Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Ode to the Pausley's & More Cake!

On Thursday, we had a little good-bye dinner for Pastor and Linda Pausley. It had been three months since we'd seen them, and it was SO nice to be able to talk to them again. They will be leaving for Florida on Sunday night...for good this time. I felt like I was sitting with my most favorite aunt and uncle who I just have this childlike awestruck admiration for. I just wanted to soak in everything they said. Pastor and Linda have been the most amazing examples for Cody and I as we've started down the road of ministry (...marriage...parenting). Anytime we've needed anything, the Pausleys have always been a huge encouragement to us and always had wonderful wisdom to share.
We've had a lot of funny moments with them, too. My favorite was when we went to CalCalifornia, and Pastor and I both showed up at the beach in the same swim trunks. I had borrowed a pair of Cody's since Cloe was such a tiny baby and was still "swollen", as I like to call it! This picture is horribly embarrassing, but it sure adds good effect with the story!
Even as we ate dinner (Pastor Trent and Lydia were with us too), it felt as if we all were kids who just kept asking questions and soaking up answers. When it was time to go, I wanted to shout, "I haven't learned everything I needed to from you--don't go!" We love Pastor and Linda, and I'm confident God is going to use them in great ways in Florida!
So, Lydia and I are kind of back to the lone rangers. Our fearless leader, Linda, is gone. Thankfully, God is in control and continues to not give us more than we can handle (at times I feel like an overstretched balloon, though!). I've really been able to apply the verse that says, "When I am weak, YOU are strong." God also promises to work best through my weakest times. I'm there! Yes, God is truly giving strength! I'm so encouraged by the promise that we will be in eternity with Pastor and Linda, too. I'm asking that my "mansion" be right next to theirs. Then, in the morning, we'll enjoy Hazelnut coffee (Pastor's favorite) and fresh Dutch pastries (Linda's favorite). I'm pretty sure God will work that out--right!?!?
SO, I really was just going to post on another cake...I'm in a rut of loving cake making!
Cody loves raspberries, so I decided to make the Lemon Crumb Cake a Raspberry Crumb Cake. It sort of worked--the filling was really runny, but very yummy! I already know for next time, I'll just put a layer of fresh raspberries on the bottom cake and then add the cream filling (without mixing in raspberries). It should work much better. AND, Lydia said it tasted like "Restaurant Worthy" cake. I just love her! She knows the way to my heart.
Well, I'm off! No kids this weekend! Time for a great all-day date with my man!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A little break-through!

I must admit--I cannot make oatmeal cookies that turn out well for the life of me! AUGH! Last night, I wanted to surprise Cody and make him a few chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies and then make the rest cranberry oatmeal for the kids. The pan of cookies for Cody ran all over like melting ice cream on a screamin' hot day. I told him it was actually special cookie crumble for ice cream. I added some more flour and tried again. The next batch had edges that would nearly be burnt and the tops would be complete dough. Thankfully, the boys aren't super picky cookie connoisseurs as long as it's shaped like a cookie. So this morning, as we headed off to take Cloe to preschool, I passed out the flopped oatmeal cookies. There was a lot of excitement about getting cookies for breakfast!
When I hopped back in the car after taking Cloe inside, the boys were extremely happy and giggly (very unusual for being left in the car alone for 2 seconds). Both boys were waving half a cookie. McClain said, "I share with Carson." Carson giggled and said, "Thank you Clainey!" It was SO cute!
When we got home, the boys got out their toys and started playing. I was in the kitchen, and I heard Carson say, "Love you Clainey." McClain replied, "Love you too Carson." Then they jibber-jabbered at each other--all in complete harmony! It's a miracle!
The rest of the day has gone off without the necessity of spankings! Praise the Lord! It's so nice when you get to see the fruits of the hard work of parenting! Of course, they are heading to my parents' house for the weekend. I think they know. It's all part of their sneaky, devious plan as toddlers. "Let's drive mom nuts and be super naughty so she'll need a break so badly that she calls Grandma. Then we'll go to Grandma and Grandpa's house and be filled to the brim with candy, apple juice, Pringles and canned peaches! The jokes on you mom!"
Anyway, their little lovey behavior doesn't make it easy at all to let them go now, but Cody and I are excited for a quiet weekend! We have a special conference to go to on Sunday night and Monday, so the munchkins will be heading back home on Tuesday. Hopefully the love and harmony will just continue through! If not, I've seen what beautiful harmony can be possible!

