Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dallas Marathon

Amanda is in the pink shirt to the far right waving at us...we were waiting at mile 4
Today was a very exciting day for our family, especially my sister-in-law, Amanda (my husband's sister).  She ran her very first half marathon at the Dallas Marathon!  I'm so glad we were able to be there to support was very exciting!  She has been working so hard to train for this and we are so proud of her!!  Congratulations, Amanda!  We love you!

Before she arrived here at mile 4, I really started to choke up some, but I didn't want her to see me crying when she passed....we were there to cheer her on!  I don't know why I was so emotional!  I guess because this is huge!  I'm not sure I could run 13 miles if I were in shape, nor would I want to!  Her friend, Kyle, who has been coaching her the past few months, ran the marathon with her.  He's in the bright yellow shirt to the left right behind her in the picture above.

She just passed us at mile 4...her husband, Josh, is high-fiving Kyle
My nephew, Luke, supporting his momma!
And there she goes...
I love the picture right above...Josh getting a picture of her and Luke watching her as she continues her run!

And then...after weaving our way through Downtown Dallas to find a spot near the finish line (at the Convention Center)....
Here they come...the home stretch!
She had just enough energy to give us a little wave...they're very close to the finish!!
If you have never been to a marathon, it is VERY exciting!  I've been seeing a lot of my Facebook friends posting...apparently there were several who ran the marathon today!  Congratulations to you too!!  But the biggest congratulations goes to Amanda!!  Looking forward to your next race!

Collette :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mixed Tapes....Oh, the memories!

I was paying bills and balancing the checkbook the other day and I pulled out my CDs to listen to music while I was working.  I ran across a CD that is very special to my heart.  It actually started out as a mixed tape that Ed made for me on first Valentine's Day together.

In case you can't read the songs listed...
No One Needs To Know - Shania Twain
State of Mind - Clint Black
Love a Little Stronger - Diamond Rio
I Got You Babe - UB40
Eternal Flame - Bangles
What About Love - Heart
Like the Rain - Clint Black
Red Strokes - Garth Brooks
Endless Summer Nights - Richard Marx
These Dreams - Heart
You Got It All - Jets
With You All the Way - New Edition
(Everything I Do) I Do For You - Bryan Adams
Dream - Everly Brothers
Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins
At This Moment - Billy Vera & The Beaters
Come On, Come On - Mary Chapin Carpenter
I Still Believe In You - Vince Gill
The Heart Won't Lie - Reba McEntire/Vince Gill
Hopelessly Yours - Suzy Bogguss/Lee Greenwood

These mix of songs may sound weird to you, but they were balm to my heart when I was listening to them the other day.  I wore the tape out when Ed first gave it to me.

Hope you have a wonderful day!  And if you have time, pull out that keepsake box and look through it!  You saved things for a reason, didn't you?  Look through them and enjoy them when you have some time!

Collette :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Sorry, picture!  I kept forgetting to take one, then we ate it all!  Also, while you see slow cooker in the name, this is not a dump everything in and let it go...there is some prep work.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into about 1-inch pieces (I purchased marbled meat to add extra flavor to the stew)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided (cook the beef in 2 batches...1 tablespoon oil per batch)
3 to 4 cups peeled and cubed russet potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced carrots
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Emeril's Original Essence seasoning
32-ounce carton beef broth, divided
1-ounce package dry onion soup mix
3 tablespoons butter
2 small onions, peeled, cut in half then sliced
1/4 cup red wine (I used Burgundy and I used closer to a whole cup)
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  1. Prep the potatoes and carrots and add them to the slow cooker.  Sprinkle with the dried parsley, black pepper, and Emeril's seasoning.  Give it a rough stir to coat. 
  2. Place the stew meat in a gallon-size resealable baggie along with 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt; shake well until all pieces of  meat are coated. 
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef on all sides...DO NOT fully cook the beef.  Also, you should do this in 2 or 3 batches so as not to crowd the pan.  I use stainless steel cookware, because I have an induction-top are some tips on less sticking; however you want some of that gunk to stick so when you de-glaze the pan with the wine you get all that flavor.  If you are using stainless steel cookware, heat the cookware prior to adding the oil.  You know your pan is ready by throwing a few drops of water into the pan and they dance across the hot surface.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the hot pan and work the pan until the bottom is coated.  Now wait until the oil is hot....really REALLY hot.  You should see faint wisps of vapor when the pan is ready.  To test it, touch the edge of the meat to the bottom of the hot pan.  If it is properly heated, the meat will easily slip and slide across the bottom of the sticking.
  4. Add the meat to the top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.
  5. Boil 2 cups of the beef broth; add in the packet of onion soup mix and stir until dissolved.  Pour this over the beef and vegetables in the slow cooker.
  6. Using the same pan you cooked the beef, melt 3 tablespoons butter; add onions to the hot butter and sauté until they are softened; add them to the slow cooker.
  7. Keeping the same skillet heated, pour in the red wine slowly so the vapor doesn't make your eyes water; scrape up all the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan; let simmer on low until the wine has reduced and is thick; pour this in the slow cooker.  If you're using a stainless steel pan and the bits are really stuck, use a metal spatula to scrape them up.
  8. Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
  9. Reduce slow cooker heat to LOW and cook for 6 to 6 1/2 hours.
  10. Right at about 6 hours, I added the 2 remaining cups of beef broth, the can of tomato sauce, and the flour/water mixture, stirring to combine everything.  Take a taste test to see if it is salted to your this point you may want to add some additional salt.
  11. Continue to cook on LOW for 30 minutes.
This is a pretty thick stew, so feel free to add more beef broth to thin it out.

