Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hello Sunshine! {updated with links}

It's Thanksgiving Eve. We have had several days of chilly and rainy. I'm so thankful this morning for the sunshine pouring in my windows. The temp is still chilly, but at least I'm not getting wet when I venture outside. The kids and I are headed to the grocery store. I'm crazy that way. It's a mad house the day before Thanksgiving. I know...I was there last year. Anyway, I need some herbs for the turkey and some ingredients for a pie we have not yet chosen.

So, what's on your menu for tomorrow? I'm responsible for the turkey and deviled eggs and
Cinnamon Apple Cranberry and the spinach and artichoke dip I've been making for over a decade now! (Wow, time flies!) YUM-O! I'll update later with recipes, and give you the recipe for the delicioso shrimp burgers I made for dinner last night. Think fried shrimp in a bun but not a po-boy. They were gooood!

Update: the turkey was eh...not so great. I wish it would've been a little more moist. Oh well, I'll try again. The Cinnamon Apple Cranberry was goooood! I will keep this recipe fo-sho! Carleigh was a doll and helped me with the deviled eggs. Don't you wish there was an easy way to peel those hard boiled eggs?! There isn't. I've tried everything...even the egg peeler thingy off the TV. Anyway, Carleigh commented on how I make the deviled eggs. She said, "Is this one of those recipes you just guesstimate?" Yes, yes it is. I put the yolks in a bowl and break them up with a fork. Then I add a few tablespoons of mayo, some salt and pepper, a few dashes of dill weed, a little marjoram, a little (maybe a teaspoon) dry or wet mustard, and mix with a hand mixer. If I decide it needs something upon tasting it, I add some more of whatever it needs. I then add the mixture to a large baggie and clip one of the ends to make a pastry-type bag and pipe them into the egg whites. It's so much easier and prettier that way. I saw a recipe the other day for deviled eggs with a kick. Can't wait to try them. If you get to it before I do, let me know how they turned out...Spicy Sriracha Deviled Eggs.

Here's a glimpse of fall around our house...and a little cutie at her Thanksgiving lunch at school a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A date, a movie, fall fun, and a soccer champ

Kelvin and I had a great date yesterday. It was a day date. I loved it! Sometimes you just have to spend the money on a sitter, ya know? We went to a brewery in Houston, ate at one of my favorite restaurants that, unbeknownst to us has actually changed owners and the name, and checked out a new-to-us place. It was AWESOME! I needed the time with my man in a bad way. We even spent some time making out. Hee hee. It was fun. You should try it again! When we got home it was still pretty early, so there was still time to watch a movie. OH.MY.GOODNESS.GRACIOUS! Have you seen Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler? I know, it's old...like SO last year. I'm very behind the times. I rented it off Amazon, because my man said he was up for a movie. What he meant was he didn't mind if I watched one while he caught a nap on the couch. ;) But seriously, the movie was so great. You have to see it. Billy Crystal is hilarious as always. Bette Midler is one of my all time favorites. There's so much truth in this movie. Like the time Bette tells her grown daughter,
After your kids grow up, your husband is the one who stays. I know you're trying to be a perfect parent, but honey, there's no such thing. And frankly, you need to show Phil [insert your husband's name], he's not just their father, he's also your husband. I get it...love the man, love the dream. Well, your husband's dream is coming true, and part of that dream is you being there with him.

Stings a little, doesn't it mamas? It's so true, though. Of course we need to strive to be good parents and raise kids who feel good about themselves (and I would add kids who love Jesus.) But we also need to remember to put our husbands first, because the Bible tells us so. And after all, they ARE the ones who will still be around once the kids are gone. I think it's hard as mamas to remember the order God intended...HIM, husband, then children and church.

Another great scene in the movie is when the grandfather, Billy Crystal is about to spank one of his grandchildren in front of an entire audience at the symphony. He says,

I'm sorry, I can't take it anymore...these teachable moments and protecting their self-esteem, and nobody gets punished! And every game ends in a tie! All I hear is 'use your words. Use your words.' But the word they never use with these kids is 'no.'

Oh my. There's so much good in this movie. Man, this movie was such a good reminder of how it's ok to say "No" sometimes. I'm moving on now.

We had a cool front blow in Friday morning. It's feeling a lot like winter. So before we actually hit December, when winter officially begins, I wanted to share a little of fall around these parts. We took the kids to an awesome farm this year. It's loaded with fun stuff to celebrate the fall season...pumpkin launch, corn maze, haystack mountain, pumpkin patch, fun fall food, a giant hill slide, and an incredible culvert pipe swing. We had a ball. Check out Berryland Farms if you're in the area.









