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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taco Salad

 Taco Salad

Ingredients for meat/bean mixture:

1 lb. low fat ground beef
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional)
1 tsp. olive oil (to saute ground beef, use more or less oil depending on your pan)
1 can black beans (can use kidney beans or small red beans)
2 Tbs. Taco Seasoning *
2 cups water (I would add less water – follow the directions for taco seasoning)

(Makes enough meat/bean mixture for 4-5 salads. I recommend doubling the amount of meat/beans and freezing it so you can have taco salads in your future!)

Ingredients for each salad (this makes a large, whole meal salad):
3 cups romaine lettuce, torn, washed, and spun dry
3 T ranch dressing 3/4 cup meat/bean mixture (or more)
1 cup diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup grated cheese (I use low-fat four cheese Mexican blend)

Drain and rinse can of black beans into a colander. (you can also make your own beans and use these. The recipe I use for black beans is here:

Heat olive oil in frying pan. Cook beef over medium high heat until well browned, breaking apart  as it cooks. When beef is browned, add beans, taco seasoning, water and simmer until nearly all water is evaporated. Let cool slightly before using on salad. (This can be made ahead and frozen. To use after freezing, thaw and then reheat for a couple of minutes in a microwave.)

To assemble salad, put lettuce in large plastic bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing. Add slightly warm beef/bean mixture and diced tomatoes and gently toss. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with grated cheese.

* Recipe for making your own taco seasoning can be found here:

Recipe Adapted from:

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March Meal Plan

Here is my March Menu Plan

March Menu Plan
I will be adding links to the recipes from this plan during the weekly Menu Plans. You will notice on the bottom of each monthly menu plan I have a list of sides for meals:

Sides for Meals:
       Salad (Lettuce, Cabbage, Potato, Pasta)
       Veggies (Corn, Peas, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower,                                                                   Zucchini, Squash)
      Rice (White, Brown, Rice-a-roni, Basmati, Mexican Rice)
       Potatoes (Mashed, Baked, Wedges, Fried)
       Bread (French, Rolls, Bread sticks, Cornbread,
       Bread & Butter,  Biscuits, Muffins, Garlic Cheese Bread)

These are items to round off the meal.  I will add one, two or three of these to a meal depending on time and resources.

I make my own Rice-a-Roni from the following recipe.  I will make this in bulk and store in a container until ready to use.

 Homemade Rice-A-Roni Recipe

from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczy

2 c. rice
1 c. angel hair, vermicelli or spaghettini pasta, broken into very small pieces
¼ c. parsley
6 Tbsp. chicken bullion powder
2 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. thyme

Combine all ingredients and mix well. To prepare: Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add 1 c. of the mix and stir. Add 2 ¼ c. water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Mexican Rice Recipes  Mexican Rice


  • 2 cups Rice
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 can Rotel Tomotes or Mexican Diced Tomatoes (plus enough water to make 4 cups of liquid.)
  • I add the tomatoes to my 2 cup measuring cup and fill it to 2 cups and then add another 2 cups water)
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Directions:
    1. Heat up oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Put in the rice and onion and stirring constantly, cook until the rice is golden,
    2. While the rice is cooking, spread with seasoning.
    3. Stir in the diced tomatos and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
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    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Children’s Books

    One of my all time favorite children’s book is “Ten in the Bed” by Penny Dale

    I use to read this book over and over to my  to my two oldest.

    The illustrations are gorgeous and the wording is delightful.

    But my favorite part of the book is how the child is referred to as  “the little one.” 

    It starts out..
    There were ten in the bed and the little one said…
    “roll over, roll over!” 

    …and thus begins an evening  of “the little one” pushing his stuffed animals out of bed, one by one.

    my favorite page is when all the animals have been thrown out of the bed…
    … There was one in the bed and the little on said,
    “I’m cold, I miss you!”   little one 001

    So they all came back…    

    and finally there were…
    Ten in the bed, all fast asleep. 

