Tuesday, November 25, 2008

House Update

So I haven't posted in a while about our front room. Well, my hubby has been very hard at work. The front room now has no walls or ceiling. He's ripped out most of the electrical wires and even put a new doorway to the kitchen. He actually threw himself through the wall to make the doorway, it's funnier if I tell you rather than type it.

Seth has put in most of the new lighting in the room, he's framed out the new fireplace, and put in electrical work in half of the room. I can actually see how it's going to look and I'm happy about that. Tomorrow he and I are going to get a big U-Haul and pick up some 9-foot pieces of drywall as well as most of the insulation for the room. Should make for a fun day!

On a side note, today was my hubby's first full day of his "vacation". He's accepted a new job and doesn't start until December 3rd. Be we don't care because he is going to be working 30 minutes from home, no more 2 1/2 hour commutes to Washington D.C.! Woo Hoo!

Pillsbury Giveaway!

Today over at Meghan's Mindless Muttering she is giving away 3 Pillsbury baskets filled with goodies. I know I can always use a new cookie sheet and some coupons! When you have a chance, check it out. Also check out all the giveaways at The Mother Load Blog. I love that site and because of them I enjoyed my free movies from Red Box. The Mother Load gives a free movie rental code every Monday for Red Box movies. I picked up two movies for the kids last night and as soon as #3 and I are finished baking ice cream cone cupcakes for preschool tomorrow, we're watching Tinker Bell.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kid Friendly Food

Over at Today's Housewife the recipe for the weekend is kid friendly food. I had a hard time deciding what to do for this because my kids don't eat. They love cereal and PB&J, but not much else. But if I make some tomato soup, one thing they will eat is grilled cheese sandwiches. And my almost 8 year-old can make them himself. No stove required!

You need:
2 pieces of bread

Cook your bread in the toaster. Put a little butter on 1 side of each piece. Put the cheese on the buttered side of the bread and put the sandwich together. Cook in the microwave for about 30 seconds and you've got Grilled Cheese!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Medical Mystery Strikes Again

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bunch of little medical problems. Nothing that is terribly serious, I know lots of people who have many more things wrong with them. I'm just allergic to a few things, have hypothyroidism, bouts with gout, and ankle problems. But there is one more problem that I've had since I was 13 and for the first time yesterday I mentioned it to my doctor because it has passed the "irritates me" stage to being a full fledged problem.

My right arm won't go up straight. In fact it pops and cracks every time I try to make a full circle. Lately, it's gotten to the point that I can't pick up heavy things and my shoulder and upper arm hurt constantly. So I finally asked my doctor about it and he swung my arm around and figured out I have bursitis. He told me to take 400 mg of Ibuprofin 3 times a day for 7-10 days and he also recommended I get a steroid shot in my arm. What's one little shot?

Thankfully my hubby and I had back-to-back appointments yesterday so he was in the room with me. He held my hands as the doctor held up this long, thin needle filled with 15 cc's of stuff. It wasn't just the steroid in there, there were 2 different pain killers as well. Before I received the shot I asked if I would be ok to drive and he said yes. So in goes the shot and I cringed a little, my son went running from the room and my daugter positioned herself for a better view. The doctor then told my hubby to stand aside because I was going to kick him since the needle wasn't in all the way yet. WHAT!!! That's when I screamed. I actually screamed! The needle had to go all the way into the joint and he put 10 cc's of that mix into my shoulder. The he moved my arm around and for the first time since I was 13 it didn't pop or crack. WOW!!!

So we go home and have dinner and I take my 400 mg of Ibuprofin with my meal and head out to church for our AWANA program. That's when the pain killers in the shot and the Ibuprofin combined and it didn't react well to me. My brain was fuzzy, I started slurring my words, and I couldn't stop laughing. To sum it up best, someone asked me if I was stoned. I went into the ladies room and saw my pupils were dialated and I thanked God that I'm not actually in the room with any of the kids at church. I stayed out in the hallway and my limited interraction with the kids involved at least 1 other adult present. The other mom's laughed at me because they understood what was going on.

Why the meds had this reaction in me I'll never know. But I do know now that if I have to have another shot down the road, I'll make my appointments for days when I have nothing to do that night!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God is in Control

It's 11:28 pm on election night and I'm listening to John McCain give his concession speech. I'm sad, disappointed and concerned for the upcoming four years. I am proud of my country and the voter turn-out this election. It's exciting to see the first African-American elected to the office of president. But I am concerned over Obama's viewpoints and beliefs and how they will effect our country.

