Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Letting go

It seems as if each year for the last few years, the Christmas season has been a time of loss and letting go for me or for my family, and this year proves to be not much different.  For the last 5 months we have been blessed with a sweet baby boy in our home almost every weekend and holiday.   We have watched him grow and learn, and loved him with all our hearts.  Unexpectedly, he is leaving the state and we have to let him go.  The news was devestating and almost impossible to understand..."how could?"..."why?"... and immediately I thought of her...

                                      

She loved him for far more than a few months.  She was with him all the time.  He called her 'mommy' and reached for her when he was hurt, layed his head on her shoulder when he was sleepy, and smiled at her when he awoke each day.  But yet, she would have to let go...did she know?  (And if she did, given the choice, would she have loved anyway, fully, without pause or hesitation?  I believe, yes.)

Amazingly and beautifully enough, His coming, Love, would be the very thing, the very One, to heal her broken heart when she, too, had to let go.  His coming, Love, will "bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1) each and every time we allow Him to flow in like the soothing balm that is Him.  Love.  Jesus. God. Born to love us. Save us.  Me, Mary, you.  In leaving, loving.  In hurt, healing.  This is Love.

Joy~~~~~~~




                                                                          

Friday, December 10, 2010

Homemade (EASY) Chicken Noodle Soup (for Kelly)

Kelly, from Kellys Korner blog asked for a good soup recipe as her family is down with the yucks.  I had to share mine from my sweet friend Kiki--its'yummy, EASY, and makes the house smell delicious.  You'll love this recipe under-the-weather or not!

Kiki's Chicken Noodle Soup

1 bag Reemes frozen noodles
2 boxes PLUS 1-2 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans of chicken breast (found in canned meat aisle)  I often use chicken breasts I've put in the crockpot all day, but these work and taste just as well!
shedded carrots (already done for you in the bag)
a few celery stalks
sage
salt
peppper
flour and water for thickening

Saute shredded carrots and chopped celery in 2 tablespoons of Olive oil.
Add these to a stock pan with the broth and cream of chicken soup and frozen noodles.  Add about 2-3 teaspoons of sage (no measuring here:  add a little, simmer, taste)  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  If you need a little thickening, make a past of about 3 tablespoons of flour to a little water or chicken broth.  Add and simmer.

Delicious!

Joy~~~~~~~

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cupcake Gifts!

Considering my recent cupcake infatuation AND my desire to "downsize" the holidays this year to a more simpler state, I'm loving the thought of Cupcakes as gifts!  Cupcake-in-a-jar is not a new idea, but could be so special, especially for holiday gift giving while being fun and easy to do at the same time.  Take a look at some of these beauties...

photo: pauladeen.com
This one is Miss Paula Deen's Brandied Cherries Cupcake in a Jar, and the best part---you bake the cupcake IN the jar!  How easy is that?  You can find the recipe and more here.


Of course Martha has an offering herself with these---
                                          
                           photo: marthastewartweddings.com
Buttermilk Cupcakes in a Jar! Yum! This is originally from Martha Stewart Weddings, but I love the color of the raspberry jam and a change of the label to a more "holiday-ish" greeting would be so festive!  You can find that recipe here.

Last, but not least, my favorite...I am just mad about red velvet cake and I always make one or two at Christmas.  So why not incorporate that into gift giving...so much easier to transport!  (This one is pictured from http://mycakies.blogspot.com. )
I use my mother's red velvet cake recipe and the cooked flour icing.  It's a little more tedious but amazingly delicious.  The frosting is also known as Waldorf Astoria Frosting.  Below is the recipe I use:   

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring ( for a $-saving tip:  Use only one bottle (one oz.) of food coloring and fill the bottle with water and add.  It works just the same!)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk  (TIP:  if you don't have buttermilk, pour one T of white vinegar into a measuring cup and fill with whole milk to 1 cup.  Let stand for a few minutes before adding)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Add food coloring and mix gently.  Sift  together the cocoa, flour and salt. ( I sift twice--call me OCD!) Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 2 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
 
Icing:
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • Pinch of salt

Cook stirring constantly, until thick (like a glob of mashed potatoes). Let mixture cool to room temperature before adding to sugar mixture.

