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Refried Beans revamp…

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Last night I posted about the yummy steak tacos. Tonight is only fitting to post refried beans. I decided to do things a little different tonight. Usually I use Canola or Olive oil in my beans. Tonight I used bacon grease. Holy moly…that was good stuff. It’s my new favorite way to make refried beans.

I sit here thinking about my post last night. I feel like I should probably talk a little more about my cryptic message. I really struggle with the differences between the twins and I. I know they do too. Not everyone has siblings old enough to be their parent. They aren’t bad kiddos…but they’re kids still. Yet their not kids, they’re adults. It’s really hard to determine where they really are. It’s frustrating because they’re in that mode of my friends mean more to me than my family. It makes other family members feel inferior, I suppose. In the end, I need to learn more patience. I think I might expect more from them, then they can offer. At the same time, I think they could try a bit more too. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. There has to be a common ground somewhere, right??

 

1 can of pinto beans

salt and pepper

1-2 teaspoons bacon grease

Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to a frying pan and add salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash the beans. Start with adding 1 teaspoon of grease. and about 2 teaspoons of tap water. This will help make it creamier. After tasting you can add more bacon grease if you desire. Add water as you need for creaminess. We prefer ours a little more thick. Serve and enjoy ya’ll.

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Steak Tacos

Guys…..

Just no words to explain the love I have. The party in my mouth. Look at this….

 

Look at those sweet and yummy tacos. You gotta try them….

I’ve felt bad all day today. With Hashimoto’s disease I have up and down days. It’s hard to know what kind of day I will have until I wake up. My family has learned to cope with these on and off days. I try my best to shield them from those rough days though. Today….I was just set off from last night.

I try really hard to get along with my siblings. Sometimes I think it’s impossible, but I keep holding to the hope that one day it’ll get better. Not sure that’s going to happen though. I think that the age difference between us hurts us. It’s hard to be understanding when you’re 15 years older than they are. One day they’ll grow into different people and maybe it’ll be easier. Right now it just isn’t. I’m just going to wait my turn. It’s how things should be, right? I don’t know, but this is life…and I’m going to come out on top. I’m a fighter. For now I pronounce my love for my family and let it be that.

In the meantime, I’m going to live my life and enjoy some of these yummy steak tacos. It’s really simple.

Steak of any kind. I used tri tip this time around.

Olive Oil

1/2 tablespoon crushed or minced garlic

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cilantro

1/2 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste

As much Onion and bell pepper you like

Cut the steak against the grain in thin pieces. This cooks faster and makes the steak more tender.  Mix all the ingredients together. Grill the steak, onions, and peppers to your likeness. Once done serve on corn tortillas and add cheddar cheese. Enjoy ya’ll!

 

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Freezer to table

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The other day I shared a Chili recipe. I know ya’ll tried it. I know ya’ll loved it. HAHA…OK, that’s not the point of this post…Here it is…

So Monday night is scout night. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Friday’s are crazy day times because my hubby has his own things to do. Finally, Monday  to Friday kids are in school. I’m one of those mom’s who packs school lunch for the kids because school food in general doesn’t seem to make them very happy. Hubby prefers something besides a sandwich every day…I like to try to oblige. Frozen meals can add up in dollars and eating out everyday is even more dollars. What I do is try to buy a little bit more than what I normally would cook. Usually what happens is that I don’t want to eat it the next day too. Sometimes I do, if I love the meal I cooked. I’m just a weird, picky eater, just to be honest. I have found there are certain things I can freeze. Chili from the other night is one of those things. Guys don’t get crazy and throw stuff in the freezer in one big ol’ pot. Make it easy.

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Something like this is what I usually use; in fact this is the exact thing I have. Anything like it would work, but this particular one is a large one that is about what you would use as one ladle- one and a half ladles. I can easily fill them and flop them in the freezer. When they are frozen I can take them out and put in a freezer bag. Whenever I take a notion to have chili, I take it out and heat it up. It’s easy and it prevents waste. I do this with a lot of different soups too. However, there are some soups that just don’t freeze well. Lesson is…be careful with the things you try to freeze. Not everything freezes well.

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Table set up

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On TV you see all these families get together and have these amazing dinner tables set. I always wanted to do that. I thought it was so cool. I came across a post on Facebook on how to fold napkins. I decided to give it a whirl. I think it turned out cute. I wish I’d have taken a closer picture though, so you could see the details.

I sat there and folded four of these napkins. Over my shoulder I’m yelling at the boys to stay out of the food. I realize I’m becoming frustrated…. I took it apart, refolded it to see if it looked better a different way and finally I realized that folded napkins don’t matter. I could have a paper napkin sitting on these plates and that’s ok. It isn’t about perfections. It’s about love and togetherness.

When I was a kid we used to have a HUGE family get together. My family, aunt, uncle, grandparents, everyone’s children…we’d all be together. We’d cram 15-20 people into our houses and just enjoy each other. We used paper plates and napkins, and our food wasn’t served on platters. This was just fine for us. We had good food and good people. That’s all that mattered to us. As we have grown up and all of the kids have moved off, got married, had kids, or whatever the situation may be, we don’t do this as much. Life is different. Some of the kids wont talk to each other anymore. Our children don’t know their cousins or their grandparents…people feel left out and unloved. Time is changing.

