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Monday, March 31, 2008

Pineapple and Ham Pizza...

Wednesday I shared the wonderfully tasty homemade pizza sauce that I found online. WOOHOO!! What a delicious recipe!! Silly me, though, I didn't share the recipe for the entire pizza!!! Thank you Ginny and Jthemilker for pointing that out!!! What was I thinking?? :)

So, to make pizza, you need dough, right? I always use my favorite pizza dough recipe (aka my favorite French bread recipe!!!). This time, however, I decided to use 2 cups of freshly milled soft wheat and 2 cups of bread flour. My family wasn't crazy about the new twist on the crust, but I personally LOVED it!!!

Here's the "recipe" (meaning, I just kind of make it up as I go along... come on now, I know y'all do the same thing, too, with different recipes!!)

Pineapple and Ham Pizza
-Pizza crust
-Pizza sauce
-Ham, chopped into bite size pieces (whatever kind you like in whatever amount you like)
-Pineapple, in bite size pieces (again, whatever kind you like and however much you like)
-Lots of grated Mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pat your pizza dough into your pan. (This can be FRUSTRATING, but it's worth it in the end. Yum!) I like to bake the dough for about 10 minutes to make sure it gets done on the bottom and doesn't stay soggy once the toppings are put on.

When the dough is done, spread the pizza sauce on top, and then sprinkle the ham, pineapple and cheese on top. Place back in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

For extra crispy edges and browned cheese, I turn on the broiler for maybe 5 minutes until the cheese is brown and yummy.

Okay... so my directions are clear as mud, right? But... the pizza DID turn out to be VERY tasty!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Do you use Nutrasweet (Aspartame)?

Well, after reading of SO many of y'all that have also given up Diet Coke or another diet drink, I started reading online about Nutrasweet (also known as Aspartame). I wasn't super concerned about the caffeine I had been consuming, although caffeine is not healthy for you, either. I was mostly concerned about Nutrasweet.

I found a movie online about it called Sweet Misery. Oh boy, is this eye-opening!!! Maybe y'all have seen this before, but I hadn't. I DEFINITELY will NOT go back to Diet Coke or anything that contains Aspartame!!!

You can watch the movie here.

And how am I doing? Well, today is day 6 of no Diet Coke. So far, I haven't had any headaches. WOW!!! But, I have thought about having a Diet Coke MANY times!! And, somehow, snacking doesn't sound nearly as fun because I don't have a Diet Coke to go with it!!!!! HAAH!!!

And don't be surprised, y'all, if sales of Diet Coke go down. With all that I was drinking and buying, I was keeping them in business, I'm pretty sure. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Homeschool helps- getting started...

I recently spoke with a friend who will be starting to homeschool her son this coming fall. He is going to be in kindergarten. I'm sure many of y'all that homeschool have not forgotten the fear and worry that you felt when you first began- What in the world do I do? Where do I start? What do I use? WILL I MESS UP MY CHILD FOREVER???????

So, I was wondering if y'all could help. Would y'all share what helped you when you first started homeschooling? What curriculum did you use and did you love it or hate it and why? What are your suggestions for a family that is going to be just starting off homeschooling?

I SO appreciate all of y'all's help (can I wrote "y'all's" that way?????). I am so blessed to be able to learn from all of you!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Homemade Pizza Sauce...


Oh y'all!! I found the BEST homemade pizza sauce recipe!!! I just googled "pizza sauce" and there it was on Allrecipes (I should have looked there first, that's my favorite place online to find recipes).

Exquisite Pizza Sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

** I did not use anchovy paste and I will probably not use cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes next time. They were a bit too spicy for Elizabeth.

I used our yummy pizza sauce on Pineapple and Ham Pizza. Yum!!!!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blogging help needed...

Okay, if y'all don't know this by now, I am pretty clueless when it comes to computer things. So, I need your help.

As you can see, I added a new link to my sidebar up on top for Old Virginia Candles. How can I get that link centered? It looks funny off to the left like it is.

Oh, why do I have that there? Well, I'll explain a more later on this week. But for now, is there anyone that can help me make it look better???

