Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!! Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

Mrs. U

Monday, December 18, 2017

Homemade Ornaments- Simple Dried Oranges...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!!!  How 'bout at your house????

We've got the decorations up, the tree was finally purchased (from Home Depot- nope, not a fancy tree farm), cookies are baking, sweet treats are being consumed, lots and lots of trips to stores are happening, and YES lots of orders from Amazon!!  I LOVE ordering from Amazon!!!  

Last year, the we strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries for the first time. I LOVE the way that looked- old fashioned and warm and friendly.  This year,  we decided to try our hand at making dried oranges.  Y'all, it was SO easy!!!  Here's what you'll need to do...

Simple Dried Oranges

- oranges (I used 4 and did not use the ends that were just rinds)
- baking sheets
- parchment paper or baking mat 
- twine or some kind of string.

Simply start by slicing the oranges about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Then lay them flat on a baking sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or a baking mat.  The oranges will release some of their juice as they bake and the parchment paper or baking mat makes clean up easier and keeps the orange slices from sticking to the baking sheet.  

Place in a 200 degree oven and bake for 4 hours.  Yes it takes a while, BUT if you try to bake them at a higher temperature, you will burn them.  Remember, you are just drying them out so it's a slow process.  Turn each orange slice over every hour to make sure they dry out evenly.  

After the four hours, let them cool completely on the baking sheet 4 hours or overnight. This dries them out even more.  

Then, using the point of scissors, make a small slit in the dried orange and string with twine. Tie together and hang on your Christmas tree.  This would be super cute tied on top of a present along with fresh rosemary, too!!!

So that's it. Simple. Inexpensive.  Homey.  I'm all about making our house a home even at Christmas and this is just one way that you can do that, too.  

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's a Bagel Dog???

Some of y'all have got to be sitting there asking, "What in the WORLD is a Bagel Dog?"

It's a combination of a hot dog and all the super yummy flavors of an "everything" bagel.  So sooooo good!!!

This recipe actually came from a low carb website!! (I adjusted the recipe for my family and this recipe reflects my changes.)  If you've been reading here for any time, you may remember me saying that I have been trying (emphasis on trying!!!) to watch carbs. Kind of hard when I love to bake!!!!!  But my family doesn't really care to limit the dear carbs.  This recipe makes ALL of us happy!!!  My children love hot dogs and this dough wrapped around it is so very tasty (and Mr. U even likes it!!!!). And the "everything" bagel flavoring on top is AWESOME!!! 

Whether you are low carb or not, this recipe is definitely one worth trying out!!!  

"Everything" Bagel Dog

8 hot dogs
3 cups shredded mozzarella (use the stuff already shredded in the bag)
4 T cream cheese
1 1/2 cups almond flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 eggs

“Everything” Bagel Blend:
1 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 T dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
½ tsp pretzel salt or other coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place mozzarella & cream cheese in a medium sized microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir.  Then microwave another 30 seconds.  Stir.  If it needs another 30 seconds, do so. Stir to combine everything. Make sure all the cheese is melted and the two cheese are mixed together very well.

In a separate bowl, add almond flour, 2 eggs and xanthan gum. Mix until combined.  Add the melted cheese mixture to the almond mixture and work them into each other. Using a rubber spatula works well, or wet your hands and knead it in the bowl.  Mix until you it is all well combined and it all looks the same color.

Section dough into 8 balls and with wet or oiled hands, gently roll each one out about 10 inches long.  Wrap one piece of dough around each hot dog. (Clearly, looking at my photo, I am not concerned with perfectly wrapped hot dogs). Beat remaining 1 egg in a small bowl to make your egg wash and brush onto each dog.

Mix all of the “Everything” Bagel Blend into a bowl and sprinkle the mixture over each rolled up hot dog. Place on lined sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the dough should be lightly golden.

If you don't want to make the dough like this, feel free to use refrigerated biscuit dough!  Just roll the dough into ropes and wrap them around the hot dogs. Then brush with a beaten egg wash and sprinkle the "Everything" Bagel Blend right on top.  Still SUPER delicious!! 

This recipe is a nice change to regular hot dogs.  

