Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing with you is a family favorite. This is a salad Bob's mom made frequently and when we got married it was one of the first recipes I got from her.  It's stood the test of time - 32 years and I'm still making it, and we still love it!
I make this most often in the summer.  On a hot day, it makes a light supper with a sandwich, and it's perfect to have around for lunch. I usually make it with tuna, but have also used cubed ham.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Moms Pasta Salad

1 cup uncooked pasta - shell, elbow, bowtie...
2 hard boiled eggs
7 ounces tuna, drained (or cubed ham)
1 can peas
2 sweet gherkin pickles, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Place in colander and rinse with cold water.
Toss together tuna, peas and pickles.  Cut eggs fine and stir in.  Add pasta and mayonnaise.
Stir all together and then stir in cheese.
Refrigerate overnight.  Stir before serving.  If it appears too dry, add mayonnaise to taste.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grandpa's girl

(Warning - lots of pictures...)
We had Alaina overnight on Friday, and Bob had Saturday off. He works a lot of Saturdays so this was a rare treat! He spent lots of time with her, saying he had lots to do, but this was more important! (And more fun too)

They started by walking around the back yard.

And they came upon the swingset.  "Grandpa, I need a ride!"


A trip down the slide is necessary too!


Time to check out the little boy that lives in the flower beds.


Back in the garage, Alaina decided that she really likes the lawn tractor.


After all that, they needed a little rest.


However, Alaina doesn't sit long and she decided to do a little yard work of her own.


She got grandpa to give her a ride around the front yard.


Time to sit down again and see how things are looking.


Grandpa and his girl - they make a fine team!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ohio work project

I told you last week that I had to go to Ohio for work for 2 days.  I was one of 8 nurses who went to the corporate office to be part of a focus group. They said they wanted to hear from people who had to carry out some of their plans, to see what we thought, instead of coming up with things when they really had no idea how it would work. I have to respect the Corporation for wanting to hear from us. We had some very interesting talks and came up with some good plans. We'll see what happens. They are planning one more day in the near future. We were treated very well while we were there, and I have to show you a few pictures of my time.

This is my hotel room - lots of space for just one person!

A very nice bathroom...

And a fancy, schmancy kleenex box!

On the first night we were taken out for supper by the president of the corporation.

This is what the ceiling of this restaurant looked like.

Here's a bigger shot of the interior.  It was an Italian restaurant and the food was very good!
When we finished supper, we had time to do a little shopping.  We were in Easton, (near Columbus) which is an absolutely beautiful place to shop.  It has about any store you could hope to find, along with a theatre and lots of restaurants.  We only had about an hour before they closed, but felt like we could spend 2 days there.
The next day we finished up and then had the 6 hour drive back home.  It was very enjoyable, and I hope some good comes from it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shopping Bags

Last week I posted this picture of Oliver in one of my shopping totes.  I got lots of questions asking about them.  I got them recently at a craft show.  They are made by ladies in Kenya, so I'm afraid they aren't something you will be able to order.  They don't have a web site and are sold locally at craft shows.
I love mine!  They are heavy duty and hold a surprising amount of groceries.  They're really cute and cut down on my trips from the car to the house.  If I ever see them again and they have a web site I'll share for those who were interested.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I tried a new recipe last week for something called taco pockets.  We like tacos, and this recipe sounded like something that would be easy to throw together after I got home from work.  They were easy to make, but as I started putting them together, I had a feeling that using the recipes instructions wasn't going to work too well.  It involves using canned biscuits, rolling them and putting taco meat in the center.  You were then supposed to pull the dough together on top, creating a circle.  It didn't want to stick together, so I started to just fold it over, which worked much better.  You can see in the picture below the results of both ways of making these.  One looks much prettier!
My friend Sandra, who hosts Cooking Thursday is settled into her new home and is back hosting again.
Stop over at her place, Diary of a SAHM, to see more recipes.

Taco Pockets

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tubes refrigerated Grands biscuits
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook beef with onion and drain.  Add taco seasoning and prepare according to directions on seasoning envelope.  Allow to cool slightly.
Flatten each biscuit into a 4 inch circle.  Place a scoop of taco meat in the center of the biscuit, then top with a small scoop of shredded cheese.  Fold biscuit over and pinch edges shut.
Bake at 400 degrees or until tops are lightly browned.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back Yard Beauty/Short break

We had extremely hot and humid, record setting weather last week. We were all happy to have some cooler air blow in on the weekend. We did have rain predicted, but it didn't come, so hopefully we'll see a little of that this week. Unlike us, our flowers really enjoyed that hot and humid weather. Here's a few pictures of our back yard flowers.

One of my favorites is the lavender.  Not only does it add a nice splash of color, it smells wonderful!  I wish I had saved some of the heads to dry and enjoy, but I think they are too far open for that now.

We picked up this old headboard at an estate sale.  It's missing a piece, but we thought it fit right into this spot against Bob's workshop.  The tiger lilies look happy growing next to it.


We have lots of these white coneflowers in a bed out back.  They are another of my favorites.  (I have a lot of favorites!)