Cream together:

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. Crisco
  • 1 stick of butter

Beat sugar and butter mixture on high speed until fluffy. Add cooked mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat on high speed until really fluffy. Swirl on cake and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving. Any cake with this frosting MUST be kept in the refrigerator.


ENJOY!

Joy~~~~~~~

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wedding thoughts

So, my sweet Jerica got married Saturday! What a beautiful bride she made, and for an oh so handsome groom named Brandon!  As I watched my own beautiful girls, her junior bridesmaids, come down the aisle, I was a little overcome, just because they are such blessings and so beautiful.  And then, as I watched and listened to Jerica make her pledges of love and commitment to Brandon, and his to her, I couldn't help but let my mind wander...
      I could hear them laughing over funny wedding gifts and memories of Brandon and his buddies dancing.  I could see Jerica in a sassy apron presenting him with the "first" official married dinner---maybe pizza casserole?  And then fast forward, my mind buzzed...I could hear the sound the little machine makes when they hear their baby's heartbeat for the first time some day. I could see Jerica snapping pictures of the first day of Kindergarten and imagined Brandon passing a ball with that little one.  I couldn't help but think about the day when Jerica's heart is broken because she's lost someone that meant the world to her and Brandon holds her and wipes her tears.  I could see him take her hand as they prayed together over friends who were having a difficult time.  And then I prayed, prayed silently and fervently that every day, they would make the choice to love each other, even when days are dark because life does that sometimes and it's not easy and it's not fun.   (My dad used to tell me, "love isn't an emotion, it's an action")  It's so settling to know that when the Lord moves, his work is perfect!

I'm so happy for them and so blessed by them.  Someone asked me Saturday how I first met Jerica and my mind went back to the day at the park when she told me she felt the Lord had told her to be my helper for my girls, their sitter.  Wow, that seems like such a long time ago...And as I stood there telling the story, I could hear the Father say to me, "see, I've never left you, I've sent you a helper and I'll continue to give you everything you need.  Every ONE, every TIME".
So thank you sweet Jerica, for loving me, loving my girls and listening to our Father. 

Congratulations sweets!

Joy~~~~~~~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Book Wreath

I have wanted to make a book wreath ever since being inspired by the one seen here

So, I finally set out to do my own.  You can find a great tutorial at this site, but it's such an easy project, I will try to give you a little tutorial of my own.

You will need the following:
  • One foam wreath, your choice of size (mine was 10" from the dollar store)
  • Sewing pins (I used these instead of a glue gun...So much easier I thought, and no burns!)
  • A book that you don't mind ripping up.  Mine is an old one so I didn't have to paint the sides to "age" it, it was already quite aged (and from my Dad's collection of old books...don't think I didn't have alterior motives using that one.  I'll think of him every time I see that wreath.  He loved books!)
Step 1:  Rip the pages from the book
Step 2:  fold the pages up however you like.  I folded each page in half and kind of "gathered" it up



I love the way it looked when I folded them.

Next, I simply stuck a pin through the bottom of each kind of folding a little tab on the bottom of each filling the wreath...

And here's the final look...


I really love how it turned out and truly it only took me about an hour.  I watched TV with the girls while I did it.  The total cost was $1 for the wreath form and about $1 for the ribbon I used to hang it.  I had everything else! 

Let me know if you try one!

Joy~~~~~~~


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I HEART the Dollar Tree

Last night I ran, literally, into the Dollar Tree to pick up one item.  I told myself I could spend no more than five dollars (plus tax of course) or knowing myself, I'd end up with a bunch of stuff stuck in a drawer unused.  I'm pretty proud of my purchases...

This is another one of those "why didn't I think of that?" kind of things.  I'm going to use these to tie my garland on my staircase and other places around my house.  Love it!

Now, I'm generally not a big fan of glitter, but I really liked these little reindeer.  It's hard to see in the picture but they have these cute little bells around the neck.
Number 3, Mistletoe.  I usually buy the real thing, but I'm really trying to cut corners this  year with my purchases.  So, I think I'll take off that yucky red ribbon and those horendous bells, stick a new, beautiful ribbon on top and hang it from a doorway...no one will ever know!  SHHHH!

Next up, these little guys...


The picture doesn't do them justice but they are really awesome. I think I'm going to use them for a new wreath I'm working on inspired  by...
this darling Refurbished Wreath from The Little Apartment.

