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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Crockpot Recipe : Creamy Mushroom Chicken

Crock Pot Creamy Mushroom Chicken

 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 8oz. package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 0.7-oz. pkg. Italian dry salad dressing mix
1 10-3/4-oz. can condensed mushroom soup (I olny had cream of chicken)
1/2 cup dry white wine (i subbed this with water)
1/2 of an 8-oz. tub cream cheese spread with chives and onion
Hot cooked rice 

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add dry italian dressing mix, mushroom soup, wine, and cream cheese. Stir occasionally until cream cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.
Place sliced mushrooms on the bottom of the slow cooker and top with chicken breasts. Pour sauce over the chicken and cook on low for 5 hours. Serve over white rice.

Loaded Potato Casserole

Crack Potatoes or Loaded Potato Casserole

2 (16oz) containers sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 (3oz) bags real bacon bits
2 packages Ranch Dip mix
1 large (28 - 30oz) bag frozen hash brown potatoes - shredded kind

Combine first 4 ingredients, mix in hash browns. Spread into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes.

Friday, September 9, 2016

California and a Trail Mix

The area now known as California was settled by ranchers. It was the spanish and Mexican governments that encouraged settlement of this area. A ranch was defined when a land - grant title issued by the government was given. This title ensured property ownership rights to land.The land was normally devoted to raising cattle and sheep. Workers on these ranches included the native Americans that learned to speak spanish when they lived in the missions set up by spanish missionaries. 
Ranches are still recognized by the California government. Ranches were designed with boundaries with access with water

Cattle Ranchers raised their cattle more for their hides rather than beef as there was no market for large amounts of beef. When the Gold Rush occured thousands of miners, fortune seekers and their families flooded into California. The need of meat was great and cattle prices soared with the great demand. 

California became the 31st state on September 9th 1850. To celebrate the great state of California and the vast land of the past I decided to share a recipe that many would have loved along those long trails. This trail mix recipe is a bit different as it offers fruit, nuts and chocolate. Yummy


1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

For the nuts: 
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 large egg white
1 cup whole unsalted, unroasted almonds
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 cup unsalted pumpkinseeds

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl; whisk together.

Place egg white in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy (be sure the bowl is completely clean as if you were making a meringue). Add the almonds, cashews, and pumpkinseeds; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with spice mixture; toss well to coat. Spread nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, stirring once. Turn oven off. Remove pan from oven; stir snack mix. Immediately return pan to oven for an additional 15 minutes (leave oven off). Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack; cool completely.

Mix together the nuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips once the nuts have cooled completely.  Store trail mix in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Wiener Schnitzel

  • 4 veal cutlets (4 ounces each)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 lemon slices

Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper. Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Coat veal with flour, then dip in eggs and coat with crumbs.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook veal in butter for 2-3 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Serve with lemon. Yield: 4 servings.

recipe source taste of home

Little League

In our neck of the woods the younger kids little league starts in the early summer and goes about 6 weeks. Now we have entered into the soccer season. Just to share how proud we were of them and still are I am showing their ball pictures off just a bit

Lasagna Soup and Crusty Bread

Lasagna Soup

lb hamburger 
2 can diced tomatoes
onion, chopped
 2 t italian seasoning
pepper, chopped 
2 c noodles
1 T brown sugar
 2 c shred cheese
32 oz. chicken broth 
15 oz. tomato sauce

Brown meat, onion and pepper. Drain. Stir in sugar, broth, tomato, sauce, season. Boil. Reduce and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles and boil til tender. Sprinkle cheese inside of bowls.

Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.  

Let's Talk

Today is national wonderful wierdo day. We all have something odd about us. I want to introduce you to a way that we can communicate. Simply read the questions and answer them in comments. 

What's the main thing that builds your self-confidence and why?

Self confidence comes to me believe it or not from creative criticism. It is a burst to have me do better work and there fore I know someone is paying attention. If someone is paying attention it helps build confidence. 

What lessons in humility have you learned over the course of your life?

Humility is something I learn daily. I work a job that teaches me that my problems are never as large as someone else's. Tomorrow is a new day and if mistakes happen they can be worked around or corrected

How do you combat negative thoughts?

Very hard to do so my best advice is to laugh often and keep a smile on the face

What A Great Day

Happy Birthday to me and Happy Teddy Bear Day to you. What a great day to share with one of my most beloved toys as a child. I had a teddy and I could tell him anything. In return he would lull me to sleep or put me in a good mood with the music he would play. Did you have a teddy ?? 