(Can you PS on blogs?) If you happen to have a good oatmeal cookie recipe--could you share it--please!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Promised Pictures

Here are my cakes! Obviously I forgot to take pictures before we dug in & I'm severely lacking in photography skills...BUT, we sure enjoyed these cakes! I thought we might have a consensus on which one was better, but it was kind of split down the middle. The girls all seemed to like the Lemon Crumb Cake and the boys all went for the Key Lime Bundt Cake. The biggest complement came from Cody's dad when he said, "These cakes taste like they could be in a cool coffee shop!" That's the idea! Someday we would love to own a coffee shop / children's book store. I'd read cute little children's stories in a whimsical little room to all the children while Cody prepared yummy coffee drinks for their parents. Then afterwards everyone could have gourmet cakes and large chewy cookies! Maybe someday! Until then, I'll just keep dreaming that it might happen and experiment with more cakes & cookies!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday










Easter Sunday was such a special day! We had the annual egg-bake breakfast--the kids seem to really like those egg bakes! I thought the best part was the worship! Of course, I'm a little partial to the one who plans it--but today, he totally brought his "A" game! We sang (well, I played) all my favorite songs in worship and celebration of the Risen Christ! It really seemed to echo loud in my soul today that Christ died for MY sins--past, present, & future. But then, He conquered that grave and hell. He lives today! One of the most special parts was during singing Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone. As if that song isn't powerful enough, we had an amazing artist, Abby, paint an awesome mural. Names of sins were painted and fit into a cross shape that was then covered with red to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ covering all those sins. It was so powerful! Sins that I am so guilty of were covered and still are covered by the blood of Christ. What a fun time to worship God for His gift of a Savior and that Savior paying the penalty for my sins! Today's service will last as a special memory!
Of course, I can't skip over how cute my 3 little sweet peas looked today! The boys had little pinstriped suits and Cloe wore her "wedding" dress from Aunt Calli's wedding. The outfits also had a little angelic affect on their behavior, too! Maybe we'll be getting all spiffed up everyday!
Cody's family came over for lunch and we had a special time grilling out and enjoying lots of wonderful food! The most fun part was hearing Cloe rave over the fact that Jesus came alive after He died for her sins. She explained it with such passion and clarity! I'm praying that she'll soon understand her need for a Savior!
As an end note--the cakes were soooooo good!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let them eat cake!

So, I just posted about not giving my children candy at Easter and now I'm going to post the recipes for the cakes I made for our big Easter celebration--go figure! I love cake! I think in heaven I'll get to try a different kind of cake everyday! Cake is pretty. Cake tastes wonderful. Cake goes well with coffee. Cake makes people happy. Cake is easy to make...usually.
I've found this wonderful blog called Meemo's Kitchen. I have no idea who this person is--they write under the name Pattie Kayke. (Mmmm...cake. No wonder I like them!) Anyway, I found the recipe for Oprah's Favorite Things Key Lime Bundt Cake on this blog. It sells for $40 a cake, but now I have the recipe! It was a little labor intensive, but the whole house smelled wonderful of fresh lime! The next recipe was for Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake. If you have lime, you must have lemon. Right? Also, I know my mother-in-law loves lemon things, and I'm a bit of a kiss-up! So, around 1:30 I set off on my cake baking extravaganza! There was zesting and sifting; whipping and creaming; scraping and blending... At 6:30, I put the finishing touches on the last cake. Phew! These cakes better be the best things we've ever enjoyed for dessert! I'm going to post the pictures from the other blog--but I'll post some of my own soon! I also now know why people pay the $5.95 for a stinkin' piece of cake from a restaurant! It's all about the added love from my kitchen, though...right???