And last but not least,

..this little foam wreath...I bought it to make a book wreath.  A dollar!  My favorite part!

So, enjoy your Tuesday, and run, run, run to The Dollar Tree!

Joy~~~~~~~


Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend fun!

What a weekend!  I hope everyone had a wonderful THANKSGIVING!  The girls and I (and Connor) made a quick getaway to Columbus to stay with my sister-in-law and visit with my other sister-in-law who came to visit too.  We were busy but had tons of fun!  On Friday evening we had a birthday party for the birthday cousins...both turning 4 within a few weeks of  each other
(terrible pic but what can I say, they're still adorable!)

On Saturday morning, my most amazing and wonderful sisters-in-law watched Connor while the chicks and I stole away to Easton (NOTE TO SELF:  ALWAYS visit Easton during an OHIO STATE home game...it was a GHOST TOWN!)  They had $$ to spend for Christmas and birthdays so we went to Forever 21 and across the hall, what to my wondering eyes should appear but...


AHHH, yes, H & M!  I hate shopping when I have no money :( but oh my gosh, it was fun to look!  I want one of everything, thank you!

Later in the afternoon, we made a trip to the Columbus Zoo.  (Okay, this is where I admit I'm not the biggest zoo fan in the world, but the park was decorated beautifully and the animals were very active and the kids had a great time! I would definitely do that again in the winter....you might think about it yourself...fun trip, but BUNDLE UP! BRRRRRR!)

The chicks at the park entrance...so adorable even freezing cold!




My sis's in law with their cutie pies!


K-man on the train...what a smile!

And Connor all bundled up!

I had to include this little guy...or girl....?


He/she/it was so sweet and kept sticking his nose through the fence to see the baby.  I thought about our sweet little Jesus and how the Bible says the animals were there gathered around him.  I wonder if they knew?....

Anyway, we had a fabulous time, it just gives me a little of the Monday morning blues because it makes me miss everyone.


Last night, however, no blues at all... My Kel BO and I had a little naughty shower for Jerica (maybe not aforementioned but she has been my RIGHT HAND, and arm, and foot and eye for the last 6 years!  I always introduce her as my children's mother).  Well, anyway, she's GETTING MARRIED SATURDAY so a little ornery was needed....

Is she a doll, or what?  I love that she has such fun wherever she is and with whatever she does.  I love you Jer!
Speaking of Jerica, no one loves shoes as much as I quite like her so I'm inspired to show you these...
I found these at Kohl's on clearance while I was there shopping for Lydia.  I know, I'm awful, but they were $11!!!.  Doesn't everyone need a pair of pewter oxfords with ribbon ties for the season?  Come on , you know it was a great way to spend $11 :) 

And lastly, (you can tell it's been a while), I made a little change in my living room with the book shelf.  I should have a before picture, but I don't.  This is after I changed all the books around so you can see only the pages not the spines.  I love the effect, the whites and ivorys with less color.  Those shelves have always been a thorn in my flesh, but I think I might be happier now...

What do you think?  I think I'll take out that scalloped center decorative piece above the window.  That window is tiny and I'm thinking of sticking a bamboo roller shade on it.  I'll let you know how it turns out...

Hope your week is wonderful!

Joy~~~~~~~


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tis' the Season for Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream CheeseFrosting

It was a dark and stormy night...oh wait, that really isn't relevant...Actually, it was dark and stormy and I had seen this recipe on FoodNetwork the night before.  On my way home, I called to see if I had all the ingredients to make these yummy things and Hallelujah! I did.  I needed something to begin putting me in a festive mood.  I think these have done it! 


I took this recipe from Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing from the episode, "Potluck Thanksgiving".  I've changed it up a bit just simplifiying it some (leaving out the rum-soaked raisins...not a favorite).  I think they are absolutely wonderful AND they make your whole house smell truly delicious!  Hope you try them...let me know!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
¼ pound (1 stick)  butter
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1½ teaspoons grated orange zest (this makes all the difference in the world!  Don't skip it!)
1 teaspoon of vanilla (I added this)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place the butter and molasses in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cool for 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream and orange zest.  Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together into a small bowl. Mix with your hand until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix only until smooth. (this part is important!)


 

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Mix the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla in a mixer.  Add confectioners sugar until well blended. 

