Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taco Chili - Another Winter Warmer Recipe

Well, it is cold and gloomy in Chelan and we have only seen the sun for little glimpses over the last few weeks. Those cold days certainly put me in the mood for warm soups. I have recently shared Beef Stew and then Cheddar Corn Chowder and today I will share the Taco Chili Recipe.

I made this pot today and we all ate off of it and there are leftovers for this week. We eat it with cheese and sour cream on it and with warm tortillas on the side. Hope you enjoy it!

Taco Chili

2 lbs ground beef, browned & drained
2 (16 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (16 oz) jar salsa (I use mild but if you want heat use a spicier one)
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 1/2 oz) great northern beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (14 1/2) diced tomatoes with juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 45 min to 1 hour. Serve with cheese & sour cream with side of warm tortilla or tortilla chips.

Sketch # 3 on Ella Publishing

Well, the third of six sketches was posted on the Ella blog yesterday so I spent a bit getting a page done using it while enjoying my morning coffee and listening to CMT Video Countdown.

Here is my take on the sketch - these are pictures taken on a Disney Cruise that Dave and I went on in 2005 down the Mexican Riviera. Check out the great sketches on Ella using the Ella elephant button on the top right of my blog.

Hope you all have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Warmer Recipe - Cheddar Corn Chowder

On cold winter days, there is nothing like a yummy pot of homemade soup. My kids (as with most kids) prefer cream-based soups to broth-based soups. We have a favorite around our house that is usually made at least once or twice a month for most winter months. This one is an easy recipe that is ready in about 45 minutes from start to finish and I love that part! Also it is a good recipe for a family of four. This pot is perfect sized for my husband and I and our 5 year old daughter and almost 7 year old son. Occasionally there is a small bowl of leftovers but usually it is GONE! It is an easy recipe to double if company or extra leftovers are your wishes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. I usually make rolls or bread bowls with it.

Cheddar Corn Chowder

2 cups water
2-3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 cup slice carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese
1 can corn, drained

OPTIONAL - add 1 1/2 cups cubed ham OR 3/4 cup chopped cooked bacon

In a large saucepan, bring water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes until veges are tender. Remove from heat, DO NOT DRAIN. Meantime, in a lg saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 min or until thickened. Add cheese & stir unti melted. Stir into the undrained veges. Return pan to heat. Add corn and meat (optional), heat through and serve.


** Easy bread bowls - buy Rhodes frozen bread loaf dough, place on cookie sheet to thaw for and hour or so, once thawed enough to divide, cut loaf into either halves or thirds (depends on desird size of bowl), round into a ball, cover with greased plastic wrap, let rise per directions on bag, bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes till golden, once cooled cut top off and carefully scoop out inside bread (I keep this bread in chunks on side of plates for dipping)

Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Fun Blog

I found a new fun blog this past week.

They have sketches posted once a week and a contest with these sketches. I used this weeks sketch for the above layout of a few of my favorite pictures from the last year!

Take a chance to check out this fun blog by clicking the link in this post or using her button on the top right of my blog! I hope you enjoy!

(My daughter loves this one as it has elephants one its logo)

10 Things That Make Me Happy

A friend of mine did this post yesterday and although I was not tagged to do it she did leave it open to all to do. Particularly at this time I feel this was a goo dpost for the day as some days it is hard to find the happy!

1) Sleeping In . . . although sleeping in for me is not considered noon or anything, I do enjoy getting to sleep in till 8:30 or 9:00 on occasion.

2) Reading with Kindergarten Kids . . . last year I started volunteering in Chase's kindergarten classroom and this year I am doing the same in Mackenzie's classroom, it is such a joy to see the thrill of success in the eyes of these 5 & 6 year olds and they begin to read - this is a happy part of every school day for me

3) Date Night with Hubby & No Kids . . . don't get me wrong, I love my kids but they are at the fast food and cartoon age and once in a while I do enjoy to each out at a restaurant that doesn't have a drive-through window and to see a movie with real people in it! Nothing feels like the love of a man who truly considers you his Cinderella!

4) Cooking . . . I love to cook and truly enjoy the thrill of finding a good new recipe that is a hit with the family.

5) A Day at the Beach in Chelan During the Summer With Girlfriends & Kids . . . several years ago there was a Kid's Club started with severl Moms in Chelan before our kids were in school, suring the summer we enjoy at least one long afternoon a week at the beach at Lakeside or at State Park with the kids frolicking in the water and the Mom's enjoying the sun and one another's company

6) Family . . . I enjoy all of my extended family and the time that we get to spend with them, after the recent loss of my mother-in-law, it is a renewed commitment with me to spend more time with family as it has not always been prioritized high enough and you never know what life has in store for anyone.

7) Friends . . . particularly by BFF Jill, it is such a wonderful feeling to have the love and friendship unconditionally of a person who is ALWAYS there for you and can turn around an otherwise bad day . . . what would we do without friends

8) Coffee . . . most days cannot be complete without a cup of Jo, I love many different kinds of coffee and my new fav is my Keurig machine i got for Christmas as I can make a cup whenever I want

9) A Good Chick Flick . . . I have several of these that I own on DVD as I know the dialogue well enough that I can be in and out of the room and not miss anything, as a good laugh or occasional cry from a chick flick is good!