Print Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Nifty Noshing!!

Collette :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy Meals

Macaroni & Cheese with Smoked Sausage

You can feed your family a hot meal without having to spend a long time in the kitchen.  We have had several meals from my "easy" category lately.  I will be the first to admit they are not always the healthiest meals, but easy...they are!

Easy Meal #1:  The meal pictured above is macaroni and cheese with smoked sausage.  Because I have 2 growing twin boys and a growing husband, I prepared 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese according to package directions.  While the pasta was boiling, I cut into small pieces 21 ounces (1/2 of a 42-ounce package) of Ekrich Skinless Smoked Sausage.  I put the smoked sausage in a glass bowl and heated it in the microwave for about 3 minutes or so.  Once the mac and cheese was prepared, I folded in the smoked sausage.  This is soooooo easy!!  Serve it with a salad or green veggie and it adds some healthy back into the mix.

Sloppy Joes
Easy Meal #2:  Sloppy Joes.  I tend to buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it in one-pound increments.  For these sloppy joes, I defrosted 2 pounds of ground beef in the microwave then browned it over medium-high heat.  I drained the meat and added it back to the skillet.  I stirred in a little garlic salt then added 2 cans of Great Value sloppy joe sauce.  Normally I use 1 can for 2 pounds of ground beef, but we had open-faced sloppy joes so the sloppy can be a little sloppier.  While the meat was defrosting, I threw some Kroger seasoned fries in the oven (they need approximately 20 to 25 minutes in the oven plus preheat time) and served those with the sloppy joes.  I ate chips with  mine; hence, the potato chips seen on my plate above.  I usually serve this with a veggie, but I didn't this time...oopsie.

Easy Meal #3....Hamburger, Chicken or Tuna Helper.  I accidentally stumbled upon Beef Pasta HH and that has turned out to be my absolute favorite!  I'm not a HH fan, so I don't fix it often, but occasionally it hits a sale paper and I have a coupon and I can get it for super cheap!  Season it up just right and it can be delicious!  Always yummy with a salad and/or veggies for the side.  How hard is it to open a bag of salad and throw dressing on it or open canned veggies?  Cooking doesn't have to be complicated!

Easy Meal #4....Frozen breaded chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and green beans.  Last night I threw frozen breaded chicken tenders in the oven.  While those were cooking, I prepared 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese on the stove top and opened 2 cans of french-cut green beans, dumped them in a glass bowl, seasoned them with lemon pepper and ran them through the microwave for 3 minutes.  What kiddo doesn't love breaded chicken tenders?

Easy Meal #5....Smoked Sausage, Macaroni and Cheese, and Ranch Style Beans.  Please do not ask me where this meal came from, but we all love it.  Slice the smoked sausage and place it in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Prepare 1 to 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese according to the package directions.  Open a couple of cans of RS beans, dump then in a glass bowl, and run them through the microwave for 3 minutes.  You can also replace the RS beans with canned green beans.  I love green beans seasoned with lemon pepper!

