Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where's the beef?

We seem to have gotten a healthy week and weekend last week, then started with more colds and ear infections all over again this week.  Ugh!  Can't seem to catch a break, and the worst part is that it seems to all hit the smallest person in our family.  It's times like this, when I'm exhausted, that I'm so glad I make some meals in large quantities that carry over to more then 1 meal. 
The good old classic Roast Beef.  Yum!  I'll give you roast beef 2 ways and 1 left-over way.  Now I'm not the norm, I make my roasts in the slow cooker.  I never seem to have good luck when I use the oven.  So get out your slow cooker!  The first is the more classic way that gives you a full meal in one hit.  The second gives you a great flavored roast and wonderful broth to make kickin' gravy and then with the left-overs we'll make a soup.  Triple yum!

Classic Roast Beef
What  you need, minus the meat.
1. In the bottom of your slow cooker put in:
3-4 Potatoes, cut into large chunks
4-6 Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2. Fill with water to cover potatoes
3. Add 2 beef bullion cubes
4. Place roast on top
5. Sprinkle with 1 envelope of onion or beefy onion soup mix
6. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours
It'll be fall apart tender and delicious!

All seasoned and ready to cook
Here's what I had :)

So tender!

Boozy Roast Beef 
This is so simple!
1. Put your roast in the slow cooker
2. Season with salt and pepper or McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
3. Pour in 1 bottle or can of beer
4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours
The broth from this makes amazing gravy for mashed potatoes!

Beef Noodle Soup
1. In a large pot cook diced onion, celery and carrots in a little olive oil for 5 minutes
2. Add in left over roast beef, broth and veggies
3. Stir in 1 quart beef stock or broth
4. Season with salt and pepper as needed
5. Simmer for about 1 hour
6. Add in 1-2 cups of elbow macaroni, cook according to package directions
Wonderful hearty soup with a side of Monkey Bread, of course.
Here is where you can find the Monkey Bread recipe too!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New "Normal"

When going through life there is always a revolving door.  Especially for the military family.  Right when you get used to "normal" things can change.  We are just weeks away from being here in Vegas for 1 year.  It feels almost surreal to know it's been that long. 
Going back 2 years ago there has been so many changes.  Isabella was just a bitty baby, I was beginning to start my own business of selling baked goods and chocolates, Taylor was only in preschool, Eric was working insane amount of hours at his job and every side job he could find so we could make ends meet.  Life was hard, but life was good. 
Eric took the plunge to go out on his own after he got his A&P licence and that took another turn.  Soon it was apparent we were going to have to move one way or another.  So then it became a question more of do we stay civilian or go for a second go at active duty.  I can say without a doubt in my mind that we both went into that decision with pure trust in the Lord and lots of prayer.  The day he went into the recruiter's office, he came home with a spark in his eye that I hadn't seen in a long time.  Just a look was all I needed to know that that was the right choice.  God was in every part of him exiting active duty almost 5 years earlier and He was again very present in going back in. 
It's funny, we wonder all the time why.  I think just life experience and learning to trust God in all circumstances, good and bad, is a big part to why.  I know that Eric became content, happy, mature and grateful this time around.  Those aren't always things you see in guys (or girls) that have been in for years.  Sure, everyone has their good and bad days and things they like or hate, but I think to come back and be truly grateful for what the military gives us a family is rare anymore.  I know I'm grateful for so many things that it would be too long a list to write.
For me, moving away from family again was the hardest.  We were able to have 2 kids while back "home."  It's hard taking them away again.  I was beginning to get more orders and people talking about my business, and that was amazing, but that can travel.  So, here I am blogging about what makes me happy.  One of my specialties was/is biscotti.  I hadn't made any since being here, since leaving "home."  Yesterday I did.  I felt good.  It felt like the last piece of "normal" since moving here.  That may seem silly to you.  For me it just made the past 2 years feel like everything came full circle.  We made a full turn around the revolving door.  Life is good.  Our family is good.  God is good.
Now I'm not going to give you my biscotti recipe because, well, I have to keep some things secret!  Before I made biscotti I made cupcakes and toffee and those I will share with you.  See, I was back to me.  The last turn made.  Yeah!  So here we go!

