Friday, December 9, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Days 22 & 23 (and more Jesse tree ornaments)

Sorry. These posts are late. I've been sick. I'm still sick actually. So there's that.

Today's first recipe is courtesy of my new friend Shelby! She just moved here from Texas, so you know, we are sorta "insta-friends" because we're southern...

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

You will need:
4-6 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp Nature's Season
2 cups cooked rice
2 cans mixed veggies
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Place chicken breasts, soup, milk and seasoning in crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove chicken and add rice, veggies and cheese to soup mix. Cook and stir on high until cheese is melted and rice and veggies are warm.

I thought this was pretty good. Again, I haven't been feeling well so nothing tastes fantastic to me right now. So you should definitely make this and decide for yourself.

This is the only picture I took because I'm sick...

These three ornaments are a dove, a tent and a ram. The dove is from the story of Noah: Genesis 6:11-22 & 8:6-12. The tent is from the story in Genesis 12:1-7 & 13:2-18.

The next recipe is a Three Bean and Barley Soup. You will need:
1 Tbsp EVOO
large onion - diced
stalk of celery - diced
large carrot - diced
2 cups of water
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup dried black beans
1/3 cup dried great northern beans
1/3 cup dried kidney beans
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. salt

Mix all in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. I cooked it on low. I baked some Grands Flaky Biscuits to eat with this soup and my family liked it. Again, I'm SICK and can't taste anything. Very annoying. Very. Annoying.

I know, these pictures are substandard. I've been a slacker. I'll try harder from now on:) Maybe;)

The 7th, 8th and 9th ornaments are a ladder, a candle and the coat of many colors. The scripture for the ladder is Genesis 27:41 - 28:22. Day 8, the candle, Isaiah 9:2-7. And the coat of many colors from Genesis 37: 1-36.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 21 and The Jesse Tree!

Today's recipe is one I've made on occasion when we had NO GROCERIES in the house. It is very easy but pretty tasty if you like that sort of thing.. What sort of thing? Beef Tips and Rice!

You will need:

1 pound of stew meat
1 jar/ can of gravy

No this isn't the healthiest meal, but it sure is comfort food at its finest. And I don't cook it every week. More like every two or three months. So we're good. Right?

Place the stew meat and gravy in the pot and cook on low for 8 hours or so. The meat is so tender and it is so filling. I serve it over rice and with a salad and a piece of french bread. Except sometimes without the salad. Comfort food, remember?

Have you ever heard of a Jesse Tree? It is a really neat idea if you want to weave Christ into the holiday season. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and was born into this world, perfect and blameless, to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life with Him. John and I really want to place more emphasis on Christ's birth than the gift-focused idea that is today's society. Don't get me wrong. We participate in the idea of Santa and do a lot of baking and naughty vs. nice conversation as much as the next family. We just want our kids to understand why we celebrate and that everything else is secondary.

On that note, I just heard about the idea of a Jesse Tree very recently (yesterday?) and decided it would be a really fun way to bring Christ into our daily routine leading up to Christmas Day. The problem was that it is a lot of work to try and translate it into something that small children will understand. So, if you are interested, I have taken the grunt-work out of it for you.

But you have to promise to look past my terrible artsy skills. You see, the problem is, I don't have any. So, that's a bit of a problem. But my heart is in the right place and I don't think my almost-five-year-old and seven year old will mind. So I hope you don't either.

Since advent actually started on November 27th and goes for 28 days until Christmas, we were a little behind so we actually will do a few each day until we are caught up..

This is the first ornament that we will place on our tree. It symbolizes "God's Family Tree". This actually worked out well that we just did JT's family tree assignment last week so the boys understood. Sort of. The scripture is 1 Samuel 16:1-13. It discusses how the Lord chose Jesse's youngest, most scrawny and unlikely "king material" son. And so our story begins...

Day 2: I chose the sun to symbolize creation. The scripture is Genesis 1: 24-28. This scripture ends with the Lord's command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This is where the journey starts.

