Thursday, December 30, 2010


A few years ago, a friend and I were traveling, and we spent a night in Shreveport, Louisiana.  We stayed with some very hospitable folks, and they served us some of the most delicious food I had ever eaten.  Gumbo and rice for supper, biscuits and jam and spicy sausages for breakfast. 

The memory of that food has stayed with me all these years, and about a month ago, I got a hankering for gumbo again.  I looked up several different recipes, then came up with my own.  I'm not sure if this is traditional Cajun gumbo or not, but I do know that it is delicious and is sure to become a regular meal in our household!  It does take a little more time than a lot of recipes (2 1/2 to 3 hours), but it is well worth it!

The foundation of a lot of Cajun cooking is a brown 'roux', used in gumbos, dirty rice, and other recipes.  A roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat, cooked slowly until the desired color is achieved.  Lighter shades of roux are used in French cooking and are used for thickening, but Cajun cooking uses a dark brown roux, which is used more for adding flavor.  Brown roux has the most wonderful aroma when it is cooking!  You can read more about roux at this page :


3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup flour
5 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
5-8 cloves garlic, minced
4-8 green onions, sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 cups hot chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes with juice, cut into small pieces
2 cups frozen sliced okra
1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled deveined and cooked (optional)
Louisiana hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

     Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken and sausage and cook until all the chicken is white.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the oil, and add flour, stirring constantly.  Cook over medium heat, stirring very often for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a rich brown.  Be careful not to burn the roux.  When it is brown, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables and herbs.  Return the dutch oven to medium heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter with the roux.  Add onion, green onion, garlic, green pepper and celery.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add Worchestershire sauce and parsley.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  Slowly add the hot chicken broth, whisking constantly.  Add the meat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add tomatoes and okra.  Add hot sauce if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another hour.  Just before serving add the shrimp.  Serve over hot rice.

I didn't use shrimp this time, since I was serving it to my grandma, and she's not crazy about seafood. :) I usually give it a good couple shakes of hot sauce, and that is still pretty mild. I have also used gumbo filé in this, but I didn't have any this time either. I hope you all enjoy! This is a wonderful meal for a chilly day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes in this hectic age, we have to step off the beaten path...

...back to a slower pace of living....

...and embrace all of the simple joys that are so important in life.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Soap Balls

For the past couple of years, we have been going to a Craft Fair on Thanksgiving weekend.  They have demonstrations on all sorts of crafts: woodworking, blacksmithing, pottery, cheese making, weaving, basketry, old time farming techniques, and much more!  They also have a lot of stations where kids
can do little crafts: paddle boat making, mug rugs, candles, bronze spoons, jump ropes, pottery, baskets, soap balls...the list goes on.

Chance loves going to the fair.  He is a really hands-on type of kid, and he loves to be able to make things.  Some of the things they do at the fair, we have made at home later.  One of the easiest things to make is a soap ball.  They are great fun for kids to make, and they also make a nice gift!

You will need:   bar soap, grated      
          warm water
                            food coloring (optional)
               plastic zip bags
                           festive fabric (optional)
                          tissue paper (optional)
                  ribbon (optional)

Start by grating your soap with a cheese grater.  You can use any type of bar soap you like.  This time, I used a lavender scented white soap.  Measure 1/2 cup of grated soap into a plastic zip bag.  Add 1 tablespoon warm water plus 3-4 drops of food coloring.  It works best if you add the food coloring to the water before you add it to the bag.  Seal the bag.  Now your child (or you) can squish the soap all around in the bag.  There should be just enough water to get all the soap damp and sticky.  If you add too much water, you will get suds and the soap ball will not stick together.

When the soap is all sticky, open the bag and remove as much of the soap as you can.  Now roll it around in your hands while gently squeezing to form a ball.  This makes a bit of a mess, but it's a good clean mess! :)  When the ball is formed, set it aside to dry a little bit.

To give these as a gift, I like to wrap them up with a bit of pretty cloth and some tissue paper.  Cut a 10 inch diameter circle of fabric.  Cut a 10-11 inch square of tissue paper.  Place the tissue paper on top of the fabric.  Place the soap ball in the center.  Gather the fabric around the soap ball, and tie with a ribbon.