Easy Meal #6...Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  I place 3 pounds of ground beef in a large glass mixing bowl then add an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 3 large eggs, 3 tablespoons A-1 Original Steak Sauce, 1 cup crushed seasoned croutons (any brand), 1 cup crushed french-fried onions, and 1 packet of onion soup mix.  Wash your hands, take off your jewelry, and dig in!  I mash mine all together with my hands until it is blended together.  I then give my hands a good washing, place the meatloaf in a metal 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and place it in a preheated 350-degree oven to cook for 30 minutes.  I like to cook my meatloaf in a 13 x 9-inch pan, because it seems to cook more evenly and takes less time.  While the meatloaf is in the oven, prepare some instant mashed potatoes according to package directions.  Open a couple of cans of green beans, place them in a glass microwaveable bowl, add lemon seasoning and run them through the microwave for about 3 minutes.  This is excellent served with Texas toast!  Basically just butter both sides of some plain white Texas toast bread (made by Mrs. Baird's or Sunbeam), pop it in the toaster and when it is golden brown, it's ready!

I'm sure I have a ton of other easy meals like this, but here are just a few to get you started.  And for my friends out there who say they can't cook....I say YOU CAN!  This is cooking, folks!

Nifty Noshing!!

Love ya,
Collette :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Field Trip and Football Game

Photo from Inner Space Caverns Website
Yesterday, the boys' 5th grade class went on a field trip to Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, TX.  This was a 3-hour trek from the school, but I rode with my friend, Whitney, and with all the hot air blowing in her SUV, we were there before we knew it!  I have to admit, I did get a little car sick and was warned that if I threw up in her vehicle, I was riding the bus back home!

I didn't actually go down into the caverns so I can't give you my personal experience, but I did hear it was very muggy and just a little creepy when they turned out all the lights.  The boys were extremely disappointed that they saw no bats, but they were able to take a gander at petrified bat poo....lover-ly, just lover-ly.

Can you believe I did not take ONE single photo yesterday?  I know...40 lashes with a wet noodle!!  Ed tried to get me to take the camera, but I said, "Nah...I've got my phone." we are.

On a side note:  Do any of you remember the shooting at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009?  Chris Royal, one of the survivors is running 80 miles from Fort Hood in Killeen to the capitol in Austin.  The first leg of his run ended yesterday at the Inner Space Caverns.  So while all the kiddos and parents were underground in the cavern, I was able to sit outside and watch this guy take pictures with everyone and walk his wife and little boy around to see the animals, etc.  It was sweet.  He has a pretty good limp from being shot twice in the back.  Apparently it messed up his back and hip pretty badly.  He started a non profit for the surviving victims called 32 Still Standing Foundation.

After the kids and parents came up from the cavern and everyone visited the gift shop, we celebrated Emma's birthday with some yummy cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles...Happy Birthday, Emma!  Then it wasn't long, and we loaded up to leave.

We were scheduled to eat lunch at the Denny's in Waco (Siri pronounces it Wacko), but Whitney and I grabbed the boys and headed for this dive she found on Yelp....Health Camp.  The food was great, but a little pricey for a burger joint.  Don't you just love the name?

Then on the way home, we stopped at the Outlets at Hillsboro to do some shopping at Bath and Body Works...great deals right now....and I got some nice little treats for AY.  They'll be in the mail soon, sweetie! 

Then on to the football game.  This was our district championship game against First Baptist Academy.  Can I just say how disappointed I am in the players and crowd from FBA?  That's all I'm going to say about that.  Ed met us there from was nice getting to spend some time with my honey.  Afterward, Jon Jon went with Ed so he could finish up his work for the evening and Benny Bear came home with me and we crashed.  (I don't care how old they are...they will always be Jon Jon and Benny Bear to me!!) 

And on that note...cherish your time with your children!  I hear so many people saying, "I can't wait until they can do this or that," but the time slips away so quickly.  I want it to slow down...I CAN wait! was hard enough when Lindsay graduated from high school and we sent her off to college, but when these 2 guys graduate and head off to college at the same might as well reserve me a room at Timberlawn right now!

Thanks for visiting my blog today!  Hope you have a wonderful day!

