chocolate once they are filled. Once chocolate is done, use your turkey baster, to fill them. Since raspberries are so small, it was too hard to use a spoon, I tried a few things, then thought... turkey baster!! It was brilliant and works perfect! - So fill all of your raspberries, laying each one on the wax paper to cool. Then place in bowl or plate and serve. Forewarning though, I bought a small box of them thinking it would take too long to do a lot of them... it doesn't and they go very fast. So if you are taking them to a party or get together, buy a few boxes.

Enjoy these! I know our family did!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OMG Salted Caramel Bars!! A must try for Everyone!!

The other day was my hubby's 33rd Birthday! He did not want to do anything for this birthday or  to have any kind of celebration. I am one of those people though that has to throw a party or get together for everything..... But.... I didn't! This was hard this year to listen that he really didn't want to do anything. And he didn't want a cake either.... *sigh* ok.... now what to do? I thought, "he said he didn't want a cake...that doesn't mean he didn't want anything." :)
So my friend Amy, had made Salted Caramel Bars the other day, and she said they were amazing. I thought, he can't get mad at a dessert. So I tried these out yesterday. OH WOW!!! He really should have taken the left overs to work because I want to eat the whole pan! They are crazy good!!! And the really gr
eat thing about them... they are really rich, so you only need a very small piece - even my kids didn't ask for seconds with these! This recipe is coming just in time for the holidays!! Make a pan up, you will be loved for these!!

OMG! Salted Caramel Bars
4 sticks (yes, 1 POUND) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla
4 cups of all-purpose flour

Caramel Filling
One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine:
4 sticks (yes, 1 POUND) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
In your mixer, medium speed, beat together until creamy. 2 tablespoons of vanilla and beat until combined.
Gradually add 4 cups of all-purpose flour to the butter mixture. Beat on low until all combined.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Press one half of the dough evenly into the prepared pan to form a bottom crust, and place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

While the crust is cooling, make the caramel filling. I did mine in a double-boiler. You can also do it in a microwave....
In a double boiler, fill bottom pan with water, place second pan on top. Bring water to a slow boil. Unwrap caramels and place into pan. Add whipping cream and vanilla and mix until melted and incorporated.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine:
One 14-oz. bag caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If the caramels are not completely melted, microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel over the baked crust. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the top.
Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the caramel layer.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

A Big THANK YOU to Amy for telling me about these!! You were right, they are amazing!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings - Crock Pot Style

I know I have said that I like this recipe or that one as I have been writing these. But, this Chicken and Dumplings is one of my favorite!!
As I was growing up, my Mom would make chicken and dumplings a lot in the fall/winter time. I loved it! Something about the dumplings made me so happy each time we had it. I never learned how to cook it from her but I do remember she baked chicken legs and other parts and we ate it separate from the dumplings. I remember my little brother loving the chicken, and I loved the dumplings! I have never been a "chicken or meat on the bone" type of girl, so when I heard this recipe I was super excited!! I didn't know for sure if it would taste like my Mom's though. But ohhhh it does!! It's oh sooooo good! Give it a try, super easy in the crock pot all day.... come home to a hot meal!!

Chicken and Dumplings

4 frozen Chicken Breasts
2 tb butter
1 can cream of chix soup
1 can cream of celery soup
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 minced onion
1 cup celery minced
1 cup carrots minced
2 chicken boullion cubes
10 oz can of biscuits / or make your own with bisquick and water

Excluding the biscuits, put all other ingredients in crock pot. Mix together. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
About 1 hour before it is done, remove the chicken breasts and pull into pieces - I use two forks and sheered it up. Then return to crock pot.
Open can of biscuits and tear apart and place pieces on the top of the soup (if you are using Bisquick, make them, and spoon little balls into top of soup). I take a spoon and press them all into the soup before I cover it, to make sure it will all cook... they will pop right back up but it will cook it better. Then you cover and cook on low for about 1 more hour.... you just need to cook it enough until the biscuits are done.
Serve and enjoy!! This freezes really well too! Then just drop it into the crock pot and cook it and make more biscuits.
Hope you enjoy it!!

