Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hamburger Chowder

Hamburger Chowder has been in my family for at least three generations.  The recipe has changed some over the years based on people's preferences. 

Hamburger Chowder The Original

1 lb. ground beef, brown until crumbles
2 c water
2 c tomato juice
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1 c potatoes peeled and diced
1/2 c celery sliced
1/4 c onion diced
1/4 c barley

Mix together ground beef, water and tomato juice.  Add vegetables, potatoes, celery, onion and barely.  Cook until vegetables and barley are done (approximately 30 min). 

Hamburger Chowder my mother's version

1 lb ground beef, brown until crumbles
1 large can tomato juice
1 large tomato can full of water
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
peeled and diced potatoes

Hamburger Chowder my version!

1 lb ground beef, brown until crumbles
1 large can tomato juice
1 large tomato juice can of water
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
up to 5 lbs of peeled and diced potatoes!

My mother never had any use for the left over tomato juice, so she added the entire can and upped the amount of water.  She also likes a lot of broth in the soups she eats.  She also dropped the added celery, onion and barley probably for ease or because she's picky (its true).  I on the other hand, do not like a lot of broth in my soup and upped the amount of potatoes.  I've been known to peel and dice an entire 5 lb bag of potatoes for this soup. 

Of note!  Don't get the mixed vegetables with lima beans, though honestly I'd eat them.  They don't have much taste.

Above I my mother's bowl with a lot of broth and below is my bowl with little to no broth.

I made this Christmas day and served it to my parents with baked garlic rolls (store made) and a small fruit salad.  We had pie leftover from our holiday gather on Christmas Eve.

Other than having them over for lunch and doing a few chores that morning, I spent most of Christmas cross stitching with this big baby in my lap.  I think I'll repeat this for New Years Eve night and New Years Day, especially with highs only in the single digits and wind chills well below zero.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Greetings!

As mentioned in my previous post, some years I like decorating, other years not as much. The same applies to sending Christmas cards. While I didn't decorate much this year, I did manage to send fifty plus Christmas cards out and forget to send several others! Those were sent out at News Years. Along with my cards I sent a short letter that included three of my favorite recipes from the previous year. All three recipes can be found in previous posts. While I don't know that I'll mail as many cards next year (or maybe I'll send more!), I hope to repeat sharing a few of my favorite recipes. Who knows, maybe I'll even get a few recipes in return! 



Merry Christmas and Happt New Year! 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Winter Decorations

Some years I’m in the mood to decorate for Christmas, other years not as much.  This is one of the latter years.  I brought up the Christmas tree, but took it back down after a few days having decided not to decorate it this year.  Rather I decorated the mantle and the front porch and called it good for this year. 

As a reminder, where was my autumn mantle;


And here is my winter mantle;


This will remain up through February.  I think its still missing something, but I don’t know what.  Maybe I’ll figure it out by next year!  It's certainly better than last years;


Josey and Lyncoln were a lot of help (not)!



Heres how I decorated the porch;


Nothing too exciting, but pretty at night. There are also plastic, flickering candles in most of the windows.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A New Roof!

I always knew that as you aged birthdays became less and less the celebration.  You can say that was the case for this year.  Instead of celebrating or even eating out, I bought myself a new roof.  A much needed roof!  After a year and a half of roof leaks and stress every time it rained, I can now say that headache is behind me! 

Here's a wet picture taken of the fireplace chimney and roof before;


And what that roof looks like now; 


They added a cricket behind the fireplace chimney and much better flashing than was there before the new roof. 


They removed the south chimney at the roof line and added a pipe to exhaust the gas hot water heater. 

I could have done without all the nails and such that was left behind though they rolled their magnets twice.  


Especially these sharp razor blades.


I found two.  I’m thankful I was able to find them with my magnet and didn’t have dogs or kids runs running around barefoot!

So, Happy Birthday to me! I do love it and am thankful not to be worrying about roof leaks any longer! 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love Chick-Fil-A’s Chicken Tortilla Soup. I can stretch a bowl to last two meals, but knew there must be a way to make my own at home.  Baker Mama  to the rescue!  This recipe is quick, easy and delicious! Try it soon!


Purée two cans of cannellini beans in a food processor or blender.  The recipe calls for three cans of cannellini beans, but I only had one, so I used two cans of great northern beans.  Do not drain the beans. Someone please come tell me how to use my mini food processor! I made a mess! Suppose I should read the instructions! 


Apple Market has a sale every fall on Best Choice canned beans and tomatoes for $0.44. I always stock up on both when they do. 

Heat up some oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add 1 medium diced onion and some minced garlic (I used the type already minced and sold in jars).  Saute until onions become translucent.  Add seasoning.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through. 


Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 med white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano (I substituted Italian Seasoning as I didn’t have oregano on hand)
1 tsp kosher salt
3 15 oz cans cannellini beans
2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies  (Rotel, I used mild, but use Hot for a spicy kick!)
1 15 oz can cream of corn
1 15 oz can whole kernel corn
1 15 oz can black beans
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bones and shredded (or 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken)

*Do not drain any of the cans, the liquid gets added to the dish!*

Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and minced garlic.  Let saute over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cumin, oregano and salt.
Puree 2 cans of cannellini beans in a food processor or blender.  Do not drain beans before processing.  Add pureed beans and all other ingredients to the pot.  Do not drain any of the cans!  Stir to combine.  Let soup simmer over medium heat until heated through.  

Serve with crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips or corn bread and shredded cheese. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Cookbook Club has come to an ending.  While there is interest, only two others were willing to commit to meeting once a month.  Maybe it'll work out another time. 