After I cried, (yes, I cried) I cried out to God to His sovereign control over all things. I pray that God can be in control of our leaders and our country. I pray that He will have mercy on our country. I pray that I can continue to be a light to others and that I will be free to continue to worship Him.

Please pray for God to be in control over the upcoming years.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Death By Chocolate

Halloween is a great time to get candy. Forget all the other stuff about it, I just want the candy. The good stuff. I mean KitKat's, Snickers, Reeses PB Cups or Pieces, the works! If you get enough of one type of the good stuff, here's a recipe for you. If you don't, then go buy some candy.

Over at Today's Housewife the recipe for this weekend is ... desserts! No matter what the reason our church is having a meal, I usually bring this. I just change up the candy I use. The few times that I haven't brought it I received multiple comments of disbelief that I didn't bring it. And we're Southern Baptist ... to go to church means food! (Well, it means more than that... a lot more. But we do eat a lot!)

I originally got this recipe from a Pampered Chef party, but I've changed it slightly and it is delicious.

Death By Chocolate
-1 box family size brownie mix -- any kind -- I usually do fudgy chocolate -- bake as directed for 9x13 pan
-2 boxes 4 serving size instant chocolate pudding
-Big tub cool whip
-Caramel ice cream sauce
-Chopped or crushed candy bar of choice -- lots. Put it this way, if I use PB Cups, I get 2 bags of individually wrapped full size cups. Or I'll use 1 box of Whoppers. Butterfingers are a big hit. If you can find them in the little bite-size balls that's even better. You'll need quite a bit.
-A large serving bowl -- when I say large, I mean I use my big punch bowl to serve this. A clear bowl gives the best effect.

Bake brownies as directed on box for 9 x 13 pan. Allow to cool completely. Prepare chocolate pudding as directed. Chop or crush your candy bar of choice.

When brownies are cooled, cut into 1/2" squares. Take 1/2 of your brownies and push them down into your bowl. Top with 1/2 of your chocolate pudding. Top that with 1/2 of your cool whip. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce over the cool whip and put 1/2 of your crushed candy bars on that. Then do it all again! On the top you can get decorative with your candy leaving whole pieces of PB Cups or candy bars on top. Yummy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Pie Elizabeth Style

I'm not letting my gimpy thumb keep me down! Today I baked my first apple pie. Mmmmm! My house smells wonderful and my tummy agrees. I couldn't find a recipe that I really liked online, so I started using parts of one recipe and parts of another and came up with this one. I think I found a keeper!

Pie Crust
1 frozen one works just fine. Try a deep dish, that's what I'll use next time - I didn't this time and had apples left over.

7-8 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4" wedges
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Place pie shell on cookie sheet, set aside.

In large bowl, mix filling ingredients except apples and lemon juice. Mix until combined, add apples and juice and mix again to coat. Pour into pie shell.

In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and oats until combined. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add more flour if too wet. Add pecans and mix together. Pour mixture over top of pie crust.

Put pie into oven and cook 45-50 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes. If you used the aluminum foil, clean up will be a breeze.

When ready to serve, slightly heat 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping in microwave and drizzle over the top of pie. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Yummy!

This weekend at Today's Housewife is favorite fall recipes. Well, this is one recipe I'll make every year!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My First Stitches

Saturday night I got into a knife fight with a watermelon. The knife slipped and I got what I thought was a little cut. I put the knife down and said, "Um, Becky?" to my friend and she calmly put a towel on my hand and told me to go wash it off. She then proceeded to wash the knife. Because you know washing the knife was the important thing.

I came out of the bathroom and showed my hand to a few people who all agreed I needed stitches. I didn't want to go. I was enjoying what I was doing and didn't want to leave my friends. Here's a pic of my hand right after removing the towel. There was a lot more blood than this picture shows.

So off to the urgent care we go. Becky drove me since I needed to keep pressure on my hand. Kudos to her for not stalling my stick-shift car! I think she secretly told the watermelon to cut me so that she could drive the PT Cruiser.

Oh the pain!

Ok, so maybe this was a posed shot. It actually didn't hurt that much. The knife went in so quickly that I almost didn't even feel it. It hurt after I got the stitches when the numbing medicine wore off and the next morning, but not much since. Only when I try to use it too much.

So we may be dorks taking all these pictures, but we had a fun time! The doctor put in 2 individual stitches but had a hard time cause my blood just kept getting in the way. What can I say, I'm a bleeder!

Here's a pic of the stitches. But here's the best picture of them all...

When it was all said and done... I ate that watermelon. Take that! I won!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great Ideas

What started as a simple desire paint the front room quickly change into a major project. Upon taking down some of the wallpaper we noticed several large cracks and found the plaster was black in some places. We also found out that there is no insulation behind the walls. So after careful consideration (which lasted about 5 minutes) we decided to go ahead and do the walls right.

