Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brown Bag Burritos

This is a favorite at our house. I can make a ton of these and freeze them. Since I am going back to work on Monday I made some of these today.
When Noah gets off work at noon and gets home, he pops a couple of these burritos in the oven and they are done by the time he is showered and changed. Easy, fast and good. Can't get better than that!

I got the recipe from

Brown Bag Burritos

2 lbs Ground Beef
2 cans refried beans
1 1/3 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup minced onion
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cups shredded cheese
20 flour tortillas

Brown ground beef and drain.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in and simmer for 20 minutes.

Scoop 1/4-1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture onto each tortilla and roll up. It helps if you warm up the tortillas in the oven. They are easier to work with and don't tear as easily.

This is how many I ended up freezing. I am down a few due to Noah, me and the kids.

Wrap each burrito in foil. Since we only cook them in the oven we don't wrap them with a paper towel. If you save the bag that the tortillas come in, you can use it to keep the burritos from running all over the freezer. :o)

To Beauty or Not to Beauty?

A friend asked my perspective on 1 Peter 3:1-6 (specifically verses 3 and 4)?

1 Peter 3:1-6
1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Here was my reply:
"Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

God made you beautiful just the way you are. What matters to Him is your heart. Your husband loves you for who you are too.
However I don't think it says to ignore your outward appearance. I do think that you should try to look nice for your husband and yourself. Proverbs 31:22 says, "she is clothed in fine linen and purple."

"The Wife of Noble Character" is not just clothed. She doesn't have rags or burlap or flannel on. "She is clothed in FINE LINEN and PURPLE." She knows how to shop. She makes a lot of her own things. She is frugal. I can't sew but I can consign. I can thrift shop and look for sales.

"The Wife of Noble Character" looks nice when she is conducting business in the community and she looks nice for her husband. That is not what makes her beautiful though. She is beautiful because she fears the LORD and that is to be praised. :o)"
What is your opinion?

Best Fried Chicken Ever

I can't remember where I got this recipe but I have changed it so I guess I can claim it as mine.
Recipes are only suggestions anyway, right?
Noah says this is better that KFC.

Best Fried Chicken Ever

Oil for frying
1-2 1/2 lbs Chicken (our favorite is the legs)
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup Milk
2 Cups Flour
A good shake of Paprika
Another good shake of Cumin
House Seasoning

House Seasoning:
1 Cup Salt
1/4 Cup Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Garlic Powder

Beat together eggs and milk.

In a brown paper lunch bag combine flour, paprika (enough to give it a slight red color to the flour) and cumin. Pinching the top closed and shaking the bag works well.

Season chicken with House Seasoning. The recipe above makes quite a bit. I ran out of Garlic Salt but I kept the shaker it came in. I used what I needed tonight and put the rest in the shaker to save for other uses.

Dip the chicken in the egg and milk mixture.

Toss 2 chicken legs (or whatever chicken part) in the brown bag at a time. Thoroughly coat with flour mixture.

Here is my assembly line. Yes, I did manage to get flour EVERYWHERE.

Heat oil in a large pot. I use a candy thermometer to make sure I get the oil up to a good 350 degrees. Once I get it up to that on about Med-High, I turn it up to High while I get the chicken ready and in the pot. SLOWLY put the chickens in the oil. You may even want to use "pinchers". You don't want to crowd the swimming pool so you may need to fry them in more than one batch. I usually end up frying two batches.

Once I get all the legs in the oil I turn it down to Medium, cover and cook for about 7 minutes.

Uncover, turn over and cook uncovered for about another 7 minutes.

Turn again and cook, turning as necessary until done.

Lay on paper towels on plate and pretend you did not just cook your dinner in a pot of oil.

I also made homemade mashed potatoes. Gravy and green beans. And homemade Apple Crisp for dessert. Not bad.

Not thrilled with the Apple Crisp. It would probably have tasted better if I had remembered the butter. I was probably sub-consciously making up for the chicken in oil and potatoes with LOTS of butter.

Nope...I just plain forgot.

The girls and I did have fun making it and it wasn't actually that bad. Just a bit dry.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me!

This post is yet another thing that I had wanted to get done before Christmas. You know how Christmas time gets though. Like I needed one more thing to do...

So the story behind this is that I was a little stressed. OK. I was STRESSED. I had to get 33 candy cane AB patterned ornaments, 33 gingerbread houses with pictures inside, 33 hand-print wreaths, 33 hand stamped, water colored and glittered cards, 33 rice wreaths and much, much more done for preschool parent Christmas presents. Actually I had to get 33 4 year olds to get all of this done. And we had a Christmas program. With songs. And actions. To memorize. And 3 "camels" and 2 "barn animals" from my class. Being my first year at the Preschool I was a bit stressed about getting it all done. Everything went well.
'Preschool Perfect" I like to say! Minus the reserved seating issue but that's a whole other story. One where I might have to repent for my thoughts and actions (It was not my most godly moment in a church).
And that was just for school. I still had to make wonderful Christmas memories with my kids.
SO..Noah loving informs me that, "You know the saying, 'Grace under pressure'? It doesn't apply to you."
That got me thinking. My freaking out and stressing out weren't really following the Christmas spirit that I was trying to get across to my kids.
I was more like, "Smile! Get along with your sister/brother! Be happy! Keep your hands to yourself! It's Christmas! Remember the reason for the season! Just let me get this done! Come on, we are trying to spread love and joy! Get your coat on! Hurry up! Let's go! Love Baby Jesus dog-gone-it!"
With my to do list rolled half way down the block I had left out the most important things. My own little family's Christmas memories and sharing the miracle of Jesus. So my motto became, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!"
Very catchy but harder said than done.
I tried. It was hard though. Like when I was a kid and I knew I had to be good because Christmas was upon us. But it wasn't because I wanted presents this time. It was because I wanted the relationship with Jesus that I was trying to prepare my heart for. I had too much on my mind to let Jesus into my heart. I miss the Advent season that I was raised with being Catholic. Those four weeks, four candles and reflecting on getting yourself for Christ's birth and second coming really helped prepare my heart for Christmas. Were my kids hearts open and receiving Him? Or was my heart so involved in my stuff that He couldn't use me to reach out my my own kids? I don't remember everyone being so stressed out when I was a kid? What is the problem?Was I doing something wrong?
I was more focused on my to-do list that who I was doing the things for and why I was doing them. A friend of mine e-mailed this out. She received it from a friend who was pondering over some big stuff...

