Happy Birthday to You!

Today was my husband’s 36th birthday.  He’s OLD now!  haha!

For dinner I made a BLT pasta salad with grilled chicken.  It also has green onion and ranch dressing in it.  It was REALLY good!!

Then, after dinner we had a cake that I baked today.  My husband picked it out, and he wanted plain white cake with whipped white frosting.  It turned out perfect, and was OH SO good!!

Make a wish!!

I hope he had a great, relaxing birthday, and hopefully this year is a good one for him!  :)  I love you honey!!

Beautiful.

We get the most beautiful sunsets down here, better than any I saw when we lived in the city.  Maybe it is because our view is better, I don’t know.  I just know what I love it!  I did NO editing to these photos, other than resizing them!

Menu March 4th – 10th

This week is super busy for us.  My husband is working 50 hours at his job, plus he has a college orientation class on Monday night, we also have our weekly foster care training class on Thursdays and Greyson has youth group on Wednesday nights, so we are sticking to easy meals this week.

Sunday
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Soup

Monday
Macaroni and Cheese
(mixed with tuna and peas)

Tuesday
Spaghetti
Seasoned Green Beans

Wednesday
Leftovers
(youth group)

Thursday
Leftovers
(foster care class)

Friday
Cheeseburgers
Tater Tots

Saturday
Chicken Noodle Soup
(pressure cooker)

Cheesy Enchiladas

This is another recipe that my husband came up with.  We love it.  You may say that they are more like burritos, but since we bake them we call them enchiladas.

Cheesy Enchiladas
2lb hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
1 (4oz) can green chilies
1 (10oz) can mild green enchilada sauce
1 (19oz) can mild red enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
1 cup shredded cheddar jack*
¼ cup picante sauce
~8 medium tortilla shells
4 cloves garlic

Cook  (preheat oven to 350°F)
1. Chop onion and garlic
2. Brown hamburger, season to taste
3. Add onions, cook until translucent
4. Add garlic and chilis, cook for 1-2 more minutes
5. Turn burner down to low
6. Add picante sauce, ½ can green sauce and ¼ can red sauce
7. Add ½ cup sharp cheddar and 1 cup cheddar jack, stir until melted
8. Set aside off heat

Bake
1. Coat bottom of 13×9 baking dish with red sauce (~¼ cup)
2. Spoon about ¼ lb of meat mixture onto a tortilla shell, ~8 times and place into baking dish.
3. If any meat remains, sprinkle over top
4. Cover with remaining red sauce, use spatula to coat so no tortillas are bare
5. Use all remaining cheese to cover top
6. Cover in foil
7. Bake for 20 minutes
8. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is slightly browned
9. Let cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving
10. Enjoy!

*You could also substitute sharp cheddar and cheddar jack for a mexican blend cheese, which is what we usually use.

Penne Pasta with Sausage

This recipe is a huge hit for my family.  My husband came up with this meal, and it is delicious!

Penne ~6oz dry
5 mild Italian sausages
1 can beef broth
½ tsp each oregano and basil
1 jar roasted garlic and herb pasta sauce

Put large pot on to boil for pasta
Heat ~1tbsp vegetable oil in pan on medium heat
Add sausage, cover and cook for 4 min on medium-high
Flip and cook another 4 min
Add can of beef broth and sprinkle herbs evenly around, cook 10 min
Remove sausages to plate, drain fluid from pan and rinse pan
Add sauce to pan and simmer on lowest heat while cutting sausages
Cut sausages into ¼” slices, return to pan
Simmer on medium-low for 10 min before starting pasta
Cook pasta while continuing to simmer sausage
When pasta is done, drain
Turn off heat to sausage
Add pasta to sausage until desired consistency
Serve with Italian blend shredded cheese.
Enjoy!

Duck…duck…CUTE!

Yesterday we picked up four adorable ducklings to add to our flock.  They are Ancona ducks, which are related to Runner ducks (actually they are a mix of a Runner and a Belgian duck).  They are SOOO cute!!  One is 4 weeks old, one is 3 weeks old, and two are 4 days old.  I think we got 3 females and one male (one of the youngest ones), but I’m not exactly certain yet.  The reason I think we have one boy is because male ducks have a deeper, raspier voice, and one of the little ones has a deeper crackly quack.  “He” is too young to really tell, though.  Once they are all around 7 weeks old we will be able to tell for sure.

