Give Me Some More S’mores Please…

We all love s’mores (At least I hope we all do!). There is nothing better than having your firepit going outside and roasting marshmallows on a summer night (or fall, winter, and spring night…). Not all of us have a firepit, or enjoy going out in the cold though, so how can you still taste those yummy s’mores??? You make s’mores dip! It is easy to make, and so yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or a combo
  • 15 jumbo marshmallows, halved
  • Graham cracker squares

Directions:

  • Adjust rack to center position of oven and place 8-inch cast iron skillet on rack. Preheat oven to 450°F with skillet inside. Once oven is preheated, use a pot holder to remove hot skillet from the oven. Place pat of butter in the skillet and use a pot holder to hold the handle and swirl the skillet so that the melted butter coats the bottom and sides. Pour chocolate chips in an even layer into the bottom of the skillet. Taking care not to burn fingers on the sides of the skillet, arrange marshmallow halves over the surface of the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted to your preference. Use an oven mitt to remove the skillet from the oven and rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with graham cracker squares or sticks! (Be careful! The skillet will still be very hot!!)

You can use whatever flavored chips (butterscotch, peanut butter, etc.) you like, and can even mix it up! This treat will be sure to please all!

On the Road Again…

In a little over a month our family will be making a move almost a 1,000 miles away. We are excited, nervous, anxious, and a little overwhelmed. Change can be amazing, but it can also bring a flood of emotions. We are actually thinking of this time as our new adventure! It helps with coping with all the emotions, and helps us with all the ever changing feelings! My list of to-do is also growing everyday, so deep breathing is also on the agenda! Packing up a family of 7 takes some organization and patience. A lot of patience, lol. Here are some of the things that I (we) have been doing to get this adventure started!

Purging: We have been going through everything and really questioning if it is something we need. I think that is one of the hardest parts, especially items that hold certain memories. I was one of those moms who kept everything, and I mean everything. I actually did a purging a while back of all the things the kids have made us throughout the years. I kept a few things from each year and made a special folder for each of the children. It helped me clean, yet keep some beautiful memories of the children’s growing up years. We also have memory boxes for each of the kids. It holds things from when they were babies on up. They will take these boxes with them when they leave the nest. It’s just little pieces of them they can cherish and share with their own families. We also ask ourselves if we really need “that many” of one thing, or even something similar. Plates, cups, appliances, etc. Most of them just sit in the cabinets and drawers. We have boxes of items to be donated. and some set aside for the children.

Packing: The fun part, lol. We actually use bins to pack. We found them to be easier to move, and they are reusable afterwards. We keep all the packing that comes in shipments we get, and we also use old plastic tablecloths, pillow cases. towels, etc. that we aren’t using right away to pack any fragile items. We label, and then organize them by rooms. That way it’s easy to load in groups, and much easier when coming off the truck.

Moving Van: My husband and I have discussed this in length. We have gone back and forth with hiring a company, to driving ourselves. Having someone do it for us would be easier, but obviously way more expensive. Doing it ourselves would be a little more challenging, but would save us money. Of course, that would also be an adventure in itself! Right now we have decided to go that route, but I am sure we will change our minds a few more times…

Driving Plan: We are not going to be driving straight through to our new home. We have decided to map a plan of different places to stop, and sleepover in a hotel about half way. Some people are fine driving through, but for us it is the other way around. I think we would get too hangry and have a few mini breakdowns. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight. As for me, I have really bad anxiety/panic and I am going to need breaks, food, and a bit of meditation, lol!

Food and Drinks: A must have staple on any type of road trip! We usually drink water and Gatorade, and pack fruit, pretzels, goldfish, sunflower seeds (hubby loves them while driving), protein/granola bars, and of course some chocolate! I don’t know about your family, but we get whiny and hangry when we don’t eat every few hours, lol!

Unloading/Unpacking: I always pray this goes smoothly. We usually have a system. Someone on the truck, someone right outside the truck, etc. Everything goes straight to the room it needs to go. We set up the big things first (beds, etc.), and then we can take our time unpacking and figuring out where to put things (My favorite part!). The most important part is to keep your sense of humor! We tend to laugh a lot during this process!

Moving is stressful no matter if you are moving 5 minutes away, or across the country. I feel that being organized, having a sense of humor, and a little pre-planning can help! Sometimes it may have hiccups, and that is okay too! Go with the flow and enjoy the adventure!