My memories mean so much to me. I’m unhappy with how the family has moved on without each other, but I think with big families this can happen. What does make me happy is I have a wonderful, happy, family. Life throws us curve balls and we have things that are imperfect, but it’s not the end of the world. It makes us better and stronger!

 Now I have one question……..who likes to fold their napkins and make them all pretty??

 

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Cornbread

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I learned to make cornbread from my grandmother. When I first turned 18 and moved out on my own, I’d come across recipes for cornbread. I couldn’t understand why these people added all this unnecessary stuff. It just makes what’s supposed to be inexpensive, expensive. Why not just make it simple? I also can’t understand why people want sweet cornbread. That’s alright though. Even with mine you could simply add sugar and get sweet cornbread.

Every time I make cornbread, I think of when I was a kid. I used to stay a lot with my grandmother. My cousin usually stayed with me down there. One day when we were getting to the age of being able to stay alone, my grandparents left us there. Mandy and I decided we were cold and so we went to put wood in the fire. It got hot quick. We didn’t realize we should only put one or two pieces in. We stuffed that heater full. We then go and open some doors because we’re roasting out of that place.

About 15 or 20 minutes go by and my grandparents come in the house. I’ll never forget it…Papaw says “Good Lord Jean Annie. Do you have it hot enough in here?” Then suddenly I hear mamaw “Amanda. Heather Jean Anne……”. For the love of God, I knew we were done. Something was wrong. I knew I was facing a butt busting like I never had before. We run over there and she just looks at us for a minute. It was as if she was at a lsos for words. I’ll tell ya’ll this right now….she’s never been at a loss before. We stand there just looking at her pretty darn nervous. After a second she looks at our papaw and says “they done melted the blinds off the wall.” We look at each other and then we look at her and then we scramble. She never spanked us. She never yelled at us…but I swear to you, we never lived it down. However, we never forgot either how to put wood in the fire.

Self rising cornmeal

REAL mayo

water

That’s all it takes. For every cup of cornmeal I use, I’d say I use about two tablespoons of mayo. I mean the big spoon you get with your forks and spoons. Once you mix that up, then you add water. You want it to be a little thinner than pudding. A lot of this depends on what size cast iron pan you have. Pour oil into your cast iron. It should be enough to cover the bottom of your pan. Throw it in the oven on 450 degrees. Once it’s bubbly hot, pour in your meal and cook until the top is browned. DO NOT CUT it until it’s cooled. If you do expect a bunch of crumbs.

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Baby it’s cold outside….Chili

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Guys I was so excited about my chili I started eating and realized OH SHOOOOOOT. I forgot the picture. I promptly stopped and snapped the picture. I have to tell ya’ll, I loveeeee chili. I could literally sit and eat chili all day long, every single day. Ok, maybe not, but I do love it. Usually I just buy packets of chili seasoning and throw it in with some tomato whatever I got, some beans, and some meat; but I decided this isn’t going to work for me anymore. First off, have ya’ll seen the price of that junk lately? I decided to look at a bunch of recipes and just make my own. This is when I realized chili is the easiest stuff to make ever. You can’t mess it up folks. Seriously!

When I lived at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, we were invited to the battalion cook off at this farm. The kids could come in and they could play on stuff, feed the animals, and so forth. However, the star of the show was the chili. Everyone brought something if they wanted a chance to win the prize. It was all sooooo good. I ate a little bit of everything….except the one’s that used peanut butter. It’s good ya know, but I don’t have a death wish :P!!!I thought it was pretty cool this one guy used dark chocolate in his. It was very rich and he had balanced that richness pretty good. I loved the experience. How cool would it be to have a chili cook off? I’m in!

1-2 lbs ground beef

1 rib celery

1 small onion chopped

1/2 green bell pepper fine chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoon Chili powder

1 1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

15 oz crushed tomatoes

15 oz tomato sauce

15 oz beef broth

1 can dark red Kidney beans, rinsed

1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed

1 can pinto beans, rinsed

 

 

3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Brown celery, pepper, onion, and ground beef. Drain, rinse. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until hot and bubbly. Enjoy ya’ll!

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Southern Collard Greens

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When I was about 3 months pregnant I met a woman named Nicole (or Nikki). This was almost 12 years ago now. She and I have had our up’s and down’s, but she’s been with me through everything I’ve done in my life. Our children are 10 days apart, we’ve celebrated holidays, birthdays, and new beginnings. We’ve mourned loss, a divorce, and  sick children. Needless to say, no matter what happens, I expect we’ll be involved until death at this point. At one point she lived in South Carolina. We’d go visit every once in a while. During one of our visits, she decided she needed to make me collard greens. I like collard greens, but she also knew I’m a picky eater. She made these for me one visit. I felt like I was in a Dr. Seuss book. I would eat them here, I will eat them there, I will eat them anywhere! I like them! No…I love them. I’m thankful for what God has allowed her to share in my life. It’s definitely not always been good, not always has it been bad, but we can always seem to find a middle ground. These are good memories that I cherish. Having collard greens definitely tend to make things better too.

Collard greens, remove the center stems, cut up put in a stock pot

4 cups of chicken broth

enough water to cover collard greens

1 tablespoon garlic (if you’re not a huge garlic lover, cut in half)

3-4 tablespoons white vinegar

1/4 cup thin sliced onion

Mix all together and cover with lid. Cook until greens are tender. The longer you cook the better they are. I usually cook low/med heat for several hours.