Showing posts with label simple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simple. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

skinny taco dip.

i found this on one of my pinterest endeavors. it was the perfect thing to make for dinner be-cause mother nature decided to bypass spring and it has been in the 80s non-stop for over a week. not that it's a bad thing. i'm just feeling a little pasty.  this is a light meal and everyone was busy playing outside and complaining that it was too hot to eat. which is kind of alarming - what are they going to say in july?! i had to remind them that they spent 3 good years in florida and floridians are no whimps when it comes to the weather.

it was also the perfect dinner because we had baseball practice the night i made it and for some reason when we have practices, things get all wonky in my house. i try to have all my to-do's completed before 3 so that when the boys come home i can focus on homework, making sure they do their chores, dinner, and then getting ready for practice, ect.

 if things would only go as planned. it never does and i am usually yelling so we're not late.

anyway, here's the recipe - which i made just a little different from the original.

1 large can of refried beans
1 8 oz. package of low fat cream cheese
8 oz. light sour cream
16 oz. jar of salsa
1 taco seasoning packet
chopped lettuce
diced tomato
shredded cheese
black olives
tortilla chips

i added the refried beans because i was making this as a meal instead of a dip. i've got hungry boys to keep full, you know!

spread the refried beans in the bottom of a 9 x 13. mix together cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, and taco seasoning until well blended and spread on top of refried beans. top with lettuce, cheese, tomato, and black olives. serve with chips.

you should eat this right away. or if you are saving the left overs (or if you are a good wife like me and put together a plate your working husband for later - leave off the lettuce, cheese, tomato, and olives until ready to serve. soggy lettuce and tomotoes are yuck.)

in other news...
photo by my mom
this little stink finally started saying "mama". i was beginning to doubt my place in his life when he started saying "lily" - the dog -  before me. and also dada, triston, bye bye, hey, hi, and bottle. and does it count that he only says it when he is pissed? i will take what i can get, i suppose. and since he just pulled an entire bag of pretzels out onto the floor..

that is my cue to go.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breakfast Burritos for Dinner

sometimes i feel like giving up on feeding my family healthy meals. someone is always complaining and i won't lie - sometimes that person is me. i wouldn't file this recipe under healthy per se, but it isn't completely horrible either. well, we could have done without the hashbrowns i suppose. i only have a handful or two of recipes that are really healthy AND taste really good AND everyone likes it.

 and so my search continues for the perfect recipes for my family. in the meantime...

8 eggs
8 flour tortillas

these are the necesary ingredients. and then add whatever your family won't hate you for!

spinach, green pepper, ham, mushrooms, cheese, green onions, salsa, tomatoes, sausage - whatever!

i used diced green onions, diced ham, and cheese.

serves 4-6

scramble your eggs with your chosen ingredients and add salt and pepper. once the eggs are scrambled, set aside. use about 1/4 cup egg mixture for each tortilla. place mixture on one end of tortilla, fold the sides in and then roll up. place in an oven-safe dish and top with cheese. put in oven until warmed through - about 10-15 minutes.

serve with potatoes and cut up fruit. don't forget the chocolate milk! ...and ketchup. i totally forgot to buy ketchup and the boys were not happy. but ketchup is nasty, so i try not to buy it until summertime when we grill hotdogs and hamburgers. right?! who's with me on this?!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


yum. yum.

the other night i made fish tacos and had picked up some avocados earlier that day at the store. i knew right then it would be a good night. fish tacos and guacamole will do that for you.

it {the guacamole} is really easy to make. scoop out your avocados into a bowl. or if you are fancy, like me, you have a mortar & pestle set. just kidding...i'm not fancy. i didn't even know what it was until i received it as a gift and then had to read about what to do with it. but, it is a handy gift - especially if you love guacamole.

anyway, scoop out your avocados and mash it up with a fork or pestle until they are the consistency you want. i like a little chunk. add lots of salt.

in a seperate bowl, dice the same ratio of onion and tomato, add a little bit of cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. this is actually called pico de gallo. well, my pico de gallo. you can make it any which way, but i've been making it this way for years without complaint. dump it in with your avocado, moosh it all around and you have guacamole!

i didn't like the lime chips, though. regular for me, please.

and while we are at it...take a look at that picture again. see the pink tile in the background?

it surrounds my kitchen!

suggestions? can i paint it? help.

ps. if you were wondering about the title, that is how my little brycer pronounces it.

i know, it is adorable.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pasta Salad for the 4th.

check it. this pasta salad is amazing. the writers at bon appetit warned of taking pasta salads to bbqs. that they were too overdone and never that good, anyway.

whatever, bon appetit. i am totally disagreeing with you, much like i do about something in every issue. mid-west people are exempt from trendy-food rules anyway...except for that delicious looking blackberry buttermilk cake i am about to, we love our carbs.

anyway. it's good. and got gobbled up at 2 (two!) back-to-back bbqs. so there. and, it's gorgeous, no?

you should totally make it. here's how.