    Sometimes we can be like “the little one”…

    …feeling like we don’t need anyone or we are better off alone. 

    There have been many times over the years that I have said,

       “I can do this myself”…  “It’s just me ”….    “I’m better off alone”…

    But…  He never intended for us to be alone…  Even in the beginning there was three…

    The Father, Son & Spirit… 

    He said,  "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”   Genesis 1:26

    And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."        Genesis 2:18

    The creator of the universe said… it is not good that we should be alone… 
    I know the times I have wanted to be alone or have felt alone…
    are the times I have been hurt or disappointed in relationships… 
    During those times He tells me not to be afraid, or discouraged.…
    He says,  “little one, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.”  
    …He, himself will go before me and He will be with me,
    he will never leave me or abandon me. 

    He brings me wonderful relationship…

    He takes great delight in me…    He quiets me with His love…     
    He rejoices over me…    He sings to me…

    So, I return to Him…  His love… and I find confidence and strength in that place… confidence to rest… to trust… again…

    and in that place is sweetness…  the sweetness of relationship…

    So, there may not be “ten in the bed” … but this “little one” is never alone…
    The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Duet 31:8
    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."   Zephaniah 3:17
    "In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15
    The heartfelt advice (fellowship) of a friend is as sweet as perfume. Proverbs 27:9
    When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

    #121 papa's successful surgery
    #122 papa's recovery
    #124 Special son's obedience at co-op
    #125 body of Christ reaching out
    #126 watching girlie's have a girls night
    #127 seeing children serve the Lord
    #128 finished perspectives homework
    #129 e-mail of encouragement from special mommy friend
    #130 sweet comments by friends
    #131going out to dinner with oldest son for his birthday
    #132 spending day shopping with hubby and younger kids
    #133 belongings worship night
    #134 taking youth out to serve
    #135 oldest son's face when youth surprised him with B-day Cake
    #136 -29 youth plus 9 leaders fasting for world hunger
    #137 young friend of daughters reconnecting with Lord
    #138 30 hour famine movie - hope it showed
    #139 special time with missionary daughter
    #140 peace, peace, peace
    #141 cute adorable coat for pepper
    #142 relief for aching shoulder
    #143 your grace for when I blow it
    #144 seeing areas I need to trust more
    #145 over $4000 raised by youth for world hunger

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    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Moments to Remember

    Moments to rememberMoments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going. These are the moments to remember.

    My special son learned how to use his dad’s nook this week, he is watching one of his favorite “Veggie Tales” movies.  He figured out quickly how to get to the movies he likes. We had to hide it from him the next day because he kept getting it out.

    I love the joy on his face. Did you notice the “Rescue Hero” toy. We call this his little man, he carries him around all the time. (we actually had a box of different rescue hero toys, but some of them have had to be retired because they were loved to much.)
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    Weekly Menu Plan

     Week of 2/27 – 3/04

    Monday – Beef Stew (or Chicken & Veggies) in Crock Pot
    Tuesday – Taco Soup & Corn Bread Muffins
    Wednesday – Crock Pot Black Beans & Rice
    Thursday – Chicken Tacos (with Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup)
    Friday – Fiesta Nachos  (add black beans to meat)
    Saturday – Black Bean Burgers (with leftover Black Beans)
    Sunday – Meatball Soup & French Bread

    Click on the highlighted meal for the recipe. Some of these links will take you to different web sites.

    Some of these are new recipes for us, so I will be updating recipes with my comments on what we liked, or what we would change. Pin It

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Celebrating our oldest

    Nick pic

    Today we celebrate our oldest child’s birthday…

    Today he turns 23

    He was born Nicholas Paul

    Everyone calls him: Nick

    nick pic 6A close musician friend calls him:
    The Nickster

    His brother calls him:  Nickster the Hipster

    nick pic 5

    He is a young man…

    an awesome, handsome, loving young man…

    nick scan 2 001 (2)He was the one that forever changed our lives…

    He was the first arrow in this quiver full...

    nick scan 2 001 (3)He was the one who confirmed in our hearts that having children was a joyous event…
         ... a blessing ... a heritage  ... a reward
    Nick scan 1 001
    002 (2)
    He was the one who quieted our doubts and allowed us to see that we could be parents…

    He was the one that opened the door…
          for us to return to church...
          for us to desire more children…
          for us learn and grow and develop as parents.

