Hamburger Casserole

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Second Installment: Slow Cooker Sunday!

Do you ever have a craving for the comfort food of your childhood? Hoping for something to hit the spot,  and is just like your mom used to make? Well have I got the answer for you, or what!!

Today for SCS I whipped together a grown up's version of Hamburger Helper. I took the essence of HH and put a twist on it, for a more adult friendly, heathy, improved recipe. And, bonus for families out there, I think the kids might like this one too!

2 lbs ground beef, browned & drained
1 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes, diced
1 10 and 3/4 oz can of mushroom soup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 box of spiral pasta 
Salt & pepper to taste
Shredded Italian blend cheese to top

brown & drain ground beef ~ dice green pepper & onion ~ dice stewed tomatoes
add all ingredients (except cheese) to slow cooker
cook on high for 4 hours
serve Hamburger Casserole & top with shredded cheese


Revisiting Change

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A while back I wrote a post about change. Recently I've been thinking about this a lot, and went to the Internet for some inspiration.

While searching, I found a great blog, Explore for a Year. This blog is written by a woman who left her 9-5 to travel, and writes about "clarity, happiness and pursuing your dreams." In one post, 45 Quotes to Inspire Change, I found just what I was looking for in order to revisit change.

Here are some quotes that I think are most reflective of how I'm feeling currently.

"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." Jim Rohn - entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker
*Nothing we do is by chance. We make decisions, and move forward. Each decision determines where we will arrive next.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." Elbert Hubbard - writer, publisher, artist, philosopher
*I love this one. So often we're fearful of making mistakes. I think in a lot of cases that fear can really hold us back from becoming who we were meant to be or doing what we were meant to do.

"As soon as anyone starts telling you to be "realistic," cross that person off your invitation list." John Eliot - professor of psychology, author
*On a daily basis I make decisions based on how practical or realistic the choice is. These words are helpful in reminding us that sometimes we need to take that leap.

"One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching." Gerard Way - My Chemical Romance
*Plain and simple - so true.

When we reflect, or look to make a decision or change, it's important to look at every angle. I will keep these ideas in mind when I look to make change. What do you do when reflecting on change?

Sausage with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Sunday!

Today I am going to start a tradition - Slow Cooker Sunday! The idea of SCS is to spend the day enjoying ourselves, and not having to interrupt a relaxing afternoon to cook dinner. SCS will be a family day through and through.

My first SCS recipe was found in Real Simple magazine. It was extremely easy to throw together. The best part is that after it goes in the cooker, I don't have to touch it, and five hours later, dinner is served!

4-6 quart slow cooker
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into large cubes ~ 2 cups sauerkraut, drained ~ 1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth ~ 1/4 cup dry white wine ~ 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt ~ 1/4 teaspoon black pepper ~ 1 1/2 lbs bratwurst links ~ whole grain mustard

mix potatoes, sauerkraut, onion, broth, wine, caraway seeds, salt & pepper in slow cooker
nestle the brats in the vegetables ~ cover and cook until potatoes are tender
*7-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high
serve with a side of whole grain mustard


Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why is it that I always find myself with leftover chocolate chips? Honestly, I can't remember the last time I bought chocolate chips for something specifically. So, to the kitchen I go again on a Saturday night to bake.

Tonight I started with the cupcake cookbooks, and nothing was really jumping out at me. We received a cookbook as a wedding gift and as I was flipping through it an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe caught my eye. What would be a more perfect vessel for chocolate chips than a healthy oatmeal raisin cookie?

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips

heat oven to 350 ~ prep cookie sheets with non-stick spray
mix flour, baking soda, kosher salt & cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside
mix egg and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside
beat butter & brown sugar in a stand mixer until blended
add egg & vanilla mixture ~ add dry mixed dry ingredients ~ stir in oats, raisins & chocolate chips
scoop onto prepared cookie sheets ~ bake for approximately 12 minutes


18 Days in Review

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our year has gotten off to a great start!

We have implemented our jar of memories, and already have one memory sealed away until next year.

We celebrated my 28th birthday. A group of us got together for brunch at Frontier in Chicago. It was a great brunch with fabulous company. I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends.

This past weekend we went on a short ski weekend with the FIL (father-in-law) and BIL (brother-in-law). We flew into Denver Friday, went to Breckenridge and to Beaver Creek, and were back home by Monday evening. It was (probably) our only ski outing of the season, so we really made the most of it. I now have a second favorite destination (Steamboat is still #1) in Colorado - Beaver Creek! The runs were long, and not too crowded. The scenery surrounding the slopes was beautiful, and had homes intertwined with the mountain. I would highly recommend it!

We're only 18 days into the New Year, and it's been so awesome! 28 is off to a great start and I know it will be another amazing year!

Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What better project while home alone on a Saturday night than baking? I'm not sure there is one!

Thinking about what I can scrap together without going to the store, my first thought is chocolate chips. And, like magic, I have two perfectly ripe and mashable bananas. So, to Google we go for a recipe.

After reading through a few, and not having ingredients for some, I stumble upon a blog post called 'The Last Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe You'll Ever Need.' Screaming to be made, right?

First things first,
assemble ingredients.

*Sarah's recipe calls for mini-chocolate chips. I had regular, milk chocolate, and used about 1 1/4 cups. 

 *Sarah's recipe calls for buttermilk. I didn't have buttermilk so used almond milk instead.

*Sarah's recipe used three mini loaf pans, which I do have, but don't know what to do with three mini loafs, so made one normal sized. Now, come to think of it, I could have made three mini loafs, and frozen two ... shoot.




Vases, Vases Everywhere

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We did a lot of cleaning up in our house this week. A little "spring cleaning" if you will.

During this spring clean, I realized how many vases I have that just sit on my shelf collecting dust. I wanted to find a way to make them look nice on my shelf, even if they still collect a bit of dust here and there!

So, here's my recipe for all of those vases in your home that are going unused!

Step 1: Gather Your Vases

Step 2: Gather Coordinating Ornaments

Step 3: Arrange Ornaments in Vase

Step 4: Arrange on the Shelf

I hope you enjoy this short tutorial, and maybe even try it at your house!

Hello 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012, everyone!

For the New Year I'm not going to make a "resolution," but continue with my ongoing effort to be happy and healthy. I will try to keep a positive attitude no matter the circumstances. I will look at the glass half full, and surround myself with people who do the same. I will continue in my efforts to treat other people as I wish to be treated. I will strive to workout 3-4 times a week.

This year we have decided to keep memories in a jar for, sort of, a year in review next New Year. I found the idea on Pinterest, and have already implemented it into our home.

It will be so fun at the end of 2012 to open up this little time capsule and re-live all of the great times we had during the year.

2011 was a great year with lots of travel to visit friends and family across the country. Our apartment became more of a home, now that we've been there over a year and a half, and the creatures are now more like brother and sister.

2012 is sure to bring us another wonderful year full of family, friends, travel, and great memories. We can't wait!

Happy New Year, all!