Our version of doing it right means we are ripping out all of the walls, insulating, and putting up drywall in place of the old plaster. My husband was able to get this section of the wall finished and cleaned up rather quickly. It looks like the majority of our work is going to be clean up and we need to decide if we need a dumpster. Which I think we just might.

We have hardwood floors on the first floor and it made me cringe to see them after my hubby had cleaned up this first section this evening. They weren't in the best shape to begin with and we already knew they needed to be refinished, so maybe after we are finished this room he'll get on that. I think we may have opened a can of worms with this project!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Favorite Brunch

Today over at Today's Housewife the theme for Please Pass The... is favorite breakfast or brunch meals. Here is a neat recipe that I found and just love.

Cream Cheese-Raspberry Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 tsp sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 pint (2 cups) fresh raspberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP butter, softened
2 tsp orange juice

Heat oven to 350. Spray large cookie sheet or 14-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I use a round pizza stone) Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. Reserve 4 triangles for topping. On sprayed cookie sheet, arrange 12 triangles in circle with points toward center, leaving a 3-inch hole in center. Press dough to form 14-inch ring. Press seams together to seal. Fold outer and center edges up 1/4 inch.

In medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients except raspberries; mix well. Gently stir in raspberries. (Mixture will be thin.) Spoon filling over dough.

With scissors or pizza cutter, cut each reserved triangle lengthwise into thirds. Place 1 tsp sugar on work surface. Press each dough strip into gar. Arrange sugared dough strips, sugar side up, evenly in spoke-fashion over filling. Press ends to seal at center and outer edges.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter and orange juice; stir until smooth. Drizzle over coffee cake. Serve warm. You can also add a mound of extra raspberries in the center for a garnish. Yum!

Friday, October 10, 2008

October Cooking List

Here is my meal list for the month of October. I'm actually getting bolder in my ventures and have decided to host two cooking days instead of just one. I found out that many of the gals who would like to cook with me do not want to give up their Saturdays with their families (or just can't do it Saturday). I completely understand! So since I'm a stay-at-home mom, why can't I host a mid-week cooking day as well as a weekend day? So this month we have cooking day on a Tuesday as well as a Saturday.

So here's what I'm eating this month. If any of these meals sound appealing to you and you would like the recipe, just leave me a note.

1. Italian Chicken-Tomato Pie
2. Pork Chops with Brown Sugar-Cider Glaze
3. Stromboli
4. Upside-Down Pizza Casserole
5. Stuffed Shells
6. Enchiladas
7. Easy Chicken Bake
8. Parmesan - Garlic Chicken
9. Broccoli Ham and Cheese Casserole
10. Roasted Pork Loin
11. Sausage Pizza Twist
12. Turkey Meatloaf
13. Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken
14. Chicken Pie
15. Birds Nest Pie
16. Italian Pasta Bake
17. Heavenly Chicken
18. Taco Pie
19. Chicken Manicotti
20. Spice Rubbed Steak
21. Mini Italian Meatloaves
22. BBQ Pork Chops
23. Quick Chicken Divan
24. Raspberry Glazed Chicken
25. Tomato Soup with Basil
26. Hamburger Rice Casserole
27. Sausage Casserole
28. Tuna Casserole
29. Crock Pot Easy Swiss Steak
30. Vegetable Primavera

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wallpaper Is Evil!

As you can see from this picture, my wallpaper is pretty. It's a nice floral design that has been in this house for ages! So my hubby and I have decided that it's time to go. Which means, my hubby goes to work and I stay home and amid homeschooling, cleaning, blogging, etc, I get the fun job of stripping the wallpaper. Well, since I'm doing it, you all get to read about it!

I've stripped wallpaper before, we took all the dark blue stuff down out of the kitchen about a year after we moved in. We painted the kitchen, breakfast nook and living room nice green and cream colors. Unfortunately the green turned out too minty and so we've decided it's time for a change. We also decided to rearrange the entire first floor, swapping the dining room for the living room, moving doorways and adding built-in bookshelves and an electric fireplace. We have high hopes! As you can see, this is a rather big room that is covered in wallpaper.

My problem now is this evil wallpaper. It doesn't want to come off. Not only does it not want to come off, it's shredding! AHHH! Underneath the walls aren't drywall, it's plaster and we've found several cracks in just one section alone. Well, the good thing about that, my hubby decided to go ahead and check the walls for insulation and insulate if necessary. (I've been begging him to do this for 3 years!)