Double Yum!
I was wanting something chocolaty and rich and at first I was thinking of brownies or a cake, then I browsed my favorite place, Pinterest!  I found the recipe for Black Bottom Cupcakes from The Capitol Baker.  Now she calls them Chocolate Cream Cheese Surprise Cupcakes, but I grew up with my grandma making these and we always called them black bottom cupcakes.  So you call them what you want, the point is that they are delicious!  It is a chocolate cupcake with a chocolate chip cheesecake filling.  No icing, because they are that good!  If you're a skeptic like me with online recipes sometimes, just know that there are no eggs in the cake batter and that is correct.  (Trust me, I searched 5 other recipes and they were all the same.)  I got 2 dozen regular size cupcakes and about 13  mini ones.  I also ran out of cupcake liners and had to get creative and used parchment to make my own.  Worked perfect!  So keep that in mind if you are ever in a bind like I was.  You have to try these though, simple enough and so so good!
My improve liners
(this was before I spooned in the filling)
I also made toffee, cracker candy, Christmas crack, Crunch bars, it also has many different names.  I'm just now realizing that this, too, my grandma used to make.  Looks like I was channeling her and didn't even realize it!  **Warning! This stuff is addicting.** 
I sent this to work with Eric and it was
gone in a very short time. Told you, addicting!
Cracker Candy
35-40 saltine crackers (or enough to fill the pan)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
optional 1 cup of other toppings: chopped pretzels, M&M's, raisins, coconut or anything else
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Heat butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and well blended and beginning to boil.
3. Let boil 3 minutes without stirring
4. Meanwhile place crackers in a single layer on a foil lined baking pan.
5. Pour butter/sugar mixture over crackers
6. Bake 7 minutes in preheated oven
7. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over toffee and let sit 5 minutes
8.  Spread now melted chocolate evenly over toffee
9. Sprinkle with nuts and other toppings.
10. Let set until chocolate has hardened or refrigerate 10-15 minutes to set.
11. Once set, cut or break into pieces
So what makes your life seem "normal?" Is it something as silly as spending a day baking, making something that makes you feel at "home" like me?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Slow Simmer

It's been overcast and rainy the last couple days here in Vegas, which is not normal, so the kids haven't gone outside to play as much.  Which means that they drive me crazy with the "I'm bored" talk and being whinny.  The funny thing about this is that my Bible study this morning was over James 1:19-21
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
So, as I'm reading these verses and working on my study and it is talking about how harmful our anger can be and in what circumstances we become angry the most; guess who starts not cleaning up what they are supposed to?  Starts whining because they want to go outside?  Starts asking me why they have to pick up things they didn't get out?  Yep, I didn't even get past the first page of my workbook and God was already saying to me, "Slow down."  Since He hit me that fast, I'm guessing He is saying I need to work on this asap! 
Here is a meal that is a slow simmer all day to help with that "slowing" we all need to do.  Whether it is with slow to speak so we can listen better or, like me, slow to become angry; we all need to slow down sometimes.  Or maybe its just slowing down our day so we can think about what is good and to be thankful.  Fast isn't always better.
This is called Ham Pot Pie, but the funny part about this pot pie is that it doesn't have a crust or vegetables or a creamy sauce in it.  This is more of soup.  The best part of this soup is the homemade square noodles.  Yum!
Ham Pot Pie
Start by taking a ham bone or ham hawk and putting it into a stockpot and filling with water to cover the bone.  I always save my ham bone from my Christmas ham and put it and the juice/broth from the pan into a freezer bag and freeze it until I'm ready to make this.  Let this simmer for at least 4 hours over medium to low heat.  Taste it every so often to season as needed.  You can add in Ham soup base to add flavor too. 
While that is started on the stove make your noodles.
Homemade Noodles
1. Mix together: 2 1/3 cups flour & 1/2 tsp salt
2. Make a mound on the counter with a well in the center
3. In a bowl lightly beat: 2 eggs, 1/3 cup water &1 tsp oil