“Now as we approach Christmas it makes me think about what Mary might have done with the 4 year old Jesus. Did she teach him to draw a tree or a dog, coaching his little hand – the same hand that had created the trees and dogs? Did she show him the stars in the sky, explaining the constellations – when He was the One who had placed the stars and knew them by name? Did she begin to teach him to read words – when He is the WORD? Or take him to the well to get water for the family – when He is the living water for the world? Or feed him fresh baked bread for a snack – when He is the bread of life for all who seek Him?.....It’s more than my mind can comprehend!” ~Source Unknown~

That made me think. This is what I want for my kids. I want to teach the little hands that He created to draw. I want to show them the stars and the moon and rainbows that He created. I want to teach them to read words so they can read His WORD. Read His WORD so they can have the Living Water and Bread of Life.
HOW? How can I do that? I can do that by spending time with them. Quality time. Peaceful time. Fun time.


Making Reindeer Poop

                                                          Making Cinnamon Ornaments

                                                             Being silly and having fun together

                                                              Spending time with those we love

After I realized this the holidays were a little easier. The kids weren't going to learn anything (anything good) from me by rushing around, being stressed and snappy. I needed to slow down and really enjoy the time I have with them. Especially at the Holidays. They learn by example and I need to have peace to teach them peace. I need to show love, patience, compassion through my words and actions if I want them to be loving, patient and compassionate. I need to live the WORD if I want them to live in the WORD.

We had an awesome Christmas after all.
Lots of family.
Lots of food.
Lots of fun.
Not Perfect. Not totally Peaceful. But better. Less stressed. A new mindset.

Now that Christmas has come and gone; I am still striving for peace on earth and making that start with me. It is still difficult to remain "graceful under pressure" but I'm working on it. And a mocha from Walla Walla Bread Company helps the Peace start flowing.  ;o)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cinnamon Ornaments

Disclaimer: Sorry about another recipe however this one is not edible. Please do not try to eat it.

4 Cups Cinnamon
(Yes, 4 cups. Yes, the people at the grocery store will look at you strange when you say you need 4 cups of cinnamon)

3 cups Applesauce

1/2 cup glue (I just used a 4 oz bottle of the cheapest Elmer's Glue)

Mix everything together very well. I used a spoon for  mixing the cinnamon and apple sauce. It got pretty thick and I completely abandoned the spoon by the time I added the glue. Really mix it. Get in there.

Let it sit for about an hour. I let mine sit longer  and it was fine.

Roll it out. About 1/2 inch worked well. The more you work with it the more moist it becomes.

Cut out with cookie cutters. We borrowed a box of 100 cookie cutters from my Aunt. I let the kids do just about whatever cookie cutters they wanted. This recipe makes ALOT of ornaments!

We laid them out on aluminum foil and I poked holes in them with a small straw.

Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Flip them over after an hour. I let mine sit for a couple of minutes before I flipped them. I found that they stuck to the aluminum foil unless I waited. They will shrink a little.

After baking them we let them cool and and then strung them with ribbon. They turned out really cute and our Little House smells amazing!

I got the recipe from

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Orgasmic Blueberry Pie OR Super Duper Blueberry Pie

1 3/4 cups frozen blueberries
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup whipping cream-whipped
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond flavoring*
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 graham cracker crust

Combine condensed milk and lemon juice. Mix well.
Stir in vanilla and almond flavoring.

Fold in whipped cream.
Pour into pie shell.

Refrigerate until set. (A couple of hours)

Mash 3/4 cup blueberries.

Mix sugar with cornstarch and add to mashed berries.
Cook until thickened.
Take off stove and add 1 cup blueberries and stir together.

When pie is set and blueberries are cool spread blueberries on top of pie.
Refrigerate until ready to eat.

* The almond flavoring is what really makes this pie. DO NOT SKIP THE ALMOND FLAVORING!!!

This is my showcase dessert. Thanks for the top secret recipe, Aunt Patty! It is actually very simple (don't tell anyone) and absolutely delicious!
The name of this recipe is Orgasmic Blueberry Pie but when taking it to church functions I have changed the name to Super Duper Blueberry Pie (following an awkward and humorous conversation with the pastor's wife).  :o)

Reindeer Poop

No Bake Cookies!

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 3/4 cups oats
1tsp vanilla

Melt margarine in pot.

Add sugar, cocoa and milk.

Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Mix well.

Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper or Silpat to cool.

This is a recipe I learned how to make when I was in middle school at DeSales. We learned how to make "Elephant Poop" in Mrs. Michael's Home-Ec class. I made these once before Noah and I were married and was very excited to have stumbled upon a favorite cookie from his childhood. His Grandma Roberta used to make them for him. Of course they weren't called poop though. We call these cookies Reindeer Poop at Christmas time however we enjoy our Elephant Poop the rest of they year. The recipe remains the same. :o)
P.S. If you are making something called Poop you must be prepared to be a little silly!