Saturday, July 19, 2014

From Paper Stack to Paper Pad

After spending several days cleaning out file folders, I was left with a sizable stack of paper to recycle. Because most of the paper only had print on one side, I began looking at various ways to make scrap paper pads.  I thought about stapling one edge, but what's the fun in that?  What I really wanted was to make some of those tear off notepads.

My research revealed that there are products that can be purchased for notepads or binding books, but I was really hoping to find a product that I already owned.  I was not disappointed.  Several sites mentioned that Elmer's school glue could be used for projects just like this and I happened to have a ton of the stuff.  

The materials

Cut the paper to a desired size, even out, and clamp.

Using a small paint brush, apply a thin layer of glue to one edge 
and clamp.  Allow the glue to dry for about two hours, then repeat.  
Allow another two hours of drying time.

The finished product!!

The process was easy worked!!!  The notepads hold together well and I have to admit that putting these things together made me think of my Pa.  He was always working on interesting projects.  So Pa, this one's for you!!  And the service project?  I've found an organization that can use them!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hello Motivation My Old Friend

It's been almost nine months.  During that time, we have moved twice; first into the temporary itty bitty house and then into our permanent home.  We have found a church, a homeschool group, and doctors.  We're using our GPS app a little less each month and finding great things to do as a family.  We're growing new friendships here and strengthening old ones back in Houston.  Austin may be kind of weird, in ways, but the people are really friendly.

When I first found out that we were moving, I was positive I would be miserable, but the fact is that I began to fall in love with the Hill Country from the minute I stepped out of my car in Lago Vista.  The air smelled different and there were deer everywhere.  Over the past nine months, I have slowly made this new place our home.  I love the relaxed pace, the opportunities for outdoor fun, the amazing food, awesome sunsets, the dark skies at night and the lightning bugs at dusk.  We saw more bluebonnets in the month of March than I've enjoyed in my entire life up until that point.  Everything's different here, but that's okay.  Our environment is healthier and we find that we're taking better care of ourselves.  I also love the wealth of history surrounding this area. Because we have stepped out of our comfort zone in one of the biggest ways possible, it's easier to make other, much needed changes in our lives.  I may have had my doubts in the beginning, but this move has been a good thing for us.

Since making peace with our new surroundings and accepting that my attitude is responsible for whether, or not, I find joy, something else has motivation and creativity.  Over the past week, I've found myself planning projects and trying new things.  I loved doing that before we moved, but got out of the habit. Now that our summer travels are just about through and we're settling into a good routine at home, I find myself once again looking for fun stuff to try.  It's time for a little fun.  Up first....a service project involving a pile of copy paper that I saved from the recycle box.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

Button mushrooms
Olive oil
Garlic seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After cleaning mushrooms, arrange them, in a single layer,  in a baking dish. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic seasoning. Toss to coat.  Bake 20-30 minutes, or until tender and a rich brown color. 

Easy Crock Pot Recipes

This page will bu under perpetual construction. I love using my crock pot and am always looking for new recipes. If you have a family favorite and would like to share, please do so in the comments section or send me a message!!

Creamy Ranch Chicken
Salsa Chicken

Up next...creamy corn casserole.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Collette's Creamy Ranch Chicken

This evening, my family was treated to a delicious crock pot chicken dish shared by my friend, Collette.  The recipe was simple to prepare, required only five ingredients, and had a wonderful flavor.  I served the chicken with roasted mushrooms, broiled green beans, and a delightful salad (prepared by my youngest).    I can't wait to enjoy this chicken again, but this sauce would also be good over pork chops, roasted mix veggies, or pasta.

Creamy Ranch Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz. cream cheese
1 packet ranch seasoning mix
Corn starch
Heavy cream

Lightly drizzle oil in the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken in crock pot, set to low, and cover. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, warm cream cheese with a splash of cream to create a thick sauce. Pour over chicken, then sprinkle ranch seasoning mix on top. Cook on low about 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through. 

Remove chicken and whisk sauce briefly.  Thicken sauce with corn starch, of desired. Sauce will thicken upon resting.   Spoon over chicken and serve. 

This picture makes me laugh. It shows what was going on behind the plate
when I took the photo at the top of the post. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Here's what's on the menu in our house this week. This page is under construction, but I'll update throughout the day and share it upon completion. Recipes will be added daily.

Breakfast: Fruit and toast
Lunch - Salsa chicken, rice, tortillas
Dinner - Bacon two ways (BLT's and bacon w/eggs), skillet potatoes, fruit

Breakfast - Eggs, toast, fruit salad
Lunch - Salsa Chicken soup, cheese quesadilla, sliced apples
Dinner - Chili dogs w/ fruit salad (followed by popcorn and a movie)






Sunday, November 24, 2013

Audrey's Salsa Chicken - Three Different Ways

For my birthday, my oldest daughter treated me to a new crock pot. I absolutely love practical gifts, but after a month of preparing meals from a single skillet, I really appreciated receiving this cooking tool.  I spent a bit of time on the Internet and then turned to my friends for simple, crock pot chicken recipes that they like to serve to their families. I absolutely hit the jackpot.  Thirteen friends responded with delicious sounding recipes. I'm going to try them all and share the recipes with you.

Because of the ingredients that I already had on hand, today I prepared the Salsa Chicken recipe shared by my friend Audrey.  The dish was delicious, easy to prepare, and required a minimal number of ingredients commonly found in the pantry and fridge.   It was a hit with my entire family.  I served the chicken with Spanish rice and fresh tortillas.   This is going to become one of my Sunday lunch meals.

The beans and corn, added to the chicken, created a very filling meal.   Seven chicken breasts not only fed my family of four today, but resulted in enough leftover for lunch tomorrow.  My husband will be enjoying his portion wrapped in a tortilla with cheese and sour cream.  For me and the girls, I shredded the remaining chicken and returned it to the corn and beans.  The Salsa Chicken, combined with a can of chicken broth, will give us something warm to enjoy in this cold weather. I might even surprise the girls with a cheese quesadilla.   I love the versatility of this recipe and can't wait to make it again!!

Salsa Chicken

Olive oil
4-8 chicken breasts
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle salsa (I used about 12 oz.)
Shredded cheese and lettuce, optional
Diced tomato and avocado, optional
Cilantro, optional

Lightly drizzle the bottom of the crock pot with olive oil. Place chicken in the crock pot, followed by the corn, beans, and salsa. Cook on low for about six hours.  Shred chicken with a fork and serve over rice or with tortillas.   Convert to a soup by adding a carton of chicken broth.