Day 3: I chose the snake/serpent for this ornament because it symbolizes the fall of man and our need for a Savior, Jesus, to be born and rescue us. We read "The Terrible Lie" (Genesis 3:1-24) again from our Storybook Bible to remind the boys how doubt was placed in man's heart and how sad it made God. But God had a plan to bring us together again.

If you don't have a children's bible, I highly recommend this one. It integrates Jesus into every story and the importance of his birth. It's beautiful.

We sat down on the couch, letting the boys touch the ornaments and ask questions. Then we read the scriptures and talked about what they meant. Before they hung them on the tree we went over their meaning one more time. I pray that the Lord will speak to their tiny hearts through these small acts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 20

Well hello there! Miss me? I missed you:) Today's recipe is from my childhood friend, Deana. I don't have a lot of memories without her and one other family. Her younger sister and I actually took turns spending the night at each other's houses for something around two weeks straight... I was always jealous because there were three girls in that house and I wished I had sisters.

Tomato Florentine - you will need:

3 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (9 oz) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini (wheat okay & freezer section kind okay)

Combine the first eight ingredients in the crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW for 5.5 hours. Add tortellini and cook on LOW for 30 more minutes.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired. Ya'll this soup was sooooo good. She told me it would be but you know I'm a skeptic. John really liked it too and that is saying something since it doesn't have any meat. I'm serving the leftovers to my besties tomorrow!

I didn't have any garlic so I added garlic salt and I just realized that it only calls for one cup of chopped onion and I added the whole darn thing. My bad. You will love this soup. Trust me. So get going and make yourself some and let me know how it turns out!!!

Coming up this week: beef tips & rice and three bean & barley soup! Maybe one of your recipes if you want to send one this way: meredithtemplin(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Taking a Break - Be Back Tomorrow

"It is good to be children sometimes,

and never better than at Christmas,

when its mighty founder was a child Himself."

Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 19

Today's recipe comes from the Hillbilly Housewife. I have heard of this site before but hadn't really visited it until recently. I wanted something sweet so I googled it on my phone for something sweet to make in the crock pot and this recipe looked the yummiest. Is that a word?

You will need:

2 1/2 cups of brownie mix
1 egg
1/4 cup of good peanut butter
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons of cocoa
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of water

Spray the liner of your crockpot (or crockpot bag) with a nonstick cooking spray. Mix the first five ingredients together and spread in the pot. Then mix the cocoa, brown sugar and water on the stove on medium-high heat until bubbly and pour over the top. Place the lid and cook on high for 2 hours. Then turn the crockpot off and let sit for 30 more minutes.

We ate this with the leftover ice cream from the peach pobbler - my mouth waters just typing those glorious words. Anywho, next time I make this (and I will be making this again) (very soon) (maybe tomorrow), I will cook on high for 1 1/2 hours and then turn the pot off and cook another 30 minutes or so. It was overdone around the edges. Not really burnt - just super done. It is very ooey gooey wonderful so you should prepare yourself for something wonderful.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 18

Today's recipe comes from my very own mother. The best cook I know. My mother who I have a phone coffee date with at least once a week and she has, on more than one occasion, fallen sound asleep during that date:)But she makes a mean chili so we'll let that slide...

For this recipe you will need:
1 pound of hamburger meat
2 packages of chili seasoning
1 small onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 can of pinto beans
garlic salt to taste

Cut up the onion and bell pepper and toss in with the hamburger meat. Cook until done. Drain and place in the crockpot. Add everything else. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

We will eat this with crackers/french bread/corn muffins tonight and then with fritos and cheese tomorrow for Frito Chili Pie. It will be good football food to watch the LSU Tigers beat up on Georgia. Geaux Tigers!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 17

Another thing I blame for my poor bloggy skills? Picking up a sick child from school. And lots of snow. Blowing snow.

Oh, and schoolwork. Did I mention that already?

Today's recipe is the one I cooked yesterday. But we ate it today too. Curious?

