Tag Archives: home

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.


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

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 http://www.food.com/recipe/mexican-chicken-corn-chowder-47828

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I’ve mentioned our household fondness for chocolate. It’s been snowy and cold here this early October and it’s sent me back into the kitchen for some baking.  After daddy devoured the peanut butter cookies (with Hershy Kisses on top) I felt a little sad for the boys. Mostly my oldest coming home from school hoping to have a cookie and alas, no cookies. I didn’t feel like making another batch of regular chocolate chip cookies so I gave this one a try. It makes about 4-5 dozen cookies so you could easily cut in half.

Now I’ve mentioned my unusual lack of obsession with chocolate. I think one note should be made here. I LOVE chocolate cookie and brownie and cake dough/batter, mmmm.  However, once baked I generally can take or leave the finished goodies. These cookies are truly delicious!  The dough is rich and chocolatey and the cookies come out soft and chewy, just the way the hubby likes them.  Hope you enjoy them too!

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Cream together the margarine, sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla
2. Blend in the cocoa and add baking soda, salt and blend well.
3. Add the flour into the creamed mixture and fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes.
Pair with some home-made hot cocoa for a deliciously chocolatey treat! https://justcutthescrap.com/2012/10/05/delicious-hot-cocoa

Originally found at http://www.food.com/recipe/chewy-double-chocolate-chip-cookies-53301

Mac’ n’ Cheese with Cauliflower

I admit not long ago I was the queen of dressing up mac’ n’ cheese from a box. With 2 toddlers they loved it, it was fast, easy and I could add real cheese along with a variety of other things to it to make me feel like it was “healthy”. I even joked I was going to write a book “101 ways to make Mac’ n’ Cheese”. There was Mac’n’cheese with Peas, Mac’n’cheese with Chopped Spinach, Mac’n’cheese with Cheddar (yeah the real stuff), and so on and so forth. Don’t judge me until you have 2 kids under the age of 2!

However, I also love food made from scratch. There is little processed food in our shopping carts, no frozen dinners and most of the “boxed” food involves cereal or noodles. The rest I like to prepare myself in part because it is so much better for you AND because I love to be in the kitchen!

I have noodle hounds on my hands…any type of noodle and they love it. So I came across this mac’ n’ cheese recipe that seemed like something they’d like and a grown up would enjoy too. I really like that it adds your veggies into the mix.  Dicing them small makes it harder for the kids to find them and thus complain about veggies in their mac! For the adults, the Dijon mustard and garlic give this a nice flavor. Oh and this was toooooo easy!  Took longer to boil the noodles than make the sauce!

Mac’n’cheese with Cauliflower


2 cups cauliflower florets  (for the kids I chopped these up small)
Olive oil or cooking spray for the baking dish
3/4 – 1 lb noodles (macaroni, mini penne, cavatappi or here we used mini bowtie)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan*
1/2 cup Boursin light garlic and herb spreadable cheese**
*I did not have this so I substituted grated mixed cheese
**I did not have this so I substituted cream cheese and 1tsp garlic herb seasoning

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread cauliflower on greased 13×9 baking pan. Roast until florets begin to brown about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
2. Cook pasta per box instructions. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk olive oil and flour for 1 min. Add milk, whisking constantly. Stir in mustard, salt, cayenne, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheddar cheese, parmesan (in my case the other mixed cheese), and Boursin (my case cream cheese and garlic/herb seasoning).
5. Combine with pasta and cauliflower, return everything to the baking pan.
6. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake 30 minutes until golden and cheese is bubbling.

Notes: I think this would be delish with some diced chicken in it.  Our family loves broccoli so I may  substitute that next time around.

Shown with garden salad straight from our garden, mixed greens, lemon cucumber (my new fave!), carrots and cherry tomatoes topped with homemade Balsamic vinegrette…mmmm!

Banana Crumb Muffins

In high school (many many years ago) my nickname was Betty Crocker. I was always cooking and baking and bringing the goodies to school to share. One might have thought I’d go on to write cookbooks or be a famous chef. Well almost…I did minor in Family Consumer Sciences in college and thoroughly enjoy spending time in the kitchen creating. But alas, that is as far as it goes. Thankfully I married a man with an infinite appetite who is also not too picky about the food on the plate.

I may be passing this love for cooking along to my youngest son, my super “maker” as he is always asking to help “make” with me in the kitchen. He loves adding the ingredients and stirring, mixing, and of course tasting.

The big man is at school today and we have a trio of very over-ripe bananas that are begging to be utilized. Our freezer is literally packed with loaves of sweet breads, banana and zucchini.  So we made muffins. They are easy for breakfasts, snacks and lunch boxes. Nothing like home-made goodness in a school lunch to make you feel loved, right?

Banana Crumb Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup nuts (optional-we did not include these)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. In a medium bowl, mix first 4 ingredients. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix bananas (I use a potato masher to smash-up the bananas in the bowl I will use to mix all the ingredients-one less bowl to clean!), sugar, egg, melted butter.
3. Stir in the dry mixture until moistened.
4. Grease muffin pan (or use liners). I love Wilton Cake Release for greasing my pans. It’s quick one step and easy clean-up. Grease bottom only of pan. Fill cups 3/4 full.

5. Topping: Combine first 3 ingredients then cut in butter until crumbly.
6. Sprinkle over muffin batter.

7. Bake for 20 minutes until muffins are firm.
8. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Enjoy with your little “maker”!
This recipe was originally found http://www.food.com/recipe/crumb-topped-banana-muffins-43509

Lasagna from Leftovers

As the mother of 2 growing boys and a husband with a “hollow-leg” (ie: he eats insane amounts of food without gaining an ounce) I usually error on the side of preparing too much food most of the time. Rarely do we have a large portion of leftovers. We typically have “Buffet Night” once a week where we clean out all the leftovers from the fridge. On this rare occasion, I had a lot of meatloaf left over as I made a 2 pound loaf. Before you roll your eyes over meatloaf, this isn’t your typical dry loaf of ground meat, but rather quite moist, filled with bell peppers and topped with a balsamic glaze, mmm, my mouth waters at the thought it is so delicious.

Yes I could have re-served the meatloaf in its original loaf-of-meat form, but thought it was destined for something greater.  I found some lasagna noodles in the back of the pantry and then remembered I had frozen some leftover marinara sauce from a previous meal or two.  Voila!  Leftover Lasagna!

What you need:
Leftover Meatloaf (approx 1 pound -half of a 2 pound loaf)
Leftover marinara/meat sauce from spaghetti night (i freeze my remaining sauce for future use-if you don’t then no need to thaw it, right?)

Note: I made this amidst the zucchini harvest so I also sautéed chopped zucchini with mushrooms and minced garlic and added to the meat layer.  So there are some veggies in here too 🙂

Mozzarella cheese (approximately 1 1/2 pounds shredded)

1. Boil lasagna noodles
2. Chop up meat loaf
3.Thaw marinara sauce (note: I had a batch with meat and a batch without meat and I used both)
4. Pour a little sauce at bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, layer cooked lasagna noodles on top
5. Then layer meatloaf, veggies,  sauce, mozzarella cheese, noodles, sauce
6. Bake covered 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated through.
7. Uncover and sprinkle top with cheese about 5 minutes before taking out of the oven.

Disclaimer: Yes I know this is not real lasagna, it is not authentic and it is lacking the appropriate cheese blend, the third layer of noodles and missing the ricotta, BUT the boys loved it and it was a great way to create something new from dinner leftovers. 🙂