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Archive for April, 2011

Beef Roast Italiana

One of the easiest main dishes that you can make is a beef roast in the slow cooker and I am always on the lookout for new ideas for this versatile meal.  I found a similar recipe online and adapted it to suit my and my family’s taste.

I was really pleased with the final product and plan to fix this again.  I am not sure what size of roast I used, but I think it was around 3 to 4 pounds.  It fed 7 people easily with leftovers for the next day.

1 beef roast (3-4 lbs)

26 oz can traditional style spaghetti sauce (Use whatever is your favorite.)

salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning to taste

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Sprinkle both side of the roast liberally with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Place roast in the slow cooker.  (I had to use my small cooker, so I cut the roast in half.)  Cover with sauce and cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Enjoy!

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Thoughtful Thursday

Our church has recently started a new Sunday school class for our age group and the focus is on building friendships, friendship with God, friendship with Jesus, and friendship with our fellow man.  I have really enjoyed the lessons so far because they have made me stop and think about things that I normally do not. 

Am I a good friend to God and Jesus?  Do I stop and think what They would want me to do in situations as much as I should or do I just plow on through doing my own thing?  I know God and Jesus bore the ultimate sacrifice for me and actually ask very little of me for Their love!

Am I a good friend to C?  To me, marriage should be the ultimate friendship!  C is my best friend and I know I am very blessed to be in a relationship like that.  I happen to work in the office that processes divorce cases so I know how rare they are.  I try to put him first and not give in to my selfish “only child” ways, but it can be hard.  C is much better at that than I am. 

Am I a good friend to my friends?  Do I support them when they need it?  Do I reveal enough of myself so that they know who I really and truly am?  That is something that I have always struggled with…how much to share is too much?  There are things about me that very few people are aware of and I can’t seem to shake the notion that it is better to keep certain things to myself or to an extremely small group.  I hope that, in the long run, that being private was not a bad thing.

Finally, am I a good friend to myself?  You are probably thinking that that is a strange question, but when you stop and think about it, can you love someone else if you don’t love (or even like) yourself?  I think a lot of people struggle with this, especially women.  They get caught up in what is going on around them and forget to take care of themselves. 

Reading these lessons has made me think about these things more and I hope that leads me to better relationships with God, Jesus, and the world around me.

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Spotlight

Head on over to Eat At Home Cooks for today’s spotlight on pasta!

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Menu Plan Monday

Another Easter has passed and now spring can really begin as far as I am concerned.  We have had lots of cool and rainy weather so if the sun wants to shine for many days ahead that is just fine with me.  Whenever the weather does cooperate, we hope to get a few small outside projects completed, mostly things that are already started and just need finishing.  I will keep you posted on our progress.

This week’s meal list is pretty simple.  We have a wedding to attend next weekend so there will be a little less cooking, but still plenty of good things to eat!  I am including the cheesy corn chip skillet again this week because it did not get made last week.  Reruns aren’t too bad, are they?

Steak & cheese sandwiches with oven fries

Cheesy Corn Chip Skillet

Pizza night

Steak/seafood night

Wedding night (eat out)

Shredded pork bbq with roasted potatoes

Peanut butter squares

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Sunshine Salad

Fruit salads are my favorite kind of salad even though they probably are not the healthiest.  Give me some chopped fruit with pudding mix and fruit juice and I am a happy girl.  Throw in some nuts and mini marshmallows and, well, I might not be able to control myself! I could eat the whole bowl!

This is one of those dishes…perfect to pair with a simple angel food cake or, like I did, a lemon chiffon cake.  I have made fruit salads with vanilla pudding mix, but I had never used lemon.  I think I like it better than the vanilla since it gave it an extra little kick.  Don’t forget to add your bananas right before you serve so they will stay as fresh as possible.  The original recipe called for strawberries.  I didn’t have any on hand so I just used chopped apples instead.  I will definitely try this again when my strawberry plants start producing.

20 oz can pineapple tidbits

11 oz can mandarin orange slices

3.4 oz package instant lemon pudding mix

2 medium apples, diced

1 cup sliced bananas

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Drain the pineapple and mandarin oranges, reserving the juice.  In a bowl, combine the reserved juice with the pudding mix.  Fold in the pineapple and oranges.  Dice the apples and slice the bananas.  I soaked both of these in orange juice for a couple of minutes to slow down the browning process.  Add the apples and bananas to the mix and stir.  Chill until ready to serve!

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Spotlight

Today’s spotlight ingredient at Eat At Home Cooks is frozen whipped topping, and guess what?  I realized today that I use a LOT of frozen whipped topping!

