Italian Steak Sandwiches (topped with a tithing testimony builder at the end)

Saturday, February 27, 2010 2 comments
So this is a PERFECT meal when you want something yummy but only have 15 minutes. (That happens to me a lot. Either because I am still learning how to time dinner so we eat earlier than 9:30 at night -a miracle if that happens - or because I just don't feel like making dinner sometimes).

2 Garlic Cloves (I used dried minced garlic)
1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (like the kind you put on if you have one of those packets left over from the last time you had pizza, that works perfectly)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
16 slices deli roast beef (you could get fancy with this, but I just used the Great Value a.k.a. Wal-Mart brand)
1/2 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons red cooking wine (optional. But I used it and it added a great flavor)
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes (I didn't have this so I omitted it)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt (oops, forgot to add this when I made this, but there is plenty of salt in the deli meat in my opinion, so let's say this is optional too).
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (I used dried ground oregano, worked great)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 sandwich rolls, split (we never have sandwich rolls in the house since it's just the two of us -well and Collin of course, but he's not interested in bread yet- and they'll get moldy sitting around so we just used good ol' regular wheat bread slices)
4 slices provolone cheese

In a large skillet, saute garlic and pepper flakes in oil for 1 minute. Add the roast beef, broth, cooking wine, and seasonings; heat through. Place beef slices on bread; drizzle with the broth mixture (we didn't drizzle ours but put the left over broth from the skillet in a bowl for dipping our sandwiches instead). Top with cheese.

We ate ours with carrot sticks on the side. YUM. (Best part? I only had one skillet to clean afterwards!)

K, so here's my tithing testimony builder. So times are tight, as we all know, but Brenden and I have always had faith that if we pay our tithing, everything will work out. We had still been making payments to Collin's hospital bill (yeah, the one we got when he was born....he'll be 7 months on Tuesday. ACK! My baby is 7 months old!!). Well, low and behold we got a random, unexpected check from BofA (my old employer) that they sent to me to pay out my unused vacation (which I didn't think I even had any) and all that stuff since I resigned. The amount on the check was $741.23. The remaining amount of Collin's hospital bill? $741.24. That's right. A penny difference. Can you believe it? So that's one hospital bill we've been able to pay off! Thanks Heavenly Father!!
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Lime Chicken Soup

Friday, February 26, 2010 1 comments
Just in case you want to try and squeeze one more soup into the season before the weather gets too hot.  Also, this soup is so good when you're feeling crappy.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 - 2 bunches green onion, chopped
juice from 3 limes
1 or 2 jalapenos, diced
1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced

Combine ingredients in a soup pot, then cover with chicken broth (or use water and chicken bouillon cubes).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.  Separately, steam some white rice.  To serve, place a scoop of rice in your bowl and then cover with the soup mixture.  Don't eat the ginger!
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the best peanut butter cookies ever

Or at least we think so!

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter

Cream together the sugars, eggs, shortening and vanilla.  Mix in the baking soda, salt, and flour.  Stir in the peanut butter.  Taste.  Yum.  Roll into balls and slightly mash a criss-cross (I stole a good idea from someone who used a potato masher for a cool design).  Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.
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Thank you Nikki!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010 2 comments
Wow!!! Thank you soooo much for this recipe! This was, no joke, the BEST meatballs I have ever had! I ended up using an entire zucchini and half a yellow squash. So to make up for it, I used 2 eggs and 1 cup of Quinoa. It had this surprise sweetness to it. It was AMAZING. I was a little worried when I started to form the meatballs because it was so moist but they cooked fine and kept their shape. (I cooked them for 20 minutes) I made the easier gravy ever (1 can of cream of mushroom soup + 1 can french onion soup) which just so happens to be the best gravy ever!

I am embarrassed to say that it made enough for 2 families and we ate almost all of it.  Also here is a picture of the Quinoa I used. It can be found at Costco. Like Nikki said, it has so many uses and is soo good for you. I was really excited that she posted a recipe that included it so that I could try it out! (We received this for Christmas as part of our Food Storage) It can be used just like rice, and stores really good! I made it the other night and added chicken seasoning, shredded cheese and salt a pepper. The hubby loved it!

I can't wait to make these meatballs again next week! ..and the week after that.. and the week after that..
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ADOBO (aka the easiest, yummiest stew ever)

Friday, February 12, 2010 0 comments
This is my husbands FAVORITE recipe from the Philipines where he served his mission. I love it too and it's SO easy. You can use any meat, I like to prepare it with chicken or round roast meat.

2-4 lbs beef, chicken, pork or combination, cubed
1-1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1-1 1/2 cups soy sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos for gluten free diets)
1-5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and smashed with side of knife
1 T whole peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves

Brown the outside of the meat, without cooking it through (just to kill surface bacteria) Throw it all into a pot or slow cooker (do not stir) and let it simmer for 1-2 hrs.
Remove the bay leaves and serve over brown rice. Ta-da!

You can add vegetables for the last 20-30 minutes of cook time, or throw lightly steamed veggies into the stew just before serving.
This can also be done with vegetables in place of meat, just reduce the cooking time and periodically check veggies for tender-crisp consistency. Green Beans, Broccoli and carrots are good this way.
You can put the peppercorns in a tea ball and remove before serving, but I like to leave them in for a spicy bite :) I'm sure you could also use ground black pepper towards the end of cooking instead.