Collette :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We are not a family that "celebrates" Halloween so to speak.  Do the kids like to dress up and get candy?  Of course they do.  And what parent doesn't inflict the candy tax?  You know what I mean!  I usually wait until the kids are at school then pick and choose my favorites.  But I don't go all out and decorate and such...just the fun stuff for the kiddos.

The boys waited until the last minute to decide and work on costumes, but I think they came up with some pretty good ones!  We went to their grandparents' house last night for some family time, and Uncle Josh and Aunt Amanda took the boys trick or treating with their cousin, Luke.  Lots of fun was had!  I stayed back and chatted with Bill and Lee.

Lindsay is at college, but it appears that she went as Pippi Longstocking
And here is Max's grave...his mom and grandmother decorated it for him
Hope everyone had fun and got lots of yummy candy!

Collette :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This is our son, Max.  He's my step-son, but I never, ever considered him anything other than my own child.  I sit and look at this picture, realizing I didn't give birth to him, but feeling nothing less than the same maternal love for him that I have for my 3 biological children.  That beautiful smile...that's our Max.

I have been wanting to write something about him, but it has been too difficult.  Even now, my eyes are filled with tears and I can barely see to type these words.  Max took his life on July 23, 2012...two days after his 21st birthday.  I can't believe he is just doesn't seem real.

I have so much to say about him and so many wonderful pictures to post, but today is not that day.  I don't know when that day will come, but the pain is still too overwhelming.  I can barely get these words out....I can barely breathe just thinking about it all.

Love your children...hold them....kiss them...hug them....for the last time may come.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole

Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, uncooked, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning (this recipe is below)
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (10-ounce) can mild Ro-tel
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ounces Velveeta, cubed
16 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8.8-ounce) bag Uncle Ben's Ready Rice Spanish Style
1 (11.5-ounc) bag nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onion to hot oil; cook until onion is clear.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook through completely.  Add cold water to a small bowl; stir in cornstarch until dissolved.  Add 1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning to cornstarch mixture and stir until well blended.  Add to the skillet after the chicken is cooked through.  Add the Ro-tel to the skillet and stir until combined with chicken and cornstarch mixture.  Add cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, and Velveeta; stir until well blended and Velveeta begins to melt.  Microwave the rice according to package directions.  Crush the Doritos in the bag.  Grease the bottom of a 2-quart or 3-quart glass baking dish.  Add half of the Doritos to the bottom of the baking dish; spread evenly.  Top with half of the creamy chicken mixture.  Top evenly with the Spanish rice.  At this point, I sprinkled the rice with a little bit of garlic salt and a little more of the homemade taco seasoning.  Top with half the cheese.  Spread the remaining crushed Doritos over the cheese.  Top the Doritos with the remaining chicken mixture.  Top with the remaining shredded Cheddar cheese.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Print Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole Recipe

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder (I mixed 3 parts regular chili powder with 1 part chipotle chili powder)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; store in an airtight container.  I use an empty spice bottle to store mine.

Print Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

The Mexican Chicken Dorito casserole got thumbs up from everyone!

Nifty Noshing!

Collette :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PW's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

Pioneer Woman's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers...for your viewing pleasure in extra large mode so you can see all the deliciousness.  And I'm not sure if that is the exact title of the recipe.  I'm too lazy to get up and get my cookbook right now.  The first time I attempted these (several months ago), they were a flop.  I tried to double the recipe....which is waaaaaaaaaaaay too many unless you're having a party, and I didn't purchase enough bacon for a double recipe.  Paired with just laying a strip of bacon on top of each jalapeno (because I didn't want to go back to the store), I also didn't cook them long enough.  And one whole batch makes quite a few...especially if there are only 2 of you in the house eating them, but they do keep well in the fridge and re-heat well in the microwave for a snack.
My eldest twin was sweet enough to bring me the cookbook (he had to tear himself away from the Wii, because his father told them they had to get ALL of their laundry done today....I nabbed him for a favor while he was already up!).  Anyway, I do have the name correct; however, I can't figure out how to get the tilde on top of the "n" in the word jalapeno on this blogging software...the Spanish letter is actually pronounced /en-yay/.  My children are amazed at the amount of Spanish I remember from the 5 years I took from junior high to college...but no, I cannot actually carry on a conversation in Spanish.  Okay, that was quite a rabbit trail.  Did you stay on it with me?
Oh...I forgot one small detail.  PW says to use gloves when you're scooping the seeds and membrane out of the peppers so as not to burn your skin or later forget you were working with peppers and rub your eyes.  I used latex gloves the first time I made these, but not the second.  My hands had just a little burn on them, but nothing that really bothered me...not even really a burn.  Even if you wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling the peppers, the oil from the peppers stays on your skin for a while.  If you're concerned about the heat on your skin, a box of latex gloves can be purchased in the pharmacy area of your local grocery store and they're fairly inexpensive.  If you're allergic to latex, then :/ .
Pioneer Woman's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
18 fresh jalapenos (if you buy them too large, you won't have enough filling)
8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced (I really minced mine up to incorporate it better in the filling)
18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves (I accidentally bought thick-cut...stick with thin)
Bottled BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's original...our favorite)
Toothpicks (I did not use these)
Rubber gloves (or plastic bags) for working with jalapenos (I did not use either this time)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

