Not quite Monday Recipe - Biscuit and Gravy Breakfast Casserole

Okay I took most of November and all of December off from blogging.  After about 9,000 miles traveled between air and car from November 28 to December 16, I just couldn't keep up!   Now that Christmas 2011 and in fact the 2011 year is over, I am back.  And with a wonderful recipe from one of my cousins.

I have modified it a bit for my family's tastes and instituted some short cuts but you are more than welcome to do it the old fashioned way!

  • 6-8 Biscuits (I use Pillsbury Grands or could be leftover) diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
  • 4 cups sausage gravy (I use 2 packages of Shawnee Mills gravy mixes made according to the directions)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (I like Colby-Jack)
  1. Bake the biscuits according to the direction but use the lower end of the time stated.  You can use leftover biscuits from another breakfast or make them from scratch too!   Cut the biscuits into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan and cover the bottom with the cubed biscuits
  3. Brown the sausage and drain
  4. Spoon the cooked sausage evenly over the biscuits
  5. Make the gravy according to the mixes or make from scratch milk gravy from the grease of the sausage.
  6. Pour gravy over the sausage and biscuits.
  7. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt & pepper.  Pour this mixture into the pan
  8. Top the casserole with the cheese evenly
  9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until the eggs are cooked and the cheese is melted.
If you are adventurous you can use a "Hot" breakfast sausage but in the three times I have made it in the last week, I have always used mild.


Monday Recipe: Fruit Cocktail Pudding

Okay, yes I am a day late but if you had had the weekend I had, you would be too!  It started off with the Low Country Boil and Welcome Home party for one of our friends.  Bill and I cooked/catered the event.  It was fun and we had a great time.  Food was complimented by all.   Thanks Kelly for letting me to do this for you.

Sunday was our housewarming party to show off the renovations.  The aunts, other family and friends all attended.  I did an appetizer buffet.  Thank you to all who were able to attend and to those who weren't, drop by and see the completed renovations when you can.  The recipe today is one that I found on Cooks.com but modified it to items I had in the pantry!   It was really good but I think I will leave out the extra pineapple next time.  Of couse, I am not a pineapple fan!

  • 1 15oz can of fruit cocktail
  • 1 20 oz can of pineapple tidbits (drained)
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 box of instant sugar-free Cheesecake pudding
  • 1 large or 2 med bananas sliced
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the fruit cocktail, lemon juice and the pineapple.
  2. Add the dry pudding mix until it starts to thicken.
  3. Fold in the banana
  4. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. A dollop of whipped topping is wonderful with serving.

It went over very well.  If you use a low sugar syrup fruit cocktail, it makes for a diabetic friendly sweet item. 

One suggestion from the those who tried it is to add fresh/toasted coconut to the mix.  However, I will not be doing that one if I am going to eat it but could be done for a potluck.  Another suggestion I thought of after trying it would be to add a jar of marschino cherries drained and chopped. 


Wordless Wednesday: Halloween

I know Halloween just passed on Monday but I couldn't resist a Wordless Wednesday about little one's past costumes!
2007 - Learning well from her mother - BOOMER SOONER!

2008 - Flower fairy
2009 - Another fairy

2010 - The year of the witch

2011 - Tangled Rapunzel!


Weekly Wrapup: 10/28/2011

This week was a whirlwind of activities getting ready for Halloween, Mommy's first catering event and the housewarming party.  In between, we started learning about telling time, months of the year and days of the month. 

We broke out one of the wonderful activities from SimplyFun called Tibbar's Big Board.  It has the days of the months at the top, the months of the year on one side,  a big clock in the middle, weather dials and the days of the week. 

Days of the week were not new actually due to taking vitamins every day from my pillbox.  Momma always sounds out the day of the week and asks me which days starts with a sound.  Like Friday, which letter does FFFFFFFFFFFFFFriday start with?   Sometimes, it is annoying to be honest!

When she brought out the board, I became fascinated by the clock.  So that is what I concentrated on this week.  Every, oh five minutes or so, I would ask what time it was.  Momma would point out the time on the digital clock.  I asked where do the hands go?   So for 10:15, it was little hand on the 10 and big hand on the 3.  I am still not sure I get the whole count by 5 for the minutes.  I mean really who came up with that ..... it's a 3 on the clock therefore shouldn't it be 10:3.  Oh well, maybe someday I will figure it out.     On the other hand, I was pretty good with the month.  I mean hey October is the only month that starts with O.  WOohoo!

