Monday, February 20, 2012

Crunchy Hamburger Casserole

A while back, I blogged about a new cookbook I had discovered. This cookbook takes me back to my Southern roots and really brings back memories. I have re-discovered old favorites (that I had completely forgotten about) and found new things to try as well.

I was digging through cookbooks yesterday and found a recipe for Crunchy Hamburger Casserole. It doesn't even sound right, does it?  Anyway, I started reading through it and realized I had every ingredient in my pantry (and freezer) already. That just doesn't happen very often. So, I put it on today's menu.

Before I post pictures, let me just tell you that I was too lazy to run upstairs and get my camera. The very nice camera that Nick bought a while back and that I just love to pieces. Yes..that's the one.  Instead, I grabbed my phone and snapped a few photos with it. I lost one of the photos. I don't have one of the finished casserole. That will teach me about lazy, won't it?

There you have it. The total of my photos for tonight's dinner.
The verdict?
Well, I'll be honest. When I first tried it, I thought eh, it's good, but not sure it's a keeper.  My next thought was, it would make a great potluck recipe. After a few more minutes, I liked it more. My boys didn't say anything for a little while, then Alex looks up and says, "This is really good."  SCORE!  It's a keeper. Nick liked it too.
It's SO easy and a great comfort food. I will definitely keep this one around.

The one change I made was to substitute a can of regular Ro-tel for the canned tomatoes. Picky boy who likes no spice didn't even notice. Score again!

So, give this one a try, and go check Christy out at Southern Plate.  Here is the link to the recipe, because I didn't bring the book upstairs with me and that laziness is preventing me from going down to get it. Lucky for me Christy posts so much on her blog.

It's Monday evening and it's been a four day weekend. This week is packed with a trip to the doctor for my physical, (oh joy) a company Change of Command, and I'm hosting a get together on Thursday night at my home. By Friday, I will be done.
Tomorrow, I will share this week's menu. Right now, that second glass of wine is calling my name.
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Valentines

First let me say, we don't do much for Valentine's Day at our house. I don't think it's a big deal and I can tell you for sure that my husband isn't a huge fan. So, we normally buy each other a card and maybe go have a nice dinner...any night OTHER than Valentine's evening.

I did, however, want to do a little something for the teen aged boy in my house.   What to do...??? He loves sweets, so I went to the store and looked at candy. That doesn't have much thought behind it, does it?

I remembered that he's been asking me for AGES to make him some apple turnovers. So, I remembered the puff pastry in my freezer. How to make them special?  Heart shaped?  So, I googled an apple turnover recipe and made a plan.

I found the recipe here at  They looked easy enough, so the night before last, I got my puff pastry out of the freezer and left it in the fridge to thaw.

Yesterday, I dug around and found my heart shaped cookie cutter. I found it and was on my way.
Other than cutting the recipe in half, I followed it exactly. Oh, except for the lemon juice. I didn't have that. I used my apples right away so browning wasn't an issue.

Butter in the pan. I have to say, I love the smell of butter melting in a skillet. Can I get an Amen?

Apples starting to cook.

Apples with brown sugar and cinnamon added. What's better than the smell of butter melting in a skillet?  The smell of butter, apples, brown sugar and cinnamon.

The star of the show. Love this stuff.

Rolled and cut.

Hello, little cuties.

Start piling on the sticky goodness.

Put the lid on and smoosh the sides together. I had a little spillage but it's all good.

Oh, here's where I wandered away from the recipe again. I did an egg wash and then sprinkled with white sugar.

Notice my old baking sheet. I think I've had it since I got married the first time.. almost 30 years ago. It has character, don't you think?

Cooling on the rack. I made some of your everyday turnovers with the leftover pastry. They hold more apples and would be a hit too.