We've enjoyed Luke's soccer games this fall too. He usually plays goalie, which comes with a pretty big responsibility. He really enjoys the game and does a great job. His team played in the playoffs Saturday and Sunday before last. They placed second, but Luke really did an awesome job on all three playoff games. During the championship game, he blocked SO many goals! Luke's coach said if not for Luke, the other team would have stomped all over us. He said Luke was their saving grace. Kelvin said the coach on the other team approached him asking for our phone number to talk to Kelvin about Luke playing for him! Kelvin declined. Luke is loyal to his Coach Elo. Of course, I'm one proud mama!


 
I'm glad our family was there to support our little Beckham. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On the Table November 20, 2013

Well, here it is Wednesday, and I'm just now posting my menu for the week. Time is not slowing down, even though I asked sweetly, pretty please, with sugar on top! Well, here it is...what's on our table this week...

Monday
I made another pot of yummy Pedernales River Chili like the pot I made Sunday, and we had Frito pie. It doesn't get much better than that, folks. Comfort food at its finest! Even if you don't plan on making the chili, you should click on the link and read the little tidbit from Lady and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Tuesday
Taquito Tuesday...a little twist on Taco Tuesday. I didn't follow the recipe I linked. But I thought I would include it for you because it sounds good. All I did was brown some ground meat with some onion and chili powder, added about 3/4 can of refried beans and half a can of green chili enchilada sauce and mixed it all together. I then filled tortillas with about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, added a little shredded cheddar, and rolled them up like a taquito. I popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They were so good. I should have made a double batch. It made about 12.

Wednesday
Tonight we're having some chili mac with the leftover chili from Monday. I'm making three boxes of Annie's Mac n Cheese and adding some of the chili to it and serving some steamed broccoli and carrots on the side. This will be a winner with the kiddos.

Thursday
I going to try again to make the Creamy Vegetable Pasta. It sounds so good. We ended up heating up some boudin and sausage instead of cooking this on Saturday night. Kelvin was helping a friend with his deer skull mount, and I was cooking the chili for our small group party. The party was moved from our house to my friend's house because Luke's soccer team won their games on Saturday and had the championship game Sunday afternoon. More on that later.

Friday
YOYO (you're on your own) or pizza or something easy. I'm not cooking

Saturday
Elk steak with roasted asparagus, and salad with walnuts and feta cheese. I can't wait to try some of the steaks from the elk Kelvin got on his hunt. Maybe we'll get to sit by the fire after dinner with a marshmallow or two on a stick and a glass of wine. Sounds like a plan to me!

Sunday
Shrimp burgers with homemade fries.

So, what's on your table this week?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chili

How do you like your chili? We're having chili tomorrow. I can't decide which recipe to cook. I love this Chunky Beef Chili by Allie with Martha Stewart Everyday Food, because "I like 'em BIG, I like
 'em chunky!" Here is the recipe. The other link is a video.



It's one I found quite some time ago. Glad I found it again. It uses sirloin and sweet Italian sausage. It is a very good thing, as Martha says. ;)

The other one I'm debating on is a real old favorite. It's easy peasy and tried and true. I don't even remember where I found it. I've been making it for a LOOOOONG time. It's called Pedernales River Chili. Funny, I don't remember finding it online, but I guess I did because there was a link to the website on the bottom of my recipe. You should definitely give it a shot.

What is your favorite chili? Beans or no beans? What are your favorite toppings? I love cheese and cilantro. I like to eat it with Fritos or crackers or cornbread. I'm not too picky, really.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the Table November 12, 2013

I just can't get over that I just wrote November 12, 2013. I still catch myself writing the wrong year sometimes. I guess grief, loss of brain cells with each pregnancy, and the hectic life we live will do that to a girl. That's my story anyway.

So, last week, Kelvin was in the gorgeous state of Colorado elk hunting. I was a single mom for 10 days, and I have to say, it stinks! Single parents, you have my greatest respect and honor. There will be big jewels in your crown...HUGE! Anyway, I made up a great menu and had every intention of cooking everything on it. Then, single parenting and broken down cars and  spur-of-the-moment celebrations and sheer exhaustion set in, and I only made about 3 of the seven planned dinners. Yay for 3! The chicken pot pie was SO SO SO gooood! I will never buy a can of cream of anything to put in my pot pies again. Sarah's Chicken pot pie recipe was the bomb.com! Like I suggested in my post last week, I skipped the individual pies, and made one big one with a pie crust on top and bottom. It was much simpler and less clean-up. I made the chicken pot pie on Saturday instead of Wednesday. On Wonton Taco night, I made them, but we went to Kelvin's cousin's victory celebration at a local Mexican food restaurant. He won the city council position for which he was running! Yay Chris! We ate the tacos for lunch the next day. Because I've been working on logos and other stuff for Emma's Bayou Bash, I didn't get to the store to buy what I needed for dinner Wednesday or Thursday. On Wednesday we stopped by the local pizza joint and picked up a couple of their yummy $5.99 pizzas (I think they really are good) and had a picnic in the car on the way to church. I was proud of myself for only eating two pieces. I've been known to go a little overboard on the whole pizza eating thing. I was so tired by the time Thursday rolled around, I don't think I even ate dinner. I bought Subway sandwiches for the kids. Friday was a free for all. Saturday the stars aligned, the heavens opened up, the angels sang, and Kelvin finally arrived back home! He had this bad boy with him...