Today on Teddy Bear Day Build A Bear has an offer for you. It is one that will help you as well as someone else. You see you go in buy one of the $5 teddy bears today on Teddy Bear day and Build a bear will donate a furry friend to charity. How can you beat this, making your self happy as well as someone else.

Cookie Time --- Chocolate Chip

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups softened butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping the bowl often, until mixed well. Reduce speed to low. Beat gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed.
Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2" apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet. press a few chocolate chips in dough. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown. (DO NOT OVER BAKE!) Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets. Get a big glass of cold milk and start dunking!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

2 large zucchini 
1+ lb. lean ground turkey
1/3 lb. ground Italian sausage
2-3 tbsp. tomato paste (get the good stuff, I always have this on hand for soups anyways)

Add to taste:
Fresh basil
Red chili pepper flakes (for spiciness)

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the zucchini length-wise and scoop out the insides with a spoon (be sure to leave the shells sturdy enough for filling later). Set aside zucchini "guts" and chop into smaller chunks for later.

Place the zucchini open side up on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes (continue to check though).

While the zucchini is baking, brown turkey and sausage in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add water to keep from sticking to the pan, but don't add any cooking oils. After the meat is browned, add the remaining zucchini and seasonings (peppers) and cook on medium. Add the tomato paste last to thicken the juices.

Remove shells from the oven and fill with meat mixture. Serve.

Square Dancing Month and a filling meal idea

Turn your partner round and round it boot scoot and boogey month. September is International Square dance Month. My grand parents were square dancers back in the day. They would meet with others and dance to their hearts delight. Square dancing was imported to the U.S. from English, Irish and Scottish settlers. While fun and musical it is also great form of exercise. 

To work up the energy to dance the night away you will need a filling meal. The meat and potato meal is very filling and this one is flavored with onion, bell peppers and carrots as well. 

1 pound Hillshire Farms Sausage, Or Your Favorite Tube Sausage

1 whole Medium Onion, Sliced
½ whole Bell Pepper, Chopped
6 whole Red New Potatoes, Sliced
1 cup Baby Carrots
1 teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Slice sausage into 1/4 inch slices. You may want to remove the casings before you slice them. I don’t.
In a large skillet, heat some oil and saute the sliced onions, chopped peppers, and sausage until brown. Then add sliced potatoes, carrots and spices, mixing well. Pour mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish, and bake covered in a 350-degree oven, until vegetables are tender (about 45 to 55 minutes). Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes, or until browned. Serve hot.

Serves 6

Tips: I added oil but next time I won't because the sausage has enough oil in it already.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Safe Sleeping Environment For Baby

September is Baby Safety Month. One area that often gets overlooked and mainly because we all ready think that it is safe is the babies sleep environment. There are several things that you can do to ensure their safety. These would include keeping that baby on his or her back when sleeping or napping. Babies can suffocate if they happen to sleep head down. The Center for health Statistics states the rate of SIDS has declined more then 50% since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994.

Babies should not be allowed to sleep on chairs, adult beds, sofas, pillows or cushions. The baby should sleep in a crib approved by the Consumer Product and Safety Commission or Juvenile Products Manufactures Association. The babies crib, bassinet or cradle should have a firm mattress and well fitted sheet. There should be nothing else in the sleeping area.

Crib bumpers, pillows, quilts, toys should not be placed in crib. These items can cause baby to suffocate. A light blanket may be used by tucking all sides along the bottom half of the crib below baby's arms.

Light sleepers are best for baby. The room temp of 68 to 71 should be kept in room so baby is comfortable A fan in the babies room will help with airflow.

The only precaution I offer of how baby sleeps is to ensure that babies head is turned in order to prevent flathead syndrome.

Take 5 Bars


From BruCrew Life

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup mini Reeses

1 c. chopped pretzels
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 tbsp. shortening (I used vegetable oil, and it didn't work out so well)

Preheat oven to 350* Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray (I used an 8x8 pan, so my bars ended up a little bit thicker). Set aside. Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and cream again. Slowly add the dry ingredients until it is all mixed in. Stir in the peanuts and peanut butter chips by hand. Spread the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 24 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Stir every 30 seconds, so it doesn't burn. Lay the chopped pretzels on top of the cooled bars and spread the melted chocolate on top. Let set before cutting

Better Way To Cook Bacon

When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” 

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.” 
― A.A. Milne

I am not sure which way you feel in the morning. I believe that I am a bit in between. I want to always be ready for what comes my way but I love to eat as well. To make this possible I have been eating a bit better. One way that I do this is that when it is breakfast time I bake the bacon. It is easy to do this simply:

How to Bake Your Bacon
{makes as many strips of bacon as you need want}
Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack on top of the foil and lay bacon slices in a single layer on top of cooling rack. Put the whole thing in the cold oven and turn the temperature to 400 degrees. That’s right, no need to even preheat the oven! Now, just cook until it reaches your desired level of crispness. Depending on the thickness of the bacon it should take 15-20 minutes. When it is done, immediately put bacon on paper towels to soak up any remaining grease.

