Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Are You Ready...

For some FOOTBALL?

Our son Michael has joined the high school football team.
Of course this year and next year he's on the JV Team
which means he plays on Monday nights.

He still suits up on Friday nights but will probably 
not play unless something terrible 
happens to all the juniors and seniors on the team.

Here he is last week at their first home game.

#36...

Getting ready for the kick off...

Waiting.
Seems the 9th graders do a lot of this...

He's there in the huddle.
Discussing what play they should do next...

It was a beautiful late afternoon.
The games start at 4:30 with the Junior High School team
followed by the JV team for the high school at around 6:00 ...

The Colonel and I in the stands.
It was quite chilly and windy...
Michael's team won their first home game!

My back made it through the 3rd quarter thanks only to my friend...

Hoping I can make it through the entire game next week or 
MAYBE
I can talk the Colonel into bringing something a little
more comfortable for me to sit in
to the game...

I can dream, can't I?

Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

I love eating tomatoes fresh from the garden.

Here are TWO of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes...

TOMATO SALAD

Ingredients:

Tomatoes
Red Onion
Mozzarella Cheese
Italian Salad Dressing

I know these tomatoes don't look too pretty,
but trust me, they're delicious!

Cut up your tomatoes into chunks.
Cut the cheese into chunks.
Slice the red onion (add as much or as little as you like)...



Put the tomatoes, cheese and red onion in a bowl.
Add salt and pepper.
Add the Italian Salad Dressing.
I use Good Seasons because, well, it's THE BEST...




Mix everything together and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Serve as a side dish to any great meal.

DELICIOUS!

I always try to make enough so we can enjoy this salad for a few days.
Trust me, it stays fabulous in the refrigerator, even getting better.

But what if you have leftovers?

Here's what I do...

Focaccia

You can use either store bought pizza dough or homemade pizza dough.
It's so easy and inexpensive to make.

Take a loaf of pizza dough.
Here's my homemade pizza dough after the first rise...


Spread it out into a pan.
Prick the dough with a fork and set aside to rise again, maybe 30 minutes...


Take your "leftover" tomato salad and spread it evenly over the dough.
Try not to use too much of the juices...



Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese...



Bake in a hot oven, 425 degrees until the crust is golden brown 
and your house smells like heaven...


Doesn't that look good?
Don't you want to take a bite?


I made this last week as a "side dish" with some grilled chicken
and a tossed salad.

The Colonel could not get enough.

Let me know if you try the tomato salad and if you do,
you MUST make a focaccia with the leftovers!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scripture Sunday...




Isaiah 1:18

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: 

though your sins be as scarlet, 

they shall be as white as snow; 

though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.


I love the promise of this verse.  


Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Looking Like Fall...

Like many other bloggers, 
Fall is my favorite season.

It's actually the Colonel's favorite season also.
So, the other day I asked the Colonel to please bring
my "orange" boxes up from the storage room.
Felt so good to unpack them.

I didn't unpack them last year.
My Colonel was in Afghanistan last year and
I didn't feel like decorating.

BUT...
Not this year!

I also don't go "crazy" decorating.
Just a few items to make our house look and smell pretty.

My FAVORITE scent by Yankee Candle.
Kitchen table...

An Amish bowl we've had for YEARS.
We found this bowl at a barn sale when Olivia
was a baby for only $1.00!
I love it...

The hutch in our kitchen...

Full view of our hutch.
I love this furniture...

View of our eating area in the kitchen...

Candle arrangement on the coffee table in the living room...

Dining room table...

Leaf candle holders.
I have three and this one is holding a tiny pumpkin candle...

Full view of our dinning room table...
As I said, I don't go overboard on the decorating.
Just enough to make us feel even more 
warm and comfortable 
in our home.

Did you decorate yet?

Leave me a comment and let me know!
I'd love to see what you did in your home!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Potato Soup...



Tonight I'm preparing one of my favorite soups.
Actually, everyone in my family loves this soup.
Well, almost everyone.
But, HE refuses to even eat mashed potatoes.
Will someone please tell me how a 14 year old boy doesn't love mashed potatoes?

This recipe is so easy.
AND it tastes better than Panera's.

Ingredients:

6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

3- 14 oz cans chicken broth

1/4 c butter
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1 c whipping cream or half and half
1 c shredded SHARP Cheddar cheese
3 T chopped fresh chives (for garnish only if desired)
1 (8 0z.) sour cream (for garnish only if desired)
4 bacon slices cooked and crumbled (for garnish)
1 - 2 Knorr chicken flavored bouillon cubes

NOTE: I eliminate the onions and butter.