My Noodles drying

4. Pour egg mixture into the well of flour mixture and begin to knead together.  (Sorry I didn't take a picture of this, I think I was too excited with what I was making.)
5. Once combined, roll out dough to desired thickness and cut into squares.
6. Let dry on cooling racks
Once soup has simmered, has good flavor and the meat is completely cleaned off the bone, remove the bone from pot.  Add in your noodles and let cook about 15 minutes or until soft and cooked through. 

My soup simmering.  Smells delicious!

I hope  you like this as much as I do!  This is, once again, something my mom used to make when I was kid.  It is one of my favorites.  I usually only make it once a year sometime after Christmas when I have a good bone.  I hope you enjoy it and have fun with your noodles.

Finished soup ready to devour!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Granola 2 Ways

We had another weekend at home.  I finally started Isabella's baby album (she is going on 2 1/2 years).  It was fun pulling out all my scrapbooking tools, stickers and papers.  Getting creative while I looked back at pictures of our "baby," remembering when she used to sleep and was sweet all the time.  :)  Her book is going to be 1/2 the size of her sibling's because she is #3 and we have about 1/3 less pictures of her then her brother and 2/3 less then her sister.  I guess it's the usual, right?  Well, that's what I'm going to tell myself so I don't feel so bad.  You parents with more then 3... God Bless You!  Regardless, it's been fun pulling out each kids memory box and looking at their baby albums.  Oh, to have them itty bitty again, without talking back and whining.  Although, then I'd miss the talks we have and their little personalities.  It seems I'm never happy, huh?  These 3 little people have been the most amazing and challenging thing I've ever done, even more then marriage!  Can I get an "Amen!"
To start off our weekend I made Granola and Granola Bars.  Both are super easy (don't be scared off by the ingredient lists), better then store bought and delicious!
We'll start with the Granola Bars.  This is a recipe I found on Pinterest from, but the original recipe is from  I have tried all different versions for my kids and that's what is so great about this recipe.  You can make them as healthy or not as you want.  All 3 of my kids gobble these up so fast that I now always make a double batch, making 2 different variations at once.  Here's the recipe:
 Granola Bars
1. In a small sauce pan mix together:
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup honey
2. Cook over medium heat until melted and begins to bubble.
3. Reduce heat and cook 2 minutes
4. While that is cooking, in a separate large bowl mix:
    2 cup quick oats (I've done this with Old Fashions oats also, or 1/2 of each.)
    1 cup rice crispies
5. Once sauce is done, turn off heat and stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla
6. Pour sauce over oatmeal mixture and mix completely, let cool a few minutes before adding mix-ins
7. Stir in up to 2 cups of mix-ins:
    Chopped nuts of any kind
    Chocolate chips (mini or regular)
    Mini marshmallow bits
    Mini M&M's
    Peanut butter chips or any other flavor of "chips"
    Raisins (I add in about 1/2 tsp cinnamon with them)
    Other dried fruit
8.  Press into a jelly roll pan (I use a 9x13 baking dish because I like ours a little bit thicker), lined with foil and light greased with cooking spray.  Press tightly with wax paper so they will stick together.
9. Let cool and sit for a couple hours before removing from pan and cutting into bars.
10. Store in an air tight container or in individual bags for snacks. *These freeze well too.
These are cinnamon raisin and
chocolate peanut butter chip