Key Lime Bundt Cake

Cake:
2 Cups extra fine sugar
Zest of three key limes, (2 if using limes) finely minced
1 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs
2 yolks
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons key lime juice
1/2 Teaspoon lime oil or lemon extract
1-1/3 Cups evaporated milk
3-3/4 Cups all purpose flour
4 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon salt

Key Lime Syrup:
3/4 Cup water
1/2 Cup key lime juice
1-1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Teaspoon lime oil or lemon extract

Cream Cheese Glaze:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon each, lemon and lime zest, finely minced
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix together sugar and zest for 2 minute to help release the oils. Add butter to sugar/zest and cream. Blend in eggs, yolks, and extracts on low to blends, scraping bowl. Add in remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth batter.
Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until cake tests done.
Cake will be lightly golden brown and firm to the touch when you press your fingers on it.
While cake is baking make Key Lime Syrup: In a small sauce pan bring all syrup ingredients to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
When cake is done remove from oven and pour all but approximately 2/3 cup of the syrup over cake while still in pan. Pour so syrup goes down sides and around the center tube. Set reserved 2/3 cup syrup aside. Let cake cool for 15 minutes and invert onto serving dish. With pastry brush, coat the top of the cake where glaze didn't reach with syrup.

Let cake cool completely and glaze with Cream Cheese Glaze.
Cream Cheese Glaze Directions:
Soften cream cheese and cream with butter. Stir in lime juice, vanilla, and lime zest. Fold in confectioner's sugar to make a soft, drippy glaze. Drizzle over cooled cake. Allow to set.




Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake

Menu Description: "Delicate white cake and lemon cream filling with a vanilla crumb
topping."
This "Super Secret" version uses a cake mix. Use your favorite brand, just remember that each brand of cake mix may requires slightly different measurements of additional ingredients (oil, eggs). Follow the directions on the box of your favorite brand. Mix the batter and then pour it into a greased 10-inch springform pan and bake until done.

INGREDIENTS:
Cake1 18.25-ounce box Betty Crocker white cake mix
1-1/4 Cups water
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites

Lemon Cream Filling
8 Ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Cups powdered sugar
4 Teaspoons lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 Cup heavy whipping cream

Vanilla Crumb Topping
1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 Cup cold butter
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish
powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Prepare cake following the directions on the box. Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch cake pan or springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely.
2. Make lemon cream filling by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in lemon juice.
3. Whip cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
4. Make crumb topping by combining flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and vanilla extract. Use pastry cutter or your hands to mix cold butter into the flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly - a not so even mixture of little and larger lumps of
flour and sugar covered butter. You want a very crumbly consistency with pieces no bigger than a pea. Keep topping refrigerated until you are ready to use it.
5. After cake has cooled, slice it in half through the middle and remove the top. Spread all but 1/2 cup of the lemon cream mixture onto the bottom half of the cake, then carefully replace the top half of the cake.
6. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of cream filling over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the cake and press it onto the sides of the cake.
7. Chill the cake for at least 3 hours before serving.

A Sneaky Easter!

I realize I haven't actually blogged a lot about what a sneaky mommy I tend to be! I got this great idea from my friend Carrie. I can't take credit for it, but it's a good one! At Easter, our kids are always bombarded with a zillion opportunities to stuff their mouths full of jelly beans. Then would come the annual obligatory Easter basket from the parents--again full of candy! So, Carrie started filling her children's Easter baskets with new sunglasses, flip-flops, swimming suits, and a movie or fun toy. Tomorrow will be our debut of the "candy free" Easter Baskets at the C house! We've got a super stash of movies that I caught as they were released at the cheap prices! I don't know who's going to be more excited to see the Bee Movie again--Cody or the kids! I also picked up cute little sandals for the boys at Children's Place--2 for $5--then take an extra 10% off! Cloe always gets the annual pair of Target brown flowery sandals. They are so cute and last so well throughout the whole summer. We've got some new twisty crayons, too! I actually put it all in a big basket I found at a garage last summer and tied a huge white bow on the top. (My other friend Lydia--the expertise of all at wrapping--would be SO impressed! I might have to post a picture!) So, there you go--my sneaky way around all the jelly bean drool! Don't forget to celebrate the true reason for Easter: Our Savior Jesus Christ is Alive!

Friday, March 21, 2008

End of my rope!

