Friday, January 18, 2013

Brunswick Stew in the Crock Pot

I found this delicious recipe for Brunswick Stew on

Get a Husband Brunswick Stew which could just as effectively be called "Keep a Husband Brunswick Stew" as my man loves it.  While it is worth all the effort, it is a costly + timely recipe. 

So, I was super excited when my friend Christina passed on a recipe she got from her mother-in-law that is super simple and can go in my best friend the crock pot.  Check it out:


2 cans diced tomatoes
1 container of BBQ chicken
1 container of BBQ pork
1 can lima beans (drained) [we're not big lima bean fans so left this out...probably will try substituting with another vegetable next time]
1 can whole kernal corn (drained)
1 can chicken broth
1 diced onion
*salt & pepper to taste
*can add tabasco squad if you want to add some spice to it

The containers of pork & chicken are in the meat section at Walmart & they have a gluten free version of both & its the same price as the regular!

You just dump it all in & cook on med for 4-5 hrs or on high for less.


It was simple + delicious + quick = a winner in my book.  Serve with corn muffins and your husband will kiss you all over your face...or something like that.

Cooking Tips

The interent world is full of a million creative recipes and cooking tips.  So normally I think, why re-invent the wheel?  But I was writing down some of what I do for a friend and I figured maybe it woudl help any of you stuck in a rut or trying to learn new tips.  While not always the healthiest options and very much just a tiny slice of how I cook, it's nice to have some quick go-to meals instead of ordering pizza or take out.   So here it is, my cooking tips.

Recipe Ramblings + Cooking Tips 


·         Rotissiere chicken:  buy one for dinner after a long day of grocery shopping.  Take the rest of the chicken and shred the meat.  Boil the bones in a big pot of water for about 15-20 mins then simmer for an hour or so until the broth looks right.  You can freeze the shredded meat for casseroles/fajitas/soups/rice or use within a few days.  Freeze the chicken broth in about 2 cup increments (small empty soda bottles work great—just the right amount and free!) or in ziplocs laid flat (thaws faster and stores better). 

·         Rice:  mix with beans + chicken, beans and sausage, taco meat.  Use for Chinese, Mexican, Southern, soups, etc.   Rice is cheap + easy—it’s your best friend.  Brown + wild rice are more nutritional. 

·         Ground beef:  I always make my ground beef into patties then freeze on a cookie sheet.  Easy to thaw out quickly and grill/broil/pan fry.  Makes hamburgers or throw them in a skillet, add a mixture of beef broth + flour (oatmeal flour + gluten free beef broth for gluten free eaters) and you have some meat and gravy to mix with your best friend—rice.

·         Ground turkey:  I always brown my ground turkey within a day or two of buying it.  Freeze in 1lb amounts (flat in Ziplocs works great or you can invest in some freezable Tupperware as an investment to avoid buying so much many bags).  We basically just use ours for tacos so I always go ahead and season it and let it simmer a little before bagging it.  Mix your meat with refried beans, black beans, or kidney beans and you make it go that much further.  Ground turkey is leaner, healthier, cheaper, and you can barely tell the difference when seasoned.  Also works great to have it browned ahead of time for chili.

·         Ground sausage:  Brown within a few days of buying.  Freeze in 1lb or ½ lb increments.  Works great in scrambled eggs, for a dirty rice (add a few peppers + corn + diced tomatoes), breakfast casseroles, cheese dips, etc.

·         Sausage “tube”:  Cut into small pieces and mix into rice + add beans (navy beans are a favorite).  Although it’s not as healthy, I usually leave the grease for flavor.  It’s not too much if you buy all beef sausage and it really enhances the flavor of the dish and keeps it from being too dry.

·         Chicken: Grill it then freeze it.  Marinate it and freeze it.  Thaws + marinates then ready for grilling.  Slice, dice, season, cook, freeze ready for dishes.  Boil/slow cooker chicken then shred, freeze ready for casseroles, soups, dishes.


·         Mix a little rice with salsa/diced tomatoes = Mexican rice

·         Mix a little rice with beans + meat = a meal (add a little veg/ckn broth if dry)


·         Boil some ramen noodles without the seasoning.  Drain.  Pan fry in a little oil.   Mix in stiry fry veggies, meat, and soy/teriyaki sauce.  Chinese on the cheap.

·         Look up pasta salads on the internet—plethora of ideas.  Basically pasta, dressing, veggies, meat (optional).  Great for packing lunches.