2 12 oz. boxes of rainbow rotini
1 bottle of kraft sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

1 onion, diced
1 lg. tomato, diced
1 green pepper, diced
pepperoni, cut up
2 small cans of slice black olives
...and really just about anything else you want to add...

boil the pasta, drain, and start adding. once everything is added, pour the whole bottle of dressing in and mix to coat everything. refrigerate until serving time. (and it is usually better the next day)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Smoothie Yum Yum

Excuse my title, I am finding it difficult to transition from mommy-mode to adult conversation these days, and for the moment, it just sounded good. I am also hoping "mommy-brain" is responsible for all the weird stuff that has been falling out of my mouth lately. You know what I are talking and realize you should just shut up but for some reason you just can't turn it off? Yeah.

Anyway, to beat the heat we are stocking up on popsicles and smoothie supplies. I came up with a new one just last week and it is really good. (and healthy!)

So here is my Smoothie Yum Yum, which already sounds ridiculous.

The first ingredient is low fat vanilla yogurt. And we need to talk about yogurt for a second. A lot of people love yogurt and eat it for it's health benefits. But a lot of people may not realize all the yucky stuff some brands put in their yogurt, aspartame being at the top of that list. It is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to a whole myriad of neurological disorders and other problems like MS and Parkinson's disease. It is in nearly EVERYTHING that is labeled "sugar-free" (low-fat or low-cal, too) including gum, diet sodas, and just about everything else. Point being, prolonged use of this stuff is going to make your body all wacky.

Ahem. Sorry for the public service announcement, there.

Anyway, Great Value brand from Walmart has low fat yogurt that does not have aspartame in it!! (or high fructose corn syrup!) so, that is what I use. (and how much i hate walmart and shopping there is another post for another time)

vanilla yogurt
frozen fruit mix of strawberries, mango, papaya, and pineapple
apple juice
spinach....optional of course

the amount of ingredients is based on how many you are serving. use common judgement, i suppose. anyway, yogurt goes in first, followed by frozen fruit, and then just a splash of juice.

it's really one of the best smoothies i've made.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Seeing Red.

photo from here

for those who read my last post: wow. i've discovered the cure for depression: become so insanely busy you don't have time to be down. it works! and i think it had to do with the rain anyway. i always forget about that. When the sun doesn't come out, i get all weird. thanks for the nice comments, anyway.

i've kept up running 4 days a week for the last 3 weeks. only, i am pretty slow and wimpy. i even have to move to the beats of the devil (gaga and eminem and pop music in general. have you listened to that stuff lately? it's full of sex and...that's about it.) to keep me going.

my sub-division has stop signs every quarter mile or so, so that is my motivation. "if i can just make it to the stop sign..." and then i do and move on to the next one and the next one until i'm home. this morning, i even thought about breaking out in song and dance (catchy tune) so i wouldn't stop, but then this dog came out of nowhere and i started going through all my mental files on survival tactics. i was positioned to kick that effer right in the snout, but it's owner came out and i just ran on by like i wasn't really scared.

but then around the corner, the cutest little bulldog came wiggling over and since i lllloooovvvveeee bulldogs, i had to stop and pet her. she was  a little squatty thing named macy. (not to be confused with my beautiful completely-not-squatty sister in law, macy) and i fell in love instantly, only i want a boy bulldog named kingston (not to be confused with rockstar diaries' kingsley. hello! i wanted a bully named kingston long before i started reading that blog. i even contemplated naming one of my kids kingston before realizing how stupid that might be. sorry if your kid is named kingston).

okay, so i digressed there. anyway, the stop signs help. and you know what else helps?

chocolate oat bars.

actually, that is what is keeping me fat. but, here is the recipe anyway...

2 sticks of butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. of rolled oats
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter

melt the butter over medium heat and add the brown sugar and vanilla. mix well and add the oats. mix until well combined. Pour half of the mixture into a 9 x 9 and press into dish with a spoon or fork. in another pan melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter over LOW HEAT (i cannot believe the amount of people who burn up their chocolate by melting it with high heat...including me.) once melted completely pour over pressed down oats and spread evenly. top with remaining oat mixture. pop into the fridge (or freezer if you are in a hurry) until set and eat those babies up!

they kind of taste like the regular no-bake cookies, but better. sorry for the low-quality picture. it's from my cell BEcause my camera is having issues. time to get a new one? travis, are you reading this? for a pocket-style camera, i'm digging this one. **I've since replace the picture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Wondering...(And An Awesome Sandwich)

Does anyone else's husband leave the dishes on the table after the wife cleaned up the kitchen and left the dishwasher open ready to take his plate?