Waffles…Da, Da, Da!

We love to make brunch every Sunday, and enjoy coming up with different items to make. One of our favorites is waffles! My son usually makes them, but I have gotten in on the action as well. As someone who loves to bake and cook, I had never made homemade waffles before, and I love it! You can top your waffles with fruit, chocolate, homemade whip cream, maple syrup, powdered sugar, fruit syrup, and so much more! We also serve it with either bacon or sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour 
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder plus a teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup Sugar 
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 Cups Milk 
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • Warm your waffle iron. I set mine to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a small bowl. In a medium bowl whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together. Stir in the melted butter.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until combined.
  • Add about 1/3 cup of batter for each waffle. I also coat my iron with a bit of vegetable oil. It keeps the waffles from sticking and gives it a nice crisp!

Remember… waffles aren’t just for breakfast or brunch, they are also just as yummy for dinner!

(A Little Bit of) Salsa in My Life…

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

If your family is anything like mine, you love to snack, especially on the weekends. One of the things we love to eat is nachos and salsa, but were never content with the store bought salsa. Since we are on our homesteading journey, and are trying to make a lot of things homemade and from scratch, we decided to give salsa a try! Let me tell you, we are never turning back! This is the recipe my son uses, and the great thing about it is that you can make it as hot, or as mild, as you want!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs. Roma tomatoes (about 5 – 6), cut into medium sized slices and then into quarters
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 green onions, ends trimmed, chopped into thirds
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro 
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*You can omit certain spices, if you don’t like it too hot, and replace it with milder options.

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse in 1 second bursts until all ingredients are finely chopped. Make sure not to pulse it too much, because it will turn soupy. You want it crisp and thick!
  • Serve with tortilla chips. Chill for at least 2 hours. Always best served cold!
  • Store in refrigerator up to 1 week, or freeze in freezer bags up to 3 months.

This salsa has such a nice crunch to it, and the flavors, since you are using fresh vegetables, just make your mouth do a little dance! It is easy to make, and it stores well. Try it on your next family game or movie night!

There’s a Chicken in my Pie…

During the winter, sometimes hearty is just the perfect thing. We love items you can prepare ahead of time, and this is a perfect recipe to do just that! Since we have a large family, we double the recipe, and we still have leftovers! It’s a versatile recipe, and you can add whatever you would like to it to make it your own!

Ingredients

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 2/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 egg beaten

1 cup of bisquick

1/2 cup milk

1 pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

*I also add minced garlic, oregano, and diced onions to mine. You can make it as bland or spicy as you would like!

Directions

Combine chicken soup, vegetables, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread evenly into a 9-inch pie plate.

In another bowl mix the egg, milk, and Bisquick just until moistened.

Pour over the chicken mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with a nice tossed salad full of leafy greens!

Enjoy!

Blueberry Goodness…

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

I love comfort food. Always have. This baked blueberry french toast casserole makes your insides all warm and fuzzy! I made it the first time a few years ago for Easter breakfast and it has been a favorite in our home since then. It’s easy to make and even better that it sits overnight so you just need to throw it in the oven in the morning!

Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf of french bread (homemade is best, but store bought tastes just as good)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (I have also used frozen, but make sure to toss them in a little bit of flour so they don’t bleed)
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, cubed (you can freeze it for a bit beforehand for easier cutting)
  • Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top

Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups blueberries

Instructions

Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish

Cut french bread into 2 inch cubes and place in a bowl

In a large bowl combine eggs, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt  

Whisk until completely mixed

Put one half of bread cubes in dish

Top with half of the cream cheese cubes and half a cup of blueberries

Add remaining bread cubes and top with remaining cream cheese and additional half cup of blueberries

Pour egg mixture over the bread cubes, be sure to press the bread down so it is completely soaked by the egg mixture

Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight is best)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Remove cover and sprinkle casserole with sugar

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes

Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until center is firm and bread is slightly brown on top

Cool slightly and serve with the blueberry sauce

Blueberry Sauce

In small saucepan, combine sugar, water and cornstarch until simmering

Add blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes  

Using a fork or whisk, slightly break up the blueberries

*The casserole can store up to 3 days in the refrigerator

Photo by Sneha Cecil on Unsplash

The casserole is not only good for breakfast, but is also a great meal for dinner! I haven’t tried it with anything other than blueberries, but I bet it would taste just as good with peaches, raspberries, or strawberries!