Enjoy!

Joy~~~~~~~

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Innntrooooducing...

I'd like to introduce you to someone quite little and quite special that has become a part of our lives.  His name is Connor...
Connor is a very special little boy who comes to stay with us.  Connor lives with his mother and grandmother, but like all of us, sometimes, they need a little help, so, that's where we come in! 
He adds such joy to our already blessed lives and we enjoy getting to help him grow and develop.  We don't know exactly what the Lord has in store for Connor and our family, but we are certainly anticipating good things because, that's the promise--that His plan is always good!
Hoping good things for you today!


Joy~~~~~~~

Monday, November 1, 2010

SPOOK-TACULAR!

The girls and I had a "bootiful" and very busy weekend.  Our trick-or-treat was on a weeknight.  Who wouldn't want to see this lovely treater when they came to my door?...


Note Gracie, our Golden, standing in the background wondering why SHE can't be a part of the "goings ons". 

Dinner with friends that needed to be caught up with came later in the weekend, an awesome service at NewSong church on Sunday morning, saying goodbye to a dear sister in Christ's husband (Kathy--who just lost her father 3 weeks ago...I'm so thankful that "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, Psalm 34:8) and trying to get to bed early last night!  What a weekend!

Here's hoping and praying you have a wonderful, first-of-November week!

Joy~~~~~~~

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chocolate and friends

I'm so blessed to have such wonderful, wonderful friends.  Over the weekend, I had some friends over that I used to work with.  We never seem to be able to get together so we had a girl's night. It was fun to cook for them...I made the chimichangas that I posted a few weeks ago, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo and for the first time ever, I made real deep fried ice cream!  It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be and you can find the recipe HERE!  It was so much fun.  Being with them was a soft place to land after an emotional but wonderful day on Friday. 


So, I got a little cupcake crazy and made these last week too...Inspired by a blog I follow, "Inside BruCrew Life"...you can see it on my blog list...
...chocolate cupcakes with a REESE's cup baked in the batter and Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting.  The recipe for the batter came from another blog,  and was taken from the Cake Mix Doctor. Here it is:

Darn Good Chocolate Cake
vegetable oil or spray for pan
flour for dusting pan
1 pkg. devils food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) pkg. chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 C. sour cream (you can’t taste it I swear)
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips (I actually used only 1/2 C., melted
them in the microwave first, and then added into the mixture and made sure
it was mixed in well)
Preheat the oven to 325 and prepare the cake pan or line your muffin pan
with paper liners. In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour
cream, milk, oil, eggs, and mix on low for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape
the sides of the bowl and then increase mixer speed to medium for 2
minutes or until mixed well. Fold in chocolate chips and distribute evenly
throughout batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake on the middle oven
rack for 28-35 minutes (cake) and about 20-25 minutes (cupcakes). For this
cake the longer the better or it may sink in the middle too easily, but
that is also dependent on your oven so just be careful not to overcook.
Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a
wire cooling rack.
Peanut Butter Dream Buttercream Frosting
1 C. butter, softened
1C. creamy peanut butter
3 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBSP heavy cream
Cream peanut butter and butter together. Add in powdered sugar and mix well on high speed for about 1 minute. Add in vanilla, mix again, then add in heavy cream and continue to mix on high for about 3 minutes.

ENJOY and have a great week!

Joy~~~~~~~

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Hole in My Heart

On this day, one year ago, at 5:15 pm, I sat by my precious Daddy's side, one hand on his chest as it rose and fell with labor, and one hand in his hand, and watched as Jesus came and accompanied his sweet soul to heaven.  It was one of the most beautiful and amazing moments of my lifetime. 

Several people have asked me if I thought today would be hard.  Yes, it is difficult, but so are the days when the sorrow comes like a wave, out of nowhere.  I miss him terribly but love the legacy that he left. One of determination, perserverance, hard work, loving what is right (well, and loving TO BE right...I think I got that from him for sure!) but most importantly, loving the Lord and believing in His goodness. 

Today I honor him.  I celebrate his life and I rejoice in the love he gave me. 

Joy~~~~~~~

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Anthro Inspired Kitchen

Kelly's Korner, a favorite blog, is featuring kitchens...since the kitchen is truly my favorite room in the house, I thought I'd share mine.