On an interesting note, in this picture you can see the original color of the wallpaper (top). When I removed some of the paper near the top, the border came off and revealed the paper underneath. It was a lighter color which would definitely be more appealing. But we're going for a dark rich red and a sage green with gold/cream curtains. It might not sound like much now, but when we're finished I'll post the pictures!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Great Birthday

Why do people stress about turning 30? I know I sure didn't. I had a great day. It started on Friday with a gift from my friend in Pittsburgh, lots of cards arrived in the mail, and my hubby brought home Iron Man on DVD and we watched it together Friday night.

On Saturday I woke up and my hubby made French Toast and the kids gave me some really cute cards! When I get them scanned I'll post them over at The Benge Family blog. My hubby gave me a new GPS for my birthday and bought me a new cook book when we went to the bookstore Saturday evening. He also took me to have a 1 hour massage which was amazing. A beautiful floral arrangement arrived from my Mom and Dad and with the birthday money they sent Seth & I we bought new curtains for the first floor. (I'm sorry, I mean window treatments! lol) Seth and the kids took me out to dinner to Texas Roadhouse and we finished my birthday on Sunday with a trip to Baskin Robbins. Overall, I had a great birthday.

So what's next for me? After I complete a 3 year growth chart of the Sunday school department at my church, I get the fun job of stripping all the wallpaper in my front room. It's pretty wallpaper, but it's old, has holes in places and has some coloring marks (from previous owner's kids) that we can't get off. So we're taking it down and painting and rearranging the entire first floor. Seth is going to build a fireplace and some book shelves to flank it and they will cover one entire wall. The colors are going to be green and red, not the Christmas green and red colors. Although, the red we chose is called poinsettia, but the green is more of a sage color. I'll post pictures of my progress when I have a chance.

So wish me luck, I really dislike stripping wallpaper. But I know that when I'm finished, the room is going to be beautiful!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

Today is my last day of being 29. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I'll turn 30. I've had some fun surprises already today, I got on the scale and saw I lost 5 pounds, my friend who moved to Pittsburgh sent me a birthday present (and it had nothing Steelers on it LOL), I've received several cards from church friends, and I even received a card from my mom -- but I'm not allowed to open that one until tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be fun because my hubby scheduled a 1 hour massage for both of us and he and the kids are taking me to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. The kids are planning on making me breakfast tomorrow morning (with Dad's help of course) and there's a present from Tiger Direct sitting on Dad's desk just waiting for me to open it. It actually got here last week and I'm doing my best not to rip it open!

Speaking of Dad, we are loving having him back home. We're still not loving his commute time but we are making the most of the time that we have with him in the evenings and on weekends. Over at Today's Houswife they have asked for us to share Dad's favorite meal. Well, I asked him what it was and he said those sausage balls you made last week. So this is a meal I've only cooked once but it was amazing. All I have to say.... THANK YOU RACHAEL RAY!

These sausage balls are amazingly easy. It took 15 minutes of prep (if that) and 15-20 minutes to cook. I got this from her 30-minute meals show on the food network. Did I mention I just got cable? Anyways, here's the recipe and you really have to try it out!


2 lbs bulk sausage – any flavor (pork, turkey, chicken, etc.)
1 tub bocconcini – bite size fresh mozzarella in water (in deli section)
1 28 oz can Whole Tomatoes
½ cup pesto

In sauce pan or small pot, mash tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat then simmer to reduce. When reduced, mix in ½ cup pesto and turn off heat.

While the tomatoes are cooking, pour some EVOO onto a baking sheet. Take 12 bocconcini out and set on a plate. Score your sausage into 12 portions. Wrap 1 section of sausage around 1 bocconcini. Roll in EVOO and set onto same baking sheet. Cook sausage balls at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve pesto sauce over sausage balls. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's a cooking kind of weekend

I'm house bound this weekend since it is raining, which means the kids are house bound too. We've read books, watched cartoons, played Star Wars Monopoly, Dora Memory, played the new playstation games we got yesterday with Dad, and still managed to have stromboli and ice cream. During my down times (giggles) I am researching new recipes for this month's cooking day.

In my cyberspace travels I came upon the Baking Delights blog. They are givig away 5 autographed copies of Secret Suppers, a book about chef's, their restaurants, and some of their recipes. All you have to do to enter is leave a post on the blog. (You get 2 entries for blogging about their blog which is why I'm writing this.)

So read my pumpkin pie post, visit Baking Delights and Today's Housewife for lots of fun food recipes. Tomorrow our food of choice is popcorn since #2 is selling it in front of WalMart for Cub Scouts. If you'd like to buy some send me an email and I'll send you the info!