This Granola recipe is so yummy!  It is Eric's Mom's recipe.  He grew up eating it and I got the recipe from her a few years ago.  I make it probably every couple months or so.  Everyone that eats it falls in love with it and I have passed this recipe around alot.  It makes a great gift in a jar with a ribbon too!  I'll give you the original recipe, but for us I make a double recipe of the sauce because we like to have larger "chunks."  I'll put the doubled amounts in parentheses.  We usually eat it as a cold cereal, but it is also good just to snack on or with yogurt and fruit.  Here ya go!
1. In sauce pan mix together:
    3/4 (1 1/2) cup(s) honey
    1/2 (1) cup peanut butter
    1/4 (1/2) cup oil (vegetable, canola, etc...)
    1/3 (2/3) cup water
    1/2 (1) tsp cinnamon
2.  Heat over medium heat until all is melted and mixed together
It will look similar to this when ready
3. While sauce is heating in a separate large bowl mix together:
    8 cups rolled oats
    1 cup coconut
    1 cup sesame seeds
    1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans, but whatever you like)
    1 cup raw wheat germ or bran
    1/2 cup sunflower seeds
I shop in bulk food sections for this.  I save all
kinds of jars and bottles for my dry goods.
4. Add sauce to oatmeal mixture and mix well until completely combined.
5. Line 2 sheet pans (jelly roll pan, whichever you call it) with foil (you will thank me later when clean up is super easy!).
6. Divide oatmeal mixture between the 2 pans and lightly smooth
My pans ready for the oven.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking time, until golden and edges are beginning to brown.  Let cool.
8. Once cool you can add raisins or dried fruit if you desire
9. Break apart into an air tight storage container or plastic bags
10. Enjoy!

I hope you all have fun making your own homemade Granola creations!  Have fun with it and let me know your favorite versions. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinterest Success!

I fell hard and fast in love with Pinterest after a friend introduced me to it about a year ago.  Some days I think I could spend all day on it.  I love all the amazing tips and trick and recipes and things that are like "Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?!"  I not only have all my boards and pins on my Pinterest page, but I have a whole notebook dedicated to all the recipes that I jot down too.  Most are successes, but I've had a few flops (as you've seen).  I've used Pinterest to do birthday parties for each of my family members this past year and had an absolute blast doing them!  --Bella had Minnie Mouse, Eric had Red Solo Cup, Zach Star Wars and Taylor had a Unicorn and Rainbow party.  --  But by far the recipes, oh, the endless recipes, are my favorite.  For dinner the other night I made Beef and Broccoli and it was really good!  Simple with very few ingredients and the flavor was great! 
Nice homemade version of take-out Chinese
This morning I had a few ladies over for a catalog party.  We, of course, had coffee, an egg casserole, Blueberry Breakfast Cake and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The Blueberry Cake was a first for me.  I used frozen mixed berries instead of fresh blueberries.  It was good, but the other berries made it a bit more sour tasting and because they were frozen the cake took almost an hour to bake completely.  It was moist and good though nonetheless.  Will I make it again?  I don't know.  I'm a sucker for blueberry buckle and I think I'd rather have that instead.  You try it and let me know what you think.  
A little piece with some coffee
This was not my first time to make the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  After I saw an episode of "Bunheads" where Boo's mom was consoling Michelle with cookies, she exclaimed that they were "the best cookies she had ever had."  Boo's mom (can't remember her name) said they were pumpkin chocolate chip.  I then went in search for a recipe on Pinterest and found this one.  I made them twice in a week and we all ate them like scavengers!  They are a soft, almost cake-like cookie, spiced with a little cinnamon.  I use softened butter instead of oil and a little less chocolate chips then the recipe calls for (call me crazy, I know!).  One recipe will make about 2 dozen, so this time I doubled it!  They are so good.  Like, make me drool just writing about it, good.
Little morsels of heaven...
I hope you have successes with these recipes like I did and give them a chance.  I know we sure enjoyed them!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's for breakfast?