    Today we celebrate him…
    nick pic 3We celebrate the man he is: 
                 Loving, kind, gentle, caring, giving,  
                                creative,  an encourager…
     He  loves music, politics, working with the  youth, his siblings (most the time), coffee & Mt. Dew…
     He has a strong work ethic, is dedicated to his church, loyal to those he cares about…
    nick pic 8                

    Above all he desires to serve the Lord with his life… 

    nick scan 2 001
    He has his dad's love for history... dry sense of humor... quick wit...
    love for music... and they eat their popcorn the same exact way.

    He has his mother's desire for balance...  creativeness...
    need to talk things out by sharing the same thing from every angle.

    He has grown into a man of integrity and steadfastness. 

    A man that not only blesses and gives great joy to his earthly parents... 

    More importantly... 
    He is a son who brings great delight and pleasure to his Heavenly Father.
    He is the apple of His Fathers eye...

    Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings     Psalm 17:8

    For thus said the LORD of hosts…
    …for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.                  Zechariah 2:8

    Happy Birthday Nick - We Love You
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    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Corn Bread Muffin Recipes

    Honey Corn Bread Muffins

    adapted from The New Best Recipe
    yield: 1 dozen
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1/2 - 2/3 cup honey, depending on how sweet you'd like your muffins
    8 tablespoons butter, melted
    3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup milk
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a standard sized 12 cup muffin tin. Set aside.
    In a medium bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until sifted together.
    In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the honey, melted butter, sour cream, and milk. Then, whisk until combined.
    Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the liquids in and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined and moist. Do not beat.
    Divide mixture evenly among the muffin cups (Tip: Kitchen Tip: Trick for Filling Muffin Tins).
    Bake at 400 degrees F for 14-18 minutes, or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tins, then remove and cool on a wire rack until warm.
    Serve with butter and additional honey, or honey butter, if desired.
    Cornbread MuffinsBEST CORNBREAD MUFFIN

    It's gone now, but it's left behind a memorable experience that my family will not let me forget.
    This is a simple cornbread muffin recipe that can easily be sweetened up or made spicy. From here it can go either direction. Since I wanted them for their simple corn flavor in chili, this recipe is perfect.
    The original recipe called for buttermilk, which I ALWAYS have on hand...NOT! I Googled for a substitution and found sour cream to be a reliable solution.
    BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTION - Use the same amount of sour cream as it calls for buttermilk in the recipe.
    Heat oven 450ºF degrees. Oil 12 muffin cups/pan.
    • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup butter or bacon fat, melted & cooled
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    • 2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    Put all the ingredients in a one gallon freezer bag. Be careful not to add hot butter or bacon fat, you may cook the eggs. Close the bag up, pushing out the air and close seal well. Knead the bag until all the dry ingredients are moist, check the corners.
    Prepare the bag so you can pipe the batter into the muffin cups. Keep the bag closed. Use a spatula to scrap the batter to one bottom corner. Twist the top of the batter to create pressure and cut a small snip off the piping corner. Cut small and go larger if necessary. Now, squeeze batter into muffin cup, swirling the dough around. You want to fill the cup 3/4 of batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
    OR You can mix all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Transfer batter into a greased 8-inch by 8-inch pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Either way works.


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    1 - 2 cans (4 oz.) mild green chilies – I use diced mild green chilies
    1 1/2  cups (12 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese –  I use 2-3 cups Mexican blend cheese
                                                                              (cause that is usually what I have on hand)    
    3 –4  eggs
    1/2 cup of whole  milk
    1 tbsp. flour

    I add the follow seasons to zip it up a bit:  Salt And Black Pepper To Taste,  1/2 teaspoon Paprika, 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 9 x 1 3 inch pan. Cut chilies into thin strips. Remove seeds if you want milder flavor. Alternate layers of chilies with cheeses, starting and ending with cheeses. Beat eggs, milk and flour together. Pour egg mixture over layered ingredients and bake one hour or until firm. Cut into 16 squares and serve warm.