Other things we did this week, included Momma looking at cookbooks all the time and throwing out suggestions for things to make for the housewarming.  Not sure what all the fuss is about but we no longer have completely blank walls in some of the front rooms.  And Momma is frantic about cleaning. Okay that is true most of the time!  Shoes don't belong in the living room (why not?; Daddy's are), or if you are done playing with it, put it away.  Why?  I might wanna play with it again soon.

Halloween parties galore this week!  Lots of candy at the Trunk or Treat at Hampton United Methodist on Wednesday.  I got a purple spider ring to match my outfit.  I am hoping next year Mommy and Daddy will decorate their trunk!

On Saturday, we watched the OU game and I continued to learn how to cheer for them.  BOOMER .................... SOONER.  And I guess we won!   Anyway, later that evening we went to a Halloween Carnival at a local school.  As you can see, I loved playing golf!

Happy Halloween and speak with you next Monday which I am told will be in November! 


Wordless Wednesday: So many Cookbooks

Today's pictures brought to you courtesy of my frantic search for appetizer and sweets recipes for our open house.  Why is it that with so many cookbooks, I find very few recipes I want to try out!  I have till next Thursday to decide what I am going to fix.

Small wire bound cookbooks -
mostly these are from organization fundraisers

Beta Sigma Phi and Family cookbooks -- and Betty Crocker collection. 
The blue on the right is signed by Alton Brown whom I
met in Louisville in 2007; alas I have used one recipe from it!

Diabetic, sugar free and Southern Living Books.  I use the Slow Cooker one all the time.
The only two in my collection which may actually be used for the housewarming appetizer buffet!
Along with the old standby of rotel cheese and chips!


Monday Recpe: Bierock Appetizer

Not sure what a Bierock is?  Well, it is a meat pie that is made with ground beef, cabbage and onion.  I first had them while at Bethany College, Lindsborg KS.  I will admit, I do not make my own dough although the restaurant I first had them at does.
If you are adventurous, there are many dough recipes on the web to choose from.  A good one to try is http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/detail/8302 -- Yes they are called Runzas in Nebraska... found that out when I lived in Omaha in the late 90's.

The following recipe is a variation I make for an appetizer or brunch buffet.   I will be making these for our housewarming on November 5th!  So I thought I would give out the recipe in anticipation. 

Makes about 24 appetizers.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef  (I have used venison in this as well) 
  • 1 lg. onion, diced
  • 1 lg head of cabbage
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 tubes of Crescent Rolls
  1. Brown the ground meat with the diced onion, garlic and seasonings.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Mix the cabbage in with the meat and set aside to cool.
  4. With each crescent roll of dough, separate into squares if doing larger bierocks or use the triangle shape for smaller ones.
  5. Add 1-2 tbs of filling to the middle and then pinch corners together sealing edges well.
  6. Place on a grease cookie sheet, seam side down
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Serve with one of the sauces below (Plain Yellow or Dijon Mustard is the standard in Lindsborg)
  1. Regular Ketchup or Mustard
  2. Cocktail Sauce
    • 1 cup Ketchup
    • 1 tbs lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
    • Optional a bit of splenda or sugar to sweeten just a bit.
    • Mix ingredients together with a whisk and chill, covered
  3. Tangy Mustard Sauce
    • 1/2 c. Dijon-style mustard
    • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp. soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • hot pepper sauce (optional)
    • Mix ingredients together with a whisk and chill, covered
Stay tuned to our adventures in the housewarming party!   I am sure I will have more recipes to share.


Weekly Wrap-up 10/14/11

Not much going on this week as little one was sick on Thursday and Friday.  Monday through Wednesday were not much better.  We did get her clothes organized by color and type.  It was a great activity and helped Momma out greatly.

First activity was to take all of little one's clothes to the living room, including those being unpacked from storage while the renovation was going on. 

Monday:  We seperated by size and tried on all the 4t, 5t and 4-6 sizes.  Wow, we have lots to put together for boxes on ThredUp.  Yea!; because we need swaps!   If you are not familiar with Thredup, check it out.  It's an online swap meet, consignment sale and yard sale in one place.

Tuesday: We took the clothes that still fit and seperated by type (hanging items vs in the dresser).  Then each stack of hanging clothes were seperated by color.  I just love an organized closet.    Little one helped seperate the items into color stacks.  Items that went into the dresser were seperated into 4 piles, one for each drawer.  Little one wanted to label the drawers so we got out the labeler and she typed them up.  Okay, she hit the print button after I typed them!