You will need:

1 chuck roast or eye of round beef roast (your call - I buy what's on sale)
1/2 onion - sliced
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
1 can beef broth

Mix the soup mix and beef broth together and pour over the roast in the crockpot. Place the sliced onions on top and cook on low for 8 hours.

The first day you can have this roast with some mashed potatoes, corn, a salad, whatever you choose. It is so tender and tastes fantastic!

My favorite day is the second day because you can make faux french dip sandwiches.
Cut some hoagie rolls in half, place some provolone cheese on one side and broil for a few minutes.

FYI:Stay focused on the bread under the broiler. This is one of those instances where "Mom, I peed on my shirt. Again." will inevitably distract you and you will burn up the toast and quite possibly your kitchen. My advice to you? Earmuffs... then you can focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by the miniature people peeing on their clothing in the bathroom.

Put some of the roast on the non-cheese side of the roll and place that yumminess together. We ladel out some of the juice and dip our sammiches in it. Delicious:)

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 16

I blame school. For everything. Especially my inability to post a blog in a timely manner. So, there you have it.

I know you were worried...

This recipe is really a no brainer. I love pulled pork sandwiches and don't really remember where I learned to make this. I just know that it's a favorite.

You will need:

1 pork loin or pork roast (I had this one in the freezer from a sale at Target)
1 bottle of barbeque sauce - any kind (I like KC Masterpiece)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon worstershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke (less is more - the stuff has some serious flavor)

Mix all of the above in the crockpot and place the pork in the middle of it. Cook on low for 8 hours and then shred with a fork. We like to eat ours on little hoagie rolls.

*For the record, I do serve most of these meals with a vegetable or two on the side. I just don't take pictures of them because it really takes a lot of effort to take the pictures I do take. If you know me at all that makes sense:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Day After 15 and Before 16

In other words, I took a break today. I know I was going to cook in my crockpot for the next 30 days, but I have a pretty big crockpot and a LOT of leftover food. I want to be creative and prepare good meals for my family but I also want to be a good steward of our money and resources and I just couldn't make myself do it today. We had to eat through the leftovers before I could feel okay with making something else... I hope you understand. All three of you:)

This actually happened on a good day because blogger is being really crabby and is taking forever to upload pictures so the pulled pork barbeque recipe will have to wait to be shared for tomorrow.

"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:8

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 15

Well friends, we're halfway there! So it seems fitting that one of my favorite eats so far would fall on this exciting day. I'm calling it Peach Pobbler. I thought it was going to be a pie, but it tasted more like a cobbler, so...

For this recipe you will need:

1 bag of frozen sliced peaches

1 pie crust

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter

3 tbsp corn starch

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Cut a circle out of the pie crust to fit in the crockpot and set aside. Spray the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray or with Baker's Joy (oil and flour). Slice the remaining crust into little 1 inch slices and line the bottom of the pot. Mix the peaches and dry mixture together and place on top of the crust slices. Slice the butter and place on top of the peaches and then place the circle of pie crust on the top. I sliced a few places in the top so it wouldn't puff up too much. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream (we love Blue Bell) and repeat over and over again "Oh my dang this is WONDERFUL!!!"

I think Finley liked it the most. You know, since he was licking the plate!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 14

So today I severely needed to go to the grocery store. I had planned on going yesterday but we got busy decorating for Christmas and I never really got out of my pajamas. I ended up making Chicken Alfredo Pasta in the crockpot the same way I normally make it in the oven - minus all the nasty clean up afterward. I may be a titch obsessed with the old gal...

The only thing you really need is some chicken and a jar of alfredo sauce. I really like the Bertoli Brothers (I think that's the brand), but I'm sure I got this jar on sale with a coupon so I used it instead. We aren't super picky around here. I placed frozen chicken in the pot and covered it with the jar of sauce. After about 7 hours I boiled some water, dropped in the pasta, mixed up a bag-o-salad and voila! dinner was served. I forgot to take an after picture so I just got up and told everyone to say cheese:)

They actually listened!

