Thursday, January 29, 2009

On the Menu...Taco Soup

This will be on the menu for the weekend. You have to try it. It took me awhile to get the recipe just right for our taste. It's hearty, filling, warm, and delish! I'd take pictures, but it's only a few steps. Talk about easy.

Crockpot Taco Soup

3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg. dry ranch mix
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can red kidney beans
1 can pinto beans (I use the ranch pinto beans)
1 can chili beans (no meat)
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes (I use the garlic kind)
any additional seasonings you prefer

Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot. Pour taco seasoning and ranch mix on top of chicken. Place in other ingredients in order listed. DO NOT STIR!!! Place crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. After 4-5 hours, remove chicken and shredd with two forks. Place chicken back in crock pot. Stir all ingredients together at this time. Continue cooking for remaining time.

1000 Word Thursday

This is my Nana. She's an amazing woman. I took this picture at Christmas when she was opening her new laundry cart with wheels. She lives in a residential housing place, but still has to do her own laundry and cooking, etc. She's 77 years old. She was so excited about her cart, because she wouldn't have to have my mom carry it to the laundry room for her. Of course, she'd also had about 6 glasses of wine by that I think she would have like anything she unwrapped! More on Nana another day...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quick Thoughts

#1) No, I don't plan to only post recipes and never anything else. I just am in a mood this week and it may stick around for awhile. I have gotten out of the mushroom steak slump and am on a cooking frenzy...although tonight we're having leftovers b/c of Sonlight.

#2) I hate winter. It's official. I'm ready for spring. I'm going to start burning all my spring scented candles...lilacs, lemons, strawberries, etc in hopes that Mother Nature will take the hint and tell this freezy butt cold weather to take a hike!

#3) I am truly grateful to Mike Beeler for getting the little workout group together in the morning. My husband has been 3 mornings in a row and I've done my workout at home 3 mornings in a row. It's holding us accountable and we've both felt great this week!

#4) I read the other day that you are supposed to drink 40% of your body weight in water each day to maintain healthy skin, etc. I've decided water is over-rated. I'm sure I'd feel different if I was dying of thirst...


Bacon Cheeseburger Rollup

Last night, I made a favorite at our house. I call it Bacon Cheeseburger Rollup and Trenton loves it. It's simple, easy, and quick. Especially, if you take Jenn's advice and brown a whole bunch of ground beef at once and put it in freezer bags. I didn't take any pictures because I was being lazy last night. The good thing about this recipe is it can be changed for different tastes. Last night, I had too much burger, so I made two. One with pepperjack cheese for Trenton and one with sharp cheddar for me. You could add peppers, olives, whatever. You could also use the same basic principle to make a pizza flavored one. Instead of bacon, use ham, sausage, or pepperoni and add a little pizza sauce instead of velveeta, whatever. If you're looking for something new...give it a try.

Bacon Cheeseburger Rollup

1 can crescent rolls
1/2-1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
8 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 can mushrooms (optional)
4-6 oz Velveeta or 1 cup of any type of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown hamburger and drain (or if you were like me, take it out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave on defrost for a few minutes...and Voila!)

Cut bacon into small pieces. I used my kitchen shears. Place in hot skillet with chopped onion. Cook until bacon is fully cooked. I add the mushrooms about 1/2 way through just so they absorb more flavor. When the bacon is cooked, add the ground beef and cheese. Stir until melted together. Meanwhile, roll out crescent dough into a long rectangle on a baking pan. I used my round Pampered Chef stone. Once mixture is melted together, spoon down the center of the dough leaving room on both sides and a little space on the ends. Top with shredded cheese if desired. Bring up both sides and pinch a seam down the middle. Place in hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spicy Oven BBQ Chicken

This was supper last night. It was quick, easy, and almost passed for real BBQ. It was just enough of a taste of summer, that I might make it through another 15 degree day! Don't let the title fool you, it's not all that spicy!

