Category Archives: My Life

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

My boys love to eat white rice and I love preparing sushi rolls at home. As a result, I buy rice in bulk. It keeps well and there are so many things you can do with it from side dishes to main entrees, like jambalaya. Since our cold spell has stuck around a while, I created a big pot of belly warming jambalaya. I used some home-made brauts in place of the sausage and our own canned diced tomatoes. There is just something really amazing sitting down to a meal you prepared using ingredients you harvested!

Hope you enjoy my variation of a southern favorite.

4 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped green pepper
2 chicken breasts, 1/2″ chunks
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Creole seasonings
1/2 tsp ground cayenne red pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb sausage, chunked (I used a mild braut but usually use a medium sweet italian sausage or andouille)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups short or long grain white rice

1. In a large pot, melt butter. Add onion, celery and green pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add chicken, garlic and seasonings; cook 2 more minutes. Stir in tomato paste, sausage and cook 2 more minutes.
3. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, rice and heat to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until liquid is absorbs and rice is tender. Add more water if liquid is absorbed and rice is still crunchy.


Ghost Lee Good Sign

I have had this project in my head for years!  I think I finally had to get it out of my head today!  I found a few old boards in the wood pile. They are 1″ thick and assorted lengths, perfect for this sign. Hubby helped me with the large post, I think you could definitely do this with a shorter/smaller board for the stick in the ground 🙂

Please note the words are not misspelled but rather I played on our last name. I thought I would have some fun with the sign!

Time: Approximately 1 hour
Level: If you can paint or nail a board, you can do this!
4 1″ x various length boards ( minimum board length here is approximately 2′)
White paint
Black marker
Nail or screws to attach boards to stick
3-4′ stick to attach boards to (longer will also work)

1. Decide what spooky words you want for your sign. Select the appropriate size boards for each word.
2. Using white paint and small paint brush, paint words onto boards. Let dry
3. Use black marker for accents. See the skull.
4. Screw or nail boards to the long stick and drive it into the ground.

Halloween Fabric Garland

I think Halloween just might be our families favorite holiday. Maybe it stems from the years I spent as a teenager helping my mom in her costume shop. I loved seeing the enthusiasm customers brought to finding the right costume for 1 night of the year. It’s a chance to pretend to be something else good, pretty, scary, strong. It’s a holiday that even lets adults pretend to be a kid!

This Halloween garland is so easy and the kids loved to help. Ripping the fabric was productive destruction and with my boys guided destruction is usually best!

Time: 45 minutes
Level: EASY peezy

1/2 yard of 4 different Halloween fabrics (makes 4 1/2-5 ft of garland)
7-9 ft of jute string

1. Fold 1/2 yard matching up selvage edges. Make small cut through both layers of fabric every 1″.

2. Rip fabric strips by grabbing fabric on each side of small cut.  You may be able to rip both layers at the same time. This was what the boys loved most!

3. Tie jute string between two posts, chairs, something to give you a taut string.
4. Fold strip in half to make a “loop”. Place fabric loop behind string. Reach from behind through the loop and grab the lower section (tails) of loop, pulling them through the loop. Pull tight .

5. Repeat step 4 for the remaining strips of fabric until you reach the desired length of garland.
6. String you garland where all will enjoy. Ours is currently on the front porch entrance. You may place yours inside on the mantel, hallway entrance, above a doorway, etc!

Fun to make Irish Brown Bread

It doesn’t have to be St Patty’s day to enjoy a little home-baked Irish goodness!  There is just nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. This super easy recipe is full of whole-grain goodness and the kids have so much fun getting their little hands gooey while mixing it.

I LOVE this bread hot from the oven with a little strawberry or mango jam on top! Of course it’s even better while sipping a cup of tea 🙂

I pair this dense bread with soups, stews, roasts and just about any other down home recipe you can

come up with. And it’s really quick to make up, no time waiting for it to rise. I think you could cut down on the cook time by make 2 smaller loaves.

Hope you enjoy!

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups butter milk

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients except milk in a large bowl. Stir with hands. Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.
2. Continue mixing with hands. Add remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine ingredients. The dough will be very wet and sticky….kids love it!
3. Dust hands with flour and shape dough into a ball. Place on a floured cookie sheet or non-stick baking mat. Score a X on the top with a knife.
4. Bake the bread until golden brown about 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 10  minutes before slicing.

 Originally found in Family Fun magazine March 2008

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

So now that you’ve created an abundance of Salsa Verde (see previous post, I thought you’d appreciate a recipe to cook with it. Sure chips and salsa is great, but it’s always nice to have options, especially when you have 27 pints in front of you!

So my dear friend, Lindsay over at shared a delicious enchilada recipe. I noticed her “gravy” was quite similar to my salsa verde and so gave it a try using my now abundant stash of salsa.