Dan's Pumpkin Pie with Molasses

I am so excited that Thanksgiving is almost here. I don't care about the turkey, in fact I usually eat one little piece then hit everything else. I love stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and lots of biscuits.

But my absolute most favorite part of the meal is the pumpkin pie. I'm not talking bland, store bought, plain pumpkin pie. No, I'm talking about a spiced-molasses pie. MMMMMMM!!!

My grandpop came up with this recipe and now I can't go a Thanksgiving or Christmas without it. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Today's Housewife is doing recipes from Mom (or other family members) this weekend and I thought this would be great.

Dan's Pumpkin Pie with Molasses
1 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 Lg. Can Pumpkin
3 Beaten Eggs
1 2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Molasses
2- 9" pie shells

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. Combine brown sugar, salt and spices. Add remaining ingredients, mix until smooth. Pour into 2 unbaked 9 inch pastry shells and sprinkle with a little cinnamon (or cloves or nutmeg) right in the middle of each pie. (It makes a cool looking effect when finished baking.) Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35 minutes. Let stand uncovered until set. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crock Pot Peppercorn Steak

Over at Today's Housewife the theme for the weekend is Crock Pot Meals. I've got this one in my freezer from cooking day just waiting for me to cook it. Maybe this is what I'll have for dinner tomorrow.

Tonight I had some yummy cheese stuffed sausage balls. That was after I helped my hubby remove our broken front step... Which turned into removing all of our front steps because they are all rotted out. So right now we have no front steps and a bunch of wood in our living room. Hopefully we will have front steps by tomorrow night otherwise we're using the back door for the next 2 weeks. My hubby won't be home next weekend because it is his reserves weekend so if he's not finished then it will have to wait another weekend. Which means he will be working on the steps on my birthday. Let's hope it doesn't come to that!

Anyways, here's my recipe. Enjoy!

Crock-Pot Peppercorn Steak

4 to 6 steaks (use whatever is on sale, it's going to tenderize nicely in the crock; don't buy expensive meat.)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of water
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 chopped yellow onion
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 T Italian seasoning
1/4 t black pepper

PRIOR TO COOKING DAY: Chop Peppers and Onions

CORPORATE COOKING DAY INSTRUCTIONS: Mix tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water, steaks and seasonings in 1 Ziploc bag. In another smaller bag mix peppers, onion, and mushrooms. Place smaller bag in larger bag. Label and freeze.

SERVING DAY INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw and pour directly into crock pot. Mix vegetables into meat mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What a wonderful day!

Today was cooking day. By 2:00 my freezer was once again filled and by 3:00 I had everything cleaned up, put away and the dishes finished. I just finished eating a yummy Crustless Spinach Quiche for dinner and I'm now waitng for my husband to come home. Seth's been gone for a little over a month and this was his final class. So when I say he's coming home, I really mean it!

This weekend over at Today's Housewife the recipe theme is freezer cooking. Hmmm... do you think I might have a recipe to fit that? =D

I'm posting 2 recipes here today. I couldn't decide which one I wanted more, one that is yummy but small, or one that is yummy and large. I'll post the yummy and large one first.

One of the owners of Today's Housewife is expecting a bundle of joy this month -- hence the freezer meals. To help her along I'll be sending her a file with all the recipes I have used so far. If anyone else wants a copy just send me a note!

Note: When freezing meals I highly recommend using Ziploc bags and Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil. I had a bag explode in my freezer (wasn't Ziploc) and the non-heavy duty tend to rip easy.

Chicken Manicotti
3 chicken breasts
¼ tsp Garlic powder – provided
1 box manicotti shells – uncooked
48 oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
9x13 baking pan

Cook chicken in oil, cool and slice lengthwise. Pour 1/3 of sauce into bottom of 9 x 13 baker. Season chicken with garlic powder. Stuff seasoned chicken into uncooked manicotti shells. Line shells into baker. Top with remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze. Attach bag of mozzarella cheese to baker. Label with recipe name and instructions.

SERVING DAY INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw completely. Bake at 350 uncovered for 45 minutes. Top with cheese. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve with garden salad and crusty bread.

Ham and Swiss Pastry Bake
2 cups cooked, cubed ham
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 TBSP minced onion
1 tsp dry mustard
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/3 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing (for serving day)
1 - 9” deep-dish frozen pie shell

Chop ham, grate Swiss, chop celery and bell pepper. Combine ham, cheese, celery, bell pepper, onion, mustard, and lemon juice in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Label with name & instructions and lay in unopened pie shell. Put both into a gallon Ziploc bag to keep everything together.