Spicy Oven BBQ Chicken
* 4 chicken thighs, with skin and bone (you could use any cut you wanted. I just had these in the fridge)

*1 cup ketchup
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce
*1/2 cup cider vinegar
*2 TBSP chili powder
*1 TBSP honey
*2 TBSP liquid smoke
*1 TBSP chipotle powder
*2 TBSP minced garlic
*Seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in ungreased 8x8 pan. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix all ingredient in sauce pan and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour or brush over chicken, generously. Place aluminum foil back on and cook an additional 25 minutes. Baste with more sauce. Leave foil off and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

* I only used about 1/2 the sauce I made. I just put the rest in a container and stuck in the the fridge for later this week.

This was dessert. They were leftover from Sunday...but melt in your mouth. It's the same bars I brought to Bunco last week, but I tweaked them a bit!

Seven Layer Bars

*3/4 cup stick butter
*2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
*1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
*1 cup chocolate chips
*1 cup peanut butter chips
*1 cup butterscotch chips
*1 cup mini marshmallows
*1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in 9x13 inch pan. Stick in oven until melted. Pour graham cracker crumbs over butter and smooth. Place remaining ingredients in order listed. Do not stir. Pour sweet milk over top of entire pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Watch your marshmallows and make sure they don't burn. Remove from oven. Cool. Place in refrigerator. Better when served cold. Quick, easy, and tasty!

The Final Verdict

Chicken- Trenton liked the sauce. He's not a big chicken eater, but said it was good. He said next time he'd prefer skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs. I loved it.

7 Layer bars - BIG HIT! The whole pan is almost gone...the two in the picture are all that are left. Took them to the father in laws Sunday and came home with about 7 out of the whole pan!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I feel like chicken tonight.... :)

On the Menu: Spicy Oven BBQ Chicken. Let you know how it goes tomorrow! Trenton's not a huge chicken we'll see how this goes! I'm hoping if I add enough spice to it...he'll like it :) Stay tomorrow!

I was going to put in a nice picture of a chicken here, but googled it and am now very disturbed by cute little chicken pictures running through my head. chicken picture now. So...I'll just put this instead...


Got this in an email...thought I'd post here for fun in case some of you wanted to try it.




1. What is your name: Erin
2. A 4 letter word: Evil
3. A boy's name: Everett
4. A girl's name: Emma
5. An occupation: Endocrinologist
6. A color: Eggplant
7. Something you wear: Earrings
8. A Beverage: Expresso
9. Something found in a bathroom: Eye drops
10. A place: Eden
11. Something you shout: Enough!!!

Just another Manic Monday...wish it were Sunday...

So first things's my new stove...I know, such a super exciting post first thing on a Monday.....How will you handle the excitement?!?!? I'm grateful for a father-in-law and husband, who in the frigid weather, tried to get this silly thing in my house for over an hour. They tried one door and took it off, but it wouldn't go through, so they ended up taking off the front door and getting it in that way! THANK YOU!!!

I used it last night and love it. It will take some figuring out, but for now, it's the most exciting thing happenin' for me right now!

Trenton got up and worked out with the guys this morning @ 5:30. I have to say, I'm grateful that Mike invited him to go. It's good for him and won't make me worry as much about his health and it's good motivation for me to get up and work out too. We've been doing Pilates in the evenings every other day b/c Dr. Dixon told Trenton that was the best way to strengthen up his back and avoid surgery. We both actually really like doing it. It's only 30 minutes, it's effective, and I sleep better!