    Recipe adapted from:,178,151183-230194,00.html


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    Recipes with Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup

    I bought several cans of Campbells Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup at Grocery Outlet awhile back and I wanted to use them up, so I did a google search for some recipes and here are some I want to try

    Nacho Mac & CheeseNacho Mac & Cheese

              Cozy, comforting and easy to make, this 3-ingredient dish in on table in 20 minutes...
    plus, the kids will love it!


    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup
    2/3 cup milk
    2/3 cup water
    1 cup uncooked elbow pasta


    Stir the soup, milk and water in a 2-quart saucepan and heat to a boil over medium heat.
    Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring often.

    Recipe Tips:

    Helper: Recipe may be doubled. Double all ingredients.
    From: Campbell's Kitchen
    Prep: 5 minutes
    Cook: 15 minutes
    Serves: 4

    Chicken Nacho Tacos

    These tasty tacos combine a few on-hand ingredients with canned chicken and fiesta nacho cheese soup to make a delicious dish super-simple!


    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup
    2 cans (4.5 ounces each) Swanson® Premium White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained*
    8 taco shells, warmed
    Shredded lettuce
    Chopped tomato


    Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chili powder and cook until the onion is tender, stirring often.
    Stir the soup and chicken in the skillet and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Spoon the chicken mixture into the taco shells. Top with the lettuce and tomato.

    * I would use chicken breasts cooked and cut into bite size chunks. You can cook chicken breasts in the oven and then cut into bite sizes, or cook chicken ahead of time and freeze - then just pull out of freezer, defrost and use in this recipe.

    From: Campbell's Kitchen
    Prep: 15 minutes
    Cook: 10 minutes
    Serves: 4

    Nachos GrandeNachos Grande

    Hearty, man-sized nachos feature Pace® Salsa-seasoned ground beef, a creamy cheese sauce, onion, tomato and jalapeno for topping tortilla chips. Feed a crowd as an appetizer or serve for dinner!


    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
    Tip: You can also substitute 1 can Campbell's® Condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup for the cheddar cheese soup and salsa in this recipe.
    1/2 cup Pace® Chunky Salsa
    1 pound ground beef
    1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    5 cups tortilla chips
    1 medium tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
    1 jalapeño pepper, sliced (optional)


    Stir the soup and salsa in a 2-quart saucepan.
    Cook the beef and onion in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat. Stir 1/2 cup soup mixture in the skillet and cook until the beef mixture is hot and bubbling.

    Heat the remaining soup mixture over medium heat until hot and bubbling.
    Place the chips onto a serving platter and top with the beef mixture. Spoon the soup mixture over the beef mixture. Top with the tomato and jalapeño pepper, if desired.

    From: Campbell's Kitchen
    Prep: 10 minutes
    Cook: 15 minutes
    Serves: 8

        Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup

    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 2 14 1/2 ounce cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
    • 1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed nacho cheese soup
    • 1 10 ounce package frozen whole kernel corn (2 cups)
    • Shredded Mexican-style or cheddar cheese

    1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, stir together chicken, undrained tomatoes, soup, and corn.
    2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. Makes 6 servings.
    Recipe from: Better Homes and Garden

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    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    BBQ Biscuit Cups

       BBQ Biscuit Cups

    1 pound ground beef or turkey
    1/2 cup BBQ sauce
    1 tablespoon minced onion
    1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 10-ounce package Hungry Jack Biscuits
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar or American cheese

