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Feb 29, 2012

Potato Bacon Casserole

Happy Leap Day!!!!!!

Who loves breakfast?
*both hands raised in the air*
Me! Me! Me!!! OOOOH Pick Me!!
Well pick US!
We both love breakfast!!! 
When we were dating it was one of those moments that put extra decorative frosting on the cake when he said he loved eating breakfast for dinner.
For a while now, I would almost venture to say since we've been married but I'm not quiet sure, we have breakfast every Wednesday night!!!!
It always make me happy and I look forward to it every week. :)
So last Wednesday for dinner we made Potato Bacon Casserole.
This takes longer then you would think, but is super easy and I would eat it again but start making it sooner. When Marvin got home from work I talked to him while he showered and then it was after 6 and then by the time we put dinner (breakfast) in the oven it was almost 6:30 and it takes almost an hour to cook. I was already really hungry to begin with and when I'm hungry I get really grumpy... It was bad. So, needless to say, when you're super hungry and don't have an hour to wait for dinner make something else, or eat a snack.
But this is super delicious, just start making it early enough!!!!

Ingredients
4 cups frozen Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
1/2 cup finely copped Onion (optional)
8 oz Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 can Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 medium Eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt


Directions
Preheat oven to 350*

Grease 8-in square baking dish

Layer 1/2 potatoes, 1/2 onion (opt), 1/2 bacon, 1/2 cheese in prepared baking dish; Repeat layers


Combine evaporated milk, egg and seasoned salt in small bowl


Pour evenly over potato mixture


Bake for 55-60 minutes; covered

Uncover and back for additional 5 minutes

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving


**Double check what temperature your stove is at before you walk away while it's cooking. One of us had brushed up against the dial and dropped the temperature so it took almost an hour and a half to cook. Man alive I was starving!! :)

I'll have this again. 
Let us know what you added to your casserole!


Feb 28, 2012

Tuesday Tip #23

This Tuesday Tip is something that is more of a goal that I've been working on this year then an actual tip. I was getting frustrated when I couldn't get everything done in the day and the dishes would pile up and so would the laundry.
SOO....
My goal was to do the dishes every night regardless. Even if that meant doing them during commercials of my favorite shows (Monday-Castle, Tuesday-Body of Proof, Thursday-Bones, Sunday-Once Upon A Time). 
I am happy to report to that I've been rather successful!! :)
I love getting the dishes done before we go to bed. There is nothing better then going to bed happy and relieved that the dishes are done.
OH...
And there is nothing better then waking up and starting the day with a clean kitchen either.

So Tip for the day...

Try and get the dishes done every night before you go to bed.
That produces a happy and less stressed next day!!!

What other things are you goings doing this year to relieve stress?

Feb 26, 2012

{Spiritual Feasting #17} Believe

On Presidents Day last week I went shopping with a friend. We started at Ross and TJ Maxx to see what we could find for cheap, but as far as clothes, we weren't very successful. However, when it came to kitchen supplies and home decor we were hitting the jack pot and there were a lot of things that I had to walk away from. It was sad... but now I know where I need to go if I want to get something a discounted price. :)
So after failing dismally in the clothes section, we headed over to the decor at Ross. We were looking at the wall decor and I found this long beautiful letting in maroon with white scroll design that said 'FAMILY'. Last year for our wards 'Super Saturday' craft day, I made blocks similar to this...


Source: etsy.com via Megan on Pinterest


Except is says 'FAMILY' instead of the last name and 'is everything' instead of the established year. {Check out my Christmas Post on my photography blog to see the blocks.} So I decided that I didn't need anything 'family' realted and looked through the rest of the selection to see what else they had. As I was looking through, I found this...


Now at first I sat there staring at it weighing the options of getting it and then for some reason, that I couldn't justify, I knew I had to get it. Couldn't explain it. It's beautiful and I love it, but as we were checking out, I kind of had buyers remorse because we really can't afford extra things right now. But I thought to myself "when I get home I'll see if it fits above the window in the kitchen and if it doesn't work then I'll take it back." Well it didn't fit there. I didn't want to take it back so I turned and looked in our front room and saw that it would fit above one of those windows. So I climbed on the futon and placed it above the window and stood back to stare at it. 
PERFECT!!! 
It's right where I would see it every morning!!
I left it there in the package because I wasn't sure what Marvin would think about it. I don't know about you, but sometimes it takes Marvin a little bit to notice something. I didn't know how long it would take him to notice it, but as soon as he got home that was the first thing that he noticed and looked a little surprised. It's kind of hard NOT to miss. He didn't say that he didn't like it, just "huh". Not like asking a question but as in "okay". 
Now to get to the point of the post since now you know the background...