Every now and then I get the urge to really go the extra mile for my hubby and kids.  I'll cook up a bunch of breakfast things or snacks or grab and go meals that I can put in the freezer.  My freezer is always full of something it seems.  Sometimes I'll have something that will be in there for awhile and other times they'll fly out faster then it took them to freeze.  It all depends.  I'm a huge fan of freezing food though.  I freeze just about everything.  I also like to make some homemade versions of snacks for my kids to have too.  These I don't always freeze, because I know they'll eat them fast enough.  Pinterest is great for things like this! 
I felt led this week to make breakfast burritos and cereal bars.  My cereal bars were actually going to be granola bars, but I was out of rice crispies.  I had some honey nut cheerios that had been in the pantry for awhile (obviously not fan favorite), so I tried something new.  I took the base for my granola bars and mixed in the cheerios and some peanuts and ta-da!
The kids are loving them too!
Here's what I did...
Cereal Bars
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat I mixed: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp honey
2. Cook it until it is melted and bubbly, reduce heat and cook 2 minutes.
3. Mix sauce with 4 cups cheerios and 1/4-1/2 cup peanuts.
4. Pour into a foil lined and lightly greased 8x8 baking dish
5. Take a piece of wax paper and press cereal down to make it compact, then remove wax paper.
6. Let cool and cut.
I put mine into individual snack size plastic bags for my kids snack basket.  You could also store them in an airtight container.
Next came my breakfast burritos.  For these I tried to pull out my inner Mexican and channel Mary's mother-in-law (who makes the best ones I've ever eaten) to make.  I have to admit to you that until about 9 years ago, after I married my husband and we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I don't think I'd ever heard of a breakfast burrito, let alone eaten one or made one.  In NM they usually smother them in chili, and I don't mean the soup I posted a few days ago.  Since I was never a big fan of chili I never really ate them.  Then I come to Vegas, become BFF's with a Mexican and had another go at a breakfast burrito and fell in love (as did my hubby).  I've learned that the simpler the better and bacon grease is the key.  Yeah...  These are not exactly low in fat, but they taste amazing!  :)
Breakfast Burritos
1 lb bacon
2 medium or 1 large potato, shredded
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/2-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 taco size or 4 large size flour tortillas

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet or griddle, until slightly crisp.  Give a rough chop and set aside in bowl.  Drain most of the grease from pan, reserving it for later
2. Cook shredded potatoes in same skillet used for the bacon, adding some drippings if needed to keep from sticking.  Once fully cooked, set aside in bowl
3. Add 1-2 Tbsp drippings to skillet, add eggs and cook to make scrambled eggs.  Set aside in bowl
4. Over low heat, warm each tortilla just until it's soft and place on a piece of foil
5. Gather your bowls of bacon, potato, scrambled eggs, cheese and tortillas 
6. Place a little egg, potato, bacon and cheese in the middle of a tortilla
7. Fold into a burrito and wrap in foil
You can freeze them, refrigerate them or just eat them right on the spot!  Top them with salsa, sour cream, guacamole or more cheese. :)  Anything you want!  What do you like on yours?

My assembly line
Pile of goodness
I got 9 smaller burritos
And a little extra filling to make lunch!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

BFF's and "Lemons"