Thank you!!!

His,
Mrs. U

WOOHOOOOO!!! Thank you, Tammy, for your help!!! You are good! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

I need prayer....



What you are looking at, my dear friends, is very near and dear to my heart.

My beloved Diet Coke.

This is actually a picture of my very last Diet Coke in the house.

Sigh.

I love Diet Coke. No, seriously, I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this stuff!!! I am too ashamed to tell you how many cans of this that I drink a day. I started drinking Diet Coke when it first came out and have been in love with it ever since.

There is something about Diet Coke that seems like it is addicting. The people that I know that love Diet Coke are die-hard fans like I am. Why is that? There has got to be something in it that makes you crave the stuff.

Anyway, after reading a bazillion things about the dangers of Aspartame (just google it and read for yourself), I have decided that it is time to bid farewell to my love.

Yes, this will be HARD, which is why I am asking y'all to pray for me. It may seem silly, but my flesh is weak and I don't want to return to my old ways. I want to be healthy and live long and I don't like all the strange things I've read about the ingredients in Diet Coke.

So, please, pray if you think about it.

Also, I would LOVE to hear from anyone else that has stopped drinking Diet Coke or any diet drink. It's nice to know you're not alone. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Easter meal...

Roast beef (which Mr. U grilled on his Holland grill- OH YUM!!!!!) with oven roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus...

Deviled eggs (WHY are they called that???)...

Chocolate Velvet Cake with Butter Pecan Cream Cheese Icing (which is so tall that the lid to the cake plate won't fit on top!!! LOL!!!)...


And yes, we are all quite full, thank you very much.

UPDATE: In case anyone else is wondering, I found an interesting bit on deviled eggs here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter!!!



"...and He said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day...'"
Luke 24: 46

I want to wish all of y'all a very happy Easter. Many of y'all that are reading this are Christians, but there are many of you that are not. If you are not a Christian, please take time to read this.

PS- I just visited The Deputy Domain. Jodi has a very encouraging post today. It brings tears to my eyes to remember what the Lord has done for me and saddens me to think how little I do for Him. He DIED for me!!!!! Does my life reflect that I am His and that I truly love Him?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Empty Nester or Open Nester??


My last blog post about hospitality is still fresh in my mind. I want to thank everyone that commented- I have learned SO much for all of you!!

My sister shared this post with me from Radical Womanhood. Since hospitality is on my mind, this post captured my attention. Here's a snippet....

When I was in Charlotte this past weekend, I learned a great phrase coined by my hostess, Jane Connolly. Instead of referring to women with grown children as "empty nesters," she speaks of such women as "open nesters." These women are in a season where they can now be open to new people to care for and new ways for God to use the experience and wisdom they have gleaned from rearing children of their own.

Wow!! What a wonderful opportunity to practice hospitality!! I'm not at this season of life yet, but now will look forward to it. I always thought that this would be a time to be sad and dread the empty home. This new way of looking at it, though, has given me a new perspective on it.

What about you? Have you ever thought of "open nest" instead of "empty nest"? Are any of you in this stage of life right now?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hospitality...



Does your home say "Welcome" when people come to visit? Is your family ready to have guests over for a meal? To stay the night? For friends who drop by last minute at dinner time? Are you prepared?

I found some wonderfully helpful Hosptality Tips recently at The Purple Cellar. Maybe some of these will prove helpful to some of y'all, too.

I would LOVE to learn from y'all about how your family handles showing hospitality. Does your family mostly have spend-the-night guests or meal time guests? Do you have guests over often? Do you always cook just enough for your family or do you cook extra just in case you have someone stop by? What are some helpful tips that y'all have learned over the years?

Please share, I have MUCH to learn in this area. Even though I enjoy having visitors, I still get nervous and would love to gather information from some of y'all that are pros when it comes to hospitality in your home.

UPDATE: I just found more hospitality tips over at Money Saving Mom!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Burger joint meal...