It ended up that we got them from the same person we got our Polish Crest chicken named Cricket from.  I didn’t realize that until we pulled up to her house.  Two of the chicks we got from her died within 24 hours of bringing them home, and all of the chicks she had there this time looked terrible also, but the ducks looked healthy.  One of the small ones was pretty lethargic yesterday, but I gave him a drop of baby vitamins and put some Sav-a-chick and vitamins in their drinking water, and he is nice and perky today!

The two babies didn’t meet the older two until we put them in the carrier to bring home, and the people we got them from suggested to keep them apart for fear of them getting trampled, but they all get along wonderfully.  They groom each other, and they all cuddle up together.  The little ones follow the biggest one around like she is their mother.  It’s really cute!

They also seem to have imprinted on me already.  They get really upset if they can’t see us, whereas all of the chicks we had couldn’t care less if we were there or not.  If I sit on the floor they will all come over and climb on me and fall asleep.  ♥♥♥

Here are some pictures.  I hope you think they are as cute as we do!

A Wonderful Sight

The sun is a powerful and wonderful thing.  Sometimes it amazes me with what it can do.  One of those things is sun bleaching.  It has amazing antibacterial properties and can remove the stains from almost anything.  It even works when it is cloudy out, but a bright sunny day is better.

I sun bleach my dish towels all the time, and lately I have been sunning my new-to-me cloth diapers.  I bought some used prefolds from a diaper service in my hometown, and most of them came with pretty heavy stains.  With the help of the sun and a little lemon juice, all of the stains are completely gone and my diapers look brand new again!  They smell wonderful also!

The best thing is that I didn’t have to use a ton of nasty chemicals or lots of grunt work and arm strength to scrub the stains out!  You can’t beat that!

Cheesy Chicken Bake

(I apologize ahead of time, I forgot to take pictures of this.  Oops!)

Cheesy Chicken Bake
Prep: 5min    •     Bake: 35-45min

1 can cream of chicken soup (regular or fat-free)
1 1/3 cups water
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 cup UNCOOKED regular long-grain white rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (or enough to cover) french fried onions

1. Stir the soup, water, Worcestershire, rice, chicken, and cheese in a 2qt casserole.  Cover.
2. Bake at 350°F for 35-45min or until hot.  Stir.
3. Sprinkle with onions.  Bake for 5min more or until golden.
4. Let sit for 10min
5. Enjoy!

Added notes:
a. I seasoned my chicken with fresh ground garlic and sea salt and seasoning salt.
b. I added a shake of onion powder, and quite a bit of garlic sea salt and seasoning salt to the soup mixture to taste.  My family prefers well seasoned food, though.
c. The recipe called to cook it for 35min, but it was still watery at that point so I cooked it for 10 more minutes.  It was a TAD on the dry side, so I might try 5 more minutes next time.  Just play with the cooking time according to your particular oven.  The next day I just added a tiny bit of water to it before I microwaved it, and it was perfect.

My first serging project

I got a serger for Christmas a couple years ago, but I was scared to use it, and then we got busy with putting our house on the market and moving to a different state, so I never got around to even taking it out of the box.  Well, I decided that it was time that I did.

As I mentioned before, I plan to use cloth diapers on our foster children.  Doublers and inserts for them can be expensive, so I figured I could just make some since I already have the fabric that I would need.  I have a bunch of yellow minky, and a thin white terry cloth towel that we got in a set from Sams.

I cut them into 4×12 and 3.5×11 pieces, and serged them together.  I made 4 of each size with one layer of minky and one layer of terry, and 3 of each with one layer of minky and two layers of terry.

The first one I made isn’t super pretty, but it should still work.
Here is my second one, which turned out much better.  It looks all wonky, but it really isn’t.
Here’s a bunch of them.  I still have 3 left to do, but I ran out of thread.  From left to right:
3 layer large, 2 layer large, 2 layer small, 3 layer small
Hopefully they work!  :)