Today I was so grateful that my little side kick was feeling a little better and ready to get out of the house, because Lord knows mommy was!  She is still fighting a little something, but seems to be over the worst of it.  I got to go to gym and work off some steam and energy that had been piling up from not going anywhere for 3 days straight, get my hair cut, spend some time in the kitchen and head over to my BBF's house for dinner.  It was a good day!
My little kitchen helper :)
I think all of us women, in general, need that one good friend that we can count on.  She's the one that you go to for advice, to cry on, to laugh with, to vent to, to tell you when you're wrong, to help you with your kids, to run errands with and everything inbetween.  I think that at different times this person can change, but we always have that one.  I think for us military wives it may change a little more then the average gal, but that's who helps keep us sane.  For me, it's my friend, my BFF, Mary.  We are about as different as night and day, but somehow we just click.  We have become more then friends, but sisters.  I truly don't know how I'd make it without her.  She had been going through a rough time and I was able to help.  During that time we decided to help each other with dinner.  We have dinner together usually 5 nights a week.  We split the days of who cooks when and make a menu every 2 weeks.  We shop together and most the time cook together too.  It just works for us.  I never thought I'd like doing something like this, but when both of your hubby's are on weird schedules that are always changing, it's nice to have someone to share dinner with.  To have adult conversation with at the end of the day. 
Well, tonight was my night and I tried a new recipe from Pinterest.  It's from,  Baked Herb Lemon Chicken.  It was simple enough to make and to double for our 2 families.  It was delicious!  I made roasted potatoes and Mary made a salad and I must say it was a good dinner.  
I thought this dinner would be a winner when it had the word "Lemon" in the title.  See, what I didn't tell you about Mary is that she is Mexican and she puts "lemon" on everything!  (I say "lemon" because usually it's really lime, but she calls it lemon.)  I have never in my life seen so much lime juice squeezed on such a variety of foods.  It goes in her green shakes, on all of her veggies, it's her favorite kind of chip, on her meat, she will even eat them by themselves.  So this was a home run dinner!  Even though she goes a little crazy sometimes with the "lemon," this chicken wasn't over-powering for my taste.  I hope you try it and like it!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lazy Weekend

With Eric working weekend shift now (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon) we seem to be extra lazy.  Especially with the kids having colds last weekend and Bella getting sick through the night last night.  I'm so happy that yesterday I decided to make a big pot of chili and monkey bread to snack on all weekend long.  It's been cooler here in Vegas this weekend and hot soup was just the perfect thing.  For some reason whenever I make soups or stews or chili I always feel like you gotta have a sweet something to go with it; whether it's corn bread, biscuits and honey, cookies, pudding, etc...  Maybe it's, again, because that's how my mom always did it.  (She's the best!  Can you tell?)  The kids and I dug into the monkey bread early in the afternoon and have been munching every since.  It is just the perfect weekend meal to have around.  It would also be a great thing for Super Bowl Sunday, company coming for dinner, a party of any kind or just for you!  This chili recipe has won for me in chili cook-offs and I always get asked for the recipe.  It's such an easy dump-it-all-in-and-enjoy recipe.  Hope you all like it!  What's your secret to your chili?

I think you can tell it's good!
Monkey Bread
2 cans refrigerator biscuits (8 count each)
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/2 cups cinnamon sugar (mix 1 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 350
Butter or grease a bunt pan
Cut each biscuit into 1/4's
Roll each biscuit piece in butter and then into cinnamon sugar and place into pan
Pour any left over butter and sugar on top of bread in the pan
Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until center is set.
Let cool about 10 minutes and then invert onto a large plate or platter. 
Pull pieces off and enjoy with a cup of coffee!
I like a lot of cheese :)
Billie's Chili
Brown and Saute`:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground sausage
2 medium onions, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 package of chili seasoning (your choice of how hot)
2 cans chili beans (your choice how hot)
Tomato juice (the amount depends on how thick or thin you want it.  I usually use about 1/2 of a 64 oz bottle per recipe)
1-2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
sugar to taste (I usually add probably about 2-4 Tbsp or so.  This is totally your taste preference.)
Let everything simmer about 30-60 minutes.
Top with your favorite toppings: cheese, sour cream, chopped onion, jalapeno
*This freezes really well if you have a lot of leftovers. 
*It also keeps well in a crock-pot if you are serving it at a party or want to stay warm for all day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Feels like home...

