Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tater Tot casserole

The original title of this recipe is "Healthier Tater Tot Casserole" from the Houston Chronicle.  I made this last week with minor changes - left out mushrooms this go-round.  
The combo of veggies is labor-intensive to prep, but they make it sooo good!
Hot-from-the-oven comfort food!

Tater Tot Casserole

1 med. onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 med. carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 pound ground turkey
S, P, 1 T paprika
1 2lb. bag frozen tater tots
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (low sodium or healthy version)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 and get a deep 13x9 dish ready.  Saute the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet about 5 minutes.  Add the veggies and the turkey.  Cook, stirring on medium heat about 5 minutes more until the turkey is broken up and getting cooked; season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Lower the heat, cover it, and get the tots ready.
Mix the two cans of soup with a little water or milk, maybe a quarter of a can.  This will make it easier to get the tots all coated and spread out on top of the meat mixture.
You gotta toss the tots in the soup quickly before they all clump up in a frozen glob!
Pour the hot meat mixture in the casserole dish,
and top with the tots.  A little cheese over the top never hurt anyone.  
Bake for about 50 minutes. 
The cheese doesn't overcook like you think it might - but if you wanted to, you could wait the last 10 minutes to put it on the top. Yes, I know my pictures aren't great - you just have to trust me on this!
It was saucey on the bottom, but if you let it sit to cool a bit, it gets a little thicker.  We couldn't wait that long to dig in and we don't mind that a bit.  The leftovers disappeared the next day...try it and see what you think! 

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Mealplan Monday #45 and some fun thrifting

Thrifting was pretty fun last week - I spent a couple hours bopping around Salvation Army and Target.  Not so opposite as you might think.  I brought home $10 worth of stuff from Salvation Army:
A cute red and white long sleeve tee for moi, a Christmas pillow, a mug, a pretty china dish, and a small tripod for Hubby's digital camera.  I thought I also had taken a 3 hole punch, mint condition, to the register, but it somehow managed to not make it into my bag...hmmm...its entirely possible that I set it down while I was looking at something else, though. Oh, well.  I followed that up with a trip to target for a few miscellaneous groceries and found whole turkeys at 79 cents a pound, turkey breasts for 99 cents a pound, and spiral sliced half hams at 1.29 a pound.  I can away with some turkey and ham, but wishing I had a deep freeze...
Monday - Broccoli cheese Scalloped Potatoes with sausage, oven carrots
Tuesday -Mexican Breakfast Casserole, fruit salad
Wednesday - Chicken Pilau, garlic toast, spinach
Thursday - Mom and Dad OUT for his birthday, boys get pizza
Friday -  freezer Turkey Sloppy Joes, fries
Saturday - freezer pulled pork for tacos, black beans
Sunday - Bean and Cheese Chalupas with sour cream, salsa, guacamole
I was so excited to see this Avon mug marked to 5o cents.  I had one just like it for YEARS until one of my dear ones broke it, then neglected to tell me...weeks later I was cleaning behind the fridge and found a chunk of it.  It had been given to me by a sweet co-worker around 1996, and it had sentimental value.  Hopefully this one can survive as long as the last one did!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blue Week

I read that Monday, January 21, was considered Blue Monday - supposedly the saddest day of the year.  According to The Guardian, the Blue Monday equation takes into account such things as  'time since Christmas', 'motivational levels' and 'weather'.   Ok, well, it's been a Blue January, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe it's all three of those variables, or maybe it's just all the other stuff we have going on at Camp Rustown.  So, I decided to give into the "blue" and spruce up a little this week.  Maybe the change of scenery will work on our psyches around here...
I'm not big on decorating for Valentine's, so blue is a welcome calming color and very pretty with the green in the front rooms.
Still,  I don't want to leave all the blue pretties out forever - maybe just through the Spring.
 I even hauled out the blue curtains and made some blue cushion covers.
 I still have to gather up all the pinecones from around the house and put them up - maybe by the end of January...
It's starting to feel different in here already!  What about you?  Feeling blah after the start of the new year?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kitchen cannister up-cycle