Chance loves to have a gift to give that he made himself!  I'm sure your kids will too!  Have fun with this project! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sugared Pecans

My memories of my grandma's place always include pecans. She had a large pecan tree in her backyard, and as a kid, I used to help rake the leaves or pick the nuts off the ground.  And it seemed like she always had a jar of sugared pecans on her table.  They were a very special treat after working hard in the backyard.  It's been years since she lived at that place, and she's no longer able to make sugared pecans.  But I'd like to keep the tradition alive, and hopefully I can make some people happy with this yummy treat!

Sugared Pecans

1 pound pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water (you can substitute some vanilla if you like)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Beat the egg white and water until frothy.  Add pecans to the bowl and stir until all the nuts are well coated.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon and salt if wanted.  Slowly pour the sugar mixture over the pecans, stirring to coat.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.  Spread the pecans in a single layer on the baking pan.  Bake at 275º for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Remove from oven and let cool.  They should have a sweet crispy shell.

I have to warn you all though...these can be addicting!  It might be a good idea to give some to a friend as a gift so you don't eat them all yourself! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy Chicken Soup

With our busy schedule around here lately, I haven't been doing too much fancy cooking. :S  In fact, a couple days ago, while I was driving home from being gone all day, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a rotisserie chicken.  I sometimes do that when I'm in a pinch because I think they are a little healthier (maybe) than alot of fast food places, and they go a little further.  As I discovered this time, the bones also make excellent soup!

Usually, after a meal of rotisserie chicken, I stick the bird in the fridge and we eat cold chicken off of it for a couple of days.  But one of my pet peeves is picking a cold chicken.  It is just so much easier to do it while it's warm.  Lately, every time I bake a chicken, turkey, etc, I try to boil the bones and make stock for future soup making.  So this time, I boiled the bones...and all the meat left on them after one meal.  It turned out to be some of the best chicken noodle soup I have made!

Easy Chicken Soup

1 leftover rotisserie chicken, with meat left on it
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
noodles of your choice ( I used egg noodles)

Place chicken in a large stockpot.  Be sure to add the jelly-like stuff on the bottom of the container...that's the good stuff!  You may want to break the ribs apart a little. Pour chicken broth over it, and add enough water to cover the bones.  Simmer for at least 1/2 to 1 hour. (The longer the better!)  This is a good time to chop up the vegetables.  When the meat is done simmering, remove the meat and bones from the broth, leaving the broth in the stockpot.  Add the vegetables to the broth and bring to a boil.  Let the chicken sit until it is just cool enough to handle.  Pick all the meat off the bones, and discard the bones.  Add the meat to the soup.  When the vegetables are starting to get tender, add a couple handfuls of noodles.  Continue boiling until the noodles are soft.  Enjoy your soup!

Note:  You shouldn't have to add any salt or other seasonings, because rotisserie chickens are already very salty and well seasoned!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coffee Bean Candle Holders

Howdy!  It seems like lately I am always apologizing about not posting on here.  Our life has been incredibly hectic and erratic around here the past couple weeks, including doctor visits for me, and an unexpected hospital stay for my husband.  But the good news is that everybody is alright now!  So today I am going to share with you a fun and easy decorating tip for the holidays!

I am not much of a coffee drinker.  I like it, but I don't feel like I need it every day. You might say I am a social drinker. :)  But the smell of coffee is one of my all time favorite scents.  Often in the grocery store I walk down the tea and coffee aisle even if I don't need anything there just to smell the coffee beans!  This project will make your house smell that good without even brewing any coffee!

All you need is some whole coffee beans of your choice (I used french vanilla), decorative glass containers or trays, and some candles.  Make sure your containers are clean and dry.  Pour a small amount of whole coffee beans into them.   Next, position your candles where you want them.  Pour a little more of the coffee beans around them so it comes up the sides a little and supports the candles.  Now if you want, you can also add pine cones and pine sprigs to add color and cheer!