That animal is humongous! Kelvin and the other guys with him had a successful hunt. His Facebook post said, "Elk Hunt 2013 in Western Colorado. Non-guided, four hunters and three elk. Good weather, good friends, good food and a good haul." I'm so glad.

So, Saturday I made the chicken pot pie and Sunday, I made steak out of the stew meat that was so good you wouldn't even believe it. Kelvin brought home some onions, potatoes, and apples, so I made a yummy salad with apples and feta cheese and an apple cider vinegar dressing, as well as an adaptation of this yummy Sausage, Apple, and Red Potato Skillet. I didn't have the red potatoes, so I used regular ones. I also cooked it in the skillet for a little bit then roasted it in the oven on about 420 degrees until the potatoes were soft, because Kelvin had a fire going, and I wanted to enjoy it.

This week, I plan on making some of the stuff I didn't get to last week. Here it is...

Monday
We had smother fried deer meat with rice. It was so good. It was really the first time I can remember making the meat that way. Here is what I did...Heat a little oil in a skillet. Salt and pepper and sprinkle both sides of tenderized round steak with garlic powder. Then dust both sides with a little flour. Fry in the pan for about three minutes on each side...not too long. Remove from the skillet and add about a tablespoon of butter. Add about 1/2 cup of flour (give or take) and stir around until it's all incorporated with the butter. Add chicken broth or water until it's the consistency you like your gravy. Add the steak back to the pan in the gravy and cook on low heat, covered for about 5 minutes. If your steaks are thick, you might want to cook longer. Serve over the rice. Man, it was good! It's definitely not an eat-every-day kind of meal, but it was good.

Tuesday
We're having stir fry. I'm trying to use what's left of the deer meat from last year that's still in the freezer, because y'all, that big 'ole elk is going to take up some space! I'm adapting this Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe I found on Pinterest. We also have some zucchini and yellow squash that needs to be eaten, so, I'm slicing those babies and throwing them into the mix too!

Wednesday
That infamous stew I keep ranting about, will hopefully be simmering in the crockpot. We're supposed to have some cooler weather tomorrow, so stew sounds real good! Of course, I'll be using deer meat instead of beef. I bet you could even make it vegan with lentils or something! If you do, let me know how it turns out.

Thursday
Meatloaf muffins that I didn't get to last week. Maybe I can even use the meat grinder and ground some of the deer meat in the freezer to make the ground meat for the recipe! That would be sah-weet! I'll let you know.

Friday
Leftovers or something quick and easy. We're having family pictures made. We'll probably eat after pictures. The sun is setting sooner and sooner these days, so we can't be late since the photo shoot is outdoors.

Saturday
The Creamy Pasta with Veggies from last week. Luke has a playoff soccer game and maybe two, but I hope we get to make it out to a benefit for a local family whose wife and mama has brain cancer. I'm sure the BBQ will be great. Please say a prayer for Andria.



Sunday
We're hosting a our church small group for a party after church. We're going to have Game Day at the Dunnams, so pray for good weather. I want to set up the washer and corn hole boards and have a fire going in the pit for s'mores, and tables set up with dominoes and good food. Not exactly sure what we're making, but I bet it involves deer meat! ;) Maybe some baked potatoes with all kinds of toppings??

I would love to know what's on your table this week. Share in the comments below. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Emma's Hugs and Veteran's Day and Stomach Bugs...Oh My!

Well hello there! Can you believe it's the second week of November? What in the WORLD!?! I need time to slow WAY down. Just the other day Luke told me he hated time. I asked him what he meant. He said, "well, it either goes by way too slow or way too fast." I get it, Buddy!

There is a lot going on around these parts. We are planning Emma's Bayou Bash 2014. If you're local or even semi-local, please mark your calendars for Saturday, March 1, 2014. Not long ago when we were preparing to meet with our executive planning committee for the first time, Luke said it would be cool to have the Bayou Bash on Emma's birthday. I wasn't sure on what day of the week her birthday fell next year. When I looked at the calendar, it was on a Saturday! So, we started aiming for that date. I'm so glad all the details are finally worked out as to when and where. It's been a stressful couple of months for me. If you're not familiar with Emma's Hugs, click on the logo on the right sidebar for more information.