Today I felt like I reached the end of my rope. My children are misbehaving at an all-time record high. Frustrating things are happening: the word "no" is being yelled by all, little people are running in all directions, hair is being yanked, punches thrown, you name it--it's happened. I really hate feeling frustrated with my children and complaining about their behavior. I want to have a peaceful, happy home where love abounds and giggles are heard often.
As I was frustratedly throwing the stroller in the back of the Jeep, I had a little sobering moment. Just as I've been constantly frustrated with the naughty behavior of my children, I can't imagine how frustrated my Heavenly Father must get with my constant lack of contentment, jealousy, gossipping, anger, worrying, lack of time spent with HIM... Of all times, at Easter, I should be pouring time into God's Word and in prayer just being so grateful that He saved me--that He counted me worthy of being one of HIS children when actually I am so unworthy!
I truly am thankful for my children. I know that this process of discipline is a refining that may take time to see the end results. My Heavenly Father never puts me out on the curb and gives up on molding me into the image of His Son... I realize that I need to be begging God for wisdom in parenting, wisdom in being a friend & wife, wisdom in living in harmony.
A couple of weeks ago I taught a Bible Study lesson on having joy in our lives through living in harmony. I didn't really relate this to my own family until today. Romans 15:5-7 is really encouraging: 5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
That harmony in my family doesn't mean that I just have to let the behavior go, but that I discipline with patience and with that enduring, unwaivering love that 2 Corinthians talks about. It means that I don't let frustration build up in me and then think I'm justified to blow my top at my children in anger. It means I keep teaching, disciplining and loving, but not through my own strength. It means that I spend time loving my children and talking to them about obedience being pleasing to God. It means that I encourage my children to do what is right.
Before I laid the kids down for their nap, we spent some time in the rocking chair. I held Carson so tight until he finally quit fighting me and began loving me back. I wonder how many times God has had to do that to me. I don't want to acknowledge what His will is for my life and keep fighting it and trying to find ways around it, but He keeps holding me tight until I give in and begin to look at the situation through His strength. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it somehow does to me.
I'm so thankful for a God of second chances, forgiveness available in abundance, never waiving love. I want to be that type of mom. The mom that doesn't lose her cool. The mom that always has hugs and kisses and a totally forgiving spirit. I'm growing and learning. I'm so thankful that the Lord's mercies are new every morning! I can't wait to celebrate this Sunday and truly let my Savior know how much He means to me!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

For the record...

Well, both burgers turned out well. The kids and I loved ours and Cody loved his. So, I guess we'll just make a few of each next time. No matter what we're grilling--at least that snow has finally melted! It feels so good to be outside and cooking food in nature, well at least on my back deck!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Burgers!


Anytime the snow melts enough to make it to the grill and back without getting wet feet--it's grilling time! We've done several rounds of chicken, hot dogs, and brats already, but tonight it's burger night! Of course, I want to try a new recipe with veggies mixed in, but Cody is starting to balk at the addition of veggies to everything. (He really does love veggies--just not pureed in all of his food...) So, I guess we're going to make one "all-beef" burger and 4 super healthy good-for-you burgers! Then we'll compare who's the happier eater after supper. It's dad vs. mom & the kids! (I hope we win!)

Burgers
1/2 pound lean ground beef (I'm going to use 3/4 pound)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs (1 piece of whole wheat bread)
1/2 c. carrot puree
1/4 c. skim milk
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. pepper
Whole grain rolls or buns

In a large bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, carrots,
milk, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper. Form into patties.
Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side--until no pink is left in the middle.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Berried Delight!

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Easter with my sister's family and my parents. For desert, I made Berried Delight. I also made the "light" version--hopefully it will still taste great!

Berried Delight
1 1/2 c. crushed graham crackers
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
Mix well and press into 9x13 pan. Chill for 15 minutes.

1 8 oz. pkg. light or fat free cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. milk
1 small tub whipped topping
Mix cream cheese, sugar and milk until very creamy. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust.

2 c. strawberries (or any berries of your choice)
Slice and place over fluffy mixture.

2 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 c. skim milk
Mix well and spread over strawberries.
Chill overnight or for several hours. Spread top with more whipped topping before serving.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blondies

Tonight Cody asked if I would make him a special treat. He really wanted chocolate chip cookies. Of course, I took out my Deceptively Delicious cookbook, to which I heard a huge groan... I guess I'm starting to burn him out on the ultra healthful foods! No hidden squash or spinach tonight! So, I pulled out the old trusty recipe for Blonde Brownies. I'm pretty sure there is not one healthy aspect to these bars, but they are sure yummy! Guess we'll get sneaky again tomorrow!

