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When I was poking around looking for trash can solution, I also came across this video as a way to store pot lids. I have the perfect cabinet where I can fit two racks. Another item for the Lowe's list....
Traditionally, Bryan and I try to tackle a home improvement project over the New Year's holiday. It's a way to get one resolution checked off the list right away. Past projects can be seen here and here.
This year we've got a three-day-weekend to fill, so we're thinking big with the paint brush. Finishing up painting the kitchen and hopefully moving into the dining room.
I put one more thing on Bryan's plate tonight...The trash situation in our kitchen. In the six years we've lived here, we've never had a great solution for the trash can. I've long wanted to hide it in a cabinet, but it keeps getting pulled out to migrate around the kitchen as we need it.
Tonight, via the wonder that is google, I found this video. We're going to modify it a bit since we already have a rolling shelf inside the cabinet, but I think this is what I've been looking for! Excited!
I'm sitting in the campus library at Indiana Tech while my 15-year-old baby is down the hall taking her first CLEP test. A passing grade will get her 6 English credit hours toward her degree in history.
She wants to have a Bachelor's Degree by the time she graduates from high school, but I'm pretty sure she should still be in pigtails wearing a tutu holding her beloved Barney!
Making this experience more surreal is the fact that we're expecting another blessing in May, need to potty train one boy, have another child needing a razor, and pretty much everything in between. Never dull!
This past weekend we were able to participate in one of our newer Christmas Traditions - the Christmas Campout. It's one of those little things that really make the season special for the children.
On a weekend before Christmas, everyone brings their blankets to the living room. We pull in the TV and watch a movie with a special snack (this year Bryan grabbed some yummy trail mix from Sam's Club). Afterward (when hopefully everyone is sleepy) we bed down in the living room and sleep under the lights of the Christmas tree (we unplug all but a couple strands).
While getting the 3-year-old to settle down can be a challenge, and morning comes way before it should, it's a sweet family time.
This is one of those dishes that only gets trotted out once a year. Like our Christmas Eve soup, our arteries have to work the rest of the year to overcome the effects!
Nevertheless, it's delicious and can easily be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated, ready for baking just before Christmas dinner. Or mix together in the crockpot to save room in the oven. Heat on low for 4 hours.
Twice-Baked Potato Casserole 1-1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked (We usually use white or gold potatoes) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled 3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream (2 cups is just fine!) 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese 2 green onions, sliced
Cut baked potatoes into 1-in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions. Yield: 6-8 servings.
This soup is such a delight. A whole lot of comfort food in a bowl. And we serve them in bread bowls - even better!
Mom and I prepare this early on Christmas Eve. I think we're up to tripling the recipe. We've outgrown the crockpot and keep it warm in the roaster now! More soup means we can have it for lunch while putting the finishing touches on Christmas dinner.
When we get home from visiting the lights (again!) on Christmas Eve we have hot bowls of soup before launching into our tradition festivities - a.k.a. Christmas Eve jammies!
Cheeseburger Soup 1/2 pound ground beef 3/4 cup chopped onion 3/4 cup shredded carrots 3/4 cup diced celery (we don't like celery and leave it out!) 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 4 tablespoons butter, divided 3 cups chicken broth 4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 pounds) 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 cups (8 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta) 1-1/2 cups milk 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/4 cup sour cream
In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).
Several years ago, our Friday night Bible Study started the tradition of going to a nearby town that has an awesome light display in their park. Each of the 12 Days of Christmas has a display, and Santa hands out candy canes! We kick off the evening at Pizza Hut and then cram into our vans to "Ohhhh" and "Ahhhh" over the lights.
Over the years, as our group has grown and changed members, more families have joined us for this evening. Last year we had over 60 people (and the guys let all the moms sit together while the dads watched the children)!
My children look forward to this evening every year as great time with their closest friends. So this year, make going to see pretty lights an event by inviting all your friends!
This past weekend we groceried for the next 9 weeks. It was so cold! But at least we didn't have to worry about the frozen stuff thawing!
Next "big grocery" trip, I'm hoping to extend the shopping by another month. That will require a pantry overhaul to gain more space, but I love the thought of only grocerying four times a year!
Many of our meals this month are coming from the cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week. Some of our new favorites have come from this book (think Korean BBQ Beef and Asian Noodle Salad - Yum!).
Here's a standby from the Stumpf kitchen. This is the only way I prepare pinto beans. It works great for adding the beans to casseroles or mashing them up like refried beans. The flavor has won over several non-bean eaters.
Pinto Bean Mix · 2-3 pounds of pinto beans · ¼ cup dried onions · 1 teaspoon of minced garlic · 1 teaspoon cumin · 2 tablespoons of butter · 2 tablespoons of salt
Wash and sort beans. In a Dutch Oven combine beans and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour.
Drain and discard water. Rinse and return to pot. Add enough water to cover, onions, cumin, garlic, and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender. Add salt (this is crucial to flavor!). Cool the beans.
For refried beans,place in a blender and process. Easy to freeze flat in baggies.
If you have a pressure cooker, these can be done in less than 30 minutes. Read more.
This week we will be enjoying: Monday- Bean Burritos, Homemade Flour Tortillas, Salad
This past weekend was of the "Crazy Christmas" variety. Bryan's company Christmas party, wrapping up decorating the house (finally!), attending a live nativity, cyber shopping into the wee hours. I prefer to enjoy the season under a fuzzy blanket with hot coca and Christmas carols, but try as I might, it's hard to keep nutty out of the season.
Last week I wasn't able to blog because I was frantically working to finish crocheting a shawl to wear to Bryan's party (totally self-inflicted crazy, I admit!). My mommy said no blogging until it was done. Thirty minutes before we walked out the door to the party, I wrapped up the last stitch. Plus I managed to give myself a manicure on the way to the party. (Note: nail polish fumes + riding in a small car with a stick-shift + pregnancy = rather car sick!)
We were able to decorate the tree that had been standing in our living room unadorned for a week. All the Christmas rubbermaid totes have even found their way back down to the basement! No outside lights this year. Ready for a mini-tirade? Three years ago, at an after-Christmas sale, I bought LED lights for the front of our house. Even on sale the cost of those babies warranted a phone call to Bryan for approval. After two years of use 3 of the 5 strands are dead. Not replace-a-bulb dead, but feel-bad-for-the-landfill-as-you-chuck-them dead. In this case "going green" meant that the green is just "going" from our wallets!
Now were going to begin enjoying all our family traditions that really do make Christmas our favorite time of year. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to make the season even more special. So I'm going to post a few of our "favorite things" to hopefully spark your Christmas Spirit. But for now....a cup of cocoa is calling my name!