When I bought the house 3 years ago, I had dark cabinets and dark walls.  Thanks to some very talented people, I can now "see the light"!  I love everything Anthropologie and thanks to some great finds over the past few years I'm happy to have a Anthro-like kitchen.  See what you think:

This is my message center.  We have to have this in our house or we wouldn't know where to begin each day!  I found the silver dry erase board at Gabriel Brothers and copied the idea from IKEA...

There's still plenty to do...countertops, backsplash and stove...with time...
I found the chalkboard at a local home consignment store covered the flowers painted in the corners with some little trim pieces I painted gold.  I'm grateful to have some really neat things from my grandmother including the little yellow, gingham salt and pepper shakers and
these awesome canisters circa 1940-50 I think of her every day scooping out the flour and sugar to make her delicious pies and breads for her family.  Her hands were never idle, instead, always serving others. 
Hope you've enjoyed my little kitchen!

Joy~~~~~~~


Friday, October 8, 2010

Highlander Pride

The fun continues at Huntington High with Homecoming Spirit Week.  I'm still having trouble believing that I have not one, but TWO children in high school when it seems like, like yesterday, like I was totally in, like, High School! (Can you guess my year of graduation?)



We've had "Decade" day for which Emily chose the 70's and Lydia, the 80's...
Cute, don't ya think?

Today is Green and Gold day.  One of the perks of having my office at the school is getting to hang out every now and then with my girls...whether they like it or not! :)


GO HIGHLANDERS!


One other thing...
So I feel as if I must share my recipe disasters as well as my successes.  I made a new "Creamy Spaghetti" recipe from one of my fav Food Network gals who will remain unnamed...Uh, hum.  I'm taking full responsibility for the dud-ness of the recipe.  I will however tell you that we made these YUMMY little treats...
We decided they are DEFINITELY a do-over.  These are called EASY ITALIAN PINWHEELS and I think you'll love them just as much as we did!

Happy Friday!!

Joy~~~~~~~


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"I CAN'T"

A favorite blog I follow Kelly's Corner talks today about God's timing and waiting.  Wow, could I write a book on that?  Oh wait, I AM writing a book on that!  I never dreamed I could be so knowledgeable of such a subject...motherhood, decorating, cooking, speech therapy, yes. Waiting...no.  But, Praise God, He has trusted me with his heart to wait on Him, wait on what He has and what He IS doing. I want to share just a smidge of my story and what the LORD has been and is doing.  Maybe you would like to go there too and share your story. 

I always wanted to be a mother.  When we would play "house" as children, I begged to be the mother; while my sister pretended to be a bride, I pretended to be a mommy.  So, when I met my husband-to-be in college, we immediately began talking about children. There was never a doubt that we would have them.  I already had NAMES picked out.   It was all in the plan!  But, like I'd find many other times in my life, MY plan wasn't always HIS plan!  We were married in August 1991 and went to grad school in Tennessee.  After we left Tennessee, we began trying more intensely.    After a while I mentioned to my doctor that I had not been using birth control for well over a year and that we were not pregnant.  He ran some tests and the news was not good. We began keeping temperatures, charts, had ups and downs, I'd be sure I was pregnant only to find out, I wasn't.  We never miscarried but the month to month absence of pregnancy was so painful.  I remember thinking, "This wasn't the plan!" and "Why wouldn't the Lord give ME a child?".  I never thought to ask Him what he was doing or how He wanted me to walk in what He was doing. 

After medical procedures, tests and lots of trying, we decided that adoption might be for us.  After all, I am adopted and all of my brothers and sisters are adopted. It wasn't a foreign idea to us and it would certainly fit into MY plan.  We continued to try without success.  At the end of May, 1994, my doctor told us to take a month off and after the Fourth of July holidays we were to make another appointment with him to try a new procedure.  I remember leaving the offiice and just saying, "I give up, Lord.  I can't do it anymore".  I was tired...tired of trying, tired of disappointment. 

We were at a Fourth of July cookout when I became horribly nauseous.  I was just sure the meat was bad and even  took my husband aside and told him not to eat it! haha.  The next day, I took a pregnancy test to quiet my mother-in-law and sure enough, I was pregnant!