Wednesday: Last day of organizing.  Good thing too! Bill was getting a bit antsy over the clothes piled in the living room on every available space!   Anyway we took the color piles of hanging clothes and seperated out the dresses and dance apparel for the top rung of the closet.  Then little one took all of the rest of the items and hung them on the lower rung.  She chose the order of the colors!

So what did we learn this week:

  • Organizing a closet is hard work
  • Little one needs new winter clothes and she needs to stop growing.
  • Who knew knowing numbers and colors could be so practical!


Monday Recipes: Venison Cream Cheese Casserole

Thank you to Cooks.com for this recipe.  And while I almost never do it exactly like the recipe, this one came directly from one I found on the website.  I had made spaghetti sauce Friday night and had lots left over but not enough to justify freezing.  Besides I really prefer to freeze spaghetti sauce that doesn't have meat in it so I can use it later for the base of a sauce.  The casserole is good and should be one that freezes well too.  I haven't tried that yet!

  • 2 cups of spaghetti sauce with meat  -- make your own and use the leftovers like I did or jarred/canned will work too! 
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 6 oz cottage cheese
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 4 oz greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 bag of egg noodles cooked and drained
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
  1. Cook egg noodles in salted water and drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the cottage cheese, yogurt, cream chees, red pepper and nutmeg. Gently fold in the noodles.
  3. Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam cooking spray
  4. Pour in the noodle and cheese mixture
  5. Top with the spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese
  6. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
TIP:  To freeze, you have two options 1) Cover and freeze after step 5 or after baking let the casserole cool down and then freeze.

Weekly Wrap Up 10/7/2011

This week was a whirlwind of activities!  

First, we had dance on Monday.  Jea is learning to tie her tap shoes.  LOL that is an experience.  After much searching I found the rhyme that my mom taught me (thank you Swagbucks!): 
Criss Cross and go under the bridge
Then you got to pull it tight.
Make a loop but keep a long tail
That is how to do it right
Then you take the other string
and you wrap it 'round the loop
Pull it through the hole
Now you got the scoop
For now we are just using my tennis shoes to pratice on with little one attempting to tie them while they are on my feet or the shoe is on the table.

Second, Little one went to the park everyday after Mommy's Morning Out (MMO) with Grandpa.  Dad is so funny about this.  He loves it just as much as she does.  He makes sure to put her bike in the van before heading off to pick her up.  On Tuesday, they wore themselves out with 3 hours at the park!  Some of little one's friends from MMO and dance class showed up just as they were to leave.  I love that they have a great relationship.  I still cherish the memories of my Papa and hope the same for little one.

Third, we went grocery shopping (hush -- we are learning math) on Thursday.  Little one had $3 left from her birthday money and wanted to buy something.  She was not sure what it would be but the money was burning a hole in her pocket!  So while at the store, she kept picking out things to buy.  Our lesson was on how much $3 would buy her.  She finally settled on helping with the birthday cake for Daddy (Oct 6 was his 50th) and a bottle of juice.  I was so proud of her.  She bought the juice all by herself and then gave me the remaining amount toward the cake.  She then helped me count out the dollars needed to purchase.  While we are still a ways from truly understanding how to subtract/add money, she is starting to get the concept about how much she has to spend.  IE if the price has a 4 in front of the period and she only has 3 dollar bills -- it is too expensive to buy.  However, those items at $2.99 and adding tax were hard to understand. 

So what did we learn this week:
  • Tying shoes is hard work (so is teaching something so ingrained in my psyche)
  • Grandpas are the best
  • Money matters need to stay with Mom and Dad for a few more years! My brain hurts.


Wordless Wednesday: SimplyFun

Today's wordless wednesday post comes from one of our consultancies:  SimplyFun.  What is it?  Wonderful and award winning games for the whole family.   Family game night, here we come!

Boost your elementals by connecting
matching tiles, and avoid tiles that will weaken them
Test your nutrition IQ with Foodle!
Pick your monster and
 collect all their missing
shapes by reaching into the bag.

Can you see your pattern
 on the board? If not, add a peg or
make a Hue Turn to get the pattern
you need to score your card!