Blonde Brownies
2/3 c. butter (softened)
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips (I like the mini-chips!)

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Easiest Supper Ever!

We're having friends over tonight for supper, and I needed something quick and easy on this busy day! Last week, I found this huge hunk of meat on sale at Target--I'm still not sure if I bought it because it was cheap or because it cracked me up to buy a "butt roast". (Yeah, sometimes I'm still in junior high!) Anyway, thank goodness I bought it! BBQ pork always tastes great and requires so little work!
Next on the menu, who can resist a salad made with Snickers Candy Bars?!?! So, we're whipping up some Apple Snicker Salad. Then we're also having veggies and dip and some funky healthy chips I found on sale at Hy-Vee. Do chips from the Health Section not count in the whole scheme of healthy eating? Well, maybe in moderation...
Anyway, just in case making BBQ pork isn't in the cookbook, here's my version. Here's also my version of Apple Snicker Salad! I made the rich and extra creamy version! Yum!

BBQ Pork
1 roast (any kind, size according to # of mouths to feed)
1 bottle BBQ Sauce (any kind...buy what your husband likes!)

Put roast and BBQ Sauce in crock pot in the morning and cook on medium all day long. Shred meat and discard any fat. Serve on yummy whole wheat buns!

Apple Snicker Salad
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 c. milk
1 small container of whipped topping
4-6 apples
1 King size Snickers or a whole bunch of little ones

Mix pudding and milk well. Fold in whipped topping. Chop apples and candy bar and gently mix in. (You can add different fruit or candy bars--use your favorites!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No Recipe Today!


One of my favorite activities of the day is getting the mail! I know that sounds silly, but for me it's finally the time when all the kids are resting, the toys are picked up, dishes are done, floor is swept, and I'm going to get a minute to sit and relax while reading the mail. Well, today when I opened the front door a wondrous surprise appeared! Some sweet little Girl Scout from our neighborhood had delivered our cookies and stuck them in the front door! All I could think was, "God Bless the Girls Scouts!" We got a box of my favorites, Cody's favorites, and one box for the kids (which we'll probably sneak some from, too!). Just an FYI, the "samoas" have now been changed to caramel delites. They are the best!
SO, no recipe today! Go find your own Girl Scout!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Warm Cinnamon Apple Crisp


We're having dinner with some friends tonight, & I'm in charge of bringing dessert! So, this afternoon my little sous chef and I got busy whipping up something good in the kitchen! I have some cinnamon ice cream in the freezer, so the dessert had to go with that. Warm, cinnamon apple crisp just fit the bill & it's not too hard! The hardest part for our family was finally arriving at this recipe! (We tried SOOOOOOO many recipes that just didn't make the cut for enough oatmeal goodness!) For our family, it has just the right amount of crunchy, chewy topping and warm cinnamony apples!

Apple Crisp
6 cups apples, peeled and sliced thin (or just cut in small chunks if you're in a hurry!)
2 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (melted)

Place apples in a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and butter. Sprinkle over top of apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until top is just browning a little.

Best if served warm with ice cream!
This recipe is super easy to cut in half, thirds, quarters...make the size that fits your family!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Not a recipe, but still a cool story!

Tonight, Cody took Cloe roller skating with our church friends. I didn't really feel like trying to take the boys roller skating--I'm wobbly enough without 2 two year olds pulling on me for balance, too! So, I took the great opportunity to go to Target with 2 kids instead of three!
I found the BEST deal! I was so excited! We've been a little concerned about all of our immune systems getting worn down due to all this cold weather and the sickness that's been around us... BUT sure enough, God knew exactly what I needed to find! Dannon Yogurt makes this immunity builder yogurt which happened to be on sale for $1.10 (down from $3.99). Now right there was enough to make me smile, but it gets better! Some very generous person left a huge stack of $1 off coupons right next to the yogurt. So, you guessed it, I got the yogurt for 10 cents! Woo-hoo!!!!
Thank you, God, for Target bargains!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Enchiladas

Today I found myself sounding like my mom. We wanted to have enchiladas for supper, but I didn't have any enchilada sauce. I never have what I need. "That's the story of my life." Words echoing in my head that my mom always said while I was growing up when "bad luck" would strike.
Well now, we all know we're fighting against turning into our mothers (even though I love my mom dearly and we're super close). So, I set out to find a recipe I could easily make for enchilada sauce. Found one! Boy howdy, it's a great one, too! We like our enchiladas to be "self-contained", so I added the sauce to my meat mixtures and then topped the tortilla rolls with cheese. Yum! Guess "the story of my life" is "I can make this work!"