Some months back I purchased these very cute owl cannisters for my kitchen counter from Kirkland's. 
I love the colors and the shapes - and they are empty, yes, because just having them sit there makes me smile!
 What to do with the old ones, ca. 1995 from Tarjay?  The seals have long since failed, so they are really only good for display. (Note to self: there were originally 4 of them, must find the 4th one!)
I was thinking I could paint the lids and use them to store some small treasures...
Bubbie is really into collecting things - he used to bring home interesting rocks that he found in the school yard.  So cute.  He has a few shells, lots of marbles, the rock collection, and about a million tiny toys and mementos in a "junk box".
I think these cannisters are just perfect for displaying his stuff.  I sanded the lids, removed a couple of groddy rubber seals, and painted the lids with a soap and water washable enamel from Rustoleum.  It dies really fast - perfect for impatient people like me!
Marbles just naturally look fun in a jar.
The tall jar has tiny toys from Happy Meals and various mementos.  More fun seeing them here than having them stuffed into the closet.
In his room there is a shelf for toys and knick knacks, one for books, another two for mementos.  Bubbie is a great reader and loves to have a couple of books going at the same time.
He likes making origami things, too.  Yes, he figured out that Rubik's cube right after he got it...
I love these adjustable shelves.  He can reach his alarm clock easily, and we can change up the arrangement whenever we have a mind to!  Those are aromatherapy sprays - another story for another day...
Underneath sits his bookcase crammed with more books, VHS tapes (He collects James Bond and Star Wars), and magazines and such.
Bubbie is my Euphonium player.  (:  Notice the bed is no longer a bunkbed?  Time to spray paint it black to match the bed elevators and the dresser and desk.
He is my Christmas baby of 1998...I love him and his collections and hope he likes his new up-cycled storage jars!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Mealplan Monday #44 with Scout's guitar in the background...

It's  "no school" day, and Instead of cooking or doing chores today, I'd love to hang out in Scout's room and listen to him play guitar...
 He's actually getting quite good at it.  Wonder if he misses the baritone?  
Not likely.  He's the artist type, so a guitar makes more sense for him...
Monday - Quesadilla Casserole, salad
Tuesday - Chicken and Dumplings
Wednesday - Tater Tot casserole
Thursday - Sweet and Tangy Meatballs, mashed potatoes
Friday - Cranberry Chicken, dressing, green beans
Saturday - Chicken Slammer sandwiches, fries
Sunday - Dr. Martin's Mix, salad
I think hanging out in there, or at least out in the hall like when I took these, would be a good way to unwind.  Probably that's why he likes it so much...
 Oh, to be 17 again...
 When I was 17, I didn't have an iPod, laptop, digital DSLR, and a cell phone.  Dang.
Youth is wasted on the young...maybe.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy 23rd Birthday!

Here is Firstborn around the age of two.  Loved all things car - whatever goes on wheels. 
So cute!
It just so happens that his 23rd birthday falls on a day when both Hubby and I will be rushing home from work and trying to get a meeelion things done.  So I put together a super fast pizza party so that he could have dinner with brothers before they rush off to a scout camp.
 I made a home made cake yesterday and frosted it this morning before I headed out.
 Threw a red tablecloth over the kitchen island and set out fun napkins.
Divided up a loaf and a half of Italian bread, slathered it with sauce, cheese, olives, pepperoni, and cooked it at 400 for about 15 minutes.
 Set out antitpasto - sweet red peppers, spicy olives, salami wrapped mozzarella sticks.
The salad dressing is a HVR packet, prepared with a can of chopped green chilies, and blended up - so good and just a touch spicy.
The salad was romaine, red bell pepper, avocado.
 YUM.  French bread pizzas are so easy and crunchy and GOOD.  
I am starving.  TGIF! Party time!!
 Firstborn was the first to the banquet.
I think he liked the pizza - it went pretty fast.
Blowing out his candles - what did he wish for I wonder?  Money?  Probably.  But he couldn't wish for more love than he has from his family.  We want the best for him and are standing behind him, urging him on and praying that he has a bright future ahead.
 Yes, there was silliness at the table.  There were three boys there - how could there not be silliness?
 And don't let those serious faces fool you for an instant!
Happy Birthday, Firstborn.  Maybe we don't say it enough, and I know that was a quickie birthday party,  but we love you so much.

"Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come."
Lucy Larcom


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