Award Winners:

Earn. Save. Buy a bike!
Come one, come all to see the amazing Handy game!
With your teammates,
hold balls between your fingers while more
and more balls are added to the "hand tree."
Fill the sails of your ship with wind as you navigate
your way to the valuable jewels of a Lost Civilization!

Let your child's creativity flourish as
 they exercise their imagination with hands-on fun!
 Featuring 88 full-color felt pieces and three story scenes


Monday Recipe: Last of the Garden!

This week's recipe comes from the last of the vetegables in the garden!   We had a bit of yellow squash leftover from my trip to the Farmer's market last week and the last few eggplant from our own container garden.  Can't wait till next week when we will have an entire plot of land to be tended! Of course, I just cook it, can it or freeze it but I love that Bill and Dad love to garden!

So in honor of the last of the summer veggies, I made the following casserole.  And if I do say so myself, one of the best vegetable casseroles I have made made in a long time.

Eggplant and Squash Casserole

  • 2lbs of diced yellow squash and eggplant
  • 1 can of mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 can of cream of  mushroom soup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups of shredded colby-jack cheese
  • 1 cup crushed ritz crackers
  • 2 tbs McCormick's crusting blend
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and dice the squash and eggplant. 
  2. Boil the diced squash and eggplant in salted water until tender.  Remove from heat, drain and put into a bowl.
  3. Add cream of mushroom soup, eggs, mushrooms and onion.  Mix throughly
  4. Place half of the mixture into a 9x13 greased pan
  5. Mix the crusting blend and cracker crumbs together.  Sprinkly half of the mixture over the vegetable layer.
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese on top of the crumbs.
  7. Layer the rest of the vegetable mix
  8. Then sprinkle the remainder of the cracker mixture.
  9. Dot the casserole with 1/4 cup of butter. (I refridgerate, dice into small pcs and refridgerate until use.)
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
  11. At 45 minute mark, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and continue baking.
My family loved it.  Even my dad said he would eat again.  And eggplant is one of the few things he really doesn't like to eat!

Weekly Wrapup: 9/26 - 9/30

As you may know, we have been in the middle of major renovations in our house since the end of July.  It has been an exciting, trying, crying and anxiety laden time in our lives.  Little one has been right in the middle of the uproar and her schedule (trying to figure out if we had one) has been messed up.  Daddy and little one worked getting furniture back into our house!

For the first time in over 3 months, I had to travel for my job. I was off to Boston Monday through Wednesday. Getting back into a routine was the first order of business for Daddy and little one.  Not an easy task.  This is our supposed schedule :
  • Get up at reasonable time (around 8am)
  • Eat breakfast (why is that one so hard to get done?)
  • Get dressed (and take shower for little one if she did not have a bath the night before)
  • Mommy's Morning out (in our case it should be Daddy's morning out!)
  • Lunch
  • About an hour of "school"  in the early afternoon
  • Play Play Play Play ("wait you need shoes to go outside"; "no don't <insert your defnition of NO>")
  • Make dinner (why does it always take longer with HELP?)
  • Eat dinner
  • Story time
  • Bed by 8pm (okay more like 9 or 9:30)
This last week Daddy and little one came close.  Yes we missed dance on Monday but not really surprised as Daddy doesn't always think of that.

Outside of getting back into a semblence of a routine, the big thing we did this last week is use our imagination.  Bill let little one have a big box to play with.  Here is what we learned this week:
  1. How to build a tent
  2. Cages hold back the monsters
  3. Hide and seek
  4. Tossing the ball into the "basket"
  5. Tell stories about the box and her dwellers

Fun fun stuff and I loved that little one wanted to teach us these things.  I have always found one learns more teaching another!


Monday Recipe: Reunion Casserole

Yesterday was the first Gooding reunion I have attended.  Are you wondering who the Gooding clan is and how I am related?  Well that is a good question.  Bill's Dad's family is part of the clan and so since we have moved back South Carolina, it was time for us to put in an appearance at the reunion.  Commanded by Bill's great aunt, of course. 

And so the following casserole was born from Bill's and my brains as well as a pantry and fridge raid!