I like to wander around the flowers in the late evening.  The rays of the setting sun shines so nicely on the flower beds.

I'll be missing from my blog and from visiting you for a few days.  I have to go to Ohio for some meetings for work.  I'll be back Wednesday night, so will probably be around to visit again on Thursday.  See you then!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ore Ida Grillers

I tried a new product last week.  These are Ore Ida Grillers - thick slices of potato that are seasoned and frozen, all ready to be grilled.
You pop them on the grill, right from the freezer and grill them for about 17 minutes, turning half way through. They were a great side dish, easy to make and very tasty.  Our family really liked them!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cooking Thursday

A few weeks ago, I spent some time making some freezer meals.  It's so satisfying to put these bags in the freezer and know there are meals ready to go!  These meals were all quick to put together, because they're all crockpot meals.  When you're going to use them, let them thaw in the frig for 24 hours, then pop them in the crockpot.

Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork chops and Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds pork chops, boneless (4-6 chops, thick sliced)
8 medium redskin potatoes, cut into large pieces
1 small bag, baby carrots
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 packages dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup milk
In a bowl, mix together soups, milk and ranch dressing mixes and pour into a resealable 2 gallon sized freezer bag.  Combine other ingredients and zip closed.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on low for 8 hours.
*We've already used this one and it was delicious! 

Slow Cooked Beef and Mushrooms
3 pounds stew meat, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 (4 ounce) cans mushrooms with liquid
1/2 cup apple juice
1 packet dry onion soup mix
Combine all ingredients in a resealable gallon sized freezer bag and zip closed.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.  Serve over rice.

Chicken Taco Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
16 ounce can black beans, drained
16 ounce can kidney beans, drained
8 ounces tomato sauce
10 ounces frozen corn
2- 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 tablespoon chili seasoning
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine  onion, black beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, corn, tomatoes, taco seasoning, cumin and chili seasoning in bowl.  Place chicken in large freezer bag and pour other ingredients over top.  Zip closed and freeze.  When ready to use, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Place in crockpot and cook on low for 10 hours.  Before serving, shred chicken and return to crock pot.  
Serve over tortilla chips or rice.  May top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Glazed Ham
4 thick slices of boneless ham, fully cooked
1/3 cup brown sugar
20 ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
2 tablespoons mustard - optional
Mix together brown sugar, pineapple and mustard in resealable gallon sized freezer bag.  Place ham inside and zip bag.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
12 ounce jar chili sauce
16-18 ounce jar grape jelly
2 pound package frozen meatballs
Combine chili sauce and grape jelly until smooth.  Place meatballs into resealable freezer bag and pour sauce over.  Mix in bag and zip closed.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Serve over rice, or use as an appetizer and serve with toothpicks.

Teriyaki Chicken
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry cooking sherry
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine oil, soy sauce, sherry, ginger and garlic in large freezer bag.  Place chicken in bag, removing air from bag and place in freezer.  When ready to use, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
Drain sauce from chicken and grill or cook in crockpot for 6 hours on low.

French Dip Sandwiches
1 - 3 pound beef chuck roast
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
slices of swiss or colby jack cheese
bakery style hot dog buns
Mix water, soy sauce, rosemary, garlic powder, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf in large freezer bag.  Place roast into bag and freeze.  When ready to use, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Place in crock pot and cook on low for at least 12 hours, until meat is very tender.  Shred meat with 2 forks.  Place on hot dog bun with a slice of cheese.  Pour broth into individual small cups and serve with sandwich for dipping.

*Some of these recipes have been in my recipe box for years, others came from Six Sisters Stuff.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Oh Oliver...

I've shared in previous posts about the trouble our cat Oliver can get into. He's at it again!
Here's a few pictures to show you Oliver doing what he does best - getting into little areas.

Here he has crawled into the open window and is between the regular window and the storm window.

These are my grocery totes.  I barely emptied them and Oliver jumped in.  (He only got to stay in long enough to have his picture taken...)

Last week when we were painting our bedroom, he got into a little more trouble.  Heather and I were painting and realized we hadn't seen him for awhile.  This isn't unusual, we figured he was hiding somewhere.  After a while though, we wondered where he could be.  We had heard some noises that sounded like he might be in the storage area in the basement, so we had both tried to find him, with no luck.  We weren't really worried though because we hadn't had any doors open and we knew he had to be in the house somewhere.
A little later we heard funny noises again and thought maybe he had gotten into Andy's room, which we'd been going in and out of because of storing things in there.  We went and looked, but no Oliver. 
Back to the painting and we here more funny noises from Andy's room.  We go back in and realize the noise is coming from the vent!  At this point, I'm thinking that I'll have to call Bob and tell him he has to come home and take apart the vent system to get the cat out!
We unscrewed the vent cover and Oliver popped right out - a little dusty but otherwise unharmed.  He apparently decided to check out the vent we had uncovered to paint around in our room.  He must have spent a few hours wandering around in there and come up into Andy's room.
We're glad he's ok, but we don't think he's learned anything from this incident.  :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mystery Dinner Theater

We attended a Mystery Dinner Theater night with Laura and Aaron last week.  It was held in a restaurant in Grand Rapids, and the theme was set in the 20's.
When we bought the tickets for this, we had the option to spend an extra $20 to get a picture of ourselves and have seats closer to the action.  If you did this you were also more likely to be picked to be part of the show.  We didn't really want to be part of it though - we just wanted to eat our dinner and watch the show, and of course, try to solve the mystery!
The fake restaurant was named "Don Terry Bulls - a legitimate restaurant".  Being set in the 20's it really wasn't legitimate, but a cover for selling alcohol.  During the course of the evening there were 2 murders and lots of action!