This is a great looking centerpiece that makes your home smell warm and inviting for the holidays!  Have fun with it, and enjoy the wonderful aroma!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Carrot Soufflé

Here is the recipe I promised y'all!  Sorry it took me so long to get it posted...there is a reason for that.  Sweet potatoes are on sale for 16¢ a pound so I stocked up and bought over 20 pounds.  I figured I would cook them and then freeze them so we could enjoy them for a while!  So yesterday I washed them and pricked them and rolled them in aluminum foil to bake.  If any of you have baked sweet potatoes, you know what a mess they can make in your oven!  So...I had to scrub out my oven before I could bake my carrot soufflé!

This is a recipe that one of my friends used to bring to our Sunday potlucks often.  When she moved away, I made sure that I had the recipe!  Now I bring it to potlucks every once in a while and it has become a Thanksgiving tradition.  There have been a few people that haven't tasted it because they thought they wouldn't like it.  But I have yet to meet a person that has tried it that hasn't loved it!  Even people who don't like carrots...or vegetables of any kind for that matter, love this.  It's sweet and yummy and is flavored with cinnamon.  So if you want a lot of compliments this Thanksgiving, bake up this little treat!

Carrot Soufflé

1 16 ounce package baby carrots
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Boil carrots in water for 20 -24 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain well and cool.  Process carrots and eggs in blender until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and process again until well mixed and smooth.  Pour into a greased 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350º for 55 to 60 minutes or until set in the middle.  The soufflé should rise in the oven, but it will fall within minutes of taking it out.

I generally serve this warm with chicken or turkey, but it's also great with other meals and even good cold!  I hope you enjoy!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Giveaway winner!

First I want to say thanks for everyone who entered my giveaway!  Next time I will do a Google Doc form so you don't have to enter your e-mail address for everyone to see.  I listed all the entries and extra entries and went to to pick the winner. 

The winner is...Noreen!

Please e-mail me at to claim your prize!  I hope you can get something great with your $20 at CSN Stores!

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend everyone!  Check back later today for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe.  Around here Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Howdy folks!  I've got some great news for you today!  I get to have my first giveaway!  A representative from CSN Stores contacted me about doing a $20 dollar giveaway on my blog.  If you aren't familiar with CSN stores, you need to check them out!  They have over 200 online stores where you can get just about anything you might want!  They have a great selection of cookware and kitchen gadgets, but not only that you can get a new pair of shoes, toys for your kids, patio furniture and even luggage or a leather briefcase.

Here's a few of the things that you can get for $20 or less.  Be sure to look at the close-out and clearance items, some of them are 75% off!

This will get your glass Pyrex collection started, or make it grow!  I could always use more Pyrex!

Here's a cute hamper that's 58% off!

Or this pretty cutting board just in time for winter!

The giveaway will be open for one week.  It will end on November 23rd, and I will post the winner on the 24th!

To enter, leave a comment with a valid e-mail address below!

For extra entries:

Become a follower of Domestic Doin's

Write about the giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link to the post

Share a link to the giveaway on your facebook status and let me know in a comment

Good luck to all of you!  Have a great week!

Note:  Your comment will not show up right away, it goes to my e-mail to be verified.  So don't worry, you will be entered!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Old Fashioned Molasses Taffy

I have read books and heard stories about old-fashioned taffy pulling parties.  Folks used to get together on a winter night and make molasses taffy.  It was quite an occasion for the young people, because they got to pull taffy with their sweethearts. :)  The teens used to try to make the fanciest designs and sometimes even their initials with the taffy.

Last night I was trying to think of something fun to do, and remembered the stories about pulling taffy.  So I thought we would try it!  I found some salt water taffy recipes, but I wanted to make the old fashioned molasses kind.  I also wanted it to be a little more flavorful than just plain molasses so I added some spices.  The way this recipe turned out, it tastes a bit like a ginger molasses cookie.  Delicious!  And also very sweet and sticky! :)

You will want at least a couple people there to pull the taffy.  The more the merrier!  This is great for older kids and adults, but the taffy gets kind of hard for little tykes to pull after a while!  This would be great fun for a party!

Old Fashioned Molasses Taffy

2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

First, lightly grease a baking sheet, or pan.  Make sure it has edges on it.  Set it aside.  Mix first 4 ingredients, plus spices if wanted, in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Continue to boil and use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture up to about 260º F, the hard ball stage.  If you drop a bit of the candy into a glass of cold water, it should form a hard ball that isn't easily squishable.