I removed the stems from the jalapenos, but PW likes to leave them in tact for appearance.  I just wanted the popper in my mouth after they were finished.  I didn't want to contend with a stray stem at the end.  Pop the stems off if you like, but don't cut off the end of the jalapeno.  Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and light-colored membranes...if you like spice, then leave some seeds and membrane in the peppers.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded Cheddar cheese, and green onion.  Mix them together until they are combined well.  Make sure the cream cheese is really soft, but don't soften it in the is okay to let sit on the counter for a few hours to soften at room temp.  I just mixed mine by hand with a mixing spoon, but you can also use a hand-held mixer.

Stuff each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.  Wrap one of the half-piece bacon slices around the stuffed jalapeno.  Cover as much of the surface as you can, but try not to stretch the bacon too tightly since the bacon contracts as it cooks.  Brush each jalapeno half with your favorite BBQ sauce.  PW says to secure with toothpicks, but I did not.

Put them in the 275-degree oven for one hour.  Since I used thick-cut bacon, I wasn't satisfied with how they looked after an hour, so I turned on broil and let them sit under the broiler for about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Print PW's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

The night I made these, they were actually dinner for me and Jonathan.  YUM!  And thanks for reading my blog!  I really do hope you enjoy it!!

Nifty Noshing!!

Collette :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pork Loin Paradise!!

I found a pork loin on sale the other day, and decided to get it since we haven't had pork in a while.  Some people think I'm a decent cook, but I'm just a recipe-follower like any other Joe Blow in the kitchen.  That said, I decided to google the best way to cook pork loin.  I came across a cooking method that I wanted to try, but I was super skeptical.  The one thing you must remember when cooking pork is that it HAS TO BE COMPLETELY COOKED THROUGH!!!  Did I get my point across?  Some people are okay with even a little pink in the center...I am not!

Out of 176 reviews, I read the first 25 or so and everyone raved on this pork loin.  "I must try this," I thought to myself.  It got 4.75 stars out of 5.  For the most part, the star ratings for online recipes haven't let me down yet.  But...I was still skeptical; however, I was going to try this. 

I had some brown mustard in the fridge, so I spread about 1/2 cup of that all over the pork roast, then made a rub with random herbs and seasonings.  If I can remember correctly, I used the following:  1 packet of Italian dressing mix, ground black pepper, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, dalmatian rubbed sage, and parsley.  I just mixed all this together in a small bowl then spread it around on the pork loin.  Mixed in with the brown mustard, it sort of made a paste on the outside of the pork loin.  Here are the directions from for the pork loin:

Pork Loin Cooking Method
  1. NOTE: The success of this cooking method will depend upon how accurate the temperature of your oven is and how well your oven retains heat. Adjust cooking time +/- according your individual oven.
  2. NOTICE: If you have a very old oven that is not well insulated, this recipe may not work for you, as heat retention/residual heat is important to the success of this recipe.
  3. Determine the EXACT weight of roast from the meat wrapper. Weight will determine how long to cook the roast.
  4. Preheat oven to 500-550 degrees. Remove tenderloin from refrigerator. Season meat as desired. Place seasoned meat in an uncovered roasting pan on a shelf in the bottom 1/3 of your oven.
  5. Bake EXACTLY 5 1/2 minutes PER POUND. Adjust +/- according to your oven's accuracy and heat retention. Turn oven OFF and DO NOT open oven door for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes to redistribute internal juices. Roast will be done, very slightly pink in the center, and very moist.
  6. NOTE:******* For anyone questioning this method of cooking, it really does reach the proper internal temperature on a thermometer. If you have an oven probe or a thermometer that has a wire that goes through the side of the oven door, by all means use it and set alarm for 140-145 degrees. It should go off before the hour is up. After resting 5-10 minutes, the roast should reach 145-150 degrees.
  7. According to Sara Moulton on FoodTV, botulism is killed at 138 degrees, and 145 is a safe temperature for pork, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees (meat will be drier).

Print Pork Loin Cooking Method

The loin I purchased was 2.67 pounds.  I multiplied 2.67 (total pounds) x 5.5 (minutes per pound) which equals 14.685 (total minutes to cook).  Note to parents:  tell your kids this is why they have to pass elementary math!  I have a fairly new oven (less than 2 years old) that is pretty accurate, so I cooked it at 500 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turned off the oven and didn't open it for an hour.  I prepared all of the sides on the stovetop.

I cannot tell you how yummy and moist this pork loin was!!!  It was so good and no pink!  The brown mustard and rub paste on the outside actually penetrated the pork loin and it was so flavorful!  I had to run to Kroger today to pick up a few items that were on sale and pork loin was on sale so I bought another one!  This one was even bigger and cheaper.  I can't wait to try this again!

Nifty Noshing!

Collette :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Open-Faced Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Open-Faced Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped (I peel away the 2 outer layers)
1-1/2 sticks butter
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 packages (17 ounces each) Hormel Beef Tips & Gravy
2 packages powdered brown gravy mix
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 large loaf French or sourdough bread, sliced (purchasing this pre-sliced is easier)

Melt the butter in large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and stir until they all are coated with the melted butter.  The onions need to carmelize.  I didn't time this out, but it does take a while for this to least 30 minutes, maybe longer.  Let them cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, but not constantly, until browned (do not burn them...which shouldn't happen if the heat is low enough).  While the onions are carmelizing, prepare the 2 packages of brown gravy mix according to package directions*.  Once the onions are browned add the mushrooms to the skillet.  There should still be enough butter to coat the mushrooms.  Stir the mushrooms and onions together until the mushrooms are soft, but not wilted or completely cooked down, about 10 minutes.  Add the 2 packages of Hormel Beef Tips & Gravy to the skillet along with the brown gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until well blended and let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until heated through.  Place a slice of bread on the plate and top with the roast beef and gravy mixture.  I served this with mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn.  Another idea is to top the bread with the mashed potatoes then add the roast beef gravy.

*The next time I make this, I would add an extra 1/2 cup water to the brown gravy.

Print Open-Faced Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches Recipe


Collette :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Garlic Toast Meatball Subs & Chili-Cheese Burritos

This isn't the actual picture of the recipe....I borrowed this one

I was going to post Lindsay's graduation pictures today, but something is wrong with the flash drive they are on and I can't get to the pictures.  I cried for about 5 minutes...yes, I'm extremely emotional right now.  Ed said he may have them backed up on one of his computers.  Please pray that we find them!

Since I can't post her pictures, I decided to post a couple of recipes I've recently tried.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the recipes, so you will have to use your imagination.  (Hopefully I will win the Nikon camera the Pioneer Woman is giving away tonight!)

Garlic Toast Meatball Subs

8 slices garlic toast (I buy the kind pre-cut with garlic butter on both sides from the Wal-Mart bakery)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
48 meatballs (I used Italian-style, but I prefer the Homestyle)
24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

Turn oven on to Broil setting and let preheat for about 5 minutes.  I placed the 8 pieces of garlic toast in an aluminum disposable pan (to save cleaning an extra pan).  Toast both sides of the bread under the broiler until golden brown.  Pull the bread the bread out and set aside.  Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees.  Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt; mix well.  After the bread cools enough to handle it, spread the cream cheese mixture on each piece of toast, dividing it equally among all the pieces.  Place each piece of garlic toast back in the pan cream cheese side up.  Sprinkle 8 ounces of the mozzarella cheese evenly over the toast.  Place approximately 6 meatballs on each piece of toast (it's a tight squeeze, but they will all fit).  Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce evenly over the top of the meatballs until they are all covered using the entire jar of sauce.  Top with the remaining 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes on the middle rack so the cheese doesn't burn.