We didn't really get much done this weekend. Friday, we hung out and James and Amee's and played cards and Scattergories. The boys won again, but it was a lot closer than usual, so I don't think they get as much for bragging rights this week. On Saturday, I met Holly and Myra in Ottumwa for lunch. I got a terrible headache around noon, came home around 3:30, and slept until 6. Talk about lazy...but my headache went away! I fixed some supper and we went to bed. Yesterday, we had a great day at church and a wonderful afternoon at Chuck's. We had chicken & noodles and spent the afternoon watching Castaway...which I had never seen. We've spent a couple Sundays out there recently and it's nice to just visit and relax. Trenton & Chuck then moved some furniture around. All in all, it was a very nice day and made me dread having to come to work today.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2009


I don't even know what to title this post...I'm frazzled beyond belief at work, feel like I've been running my butt off all week. I'm testing, working on budget, writing evaluations, dealing with staff issues, making up minutes with speech kids.....pressure pressure pressure! I've been up the last 3 nights with our little puppy with the seizures. I really think his seizures have something to do with his body temperature not being able to stay regulated. Plus we have to bottle feed him about every 2-3 hours, which makes for a long night. He cries something terrible all the time. I finally couldn't take it this morning and got up at 5am, picked him up out of his basket and snuggled with him on the couch until he got warmed up. I'm trying to work on a "budget" for Trenton & I at all. We've said no major purchases until July unless absolutely necessary. No clothes, movies, nothing. Trenton thinks we could realistically build in 3-4 years, but we need to get some others things out the way first, cars, student loans, etc. I'm all about shopping and all, but in the long run, building our dream house is worth giving up a few shopping sprees. This also means working somewhere this summer for me, but I can deal. BUT...all in all, I think I'm handling it pretty well. I bawled my eyes out at Grey's Anatomy last night, I blamed it on the super emotional episode, but it probably had more to do with my frazzledness than anything. It's FRIDAY! We're playing cards with Amee & James tonight, I'm eating lunch with my sister and Myra tomorrow as well as stocking up the pantry with necessities from the Dutchmen's store, and we're having dinner with the father-in-law on Sunday. Plus, I'm getting a new stove (FREE) this weekend with 5 burners and a flat top! Super excited about that!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1000 Word Thursday

I love this picture. It's not a current picture, it's from our wedding in 2007, but it's one of my favorites from our whole wedding. This is me and my step-dad dancing during the father daughter dance. I know "step" relationships can be tense and stressed in some families. But I truly believe this man is an angel. After Dad died, I really didn't know what my sisters and I were going to do. We were so young and I just felt so empty. Then Mom met David...aka Daveo, Meatball, the Silver Fox...etc.. and our lives have never been the same. He's been everything a father is supposed to be and more. Most people don't see the side of him that us kids get to see. But he's funny, caring, loving, smart, and dedicated to whatever is in his heart. Over the course of the last 10 years, he's been there for me in more ways than I could ever count. He's helped me pick up the pieces several times when life has shattered around me. Never asking for anything in return...We danced to "Unsung Hero". It couldn't have been more perfect. So for the simple reason that I don't feel like I ever get a chance to give him the credit he's my 1000 Word Thursday picture. Sorry for the long caption!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In the works...

I'm attempting to plan ahead...BIG thing for me. I always try, but never do. On another blog that I read, she plans out her menu for the whole month. Only weekdays...weekends are free game. She stocks her pantry at the beginning of the month with all the ingredients and then just sticks to her list. I stress myself out over what to fix for supper, b/c I wait until last minute to think about it, rarely have anything thawed out ahead of time, and don't leave enough time to fix it when I get home b/c I spend an hour at the grocery store gathering ingredients. Then in a rush, I fix something like mushroom steak that we've had 15 times in the last 4 weeks. So....I'm going to try this. Keep in mind, we have pork, beef, and deer in the freezer to utilize...lots of ground beef and venison. Some nights it may be as simple as hamburger helper, but it will be planned and hopefully a bit easier on me. You wouldn't think cooking for two people should be that hard. But it is. I'm also going to try not to have as many leftovers, because we waste them. Once I've had something, I don't want it again the next night, unless it's a vegetable.

So.......send me your ideas. Crockpot, casserole, soup, I don't care. We are trying to watch our figures (mostly just watching them take on a very round shape) so anything "light" would be great...I think if I can start this now #1) It will save money b/c I won't be making as many trips to the grocery store and getting unnecessary things. #2) It will be a good habit for when we do have kids and things are hectic. #3) It will help me be less fretful over cooking!