While we were shopping I checked my email on my phone and saw that I had an email from my brother who is serving a mission in Buenos Aires right now. I knew I didn't have time to read it while I was shopping so I said that I'd read it once I got home. 
I had completed forgotten about it until I asked Marvin if he got emails from his brothers. So I sat down and read his email and it made me smile and be grateful that I listened to whatever prompting I had to purchase this decor.
In his letter he talked about how once the people in Buenos Aires hear about the church and it's beliefs, its like they all come running and want to know more. He said that we have to open our mouths and teach. That all we need to do is invite and share and people will listen. He also said...

"The people of the world are ready to hear, so for those who have ears to hear, let them hear.  For those of us who have the knowledge and mouths, let us open them."

Then he simple wrote the word....


He is so right. 
On more levels then one. 

In order to spread the gospel to those who are ready to learn we have to believe that we can plant that seed. We have to believe in ourselves and we have to believe that the Gospel is real.

When I see that sign every morning... It's a great reminder to not only believe in the gospel and everything I know to be true, but it's a great reminder to believe in myself and that I'm a Daughter of God. I'm a Princess. I'm beautiful... and the list could go on.
Along with out Family Motto for this year, this is my word. 

... In Who You Are!!!!



Feb 22, 2012

Enchilada Puffs

I bet your wondering what an Enchilada Puff is...?
It's delicious, fast, easy and perfect for dinner or an appetizer! What could be better, right?

I was cruising around Pinterest (which who doesn't do that ;)...) and I found this great recipe on this great blog by Tidy Mom and this recipe is super easy. Like as easy as my Chicken Roll recipe. In fact, they are very similar and since I had already made those it made this one even more easy to make.
AND.... 
To make it even better... Marvin loved them!!!!!
We have come across a few that he doesn't care for and that I don't care for but he liked these and that made me happy :). 
And guess what, he took some for lunch the next day and he doesn't have access to anything to warm them up and he says they are pretty good cold too. 
Another Plus!!!!
So I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did! :)

Ingredients
1 package Jumbo Crescent Rolls
3 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese^
3/4 cup Cooked Chicken (diced or shredded)
1/3 cup Enchilada or Taco Sauce
2 tsp Enchilada or Taco Seasoning Mix*
1/4 cup Mexican Shredded Cheese for sprinkling
(^We used Colby/Monterey Jack mix because that is what we had on hand)
(*I used the whole package. Honestly, I didn't read carefully that it should be 2 tsp until just now. It wasn't bad though, made it a bit more spicy but we also used more then 3/4 cup cook chicken so it wasn't too bad. Adjust the mix according to how much chicken to use)



Instructions
Preheat oven to 375

Cook Chicken


Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with no-stick cooking spray

Please cream cheese and 1/2 cup cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds to soften


Add seasoning mix and sauce to cheese mixture and stir well


Add chicken to sauce mixture and stir until well combined


Scoop 1 large spoonful (as much as will fit) in the center of the crescent roll


Pull corners of the crescent roll over the filling and then pull the long end over enclosing the filling

Sprinkle tops of puffs with cheese

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown







Feb 21, 2012

Tuesday Tip #22

When I made Cafe Rio Chicken I showed this little technic that I found via Pinterest but I thought that it deserved it's own Tuesday Tip Series because it's the coolest, most ingenious thing ever!!!!

To have restaurant quality shredded chicken, place cooked chicken in Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the cookie paddle and place on medium for about 30 seconds and you have perfectly shredded chicken!!

Coolest thing ever. I always forget to do this but when you're in a hurry, best solution!

Feb 19, 2012

{Spiritual Feasting #16} "Hope Ya Know...

...I'm having a hard time."

It seems like everyone is having a hard time right now.

I would say again for some and the first time for others.

I was scrolling through the blogs that I follow and I found a post from a fellow blogger that touched my heart and made me feel like I wasn't alone. Her husband lost his job again. For the 3rd time in 2 years.
Now Marvin hasn't lost his job, but due some ridiculous circumstances, it could be possible in the next 4-6 months. Reading her post made me sad for her but helped me to realize that if it did happen to us, we're not alone. That someone else has been through it and made it out the other side just fine. 

Marvin come home from work Tuesday or Wednesday and told me about it and I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do. He told me not to worry about and let him do all the worrying. I said No! We are partners and we'll worry about this together. His rebuttal was that I handle stress and worry differently then he does which is very true. But we are in this together and we'll worry about it together and we'll make it through together. This isn't the only thing that we're been dealing with over the last little while... 