Happy Homemaking!!!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Disappearing Chili...

Anyone else a huge fan of Flip or Flop Atlanta???  It's my FAVORITE HGTV show!!  My #2  favorite is HomeTown and my #3 is Fixer Upper.   

Flip or Flop Atlanta features the talented couple Ken and Anita Corsini and their company Red Barn Homes.  They just seem so nice and friendly (and they're in Atlanta, too, so SURELY we should all be friends!!!).  

So, of course, it's 2017 and YES I follow them on Instagram  
and a few weeks ago, Anita shared her recipe for Disappearing Chili.  It looked and sounded so delicious so I knew I'd have to make it!  We had it this week and it's a keeper, folks!!!  

Below is the way I made the chili, but this is the link to exactly how Anita makes it.  I just had to use what I had.  I'm not super close to Trader Joe's.

Disappearing Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 chopped onion
1 Ccn of baked beans undrained
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans of tomato sauce 
3 Tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
Pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of onion powder
½ teaspoon of cumin

Brown the ground beef, season with salt and pepper and drain off the fat. Add onion and garlic and sauté with the beef over medium heat until slightly soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. After 20 minutes, spoon chili mixture into a prepared 9x13 pan.

Now to make this Disappearing Chili - you will need…

canned jumbo biscuits
1 (8oz) block of cheddar cheese, cut into 16 squares
melted butter
Fritos, crushed

Cut each biscuit in half. Flatten out each biscuit half and place a square of cheddar cheese in the middle of each one.  Carefully wrap and cover each square of cheese with biscuit dough. You will end up with 16 little balls.  Then roll each biscuit ball in the butter and then roll in the crushed up Fritos.  The butter helps the Fritos stick to the biscuit balls.  Then place them on top of your chili in the 9x13.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 Thank you, Anita, for sharing your yummy recipe!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Garlic Parmesan Knots...

Oh y'all!!!!  I have GOT to share with you this quick and VERY easy recipe for Garlic Parmesan Knots!!!   You can easily include your children (yes, even young ones!) in making these.  They are perfect with soups, stews, chilis or even as a side for any casserole or meat dish.  Shoot, have them with quiche or even pizza!!!!!  Or a snack!!!! JUST MAKE THEM!!!!!  

These use canned biscuits, canned parmesan, simple plain oil, and probably the dried herbs you already have in your kitchen.  

What are we waiting for?  LET'S BAKE!!

First, open the can and cut the biscuits in two (I prefer to use Jumbo biscuits for this).  Roll each half into an 8 inch rope.  (This is the part your children will LOVE to help you with!) 

Tie them into little knots and place them on a baking sheet.  You can spray with nonstick cooking spray, rub with butter, or use parchment paper like I did here.  

(NOTE: DO NOT use wax paper!!!!!  NOT the same thing as parchment paper.  It will melt and ruin your food and your pan.)

When they come out of the oven, they look like this.  All golden brown. 


As SOON as they come out, place them in a bowl filled with your oil/parm/herb mixture and give them a careful but thorough toss.

Then EAT!!!!! 

Garlic Parmesan Knots
8 servings

1/3 cup extra light olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I used the green can stuff)
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tube jumbo canned biscuits (8 biscuits in the can)

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients and toss to mix well.

Cut each biscuit in half and then roll into an 8 inch rope.  Tie into a knot and placed on prepared baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately place in bowl with herb mixture and toss gently to coat.  

See?  SUPER easy and quick!!!!!!  Y'all be sure and let me know if you make these for your family!!

Happy Homemaking!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chocolate Cake and Thanksgiving Helps...

Happy early Thanksgiving, y'all!!!

I know most of us are preparing for a busy week this up ahead with Thanksgiving here in the US.   I recently found a few yummy blogs offering recipe and hospitality ideas!!!!  

Miz Helen shares 15 Thanksgiving Sides and Salads.

Amanda Frederickson has great recipe ideas.

The Kitchn offers recipes and wonderful ideas for whatever kind of Thanksgiving you're hosting- Your First Thanksgiving, Work Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, etc. 

And dear Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse shares 10 Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving.  