Mediterranean Venison Casserole


·         2 lbs ground venison (other ground meat will work)
·         1 large onion diced
·         1 red bell pepper diced
·         1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
·         1 cup frozen broccoli chopped
·         1 large can mushrooms chopped finely
·         2 cups Israeli pearl couscous
·         2 cups water
·         ¾ cup plain sour cream
·         ½ cup garlic and herb sour cream (we used Breakstone’s brand)
·         2 cups Italian Cheese blend shredded cheese
·         ½ tsp cayenne pepper
·         1 tsp Thyme
·         Salt and black pepper to taste


1.       Cook couscous in the water with salt according to the package directions.
2.       When couscous is almost done, add frozen vegetables to the pot until they are warmed through, set aside
3.       Brown the ground venison with onion and bell pepper.  Add the cayenne, thyme, salt and pepper.  Drain well.
4.       Add mushrooms and sour cream.  Heat through
5.       In a large bowl pour the couscous mixture and meat mixture together.  Stir to coat vegetables and couscous
6.       Pour into a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
7.       Top with shredded cheese.  Bake in 350 degree oven until the cheese browns a bit on the edges and melts.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as the family did!


Monday Recipe: Thrown Together Side Dish

Tonight was one of those nights.  We had plenty of leftver venison loin from the birthday party.  However,  I had no idea what to make to accompany it.  We were already about an hour later than we normally eat therefore, it had to be quick. So off to the fridge and the pantry.     

Thrown Together Side Dish  was born!

  • Approx 2 cups of uncooked pasta
  • 1 can of mushrooms chopped
  • 1 can of peas (we love Leseur)
  • 1/2 cup of garlic & herb sour cream (you could make your own too but in this case it was store bought)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Cook pasta according to the directions.  Drain
  • Add peas, mushrooms, sour cream.  Mix well until sour cream is melted and all the pasta is coated. 
  • The pasta will warm the canned veggies just fine.  You can use frozen but will need to be thawed first or cook them with the pasta.
  • TASTE and then determine how much salt and pepper to add.
Everyone was very pleased.  Bill and dad even got seconds.  I have just enough left over for tomorrow's lunch.  I will probably add a bit of cheese to give it some more protien.

Weekly Wrap up: Field Trip

This week we have my best friend here from Michigan.  Thank you to her hubby for letting her come down for a whole week! 

Thursday night it was a Low Country Crab Boil in Aunt Kristi's honor!  It was YUMMY but we could have done without all the gnats.

Not much schooling has been done this week, however, we had a field trip to Charleston on Saturday.  Little one took her aunt to The Battery, over the Ravenel Bridge to Patriot's Point, through Bill's Alma mater, The Citadel, and out to one of our favorite restaurants, The Grill on the Edge

This was the first time little one and I have been able to walk around Battery Park!   Did you know that while it is commonly known as Battery Park, White Point Gardens is the actual park part? In the past, it has always been raining when we have been to tour around Charleston.   Of course admittedly until this time, it has always been in November when we have gone.

In preparation for the trip, we did a bit of research on the bridge and how it was made.  I love bridges and so this was fun research for me.  Other than little one getting to learn how to use a search engine on the computer, I think the whole exercise was kind of wasted on her.  But I learned a lot!  For instance, there are 128 individual cables between the support piers and each of those cables can hold over 1 million pounds!    Here is a link to some great photos of it since it is quite hard to take one while riding in the van.


On Sunday, we celebrated little one's 4th birthday with friends and family.  One of the highlights of the afternoon was little one and her friends ATTEMPTING to break the pinata bought by Aunt Kristi!   Well, let me tell you, this pinata could have been the poster child for a Volkswagen.  One of the cousins finally had to bust it open with a two-handed swing.   Little one was very happy with her presents and will enjoy them for the next ...... oh month or so!

So what did we learn this week?
  • We aren't quite ready for history beyond climbing on cannonballs & cannons.  Okay, we loved the sailboats!
  • Bridge construction at this point is not an option for a career path.  Little one was not as impressed as I was.  Boat captain might be.
  • Aunt Kristi loves to spoil me
  • Preparation of crabs is hard work, messy and WET. Note to Momma... let me wear my bathing suit next time and you won't have to make me change 3 times before company shows up.
  • Birthdays should be everyday.


What a difference cabinets make!

On Tuesday, we were at a point that I felt like we may never get done.  Things were starting to come together
  • All painting but the study was done
  • Hardwood floors stained and 2 coats of poly with the 3rd to be done after everything else is done
  • All new doors in and painted
  • Electricians working on the final lighting
But the kitchen was bare.  No calls from the cabinet maker that he was done and I was getting worried.  Yesterday, I never went into the house. I was in my office heads down.