10) My Bible . . . I make time daily to take a walk through my scriptures and seem to always be able to find something that is appropriate for that day, much like my necklace from my parents at Christmas that reads - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Phil 4:13 - how can one not be happy and have confidence in oneself when God has confidence in us beyond our own.

Well, that was a fun exercise, I am going to tag a few people that check my blog so that they can enjoy this process - so Jane, Megan (I know you don't have a blog but enjoy thinking about it nonetheless), Melissa (post yours on Facebook) and anyone else who feels the desire.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Log My Memory - My January Soundtrack

In early December I ran across a neat website and book that is a great day planner type book for scrapbookers and mothers alike who are trying to keep track of where they are to be and when but also where they have been and the memories of the year. I personally bought the downloadable version and had it printed at my local print shop and comb bound. I love that it will stay together and include memories that I want to keep. The book also include little prompts and challenges weekly, monthly and for holidays. It is a nice way to remember the details and keep track of what we have done as a family. I am going to use some of those challenges as blog prompts to help keep me in more of a blogging routine. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Every month I make a new playlist on my ipod of songs that are big with me that month. I usually make a CD of them and that is in each car as well. I kind of think of them as the soundtrack of my month. I plan to share my monthly soundtrack sometime during each month in 2010 as I strive to make my blogging more routine and something that logs my memories for future use.

January 2010 Soundtrack

1. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man - Carrie Underwood & Brad Paisley
2. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
3. Cryin' For Me - Toby Keith
4. Hillbilly Bone - Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins
5. Why Don't We Just Dance - Josh Turner
6. American Honey - Lady Antebellum
7. Alright - Darius Rucker
8. How Far Do You Want To Go - Gloriana
9. Keep On Lovin' You - Steel Magnolia
10. Take Me There - Rascal Flatts
11. The Truth - Jason Aldean
12. Twang - George Strait
13. History In The Making - Darius Rucker
14. You're Gonna Miss This - Trace Adkins
15. Stay - Sugarland
16. Highway 20 Ride - Zac Brown Band
17. Love This Pain - Lady Antebellum
18. Sara Smile - Jimmy Wayne
19. Red Light - David Nail
20. The Man I Want To Be - Chris Young
21. Living For The Night - George Strait

I hope you too will take the time to Log Your Memories in whatever form you choose and time flies and we never know what tomorrow holds. Our written memories will be treasures for our family after we are gone and are completely irreplaceable.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yummy biscuits on a cold day

This weekend was Winterfest in Chelan. It is a mixed bag of weather from year to year. We have not had good snow for it the last couple of years and this year was the same. It did snow Saturday night but then rained Sunday afternoon so all of the snow is gone! When it is a cold dreary day there are a host of winter warmer recipes I fall back on as respite inside from the cold doldrum of winter. I recently made by stew (recipe posted on blog in December) and was really in the mood for biscuits but I wanted the real thing . . . no bisquick for me. I went hunting for a good recipe and I found truly the best biscuit recipe I have ever had in my possession. I had to share it with my blog readers as it is a sure winner (everyone loved them) to go with your favorite pot of stew or soup and makes great leftovers (if any are left) for breakfast the next morning.

Fluffy Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sale
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the misture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg with milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn onto well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4 inch thickness; cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 1 dozen


Friday, January 8, 2010

You are missed Mom!

After 9 days away to be with Dave and family after the death of his mother, we are finally back home. It was sure a tough start to 2010 and I can't even tell you what time I went to bed on New Year's Eve. The last week is a blur but I do know one thing and that is, the memorial was a lovely tribute to a great lady who I was so fortunate to call my mother-in-law. As my brother-in-law Kevin shared at the memorial, she could do a good job of butting in to everyone's business and never thought twice before opening her mouth and speaking her mind, but we wouldn't have wanted her any other way. Now the healing begins as we get back to our routine and learn to not look at the caller ID and know it was her calling on Sunday evenings right as we started a movie or whenever Edgar Martinez was on TV or sometimes even when Chuck Norris was on in Walker Texas Ranger.

I have seen more salt and pepper shakers since her passing and it is nearly more than I can do to not buy them for her as she would scold us if we shared that we saw some and didn't buy them. In the week we spent in Mount Vernon after her passing and leading up to her memorial, I drove past the thrift stores in Mount Vernon multiple times and wondered what treasures she would find in them if she were still here.

She is no longer fighting that awful disease of ALS which robbed her of so many things but left her mind intact. She was trapped in a body that didn't work how she wanted anymore. No more is she trapped!

We were so fortunate to have one last Christmas with her. We originally were to go to my parents' house for Christmas but as we saw her decline, the decision was made that we would bring Christmas to her. My parents brought their tree and ornaments, we brought stockings and gifts and we had a great time sharing Christmas with her. She told me in a note on Christmas Eve that after the holidays she was giving up but I NEVER dreamed she meant 5 days after Christmas.

I love you & miss you Mom and I will treasure forever the memories with you!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Good Bye Ma

After a long battle with ALS, my mother-in-law Betty Arendse passed away peacefully with her family around her in her home in Mount Vernon, WA on 12/30/09. She was a great lady and loved family, ice cream, collecting salt & pepper shakers and talking on the phone. In the last year of her illness she lost her ability to eat and to talk but she never lost her sense of humor or her independent spirit, determined to the end to live life on her terms. We are so happy that we got to spend one last Christmas with her. She lived a tough life, having buried 2 children and a husband. She will live on in our memories forever.