Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday Friends! 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! It was a good one here. It was filled with a little snow (boo) - but I know how living in the northwoods in February works, so I wasn't surprised. Areas around us got a LOT and so I'm thankful we just got a few inches. A few more is predicted tomorrow too, but then it looks pretty clear again for a while. 

This past weekend we also had my daughter's big volleyball tourney! Her team started out a bit slow (as they were missing some players), but then they found their stride and went on to take 1st place in the Silver Division! Not too shabby. She loved playing and was excited to get a medal to add to her collection. ;) 

We also started on a project around here (our laundry room) with success. Still some work to do. More on that later. On to the week ahead! 


In the low 30's and cloudy. The sun does play peek-a-boo once in a while.  Looks like some we may get 2 or 3 inches of snow tomorrow. Then the week ahead looks like 20's and 30's but free of snow. Next weekend may get in the 40's again! Yay!


1/2 a plain bagel with lite veggie cream cheese and coffee.


I'm actually listening to a couple of things at once. I'm listening to a meditative kind of Christian station on pandora, while listening to a Johnnie Lawson nature video at the same time. So right now it sounds like pretty sounding singer and guitar music is singing next to a stream with birds chirping away. Pretty cool. ;) 


Sun is peeking out right now! Come on sunshine! And it seems bright out as we'd had such little snow before that I'd gotten used to that. Once everything is covered with snow it really brightens up again. When the sun shines it's almost blinding! 


Still pretty tidy, but I need to load the few dishes from last night. Next load of laundry ready to go in too! But it's nice and bright in my living and dining room as I sit and type this up. I've already got meatballs cooking in the slow cooker for tonight.

ON TODAY'S (& this week's) TO DO LIST:

I want to call some loved ones and catch up. Doing a fun day with my Mom. Daughter's volleyball and hockey practices on different nights. Ash Wednesday mass this week. Visit my MIL. Cook for my FIL. Get groceries. Exercise time! Might do more shoveling today (back deck needs it!).


I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to start Cursed Child book yet, or another one I've had lined up to read. Plus, I still have a fun pile of magazines I've been catching up on too. 


So many good shows - so little time! There are so many shows on different subscribed services and series I'd love to binge watch and catch up on. I don't know which ones I'll actually proceed with yet though. I've got some cooking shows taped right now and a few movies on my DVR. Plus, I'm still catching up on Timeless. I did watch the Oscars last night - even though I didn't see a lot of the movies this year and wasn't too invested in anything. The mixed up ending with Best Picture was rather interesting. Lol


MONDAY: BBQ meatballs, alfredo pasta broccoli side dish, roasted butternut squash (didn't make on the weekend)

TUESDAY: pancakes, sausage/bacon, fruit

WEDNESDAY: Ash Wednesday - not sure for family...I will fast on this day (extra prayer & meditation along with fasting time)

THURSDAY: Annie cooks night: probably tacos (& some for my FIL)

FRIDAY: Lent so fish or non-meat for me - still deciding menu for family (nobody else likes fish in my Crew) 

**this weekend planning to make homemade chicken broth and then big pot of homemade soup with thick Amish noodles.


Still scrapbook catch up and a few other craft projects. Cross stitch too. Working on our laundry room. Took out old little utility sink we didn't ever use much. Hubby cut down and hid piping in the wall. Our laundry room is small - so not a lot of space for shelf or hanging space. We took out an old cabinet that came with the house and was too tall for me to reach. My Hubby is planning to put a fresh coat of paint in there and we've been looking at different shelving/ hanging systems to see what we want to do in there. And of course I want to make it cute too - so looking into something decorative I can hang in there too. ;) 


Might make new recipe for easy homemade brownies tonight. 


Do you think this works? 


 My Girl in action - hitting one over

Serving! Still working on her overhand serve.

Winners of the Silver Division!

Goofy shot

My Northwoods went back to looking like this over the weekend

Annie's buddy slept over and they enjoyed playing in the new snow the next day (Ruby too!)