And then, sit down and eat breakfast next to it the next morning after the wife refused to take care of it and still not pick it up?


I suppose I could blame it on his deep thought and bad mood he was in that night, because I'm not really even sure if he ever realized, so I guess I can't be that mad at him. And I ended up picking it up because it drove me bananas.

So he wins.

This time....

But the real reason for this post is to brag about my awesome Stromboli-making skills.

I waited tables at a restaurant in high school that was home to the best pizza on the planet. And I think about that, a lot. One day last week I had a hankering for Stromboli, so I just kind of threw this together. It wasn't Bobe's worthy, but it was still really good.

Here's how I made it.

I took one loaf of french bread, sliced it down the middle, and brushed the two sides with a little melted butter and minced garlic. A word about using garlic in your food...jarred minced garlic is convenient and quick, but it sucks. If you can, always use fresh. It makes your food taste so. much. better. Try it. You can use a knife to mince it (and have smelly hands) or pick up a garlic press for under $15 at a kitchen store.

After brushing on the butter, I put the two halves in the oven under the broiler for just a couple of minutes to toast the bread a little. Then top both sides with pizza sauce, a little mozzarella cheese, and whatever toppings you like on your pizza. We used Italian sausage, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, black olives, onion and lots of mozzarella. I started to fill both sides, but quickly saw that it was going to fall apart on me, so I filled up one side of the bread and topped it with the other. Stuck it in the oven on 350 for about 10-12 minutes (just until the cheese was melted good around all the toppings and the bread was crusty).

Serve with a salad and you've got dinner.

If you aren't feeding 3 man-children and a hungry husband (plus a cute little nephew!) cut the bread in half (width-ways), wrap the other half with plastic wrap and stuff in a freezer bag and use it for next time.

Now, if you were in the mood for a picture of a C.U.T.E. baby.....

Here ya go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Almost a month ago, we doubled with our friends/neighbors at this place called The Tin Fish. It was kind of life-changing. They have the Best. Fish. Tacos. Ever. And crab cakes. And cole slaw. And all kinds of seafood, but I'm pretty sure the tacos were the big hit of the place. From what I could tell, it looked like most of the patrons were eating them. And if you were wondering, I am totally one of those people who check out what others are eating. And I might even ask a question about their food, too. You never know. It drives Travis nuts.

Speaking of Travis, I'm kind of ticked at him right now., so I don't really even want to say this, but he can make one heck of a fish taco. We tried to replicated The Tin Fish and it turned out pretty awesome. I can't even take any credit for it because Travis made all of it. I take that back, I think I cut the lettuce.

Anyway, he breaded some tilapia and fried it, then sprinkled it with this Cajun seasoning. The plan was to make "fish taco salads", but the tortilla shells we bought completely fell apart as soon as we opened the package. They weren't going to be good anyway, I could just tell.

So I just topped the fried fish with shredded cheese, diced tomato, diced onion, chopped Romaine, and sour cream. A little mexi rice and black beans on the side.

Holy Moley, it was awesome. The Tin Fish had theirs wrapped in a heated flour tortilla, which is what we'll do next time.

PS. I had 4-6 minute STRONG contractions yesterday and even went to the hospital thinking it was labor, But it wasn't and then they stopped completely and I'm thinking it might be an indicator that this kid is going to be a stinker.

PSS. We still don't have a name.

PSSS. I'm the birthday girl today. 2-8.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Products I Love, plus Some Really Good Food, Too.

Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Make-Up Remover

I LOVE this facial cleanser that I've been using for about a month. It is light and smells awesome, plus it removes all the make-up plus mascara. The only thing I don't love about it is how small the container is (6 oz. Boooo.) And I think it was kind of pricey. I'm glad to have found a good drug store option and hope it stays on the shelves for a long time. Don't you hate when you finally find something you love, only to discover that it has been discontinued?

