Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Fun

I love Halloween- trick-or-treaters, parties, scary movies, making caramel apples, carving pumpkins, candy, the costumes.


There were some of the best costumes this year. Here were a few of my faves.....
serious & spooky....


this little guy didn't know what to think....:O)


Doc McStuffins


"What Does The Fox Say?"


a scary clown


Skeleton & Headless Horseman


cute little geisha


Sophia Grace & Rosie


K*I*S*S


Duck Dynasty "Si"


Rosie the Riveter


"I GOT A ROCK"


Happy Halloween!

#tbt halloween

So far, one of the biggest things I miss about not having little kids anymore is Halloween. I love Halloween.....I love the costumes.......I love the trick-or-treating. For Throw-Back Thursday I dug through my old Halloween pictures- this year one was of my most memorable!

besties Logan & Whitney age 2 {1990}



this picture is AWESOME! :O) ok Wanda which can I make fun of first? The acid washed jeans? The sweater?
note:{{We had 2 yr. olds and we were super skinny! :O)}}

We would trick-or-treat ALL DAY, and have lunch @ Double Six!!! Those were the days!! :O)
AWESOME MEMORIES!!!!


I NEED A NAP......NOW!



"to infinity & beyond"  Nathan as Buzz age 4 {1999}

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten & Pin It Tuesday: Pumpkin Mania

Pumpkin flavored everything
I love FALL and my most favorite thing about FALL is......all things PUMPKIN!!!!
I made another batch of my favorite fall recipe yesterday, this time I made cupcakes.....
Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
I <3 cupcake liners {it's the little things} :O)


My most recent favorite thing.......
I just may become a coffee drinker after all! :O)
and then there's.......
Pumpkin Doughnuts + Doughnut Holes!
pumpkin doughnuts
 

Yankee Candle® Housewarmer® Apple Pumpkin Large Classic Candle Jar
Apple Pumpkin Yankee Candle :O)
5 Simple DIY Pumpkins You Can Enjoy Year After Year!
painted pumpkins....chevron, glitter, chalk......

Eggo Pumpkin Spice Waffles
Eggo pumpkin spice waffles......OR.....make your own......
I found a yummy recipe while browsing the freezer cooking blogs!
au-urora:    Heaven in a meal: Pumpkin Spice Waffles

 
So excited !! Lol I'm a dork !! @Nicolette Wierzbinski
there's just something about a pumpkin patch!
mini white pumpkins
little white pumpkins :O)

Jack o lanterns
jack-o-lanterns....
 

and the list goes on & on.......

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Freezer Cooking

I did two more freezer meals today making a total of 11 meals + the twice baked potatoes ready to pull out on a busy day or one of those days when I just don't feel like cooking. I've found several great blogs that have some really great tips on make-ahead cooking and lots of recipes that I want to try.

Beef Stew
{source: Loving My Nest}

Add the following ingredients to gallon size ziploc freezer bag:

1 lb. beef cubes
1 chopped onion
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp. cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. thyme
2 medium carrots- diced {I used small whole carrots}
3 celery stalks-diced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. parsley
2 T. vinegar
fresh green beans
salt & pepper

Directions: Thaw- Add 1 cup beef broth and cook on low in crock pot 6 hrs. Serve over mashed potatoes.


Orange Chicken
{source: Mommy's Fabulous Finds}

Add the following ingredients to a gallon size ziploc freezer bag:

2 cups carrots {I used small whole carrots}
1 large green pepper - cut in strips
4 boneless chicken breast
3 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. orange juice concentrate

Directions: Thaw- cook on low in crock pot 4-6 hrs. Serve over rice.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Freezer Cooking {Round 3}

I'll admit that this freezer cooking can become addictive! I couldn't wait to get back in the kitchen yesterday morning for Round 3! This time I made Twice Baked Potatoes, Sour Cream Noodle Bake, & Beef Enchiladas.
*I had planned to make Beef Stew as well, but I needed an item from the store. I'll do that one on Monday.

Twice Baked Potatoes
{source:Joyful Momma's Kitchen}

Bake potatoes as usual {I did 9}, let cool and scoop out pulp into a large mixing bowl.
Mash together with 2 T. softened butter, 3/4 cups milk, 1 beaten egg.
Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 4 bacon slices {broke into pieces}, and salt & pepper.
Stir well- fill shells and flash freeze on a tray for 30 minutes.
Put potato halves in small ziploc bags, then in gallon freezer bag.

Directions: Thaw- bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake
{source: Pioneer Woman}

1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can 15-ounces tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper
8 ounces egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. salt and pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients. Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese.

*{I used (2) 8 x 8 disposable foil pans covered with foil.}


Directions: Thaw- bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.