Never Buy Green Onions Again

I saw this and I could not believe it!!! I had to try it!
Grow your own green onions without dirt, seeds, just water??? I started doing this about a year ago. I love it. We use to buy about 4-6 bunches of green onions per month - while that is not that much, we will take any bit we can.
When you buy a bunch of green onions, you use as much as you need. With this set, I went about 3/4 of the way down. Then when your done using them, just stick them in a glass of water. Just enough water in them to cover the roots. They will grow super fast!! Depending on what I make for the month, I might not use as many or as much as I have growing, so I freeze them. Chop off what you need, and use it or cut it up and stick it in an empty water bottle, then place in the freezer. I love this, because it is costing me nothing, and I have them all the time, they never wilt or go bad.
There is one draw back with this. As with most things, if you leave it in water long enough, it will start to get slimy. So about every month or two I grab a bunch of green onions at the store and just start the cycle over again.
This is something that you can let the kids do too! There is no mess, they can watch how quick they will grow and have a blast doing it. Here are the photos of day 1,2 and 3. - Told ya they grow fast!!
Day 1
 Day 2
 Day 3
When I freeze mine

Bacon Wrapped Turkey

Happy Monday!! Wow, that weekend flew by for us!! And now we have Thanksgiving week upon us.... EEEKKKK!! Wasn't it just last week we were camping in August? Are we really in mid to late November?
So I have a few posts for today.... I think you are going to love them. I made them this weekend and OHHHH boy! Yummmmo!! My little helpers were busy all weekend! They are really excited to make Thanksgiving dinner.
This first one, I made last year. I thought I would post now so you can make plans for Thanksgiving.
My husband and  I had seen Bacon wrapped Turkeys last year and really didn't think that it would taste that good. Figured it would make it takes like bacon all the way through..... My husband was ok with that though. But I thought, well we might as well try. So a few pounds of bacon later, we were ready to bake our turkey. I baked it the same way as you would normally with any turkey. I still stuffed it with veggies and rubbed it down with butter and herbs. So all was the same except it was covered with bacon.
After it was done baking, it looked oh so yummmy! I have to tell you this turkey was THE BEST, MOISTEST turkey we have ever had!!! It turned out perfect!! Nothing was dry, everything was great!! One problem we did run into though, was you wanted to peel the bacon off and eat it, and you could, but it pulled the skin off with it. And the skin was not crisp, it was cooked but almost like you boiled it. So my suggestion would be to cook it with the bacon on, then when it is done, pull all the bacon and skin off and throw it away. Or, while I have not tried this, I think it would work... Cover your turkey with butter to brown the skin, cook it for about 30 mins on a high temp then remove and cover with bacon and maybe that will help. Give it a try this year!! You will love it!!

Just a forewarning.... this is what happens afterwards.... Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rori's Taquito's

I love Mexican food.... I just wish I could make it way better! If I had my way, going out to the local Mexican restaurant on a daily bases would be in my plans.
One year we were making a Mexican theme for my sister-in-laws birthday. Nathan and I were going to bring taquitos for everyone. I got to the store and taquitos were ungodly expensive for that many people. So as I was at the store trying to figure out how to not spend $50.00 plus on taquitos, I thought... there has to be a way to make them on your own. So this is what I came up with, I have been making these taquitos for a few years now. They are super easy and work out great for any appetizer. Everyone always raves about them. We also use them for a dinner once in a while. When I do this though, I make bigger ones, just with more filling and they are a bit more filling. My hubby loves having left over ones that he can take for lunch the next day. One recommendation I do have though, if you want to freeze these, cook them prior to freezing them and then heat them up in the oven or microwave. Don't freeze them, defrost them and then try and fry them... the left over water from being frozen splatters and hurts - trust me!!