Now, 16 years later, after a terrible divorce that left me shattered, but praise God, put back together, the death of my precious grandmother, the loss of my brother and then recently watching my father die a painful death, I have learned more than I can write in one little blog.  But,  this is what I believe and what I believe the Lord IS (note present tense) teaching me.  HE waits as WE wait.  He waits for us, LONGS for us to say, "I can't", not because He's mean, plays tricks or has a superiority complex (even though He could if He wanted to, :))) but because He wants us to trust Him so intimately, so perfectly,  and with such abandonment.  He knows that if He has our hearts then we'll have HIS and we'll come to that place of perfect peace where those of us who wait for Him gather...gather to hear Him say, "I know you can't, but I can". 

Blessings to you as you wait...


Joy~~~~~~~

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Another football game weekend accompanied by my very first Huntington High tailgate.  I made chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips (recipe found on the back of the TOLLHOUSE white chocolate chip bag)---delish!!  My kids loved them and I think the tailgaters did too!  I also made my old standby, Roasted Potato Salad.  Everytime I make it I'm asked for the recipe and it's SO easy.  You may want to try it the next time you need a potato salad stand in:

You'll need:
1 small bag of new red potatoes (or about 10 potatoes)
olive oil
green onion
4 or so hard-boiled eggs
salt
pepper
mayonaisse
6-8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and chopped (I used the already cooked bacon this weekend by OSCAR MEYER and it worked wonderfully!  Great for a time saver!)

What you do:  Clean and cut a bag of new red potatoes (cut in bite-sized pieces).  Place them on a large cookie sheet sprayed with PAM.  Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and roast in the oven on 350 for about 35 minutes turning once (just flip the pieces over with a spatula about halfway through!) While the potatoes are baking, make the hard-boiled eggs, chop 3 or so green onions and cook or warm the bacon.  When the potatoes are done, mix all the ingredients together, mix in just enough mayo to hold everything together and add more salt and pepper to taste.  You can serve this warm, room temp or cold!  My brother loves it cold but I love it warm.  It's really great either way.

After the tailgate, I  had great aspirations for cooking this weekend, but they kind of went to the wayside. I had a really yummy sounding and looking chicken/pita recipe to try and had the ingredients but never quite the time or opportunity.  It worked out to be just as well though...I used the rotisserie chicken from Walmart just warmed in the oven with a little olive oil drizzled on top and simplified the pasta recipe and the kids loved it !  I made penne and  put in parmesan and marscapone (bought at Walmart as well!  Thank you Walmart for carrying specialty cheeses!)  I always think of marscapone for sweet recipes but it was so yummy and creamy in the pasta!  I don't LOVE macaroni and cheese but I must say, I LOVED this one! 


Well,  a FUN week is ahead!  Homecoming is this weekend, so spirit week begins with "Character Day".  My girls are part of a brood of teens dressed as Sesame Street Characters.  L is Zoe and E, Ernie.  Her BFF is Bert and there is an Oscar, Cookie Monster and Big Bird running around HHS somewhere!

Hope your week is fun-filled too! 
"A merry heart does good..." Psalm 17:22

Joy~~~~~~~

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Recipe..."put 'em up Chili Willi's"

Okay, so I will be the first to say that I LOOOVEE our hometown restaurant Chili Willi's...it's been a favorite since college (back when it was literally a hole in the wall, and you had to air out your coat in the winter because it would smell like Chili Willi's for a week if you didn't!!)  One thing that I've missed though, is a really great chimichanga with green sauce.  A chain restaurant name ChiChi's had a great one years ago, but it's looooong gone (remember downtown, I think where Pullman is now?).  Anyhoo--I cut this recipe out of the Parade Magazine (an insert in the Sunday newspaper) in 2004!  Yes, I do that...cut recipes out, sure I'm going to try them but just never get around to it.  Well, I finally did and oh, my ...amazingly yummy!  AND, they are really not difficult OR time consuming (I've already made them twice in a week, once for a Bible Study dinner and once for my kiddos and me!) So enough for the sell...here's the recipe...