But lets just put it this way...

Just when you feel like you finally have a plan in place on how you want to progress and you can afford to progress and you actually start stepping forward, there will always be that trial(s) that sets you back a little, to test you, to make sure you can continue moving forward... In faith.

I found this video clip that illustrates the point perfect.
It's called "Hope Ya Know, We Had A Hard Time"



It does matter if it's having or had... a hard time is a hard time and we just need to remember that we can lean on the Lord when those hard times happen.

We did make it to the Temple this weekend and it couldn't have been more perfect timing. With the news and knowing that we were going to Temple, we were able to push through the rest of week and look forward to our quiet moment in the House of the Lord to let the worry and stress melt away for a time.

I hope that you guys have a wonderful Sunday and that you'll be recharged for the up coming week!!!

Feb 15, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

One of my favorite shows last year was Master Chef
I was addicted! I felt like I could do anything that they could do... almost as invincible as those who tried and tried no matter what criticism they received by Chef Ramsey.
Well, anyway, on one of the episodes, a contestant decided that he was going to make Shepherd's Pie and was desperately hoping that Chef Ramsey would like it since it was his favorite meal growing up. In the end, it was a huge hit and Chef Ramsey was very impressed. 
Everything on Master Chef always looked so complicated. I wanted to try making a lot of things but it always seemed daunting.
Well, I was cruising through my Deseret Cookbook and I found a simplified recipe! Then as I was making dinner I found another recipe on the back of the Idahoan Mashed Potatoes can. I'm excited to try that one soon too.
I hope you enjoy this!!!

Ingredients
1 lb Ground Beef (Elk)
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 can (10 oz) Tomato Soup
1 can Green Beans
2 cups Mashed Potatoes
1 cup Grated Cheese


Directions
Preheat oven to 350*

Brown the meat with the onion


While meat is browning, mix together mashed potatoes

Turn off the head and add tomato soup and green beans and mix together


Transfer to 8x8 pan


Top with mashed potatoes and cheese


Bake for 20 minutes


Serve!!!



{Should serve 4, depending on the appetites of your company :)}




Feb 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!!!

We're don't do much for Valentines Day. It's not a huge thing for us. We'll get each other cards and that's about it. I don't even have any Valentines Day Decor. The only decor I really have is Thanksgiving/Fall and Christmas. 
We're really trying to save money right now, so building my decoration/decor stash is going to have to wait but I found the cutes things on Pinterest that I want to make at some point. 
I thought that I would share those with you today in hope of inspiring someone.

Happy Valentines Day!!! <3






Source: google.com via Megan on Pinterest

Tuesday Tip #21

I know that I've mentioned this tip in a couple different posts and I've been meaning to really introduce it into the Tuesday Tip Series but I keep forgetting. So now that I've finally remembered, here is a tip on how to cook chicken in the microwave...

Chicken Tenders
Place chicken tenders on microwave safe plate when frozen and place in microwave. 
Microwave tenders at 2 minute intervals until cooked. 
Watch and check on them each time because depending on how thick they are you may have to remove a few before all are done so they don't over cook.

Chicken Breasts
Place chicken breast on microwave safe plate when frozen and place in microwave.
Microwave breasts at 4 minute intervals until cooked.
Watch and check on them each time because depending on how thick they are you may have to remove a few before all are done so they don't over cook
The other thing for breasts is that you could halve them length wise so their not as thick.

How do you defrost and cook your chicken when you're in a hurry?

Feb 12, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #15

Good Morning and Happy Sunday!!!

I'm not sure how to start this post... I know exactly what I want to say and share, but it's near and dear to my heart and those are always the hardest ones to share. First because they are so personal and second because it makes me emotional and it's hard to post when you can't see through the tears. 

On January 1, 2012 I wrote Spiritual Feasting #9. It was about the passing of my father-in-law. It was extremely hard to write that post but I needed to. I needed to share my testimony about the plan of salvation and that I know we'll see him again. It was apart of my grieving processes. I cried hard as I wrote that post. And the tears are already brimming now. 

I want to share with you an experience that my brother-in-law had on his mission. Elder Stoker is serving in the Tennessee, Knoxville Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He's almost completed his 2 year mission and hearing the news of his father passing hit him hard. We were the ones that called him and my sweet husband was at a loss for words. He couldn't talk to his brother. They both sat there on the phone in silence unable to say anything to each other because their emotions were so raw. We put Elder Stoker on speaker phone and I told him what happened. He wished that he could've come home but he knew that his dad wanted him to stay on his mission and continue to serve the Lord and the people in Tennessee. Elder Stoker knew that the Lord wanted him to stay and that he needed to be here for the people in Tennessee. He didn't know why exactly, that he had such a strong feeling of needing to stay, but with in a week he was able to bare testimony about the plan of salvation and helped someone else, who was visiting the church that weekend, who had lost both her parents recently. He was able to bring her comfort through his testimony.