2 CANS/JARS OF CHEESE DIP (Tostitos Queso Dip is the best)





Boil Chicken for 25-30 minutes until done. Drain and let cool. Sheared when cooled. Drain black beans and add to shredded chicken. Add in packets of taco seasoning and stir together. (I add seasoning until the chicken is all covered with seasoning, but add to taste.) Add in lime juice and cheese sauce. Mix all together. Scoop 1-2 spoonful’s (enough to spread from side to side in tortilla shell but not too much so it won’t roll up.) roll up tortilla and place into med-high oil. (Make sure that the closing of the tortilla is down in the oil first. I hold the whole taquito down to make sure it will not pop open for about 30 seconds. Be careful with them popping open and also the tortillas tend to bubble a lot so just pop the bubbles with your tongs. If any of the black beans get into the oil get them out quickly because they will make the oil spatter a lot!) Fry them until golden brown and set on plate with paper towel to cool a bit.
** If you don't like black beans, these are good without them too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Detox Water

Have you ever tried a detox? I have always wanted to try one but never had a chance. But I did come across this detox water the other day, and thought I would give it a try. I made some yesterday and tried it this morning, and I shrunk 10 sizes in a hour. No I'm just kidding! I wish though!! But I did try it this morning and it is really good! Now I don't know if it is detoxing me for sure, but I like the taste of it. As I drink more through today and tomorrow, I will let you know. But either way, it is very refreshing. It definitely will be on my list of summer drinks, or anytime for that matter.
Detox Water

1 Pitcher 3/4 of the way full of water
2 lemons
1 cucumber
10-15 mint leaves

Fill pitcher with water and set aside. Cut lemons and cucumbers into slices and add to water. Get 10 -15 mint leaves and add to water as well. Stir, close and let steep in fridge over night. Drink and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner Anyone?

Before I write this I have to tell you, I am so not a breakfast person. Well, ok, once in awhile, breakfast in bed or at about noon is fine. But if breakfast involves me cooking, which 99% of the time it does, then I am not a breakfast person. I am too tired in the morning to put too much thought into making more then cereal and cold milk, until I heard about this!! Breakfast prepared in the crock pot while your sleeping? You wake up to a hot breakfast, hot coffee - got to love preset coffee pots!!- and your house smells so yummy!! Ummm YES Please!!! So we tried this for breakfast. My husband was elated since he gets up at 3am and while I love him, we have found that when Mommy gets up that early, there is no getting anything done that day even with 10 cups of coffee. But we also tried it for dinner. Yummm! We layered it in a lasagna pan and baked it for about 45 mins to an hour. So give it a try! I am sure the kids will love it.

Crock Pot Breakfast
1 large Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage - or any sausage, enough to layer in the bottom of your crock pot
1 package of frozen hash browns
12 eggs
1/2 milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups shredded cheese - we used Colby jack

Layer the bottom of your crock pot with the sausage. Then layer on top of the sausage about half of the hash browns. Then a layer of cheese. Then repeat the hash browns and cheese. In a bowl crack the eggs and add the milk, beat together and add your salt and pepper. Pour over the hash browns, cheese and sausage. I added more cheese on top too, you can never have enough cheese. ;) Cook on low for 8 hours. Wake up and enjoy!

Oven Breakfast
1 large Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage - or any sausage, enough to layer in the bottom of your crock pot
1 package of frozen hash browns
12 eggs
1/2 milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups shredded cheese - we used Colby jack

Layer the bottom of your pan with the sausage. Then layer on top of the sausage about half of the hash browns. Then a layer of cheese. Then repeat the hash browns and cheese. In a bowl crack the eggs and add the milk, beat together and add your salt and pepper. Pour over the hash browns, cheese and sausage. I added more cheese on top too, you can never have enough cheese. ;) Cook on 350 for 45 mins to an hour - or until the top starts to brown. Enjoy ;)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We had this soup for the first time last night. It was outstanding! I have had Chicken Tortilla Soup in restaurants before and have always wanted to try to make it. So I had made White Chicken Enchiladas the other day for my in-laws for dinner, and I had left over chicken. Thought I would try it with this. I will definitely be making it again for my family!!
Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 Cans Chicken Broth
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Pack Taco Seasoning
A few dashes of Tabasco Sauce
1 Can of Corn
1 Can of Black Beans
2 Cans of Green Chilies
3 Cooked and shredded Chicken Breasts
Cheese, Chips, Sour Cream and Cilantro to Garnish

Crock Pot: Cook Chicken on Stove Top until fully cooked and then add chicken and remaining ingredients to crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours - since you really don't have to "cook" anything, your just warming it up, you can even put it on low for 8 hours if needed.
Another way to make this is to add the raw chicken breasts and ingredients to crock pot, cook on high for 8 hours, then shred them with two forks in crock pot and stir together and serve.