We've got a busy week this week.  Tonight is Mr. U's company Thanksgiving party (except they call it Friendsgiving).  What are we taking to share?  Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake. Always ALWAYS a hit.  

We will meet Mr. U's side of the family Wednesday for a Thanksgiving meal with them and then Thursday we will meet with my side of the family for another Thanksgiving meal.  So a busy and YUMMY week ahead for sure!!!!

Enjoy your family and friends this week giving thanks to God for all He has given us.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday..... with Snickerdoodle Blondies...

(Happy Homemaking Monday is hosted by  Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom)

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
About 95% of the time I have a Snickers Smoothie for breakfast.  So so good.  Today, it's the same old same old.  

Right now I am:::: 

Getting ready for our school day.  Mondays are my FAVORITE day of the week and the only full day I know we will be at home all day.  LOVE THAT!!!!!

The weather outside::::
COLD!!!!  At least, it's cold to this southern girl.  The high is supposed to be 66, though, and sunny.  SOOOOOO my  kind of day!!! 

Looking around the house::::
It's early as I type this, so the house is very quiet and still.  I like to get up before my family so I can read my Bible and pray and get ready
.  Oh and make sure I have Italian sausage out of the freezer for dinner tonight.  It's going to be Pumpkin Sausage Pasta.  Mmmm.

On today's to do list::::

Laundry- Mondays and Thursdays are for laundering all clothes.  It goes by so much faster now that my girls are 11 and 7 and are such HUGE helps!!!

Cleaning- Bathroom day!!  But, again, since the girls help, it's much easier than it used to be!! I do our master bathroom,  Elizabeth does their bathroom, and Caroline does that half bath.  Of course, I double check both of them and they usually do a really good job!! I'm so proud of how hard they work!!!  We also do quick "swish and swipes" (as FlyLady calls them) on a daily basis.  

Homeschooling- We are in the Early Modern period in history and I LOVE IT!!!  We've been reading and talking about the early settlers to America. Such perfect timing as Thanksgiving is next week! :)


Currently reading::::

For myself, I just started FlyLady's book called Sink Reflections.  So far, it's mostly what I've read on her blog.  But ALWAYS great reminders to keep up the good work of home keeping!!

For my girls and homeschooling, our current read aloud is Caddie Woodlawn's Family.  

On the TV today::::

We may watch an episode of Holiday Baking Championship tonight since it came on last week.  And I do enjoy watching House Hunters International.  OH!! And I REALLY have enjoyed Flip or Flip Atlanta!!!  Probably my favorite HGTV show!!!  Maybe since I'm in Atlanta I'm a little bias but..... :)

On the menu this week::::

Su- ate at Panera after church
M- Pumpkin Sausage Pasta and salad
Tu- One Pot Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
W- Taco Salad
Th- Garlic Soup and homemade crackers
F- Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad
Sa- (grocery day) pizza (either frozen from Aldi or Little Caesars), chips or salad, ice cream

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Start thinking of Christmas gifts. I am SUCH a last minute person and I got on my own nerves last year about it!! HA!! I really need to work on getting better at planning Christmas gifts ahead of time.  But THANK GOODNESS for Amazon coming through for me!!

New recipe I tried last week::::

Snickerdoodle Blondies

(originally from here)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 T vanilla
2 T white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the white sug
ar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the baking pan. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack for 5 minutes then cut into squares with a PLASTIC KNIFE!!!

***TIP- use a PLASTIC KNIFE when you need to cut any bar recipe like this (like brownies, too!!).  Wait about 5 minutes then cut.  The plastic slides nicely through the hot dessert and doesn’t stick at all.  My knife of choice?  Leftover from Chick Fil A drive thru. ***

Looking forward to this week::::

Well, kind of looking forward to it... my dad has had back problems for a while and he is finally having surgery Tuesday.  Obviously, I DO NOT want him in pain from surgery, but I'm so SOOO praying that this surgery helps him feel better!!!  The issue has also been making his legs feel very weak and the dr is sure this will help that a great deal!!!  So I AM looking forward to this step in helping him feel better.  :)

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses::::

My reading is in Psalm 75-79 this week.  I follow the SOAK method from Good Morning Girls.  Such a blessing!!!!  

