Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy Vegetable Stew

I'm really looking forward to the fall--which has me thinking about my favorite fall dishes!  Cue the delicious vegetable stew!!  This one has a lot of ingredients, but only a few steps.  There isn't much preparation, it requires few dirty dishes, and is done within an hour!  Give it a shot--I committed it to memory after a few attempts.  It's worth it! 

1 1/2-2 lbs stew meat
32 oz frozen bag of vegetables (I buy the bag that has corn, green beans, carrots, and peas in it)
1 Can tomato Sauce
1 Can diced tomatoes
One Garlic clove, minced.
One medium onion, minced.
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped.
1/2 Cup Ketchup*
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Two bouillon cubes
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
Water--about six cups
Optional: Better than bouillon

*Ketchup is very important to this recipe.  It tastes very bland without it.  So, I wouldn't recommend skipping it. 

  • Sear meat in oil and garlic.  Add "Better than Bouillon" now if you wish. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water (usually at least 6 cups)
  • Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Make sure potatoes are soft before serving. 

I love to serve this stew with cornbread.  Also, I'm convinced it's more delicious the next day.  Even my husband, who isn't a huge fan of vegetables, loves this recipe!  Best of all, besides the potatoes--you can consider all of this non-perishable food!  So, you can keep it all on hand for when you are in a bind!  :)  I hope you enjoy this stew as much as we have!!   

Crawling, diarrhea, and a hurricane! Oh my!

Aren't you jealous?  Wouldn't you just LOVE to spend the weekend dealing with these three items?  Well, the first is kind of exciting.  The munchkin has finally started to crawl!  He has spent the past few weeks rocking back and forth--and scooting along.  But, this weekend, he FINALLY put it all together in the fluid "crawling" movement.  Hooray!!  I'm so excited!  (and slightly terrified!!!) 

Then there was the diarrhea--happy day!! (Note the sarcasm)  My little one had issues this weekend.  I feel so bad for him.  At first I thought it might have been the cold that he was finally getting over, or perhaps the change in his schedule.  But it occurred to me that his formula cans that were delivered looked a little different than the old ones.  (My son has formula delivered because he has a severe allergy to the protein found in milk.  So, he has to drink prescription formula--which is delivered.)  I wondered if that could be the problem.  Perhaps they had changed more than the packaging.  So, today, I called the company.  They changed the formula--and somehow, no one informed me.  More than 36 hours of diarrhea later, they are overnighting the old formula to me so that I can slowly switch him to the new stuff. 

Finally, the lady of the weekend--Irene.  Of course, the men are away right now, which left the women and children (and dogs) to fend for ourselves.  The actual hurricane part of a hurricane isn't where the work is.  The work is in the preparation and cleanup.  Ugh.  I won't write the details, but let's just say that us women did a fantastic job of prepping our homes and vehicles for this storm.  We survived TWO storms this weekend.  Irene, and the storm of having three wives, four kids, and two dogs in one house.  For an entire weekend.  Ah...memories. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Military law.

mil·i·tar·y law [mil-i-ter-ee law] : The proposition that if something can go wrong, it will (the instant your husband leaves town).

It's military law.  Everything is fine....things are going major repairs on the house.  All electric appliances are working.  All children are healthy.  Then, BAM!  Husband leaves and it all just goes haywire.

This week, military law has struck.  With a vengeance. 

Let's start with my seven month old having a terrible cold.  TERRIBLE.  He can't breath when he lays down--poor lil guy.  So, laying down to sleep can be quite precarious. 

Then, yesterday, my phone was stolen while at the mall.  My lovely, wonderful, iphone4.  :( It had all of my pictures on it, my applications, my music....

So, yesterday, was spent running around looking for it, then running to AT&T to suspend my account, running home to get my husband's old phone, going back across town to AT&T to get the old phone working, and finally heading home.  All of this with a baby....with a cold. 

Today, my dogs broke down the fence and got into the neighbor's yard.  Joy.  I had to run a few errands, and while leaving walmart, I spilled coffee all over the driver-side floorboard.  Awesome.  (It had cream in it too--so I'm sure my car will smell delightful...)

Dare I ask what tomorrow, or this weekend holds?  Oh wait!  There is a Category 3 hurricane headed our way.  Glorious!  Have I mentioned that we haven't had a hurricane all year?  Of course, it makes perfect sense that we would have a hurricane roll in during the ONE weekend that my husband won't be here. -_-

I am not enthused. 

So, let's HOPE and PRAY that this hurricane doesn't cause major power outages.  Because THAT one, my friends, would really just take the cake. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

A message, from a member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2006! Whoop!