These are for dessert tonight :)

Here they are after I applied the glaze. I surprised my men with these and let me just say... Alex was thrilled. I got three hugs and kisses out him for these. When someone wise once said the way to a man's heart is through his stomach...they weren't lying.
I spent a nice moment basking in the knowledge that I am the diggety bomb.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Home Sweet Home

My trip to Hawaii is over. My time with baby Jackson is finished, for now.
I can't tell you how hard it was to leave him. I remember my mom telling me, after my first child was born, that there is nothing quite like having a grand child. She was right. I'm ready to trade all my kids in for this one baby. It's insane.
The last couple of days there, I was constantly posting to my facebook page about how wonderful my grandson is, and how sad I was to be leaving him. My husband finally responded to one post, "Um, hello, we need you home. Sincerely, your husband.
Another day, when I was lamenting about leaving, Nick wrote as a response, we have food for one more day, then we eat the wiener dog. Well, I knew then I had to get home.
Needless to say, neither my husband, nor my son were on the verge of starvation. It was all done for dramatic effect.
I will say, that they didn't put much effort into eating. Instead of preparing the easy to make meals I had left, pasta, frozen lasagna, soups, etc. They stopped at the little store down the street and bought frozen meals. Ugh... that's just not right. I think they had frozen pizza at least three times and frozen something else another time.
It made my first night home a breeze. I threw some frozen meatballs in a pot of pre-made marinara, boiled up some pasta, baked some rolls and I was a hero. They are such simple creatures.
Since arriving home, I've caught up on laundry, scrubbing bathrooms and shopping for groceries. Tomorrow starts the first week back and I have meetings, phone calls and emails to catch up on.
It's good to be home, but I must say, I miss that sweet baby boy and his snuggles. I wonder when I can go back?
Sweet baby hugs. This was my last day there.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet Jackson

I've been in Hawaii for four days now. I have spent every day with my beautiful grandson. He is, without a doubt, the most precious baby in the world. I'm sure every grandmother says that about their grandchildren, but I'm not lying here. This is the one.

This photo was taken the first morning I saw Jackson. I think it's just precious and I will probably frame it. At least once, maybe multiple times and put all over my house :)

How sweet is this?  Another one for a frame?  Who am I kidding? I think my home is about to be re-decorated. The theme..???  Baby Jackson.

Here he is "talking" to his Grandpa.  Grandpa was doing most of the talking.

For this one, I had been sitting next to him, literally snapping photo after photo. I can't get tired of him at all.

Saturday, we ventured out of the house and took a walk around the north shore. We had to have shave ice.. I insisted!! 
Jackson's first trip to the beach with his mom and dad. He slept through it. What a beautiful day!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's Your Travel Style?

As I mentioned, I'm headed to Hawaii today.  My flight doesn't leave for another three hours, but because of Nick's schedule, he had to bring me early. I don't mind really. I'm enjoying quiet time and I have my computer, my kindle, and my smart phone. How much more plugged in could I be?

One of my favorite pass times at the airport is people watching. I love to see the clothes people wear, their shoes, the interesting groups of people... and yes, I like to try to figure them out. Young family, business associates, organizations traveling in groups, etc. Sometimes I even make up stories in my mind. I'm sure they are more exciting than the truth sometimes.

For instance, right now, there is an older couple sitting near me. Since I'm flying to Hawaii and they are at my gate area, I'm assuming they are going there as well. They have their two carry on bags loaded on one of those smartcarte wheelie things and are plugging in their cell phones. I'm hoping they are going for some fabulous vacation.

There are always business travelers. They aren't hard to spot. Usually traveling in their "business casual" attire and carrying laptop bags. Then there are the families with hoody sporting teenagers or sticky faced toddlers. I feel for the families of small children. They might as well be pack mules with all the stuff they are dragging along.

I love to see what different people wear to travel. You see the women wearing fabulous clothes with heels and beautiful bags. I want to be that woman. I want to look like the very chic world traveler, but alas, I'm the comfort traveler.
Today I'm wearing my very faded, very worn, comfortable jeans. I'm wearing a light weight fleece shirt (it's cold up in the Pacific Northwest) and my tennis shoes.  No one will look at me and think I'm anything but a mom traveling to see a grown child. I'm hoping they don't quite guess I'm going to see a grand baby. I prefer to think that I don't quite look like a grandma just yet.
I almost always regret my sloppy/comfy clothes once I arrive at the airport and see other women dressed to the nines. However, once I'm tucked into my way too small seat and have crammed my bag under the seat in front of me, I'll be glad I'm in tennis shoes that I can easily slip off and my fleece that will keep me from freezing on the plane. 
What traveler are you?  Do you dress up?  Are you a pack mule?  Or are you a comfortable mom like me?