    Preheat oven to 400º.
    Grease small muffin pan (appetizer size). Brown ground beef in large skillet; drain. Stir in BBQ sauce, onion and brown sugar. Cook 1 minute to blend flavors, stirring constantly.
    Separate dough into 10 or more small biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each greased muffin cup; firmly press into the bottom and up the sides, forming 1/4 inch rim. Spoon about 1/4 cup of meat mixture into each biscuit-lined cup. Sprinkle each with cheese.
    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of biscuits are golden brown. Cool for 1 minute; remove from pan.
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    Meatball Soup

      Meatball Soup
    • 2 quarts water
    • 20 small meatballs - I cut the meatballs in half
    • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce or 1 can tomato sauce & 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 2 cubes beef bouillon cube or beef base
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil  - I also add a bay leaf and take out before serving
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • salt to taste
    • ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 stalks celery, sliced
    • 2 carrots, sliced - I also add mixed frozen vegetables
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 cup elbow macaroni - I add what ever kind of pasta we have on hand  


    1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add meatballs, tomato sauce, bouillon, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, celery, carrots, and garlic, and simmer for 30 minutes.
    2. Add macaroni and cook until pasta is done. Top with parmesan cheese to serve.               

    This is one of those kind of recipes that you can substitute different ingredients.  I use what ever kind of pasta I have on hand, but we prefer  larger, firmer pastas for soups.  I usually add frozen mixed vegetables to this recipe. 

    Recipe from:

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    Crock Pot Black Beans

     Crock Pot Black Beans

    • 1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed.
    •  water to soak
    • 1 or 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 jar of prepared salsa (use a kind you like green or red), or 2 cups home made salsa (this is optional - I do not usually add salsa unless I want to make it more into a soup)
    • broth- chicken or vegetable to cover soaked beans (I just add water instead of the broth)
    • garlic powder, garlic salt, cumin, pepper - seasoned to taste
    All you need to do is pick over the beans for small stones or any other foreign matter, rinse them and soak in about four times the volume of water to beans for about eight hours. If you do this before you go to bed you can throw the beans in the crock pot in the morning to cook away all day. Once the beans are soaked, drain them and put them in the pot with the other ingredients. You can add a hambone if you would like added flavor.  Cover the beans  with the broth or water- I usually add liquid about 1/2 inch above the beans. If you need more liquid as they cook you can add very hot water 1/2 cup at a time. I have found that beans cook better if on the high setting. Cook until beans are tender and liquid is starting to thicken.

    Serve over rice or in a bowl as a side dish. You can top with sour cream, chopped lettuce,  black olives, tomatoes, onions.  Leftovers beans can be used in other recipes.

    recipe adapted from: Pin It

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012


    As promised… here are some recipes from our February Meal plan…

    Pepperoni Roll Ups
    Recipe from: Taste of Home


    1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls
    32 slices pepperoni (I used Hormel's turkey pepperoni slices)
    4 pieces string cheese, cut in half
    1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    1 Tablespoon butter, melted
    Marinara or Pizza sauce, for dipping

    DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 8 triangles. Place 4 pepperoni slices on the large end of each triangle. Place one half string cheese on the top of the pepperonis. Roll up towards point. Place roll ups at least 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.   Mix together Italian seasoning and melted butter. Brush over the tops of the roll ups. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm!
    Taco "Cupcakes"
    Recipe by: Plain Chicken

    1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)
    1 packet taco seasoning
    2/3 cup water
    1 can black beans, drained
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    36 wonton wrappers
    Favorite Taco toppings: salsa, sour cream, etc.

    DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain grease. Stir in taco seasoning, water and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
    Spray 18 regular muffin cups with cooking spray. Place one wonton wrapper in each muffin cup. Divide half of the meat mixture between muffin cups. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the meat. Repeat layers with another wonton wrapper, taco meat and cheese.
    Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and wrappers are golden brown. Serve with your favorite taco toppings!

    Chicken Wild Rice Soup
    recipe by:

    I grew up in Minnesota where wild rice is grown…. so this is a yummy reminder of my roots and a comfort food for me.

    • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped celery (can also add chopped cooked carrots)
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
    • 2 cups milk
    • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
    1. Prepare rice according to package directions. (I make mine in the rice maker ahead of time)
    2. Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, or until almost tender.
    3. Stir in the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and milk and stir until soup thickens.
    4. Add the rice and the chicken and allow to heat through, about 10 minutes.

    Cowboy Stew

    I call this an open and dump recipe, because the majority of the recipe involves opening various cans and dumping them into the crock pot.


    1/4 pound of bacon (optional)
    1 pound of ground sausage (or 1 pound mild ground sausage & 1/2 pound hot or spicy ground sausage)
    1/2 pound ground beef
    1 medium chopped onion
    Do not drain the following cans of beans:
         1 can kidney beans
         1 can pork & beans
         1 can chili beans
         1 large can baked beans
    1 can black beans – drained
    1 can white beans – drained
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    2 tsp. mustard
    2 tsp. cider vinegar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup ketchup

    Cook meat and onions in frying pan.  Add to crock pot.  Open all the cans of beans and add to crock pot.   Add all other ingredients.  Cook in crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2 –4 hours.  Serve with bread or corn bread. 

    This recipe is very forgiving.  You can use any or all of the meats, and pick and choose what beans to add.  You will have to gauge this on what size of crock pot you use. I use at least a 5 quart size. I have used what ever beans I had on hand and doubled the cans if I did not have certain ones to fill the crock pot.   You need the liquid of baked beans, chili beans and pork in beans so the recipe will not be dry.  I add the liquids of what ever beans I think will add flavor.

    Chellsen Chicken

    I did not make up this recipe.  It was given to me years ago by a friend, who called it “Surprise Chicken.”  My children have coined it “Chellsen Chicken,”  because it is one of their favorites. 


    4-6 chicken breasts (bonless & skinless)
    1 can of cream of chicken soup
    1 can of cream of mushroom soup
    1 can of milk
    (you can use 2 of either of these soups if you do not have one of them)
    4-6 slices of American cheese (optional – if I do not have this I do not add)
    1 –2 boxes of stove top stuffing (we like the stuffing so we use 2)
    1 stick of butter

    Lay the chicken breasts on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Cover chicken with cheese slices. Mix the milk with the two cans of soup (original recipe called for 1 can of soup but we like ours with extra sauce and since we are using 2 boxes of stuffing we need the extra liquid – if you use one can you may only need 1/2 – 3/4 can of milk) Pour the soup mixture over the chicken.  Spread out the stuffing mix on top of soup mixture.  Slice the butter into little pads and spread out on top of the stuffing.  Cover and bake for about  30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and back for remaining time (15 – 30 minutes). 

    We serve this over rice.  I cook my rice in my rice cooker while the chicken is cooking.  So good….. all time hands down favorite of every member of our family.

    <>     <>


    2 lbs. hamburger or ground turkey
    1 chopped onion
    2 cans diced or Mexican tomatoes, with juice
    2 cans pinto beans, kidney beans or black beans with juice (optional)
    1 can of black olives (sliced)
    2 cans  corn, with juice
    1 pkg. taco mix seasoning
    1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix

    Brown hamburger or ground turkey meat with chopped onion. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes, pinto beans and corn (all with juice). Add dry taco mix and dry Ranch dressing mix. Bring all to boil, reduce heat and simmer on low heat.  This can be made in the crock pot and cooked on low for 4 –6 hours or on high for 2 –4 hours.  Serve with bread or corn bread. 

    I will add the beans if I have them, but we like it really well without them.  I like to add the beans if I want it to be more like a chili or if I want to serve it over pasta - which is a great option for leftovers.    Fun additions would be:  taco chips, nacho chips, Fritos, cheese, sour cream, green onions. 

    I am all about easy, cost effective, good and hearty meals for my family the above recipes fit the bill.

    Enjoy… Pin It

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    The Land of the Living

    clip_image002and He said to me,

    Enter the Land of the Living

    No, my soul, there only is the land of the living where there are none but the living; where there is a church, not militant, but triumphant; a church indeed, but no churchyard, because none dead, nor none that can die; where life is not passive, nor death active; where life sits crowned, and where death is swallowed up in victory.
    Sir Richard Baker.