If you're not local but would still like an easy way to support Emma's Hugs, Amazon has just released their new program, Amazon Smiles. Just click on the "Get Started" button in the box below or the link here to register. It's super duper quick and easy, and 0.5% of each of your purchases will go directly to Emma's Hugs. :) Thanks for considering Emma's Hugs when you shop this holiday season and BEYOND! (said in my best Buzz Light Year voice)  


 
 
Happy Veteran's Day to my dad and all of the other beautiful people who have sacrificed for our great nation! Our family appreciates your service. You are AWESOME!! Friday, the fourth grade classes at Luke's school performed a Veteran's Day salute. I love these performances. I think they are so important, and I'm so glad his music teacher agrees.
 
 
Yesterday around five o' clock in the evening, Cora got bitten by the stomach bug...if ya know what I mean. :/ Poor little thing was sicker than a dog until about 11:30 last night. Then around one o' clock this morning, Carleigh got bitten! grr There's not much worse than the stomach bug for me. I just don't do well. Thankfully, they both seem to be getting better today. Hoping it stops with them too.
 
 

Emma's Hugs

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On the Table

It's Tuesday! Here's what's on our table this week...


Monday
Yesterday was a eat-on-the-go kind of day. I whipped into Kroger and picked up some Applegate Farms corndogs and Simple Truth (Kroger's organic brand) tater tots (because who can eat a corndog without tater tots?), picked up Carleigh from school, picked up Luke from UIL practice (he made the Number Sense Team!!), ran home to throw the tots and dogs in the oven, set the auto bake timer (coolest invention EVER), dropped him off at gymnastics, came back home, fed the girls and myself, boxed Luke's dinner to go, picked up Luke, and went to the ladies section rehearsal for our church choir Christmas pageant. Man, I'm thankful for corndogs and tater tots!

Tuesday
It's Taco Tuesday around here today. We're having Wonton Tacos. They are sooo good! Pop some wonton wrappers (I find them in the produce section near the tofu and other meatless products) in muffin tins. Brown some meat, add your favorite taco seasoning. Fill each wonton muffin with meat, top with cheese, and cook at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the wonton wrappers are brown and crisp. They are so, so, so good! Top with your favorite salsa or guacamole or both. Easy peasy and the kids LOVE them.

Wednesday
Chicken pot pie (bahk, bahk!) Don't you just love chicken pot pie? I do. This is a good recipe, but make it easy on yourself. Use rotisserie chicken and pie crusts. Lay one in a pie dish, fill it with chicken filling (I use about a cup or so of frozen mixed veggies), add another pie crust. Cut some slits in the crust to vent, then pop it in the oven. Of course, you can make your own pie crusts, which I'm sure is superior and full of awesomeness, OR just buy them at the store. I wish our local grocer carried Immaculate Baking Company's pie crust. They are yummilicous without all the gross stuff.

Thursday
Meatloaf muffins for Luke. He loves these things. I'll probably cook some green beans to go with them because that just sounds good...maybe some mashed potatoes too. We'll see. I haven't tried this recipe, but I'm sure it's good. I couldn't find the one I was looking for. I thought I saved it, but I guess I was wrong. That never happens. (bwahahaha)

Friday
Yoyo or pizza

Saturday
Creamy Pasta with Veggies this is a recipe of Bev's. If you've never read her food blog, go ahead, I'll wait. She is hilarious! I always go away smiling after reading one of her recipes. I thought this one would be a win...pasta for my pasta-loving kiddos, and veggies, because they need them.

Sunday
I'm making the dern stew I've been talking about for the past couple of weeks, dang it! :) I love Sarah. She seems so real. Hoping to get this baby cooking in the slow cooker on slow and low the night before so we can dig in after church.



So, tell me, what's on your table this week? I leave you with this, because she's so darn cute, I mean scary!

Please pray and sign the petition

Friends,

Our family has been praying for a man named Pastor Saeed Abedini  who has been imprisoned in Iran because he is a Christian. As you can imagine, his wife and children miss him immensely. He has endured torture and extreme abuse because of his faith. Please take a moment to listen to the video (click the link at the bottom) and sign the petition for the Iranian president to release him. His situation has taken a turn for the worse. Please pray for supernatural strength and endurance. Thanks.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Welcome! and SO thankful

Welcome to my new site! I'm over-the-top excited!! Heather is such a joy to work with...so patient. I still have a little bit of work to do, but I'm LOVING this new design. It fits perfectly with my need for simple. Hoping to transfer this to the rest of my life and home.

This is the month to focus on our blessings and being thankful. Today, I'm SO thankful for a washer and dryer. We always have so much laundry, and I can't imagine having to wash everything by hand. ugh! I think we have WAY too many clothes. Maybe it's time to pare down.




Happy Monday!
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