I walked into the house this morning and.............................................. WOW see what has been accomplished:
Looking over the bar/island cooktop into the kitchen.

Front of cooktop island

Another look at the kitchen
And just heard from our contractor that the countertop guy is headed here to make the template for the counters!   I can see progress and I have a kitchen.  Okay I can't cook in it yet but I have one!


Wordless Wednesday: Mass Chaos

If you read yesterday's post, then you know we played Mass Chaos (yeah for cool whip, chocolate syrup & water hoses) at church last week.  Here are few more pictures of the event:


Weekly Wrap Up

 I am going to try to post a weekly wrap up each week on Saturday for the previous week but I reserve the right to be late and it may always end up on Tuesdays!

We have a name for our preschool............... Anderson Academy .... LOL I know not the most original but hey we like it.  While we will not formally start doing desk work in the study room in the house until October, it doesn't mean learning isn't happening.  I guess most would call this k-4 curriculum "unschooling" but it works for us.  Dad is the primary teacher as we start this adventure.

Last week we got the cabinet setup in the RV for our school.     

In the RV, we are limited on space, so we have a few workbooks for writing and shapes, for reading we have the Usborne First Reading Set and other items include two games, one a busy bug set (colors and sets, early math) and a phonics card set.

Here is we are playing with the bug set. She is making bug soup, hence the bowl. YUMMMMMMMM my favorite is purple and blue bugs!   Little one also likes having her dad or me make the soup while she calls out the recipe:     
  • 2 blue bugs
  • Stir gently
  • All of the beetles
  • ETC!

On Wednesday night, it was the start of FUNdamentals at church.  Playing mass chaos, I was really impressed with her following directions and getting to play with the big kids.  Basically Mass Chaos is a dirty, messy and hilarious time for kids of all ages.

So what did we learn? 

Play = school!
Cleaning up allows us to know where to find things the next day
Getting messy can be a learning experience (gotta remember that Mom!)

Monday Recipe: Lentils and Sausage

One of my favorite go to meals.  Lentils are a great source of protien and fiber while sausage just makes the dish pop.  This dish is inspired by Cabela's Sausage and Lentil soup.  It is a great, relatively fast (or all day in the crockpot) recipe. 

Feel free to substitute your choice of sausage.  Most anytime I cook with red meat, it is venison!  Bill and family believe that the family that hunts together stays together.  Our freezer is full each year!   Did you know South Carolina has the longest deer season in the nation?  It runs from August 15th to January 1 each year.  

Today's Recipe: Lentils and Sausage

  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 1 lb of ground sausage, as stated above I use bulk venison sausage, relatively mild but if you like it hot, feel free
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced
  • 2 tbs italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp fennel seed crushed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Brown the sausage and drain excess fat.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots for about 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent
  • Add the meat back into the pan along with the salt, pepper, cayenne, italian seasoning and fennel seed.  Saute an additional minute or two, stirring to mix the ingredients.
  • Add the 6 cups of broth, diced tomatoes and the lentils.
  • Bring to a boil
  • Taste the broth and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes or until lentils are tender.  

  • Follow Directions for first three bullets
  • Then add meat mixture to the crockpot
  • Add broth, lentils and tomotoes.  Stir.
  • Cook on low for 5-6 hours; high for 3-5 hours or until the lentils are tender.

I usually serve with cooked brown rice, fresh bread and a nice salad.  Crackers work well too!  This recipe will easily serve 6-8 people. Freeze the leftovers for another quick meal.


Coupon Savings this week

This post is happening late Sunday (okay early Monday Morning) night.  As I haven't gone to bed yet, it is still Sunday night to me. 

Anyway, I have finally finished going through my two papers and clipping coupons I wanted and saving those I don't for my coupon exchange club.   This is also the time that I try to re-organize my coupon binder.  And I found out I need more baseball card sheet protectors!!!  I thought I did last week but now I am officially out of room in those that I have!  So I guess my shopping list this week just got a bit bigger. 
After completing the clipping and the organizing, it is time to sit down and tally up how I did this last week in my savings calculator.   And tonight, I have decided to share with you how I did and how I arrive at that number:

Week ending Saturday 9/10/2011

Store Names Total Cost, if no Coupons Coupons Actual Spent Percentage Saved
Bi-Lo $131.91 $30.76 $101.15 23.32%
CVS $30.86 $11.73 $19.13 38.01%
Walgreen's $61.59 $2.51 $59.08 4.08%
Other (this week: Wal-Mart & Petco) $175.17 $20.57 $154.60 11.74%
TOTALS $399.53 $65.67 $333.96 16.41%