Image result for lent inspirational quotes

I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pretty February Love Lunch

Since my sweet little Annie has still been on break...and also has been working on her cooking skills - we decided to plan a fun cooking and baking lunch. Today was the day! So we put together a menu that Annie felt good about helping to execute. Then we called Nana and told her we were planning a luncheon for the end of the week and wanted her to be part of it. ;) Finally, we set to work! So here are the 5 parts of a girlie luncheon:


The first step we did was to pick out a theme and make the table and everything look pretty. We had a beautiful bit of Valentine goodies we had received from my dear blogging friend Patsy - so we knew we wanted to use some of those items. We thought red, Valentine-ish, and "love" would be our main theme. We put down the pretty red runner and sparkly jewels from Patsy. As well as the pretty ribbon around some fresh flowers I had picked up at the grocery store.  We then used a valentine sign I already had about how much we love family. And finished the centerpiece off with some flameless red tealights I had. WE set the table with our every day dishes as they're already a pretty cranberry kind of red. 


Next, we got to work on our menu. Annie has gotten pretty good at making pasta (with supervision yet) - so we made lasagna pasta, salad boats, and garlic bread. We all drank peach iced tea with our meal. I usually make lasagna pasta with farfalle (bow tie) pasta as they have the ruffley edge like a lasagna noodle. But didn't have those on hand so we went with elbow macaroni. Lasagna pasta is basically pasta in a red sauce (with meat or without depending what you want), but with a bit of sour cream and shredded mozzarella mixed in to make it a little cheesy and a little creamy. I have the recipe for this under my recipe tab above. We had easy garlic bread in the freezer so just baked that up. And then we used strips of romaine filled with veggies as our salad. Just add dressing of choice, sunflower seeds, croutons etc. They're fun to eat as you can just pick up your "boat" and nibble. It was yummy and the pasta was a pretty blush red to fit our theme. 


No girlie lunch is complete without dessert of course! So for our next luncheon step we made a cherry cola poke cake. Which is basically a vanilla cake mix made according to its 13x9 directions. Once baked let it cool for 15 minutes. Then take a 6 oz cherry jello packet and empty it into a bowl. Add a 12 oz can of coca cola and 1/2 cup of cold water.  Mix together for a couple of minutes. Poke holes all over top of the cake. Pour the cherry jello/cola mixture all over cake to soak into the holes. Chill in the fridge for 1/2 and hour. Then take it out and make frosting. Take a 3.5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix and put in a bowl. Add one cup of milk and a dash of vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Then stir in an 8 oz tub of cool whip. Frost cake and chill at least 3 hrs or overnight. To serve: cut a piece, top with chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. 


For our next step - we decided to spend the rest of our girlie day visiting, listening to music and coloring. Nana liked coloring in the pretty flower coloring books. Annie and I decided to color in a sticker coloring book we had  -and used the stickers we colored to help make her some cards that she could bring home as her takeaway for being our guest (even if she is just Nana). ;) So we used the coloring book stickers, doilies to glue on, washi tape, lace etc and had a creative blast! Nana was thrilled with her "gifts" - as well as leftovers to take home. 


Whip up this adorable DIY Pot of Gold for your St. Patrick's Day festivities!  Created by for The 36th Avenue!:

cute and easy... mini flower pot, gold candy, and rainbow colored pipe cleaners !:

Lucky Charm Marshmallow Rice Krispies:

These Irish Potato bites are the perfect St. Patricks Day recipe! Little bites of potato filled with corned beef and cheese, what could be a better St. Patricks Day appetizer?!:

And the final step of a fun girlie lunch is talking about and planning the next one!! So we discussed plans for maybe a St. Patty's Day girlie lunch next time. It's fun to dream and think about what we want to come up with - almost more fun than the lunch itself! Lol  Pinterest is a favorite inspiration and all of these above ideas can be found on pinterest.  I hope you can get together with the special Girls/People in your life for a treasured afternoon sometime soon!  

I'm sharing this with:

Cooking and Crafting with J & J Link Up


Scraptastic Saturdays every Saturday @ 8 PM EST.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slow Cooker Pot Roast: Comfort Food 101

Hello Friends! 