Loaded Bake Potato Soup

Burrr! I guess it is mid November and I should get use to the fact that it is going to be cold! But the last few days it's  been so cold and rainy, I just want to curl up on the couch with a fire and a blanket. First, we don't have a couch - long story there - and second, yeah like the kids will ever let Mom relax. So I opted to make soup, that always makes me warm and feel better.
Like I said earlier, I never learned how to cook from my mom, grandmother etc. While I wish I had some old recipe from my great great Grandmother, I have to settle for Pinterest and The Food Network.  So I experiment a lot. And while I like something, the kids will not or the hubby says it's a no go. So when a recipe is a hit for everyone, that is amazing! The Loaded Baked Potato Soup is a big hit in our house!! Thought I would share the recipe, its simple (I have a recipe for both the crock pot and stove) and it costs next to nothing to make!! And did I mention it is oh so good?!!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup

6 Large Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
1 Large Onion, minced
1 Qt. Chicken Broth
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 Cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Cup Cream or Half and Half
1 Cup Cheese (Use your favorite Cheese - I usually use Colby Jack)
Bacon Bits or Crispy Bacon, Sour Cream, Chives or Green Onions and More Cheese to Garnish

Crock pot: Combined first 6 ingredients, cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. When done mash potatoes and stir together. Add 1 cup (or more) of cheese. Then add Cream and stir together. This helps it thicken up. Cook on low for about 20-30 more mins. Place in bowls, have your family garnish with what they want and then enjoy!!

Stove top: Boil potatoes in large pot of water until fork tender. I didn't know how to cook my onions with them so I added them in big chunks to my water when boiling the potatoes. When the potatoes were done, I strained the onions out and then drained the water. Add the remaining ingredients, stir together and cook over low heat for about 10 mins. Place in bowls, have your family garnish with what they want and enjoy!!

Every Mom Should Learn To Make Laundry Soap

So I have to say that I think every Mom should know and try this recipe!! With 3 kids and a husband that can stain anything, I have gone through my share of laundry soap, while spending a pretty penny on it too!! Once someone shared this with me, I have not bought laundry soap in the store again. It costs me around $3.50 to make a 5 gallon bucket - around 1 cent per load!! Can't beat that price!! Give it a try - I bet you'll be hooked!
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap (for front or top load machine)
1. 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (you can buy this in your local grocery store where all the laundry stuff is. It was hard for me to find. Ask your store clerk.
2. 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. (You have to use WASHING SODA not baking soda.. WASHING SODA!! same aisle as your laundry stuff)
3. 1/2 (half) cup of borax (you can also find it in the laundry aisle)
4. Start off with 4 cups of hot tap water
5. Must get a huge bucket with a lid. You will need at least a 5 gallon bucket. I got mine from Lowes (the gray with with the Lowes logo it's like 4 bucks or less and i got special chalk paint to cover up the lowes logo). You can also use a Costco container or something like that - something big enough to mix and make the soap and store it.
6. Save one of your liquid soap dispensers. You can use the big 5 gallon bucket everyday or save up your liquid soap dispensers and just fill them up as needed to do laundry.

1. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap bar and add to a saucepan with 4 cups of hot tap water. Stir continually over medium low heat until the soap dissolves and is melted.
2. Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water Add melted soap, Washing Soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water  Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
3. Stir and fill a used, clean laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill the rest way up with water. Shake before each use. It should gel up.