Today was a full day of Bible study and appointments and running around.  It was also a windy Vegas day.  If you have ever lived in a desert state, then you know what I mean!  A windy day out here you can feel like you are going to blow away yourself!  It kept getting colder and colder the more the day went and the wind gusts got harder and harder.  It was just a day where you wanted to stay home and have a good, hot meal at the end of it.  Thankfully I was already planning on making one.  My mom's BBQ meatballs.  Ahhhh... just saying it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  There is nothing like those meals that you grow up with and no one else makes them.  Everyone has that "one meal."  This is that for me, and probably my 2 older brothers too.  If you know our family at all then you also know that with BBQ meatballs you always have to have mashed potatoes and corn to go with it.  There are certain things that always go together and this is one of those things. 
Call me old fashioned, but I loved growing up where we ate dinner at the dinner table all together after dad was home from work.  Ate a meal that my mom made at home.  A meal that she decided to make out of love for her family.  I'm so thankful that she was able to stay home and provide that for us.  I'm so thankful that now I can do that for my family.  God is so good!
Ok, now back to these meatballs!  You start by mixing ground beef, onion, eggs, oatmeal and tomato soup (yes, tomato soup!). 
It gets formed into balls and placed in a baking dish and then the yummy sweet BBQ sauce gets poured on top.  The sauce is ketchup based with all the usual goodness.
Bake them in the oven for 45-60 minutes and they come out delicious and the sauce almost carmelized on top... Oh. So. Good.  Then you add them with mashed potatoes and corn and you cannot go wrong!
Billie's BBQ Meatballs
For the meatballs combine:
1 1/2-2 lbs ground beef
1 diced onion
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 can tomato soup (maybe not all if you use less meat)
salt and pepper
Mix well and form into balls.  Place into a 9x13 or casserole dish
For Sauce combine:
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp worchestshire sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp A1
1 tsp vinegar
Spoon mixture over prepared meatballs.
Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, serve with mashed potatoes and corn :)

Monday, January 7, 2013


I don't know if it is the lack of sleep, frustration from having a fussy toddler at my feet 24/7 or just me having a really off couple of days; but geez!  I haven't had such failures in my kitchen since "The Gumbo Incedent of 2004."  Now that, let me tell you, was an epic failure!  Just ask my husband...

Let me tell you what happened...  So our neighbor invited us over for a cook-out last night and I told them I'd bring over a dessert or 2.  Nothing out of the ordinary, right?  I decided to try a new recipe, which I frequently do, but it ended in disaster!  I tried to make this...
Looks pretty right?  Here's how mine looked...
That is what we call an epic fail!  LoL
So, at this point I have 2 hours until I'm supposed to be next door with my "yummy" dessert.  (Oh, and to top it off, my neighbor calls me Betty Crocker.  I take it as a compliment, so I want to live up to at least his expectations.)  I get on Pinterest and look at what I have that I might possibly be able to make without using my oven - because of course my failure ran over in the oven and burnt and smoked up the house - I search and search and see I pinned a list of no-bake desserts from Six Sister's.  Hooray!  I decided to make No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars and they turned out perfect and delicious!  *Wipes sweat from brow* 
Looks a little better, don't you think?
My second mess-up wasn't nearly as bad as the first, but I'll share anyways.  :) 
I got up the morning ready to get back in the swing of things after Christmas break and my BFF, Mary, and I decided to start hitting the gym this week.  It's been way too long since I've done any form of exercise!  This is what I'm doing.
I did both, and let me tell you, I'm going to have one sore toosh tomorrow!  After I got back home with the kids I wanted to make a smoothie and I've been really wanting to try the green ones that everyone talks about.  Here's the recipe I found:
Green Smoothie
Blend together: 2 handfuls of baby spinich, 1/2 of an orange, 1 apple, 5 whole strawberries, 1 cup yogurt and 1 banana.
I, however, didn't have any apples and only had mixed berries so I added a little extra to make up for the lost apple and used a whole tangerine since they're smaller.  My smoothie was good, but didn't turn green, but rather a mauve/almost brown color.  That didn't bother me but was a let down to my son who was expecting a "green monster smoothie" and got a "moster trash smoothie" instead.  I'll for sure keep making them and try to regular way too.