For our first meeting I was a terrible hostess and made baked mac and cheese having forgotten that my friend doesn't like cheese and oh my did this dish have the cheese!  If you like cheese, I'd recommend this recipe.  The recipe comes from The Deen Bros. Cookbook Recipe from the Road.  If my memory serves me correctly, I found this cookbook at our local library's bookstore. 

Baked Mac and Cheese

2 c uncooked elbow macaroni
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded (about 2 cups)
8 oz American cheese shredded (about 2 cups, I substituted Colby)
1 c whole milk
1/2 c sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 c unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce or to taste (optional, I omitted)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish; set aside.  In a saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.  Return macaroni to saucepan. 

While the macaroni is hot, add the cheeses to the pan, stir well.  Spread the macaroni mixture in the prepared baking dish.  In a bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, eggs, butter, hot sauce and salt.  Pour the milk mixture over the macaroni. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until brown and bubbling.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Not the prettiest of dishes, but it tasted great!

The other dishes were these chicken pockets (so good) and this refreshing salad.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

And then there were none.

My final garden bounty. The Roma tomato plant really took off the last couple of weeks before I pulled the garden. 


I would buy another Roma and I loved my Fourth of July plant, which produced fruit in June and continued to do so. The fruit from this plant were perfectly round and golf ball sized. 


I didn't grow any good BLT slicing tomatoes. Many worked for BLTs, but no big slicers. I'll try again next year. I won't be getting a sweet million again. The fruit were good, but you needed to harvest daily to keep up. I think I'll try the sweet 100 next year. 


I won't be planting pumpkins, watermelon and cantaloupe next year. I doubt I'll plant cucumbers. I might though plant bell and aneheim peppers again. Those both did well this year. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

First Snow!

The first snow fell on Halloween! Officially we received 0.02", but I got more than that. 

It was a pretty snow that melted by morning. 


Warmer weather has returned.  Winter predictions have us being dryer and warmer than normal, but I have at least one friend who thinks we may see more than normal snowfall. Only time will tell. 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Barn Quilt Class part 2

Some pictures from class...


These were class models. The pumpkin isn't as hunter orange as shown in this picture and was one I'd have loved to paint. They also had a fall, 4 color (or maybe 5) maple leaf pattern that would have been fun to paint. 


This woman (face removed as I had gotten her permission) was going to add a John Deere sticker to the middle of her quilt. 


I love pinwheel quilts! 


A high schooler made this one. Her second. 


Her great grandmother if I understood it correctly made this one. I love the colors in it and loved how she left the corners light. 


Another tractor quilt. This woman's second quilt.


Two that hadn't finished before I left. I think there were four or more women who hadn't finished before I left. I am not a big sports fan, but I love the KSU theme in the lower quilt shown below. 


This is the first one I had really wanted to do (face removed, didn't have her permission). I still hope to some day do a sunflower, but I think I need to research the design a bit more. One or two of the ladies in my class did this pattern. It was a very popular design. 


The other one that I almost did. The four cats, minus the blank stripe at the bottom. I didn't do this one as I'd have had to mix colors to get colors that matched Homer, Lyncoln and Josey and I wasn't sure I could free hand eyes, nose and whiskers. Don't be surprised though if I some day make this one! 


This was a great, fun day and I thank Dede for getting me into the class. All supplies were provided, we just had to bring a yard stick, hair dryer and a sack lunch. Sadly there is only one more class this year and it's full. I did get a list of supplies though so I could make some own my own. I'd love to make four more. Yes, four! Two for the side of the garage and two for the side of the privacy fence. Or just stick with one, but have other blocks to switch it out with. The instructors had some really cute Christmas and fall designs I'd have loved to do. Maybe this winter...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Barn Quilt Class part 1

Saturday I got to take a barn quilt class up in Lancaster KS. 

Step one was to pick out the pattern you wanted to make. I had three I had wanted to make and it was hard settling on one. 

Next you draw out your design. You were given a drawing of the design and some basic instructions. It wasn't hard once you wrapped your head around it and figured how to divide the board. 


Then you tape and paint your first color. 


Notice my dark grid lines! I drew more lines than necessary, but that's how I rolled. We were given erasers and had the instructors had their way, I would have erased all the lines I hadn't needed and my notes to myself on colors.  Not how I roll! Of note, if you ever get to do this yourself, draw as faintly as you can. 


See my mistake? Even with all my grid marks, I messed up and squared off the ends of two red stripes. I've taped the area that needed to be filled in here and painted them in. 

There were 12 in my class and an intro wasn't given. I think that was in part due to the fact that more than half of the class had already attended another class and this was their second or third quilt. Another thing I learned afterwards is that you really want to press down on the tape edges to make certain paint doesn't bleed under the tape. Having painted enough in my house to have already learned that lesson, I didn't have any trouble, but others did. You also want to paint nice long strokes and per Dede, paint one coat one direction and the second coat the opposite direction. As if you were painting a cross. I didn't paint this way with most of the colors and up close you can tell that, but from a distance you can't. 


Starting my second paint color. I painted 4 coats of each color, though some got away with only 3 coats (probably hadn't marked all over their board!). 


Third color going on. You can see a little of the instruction graph in the above lower right corner. 


Between each coat, we used our hair dryer to dry the paint. You dried extra long after the final coat right before removing the tape. Paint that hadn't dried could peel when the tape was removed. 


Fourth color going on. I made a few mistakes. Three actually. All were corrected and you might still be able to see where the corrections were made up close, but not from a distance. 

My third mistake is shown below. See above right of the red center. The white strip is too short. I needed to trim the tape about a quarter of an inch at the bottom. The tape was wider than my strips and had to be trimmed with a razor blade. 


Here's my final piece. 


The mistakes aren't visiable. I'm very happy with the end results and hope to make some more soon. Stay tuned and I'll show you some pics of the other barn quilts that were made in my class.