You should probably check in tomorrow to learn how to make a fabulous Peach Pobbler - that's what I'm calling it because I thought it was going to be a pie and it tasted like a heavenly cobbler. So, pobbler it is.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 13

Yesterday I was craving something sweet. And since we still had some Thanksgiving food leftover I didn't want to make anything big. So I made something small. But oh so delicious.

I'm calling these Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Apples. I'm claiming them because I looked up a bunch of recipes and came up with my own mixture in the end.

You will need:
6 apples
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg (to taste)
1/2 stick butter

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Slice the apples. I used my apple corer and then removed the skin. Place the apples in the crock and coat with the mixture. Place butter slices on top. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Die because they are so good.

We had ours with a little bit of cool whip on top. I'm thinking of trying out some sort of apple pie in the crockpot next week with this little recipe. I also think these would be good with pancakes. The possibilities are endless folks. Just endless.

What is your favorite dessert?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 12 and a Winner

Today's recipe is one of my childhood favorites, courtesy of my mom and, well, subsequently, me:)

Red Beans and Rice:

1 onion
1 small bag pinto beans
enough water to cover the beans
Beef or pork sausage
a dab of crisco (yes, I realize I just lost some readers there, but I'm a southern gal through and through and I occasionally cook with crisco) I apologize...
2 cans tomato sauce (there is only one in the picture because I'm a goober - but I used two)
As much Tony's Seasoning as your mouth can stand

Place the beans in the crock, cover with water, add the tomato sauce and dab of crisco (I'm guessing there are a couple of tablespoons on that wooden spoon. I'm an eyeballer:))Sprinkle with Tony's. (I actually use so much that it covers the entire mixture.) Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours.

After 4 hours, slice up the sausage and mix it in with the rest of the goodies and cook on low another 4 hours or so. You may need to add water occasionally throughout the day depending on how fast/hot your slowcooker actually cooks.

Serve over sticky white rice, yes white, with cornbread or corn muffins (our favorite!). Sweet tea is optional although it actually isn't at this house. Southern remember?

Enjoy!!! I didn't get any after pictures because John was in such a hurry to eat and then I took the leftovers to my neighbors house... My bad.

Aaaaaaand, we have a winner! My neice pulled a name out of a hat, okay my sister-in-law's lap, on Thanksgiving Day.

Lacy!!! Contact me at meredithtemplin(at)yahoo(dot)com with your address and I'll put your Starbucks giftcard in the mail. Congratulations!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today I am thankful for this man. My husband, companion, partner in crime in this thing we call parenthood. He is a good man, a hard-working man, an amazing father and the love of my life.

The only man you want to give your life to is the one who makes you hunger for Christ, believe in grace, experience the other-world love of God.

Ann Vonskamp

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 11

Today's recipe is courtesy of one of my besties, Laura! Hey Speerio;) Laura was my carpool buddy until I stopped working as much. A Sonic buddy and fellow Twi-hard there's not much we disagree on. She is definitely one of the world's greatest friends and my life is richer because of her. She makes the best homemade Queso, Eggplant Parmesan, and apparently, Beefy Noodles!

You will need:
1 package of cubed steak
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 4oz tub of sour cream

Cut up the steak.

*I feel like I need to share a tip with you. If you have an electric can opener, you probably have a knife sharpener on the back. Use it. Before you cut the meat:)I didn't know this for years and it was the source of a lot of unnecessary cooking frustration for me. Ha!

Mix the soups, soup mix, steak, and mushrooms in the pot and cook on low for the day. An hour before serving add the sour cream to the mix. Serve over egg noodles. Or rice. Or mashed potatoes. I have an oral aversion to egg noodles so I served it to my family over rice. I was going to make mashed potatoes but I ended up going to the Cheesecake Factory with the girls. And then we saw Twilight. Again. So I didn't have time to make mashed potatoes. The end. Of that story.

I promise you will love this recipe. So give it a try.

And this is the last day to enter to win a Starbucks gift card... so get on it!

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." Proverbs 27:9