So there you go, my two failures for the last two days.  Hopefully my week will get better as we march back into a regular week again.  We got so spoiled with 2 weeks off from everything.  Looking forward to a schedule again.  Looking forward to more good work outs, healthier eating, great time with the family (since hubby will be home more during the week) and trying more and more new recipes.  Now I think I'll grab another cup o' joe...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Coffee in the morning, Coffee in the evening, Coffee at supper time!

I'm sitting here drinking my 3rd cup of coffee for the day at 1:00 in the afternoon.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!
It was a long night with Bella (2 years old, going on 16!) up from 1:30-4am screaming in a tantrum for Mickey Mouse and refusing to stay in one spot, either the couch or her bed or her sister's bed.  I was losing my mind in frustration and lack of sleep by 3, when my husband emerged from the bedroom.  Never a good sign!!  Especially after he's been sick, worked 12 hours, came home for 2 and got called back to work for another 3 hours.  Finally at 4am I looked at Eric in the dark and said, "You still have to go back to work in the morning for another 12 hour shift...  Do you want me to give in a put on Mickey or keep fighting this battle?"  ...And on Mickey went.  Bella soon was snoring in her sister's bed, Eric had falled back to sleep too.  Me?  I was wide awake and still slightly frustrated.  I laid down on the couch in my make-shift bed that has become a common place anymore for me to sleep, turned on the T.V. and put on a Christmas movie I still have saved on the DVR.  I woke up at 8 to the sound of my son playing his DS on the next couch over and realized I needed some coffee... and bad! 
Grinding and brewing a pot of coffee, I remembered that I made one of my favorite things yesterday... Banana Snack Cake!  This has become my favorite way to make banana bread.  It's made in a 9x13 dish so it feeds more then the normal loaf bread and it has coconut, nuts and chocolate chips, not to mention oatmeal to make you feel like it's not so bad to eat after all!  Once my coffee was ready, I poured a cup, heated up a slice of bread and it was good.  I might even eat another piece right now!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sickies and Chicken Soup

We have had kids with coughs and cold since new year's eve and today it hit daddy too.  I thought instead of making a new recipe I'd start with a good classic that I make all the time.  Whether we're sick or not, Chicken Noodle Soup and Dumplings.  I've been a Rachael Ray fan for a long time and a few years ago she did a chicken noodle soup 3 ways and it's one of those that suck with me.  I've used her basic soup and put my spin on it with my husband's favorite thing, dumplings.  It's really easy and yet you get great flavor like you were simmering all day, when really it only takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how fast you chop.  Here is the original recipe from Rachael herself!
Here's how I've adapted it!

Chicken Noodle Soup

1. Chop: 3 carrots, 3-4 ribs of celery and 1 medium onion
2. Add veggies to a pot with: 2-3 T evoo, 1 bay leaf, about 1 T parsley, s&p

3. Let saute` and cook until veggies begin to soften
4. Add 6-8 cups of chicken stock (1 1/2-2 quart size boxes)
5. Bring to a simmer
6. Add 2 chicken breasts cut into pieces and cook for 5 minutes
7. Add noodles of desire (I like to use alphabets for my kids) and cook until soft
-8. Serve and enjoy!

Now if you are happen to be like my husband and like dumplings here's how I change it up a bit.  This dumpling recipe is from his grandma that spoiled him and made these for him all the time when he was little.  She made them the long way, simmering all day long with the whole chicken and everything!  Now, I love my hubby and all, but I'm not always that eger to cook a whole bird for someone who doesn't even like the chicken in it!  So this is how I do it.


Combine 3 cups of flour, 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk just until it is all moist and set aside.

1. You make the base of the soup above, steps 1-5. 
2. I use a small cookie scoop or you can use 2 teaspoons to formdumpling dough into small balls and drop into simmering soup. (Stir soup about half way through the dumpling dropping to make sure they aren't all sticking together.)
3. They are done when they float to the top. 

Now you could add chicken before the dumplings if you wanted to :)

I know we all needed this warm pick-me-up today.  It was just one of those days....  Kleenex?