·         Can beans are easier, but dry beans are cheaper if you’re really counting pennies.  You just have to plan ahead.  I soak beans overnight.  Boil them the next day.  Then they last for about a week in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze them and pull them out for later use.  If you freeze them on a flat cookie sheet or in muffin tins then put them in Ziploc/container then you can grab some at a time and don’t have to thaw all of them.

·         Green, red, yellow, orange peppers can all be diced/sliced and frozen for quick use with fajitas or Mexican dishes

·         Onions cans be sliced/diced and frozen for quick use

·         If your fruit is about to go bad freeze it and save it for smoothies. 

·         If your veggies are about to go bad then freeze them and save them for soups/dishes.


·          Put a little scoop of Bisquick in a greased muffin tin.  Pour a little sauce, cheese, and meat then put another scoop of Bisquick—pizza popovers!

·         One little scoop of BIsquick sausage (could also add cheese) then another scoop of Bisquick.  Sausage biscuits!  Quick + easy breakfast easily reheated in the toaster oven.

·         Mix a can of cream of chicken/mushroom soup, fzn mixed veggies, cooked chicken, onion, maybe a little chicken broth (optional—depends on how thick you want it).  Put scoops of Bisquick on top (remember it expands so you don’t have to put too much).  Bake on the same setting you would for making biscuits and keep it in there until the biscuits are golden brown.


·         Wrap sausage in crescent roll dough.  Bake.  Sausage roll!

·         Wrap hot dogs in crescent roll dough.  Maybe add cheese.  Bake.   Pigs in a blanket!

·         Wrap sauce, cheese, meat in crescent roll dough.  Bake.  Pizza rolls!

And of course there's always Pinterest!  While I love trying new recipes I don't like having to buy lots of ingredients, more work, time, money.  Here's a few links to some simple recipes I love:

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Oh dear blog, I know I've all but abandoned you.  I love blogging.  Some days.  Mostly, I love the results of blogging, cataloging our days.  Organizing our life happenings in a fashion for reflection.  But lately, I nearly collapse into our recliner or sprawl on our couch at the end of the day and just can't muster the energy to add one-more-thing to my to do list. 

Our holidays were full of sweetness, generosity, and warmth.  As well as tornadic weather, stormy skies, whining, tantrums, and sickness.  My personality is such that I'm immediately drawn to focus on the worst.  I see the worst and mull it over.  This is one of the reasons blogging is so important for me.  I remember to record the beauty.  To focus on the positive.  I can't just push away the negative, nor should I completely, but I need to learn not to let it overwhelm me.  Do what I can to change it, then dwell on it no longer. 

I can not begin to describe all I learn about myself watching my daughter.  We've all heard it before, our children are little mirrors of us.  This couldn't be truer in the case of my daughter.  As I speak words of truth into her life I'm learning I so often speak them to myself.  Then, I must humbly admit to her that I'm still learning these same truths and ask her if she'll join me on this journey. 

It's hard watching your child struggle with the things you struggle with daily.  It's hard not to fear what her future will hold.  It's hard not being able to fix it and make it easier for her.  Praise God for mercy, grace--Christ.  Oh how we need Christ.

The days I am hardest on my children I nearly always look back and realize its the day I'm most in need of God's grace for my own flaws, and then I immediately recognize how little of this same grace I extended to my little ones.  Humbling.  Convicting.  Overwhelming--if not for grace.  Grace to forgive myself.  Grace to start over again tomorrow.  Or even that night as I sneak into my children's room and tearfully apologize to my sweet sleepers, begging forgiveness, promising to try a little harder tomorrow to love more sacrifically and extend more grace.

Grace.  My children are amazing pictures of forgiveness and grace.  They never cease to forgive me.  To love me immediately following yet another one of my impatient outbursts.  Their hugs and I love yous come even following some of my worst moments.  I have never in life experienced anything as challenging as raising children.  Nor anything quite as rewarding.

So blog, if you miss me, know I'll return...eventually.  If I'm absent it's because I'm giving every last ounce of energy to motherhood.  A decision I know I'll never regret. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Family Portraits 2012

While we visited my parents at Thanksgiving my sister squeezed in some family portraits for us.

So grateful. I love her work. Amazing.  As always.

The love of my life.

Still makes me swoon.

Debi can always perfectly capture the personality of a person.

Ivory adores doing photo sessions with Aunt Debi and always gives her the best.

Love my sugar and spice.

Daddy's little boy.

His blue eyes melt me.

That tongue. Always sticking it out.

As good as we could get it with little man.

Until sister started making faces.

Then everything changed.

My personal *favorite.*


Some behind the scenes shots:

It's always good to bring Pa along--back-up.