Beef Enchiladas
{source: Amanda the Virtuous Wife}

1 pack of flour tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1 (19oz) can of red, mild, enchilada sauce
1 (16oz) can refried beans (optional)
1 (4.5oz) can chopped green chiles
1 pack of taco seasoning
8oz shredded cheddar cheese {or you can use mexican blend}

Side note:
*I forgot to pick up the can of enchilada sauce, so I made my own. (recipe below).
*I've never tried refried beans, so I omitted them. I am already trying black beans for the first time, and I'm adding cottage cheese to the noodle bake (something I swore I'd never eat again) , so the refried beans were a no-go...maybe next time.

Brown ground beef, drain off fat. Stir in taco seasoning. Next, add chilies and stir. If using the beans, add next. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. I actually used the plastic lids from 2 of the 8x8 disposable pans lined with foil. Pour half of sauce in bottom of pan. Spoon about 2 T. meat filling into tortilla, wrap an lay in pan. Continue until all are filled (I made 12). Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and freeze.

Directions: Bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Make your Own Enchilada Sauce
{source: Resolved To Be}

6 oz can tomato paste
3 cups water
2 tsp cayenne pepper {I improvised using black pepper + hot sauce}
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp onion powder

In saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Heat the sauce to boiling over medium heat while constantly stirring. Continue to boil and stir for another 2 to 4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and cool. Can be stored in jar with an airtight lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 months. Can be used as enchilada sauce or hot sauce on tacos. You can adjust the hotness by decreasing or increasing the cayenne pepper.


So, after a few hours of make-ahead cooking, I have 9 meals + 18 twice baked potatoes in the freezer. I am absolutely hooked and can't wait to try a few more recipes. I am anxious now to see how these meals actually taste, hopefully they will be winners. :O)

Freezer Cooking {Round 1}
Freezer Cooking {Round 2}
Freezer Cooking {Round 3}

Freezer Cooking {Round 2}

I've always been intrigued by the whole make-ahead, freezer, crock pot cooking craze, so about a year ago, I finally gave it a try. I loved it, but it's taken me awhile to get organized enough to give it another try. I've been pinning lots of great recipes and checking out lots of cooking blogs, so finally, on Thursday, I did round 2 of freezer cooking and spent a few hours preparing 5 meals. Here's what I made:

Teriyaki Chicken
{source: Ring Around The Rosies}

I did this one last year - super easy & very tasty! {this made 2 meals}

8 boneless chicken breast {I used 4 per bag for my family- you can adjust}
1 red onion {cut into chunks}
2 - 20 oz, cans pineapple chunks {undrained}
1 bag small carrots
4 cloves garlic {I used jar minced garlic- about 2 tsp. per bag}
1 1/2 cups teriyaki sauce

Divide ingredients between 2 gallon size freezer bags. Label & freeze.


Cooking directions: Put 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and contents of bag in crock pot. Cook on low 6-7 hrs.
Serve over rice.

Chicken Taco Soup
{source: Loving My Nest}

This recipe is new to me. It sounds yummy- so, I gave it a try. Check out her blog while you are there- great tips on freezer cooking! I'll post and give a review when I actually cook it.


1 onion {chopped}
1- 16 oz. can light red kidney beans {drained}
1-15 oz. can black beans {undrained}
1- 15 oz. whole kernel corn {drained}
1- 8 oz. tomato sauce
1- 12 oz. can chicken broth
1- 10 oz. diced tomatoes w/green chilies {undrained}
1 pkg. taco seasoning
 3 chicken breast

Combine in a gallon size freezer bag {this made one large batch- but probably enough for more than one meal}.


Directions: Thaw. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Shred chicken. Top w/ cheddar cheese, sour cream. tortilla chips.


Honey Mustard Pork Chops
{source: Joyful Momma's Kitchen}

This one only has 3 ingredients: 1/2 cup honey, 2 T. Dijon mustard, & pork chops.

Combine honey & mustard in a small bowl. Place pork in a disposable aluminum 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Pour honey mustard over pork and cover tightly with foil.
Directions: Thaw overnight. Bake @ 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until done.


Pork & Veggies
{source: Loving My Nest}


not shown: carrots & mushrooms

Put all ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag.

1 lb. pork - cut in 1/2" strips
1 onion- chopped
1 green pepper- sliced
4 carrots- sliced
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms- sliced
1 8-oz. tomato sauce
1-1/2 T. vinegar
1 t. salt
2 T. Worcestershire sauce


Directions: Thaw- put in slow cooker for 6-8 hrs. on low. Serve over rice.

Freezer Cooking {Round 1}
Freezer Cooking {Round 2}
Freezer Cooking {Round 3}