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