Enchilada Sauce
1/4 c. chili powder
2 c. chicken stock
10 oz. tomato paste (1 1/2 small cans)
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
This is enough sauce to freeze half for the next meal!

Meat Mixture
1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)

Brown and drain fat off meat. Mix in beans.

For enchiladas:
Mix meat with approx. 1/2 of sauce. Fill tortillas and roll up. Place in 9x13 pan and top with colby jack or monterey jack shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Meat mixture & cheese can be put in tortillas and sauce can be poured over the top. Whichever your husband prefers!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Another Baby Boom!


Well, it looks like we're entering our second big baby boom since our baby boys were born. I'm so excited for all the moms, but feel a little sad that I won't be a part of these "booms" anymore. I love my children, and we have so much fun together, but I'm definitely going to be needing to get a "baby fix" from some "borrowed" babies down the road! For now, I guess I'll just linger over all our cute little pictures and hold tight to the sweet memories of tiny newborns, baby smells, coos, and giggles.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

MaidRites

When you get married, you automatically inherit certain recipes that are family traditions or the husband's favorites... This one is a definite tradition and a favorite of everyone. These sandwiches are not hard and if you look too hard at what's going in, you might not want one. However, they are yummy, warm, not-too-messy maidrites/sloppy joes. They are the best when accompanied by the other C traditions: chips and Mad Butcher Salsa (made in Ruthven, Iowa--my dad's hometown!), celery, pineapple, and Scotcheroos or Rice Krispie Treats.
We had these sandwiches the other night and my "non-sandwich eating" boys LOVED them--Carson even ate two! Holy buckets, we're going to have to buy a cow when these boys hit their stride! They wouldn't even smile for these pictures--just pure focus!



MaidRites
2 pounds ground turkey (frozen rolls of this are pretty cheap at Fareway)
1 can Campbells Chicken Gumbo Soup

Brown meat. (One pound can be used instead of 2, also) Add soup and simmer until mixture thickens. A little mustard can be stirred in if desired. (We don't do this step b/c we're a ketchup & mustard free house.) Serve on hamburger buns.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Italian Beef Sandwiches


Tonight we had a really fun party at our house! A Cancer Free Party for my brother-in-law Cory. He just has one chemo treatment left, but his body is completely lymphoma cancer free! Yeah! Poor guy has been sick or enduring chemo seemingly forever! Can't imagine having to walk through a valley like that at age 22! He's been really strong and his faith in God has really shown clearly to all of us. Can't wait to see him regain all of his strength (and the little hair he lost, too!).
The party was a surprise party--which was kind of a stretch for Cloe to comprehend. I asked her last night if she had kept the secret from Cory. She replied really sarcastically, "Yeah, but that's great. A secret party. Nobody's gonna know about it then. That'll be a great party." So I did a lot of explaining--guess the knowledge of a surprise party isn't automatic for a kid. Then tonight, Aunt Calli and Uncle Cory asked her if she knew why we were having the party and she replied, "Yeah, well you should know, you were the one that was sick." Oh boy, the sarcasm...
For the party, both his mom and mother-in-law pulled out all the stops with great food. We just provided the house. There were 30 adults and 8 kids all celebrating tonight. So glad to celebrate, but also hope we don't have many more of these parties in our family!
Cody's mom made Italian Beef Sandwiches which are a definite favorite we like to enjoy! So easy--a good meal for company, too!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

1 beef roast--approx. 4 pounds (whatever cut--I buy what's on sale :))
2 packages dry Italian Dressing Mix or Seasoning Pouch
2-3 cups water

Place in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
Shred beef and pour in a jar of mild banana ring peppers right before serving (or they get mushy).
Place meat and peppers in a hoagie or brat bun and top with a slice of provolone cheese. (Cody puts his cheese on first so the bun doesn't get soggy!)

*I usually plan on each person eating about 1/4 to 1/3 pound of meat.