SERVING DAY INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw ham mixture. Add 1/3 cup mayonnaise and put into the 9” pie shell. Preheat oven to 375, bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Comfort Food

Today's Housewife is asking for your favorite comfort food recipes. There really isn't too much other than chocolate that I consider to be comfort food. But I've got simple recipes for chicken pot pie and snickerdoodles that always hit the spot. In fact they are so easy, I think I'll make some snickerdoodles right now for my mom to take home to dad since she is here visiting and he isn't.

Chicken Pot Pie:
2 rolled pie crusts
3 cups frozen veggies
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups cooked & shredded chicken

Roll out one pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate. In a bowl, mix the veggies, soup and chicken. Pour into the pie crust and top with the remaining pie crust. Bake at 375 for 55 minutes. If you'd like to freeze this recipe just cove with foil and freeze before you bake it. Just be sure to defrost completely before you bake it.

1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Combine butter, sugar and eggs. In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients and stir into dry mix. Chill dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400. Roll dough into 1-2" balls and roll into topping mix. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September Meal List

I'm moving my once-a-month meal list over to this blog so I can keep the family blog for family stuff. :-) So here is what we will be cooking this month. If you would like the recipe to any of these meals please send me a note and I'll send you the recipe. Happy Cooking!

1. Grilled Orange Chicken Fingers
2. Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
3. Chicken Noodle Casserole
4. Chicken & Tomato Rice Bake
5. Chicken Pie
6. Oven BBQ Chicken & Cheesy Biscuits
7. Glazed Pork Tenderloin
8. Texas Chili
9. Crock Pot Peppercorn Steak
10. Crustless Spinach Quiche
11. Cranberry Pork
12. Peking Pork Chops
13. Crock Pot Cowboy Stew
14. Chicken Broccoli Rotini
15. Heavenly Chicken
16. Stromboli
17. Chicken Caesar Casserole
18. Hearty Beef Chili
19. Meaty Biscuit Cups
20. Sausage and Rice
21. Italian Stuffed Meatloaf
22. Lasagna
23. Upside-down Pizza Casserole
24. Black Bean Soup
25. Marinated Flank Steak
26. Chicken Nuggets
27. Meal-In-One Potatoes
28. Cheesy Ham and Potatoes
29. Steak Fajitas
30. Stuffed Sausage Balls

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grandpa's Macho Nachos

Once a week I will be posting various recipes. The theme will be whatever Today's Housewife decides is the theme. Last week was chicken and you can find my Heavenly Chicken recipe here.

This week is Grandpa's Macho Nachos. These are super easy and yummy too. My dad came up with these and whenever my daughter is there she has to have them. Not to mention I have to have them! Here it goes!

1-2 lbs ground beef
Taco seasoning packet
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese
1 can refried beans
taco sauce
Tortilla chips

Cook the ground beef, drain. Add taco seasoning and whatever water it says to add. In a bowl chop the Velveeta and 1/4 cup of milk. Microwave and stir every 30 seconds or so until it comes out nice and creamy and able to be drizzled out. Add more milk if necessary but don't make it too soupy.

Chop all your veggies, cook the refried beans. Now comes the fun part. On a plate put some chips down. Crush them if you want or leave them big. Put on some meat and some of everything else. Everyone in my family has their own "style" of layers. Here's what I like: chips, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, taco sauce, salsa, more cheese. Yummy! My mom puts beans on her meat and saves the cheese for top only. The fun part is figuring out what order you like your meal in. It's quick, easy and fun for everyone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chicken Pox

It's not the first time I've had them, it's not even the second. It's the fifth (yes 5th) time I've had them. I am a medical mystery. The doctor told me that since I never get a severe case, my body won't build up an immunity like most people. Unfortunately that means I can keep getting chicken pox again and again. So I missed the Family Fun Fest at church, I've been banned from going to church tomorrow morning and to top it off I'm absolutely alone all weekend. My hubby is in Kentucky, the kids are at Grandma's house (#2 has chicken pox too but Grandma still took him and #3), and our roommate is working all weekend and staying as far away from me as possible.

I'm bored!

I've mowed my lawn, weed whacked, weeded my garden, played computer games, watched a movie, watched the Olympics, did some shopping online, ordered Chinese for dinner, and watched more Olympics. I guess my problem is I have no one here to talk to. But now I'm starting to really itch and am missing my hubby because there is just something about having him here that makes me feel better. Friday I'll pack the kids up and head down to Kentucky to spend Labor Day weekend with him. His birthday is next weekend so it will be nice to spend it with him. Maybe in my "house arrest" I can find a present for him online. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can't Stop Time

My hubby made the comment the other day that this will be my last year where I am part of "Rock the Vote". Then he said, "Oh wait, you'll be too old by the time the election comes!" After I jumped on him I proceeded to remind him that he hasn't been part of Rock the Vote for several years. I'm not worried about turning 30 this year. Actually I'm looking forward to it. I have about a month and a half before the big day and I'm ready for it. At that time I'll have my hubby home for a while (with the military who knows how long it will actually be) and I'm looking forward to some time to spend with him.