Sensodyne Iso-Active Toothpaste

I'm the only one who uses Sensodyne toothpaste in the house, so you know it has to be AWESOME for me to pay $6 for it. But seriously, I love it. I will admit, I am a sucker for ads and commercials and when I first saw the ads for this toothpaste a couple of months ago, they got me. Now I don't really know if all the little toothpaste bubbles explode off your toothbrush into every little crevice between each tooth like the commercial suggests, but I like to think that is exactly what it is doing anyway. The toothpaste comes out in a gel form but foams up as you start to brush your teeth. And the flavor is really good. The only sucky part is that sometimes a little gel will continue to come out even after you've stopped pushing the top, which can create a gel-ly mess around the top of the container. And my kids keep trying to snatch it from my bathroom, but they're not old enough for $6 toothpaste, at least not until they've got permanents.

Next up, Five Guys.

Holey Moley, I am in love. Friday night T-bone and I got to go on a date, thanks to his brah brah and his lovely girlfriend. They watched our kiddos and they were even in bed sound asleep when we got home. Score! (And no one was hurt - there wasn't even blood on the carpet this time! Double Score!)

We drove around for like, 30 minutes trying to decide what to eat. Finally, I pulled into Five Guys. It just opened up in our city and I've heard really good things about it. And they were all RIGHT! It was amazing. Amazing burgers, amazing fries and cherry coke from the fountain. Who has fountain cherry coke? Really awesome places, that's who. They also had malt vinegar for the fries, which is my favorite. And the guy who manages used to be our boss from our Logan's Roadhouse days from college (that's where we met, you know), so it was fun getting to catch up with him and kind of fun seeing his face when he realized I was preggers with #4 and that we were still married after 8 years because I'm pretty sure he had to get on to us a couple of times for making out in the back while we were working.

Anyway, it's my new favorite place and all you local readers should go ASAP.

And finally, these BREAD MACHINE cinnamon rolls.

I made these beauties for General Conference weekend and they are really easy and really good. They aren't the best cinnamon rolls I've ever had, but for minimal work, they're pretty darn good. Here's the recipe...

For the Dough:

1 c. milk
1 egg
4 T. butter
3 1/3 c. flour
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. yeast

For the filling:

1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg

Put the dough ingredients into your bread machine and hit the dough cycle. That's it! It takes about an hour, so go do something fun in the meantime. Once it's done, set the dough into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it can rise. This takes about another hour. Once it has doubled in size, put your dough out on the counter and roll it out with a rolling pin. Shape it into a rectangle if you can, but I've always had problems with this...I just do it the best I can. Spread the filling over the dough and roll up, sealing the seam with your finger. Cut about 1 inch slices, you should have about 12 rolls. You can put your rolls in a muffin tin or any kind of baking dish. I always use a glass one so I can put it in the dishwasher afterwards. Let the rolls rise a little longer, 20-30 minutes and then put them in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until slightly browned on top. If you like icing, and who doesn't like freaking icing on a cinnamon roll?, put about 3 cups of powdered sugar in a bowl with 1 T. milk. Stir until creamy, you can add more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency you want and then just pour over the top.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Fancy Looking Milkshake.

I made these green milkshake things as a fun little treat for St. Patrick's Day.
But, my thoughts have drifted to this little minty concoction several times since then, so I'm declaring that these would be good any day of the year.

I never measure milkshake ingredients so bear with me, here.

Vanilla ice cream
peppermint extract
green food coloring
cool whip
hot fudge sauce

I blended the ice cream and milk together until I got the consistency that I wanted, poured a little peppermint extract (not to much!) and a few drops of green food coloring into the blender and topped it off with cool whip and hot fudge sauce.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let's Revisit This.

A long while ago, I posted my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe. I really don't make it that often because as Mrs. O would say, "this is a sometimes meal". I don't even want to know the caloric count on this dish. And you probably don't either.

But, I made it last week, sans the chicken, with a little tweaking to the sauce. I think this recipe is as good as any alfredo you can get at a restaurant and it's SO EASY to make. And equally as easy to eat because it is so fantastic.

As adapted from Better Homes & Garden's New Cookbook, 15th edition

*per 8 oz. of Fettuccine:

a few cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. butter
1 c. whipping cream
few shakes of salt
few shakes of cracked black pepper
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
fresh spinach leaves (optional)

I double this recipe and it feeds my family of 5 plus a little for leftovers. Get your noodles started, boil until al dente. Drain pasta and using the same pot, melt your butter over medium heat and saute your garlic for just a minute. Add the cream and salt & pepper. Turn your heat up and as the sauce starts to boil, reduce heat and stir until it starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, remove from heat all together and stir in your Parmesan. Stir well until Parmesan is fully melted and add your pasta to the sauce. Toss to coat well and while it is still warm, stir in your spinach leaves, if you like that sort of thing. I stir the leaves around to coat them with sauce and then put a lid on my pot for just a couple of minutes to get them to wilt faster.