I did change a few things up to accomodate the hubby’s hollow leg and the boys growing appetite. This recipe will make 2 – 9 x 13 pans of enchiladas…great for when company visits or having leftovers. Also since cheese is almost it’s own food group in this house, I had to add some in the filling mixture. I also have to give her a big thanks for helping me discover the raw tortillas. I found them in the refrigerator section of the store near salsa’s and cheese. If you’ve never tried them, go get yourself a pack today…simply yummy!

Hope you enjoy this easy little number using your own Salsa Verde!

15-20  12″ raw flour tortillas (found them in the refigerator isle by the salsa)
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (~22 oz total), grilled and cubed
2 packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 6 oz cans diced green chiles
3 cups + 3 Tbsp Salsa Verde,warmed on the stove top
1 1/2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend (or monterey jack cheese)
Cilantro, to garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover bottom of 9 x 13 pan with a thin layer of salsa verde.
2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add chicken cubes and fold to combine.
3. Fill each tortilla with ~1/3 cup chicken mixture. Roll tortilla and place in pan, seam side down. Ladle 3 cups Enchilada Gravy over filled tortillas, then sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Place oven on high broil and place baking dish on top rack. Watch closely and broil for ~3 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
As I mentioned I made a few alterations to the original recipe which are all represented in the above recipe. Check out the original here And while you’re there check out her other recipes!

Mexican Corn and Chicken Chowder

If you recall an earlier post, we have quite a bit of home-grown corn now frozen just waiting to be consumed. There is only so many times I can serve corn as a side dish. Plus it’s been a little chilly this week in MT so I thought maybe a chowder would put some corn to good use.

This recipe cooked up quick and was so delicious my 5 year-old kept proclaiming “This soup is really good!”.  I lightened the calories a bit using 1% milk which I don’t think anyone noticed what with all the cheese in there!  I also added an extra 1/2 tsp of cumin for a little extra flavor.  Cumin, aahhh, it’s my new favorite seasoning!
I doubled this as I was serving 2 men, 2 kids and myself and we had a few servings remaining it was so filling.

Mexican Corn and Chicken Chowder

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (or I use chicken stock paste-2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 3 cups frozen corn thawed, mashed or quickly chopped in food processor
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Cilantro to garnish

Note: Add some spice with a few dashes of tobasco. I omitted this for the little ones.

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a large pot, brown chicken, onion, and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink
3. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water.
4. Add to pan along with the cumin; bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Add cream, cheese, corn, chilies, and Tabasco.
7. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.
8. Stir in tomato.
9.Serve immediately; garnish with cilantro if desired.

adapted from

Awe-mazing Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Winter arrived a lot earlier than we expected here in MT.  Despite our best efforts to prolong our tomato growing season with the construction of several greenhouses, our little tomato crop was frosted out this weekend 😦 We are so sad to see hundreds of soon-to-be ripe tomatoes cut short by mother-nature’s cruel joke of an early October hard freeze!

What to do???? I know you can ripen the tomatoes by wrapping them in newspaper and putting them in a dark place. Honestly, I’ll forget about them and find them one day, rotted and stinky and one big mess to clean up. Our dilemma is some of the tomatoes suffered frost and were quickly turning to mush.
I found a recipe for salsa verde using green (unripened) tomatoes. I modified it a bit to accommodate our abundant crop of green tomatoes and the result?  In my husbands words “I could eat the heck out of this” salsa verde. I have successfully canned 27 pints!  We have a long winter of green chili burritos, casserole con salsa verde, chips and salsa verde, ________insert favorite dish and salsa verde!  It is that good, yes, I am currently fantasizing about all the “salsa verde” dishes to come!

So if you have an abundance of green tomatoes, here’s a delicious and easy recipe for you to try!
NOTE: When working with the peppers, be sure to wear gloves and DON’T touch your eyes or any other sensitive part of your body! 🙂

8 lb (or a large stock pot 3/4 full) of green tomatoes, cored and quartered
3-4 onion, diced
3-4 green Anaheim chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
5-6 jalapeno chilies, stems and seed removed, diced
7-9 garlic cloves, diced
4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
5 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 small bunches fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Combine green tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, garlic, salt, cumin, oil, water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in lemon juice, sugar and cilantro. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

3. Spoon into food processor. Pulse until salsa is the consistency you desire (chunky or smooth).

Makes approximately 8-9 pints! I then processed the pints in my pressure canner using the canner instructions. You can also freeze this!

Cooking Note: I used the food processor to chop the onion and chili peppers before adding them to the stock pot to cook. I also used prepared minced garlic which I buy at my local warehouse store because we use garlic, a lot!