Also, Bree....what did you put on your BBQ beef @ Bunco? It was delish and I've got a roast in the crockpot today for BBQ I didn't plan that ahead, I had to defrost it in the microwave. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, Monday

I am at work today. Most of you are at home...sleeping in and enjoying a day off. I'm not complaining about it b/c we had two glorious and unexpected days off last week. And we are making this day up due to the death of our prinicipal, which was out of everyone's control as far as missing a day of school. I just feel like the year has been full of odd occurences. Starting school late for Ken's funeral, missing school for sub zero temps, an early start to Christmas break.

I had a wonderful weekend. I had a fantastic time at Bunco on Thursday after a day off. I cleaned my whole house on Thursday, so Friday was a slacker day. I spent the whole day Friday and Saturday with my husband. We did absolutely nothing. We went out to eat with James and Amee on Friday and then played cards. We had a very relaxing weekend after a very tense and stressful week. I've learned one important thing though...if I need help, I have to ask for it. Apparently my husband does not have ESP like I thought, therefore, he does not magically know when I need help with dishes, laundry, trash, etc. This was the subject of a very large (and in all honesty, overly dramatic) debate last week brought on by yours truly. I was stressed out and overwhelemed by a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons, and unfortunately decided to take it out on my husband. I love him dearly, but he receives the brunt of my frustrations the majority of the time. I have promised however to just ask for help next time instead of erupting like Mt. Vesuvius. So far, I am finding this does work a lot better and makes for a much more peaceful household!

I'm looking very forward to Bunco again next month. It was a great time to visit and just relax!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dear Tuesday,

First of all...don't take offense, but YUCK! As much as I don't like Monday, I think I dislike you more, Tuesday. On Monday, I feel somewhat refreshed after a wonderful weekend of Saturday and Sunday. You're not cool like Wednesday, because that's hump day or half-way. You're not cool like Thursday, because that's the day before Friday, so it's ok by proximity. And I don't even need to explain why Friday is better. You're just're it's still 3 days of work this week, why did you slack off on Monday and leave everything for today, you should have went to bed instead of watching all those stupid reality shows last night....Tuesday...we've got to do something about your image.



PS: Yes I know I addressed this to a day of the week. No I don't care.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

1000 Word Thursday

I'm going to be a copy cat and start doing this too. I'm hoping it will inspire me to take a few more pictures throughout the week. I know she's not my baby...but I love this girl! I honestly can't imagine loving a baby more than I love miss Myra!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Final Verdict

Here's what's for dinner...only with pork sausage instead of ground beef

Taco Ring

3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4oz.)
2 tablespoons water
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 medium bell pepper
1 cup salsa
3 cups lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup onion, chopped (opitonal)
1/2 cup pitted ripe black olives (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1Cook ground beef in large skillet over medium heat 7-9 minutes or until beef is no longer pink;drain.

2Remove pan from heat.

3Stir in taco seasoning mix,cheese and water.

4Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5Unroll cresent dough;separate into triangles.

6Arrange triangles in a cirlce on Classic Round Pizza Stone with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward outside.

7(There should be a 5 inch diameter opening in center.) I use my pampered chef pizza stone but any flat round pan should work, perhaps even a pizza sheet but I'd spray it with Pam before adding the cresent rolls.

8Scoop meat mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring.

9(Filling will not be completely covered).

10Bake at 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

11Shred Lettuce,and chop tomatoe,onion,and olives,and bell pepper if desired.

12If you want to do something fancy, scoop out a bell pepper and fill with salsa and put into center of ring.

13Add your toppings to top of ring and finish with more shredded cheese and sour cream.

14This is great with a salad.

Biggest Loser

So our school is having a biggest loser competition. Within the school and between two other schools. We're in competition with Knox and Canton for a traveling trophy...big deal, right... But we're also on teams of three for an in house competition. Apparently, I thought this was going to be a pretty individual low key event. Not so much. People are exercising like crazy and putting reminders out for their team, but about having to stick to your NY resolutions.