Serve with crusty garlic bread or breadsticks and then plan on taking a nap. All those carbs will get you, no doubt. But, rest assured, it will be a seriously happy slumber.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maybe I'll Just Make These Every Day.

Last week I was sitting in the library with the kiddos when everyone had to pee at the same time. Even though I complained (because I didn't want to get up) I was happy to take them all at once because parents of multiple children might know what I'll take one, then come back to another that suddenly has to go, then another...and so on.

It can be quite exhausting.

So we made our way to the bathroom in the library and endured the usual yelling- because-it-echos and turning out the lights because a certain 3-year-old thinks its funny and then running out on me while I'm using the bathroom. Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be the mother of 3 rowdy boys ages 6, 5, and 3? It's awesome. (It actually really is...)

On the way back, I was drawn to an over-sized book on the "New Material" shelf that had the word CAKE written across its front in big letters. Hello! I love cake. This book was meant for my eyes to see first, before anyone else, and then for me to take into the children's library and drool over all the pictures while my kids battle each other with giant cardboard bricks.

The book is called A World of Cake, and features popular cake recipes from, well, across the world. I am not really a fan of foreign desserts, though. Most likely because of all the sugar and partially hydrogenated corn syrup and all the other yucky stuff that we put in our foods here in the States. All that yucky stuff = amazing tasting desserts, right? Not to mention portion sizes. If you are going to eat chocolate cake, it should be a lot of it at once, right?

The N. American section of the book is really why I ended up checking it out. It has the easiest recipe for...Funnel Cakes, carnival style. And if there is one thing to know about me it is the infinity I have for food in gross places. Like a carnival, especially the carnival. Or a bowling alley. Or hole-in-the-wall diners that you may or may not be afraid to use their bathroom. Or the Waffle House.

But, who knew the funnel cake recipe was so easy? I should have been making these for years by now, but last week was my first time and it was everything I hoped. In fact, I couldn't stop eating it. And it even has variations, like the Mexican funnel cake full of diced apples with cinnamon and sugar.

I am totally game for that.

The funnel cakes I made were as good as the ones you can get at any carnival across the Mid-West in the middle of July, but there was no ambiance that came with it like the  bright neon lights, the smell of lemon rinds (no doubt from lemonade shake-ups!) and greasy carnies...only the flicker of my kitchen neon above the sink and maybe a greasy kid or two. I'm not sure which is better. :)

Anyway, here's the recipe.

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
3 c. vegetable or canola oil

First, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla until frothy. Gradually add the combined dry ingredients until all is well blended.

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottom pot heat the oil over medium heat until ready. You can test the temperature by adding just a small amount of batter into the oil. When it browns, your oil is ready.

I didn't put two and two together and realize I needed a funnel for this recipe. Since I didn't have one, I just poured my batter into a ziplock bag and cut the tip of one side. It worked perfectly, but if you have a cooking funnel you should use it. But who has a cooking funnel?

 Gently let the batter pour into the hot oil, pouring from the center outward, to create kind of a swirling pattern. When the bottom of the cake is just browned, gently flip over to other side. When golden on both sides, use tongs to remove the cake from the pot onto a paper towel-lined paper plate.

While still hot, sprinkle powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar over the cake. The book also suggests whip cream and strawberries. Yum.

The Mexican funnel cake calls for chopped apples added to the batter before frying and then following the rest of the directions above, and then sprinkling cinnamon-sugar on top. Double yum.

Did I just make your day?!
Your welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Taco Friday Is Coming Up...

He is totally excited about Taco Friday. And totally excited for his front teeth to come in, too.

Are you ready?

Here's the recipe for French Taco Salad.

 It's delicious.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can of black beans or kidney beans
taco seasoning
1 bottle french salad dressing
shredded cheese
romaine lettuce
1 bag Nacho Cheese Doritos

Cook ground beef until browned, drain grease and add taco seasoning. Prepare as directed on back on pouch. Set aside. Cut up enough tomato, cheese, and lettuce to cover a 9 x 13 casserole dish, 3-4 tomatoes and 1 romaine heart. Toss meat, beans, tomatoes, 1/2 bag of crushed up Doritos and cheese  in a large bowl and combine with french dressing. Mix well and spread out evenly in dish. Sprinkle top with chopped lettuce and more cheese and then top with remaining Doritos to cover.

Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

On previous taco nights, I always add Mexican rice and a couple of cans of canned tropical fruit salad for dessert.

What a perfect meal.

And tonight, as I was writing this, I was making a big pot of Chicken Vegetable Soup. It was a total bummer compared this recipe.