I hope you enjoy it!
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Vinegar Taffy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 1 comments

First of all- thanks, everyone, for going along with this idea- I'm really excited about it!
I wasn't going to post anything until I moved but this looked so fun to do with my kiddos that I thought I'd share. I found it in The Friend. It's a very simple recipe- if you want to get fancy shmancy you can find a lot of different recipes online.  I know, I looked.  My kids are going to make taffy to give to their friends for valentines day.
Note: Kids will need an adult’s help for this recipe, which is great fun for a group to make in a party that used to be known as a taffy pull.

2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
butter to grease hands and surfaces
A few drops of food coloring (optional)
wax paper to wrap taffies (optional)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir the sugar into the vinegar until dissolved.

2. Let boil until it just reaches the hard-ball stage (~250ᵒ-265ᵒ). (If you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop about 1/4 teaspoon of the liquid into a half cup of very cold water and feel it with your finger. If it is round and hard, it is done.)

3. Remove from the heat, pour into a large, lightly buttered platter, and let cool just until you can handle it (the hotter you can work with it, the better—maybe an adult can start it for you until it cools slightly more for you).

4. Grease your hands as little as possible with the butter, take a small handful of the taffy, and stretch it out about 18″ (.5 m). Then double it back and stretch it out again. Keep repeating this until it is too stiff to pull anymore and is as white in color as you can make it. Then twist it while you stretch it one last time till it looks like a rope about 3/4″ (2 cm) thick, place it back on the platter, and set aside until it hardens to taffy consistency.

5. When the taffy i hard, break it into 1″ (2.5 cm) lengths and enjoy! Any leftover pieces should be wrapped with waxed paper and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

A few things to keep in mind:
1. If you live at a higher altitude lower required temperature to between 220ᵒ-240ᵒ
2. Why pull the taffy? Stretching and pulling the taffy allows air to blend in with it, making it lighter and chewier, and giving it a smooth consistency and a glossy appearance. If you don't stretch it enough, it will be harder to eat so stretch the heck out of it! The longer the better!
3. Make sure to have the ingredients already measured out beside the stove before beginning so that nothing cooks too long- this is an exact timing process.

Each child can pull his own small piece of taffy, but it’s more fun to have a two-person taffy pull, stepping back from one another to stretch out the taffy.
This would be a fun pioneer activity to do on Pioneer or Independence day!

BTW- Megan was in her school talent show last night and did so awesome!  She sang Tomorrow from Annie.  We took her to get ice cream afterward.  Her teacher came to see her in it (she was the only one from her class) and told me that the essay Megan had written last week for the multi-campus essay contest was one the best in the class and that the judges looked at it and asked if a 1st grader had really written it. Go Meggie!

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Hominy Soup

Sunday, February 7, 2010 3 comments
First of all, thanks Stephanie for setting this up! Your a genius! I love it already!

I'm a picture kind of a girl so here is one of my absolutely most favorite soups. 
The recipe is from my sister and she calls it Hominy Soup.

Hominy is.. I belive from the family of corn. It looks like this:


1 can hominy
1 can yellow sweet corn
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can stewed diced tomatoes
1 can green chilies
1 onion diced
2 breasts of chicken, boiled and then diced.
2 tablespoons butter

Pepper-jack Cheese
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips

Start by boiling the chicken. When cooked all the way through save the water form the soup but strain the fat out.  Set the chicken and water aside.

Place butter and onions in pot and fry until the onions appear clear, then add green chilies. Then add all the other cans, keeping the water. Add diced chicken. Mix chicken flavoring in the left-over water and add to soup.  Bring to a roiling boil and then your done!

I like mine really soups but Logan likes him chucky, but its delicious both ways!

Just pile up the cheese, cilantro, sour cream, chips and lime and you will LOVE it!


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Taco Soup

So, out here in the DC area we just got completely dumped on with snow (22 inches here, with some areas getting as much 46 inches!). Starting Friday at about 11:00AM until Saturday at about 4:00PM it was pretty much a blizzard. A little crazy, no? In light of all the snow, our thoughts have turned to things warm and cozy like hot chocolate, fireplaces and soup. I thought I'd share one of my most favorite (and easiest) soup recipes.

Taco Soup:
1 can Tomato Sauce
1 can Stewed Tomatoes
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Corn
1 can Cream of Potato Soup (Yes, you read that correctly)
1/2 lb. of ground beef
1/2 packet (about 1/8 cup) of Taco Seasoning

In a pot, put all canned ingredients and allow to heat while browning the beef (I usually have it pretty close to high in order to get it boiling). Brown ground beef and season with Taco Seasoning according to directions. Once the beef is done, add it to the pot. Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat down until it is simmering. At this point, it is totally up to you how long you want to soup to simmer. I usually let it simmer for about a 30-45 minutes - it allows the flavors to blend well. Just make sure to stir it every once in a while.

Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream

These toppings, in my opinion, is what make the soup so good. If you add the sour cream, it is best to stir it in, not just leave it as a glob. But again, it is up to personal preference - Justin doesn't put the sour cream in his soup.

This should make enough for a family with a few small kids. However, if you need more, this recipe is easily doubled - use 2 cans of everything and a full pound of beef.

I hope you enjoy it! It is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. We ate it yesterday evening while we were snowed in, and it was perfect. Church was cancelled today, and we'll be stuck for a few more days so I guess I'll have to come up with some more winter recipes

:) Amelia
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