Also, I have a headache. I'm not sure why. I haven't had one since getting my wisdom teeth done, which is pretty remarkable for me b/c in all honesty, I usually get a pretty severe headache at least once a day. I had been greatly relieved over the past week to be headache free. And then...tylenol doesn't usually do the trick... It's probably hormone related. You know, the one thing I have absolutely no control over. Oh well, suck it up, Tallman, and get on with your day! Yep, that's right, I just gave myself a pep talk on my blog. I'm really awesome like that.

And just because I feel like being nosy and want to see if you actually ever read what I write or if I totally bore you all to death....what's for dinner tonight? I cheated and "fixed" Casey's taco pizza last night and burnt the round steak on Monday, so I suppose since there isn't Sonlight tonight, I should actually fix something decent tonight. Ideas?!?!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Whatever You're Doing

Whatever You're Sanctus Real

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly

It's time to fix up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Monday, January 5, 2009

New hope

My hubby and I ringing in the New Year! Yes, we look fantastic and No, I don't care! We spent the evening at Colby and Susan's playing poker and enjoying the company of friends. It was a great evening with lots of laughter and Trenton even won $25 cause he got 1st.

Break went too fast. I learned this morning, that apparently I did not become a morning person just b/c 2009 arrived. I feel like now all I can do is count down until summer break. And I love my job, I can't imagine what it would be like if I didn't. We had a great time spending time with both sides of the family the past few weeks and the holidays went relatively well. I enjoyed not one, but two days of baking with Amee and had more goodies than we were able to eat. We went to Bogie's last Saturday and had the best steak I've ever eaten...well partially eaten. We'd never been there before and I didn't know about the steak "sizes" and ordered the largest one on the menu...needless to say, Trenton ate the majority of it, with enough for a steak sandwich to take home! We will definitely be returning there again! I had my wisdom teeth taken out on the 29th with relatively no trouble. I'm not saying I'd do it again tomorrow. But it wasn't as bad as I expected. Still a little tender, but I didn't take any of the pain medicine they prescribed the whole time. Haven't decided if that makes me really strong or really stupid!

Trenton and I are looking very forward to a new year. I feel it will be our best together yet. We had many questions over the holidays about when we'll start trying again... so far, we're just waiting to see what happens. We stressed ourselves out about it way too much before and I don't want to go through that again. It will happen when God intends it to happen. In the meantime, we'll be working on things that we can change to make our lives better.

Hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Our latest additions...

Most of you have probably already heard me complaining about this. But we have a few new additions to the family at our house. I have to admit...they are pretty darn cute already! However, these 9...yes I said 9 puppies will need to be finding new homes soon b/c this gal ain't feeding that many pooches forever!

My poor momma dog- I think she's saying "Help?!?!"

The whole mess of them. They're actually quite adorable! Below are a few individual shots. I'm sure I'll have more as they grow a bit!

Feel free to get your name in for your favorite now! :)

Christmas Review...

I know Christmas is over, but now that I'm back at school, I can finally download a few pics from Christmas. I promise it will be minimum...only the highlights of the season!

These were a present from "above" for my sisters and cousin, Jessica this year. These were my great grandmas home sewn aprons that Nana and mom found in a trunk when sorting threw some of Nana's things. Grandma Tade had kept them for all of us girls. It was probably my favorite Christmas present.

Miss Myra with Uncle Trenton. She is such a pistol. I love her to pieces! She is such a ham and is changing so much everytime we see her.

TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS!!! She couldn't take it anymore. She didn't even make it through the first present. Holly had said she'd be konked out if we didn't get started by 8 that morning and sure enough 7:55 she was out!

A little Rock Band with the family! This wasn't even the best of it. Let's just say, #1) A little of my family singing goes a long LONG way and #2) It's a good thing the majority of us have day jobs!

Ok, that's all for now.