You ever have those days that you just crave bad food? I mean, really bad and unhealthy food?? You do? Me, too!!! It's so much fun to plan those kind of meals every once in a while. This past week, we had a meal that we would order at a burger place- Mushroom Swiss Burgers, Cheddar Ranch Potatoes and for fun (and for my sweet tooth) No Bake Cookies. YUM!!!!


Mushroom Swiss Burgers...





Cheddar Ranch Fries...


and No Bake Cookies.... YUM!!!!




Here's the directions for making Cheddar Ranch Fries. But, please know that I said "directions". I do not have a recipe. I just kind of guess- hahahaa!!!




Cheddar Ranch Fries


-enough potatoes for your family (in the photo, I used about 6
medium potatoes)



-your favorite ranch salad dressing*


-lots of yummy Cheddar Cheese (grated)


Wash potatoes and then slice them into wedges. Put potato wedges on a baking sheet and pour about a cup of ranch dressing on top. Using your hands, toss the potatoes in the dressing until all the potatoes are covered. Bake in a 400degree oven for about 45 minutes**. After 25 minutes, I take the potatoes out of the oven and turn them over so that they brown nicely on both sides. When they are browned all over, remove potatoes from oven. Drizzle the potatoes with a little more ranch dressing and cover the potatoes in the grated cheddar cheese. Return to oven just until the cheese has melted


Oh boy. These are good. These are REALLY good.



* I make my own Ranch Dressing uses the Hillbilly Housewife's recipe.


** Please know that oven temps vary so your potatoes could cook faster or slower than mine. Also it will take more or less time depending on how many potatoes you are cooking. So please pay attention to your potatoes.



Note: Sorry about the weird spacing and the messed up alignment. I usually prepare my posts under the "Edit Html" heading, but today used the "Compose" heading. Boy, it sure is messed up!!! And I can't fix it, either!!! So just pretend that everything looks normal. LOL!!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Last week... a sickly week for our family.

There's a nasty virus going around right now and, unfortunately, most of our family caught it last week. Elizabeth was first. Bless her heart, I know she felt miserable. She definitely had it worse than Mr. U and myself. It just broke my heart to see her feel so bad!!!

Mr. U awoke during the night one night and heard Elizabeth coughing. He went in to check on her and found that she had gotten sick. So after cleaning her and changing her sheets, we were able to put her back to bed. The next day was lots of laundry, as you all well know, and her dear FarleyDog had to be given a "bath", too. He looked kind of cute afterwards.



Elizabeth didn't agree. She didn't like FarleyDog being all wet.



Two days later and Elizabeth was back to her normal self- running around the house (rarely does she walk), listening to her music (Scripture CDs and kid songs) and chatting happily to herself about whatever it is that 22 month old little girls chat to themselves about.

I'm so happy that my girl is feeling better.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa

We had a yummy crockpot soup for dinner recently. It's called Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa soup. I found the recipe over at The Nourishing Gourmet. The recipe is super simple and delicious!! It was a chilly day outside and this was just the thing needed to warm you up.

I had never cooked with quinoa before and was a little nervous about it. The end result reminded me of chicken and brown rice soup- homey and good for you.



NOTE about the recipe- it calls for using 1/2 to 3/4 cup of white wine. We don't use or drink alcohol, so I just used the same amount of chicken stock.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I have a new LOVE!!!

I am in LOVE with PHOTOBUCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, if any of y'all read my complaining about Blogger not uploading my pictures, you will be happy to know (well, maybe you won't be happy about it, but you know what I mean) that Photobucket works WONDERFULLY WELL!!!

I tried using Flickr, but that didn't work at all. I even tried opening a blog at another bloghost (gasp!!!!), but THAT didn't work, either!! I was ready to throw it all in and leave the blogging world all together. Then, my Knight-in-Shining-Armour (and computer whiz) Mr. U stepped in with Photobucket!!!! Aaaaahhhh!!!!!!! My worries are over and Photobucket will upload my photos WAY quicker than I ever dreamed!!!!

So... here are some photos... just because I can share LOTS of them now!!!!



Miss E and dear Aunt Leslie.


Simply sweet face.


Typical Elizabeth. Full of laughter and smiles!!!

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