*Note! This isn't something that will last into the next day...keep ingredients separate and mix before eating if serving it for later or if you think you will have leftovers!

Friday, March 4, 2011

All the Makings of a Scary Movie...and Really Good Tacos.

A few weeks ago I posted about how Jackson had discovered Bozo by accident and had decided on his own that it was some scary shhhhiz. Like the whole Bigfoot craze, the boys have become obsessed with clowns. The new game they play is Bozo, in which they chase each other around the house and growl or threaten each other with Bozo showing up at their birthday parties.

In an effort to curb this and also for them to go to bed at night without talking about red hair and painted faces, I decided to show the boys actual footage of the Bozo show on youtube. Because I totally watched Bozo on Saturday mornings when I was a kid and I never once thought it was scary. It worked! The footage I showed them was of a boy, about Triston's age, that got to spin a wheel and win a whole crapload of toys and of course Bozo and the audience was very excited about this and Jackson was totally in to it.

Jackson asked, a couple of days later, if he could look at pictures of Bozo on the Internet, so I typed in his name and hit "Images". Happy-looking clowns filled the screen and Jackson would point to one and ask to enlarge it, all the while making the connection that this dude is really fun and happy. My attention quickly faded and I mentally moved on to something else. Jackson told me to click on another image and because I am a bad mom and wasn't paying attention, this is what was enlarged on our computer screen:

Seriously? That is an effing scary clown. I snapped back to the present when Jackson asked if that was Bozo's evil brother. I told Jackson that it was a character from a scary movie (as we all know, It) that crazy adults sometimes like to watch, and we left it at that. He didn't act scared or bothered but we shut it down for the night.

That was last week. 2 days ago we sat down to draw pictures and we started out drawing sweet little houses and smiling people and brightly colored balloons. The balloons must have triggered "clown" for Jackson because this is what he drew next (and appropriately labeled by himself):

Of course Travis thought this was more disturbing than I did, probably because my dad let me watch really scary movies when I was a kid (Uhhh...can we say The Exorcist at age 10? Not a good parenting move.) and it just doesn't bother me as much. I mean, it is kind of funny.

But last night it all culminated when I dreamed my car was being hijacked, at night, in the rain, by....clowns. It was a nightmare, one of those that you kind of freak out and then wake up. Not cool, and who do I have to thank? PBS and Google. Public Broadcasting (which I always say is trying to indoctrinate. Hello?! NPR and Sesame Street? Yeah.) and the Internet.

Who would've thought, right?

On a lighter note, because I love my family, I have totally turned Friday night into.....dunh dunh duhn TACO NIGHT. I might be the most excited about this. No no, actually Travis will be the most excited about this whenever I decide to tell him, because I just decided TODAY that it is going to be a weekly affair. I have a yummy new recipe courtesy of a friend, but I have to get it from her first, and it calls for French salad dressing! Can you believe it? You might think French and Mexican don't mesh, but you are so wrong. Because this recipe is seriously delicious. So...I guess what I am saying is come back next week and you, too, could have a Friday night filled with delicious tacos!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Everyone's Favorite Dip.

It is known in our family as Texas Caviar, but secretly I like to call it Cowboy Caviar.

We have it at nearly every celebration or get-together on the Clowers' side and most recently I made it for our New Year's Eve thing. It's good and never lasts long.

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (Don't throw out those seeds!)
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium purple onion, diced
  • 1 bottle of regular Italian salad dressing
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and pour salad dressing to cover. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (This isn't necessary, but it tastes better cold, I think) Serve with tortilla chips.

**Have you ever seeded a jalapeno? One time I decided to makes these little jalapeno appetizer things from Pioneer Woman and didn't read the part about seeding. My hands were on F I R E for hours. I had to soak them in milk and it didn't even help that much and I learned a valuable lesson that day. So, if you are going to seed the jalapeno, be careful. The seeds hold all the heat, you know. Wear gloves or just be careful handling it. I throw about a quarter of the seeds into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients to add a little kick, but this is optional, of course.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thnaksgiving Sides: Green Bean Casserole

original picture from

I wasn't raised eating this casserole on Thanksgiving Day, which begs the question,
"Who else wasn't?!"

Now that we've had a few on our own, it was just within the last few years that green bean casserole became a staple at Thanksgiving dinner. I am assuming Travis' side of the family always had it and I must have picked it up there, because seriously? 

It is so good. And Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without it.

I've seen some fancy recipes for this dish. Some add soy sauce, some add Parmesan cheese, among other things. But, I like to keep it simple and the best recipe I've had (and maybe the only one I've had) is from the back of a can.