As I was perusing facebook today, I saw a nasty comment directed at Texas A&M about this whole SEC thing. 

If you aren't from Texas, then let me prep you with the background info.  UT (or t.u. as my Aggies call it) and A&M are big rivals.  I will admit that the University of Texas has done very well in football over the past decade and A&M has been hot and cold.  Because of this, there are a lot of fair weather fans of UT.  These people pick which school to support based on their football program.  Which is fine.

I don't have a problem with people that support UT football--whether they are UT students or just people that like UT football.  But, if you didn't go to UT, yet are a UT football fan--why do you then feel entitled to put down the A&M football program?   As if you are a PART of that university?  NEWS FLASH!!  You are not.  Just because you went out and bought a burnt orange shirt with horns on it doesn't make you a Longhorn. 

I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that's fine.  But, go back to your ACTUAL school and pick a rival in your own division.  Or, graduate from UT.  Until then, you should keep your opinions about my Aggies to yourself. 

Thanks and Gig 'em!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The feather duster: Good enough for company (except the in-laws)

There are important truths in life that you can never learn from a book. 

Truth #563:   The feather duster: Good enough for company (except the in-laws).

This morning, while the coffee brewed, I ran a quick feather duster over the house.   As I was dusting a few pieces in my son's room, I got to thinking--this is good enough for now...but when my in-laws come to visit, I need to be much more thorough about the dusting (and cleaning for that matter)

Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws.  They are wonderful.  But, my mother-in-law keeps an immaculate house.  IMMACULATE.  While I was growing up, my mother kept an amazingly clean house too.  I remember as a young child thinking that Mom vacuumed to keep the lines on the carpet straight.  (She vacuumed every day)  I too vacuum every day--or at least every other day.  However, my house is not immaculate.  You see, I have these two giant dogs.  They shed, bring dirt in, slobber, and are generally a nuisance to me.  I still love them dearly, but my house would be cleaner and would stay cleaner if they didn't reside here.  Seeing how clean my mother in law keeps her house is a little intimidating.  I mean, it's perfection.  My house will never be that clean...but I can try, right?

I don't want my in-laws to think that I'm raising their grandson in a pig sty. I have resigned myself to the fact that no matter how many times I sweep, vacuum, or mop, my little crawler will still have dog hair on his hands and probably in his mouth.  It doesn't seem to bother him.  :)

So, in order to put my best foot forward with the in-laws, I'll be a cleaning fiend before their arrival.  How about you?  Do you do anything special when your family comes to visit?  Do share!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork BBQ

Need to feed a large group?  Don't have a grill?  Try this!

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork BBQ
Super easy!  Delish!  Good for days--so make extra!

1 pork roast (about four pounds)
Root Beer--a six pack or a 2 liter
1 Bottle of BBQ sauce (I recommend staying away from sweet sauce--you'll get sweet from the root beer)
1 onion (you can have more if you like onion in your BBQ--we just use it for flavoring)
Salt and Pepper--just a few sprinkles

  • Cut an onion in 3-4 pieces.  Leave them big enough to take out easily later.
  • Put the pork roast in the crockpot.
  • Fill it with root beer so that the roast is half way covered.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours
  • Take out roast, pull apart with a fork on a plate
  • Get a ladle and drain some of the rootbeer (more than half)
  • Take out onions and discard
  • Add roast back, and pour bottle of BBQ in the crockpot
  • Add minced onions if you like
  • Mix and add more rootbeer as needed (depends on how juicy you want your BBQ to be)
  • Let it cook in the crockpot on high for an hour or so
  • Serve on buns with whatever sides you like (we like potato chips--so easy!)
This is so easy, and pretty amazing.  It's good to make and then have a BBQ sandwich for lunch all week!  I highly recommend it!

I'm no Betty Crocker...

Alright. I wish I was one of those women that just loved cooking. I wish that I enjoyed the smell of something baking in the oven, the aroma of something simmering on the stove, or the beauty of a meal plated perfectly.  But the sad truth is--I don't like to cook. I find it tiring, stressful, and it gets very hot in the kitchen. Being that I am only six months postpartum, I tend to have hot flashes these days. (More on the joys of motherhood in another post)
In fact, it is not uncommon for me to ruin a recipe.  I'm kind of a disaster in the kitchen--needing multiple trips to the store for one recipe, misreading directions and making dishes that are inedible.  My husband just grins and shakes his head.  Never critiques my cooking. He's so kind.