  Remove from the heat and stir in butter and baking soda.  This will make the candy bubble up and lighten in color.  Pour the candy onto the prepared pan.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes or so, or until you can touch it without being burned.  As soon as it is cool enough to touch, divide the taffy so everybody gets a chunk, and pull away!  You might want to butter your fingers so it doesn't get so sticky! You'll want to keep stretching it out and folding it back on itself for about 15 to 20 minutes.  When the taffy gets stiff and harder to pull, make a rope and cut it into bite sized pieces.  Wrap each piece with wax paper.  Now you have a bunch of great candy to eat (if you've got a real sweet tooth), or to share with others!

I didn't get pictures of it because my hands were all sticky, but when you are pulling the taffy, it looks like spun gold.  It's such a beautiful metalic looking color, but once you stop pulling it just turns brown again.  Try it out and see for yourself!  Make some memories with your family or friends! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apricot Mandarin Chicken

Here's a warm comforting recipe for a chilly day!  This is a great recipe for when you need a quick meal.  I usually have all these ingredients on hand in my freezer or pantry, so this meal only takes about half an hour or less to make.  It's great served over white rice, but I opted for healthier brown rice this time.

Apricot Mandarin Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon oil

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey

1 or 2 cans mandarin oranges

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together.  Rinse, trim, and chunk chicken breasts, and dredge in flour mixture.  Brown in oil in a large frying pan. Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients together, withholding the oranges.  Pour over chicken and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and sauce is thickened.  Add oranges and heat through.  Serve over hot rice.

I like the oranges, so I usually add two cans.  Sometimes I am tempted to double the sauce recipe because it is so yummy!  I hope y'all enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pecan Pumpkin Bars

Fall is definitely here.  We finally had a chilly night last night, and I had to dig in to my cool weather clothes!  I know y'all up north already got snow, but cold weather down here is something to get excited least for me! :)

We took Chance to a pumpkin patch last night to let him pick out a pumpkin.  The patch wasn't too exciting, just a bunch of pumpkins tossed out on a hay strewn lawn, but it was the closest thing we had.  He couldn't make up his mind, so we ended up with three pumpkins that I am going to process and freeze for future use. 

Like making these little treats...

Like I said last week, Chance found a recipe for an old fashioned pumpkin pie in a magazine and wanted to make it.  (He is already reading cookbooks, etc..."Mmm, this looks good!", "This is making me hungry!", "Mommy, I want to make this!")  So we ended up making a pumpkin pie, and had extra filling.  I created these yummy pecan pumpkin bars that are kind of a combination of pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  These would be great to bring to a fall get-together!

Pecan Pumpkin Bars


 2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar


2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup millk
1/2 cup cream


1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix crust ingredients together. Press into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven. Mix eggs, sugar, molasses, and pumpkin together. In a seperate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add to the pumpkin mixture. Add milk and cream. Pour over crust. Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until mixture has set.  It is normal for the topping to bubble up, and it will set back down when it cools.

These are really yummy when they are still warm from the oven!  And they are good cold too. :)  I keep them in the fridge, because they are made with eggs.  I hope you enjoy them!  Happy fall!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not Your Typical Tuna Salad

This morning I woke up and thought it would be a lovely day for a picnic!  I opened the door and checked the temperature.  About 70 degrees, slightly overcast...perfect!  And then in the middle of preparations, it started to rain.  My picnic turned into a front porch picnic, but that was fun too!

I've been making quite a bit of rich food lately.  Chance didn't help that much, since yesterday he was looking at a magazine and found a picture of a pumpkin pie and wanted me to make it.  We had everything on hand, so he helped me make the pie.  There was quite a bit of extra filling, so I made up a pumpkin bar recipe that turned out to be a winner!  I'll post that recipe next week.  But because of all the rich food we've been eating lately, I wanted something light and healthy.  This tuna salad fit the bill!

Shoestring Potato Tuna Salad

1 large can tuna (or two small cans)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
4 boiled eggs, grated or finely diced
shoestring potatoes

Mix first 6 ingredients together at least 1/2 hour before serving.  Refrigerate.  Right before serving, stir in shoestring potatoes.  Or, serve them on the side and let each person add as much as they wish.  If you don't plan to eat the entire salad, reserve some without potatoes, as the potatoes get soggy.