Overall, I give myself a C this week.  Although I was under my goal of 25% saved this week, I did score some big wins.
  • New exercise outfit for $12 at Wal-Mart which if I had bought it at the beginning of Summer would have cost me $25+.
  • $.50 off per gallon at the pump.  Thank you Bi-Lo !!!!  That made our price per gallon $2.99. 
  • B1G1 1/2 off Walgreen's brand scored us two cans of nuts for $5.00 and I put money on my Walgreen's prescription card for the next trip.
  • Party favors and wrapping paper paid for by my coupon savings at Wal-Mart for Jea's Birthday next Sunday!
So how did you do this week at the store?  Tell us about your big wins.


Wordless Wednesday: Two weeks, really??

This week's wordless Wednesday comes from our cat, Brat, and her observations of progress on the renovation.

One of my favorite seats in the RV, now if I could figure out how
to get rid of that upstart Chase.
Anyone wanna cook?
Deck from office door end
Hmm lighting leaves a bit to be desired
Where are the steps and railing, that is an awful big step for a little thing like me

Storage? Bathroom?


Monday Recipe: Griled Pork Loin

In honor of the traditional cookout for Labor Day, my recipe today is Grilled Pork Loin.  Bill and I very rarely do "traditional" hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill anymore.   Here is our favorite marinade and timing on the grill! 

Take time today to fire up the grill and have a great Labor Day feast. 

  • 2-3 lb Pork Loin
  • Nature's Seasoning
  • Marinade
    • Bottle of Greek Dressing
    • 4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
    • 1 small onion chopped (or if you want to grill the onion as well, just slice in rings)
    • 1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
    • Juice of one lemon
    • A bottle of your favorite beer (Bill likes dark beer so that is usually what we use or whatever we have on hand)
  • Rinse the pork lion and pat dry
  • Sprinkle Nature's seasoning over the entire loin.  Set aside.
  • Add all of the ingredients of the marinade into a gallon Ziploc bag.  Close and shake to mix well.
  • Add the pork loin into the bag.  Remove as much air as possible from the bag and close.
  • Make sure the loin is well coated and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to 4 hours
  • Grill on indirect heat for approximately 15 minute per side. 
  • Reserve the marinade to baste the pork loin each time you turn it.  We prefer medium rare to medium meat or internal temp around 140 degrees.
  • Remove from heat and let rest under aluminum foil for about 15 minutes before slicing thin

Grilled Onions/Vegetable Skewers:
  • Remove onions from the marinade and let drain a few minutes in a colander.
  • Place rings directly on the grill for about 2-3 minutes per side
  • Vegetable Skewers
    • Soak wooden skewers for at least 10 minutes prior to grilling.
    • Add tomato, bell pepper, yellow squash or your favorite veggies along with the marinated onion. \
    • Be sure to salt and pepper to taste 
    • Baste the skewers with the reserve marinade
    • Grill for about 3 minutes per side.
Other sides I like with the grilled loin include wild rice mix or orzo pasta.  A nice salad and fresh baked bread or a warmed up French loaf from the bakery section round out the meal nicely.

Have a great Labor Day !


Do you use coupons?

I think I ask most of my friends and acquaintances this question.  I am always looking for someone to take the coupons that I can't or won't use.

I have been couponing it seems forever.  But in reality I have only been seriously paying attention to my savings in the last year.  My mom and grandmother taught me to coupon when I was a little girl and I have never forgotten.  Though I rarely used their advice until after I got married and had a child.  

In today's economy it is even more important to save where I can.   Thus my journey to serious couponing over the last year.   Unlike the show "Extreme Couponing" or many of the websites I use each week, I do not stockpile more than I will use or buy things I do not need/like.  My goal each week is to save an average of 25% off of my bill at stores I regularly purchase from. This does not mean I will not purchase items at full price.  But it does mean that if I don't need it immediately, I will wait until it is on sale or I have a coupon or best of both worlds -- I have a coupon and item is on sale! 

Couponing works! 

In the last three months, I have saved approximately $1700.  Unfortunately or fortunately, our renovation project has eaten that money and none has been saved.  Hm mm, I think I have my next project in regards to couponing -- Open a savings account and put the amount saved each week from my budget into it.   I can use my savings for Christmas shopping or on my vacation to Orlando in January!   Stay tuned to see how it goes.