Del Monte's Green Bean Casserole. You can find that here.  I almost always use just a little more french fried onions, although typing those very words brought on the heartburn, so maybe not so much this year.


Oh, and do go with the french-cut green beans. It's not a traditional dish without them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings, Baby.

My good friend Jamie gave me this recipe back in the Spring and it will make you die on the spot. I won't lie, I think it was better when she made it and brought it to work to share. You know, the whole I-didn't-cook-it-so-it-tastes-better kind of thing.

It is a perfect "cool weather" kind of meal, which is really why I shouldn't make it for dinner tonight because the high today is eighty-freaking three. Now my bestie down in Florida says, "Don't complain...when it is freezing to death up there you'll be glad you had an extra 80 degree day"...but yeah right. First of all, she doesn't have the luxury of switching out summer clothes for fall/winter clothes every season and she doesn't even have to wear a winter coat if she doesn't want to and can go to the beach in December because Florida is Heavenly like that. So, whateves.

I am rebelling against the 80 degree day and making this for dinner, anyway. Maybe I will turn the thermostat down to 60 and wear a sweatsuit. When the weather starts messing with you, you get all crazy like that.

Anyway, here's the recipe..

Chicken, I have used a whole chicken and also shredded chicken breast. Use however much you want (for a family of 4 I would use 3 breasts)
4 C. flour
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. Chicken Bouillon Powder

Okay, so these directions that my friend wrote down are kind of confusing the first time you make it. Bear with me.

First you need to decide how much water you want. Obviously, enough to cover the chicken in the pot, but you'll have to decide if you want a thick chicken and dumplings kind of meal or a soupy one. I like it on the thicker side, so I usually do about 4 cups of water to start with. And remember, you'll have to remove 2 cups of water to make the dumplings. Also, you can always add more later if you decide you need it.

Boil chicken in water until done. Remove chicken, but keep the water and add the Bouillon and let boil on low. Add butter to water until melted and then remove 2 cups of the seasoned water. Shred or cut up the chicken and place back into pot and mix well. Keep chicken at a low boil.

Add this 2 cups of seasoned water to the 4 cups of flour along with the 2 eggs and mix well. This is going to be your dumplings. If it seems to thick, just add more water.

Knead the flour and roll out on table. Cut into strips with a pizza dough cutter (or a knife) and drop dough into pot (with the chicken and seasoned water). Make sure it is still  boiling before you drop your dough.

Let cook on Med-Low, then sprinkle salt and pepper over top before serving.     

Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Now, let's talk about this election.

We have just 8 measly days until D-Day. Here's a few facts....

Travis has A LOT of support from both parties. Obviously, all the Elephants are thrilled that he is running and, like I said, a lot of the donkeys, too.

We went through over 500 signs (that most people asked to have...others we asked if we could put them out), a billboard with his pretty little mug, a ginormous postcard that got mailed to 8,000 homes in Posey County (with all our pretty little mugs), over 10,000 brochures with all his information that went out to 4,000 homes that Travis personally walked to. 200 lucky ducks have a Travis Clowers t-shirt, and we see them frequently around town. A bazillion dinners and events were attended and we rubbed shoulders with the best of them...and by this I just mean we met a lot of nice people and ate a lot of pork chops. We attended private events, fundraisers, ect for our fellow candidates. Festivals, parades, and booths were the highlight of the summer and early fall months. Travis has had the opportunity for a few speaking engagements and had a few spots in the local papers.

We're tired.

A judge told Travis that when it came to the end he wouldn't care if he won or lost, he would just be glad it's over.

We care, but yeah. I totally get that.

So, if you would, say a few prayers. Ones of peace and humbleness. Because when it comes down to it, if the Lord has this plan for Travis, then he will win. If not, he won't and something else is in store.

Ya know? I'll let you know...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chew on This.

Another post about how much I'm lacking? Yeah.

Let's start with dinner first, since this is supposed to be my foodie/recipe blog. Dinner has pretty much went like this: grilled cheese & soup/ McDonald's/ Subway/ a crockpot meal I've already posted about/ no-frills spaghetti/ pizza/ in-laws or someone else invited us over or took pity on us/ sandwiches.

Some of it's because I can't stand food. Some of it's because maybe my kitchen was dirty, and some of it is because Holy Crap, where did the day go?! So I should apologize to anyone who might look to this blog for actual recipes or dinner ideas. Sorry.

Second: I had parent-teacher conference and my kid is behind in reading. READING. My favorite thing/the most important thing and my kid is behind. The plus side: The teacher says that most boys his age are at the same level which really makes him average. But, still. It is such a chore because he hates it (apparently also common for his age group) so instead of fighting with him we just do one easy peasy story and we're done for the day.'s to becoming a book-nazi. And for praises? He is rockin' in math.