It's a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables!  The carrots add sweetness, and you can hardly taste the tuna.  I've also added boneless, skinless sardines to give it even more of a nutritional kick.  Even a three year old will eat it...

Give it a try! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe Index Page

The way this blog is set up, it is a little bit hard to find the recipes I posted a couple months ago.  I figured I would try to set up a index page with links to all the recipes, so all you have to do is scroll down the list and click on the recipe you want!   The recipes are listed in alphabetical order, with non-food recipes in a separate category at the bottom.  I will add new links for all the new recipes I add.  I hope this makes it easier for you all!

Non-food Recipes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Penne ala Pesto

My husband took me out to eat at a favorite local Italian restaurant the other day.  (Wasn't that sweet of him?) Their special of the day was Penne ala Pesto (Penne noodles in a creamy pesto sauce with chicken).  I love pesto, so I thought I'd give it a try. :)  This dish was really good, but I thought it didn't have quite enough pesto, since I really like to taste the basil flavor.

Imagine my delight, when upon going out to my garden, I found that my basil plants had put out new leaves after the heat of the summer!  I had given them up for gone long ago.  Last spring I had planted a bunch of basil plants so that I could make pesto.  I made several batches and froze them in the spring before the weather got too hot.  After the plants went to seed, I figured that was the end of them.  So I was surprised and pleased when I found my plants had put on new tender growth!

So I set off to make pesto and to recreate the restaurant recipe to my liking.  I use a very basic pesto recipe.

Basil Pesto

1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients except oil into a blender or food processor.  Blend using the pulse setting, stirring often and scraping down sides until coarsely chopped.  Turn blender on a low setting and gradually add olive oil until everything is chopped and is the consistency of soft butter.  Use or put into a sealed container right away.

After I made the pesto, I put water on for the noodles and started making the cream sauce, which is basically like an alfredo sauce with pesto added.

Creamy Pesto Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 teaspoon salt
grilled chicken slices, optional

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add minced garlic to the butter and saute for about a minute.  Pour milk into a measuring cup and add flour.  Blend well.  Add milk mixture to the butter and garlic in the pan.  Add cream.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add pesto and salt.  If desired, add chicken and continue to cook until everything is heated through.

By the time the sauce and chicken were done, the noodles were done, and we had a great supper!  I confess, it may not be the healthiest, but I have a weakness for cream. :)

Note: You can also buy pesto in a jar or in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  Buying basil at the store can be expensive!  If you find you really like pesto, it is not hard to grow a basil plant!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I've Been Gone Too Long

Well, I am finally home after a very long trip!  It was wonderful to see everybody and to be up north again and get a small taste of fall, but it is also wonderful to be home again! 

As soon as I got home I felt an urge to 'fluff up my nest' after not homemaking for such a long time.  One of my first projects was to organize my storage container drawer.  On my trip I found a good deal on Pyrex glass storage containers with lids.  (I think some stores still have a $10 dollar rebate deal)  I believe glass is much healthier for us than plastic.  They last longer and don't absorb food odors or stains.  Also, my husband is always preaching to me about 'dish economy'. :)  With these, you can cook the food, store it in the refrigerator, reheat in the oven/toaster oven or microwave,  or even put them in the freezer.  So hopefully I am phasing out plastic.

This is a photo of before.  It had been a while since I had organized!

Here is a picture of after...and it left my top drawer completely empty for something else!

I think it's an improvement, don't you? :)

Another reason I am glad from being done with traveling for a while is trip food!  I knew we'd been on the road too long when Chance was saying grace and said, 'Thank you for my daily corn dog.'  :)  I think the poor boy needs some good home cooking!  So hopefully I will be posting more recipes soon and often again!

Thanks for your patience with me!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I know it's been too long since I posted my last recipe!  I am still up in South Dakota, and enjoying every minute of it, except for the fact that I caught a cold up here.  So between being busy and being sick, I haven't had much time to blog!  Sorry!