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. (I haven't used any yet with the scents but I already use fabric softener. Too many scents give me a headache. Again - optional)

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes about 5 gallons, so... Top load machine - 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads) and the Front Load Machines- 1/4 cup per load (Approximately 640 loads).. But in the front loaders your suppose to use less anyway. All for a total of about $7.00 for all the ingredients - and you don't use all the Washing Soda and Borax. So really your look at at about $3.50 to make this - and if you have a front loader - that is one cent per load - yeah that price it pretty good!!

**** I have used this in both a front loader and top loader and had no problems in either. I have a Bosch front loader that calls for HE soap - and this works great in it!!****

I don't have any problems with this recipe. I love it! It doesn't leave any smells on the clothes and removes all the stinky ones. It cleans great. If you read the ingredients of the Fels-Naptha soap bar, Washing Soda and Borax - it's essentially what you need to clean your clothes not the extra stuff you buy from the store because to me it's more concentrated than the liquid soap from the store.
Anything that doesn't leave stains on my kids clothes, and removes the stinkyness form my husbands clothes for a fraction of what I would pay for the stuff in the store is pretty amazing!! Try it out, let me know what you think!!

What To Do Now?

While I sometimes I never thought this day would come, now that it is here, I am sad.... Let's start at the beginning though....
14 years ago I had a beautiful baby girl! I was a very young (16) single mom. I had no idea how to raise a baby. I had babysat a few times, enough to know how to change diapers and that type of thing, but not how to be a parent. But no time like the present to learn hu? Since I was pretty busy raising my daughter, still going to high school and working, I never got to learn how to cook, clean, etc from Mom before I left the house. To be honest with with you I don't know how my first few boyfriends survived my cooking. As Kenzie grew I started dating a friend of mine. Things were good, about 1.5 years into it, we decided to get married. I was 19 at this time and thought everything was going to be great. One week before the wedding I found out I was pregnant with my second child. While I thought everything would be fine - he did not. Second guy gone - wedding called off, and single mom to two now. Really God? Just wondering what I did to make you mad. - Little did I know at that time, God was blessing me with two amazing girls who are my world! Kailee was born shortly after I turned 20. I was still working tons of hours and doing everything I could to make ends meet for my two girls and I. About 9 months after she was born I started dating Nathan. We had known each other for years, worked together and he was that friend of mine I would call when I needed someone to chat with. 3 months into dating, he asked me to marry him, 1.5 years later, I was his wife. He took on my two daughters as if they were his own, (later adopting them) and never blinked an eye. I guess God did know everything was going to be OK :)
Poor Nathan, even when we got married I still didn't know how to cook. I remember the first Easter I had his parents to our first apartment, the eggs were not cooked all the way, the toast was cold, yuck. I look back on that and cringe!! After about 2 years of marriage I started to get the hang of it. I became a stay at home mom and had time to look up and try different recipes. While they didn't always turn out, and the smoke detector loved to tell everyone I was a horrible cook, somehow it clicked one day. While being a stay at home we had our 3rd daughter, Kenadie. I have got to stay at home with her since she was born. Which was a big blessing to me since the other two I was working and going to school so much, I missed a lot of their younger years. Kenadie and I did everything together. I taught her sign language, made her homemade baby food, tons of arts and crafts with her and her sisters. I loved being at home with them. But, like any honest mom will tell you, there were those days when you are asking yourself, when the heck is mom's day off? You dreamed of the day when they were in school and you could lay around and do nothing - yeah like a mom can ever sit and do nothing!! Well with the blink of an eye, that day came this year. Kenzie was off to 8th grade, Kailee off to 5th grade and Kenadie off to kindergarten. *sigh* And mama was home not knowing what to do. While I was involved in everything from PTA, Booster Clubs, City Council and so on, I still couldn't believe I didn't have any kids at home needing a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every second, and I could clean and turn around 5 minutes later and no one had messed it up. So, since I have more time, I thought I would try a blog. I had done this about a year ago - I had a big couponing blog and taught classes and so on, but didn't have time. So here we go...figured I would share recipes, crafts, tips etc. Nothing too big just something for this mama to do.