Print Garlic Toast Meatball Subs Recipe

A former classmate of mine posted on facebook that she had tried the recipe from Pinterest and her family loved it, so I gave it a try, but made some changes to mine.  If you want to search Pinterest for the original recipe, I have it posted on my Main Dishes Board or you can search Meatball Sub Casserole.

Chili-Cheese Burritos

8 frozen bean and cheese burritos (or your favorite kind)
15 ounce can Wolf Brand chili (no beans)
15 ounce can Ranch Style beans, undrained
8 ounces shredded Cheddar

Prepare burritos in the oven according to package directions.  Combine the chili and beans; mix well.  With 10 minutes cooking time remaining on the burritos, remove from the oven and pour the chili over the burritos.  Return to the oven.  At the end of the cooking time for the burritos, remove the chili-covered burritos and top them with the shredded Cheddar cheese.  Return to the middle rack of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Print Chili-Cheese Burritos Recipe

This was a creation of my own.  I served it with a salad...I realize that's an odd combination, but we needed some kind of vegetables to work all that junk through our systems!  These are both super easy and quick recipes!!


Collette :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Milestone #13....My Father-in-Law Got Hitched!

I accidentally got the family milestones out of order...oops!  On Saturday, May 12, 2012 my father-in-law married Lee Faling.  We are so excited to have her, and her daughter Melanie, in our family!  They are both such a blessing to us!  We love you Lee and Melanie!

Melanie and Lee getting ready for the wedding

Beautiful Bride

Lee and Melanie

Aren't they sweet?

First Dance

Bouquet Toss...I can't tell who caught it

Garter removal (Watch it, Bill!)

We have quite a few youngin's waiting on that garter!

And the youngest of the youngin's caught it!

I did not get any pictures of the ceremony, but it was beautiful!  Congratulations Bill and Lee...we are so happy for you!

Collette :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Milestone #12...Graduation Party!!

Lindsay's graduation party was in May, so I'm a little behind on posting some milestones!  Lindsay and 9 other GCA seniors had a combined graduation party at the Corral Barn in Plano on Thursday, May 24, 2012.  The party participants were (in alphabetical order by last name....because I knew you were wondering how I decided what order to put them in) Zev Bailey, Hayden Burnett, Melissa Coons, Evan Davis, Lindsay Dodson, Hannah Masten, Parker Pollard, Ashton Powell, Maci Smith, and Jeramee Smith.

We had a DJ (Ed, of course), photo booth, photo station complete with a star full of balloons for the background, photographer, and TONS of food and drinks.

Lindsay with her grandparents
Amy, Lindsay, Kristen
Ashton & Lindsay
The DJ (Ed...Lindsay's dad and for those of you stealing pictures to use in litigation...actually her step-father)
Party-goers (gossip, anyone?)  Just kidding!
Okay, now we're dancing
At one of our pep rallies this year, the seniors did a little number to "Don't Stop Believing" and they were re-creating it at their graduation party!  If I can find the video of the original at the pep rally, I'll post it at the end

Prepped for the photo booth!
Me with my parents (hopefully this will be a "before" picture one day!)
Liz, Hannah, Lindsay, Chelsea
Yes, graduates...Congratulations!
Some of the food
More of the food
Stephanie, Stephanie's fiancee (his name escapes me right now), Kathy, Collette, Kim
Saying goodbye to 4th grade
Upcoming GCA grads...some members of the Class of 2020!!
Zev Bailey's Table
Hayden Burnett's Table
Melissa Coons' Table
Lindsay Dodson's Table
Evan Davis' Table (oops!  got them out of alpha order!)
Hannah Masten's Table
Parker Pollard's Table
Ashton Powell's Table
Jeramee Smith's Table
Maci Smith's Table
These photos do not do these tables justice!  They were all so good!  And the party was a night we will never forget!

Have a wonderful day!

Collette :)

P.S.  I couldn't find the video so if you're reading this and you have a copy or know where to find one, please send it to me or tag me in facebook.  Thanks!