Happy Homemaking!!!!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bacon Swiss Quiche...

I don't know about y'all, but I LOVE a good quiche.  What I don't always love is making a crust for it.  Sure I could buy store bought pre-made crusts, but I have never really liked the flavor.  Homemade is always better. 

I have another quiche recipe on my blog and it IS very good, but it's slightly different AND has a crust with it.  This recipe is CRUSTLESS!!!!  

So when you really want a quiche on your menu, try this one with no crust.  SUPER simple, tasty and versatile!!!  Change the cheese!!  Change the meat!  Even add a handful of sautéed veggies in!!!  

Bacon Swiss Quiche

1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

Cook the bacon until brown and crispy then drain on paper towel. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cream and salt and mix well. Sprinkle the cheese and bacon evenly on the bottom of a prepared 9-10 inch glass pie plate. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake at 350º, 35-40 minutes.  Check to make sure it is done by inserting a knife in the center of the pie and if it comes out clean it is done. 

This serves 4 generously.  

I serve it with any kind of roasted veggies or a salad.

This is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!!! 

Happy Homemaking!!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Chicken Orzo Soup...


I mentioned last week that I had made a very tasty soup and had used the pre chopped and frozen onions, celery, and carrots in it.  This is that recipe.  So comforting and warm- especially on a cool evening in fall or winter.  

This has quickly become a family favorite!!  Hope y'all enjoy it, too!!

Oh and this would be excellent with some homemade rolls or crackers!!  

Chicken Orzo Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced or shredded
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups chicken stock
precooked and chopped chicken (I used chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp herbs de Provence
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup (or more if you like) of orzo pasta
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 6 qt stock pan.  Stir in onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook about 10 minutes over medium heat until veggies are soft.  Remove from pot and set aside.

In the same pot, stir in 3 tablespoons butter over medium low heat.  Stir in flour and whisk until all flour is mixed in and the color starts to turn light brown.  It starts to smell a smidge nutty at this point.  This is a good thing!!  Slooooowwwwly add chicken stock and whisk as you go.  This will help thicken the soup just a little bit.

Once it's all incorporated, return sautéed veggies to pot along with chicken and all the spices (NOT the orzo).  Let it come to a slight boil then reduce to simmer.  THEN add the orzo in and cook about 20 minutes until the orzo is soft and yummy. 
Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream 5 minutes before serving.  

I hope your family love this as much as mine!

Happy Homemaking!!!

I was featured at Back to My Southern Roots!!!!!
Foodie Friday Link Party!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Freezing Chopped Veggies...

This past week I had planned on making two soups that both needed onions, celery, and carrots.  I knew I had purchased celery and carrots the week before, so I did not pick any up at the grocery store on my normal grocery day.  Well, when I got home from the store and was putting all the groceries away, I noticed that the carrots and celery weren't looking so fresh and I knew they'd be ruined by the time I needed them.  I did NOT want to waste them AND I did not want to run out to the grocery store again.  So I decided to go ahead and pre chop the onions, celery, and carrots and put them in freezer bags all labeled with the recipe they were to be used for.  YAY!!  Usually chopping veggies is what takes the longest in any soup recipe (well, other than a long simmering time).  This was such a time saver and came in SUPER handy when the days came for me to make the soups for my family.  Hooray for saving both time AND money by chopping the veggies before they went bad.  

I shared before about pre chopping and freezing veggies, but this time I froze them and bagged them according to upcoming recipes instead of just freezing all the carrots together, all the celery together, etc.  Such an easy idea that saved me time the day of cooking.  

What soups did we have??? Oh y'all.  DELICIOUS soups!!  

First we had Disneyland Loaded Potato Soup recipe that I found here.  YUUUMMMMMM.  Well, except I left out the corn because I don't love corn.  

And we also had Chicken Orzo Soup.  Very very tasty!!  This is the second time we've had this.  I think this is going to be one of the family's favorites for a while.  I'll be sure and share that next week!!!  

You're a STAR

They kindly featured my post here as one of their November STARs.

And a huge THANK YOU to Miz Helen!!!!!


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