We got an email and a hand written letter this week from Elder Stoker. There was this women, Paula, that he had met in another area of his mission that they were trying to bring back to church. He was transfered out of that area and lost contact with her. Then a week or two ago, he was contacted by the bishop of the ward he was serving in. Paula had fallen extremely ill and it didn't seem like she was going to last much longer. She asked her husband to find Elder Stoker because she wanted a blessing from him. He had touched her so much. Her husband tried to find him but all the missionaries that he talked to kept saying he was transfered and they didn't know where he went to. Paula's husband was not a member of the church and didn't understand that being transfered just meant that he moved to a different area. He thought he gone come home. Paula was sad. She had really wanted to see him. Through the hospital, the bishop was contacted. Elder Stoker explained to us that his bishop really wanted to call the bishop of the ward boundaries that she was in to have him give her the blessing but he felt prompted to call the missionaries. So he listened and ask Elder Stoker and his companion to head over to the hospital as soon as possible because there was a sister there that needed a blessing. When he told Elder Stoker who it was his heart hurt. It was the woman he so desperately wanted to help but didn't get a chance to because he got transfered. 

Elder Stoker and his companion rushed over to the hospital. They gave her a blessing and the hospital staff wanted them out of the room since she was declining rapidly. The rest of the family that was there and didn't quiet know of the connection that Paula had with him but they let them stay. They told the hospital staff that they were family. 

Paula had become close to his heart and he watched her pass away.

He share that experience to us in the family email that he sends and then he also shared more details with us in the personal hand written letter that he sent to me and Marvin. He said that now he could understand what it was like for those of us who were there when his dad passed away. That he wished that we didn't have to go through that, but that when he was with Paula he felt and experience the most amazing peace. In his experience he felt that the veil was so thin between here and heaven. It was a wonderful yet saddening experience but he was grateful to have been there for Paula and her family and to understand what we went through here at home with his dad's passing. 

He bore his testimony of the plan of salvation and that there is life after death. 

This has been a rough year so far for us, but for him, I can't even imagine. To have his father pass away and then a close friend on his mission... This young man is an amazing example of a strong missionary and person with a strong testimony of who he is and what this life is all about.

I found this video clip this morning and wish it had been around last month. 



I know that I've written about this topic a lot, but it's very close to home and still a very fresh experience. I wrote Elder Stoker the other day and teared while writing his letter. I actually made it through this post just fine, but I hope you don't mind as I continue to share what is so close to home. 

I know that that there is a plan for us and it's called the Plan of Salvation. I know that there is a life after death and that all our loved ones that have passed on are still watching out for us but they are continuing on in their work on the other side. I know what when it is our time, they will be there with open arms to welcome us home. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer and that He died for us that we might live again. 

If you want to learn more...click HERE. On the top of the page on the right hand side, there are links for 'chat online' or 'missionary request'. Or if you would feel more comfortable, leave a comment or email me via the 'Want to Share Tab?' at the top of the screen.

Feb 8, 2012

Swiss Bubbly

I loved the name of this recipe!
It's so unique and really has nothing to do with the recipe itself.
When we started looking at the ingredients we decided it was a cross between Chicken Salad and Sloppy Joe's. Now I know that sounds disgusting but it's not I promised. It is pretty much Chicken Salad but you eat it on top of hamburger buns like you would Sloppy Joe's.
Just wait and see...

Ingredients
1 cup Cooked Chicken, Turkey or Tuna Fish (We used 1lb Chicken Breast)
1/2 cup Shredded Swiss Cheese (Cheddar can be substituted)
1 cup Chopped Celery
1/4 tsp Salt
Dash of Pepper
1/4 cup Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp Catsup
1 tsp Lemon Juice
4 Hamburger Buns or bread
*We pretty much doubled the recipe


Directions
Preheat oven to 350*

 Cook some chicken (or you can use canned chicken)

Shred chicken (using Kitchen Aid Mixer as seen in our Cafe Rio Chicken)


Combine chicken with all the ingredients above 


Place chicken combination on hamburger buns

Top with Swiss Cheese


Place in the preheated oven and cook until bubbly (about 5-10 minutes)


Serve!