    There only is the land of the living where there are none but the living… where life is not passive…

    The definition of living is:

    1. living, alive
      1. green (of vegetation)
      2. flowing, fresh (of water)
      3. lively, active (of man)
      4. reviving, renewal (of the springtime)

    These words are all active not passive: flowing, lively, active, reviving.

    Living is active not passive.

    I shared at the beginning of the year that I receive a word from the Lord each year to study and meditate on…

    All year I have been pondering, and seeking revelation on these words…

    … Enter the Land of the Living

    each of these words are active and not passive…

    ENTER… I must enter… step foot into… the land of the living

    So, over this past year I have been pondering what keeps me from entering…


    Fear... of being left alone when it really matters, left to just survive…

    Fear and doubt of your true goodness…  that you may not complete and accomplish what you have promised.

    Fear that I will have to give or sacrifice…    more than I want to - more than I am able to.

    Fear of having to embrace the pain... to embrace life fully, to love fully , means to feel the pain that comes with really living and loving. Sometimes it is easier to HOLD it at a distance, keep a wall around it. Then to live in the reality of this fallen world… Really living means living in that reality…

    And then His words… Jesus – who is the living word… meets me in that place and speaks so clearly to my heart, deep into my soul… straight to those fears and says…

    I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord…
    In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

    The different version of this scripture say:

    I would have lost heart…  I would have fainted… I would have despaired …
         …unless I had believed …unless I was confident 
                  I would see the goodness of the Lord
    When  I do not believe or have confidence in the goodness of the Lord…  
    I loose heart, become faint of heart...  
    I am weary and live in despair…  
    but because of His goodness I can..
    live… remain alive… have life… sustain life
         live prosperously… live forever…
              be quickened.. be alive… be restored to life or health
                   from sickness … from discouragement… from faintness… from death
                         be restored to life… be caused to grow… be revived

    Jesus came to give all this… to be our portion… to be our refuge… our strong tower… our
    hiding place… our safe place…

    He came to give life.. and to give it abundantly… to the fullest…
    clip_image004I cried out to You, O Lord: I said,
    "You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.       

    I treasure…  this life… this place…  this land of the living
    the joys…  the sorrows…   the ups…  the downs…  the pleasures… the pain… 
    the love…  the hurt… 

    I desire to treasure and embrace all that this living entails…

    but above all,  I treasure my Jesus… who is my portion…
    in this land of the living…

    Artist: Waterdeep
    Album: Enter The Worship Circle
    One thing I ask of you
    This is what I seek
    That I may dwell in your house
    Feel your pleasure wash over me
    One thing I ask of you
    This is what I need
    That I may hide in your hands
    Feel your presence fall over me
    And I am confident of this one thing
    That my eyes will be blessed
    When they gaze upon your beauty
    And my lips will be sweet
    When they whisper words of praise
    And my heart will be dancing
    When it knows that you are with me
    And I will see your goodness
    In the land of the living

    #96 excitement in all you have in store for us
    #97 my fears can be washed away by dwelling in your presence
    #98 you cover all things
    #99 making a way
    #100 sending others to encourage
    #101 love of brothers & sisters in Lord
    #102 kindred spirits to pray with
    #103 challenges… opportunity to pray more
    #104 challenges… opportunity to trust more
    #105 successful surgery for papa
    #106 covering papa’s recovery
    #107 giving nana peace
    #108 watching special son enjoy show on the nook
    #109 simple things my hubby finds joy in
    #110 chunky chicken soup… so yummy!!
    #111 updates on papa’s surgery
    #112 youngest brother giving us updates
    #113  hubby spending time with fellow believer
    #114 paperwork
    #115 the living word
    #116 Jesus – my portion
    #117 consistency
    #118 being a work in progress
    #119 being able to embrace life… fully
    #120 your goodness Pin It