Friday, November 30, 2012

Hot Mexican Dip

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I have a treat for you today.  Something to make during the holiday season to take to potlucks or for large family gatherings.  It can be made in advance and then re-heated.  This appetizer is just amazing ..... oh so very addicting.  Pop it in the crock-pot in the morning and it will stay warm enough to be dipped into all day, if it isn't all taken within a few minutes! A large four quart pot full just doesn't last long.

My niece Nicole brought it over during hunting season and I could not stay away from it.  It was an old family recipe and I can see why it was so popular for so many years.  

If you like Mexican .... you are going to LoVe this!

Hot Mexican Dip

1 1/2 pound lean hamburger
2 rolls of Jimmy Dean 'hot' sausage
2 pounds of Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
2 - 4 oz cans of green chilies
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 - 3.8 can of sliced olives *optional*
1 - 4 oz can of jalapeno peppers *optional*

Brown the hamburger and Jimmy Dean sausage, drain well.

Place the meat and cheese in the crock-pot.  

Once the cheese begins to melt, add chilies, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives and peppers.  Mix very well.

Once it has heated all through, serve with tortilla chips .... I happened to have guacamole chips.

Oooh, la, la.  Delicious!

Remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

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It's Thursday!

Thrifting was fun this week.  First up ....

A pair of tongs.  Made of pewter.  I just love that they look like chicken legs!  Cost 50 cents.

Then I found this little ceramic, chicken container.  Perfect for holding little doodads.  Cost 50 cents. 

Happy thrifting and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


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Signs of time past.  We see quite a few signs of it around our property.  Broken bottles, metal cans, rubber, old bricks, license plates, and piles of rubble .....

Recently on a walk out back, after hunting season was over and before the snow starts to fly, pile up too deep and STAY, we found this .....

what?!  A car?! or is it a truck?

How is the world did this vehicle end up 3/4 mile behind our house, near a creek, half buried in swamp bush?

Did some neighborhood boys take their father's car for a joyride late one night and get carried away?  Did a Grandpa give his young grandsons the old derelict to tinker with and they were able to bumble along until it was permanently stuck and was unable to be moved?

Closer inspection shows signs of the vehicle being stripped, stripped of mirrors, wires, gauges,  parts that were probably used on another derelict that was in better shape .... maybe the other car was faster, more reliable.  Isn't it wonderful to imagine what happened?

This car/truck has been here for a while ... a loooong while.  Notice the trees and brush have wormed their way through any available space?  The branches have grown, wrapped around the steering wheel.

The tires look a little worn ..... perhaps racing along country roads?

A two seater?  Hmmm, must have been a truck.

It looks like this truck had a good life.  A fun life.  At least that is what I like to think.  If it could talk, the stories it might tell.  History ... I love it.  I love the possibilities, I love the stories, I love that I can find it in my own back yard.

Look around.  Do you have history close to your home?  How about a museum?  Or an old church?  A building?  Or maybe even an old oak tree in your backyard.  I would love to hear about it.  I enjoy learning about the past but remember to live in the present as that is all we are promised ..... and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

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Christmas is only a few weeks away.  Are all your gifts bought?  Is all your holiday baking done?  Are the decorations and lights all up?  What is left to do?  Wrap presents?

Wrapping presents is one of my most loved and most hated jobs that needs to be done.  The first couple of gifts are fun, exciting and the anticipation of the recipient opening the gift on Christmas morning makes me want the gift to look perfect....especially when I have either handmade the gift with love and care or found a present that I just know they are going to love.  BUT after a few are wrapped to perfection, then wrapping becomes a chore.  It isn't exciting and fun I just want everything wrapped so I can move on to the next job that needs to be done and my wrapping can become hurried and less than so called perfect.

So to help keep the wrapping fun and exciting as it is with the first few gifts, I have found the following tips really keep me humming those Christmas carols as I finish up the wrapping....

