Author Archives: gracefulhappenings

What’s Cookin’

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I have not posted any dinner menus in the past 3 weeks and to be honest, I’m not really certain if my family has eaten during that time.  Surely we ate something, but between traveling, a conference, more traveling, some health issues, and the usual craziness, I just can’t seem to remember.  So as I am about to head to the grocery after the munchkin wakes up I finally set down to do some menu planning.  I think my husband will be really happy to see this post.

Monday: Lasagna soup and crusty bread.  (It’s cool and rainy, I just had to start the week out with soup!)

Tuesday: Italian chicken in the crock pot!

Wednesday: Church, so we’ll have leftovers

Thursday: Salsa chicken fajitas

Friday: Date night

Saturday: Mac N’ Cheese and tomato soup (I like to use pepper jack cheese so it is a little spicy)

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Barn Wood is my Friend

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Last year for my birthday my husband gave me a bunch of really interesting pieces of barn wood that came from a barn dated back to the Civil War.  I love history, wood, and barns, so pretty much a score there.  One piece that I loved was this big beam.  It is solid, heavy, and has so much character.  We think it will make a lovely mantel someday, but for now we came up with this idea.  A bench to fit along a wall in our living room.  I love simplistic, and I love industrial/rustic, so we choose to simply secure it to cinder blocks.  The end result just makes me so happy!  PS. don’t worry, it is carefully and cleverly secured so no babies or dogs could knock it over 🙂

Really Super Yummy Chicken Crock Pot Nacho/Soft Taco Goodness

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I really do enjoy cooking and baking but have a hard time with two things in particular.  Number one is that I can’t seem to make myself set a timer.  I  just assume that I will check on it.  But then I don’t, ever, so I burn things a lot.  The second thing is that I like to tweak recipes I find based on what sounds the best to me, and more importantly what I have in my pantry.  That is not a bad thing until you make something yummy, want to share it with someone, and now have a hard time describing how big the spoonful was of something you added.  This recipe falls into this category.  I was trying out this recipe I found on pinterest.  It was the base for the recipe I tried, but on request from my honey, I made it into nachos.  Here is what I did:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast (I had tenders on hand and used about 1.5 lbs or half the bag.)

1 can cream of mushroom soup (cream of chicken would work)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of salsa

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp chili powder (more to taste)

1 sliced green bell pepper

1/2 yellow onion

3/4 cup of sour cream

Put can of soup, salsa, spices, onion and pepper into crock pot and mix together.  Add frozen chicken and mix till covered.  Turn the crock pot on high and bake for about 4 hours.  Spoon the chicken (without all the salsa mixture) into a Kitchen Aid mixer and shred. (You can also shred with forks, but I will be sad for you because that takes forever and Kitchen Aids are awesome.)  Add the shredded chicken and sour cream back into the crock pot and stir until combined. You can add more of the salsa and sour cream to match the texture you want.   You could eat these on a soft taco with some Pepper Jack cheese, or over tortilla chips with cheese like we did.  SO super easy, and so super yummy!

 

What’s Cookin’: Sept. 3 – Sept. 7

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Monday:  Really super yummy crock pot chicken nachos (you should make this right now)

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken in the crock pot and broccoli

Wednesday: Late night, so leftovers 🙂

Thursday: Grilled chicken, corn on the cob and cheesy quinoa

Friday: Wedding fun times for the weekend!

Cora Turns One!

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I just had the best year of my life. It is funny to be able to say that with full assurance that it is true. This year brought deeper friendship with my love, a perfect little house, and most importantly my little sugar cookie, Cora. And what a sweet delight she is! Cora has this just amazing sense of humor that leaves Greg and I laughing until our stomachs hurt. She is kind and sweet and curious and smart. She can walk like a little zombie and crawl like a little race car. Needless to say, it was to our joy to have a party celebrating this precious little life.   We are so grateful to have had so many of our friends and family there to celebrate with us.  Even though Cora will not remember this day, we will!  And we will love to show her pictures of all the people who were there to love on her, offer support, rejoice in milestones, cuddle when sick, and give mom and dad date nights.  There will be more pictures to come, as well as a “year one” recap, but here is just a small glimpse of the party and the birthday girl!

What’s Cookin’ August 13 – 17

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Monday: Chicken curry and rice

Tuesday: Rosemary grilled chicken, broccoli, and corn on the cob

Wednesday: Baked parm. fish, rice, and baked zucchini

Thursday: Banquet supporting our local Pregnancy Resource Center

Friday: Breakfast for dinner.  Do you make homemade pancakes?  If not, you better start asap.  This recipe is so yummy and almost as easy as a mix.

 

Favorite Pancakes:

 
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 T. oil

Sift together dry ingredients (or wisk them together.) Combine egg, milk, oil; add to dry ingredients. Mix just till moistened, don’t over mix! Bake on hot griddle. Eat with bacon. (The last step is optional, well not really)

Yummiest Tomato Makings Ever

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Sometimes you go out of town on vacation and then you come home and get sick and then you go outside and see buckets of ripe tomatoes.

Such a beautiful site. So you have to decide what to do with all those red jewels. First things first. You eat as many warm off the vine tomatoes as you can. You eat them plain. You eat them on white bread with salt and pepper. You eat them with fresh basil. You cut them up on your cereal. Well, that last one would be weird, but I could hardly blame you. Next, you give them away to people who you want to love you. Lastly, you make this tomato sauce.

This is a yummy roasted tomato sauce that you can freeze and later use for pizza sauce, tomato sauce, tomato soup, etc. And the best part if that it is easy enough to make with a baby hanging on your leg, and your house will smell wonderful. Here is what you need:

2 lbs Tomatoes
1 Onions
3 Bell Peppers
1 Garlic Clove
Koshier Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Sugar/Stevia (just a tad)
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a pan (or if you are like me and lost your beloved jelly roll pan while moving, prepare pans) with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Wash and cut/quarter the tomatoes and place on the pan. Slice onion, peppers, and garlic and toss on the pan with the tomatoes. Drizzle everything with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast in the preheated oven for about two hours.

Put everything into an orange blender, and blend until smooth or your desired consistency.

Eat a few bites with a spoon. Eat a few more. Cool a bit, pour into zip lock bags, and then stick into the freezer!

Lastly feel happy and productive thinking how glad you will be this winter when instead of buying sad tomatoes in cans, you will have this in your freezer.