Here's a simple and comforting recipe for the beginning of Autumn!  My mom used to make this when we were growing up, and my older brother once ate 21 of these meatballs!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds hamburger 
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion


3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup catsup

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Mix first 6  ingredients together.  Form into loose balls and place in a single layer in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.  Spoon or pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs.  Bake for 1 hour.

I hope you enjoy these!  I will try to return with another post sooner rather than later! :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Have you ever tried a Jicama?

My dad has always liked to try new things.  He buys unusual things at the grocery store, and also likes to grow unique things in his garden.  So as kids, my siblings and I ate a wide variety of foods!  One of the things we ate, (and liked!) was a jicama.
(pronounced hick-a-ma)

Now, jicamas aren't much to look at.  They are actually tubers, and look somewhat like a turnip, but with brown skin.  To look at them, you wouldn't think they tasted very good!

But really, jicamas have a light, sweet flavor.  Some people say they taste a bit like fresh garden peas.  Jicamas are nearly 90% water.


The outside of a jicama is really tough.  To cut a jicama up, I start by slicing it in half with a sharp knife.

Then, you can either cut or peel the outer layer off.   As you can see in the picture, there is a stringy layer under the 'skin'.  You want to make sure to cut all that off too, because it is tough.

Inside is the crisp white flesh that is so good for snacking on!  Once it is peeled, you can just slice it up whichever way you want.  I like to eat them raw and cold.  You can serve them with a cold veggie tray.  You can also add them to salads or coldslaws.  In Mexico, they douse them with lime juice and sprinkle them with chile powder. 

Check your grocery store and see if they carry jicamas!  Try something new today!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I apologize for not posting lately!

I promise I haven't been sleeping!

I am visiting South Dakota for a while, and I thought I would have plenty of time to blog while I am here.

But it hasn't exactly worked out that way...

For one thing, I don't have my own computer or photo software with me.

And we have just plain been having too much fun to spend time on the computer!

So I will try to get back on a schedule before too long,

but until then, I am going to enjoy South Dakota to the fullest. 

And I'll try to share a little with you too!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Decorating On a Budget - Cutout Silhouettes

Alot of my inspiration for decorating my house comes from my mom.  She's very creative and artistic, and has alot of fun making new projects.

Both of us like the western metal cutouts, but they can be a little expensive!  Mom came up with a way to have cutouts that didn't cost much.  Plus, you can make whatever silhouette you want!

For these, she used the mat board like what is used to frame photos.  You can either find silhouettes or pictures to trace, or you can draw it out yourself if you are artistic!  Trace the picture you want onto the mat board, then use an exacto knife to cut it out.   

Lay the cutout on some old newspapers.  Mix the color paint you want.  Mom used a kind of rusty colored brown.  To get the rusty metal look, add a little bit of fine clean sand to your paint.  Dab the paint on the cutout, thicker in some places than others.  Cover the whole cutout in paint, and then let dry.

The cutouts don't have to be the western variety, either!  I had a couple pictures that my husband and I took on the wall of our bathroom.  The wall still looked a bit bare and boring, so I drew out some cattails and a pond with some ducks.

For this look I just used glossy white poster board, and metallic antique bronze paint.  I wanted it to look more like brushed metal.  I used a wide brush to paint all in one direction.  It turned out looking really cool, but you can't really tell in the picture.  ( I had a hard time getting a good picture with the lighting in the bathroom. Sorry! )  Since this was going to be in a damp area, I also sprayed the front and back with a craft sealant.  Then I put them up on the wall using poster putty.

I made these trees just to add a little something behind the clock in our bedroom.  It adds color and more dimension.

Something so simple and cheap to do, but it really dresses up the room!  Like I said, you can make any silhouette you want, and any color.  The possibilities are endless!  Have fun!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ice Cream Monster

We had to go to the big city today for an appointment.  Afterwards we ate at a really good Mediterranean Grill.  I didn't bring my camera in, otherwise I'd show you a picture of the huge amounts of food they served us.  It was all really good.  I tell ya, that was the first time I've really liked eggplant.  :)  Chance wasn't so sure about all the new flavors though, so we had to bribe him with the promise of ice cream if he ate.  He did pretty good for a three year old!  But when we walked down the sidewalk to the ice cream place, he really came alive!

And he wasn't the only one...

We need to get out more.