  1. I have a tote box filled with all the wrapping supplies I need.  In this box I keep scissors, tape, tags, ribbons, bows, flat wrap, pens, tissue paper, little ornaments (that I sometimes like to add to the top of a gift), mini candy canes (again for the top of presents) and any other little items I might need.  I never have to stop wrapping to go and hunt down a pen or a pair of scissors which takes up valuable time as I tend to get easily side-tracked.
  2. Invest in a one-handed tape dispenser.  Mine is old but works oh so perfectly when I am attempting to hold down paper on a less than easy to wrap gift while trying to get that single piece of tape I need to get the paper to stick.
  3. When you can, use boxes.  I save all my little boxes throughout the year so I have many shapes and sizes available at Christmas.  Wrapping that stuffed teddy bear is oh so much easier in a box.
  4. Tags.  Make your own! If you do, make them well in advance.  Using last year's Christmas cards, cut them so they are visually pleasing and the recipient's name can be written on them.  Punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon.  Frugal and earth friendly.
  5. Don't buy cheap, poor quality paper.  You will end up using more as it tears easily or worse, the gift can be seen right through it!
  6. Ribbons are your best bet.  Ribbons are, in the long run, cheaper than the regular gift bows, can be dressed up with some sprigs of holly, pine cones or bits of pine boughs.  They can be dressed up or kept plain.  They also will not fall off the gift as bows always seem to do.  If you must use bows, tape them on!
  7. Use gift bags if you cannot find a proper sized box.  By adding festive tissue paper and streamer ribbons, any gift will be festive!
  8. Don't waste wrapping paper!  Make sure you measure the paper properly before cutting so no paper is wasted.  If you do need to cut some off the edge to ensure a proper fit, save the strips....they can be used to wrap stocking stuffers or other small gifts.
  9. Put that Christmas CD in the stereo or tune into a Christmas radio station if you are planning a long wrapping session.  Listening to music helps to set the mood and make wrapping less of a chore.
  10. Last but not not wait until the last days before Christmas to start wrapping.  If you wrap three gifts a day starting December 1st, you will have 60 gifts wrapped by the 20th of December!  I can wrap three gifts while waiting for dinner to cook and this is where the wrapping tote comes in handy as it is easy to grab and put away quickly.
Wrapping can be a chore but when having a plan, it becomes less of one.  Have fun only comes once a year!  Here are some fabulous wrapping ideas I found on the web.

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Remember to give your loved ones a hug.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Fruit Dip

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New recipes were tried this Thanksgiving week ...... I call it "Thanksgiving week" as it seems all we do is eat for that whole week.  With hunting season over for another year, Thanksgiving thrown into the mix and all the company that has been present off and on at our home .... well let's just say a lot of food was eaten, wine drank and the conversation flowed long into each evening.

Wanting something 'fresh' and different, I spotted this new fruit dip that was posted by Six Sister's Stuff.  Loving orange creamsicles in the summer ...... well this just had to be made!!

Strawberries were not looking all that hot last week at the supermarket but oh my .... I can just imagine how this dip would taste with strawberries.  

Apples, bananas, cantaloupe, bananas and grapes were lifted to new heights when dipped in this delightful, refreshing twist on an old favorite.

I had always made the standard fruit dip recipe, you know ... cream cheese, marshmallow creme, lemon juice and jello ..... this recipe follows along the same lines but adding the fresh squeezed juice from the orange and the grated orange zest .... well ... you just have to try it for yourself.  It is THE BEST!


1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1 (7-8 oz) jar of marshmallow creme
1/4 cup fresh orange juice ( I used the juice of a large orange and it was more than enough)
2 tsp orange zest (using the same orange from the juice)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
any fresh fruit for dipping ... cut into bite size pieces


Beat cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth.  Add orange juice and vanilla extract.  Still well then fold in orange zest.  Chill until ready to serve.

This recipe was definitely a winner and has been added to my recipe book.  What's your favorite fruit dip recipe?  I love trying new ones!  Remember to give your loved ones a hug.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday's Blessings

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this week I loved the .....

smell of :  turkey

sound of :  laughter

taste of :  pumpkin pie

sight of :  home after a long day at work

feel of :  my jammies

this week I am thankful for .....

-  family

-  friends

-  good food

Have a blessed Sunday and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday's Snaps

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Have a wonderful Saturday and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

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Today I will be too busy today doing this .....

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because of this .........

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Woo hoo!  I have my list, checked it off twice and am ready to face the crowds .... only making one stop but that's all I need!

If you are out shopping today, be careful and have fun!  Remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving..... one word which conjures up images of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  Family and friends gathered around the table ... unfortunately some of our family members have to be absent this year .... namely Luke, Sarah and my Mom but they are close to our hearts today.  We love you and miss all of you!

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We wish you lots of joy, laughter and good food on this day in which we give thanks.  Remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pizza Casserole

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Another pizza recipe.  Another casserole recipe ...... combined in one!!!!  How amazing is that?!

This recipe caught my eye and I just had to give it a try.

It was very easy to prepare and put together ... although I switched it up a bit ... but be forewarned, it makes a HUGE batch!


1 bag of egg noodles
1 extra large can of Ragu sauce (or any other tomato sauce you enjoy)
3 cups of mozzarella cheese (I used two full packages because I love cheese!)
1 1/2 pounds hamburger (I used one pound of beef and one pound of pork)
1 package of pepperoni

Other ingredients that could be used
any other cheeses you might enjoy
italian seasoning
other types of pasta instead of egg noodles
pizza sauce instead of spaghetti sauce
or any other ingredients you love on pizza!