Here's a picture that gives an idea of what it looked like.  You can see two of the actors at work.

They encouraged people to come dressed for the era.  I don't have any "flapper" outfits and the others at our table all came in normal attire.  This group had a few people that dressed up though - take note of the hats. This table was a group from a lawyers office and they were the ones who solved the mystery.

We had to collect clues and ask questions of others in the room throughout the night.  The girl in the hat with the name tag was one of the people taken from the audience to play a character during the night.

And here I am.  You remember that I told you we thought we would just eat supper and watch the action? Not so much!  Somehow, I ended up being picked to be a character too,  thus the hat and name tag.
My characters name was Sharon Gawsup.  I was a huge supporter of womens rights, and therefore worked fulltime as a reporter.  I was also having an affair with one of the people that was murdered.  It doesn't sound much like me - and had Bob, Laura and Aaron laughing.  However, as a reporter I had to be taking pictures of the action, so that was kind of fun.

This was a description in the book they gave me to use.
We had a fun night - and a good supper too.  And you'll be happy to hear that I was not the murderer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Never Wet

I saw this video about a new product that is just being released. You can order it through Home Depot for about $20. I was amazed by this and I think it's going to be a big seller. Check this out and see what you think.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cooking Thursday

I've always loved the Chimichangas you can get in Mexican restaurants, but don't order them often because they are so bad for you because they're deep fried.  When I came across a recipe for Baked Chimichangas that had good reviews I knew I had to try it.  These were easy to put together and they freeze well..  Bob remarked several times that they were really good, so I'll be making them again soon!

Baked Chimichangas

8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
 8 ounces 2% shredded cheddar cheese
16 ounces cooked, shredded chicken
10 flour tortillas
cooking spray
lettuce, tomato, sour cream for garnish

Stir together the cream cheese and taco seasoning.
Add in the shredded cheese and then the chicken.
Divide meat mixture and place onto the tortillas.
Tuck in sides and roll up tortillas.
Lay seam side down into 2 baking pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip over and bake another 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Garnish with lettuce, tomato and sour cream.
Extras freeze well for later use.

Makes 10, 350 calories each

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

(Beautiful morning!)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bedroom redo is done!

I told you last week that I was taking a few vacation days and was working on repainting our bedroom. It's done and here are the pictures to show you the before and after.

This is what things looked like before,  I forgot to take a picture until I had taken down the pictures and the window toppers, but you can see the green paint, lovely border and the comforter.


It was not an easy task taking down that border.  As you can see, it came off in little pieces.  I hear wallpaper is coming back into style, but I sure hope I don't succumb to it again.  I always have a terrible time taking it off.


Ready to paint - border is down, walls are washed and the furniture is moved.
I certainly would never make it as a professional painter.  I don't have the patience for it.  Heather was nice and helped me out!

Here is the finished room.  The wall behind the bed is painted a light brown, and the other walls are blue.  I got a new comforter set, blinds and curtains.  I still have some things to hang on the walls and I need to find something to put on the wall over the bed.

And here's the other corner.  Bob is working on a mirror to hang over the dresser.  It looks and feels fresh and updated - and I'm glad it's done!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 4 in our town

I hope you all had a nice 4th of July. I had a productive week away from my blog, but I'll share that with you tomorrow. Today I wanted to share what the 4th of July looks like in our town. The day starts with a parade, but I have no pictures because we weren't there.  It's a small town parade with bikes, fire trucks, tractors and a few floats, one of which is usually from our church.
After the parade it's time to go to the park.  One section of the park is filled with booths of arts and crafts.
Another section is always set up with a car show.  It's fun to walk around and look at all the cars, both old and new.  There's always 50's music playing which adds to the ambiance.

Bob's brother had 2 vehicles in the show this year.  One is this cute little car that he built from a kit.

The other is this jeep.  He cut the back out and made it into a pickup.  He's very talented with cars!

Here's a few more views of some of the cars.  The picture on the left is a stuffed monkey, in an old stroller attached to the top of an old car.  I don't understand the reasoning, but took a picture because it looked so crazy.

Kids and balloons fit right into this celebration.  We ran into Bob's nephew and family, along with some balloon creations they had gotten.

 In another corner of the park was some good food.  Every year the Lions club has BBQ chicken and the boy scouts sell water and pop.  There's a big line for that chicken but it's worth it!

The play area and splash pad is a busy place.  
We had a nice day, got things accomplished at home and had fun too!