But...I do enjoy feeding my family. I decided that I would occasionally post recipes to my blog. However, I must warn you. These are not recipes that require lots of dishes, measurements, effort, and time in the kitchen. They are--what I strive to find. The easiest recipes ever that require minimal effort but are still quite delicious. They are difficult to screw up--because I am no Rachel Ray. Also, most of the time, you can remember them--so no cookbook required. (Although I do keep them written in a cookbook of my own--I just rarely have to use it.)

So, here is your fair warning. My recipes will not make you feel or look like an amazing cook.  They aren't made from scratch.  They  are not gourmet, or intricate.  They are simple.  Delicious.  And very casual. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

But I am le tired...

I have always heard the term, "Oh, I slept like a baby"---exactly what does that mean?  Does it mean that you wake up at the most inopportune times?  Sleep for a few hours and awake screaming for a bottle?  Wake as soon as your sweet mother falls asleep?  UGH.

First of all--if you don't know me very well, I need to tell you something.  Sleeping in, for me, is the most glorious thing in the world.  When I have the opportunity to sleep in, nothing else matters.  All I care about it getting to stay asleep.  Falling asleep has always been difficult for me.  But sleeping in--late into the morning---ah!  That's just heaven!  When I was six, my mom and dad had to come wake me on Christmas morning to tell me that Santa had come!  I told them that the presents would still be there later, promptly rolled over, and fell asleep again.  In the mornings, I am constantly running late because EVERY morning, it is quite possibly the most difficult feat of my life to drag my body out of bed.  What can I say, I am a sucker for sleeping in. 

In college, I adopted a puppy--Molly.  I was convinced that she was my puppy soul mate because at 8 weeks old, she slept until 10am and didn't wake me until she REALLY had to use the potty.  I was in love.  I would get up, let her potty, and return to bed--and so would she! :) 

I knew that when I became a mommy, I would have to kiss this love affair goodbye.  Babies don't "sleep in"--I knew this.  I had fully prepared myself for this.  I had prepared myself to have to get up with him in the beginning.  I knew I would be getting up to feed him for a couple of months.  However, I had optimistically hoped that my son would take after me.  I was sleeping through the night--12 hour stretches at three weeks old.  THAT is how much I LOVE sleep.  I thought, perhaps, he would be a good sleeper. 

Cue the Ruiner of Things.  My munchkin is still not consistently sleeping through the night.  We had a spell for about a week and a half where he would sleep great.  The past few nights, it's back to the old routine.  Up an hour or so after I fall asleep to eat.  
I was not ready for this.  Six months later, and I'm still having to get up.  I feel violated.  This interrupted sleep is really starting to get to me. 

One day, I'll look back and miss this, right?  I'll just keep telling myself that.  :)

I know that in the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal.  I love that little boy so much.  He's such a blessing from God.  I love being his mommy, and I'm so thankful that he is happy and healthy.  But I am le tired...

The Ruin-er of Things

A few years ago, some dear friends of ours had a precious little girl.  And I do mean precious!  They would affectionately call her, "Monster" when they spoke to or about her.  "Hey Monster, whatcha doin?"  "The Monster is hungry" etc.  She was SO precious, and such a sweet little baby.  We couldn't figure out why.

Then we had a baby of our own. 

Sure, he's precious.  And cute.  And I sometimes want to eat his face a little--the cuteness is overwhelming. But, he is definitely a little monster.  Napoleon-esk.  Because he's angry and little.  Not all the time, of course.  At times he is a happy baby.  But if he's tired, or hungry--he's angry.  Napoleon. 

When I push him in the stroller, I often think of this scene.  A tiny being that is in control.  The entire video is funny, but the specific part I'm speaking of is at 2:40 into the video. 

Ok...back to the topic.  When my son was only a few weeks old, my husband and I were chatting about how different our life had become.  Now we understood why our friends called there little girl, "Monster" and decided we should have a nickname too.  We threw around a few titles.  Beast was a favorite.  The "Beast" is waking up, or the "Beast" is hungry.  We thought that was ok.  I decided it sounded kind of like a WWF wrestler.  Then, it came to me.  We shall call our child, the "Ruin-er of Things"--yeees!! 

Now, let me tell you--we LOVE our son!  We wouldn't trade him for the world!  So, this is definitely an affectionate term for him--which will probably be dropped long before he can understand it.  And mainly, his nickname around the house is Munchkin--said in a lovey high pitched voice.  But we also refer to him (never address him) as The Ruiner of Things.  For example, we have to hurry and eat our dinner before the Ruiner of Things decides it's time for him to eat.  We have to be home each night at 6pm because that is the Ruiner's bedtime.  And so on.

We think it's fitting.