A Dish For A Great Leader

On this day during the middle ages a king was born. That king was Richard the lionhearted. He had a reputation as a great military leader and warrior. Richard took command of his own army at the mere age of 16. Richard was a Christian and helped lead the crusades. Richards early life was spent in England he would move to Southwest France in adulthood. He could communicate well speaking both french and Occitan. Most of his life was spent leading crusades or in battle. 

To honor a king we must prepare a dish worthy to serve a king so today we share with you a delicious cheesy King Ranch Casserole. This casserole has given you a head start by allowing you to purchase a rotisserie chicken and chips. It is simple to create and perfect for a king or a family on a busy night. 

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 (14.5 ounce) package Nacho Cheese Doritos
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Layer the chips in a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
Combine the tomatoes, chicken soup, mushroom soup, bell pepper and onion. Pour half of mixture over chips. Layer the chicken pieces, half of the cheese and the remaining soup mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Pardon Me While We Share A Great Chicken Recipe

Do you ever want a reason to just tell someone that you are sorry. You may not even need to say sorry it may just be a "I Love You". Whatever your reason is Please Pardon us as we share yet another great recipe that can be prepared and delivered to a friend for whatever reason you may need.

Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

3 cups of cooked white rice (sometimes I use garlic rice)
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (I just steam them in a shallow pan with seasonings)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 small container sour cream (I've also used ricotta cheese and cream cheese)
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 sleeve Ritz cracker crumbs (just smash inside sleeve, inside a ziploc bag)
5 Tbsp. butter melted

Preheat oven to 375
Mix together in a small bowl; cream of chicken soup, sour cream, pepper and poppy seeds. Place aside.
In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish place rice as bottom layer. Next, arrange shredded chicken over rice until rice is completely covered. Pour sour cream mixture over chicken, until chicken is completely covered. Sprinkle Ritz crumbs over the entire casserole. Pour melted butter slowly over cracker crumbs so cracker crumbs are moistened. Bake for 25 minutes.

Feelings come in Many Forms

Back to school time can mean different things to different individuals. We all have feelings and some times we feel happy, other times sad and sometimes our feelings leave us wanting more. Though the schools try to keep bullying out of schools it often slips through the lines. No one wants to be bullied and the sad part is that when you are you do not want to admit that someone is bullying you. So secretly you keep these feelings inside. I wonder if at times the following children's poem is what may have been secretly felt. 

The author of this poem Jack Preluski celebrates his birthday today on September 8. Born in Brooklyn new York to an electrician and his wife. Saved early in life from a fire by his uncle Charlie who he admired. Charlie was a stand up comedian.

The family was on the poor side and Jack attended Bronx public schools. He was often bored in class and did not care for poetry in this least bit. This in part was blamed on teachers who disliked poetry as well. Jack loved music and talent for it as well. He attended the music & art high school where he was happy to take part in musicals. In 1958 he graduated and attended Hunter College and studied philosophy and psychology. His downfall was English class that he attempted 3 times each time failing and eventually dropped out.

Jack held many different jobs such as driving a cab, moving furniture, busboy, potter, woodworker and door to door salesman. It was in the late 1960s at a job in a bookstore and singing in coffeehouses that he met Bob Dylan who became a friend of his. Jack's past time of drawing imaginary animals eventually led to him writing poetry to describe the animals actions. The poem gained more attention than the drawing did. At the age of 24 Jack had his first poem appear in a book. Susan Hirshman would become his editor for the next 37 years.

Now, if we return back to feelings, I must say that one recipe I found recently and have fallen in love with is a Mexican cheese recipe. My family loves eating at the local Mexican style recipe and one of the most popular items is the cheese and chips. Oh so yummy!!!

  • 1 lb pepperjack cheese
  • 8 oz full-fat cream cheese
  • 8 oz full-fat sour cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes & green chilies, drained
  • *NOTE: I have gotten mixed feedback about using low-fat substitutions so use full-fat dairy for best results!*

    1. In a slow-cooker or medium pot, combine the cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, Rotel, and about half of the milk.
    2. Turn heat onto low, and let the mixture heat until the cheeses melt and a smooth cream forms, stirring occasionally. Add more milk as needed.
    3. Once melted, serve immediately, or transfer to a slow cooker with a "warm" setting to keep dip warm and melted. Enjoy!