How's your week been going so far? I've been enjoying kiddo time while they're still on break. Even my son (aka: the teenager) has been playing along nicely with us, when he's not hanging out with his girlfriend. (giggle) 

He was out playing some soccer in the driveway with his sister yesterday. Makes a Mama heart happy. The weather had been mild, but then it was colder last night and some rain...then snow showed up. Today is trying to make a sunshine thing happen, but temps are still cooler. So it's putting me in the mood for comfort food and I'd been craving pot roast in the worst way - so this morning I made it happen! My Girl even helped me a bit by peeling the carrots and washing the veggies. I don't have a grand finale yet, as it'll be out dinner tonight. But I got it all prepped and in the slow cooker and can show you how I made it:

Now of course there are many different ways to do a pot roast. But today I kind of did a mash up of a couple of recipes to flavor it how I wanted. I have also often made a pot roast with the potatoes (I usually like red potatoes), along with the carrots and celery. I even have a recipe where I throw in a can of green beans - with the juice and all. Adds a nice flavor as well. Today I did a Betty Crocker recipe with some ingredients used that are very common to my WI/MN northwoods (aka: hot dish country- Lol). So this version includes cream of mushroom soup and a packet of beefy onion soup mix. However, I also like the way where the roast is seared first then pan deglazed with wine etc. Here was my compromise...

First I seared a 3&1/2 pound beef sirloin tip roast in some oil, after seasoning it with some salt and pepper.

After it was browned nicely I removed it and then took some chopped and sliced onions and browned them in the brown bits and oil leftover (where's there's lots of yummy flavor).

Once the onions had cooked for several minutes, I removed them (most of them anyway) and deglazed the pan with 1/2 c. of beef broth and a 1/2 c. of apple juice (improvisation when one has no red wine) and let it boil for several minutes...scraping up all the yummy brown bits (aka: the fond - I watch The Chew - Lol) along the way. 

I took the carrots & celery that were cut into large chunks and placed them in the bottom of the slow cooker. I added the cooked onions and 3-4 garlic cloves minced with a garlic press. I then placed the roast on top of the veggies. 

I whisked up the rest of the ingredients off of the Betty Crocker recipe (which I'll share at the end of the post) - which included tomato paste, cream of mushroom soup, beefy onion soup packet, seasonings (I ran out of thyme so I used Mrs. Dash I had that contains thyme and other herbs), I also added a bay leaf and then the beef broth. However, I used a little less beef broth than the recipe calls for to account for the extra I put it in when deglazing the pan.

Then I poured this over the roast and veggies. I set the crockpot to high for 1 hour to bring it all up to temp faster. Then I turned it to low to cook for another 7 to 8 hours. When it's about time to eat I will take out the roast and veggies and cover them to keep warm. I will then turn crockpot to high and add a slurry of 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water mixed together. I will cook that in the liquid for 20 mins or until thick and use as a gravy when I serve the pot roast and veggies over creamy mashed potatoes. Yum! Comfort food 101 Baby! ;)  Here's Betty's recipe:


1 1/2
lb small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2
lb carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
boneless beef sirloin tip roast (2 1/2 to 3 lb)
teaspoon pepper
teaspoon salt
3 1/2
cups Progresso™ beef-flavored broth (from 32-oz carton) 
tablespoons tomato paste
teaspoon dried thyme leaves
can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
package (1.1 oz) beefy onion soup mix
tablespoons cornstarch
tablespoons water 
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired


  • 1 Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, place potatoes, carrots and garlic. Place beef over vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. In medium bowl, mix broth, tomato paste, thyme, mushroom soup and onion soup mix with whisk until smooth. Pour over beef and vegetables.
  • 2 Cover; cook on High heat setting 1 hour. Reduce heat setting to Low. Cover; cook 8 hours longer or until beef is tender. Remove beef from slow cooker to serving platter. Spoon vegetables around beef; cover to keep warm.
  • 3 In small bowl, mix cornstarch and water with whisk until smooth. Stir into liquid in slow cooker. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook about 12 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve gravy with beef and vegetables. Garnish with parsley.

And if you'd like to visit the website where I got this recipe you can click here.  And if you'd like to take note of the changes I made:

  1. *seared the seasoned meat in oil first
  2. *removed meat and cooked onions in same pan
  3. *removed onions and deglazed pan with apple juice (or could use wine) and beef broth
  4. *used carrots and celery and no potatoes, as I'm serving over creamy mashed potatoes
  5. *added a bay leaf  

**on another little side note - my friend Doreen brought up a good point that if you are wanting a less "wet" pot roast, you could do a rub on the roast and use less liquid due to the moisture the slow cooker creates. If I weren't making a gravy I would probably try that route. 

I'm sharing this with Sherry at Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home.