Peel 6 large potatoes...



Potatoes all diced and in the pot...


Chicken broth and chicken bouillon cubes added.
Now bring to a boil until the potatoes are fork-tender...

Potatoes are fork-tender...


Mashing potatoes...

Adding one cup of cheddar cheese...


The recipe calls for heavy cream.
I've used heavy cream, half and half, and even fat free half and half.
But I almost always have half and half in my refrigerator, so that's usually what I use.

Adding 1 cup of half and half...


Now, continue to cook until the soup is nice and thick.
NOTE:
Sometimes, when I use the half and half, the soup will not thicken to my liking.
So I make an easy "slurry" of a few tablespoons of flour mixed in a jar of water
and add it to the boiling soup and stir.
The soup thickens up beautifully.


All ready to eat!

It really is easy and so delicious!
Let me know if you try it!

Click HERE for a printable recipe!



Monday, September 19, 2011

A GREAT Weekend...

I hope you all had a nice weekend.
It was great here.
A little chilly, 
but still very nice.

We spent some time outside doing some chores around the house.
I thought I'd share some pictures with you of our home.

In front of the potting shed the Colonel made for me a few years ago.
The kids made the sign for it and gave it to me for Christmas... 

One side of our back porch with my pretty flowers...

A few of the flowers didn't enjoy the cold temperatures
and I had to give them a "burial."  
This one still looks happy...

The other side of our porch.
The brown chest use to be Olivia's bedroom dresser.
The Colonel refinished it YEARS ago and it was a pretty blue with 
off white trim while it was in her room. 
When we purchased her new furniture a few years ago I asked
him to please re-do it again so we could put it on the back porch.
He painted it brown, removed the drawers and added shelves. 
Looks nice...
The back of the house...


Hubby burning trash.
Yes, it's legal here to do this!

This is what we found while wedding the front garden...

We think they're some form of mushrooms...
Here's a close-up.
Does anyone have any clue what they are?

We found the remains of a bird's nest in a tree...

Very nice...

Leaving it alone.
Maybe they'll come back next year...

Our view...



Our house...

My favorite place to be...
I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our weekend.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you did 
this weekend! 

Enjoy your day!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Scripture Sunday...

2 Chronicles 7:14

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, 
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven,
 and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Don't you feel we need the above verse more than ever now?  

Let us not waiver, let us not fall on our knees in disbelief. 
Let us stand strong at the front lines of this battle and call out to the 
King of kings and the Lord of lords, 
for our help truly comes from God, the Maker of Heaven and earth.

Care to join me in storming the gates of Heaven?

Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't you LOVE Facebook?

My Girl in her dorm room...

Almost daily she sends me a picture of herself or a group of her friends
through either Facebook or my cell phone.

I love the time we live in!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Olivia's Mac and Cheese...

When Olivia was a baby, she LOVED mac and cheese.
I use to make it, home-made of course, and freeze it in ice cube trays.

But as she grew, her love for mac and cheese changed
and she would only eat the KRAFT kind.  
Not so good.  

Until last year when we discovered Panera's mac and cheese.
Heaven.

Both my kids LOVED it. 

I knew I could come up with my own version.
This is a DIFFERENT mac and cheese.
Not the kind you bake.


Here's what you need:

2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
2 cups half and half (I've used fat free and it works great)
1 chicken bouillon cube
One good squirt of mustard (I use a horse radish flavor)
salt and pepper
1 cup WHITE cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
 Cooked pasta shells 
(Panera uses shell-shaped pasta, but you can use any shape)


Melt the 2 Tbs. butter in a heavy sauce pan.
Add the 2 Tbs. flour and combine with the melted butter.
Add the 2 cups of half and half and cook until slightly thickened...


Add the squirt of mustard, salt and pepper and the bouillon cube.
Continue cooking until the mixture thickens.

Add the 2 cups of cheese...


Remove from heat and continue to stir until the cheese has completely melted...


Cook your pasta shells...


Drain the pasta and return to the pot or serving bowl.
Add the cheese sauce...

Ready to eat...

Depending on how much pasta you cook, you may have extra cheese sauce.
but it freezes FABULOUSLY.  

If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out
by using extra half/half.  

ALSO, try using Fettuccine noodles.
Add grilled chicken breast along with the cheese sauce...

And you have Chicken Fettuccine.

DELICIOUS!