Ingredients

  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
NOTE HERE: I don't like olives so I left them out AND I left out the jalepeno pepper---the sauce was PLENTY hot without it, but hey, you decide :)
  • 5 pitted green olives
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 pound shredded cooked chicken meat
I put 3 large chicken breasts in the crockpot on low and let them cook all day...voila, they were ready and perfect when I was ready to make the chimis...
  • 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

Directions

  1. Pour the cream of chicken soup into a blender along with the green chiles, olives, jalapeno, and lime juice. Puree until smooth, then pour into a saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat while proceeding with the recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and taco seasoning until well blended. Fold in the chicken. Evenly divide mixture among the 8 tortillas. Fold each tortilla into a rectangular packet around the filling.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 4 chimichangas at a time until golden brown, then drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. To serve, place a chimichanga on a plate, and ladle the warm sauce overtop. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and green onions. Finish with a dollop of sour cream.

I hope you love them! You'll have to let me know! 

Have a great day you all!

Joy~~~~~~~

Monday, September 27, 2010

Out of This World Cupcakes

Our crazy household was filled with lots of fun and activity this weekend.  Lydia did really well in her first Speech tournament and our favorite football teams won including the mighty Huntington Highlanders.  And how could they not with this beautiful fan cheering them along?

I also got a chance to do some baking.  I made a YUMMY chimichanga recipe that I will post soon.  Chili is in the fridge for this week and dessert, well, dessert is already made (and partly eaten!)  As promised here is the Milky Way Cupcakes recipe.  These things are amazing and I got the recipe from Inside Brew Crew Life

Milky Way Cupcakes
 
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty...
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God







1 devils food chocolate cake mix (Cheap is fine!)
3 eggs
1 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c.  cocoa powder (yes, more choc)
2-3 tbsp. instant coffee
1/4 sour cream
Mix all together and bake in muffin tin according to your package.

FILLING
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. choc chips
(again gotta have more choc)
Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chips. Stir until smooth and oh so yummilicous looking. Let cool.

MILKY WAY FROSTING
1 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
4 c. powdered sugar
8 snack size milky ways
2-3 extra tbsp. butter

Beat your butter, vanilla, salt, and milk until creamy. Slowly add sugar until thick. You can thin this out with another tbsp. of milk if you need to. Set aside. Cut milky ways up and put in sauce pan on stove with extra butter. Stir until it is an ooeeyy gooey chocolatey mess. Begin whipping the frosting again and add the melted candy bars as you whip.
After your cupcakes and filling have cooled. Scoop out the center of your cupcake with a melon scooper (or use a small spoon).   Fill the cavity with the chocolate goodness (resist the urge to lick the spoon after each scoop:-) Frost with the Milky Way Frosting. Decorate with more choc...a milky way bar finishes it off.
You may want to keep the cupcakes in the fridge but let them come to room temperature before eating...Enjoy!

Joy~~~~~~~

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Be a Chicken!

Okay, so HAPPY FRIDAY!  I feel like I've worked two weeks in one and I'm sure some of you do too.  Today I'm sharing a little tip about cooking chicken.  (This, prompted by a discussion amongst girlfriends the other evening--I know what you're thinking, "Boy, Joy and her friends have exciting discussions!"  ha!  try not to be jealous :) )

My favorite way to cook chicken for use in mexican dishes or casseroles or even chicken and dumplings is to put it in the crock pot (even frozen will work), turn it on low and leave it all day.  BUT, sometimes, time just does not permit, so for quick chicken breast, cook it on top of the stove but in just a TINY bit of water.  I'm talking maybe a 1/2 inch then put the lid on.  It kind of "simmers in it's own juices" that way.  If you cover the chicken, which is what I used to do until my dear ol' mom told me otherwise years ago, the chicken absorbs the water and tends to get tough and a little stringy.  Less is definitely more in this instance!

So, have a great weekend! I'm making chicken this way myself tonight for Chimichangas, so I'll let you know how it goes!


Joy~~~~~~~

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"GLEE"ful

Are you a "gleek"? 
Our house was full of "gleeks" Tuesday for the season premiere of the hit TV show GLEE.  It's hard for me to allow the girls to throw a party and not add my "thematic" additions to it.  So, we had a very simple and very fun menu all from the show...


"Cheerios" snack mix

Grape and red Slushies

And "messy cupcakes" with weed (the kind of weed you get in your flower bed!)

Emily and Lydia had about 8 guests and a great time!  
 
I have to admit, I did love that their friends all had a blast and that the girls told me "thanks" and how "cool" I was before they went to bed that night.  (Yes, even Moms like to be "cool" sometimes!)