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Menu Plan Monday

In the Christian community, of which I am a proud member, this week is Holy Week ending with Easter on Sunday.  Every Easter that we can, we attend church services in the morning to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then fellowship with family in the afternoon and evening with some delicious food!  I usually make at least the dessert and, because it is springtime, I am drawn to strawberry flavored delights.  This year is no different and hopefully this new recipe will be a hit.  You will see it below in my food list.

I hope everyone had a good week and weekend.  We had a good but very work-busy week and am glad that it is behind us.  The weather has also been crazy, with lots and lots of rain and strong wind.  I am hoping for some nice, warm, calm weather for a change!

Here is my food plans for this week.  I will list my Easter dishes separately at the bottom.  Happy Easter!

Homemade sloppy Joes and oven baked fries (I made enough last week for 2 nights.)

Grilled hot dogs and chips

Grilled pork chops & butter roasted potatoes (The pork chops did not get made last week because I had to go to the grocery that night.)

Cheesy corn chip skillet

Pizza

Steak/seafood night

Southern Plate’s Apple Spice Muffins (new)

Easter menu: Citrus crock pot ham, butter roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole, Strawberry cupcakes with “perfect” cupcake frosting (2 new recipes)

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Below is the next installment of the Picture Perfect Cooking-Southern Plate Project for your enjoyment.  I really hope you try this little snack cake because it was so easy and oh-so-good! The weekend that I made it I had another dessert planned, but I realized that I had forgotten to get one crucial ingredient so I had to change horses midstream, so to speak.  It’s really hard to make a lemon cake without lemons!  Oops!

I went searching for a substitute for which I had all of the ingredients and found this little gem.  We love bananas and the flavor of this is awesome!  It makes a great dessert, but also makes a darn good breakfast with some orange juice or coffee on the side.

For the cake:

3 bananas, peeled

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1 cup milk

1 cup chopped nuts, optional (I used pecans.)

2 cups self-rising flour

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumb topping:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour (any kind)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8×8” baking pans.  Place the bananas in the bowl of a mixer and add the sugar.  Mix until the bananas are liquefied.

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Add the butter and mix until creamed together.  Add the remaining cake ingredients and blend well.

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In a separate bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients and blend together until crumbly.  I used my hands to do this, but you can also use a long-tined fork.

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Pour one quarter of the batter into each pan and top with one quarter of the crumb mixture.  Repeat this step with remaining batter and crumbs.  Bake for 45 minutes to one hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve from the pan. 

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Thoughtful Thursday

Raise your hand if you LOVE to clean your house?  I thought so…not many hands raised.  I am like that, too; I love a clean house but don’t really like the work it takes to get it that way.  One think that I now do that makes the job a little easier is to use as many non-toxic cleaners as possible.

I used to use regular cleaners that had strong chemicals and fragrances added to them to make your home smell “clean”.  Guess what?  A clean house really doesn’t have a smell at all, good or bad. 

When I walked down the “cleaning” product aisle at the grocery store, my eyes would start watering and I would usually sneeze at least once.  Why was I bringing this stuff into my living space when I couldn’t even walk past most of them without tearing up?  That’s a good question so I set out to find a solution.

After some online searching, I purchased a few products to try and have found ones that I have stuck with for quite a while now.  My favorite brands are Method, Mrs. Meyers, and Seventh Generation.  All three seem to clean really well without a lot of extra scrubbing that some of the more well known brands require. 

In my bathroom, I use Method Bathroom Cleaner (formerly Tub N Tile).  It has a mild fragrance that makes the rooms smell so good, but doesn’t overpower the senses.  I also use Method Le Scrub on my shower doors and tubs.  We have extremely hard water which leads to terrible hard water stains on the glass doors.  I had tried CLR, which did not work very well and the smell was hideous and then tried Le Scrub.  I still use Comet on my toilets because I have not found a replacement that I like as well.

For dishwashing, I love Seventh Generation products.  My favorites are the Free & Clear Dishwashing Liquid and the Lemon Automatic Dishwashing Gel.  I also use Seventh Generation’s anti-bacterial wipes.

Finally, to soften our clothes and add a slight lavender fragrance, I turn to Mrs. Meyers.  Their liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets are perfect and I make them last as long as possible.  I use just a tiny bit of liquid softener and thin it with water and I use each dryer sheet for multiple loads.

This is just my little way of keeping C & I safe from unnecessary chemicals which may or may not be harmful, but why take a chance.  I have read on other blogs that some people actually make their own products, but I have not quite worked up to that point yet.  It is interesting reading, though.  By the way, these companies have no idea who I am and have offered me nothing for these thoughts.  I just like them!

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See our cat (who thinks he is actually hiding)…

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See Ellie want to chase the cat…

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See how her lead, while hooked to a stake, is also wrapped around C’s chair leg to stop her…hopefully!

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That darn cat!!

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