{Source, Deseret Recipes Cookbook}

Feb 7, 2012

Tuesday Tip #20

All of you who are bloggers know that blogging can be time consuming. It can be stressful trying to find the time to get all your posting done for the week and if one thing goes awry a huge mess can happen. 
I'm going to honest with you and tell you that I schedule everything but my Spiritual Feasting posts. Hence the reason why I forget to post sometimes. When I decided that I wanted our Weekly Meal to fall on Wednesday I had a hard time finding the day I wanted to cook it and have time to post and well that was all happening on Tuesday nights and it got super stressful. Now it's at the point where sometimes we'll good one or two new recipes for the week and then I schedule them out. 
In December, the week before my father-in-law passed away, we got so far ahead that we were scheduled all the way through January 11th for the Weekly Meals and through the end of January for the Tuesday Tips. And boy am I glad that we did!! That whole week left us for a loop and our schedules, not just the blog, but dinner and laundry etc were messed up and it's taken us about a week plus to get back into the swing of things. Scheduling that far in advance really saved us some stress and allowed you as readers to not miss out on a day of great tips or recipes! 
So, my tip for today, not fully kitchen related, is...

When you have the chance, schedule a few things. It never hurts to be prepared and have a few things on hand for when something goes awry. 

For those who aren't bloggers the same still applies. I plan our menu a month in advance. That may make me a bit of an over achiever but there are nights where I don't want to cook what's schedule so I don't. But then I can always default to that recipe some other time because we will already have those ingredients on hand. For instance, we don't schedule what we cook for Saturday or Sunday. Saturday is a snacky kind of day and Sunday we're usually at my parents. But I know that I have ingredients on hand for some recipes that I have planed if we want to have a real diner on Saturday or stay home on Sunday.

Also, we have told the missionaries in our area that if there is ever a night when they don't have a dinner scheduled, they can call us. We always have a freezer dinner or two on hand but having those extra ingredients can really be a life saver if you're ever put in a similar position.

SO....

Always be prepared.

What are ways that you prepare for the unexpected changes in your daily life?

Feb 5, 2012

Spiritual Feasting #14

I don't know about you, but I love listening to messages that are meant for the youth of the church. I feel like they are still very valid to us now even though we aren't technically considered youth. 
Especially this clip that I found! :)
When I'm not sure what I want to write about, I'll look at the videos/messages that the church puts out on youtube and see what inspires me. This morning I started on lds.org and I found this beautiful message about having a Deep Beauty by Elaine S. Dalton.
I think that it's even more valid to us as we grow older and having children and our bodies are no longer as "perfect" as they were when we were younger. 
She talks about having this Deep Beauty that can't be washed off or surgically created and it's something that I know we all have deep within. We just have to recognize it, search for it, and love it the way that our Heavenly Father does. 



This is the kind of beautiful that we need to strive for!
I know there was a post a few weeks ago that I included a song from the Women of Destiny CD that I have and I found another one that fits perfectly with this post. 


You don't have the watch the video presentation, you can just listen to the song if you want. It's the only clip I could find with the song but it's beautiful and reemphasizes the type of beauty that we should be looking for.
I know that it's hard to look past the physical and see the spiritual "deep beauty" that we all have, but there are times when I can see a glimpse of that spiritual beauty and it helps me to Keep Moving Forward in whatever struggles I'm having. 
If you can this week, challenge yourself to see you the way that Heavenly Father sees you. If that's too big a leap depending on where you're at in your life, try and see you the way your spouse or boyfriend sees you. A type a beautiful that is unmatched by anything else. 
As you start to see yourself differently, I know that you're attitude towards yourself and others will change. 
Have the confidence in yourself that you deserve!
Be Loyal To The Royal Thats In You For You Are A Queen!

Feb 1, 2012

Porcupine Meatballs

This was fun and SUPER easy and delicious!!!
We ended up combining 3 different recipes to come up with our creation. We liked bits and pieces of each one and the sources for the three original recipes will be weaved into the post.
Enjoy our version of Porcupine Meatballs

Ingredients
 The Meatball Recipe can from a post in January



Sauce, came from my Dessert Recipes Cookbook
1 cup Tomato Soup
1/2 cup Water
1 tsp Soy Sauce (opt)


Directions
Follow the Meatball Recipe on how to prepare the meatballs

Mix together the sauce ingredients


Pour sauce over meatballs


The cooking portion came from {taste this tuesday} with Pressed down, Shaken together. We liked baking them in the oven rather than on the stove top

Cook and cover in a 350* over for 45 minutes

Uncover and cook addition 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through


We added beef stock to the rice and had beans and peas. It was an fantabulous dinner!!

Enjoy!