So do you coupon? 


5 Years and Counting

Happy Anniversary were the first words I heard this morning.  "I Love you" coming right after.   I can hardly believe that five years ago, I was saying "I do" to my best friend and love.

I remember moments in time of our wedding day.  
  • I was the driver of the boat (Lincoln Continental) to the hairdresser's and to brunch.  hey it was huge compared to my Kia Sorrento!
  • Standing at the top of the stairs waiting on my dad with my bridesmaids telling jokes so I wouldn't cry
  • Seeing Bill's Dad with a grin that about split his face open -- he is the one on the scooter in the background behind Bill.
  • Standing over the a/c vent while pictures where taken and breathing a sigh of relief  --- wedding coordinator forgot to turn on the a/c 2-3 hours before we got there.  Mind you the temperature outside was about 102.  That was down from the week prior when we were stuck in the 110's!
  • Two of my dearest friends picking up my Mom's wheelchair and carrying her up the stairs so she could sit with friends and family in one of the reception rooms!   That made me cry when I saw them.
  • Lots of beer and wine flowing freely at the post-reception get together back at our house.
  • Trying to find a restaurant on a Sat Evening which could hold 20 people easily when June, mother-in-law who was soused but good, announced it was time to feed the crowd.  And no, buckets of fried chicken were not to be served!
  • Revenge on my matron of honor later that night.  Who else but me would decide to go toilet paper a house on their wedding night? 
  • Watching our wedding video and laughing my butt off at the antics of my father and my father-in-law lighting the Unity Candles!   Bill was not so amused as me when it was happening LIVE!
Looking back, I can see I should have had a clue it was going to be an adventure.  Over the last five years we have had a few surprises, wonderful days and a few tragedies.  Through it all, Bill has been by my side and I by his.  I thank God every day for the wonderful man I married.



Recipe Monday: Cheese Grits

Okay this is a recipe that has been cut down to a normal size from the original which was made for a men's campout celebrating the end of quail season last spring.   Bill says it is the bomb and he loves grits!  I, on the other hand, can't stand them in most cases!  I do like polenta, however!   

Bill, making fun of me, always rolls his eyes and says " that is just a high-class form of grits!"    I beg to differ and if you would like to know more check out Meseidy at http://thenoshery.com/2009/07/02/spicy-tomato-shrimp-with-creamy-polenta/ who quotes Alton Brown in her research on the differences between grits and polenta. 

And now on to today's recipe which comes from Bill's kitchen and not mine (LOL):

  • 1 32oz carton of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 cup Uncooked quick cooking grits (grind is your choice)
  • 2/3 cup Sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Combine chicken broth and whipping cream in large saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Stir in the grits and return to a boil
  4. Cover, reduce heat and simer 5 to 7 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese
  6. Cool approximately 10 minutes

Let us know how you like it.  I am thinking I will try this out substituting polenta for grits later this week! 


Waiting on a Hurricane

Being from Oklahoma, I am used to watching the weather and the current satellite imagery and paths of storms.  Thunderstorms and tornadoes are common.  As a native Oklahoman, I have been the idiot standing outside watching the sky while the sirens are going off. 

Now I live in South Carolina about 50-75 miles inland from the coast.  I have been watching Hurricane Irene imagery.  Reading information on what Hurricanes can do and have done.  It's like a train wreck, I can't stop watching.  On the other hand, watching the predictions is an agonizing process. 

The biggest difference is TIME.

Tornadoes spring up over the course of an evening in an area.  Warnings are in terms of minutes. Hurricanes develop over days.  Warnings start a week in advance.  Three days ago Hurricane Irene was modeled to be coming straight for us.  Now we may get rain on Saturday.

Check out the latest satellite animation from The Weather Channel at http://www.weather.com/maps/news/atlstorm9/spec_floater3_large_animated.html.  We are basically just north of the HA in Charleston.  We are praying for family and friends in the path of this storm.  Batten down the hatches and stay safe!


Wordless Wednesday: Sleeping Beauties

I got up this morning and my daughter was still asleep.  I found my wordless post for today.  My wonderful sleeping beauties.   Although I couldn't find one of the best sleepers in the house ... Brat!  Anyway here goes
Today- Almost 4 years old

October 2010

July 2011 (the new addition)