I'm not one to try to stop time and stay 29 forever. I'm looking forward to being 30. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is looking 30. My kids commented on my wrinkles around my eyes the other day and I told them they were smile lines. They are lines that represent happiness and they are nothing to be ashamed about. My kids didn't buy it, but I don't care. If I can be happy and enjoy my life then they will see happiness in our family. I want to have fun with them and love them and let them see and remember that love.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sad Summer

Summer should be a happy, fun time. Well, it has been both of those for me. We've spent a week with my parents, had my step-daughter here for 6 weeks, gone to the Baltimore Aquarium, Orioles games, minature golfing, VBS, gone swimming and more. It has been a fun summer.

With all that fun it has also been a sad summer for me. I've said goodbye to my best friend who moved, goodbye to my parents when they went back home, goodbye to directing VBS, goodbye repeatedly to my hubby every time he goes away this year, and this morning I said goodbye to kid #1. She left this morning to go back home and we probably won't see her again until next summer.

It's hard being across the country from her. I know it was the right decision to move to PA. She is in good hands with her Mom and she has friends where she is at. I would love to have her here more but it's just not probable. But I hope she has had a great time with us this summer and I hope we get to see her soon.

So today I'll focus on #2 and #3 and help them deal with waking up with #1 already gone. We will walk to the ice cream shop down the street, play some games, read books together and spend some time with Daddy before he gets ready to go back to Kentucky in just over a week. We are looking forward to the street fair in town this weekend and having our friends over for dinner on Saturday.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Oh the things we do for our friends! My best friend recently moved away and as a parting gift she gave me a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt.

I hate the Steelers!

I mean come on! I am a born and bred Philadelphia Eagles fan. I bleed green. But on a side note, she did buy herself an Eagles shirt to wear. It's actually very fun, at some point we both have to wear our shirts and we will exchange them before the start of the football season this year. Well, with football fast approaching, I decided to give it a shot, and here's my proof. I'm not just staying at home and hiding today. I've already been to the bank, Turkey Hill for a coffee, a friend came over to cut the kids hair, and we will be going to the library as well. I know my friend did wear her Eagles shirt already because she came over after work wearing it. I will say that I am looking forward to exchanging the shirts back but at the same time am sad because of my friend moving. Oh the things I would do for her!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Finale

VBS ended last night. All the decorations came down and were passed along to another church this morning. It was an amazing week with a wonderful turnout. We had 136 students come through our doors and we were able to spread the word of God to each of these kids and their parents.

With the close of another VBS I'm sad and excited at the same time. It is difficult being the person in charge; trying to get people to sign up to work, planning the week's events, and dealing with the issues that arise. But the feeling of elation at seeing all of those kids learn about Christ makes it all worth it. Now that it's all said and done I realize that I won't be the director next year. I've stepped down from the position so I can do something else, be part of the worship team.

I worked on the worship team a couple years ago and I loved it. Being director made me miss it since I was unable to help because I was running around doing other things. I like doing the music and the motions, I guess it's the cheerleader in me. I'm excited to be part of worship next year, I might even be in charge of it. I'll make the final decision for that later when I find out the date of VBS and the date of when my hubby is going out of the country next summer. If they coincide then I'll have to make a choice of Bulgaria or VBS. But that's next year.

Overall I am very pleased with the events of this week. I'm thankful for all of the workers who helped, especially the ones who stayed until 11:00 last night to help take down decorations. Next on my plate -- clean my whole house and do a ton of laundry before my hubby comes home from Turkey tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Survival or Obedience?

Tonight was the first night of VBS at my church. I have been planning and working for the last 6+ months getting ready for tonight. I was amazed to see 66 kids had preregistered and we had a total of 84 kids come tonight. I was unsure of how many kids and workers we would have and as director, I stress over the numbers. But there was one thing I had to keep reminding myself...

Whomever God wants to be at VBS this week will be there.

God wanted those 84 kids there. He wanted each of the 41 workers there. He wanted us to teach those kids through the music, games, craft, and lessons through the night. He wanted to be in control and me to let Him.