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

I lightly greased my 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. 

1.  Brown meat and drain.  I then added the spaghetti sauce and added fresh parsley from my windowsill.

Cook the egg noodles as directed on the package.  Strain.

Now to put it all together!

first layer is half of the meat and sauce mixture
then a layer of noodles, using half the noodles
half the cheese

the rest of the meat and sauce
then the rest of the noodles
the the rest of the cheese ...
I had some solid mozzarella cheese left over from another recipe so I added slices of that as well
lastly arrange the pepperoni all over

Doesn't it look yummy?!

Now cover it with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake a further 15 minutes or until the cheese is lightly brown and bubbly.

Once you remove it from the oven, let it sit for 15 minutes.  The casserole needs to settle so it doesn't fall apart.  

Very easy AND delicious!  It could easily be made ahead of time and then thrown in the oven when you get home from work.  It freezes just wonderfully too!  This recipe was enough for the night I made the casserole and then had enough to freeze for two more meals!  Wow!

Thanks For Mamas for such a tasty and quick new recipe.  We love it around here and it is added to our meal plan rotation list. So if you love pizza and casseroles ... well I would suggest this one.  Remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

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This week ... the day after Thanksgiving is BLACK FRIDAY.  I don't usually shop on this day.  I do not like crowds of people and I certainly do NOT go to the cities on this day but since I am waaaaay behind on my Christmas shopping this year ... well I need to hit our local big box store for some of the sale items as they are on my list.

I started talking to some of the ladies at work and there is a whole "science" to this day and how shopping is done.  WOW!  I never would have guessed that it is such a big deal.  I have seen news footage of stampedes at some centers in large cities in the past that might be offering a dynamite deal but here?  In our small area?  The cities are an hour and a half away and apparently many, many people make the trip to pick up the deals ... who would have thunk?

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Talking with these ladies, I have picked up some hints and tips on 'how' to shop on this day so if you are planning on heading out, maybe some of these tips will help.

  1. Eat a big breakfast.  Your body needs fuel to shop.  You don't want to be stuck in a line for hours, only to pick up junk food at the cash register because you are starving.
  2. Carry a water bottle in your bag/purse.  Being thirsty is not fun and the mall's environment tends to be drier this time of the year.
  3. Head to the washrooms for a break when you see one.  Don't wait until you have to go ... the line ups can be extremely long.
  4. Do your research.  Buy locally made, quality made items when possible.  It will pay off in the long run.
  5. Browse the deals before you go.  You want to head to the store that offers the best price to help stay within the budget.
  6. Bring ads with you.  Being in a store that is crammed with shoppers grabbing items, it can be confusing when similar products are side by side.  If you have the ad with you, you will be certain to have the correct sale item before you get to the register.  Some stores also offer 'lowest price guarantee'.  You will need the ad to prove a competitor is priced lower to receive price difference.
  7. Early Bird and Night Owl specials.  These are intended to draw people in at different times of the day, hoping to alleviate congestion at the most popular early afternoon hours.  The deals can be worth setting the alarm earlier or staying up later!
  8. Know the store policies on returns and exchanges.  Familiarizing yourself on the store's policy will ensure a happy recipient if the gift needs to be taken back.
  9. Don't forget the gift receipt.  Many stores will do this automatically but watch out as cashiers can be forgetful too.  
  10. Last but not least .... have fun!  Enjoy the ambiance and know that you will be sipping on an     eggnog come Christmas Eve with your gifts all wrapped and under the tree because you finished shopping early in the season.  

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Let me know how your shopping went if you venture out and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Filling the Freezer

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Hunting season .... we are meat eaters in our family.  When we hunt, we hunt to feed the family, not for the sport.

We have great respect for Mother Nature and all she provides for us.  This year however, was a bust.  Hunting season is over for another year.  No deer were shot.  Our freezer will now have to be filled with beef, chicken and pork on sale from the grocery store instead.

Word around these parts is the overabundance of wolves which in turn chase the deer away.  A neighbor stopped by last week and informed us that when he was passing by earlier the day before a large grey wolf was spotted leaving our driveway.

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My morning walks will need to be kept close to the house and definitely during daylight hours.  Our pets will need to be kept indoors for the time being. I hope the wolves move along soon and the deer move back in.  There is nothing prettier than watching the deer make their way along the property after a snowfall.  They are so graceful and beautiful.

Hoping that you have a lovely week and remember to give your loved ones a hug!

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