Third: house cleaning/laundry. I have taken pride in the fact that most times my house is spotless or barely cluttered with things like toys. Now, I can visibly wipe dust with my finger off of pretty much everything and Brycers wrote on our couch with a pen two weeks ago and it's still there. A knob fell off our entertainment center I-don't-know how long ago and I had a child lock on that particular cabinet because it is where we keep the movies....well, the cabinet is now a mass of jumbled up movie cases and loose DVDs which spells out D-I-S-A-T-E-R. And let's talk about the laundry...I had a pile of clean clothes lay on the floor beside the dryer for 3 days because I didn't want to fold them and put them away. My husband is ready to file for divorce. Well, not really, because let's face it: when you have 3.5 kids and a TON of student loan debt, you can't just...leave. Know what I mean? :)

So moral of the story: Don't get pregnant when you have 3 kids in various activities AND are the campaign manager of a very serious election.


Next time, let's talk about this election.

And if you really want an idea for dinner....have you had tacos recently?? Like regular hard shell tacos? We use regular ground beef with taco seasoning for filling, but I also make black beans and if I'm feeling fancy some Mexican rice, too. So we fill the tacos up with all the above plus our lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes and of course sour cream. Simple goodness. I love taco night.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

Why yes. That is a huge butt in the background. Classy.

I didn't grow up on beans. My mom fixed beans maybe a couple times of year, you know the white ones with ham and cornbread. Delish. But, I didn't have them all the time. A wasted childhood.

I know I've said this before, but I really love beans. We eat them a lot around here because they are healthy, cheap, and easy. Did I mention cheap? And healthy? and easy? It's a win-win.

One of my besties introduced me to red beans and rice a few years ago, and I am supposing this was a regular for her family because she is a Southern Girl. And from my time living in the South--Southern Girls know how to eat. (and by that I do not mean she is obese, she is just no stranger to cabbage, beans, okra, bacon, ect. pretty much everything that is smiled on by God.)

My first introduction to red beans and rice actually came to me in a song lyric. "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix Alot. (...and if you are any one of my friends from high school, I know you are dying right now. Maybe from embarrassment...have you watched our prom video lately?)

"Red beans and rice didn't miss got back" (L.A. face with an Oakland Booty).

So maybe my first inclination was that I was not going to eat red beans and rice because heavy people eat red beans and rice and I don't want to get heavy. I know that is shallow, but come on, I was 16.

And I was so wrong...because red beans and rice is seriously like the best food on the planet. Manna from heaven....wrong kind of analogy, but it is good either way. My middle child even asked for it for his birthday dinner one year and he had the choice OF ANYTHING.

So, you be the judge. And google the video to 'Baby Got Back' while your at it.

1 lb. dried dark red beans
1 lb. smoked sausage links
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
white rice

Put all ingredients in crock pot (except the rice) and put in enough water to cover the beans. You have to watch them though and maybe add a couple cups of water half-way through. Cover crock pot, turn on high and let cook for 6-8 hours.

When ready to eat, just boil white rice. Serve beans and sausage over white rice. You can add a green vegetable if you wish, but it really is enough by itself. Sometimes, if I am feeling all domestic-y I will make home-made skillet cornbread, but usually I just stick with Jiffy.

Also, you should 2 year old destroyed a library book yesterday. Destroyed it beyond repair and I was left once again wondering what was going on in that little two-year-old head of his. Just exactly what was he thinking? If anyone can actually answer that, we need to talk. Luckily, is hooking me up with a new copy for $1.96. Now I just have to convince the library ladies, who I am pretty sure are supporters of Travis, that my family does not consist of heathens. Think they'll believe me? And do you think they'll still vote for Travis if they don't?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Slowcooker Sausage and Bean Soup

Isn't this scene beautiful?! I so wish I were there.

So I have this cookbook that I bought last year called, "Family Feasts for $75 a Week" by Mary Ostyn. I've only used a few of the recipes, but they are pretty decent. And she gives lots of money saving tips, which is awesome.

I tried a recipe tonight that I have been eyeing for some time. It turned out good. A really comfortable soup for a chilly day. (or a busy day!)

1 lb. dried white beans
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes or 2 c. fresh cut tomatoes (I used fresh)
1 T. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. dried sage
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage links, cut into discs
8 c. water

Put all ingredients into crock pot and stir well, mixing everything up. Turn on HIGH and leave alone for 6-8 hours.

That's all!

Next time I think I will add some spinach leaves and serve with cornbread.

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