Letting God be in control is the hard part. The easy part was to sit back tonight and watch it happen. Basically, my job is over. Sure I have administrative work to do but that doesn't take too long. I get to spend my nights this week going around and giving small gifts to each teacher and worker. I get to walk around and watch the classes. I get to see the kids get excited over the songs and crafts, the games and lessons. I get to watch the teachers sit back and see the joy in the kids faces. I've done my best to prepare the church and workers for VBS but I was just the middle man. God is the one who prepared these teachers and I am thankful that He did.

I've been so worried that things wouldn't fall into place. I've been absent from the decorating of the church due to family commitments and so when I arrived Sunday morning to church and saw all the amazing decorations I about cried. I can't even begin to tell how awesome the whole church looks. God sure put a creative spark into our decorating committee and I hope they never stop using their talents. (God skipped that talent when He made me. But He did give me the admin qualities that I need for this role.)

Why have I been so worried for the last month? Why can't I remember this elated feeling when I'm preparing for something like this? I know I felt this way last year but I couldn't remember that. I just got worried and stressed and angry and and and... If I had only let God really be in control I would have saved so much heartache. Thankfully, I have the ability to learn from what I have done and hopefully I will learn from this.

Praise God for His blessings.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Walk in His Ways

I came home last night from my Walk to Emmaus. It was an amazing experience. I can't go into too much detail because what happens at Emmaus stays at Emmaus. The theme was "Walk in His Ways" based on Philippians 3:12-14, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Some things I have been struggling with for a while now are the lies that I'm continually fed about everything and tend to believe, my past, the hurt and disappointment that I receive from others, and many other things. While I was there this weekend God worked in my heart to let go of my pain, anger, disappointment, fear, anxiety, all that stuff. I spent a good part of the weekend crying but it was the best thing for me. God moved in the lives of everyone there and I am so glad I was part of it.

God gave me a song while I was there. Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns was sung and it quickly became my theme song. Here is part of that song:

But the waves are calling out my name, And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me, time and time again,
"Girl, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I couldn't make it through this song even once this weekend. I cried too much. Some were tears of pain and some were tears of joy at hearing the truth.

I learned that my family is the body of Chrst. He loves me unconditionally and shows me that love through the body. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to attend this walk. I can't wait to bless someone else by being a sponsor or being on team for another group. I also want to spread the love that I feel from God to everyone I come in contact with.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fighting on the Right Level

I'm getting ready to go on a Walk to Emmaus weekend at the end of this month. The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal weekend. I've seen several members of my church attend already and have watched them come back on fire for Christ. I'm completely excited about it.

With that excitement I am also feeling overwhelmed right now. Not about the weekend but about everything else. My daughter is wetting herself again, my son doesn't want to do his school work. Neither one of the kids seem to be obedient at all lately and have been talking back. I'm having issues with people that I shouldn't be having issues with. I miss my husband and am taking care of everything at home.

I feel like everything that can possibly go wrong is going wrong right now. I feel like around every corner something is attacking me. But then I spoke with someone the other night who went on an Emmaus Walk last year. He said I would be under attack over the next 2 months because Satan doesn't want me to go to Emmaus and doesn't want me to glorify God afterwards. I stewed on that thought for a couple of days and realized he was right.

Everything that I'm dealing with I'm able to fight. Not with my fists but on my knees. Since I have realized all this I have an amazing sense of peace that only God could provide. I pray that I can keep God at the head of my actions and thoughts especially over the next 2 months. That I may have the strength to continue to take care of my house, teach my son's school, potty train my daughter and not lose my temper. Please keep me in your prayers as well.

Changes Already

So I'm changing the parameters of this site already. I've decided that this is going be my personal site and I've created another site dedicated to the family. www.thefamilybenge.blogspot.com is the new site. Check that one out for updates on the whole family.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Kids and Cars

Wednesday night the kids participated in the AWANA Grand Prix at our church. Kid #1's car looks just like his Daddy's new mustang. Kid #2's car is an ocean scene with the Little Mermaid. They both painted their cars and kid 2 picked the seashells (or sheshells as she says) and the mermaid to go on her car. Neither won any prizes but they loved seeing their cars racing down the track. #1 is already planning out his car for next year. I have no idea how to make the Batmobile so Daddy better prepare for that one!

Notice #1 has no top front teeth. The tooth fairy was busy at the Benge house over the last week. At least she didn't forget like she did with the previous tooth!

New Blog Site

To all my friends who are not on myspace, I've decided to post my blog here as well as there. I don't post frequently as I usually don't have time, but when I do it's usually something important enough for me to share.

I don't expect frequent comments or any at all. Maybe you'll enjoy my posts, maybe you won't. I tend to post more for me rather than anyone else.