Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun Food Friday- Meat & Potato Casserole

First off I just have to tell you that both boys were fever free this morning!!!  I think we are finally on the road to recovery!
Secondly, I just thought I would let you know that I figured out how to put a search bar on my blog so now if there's a recipe you want to find, just type the recipe name in the search bar and it will come right up!
I decided to do something for my Fun Food Friday this week that I've never done- make something I've never made before.  After the twins were born people from church brought over meals 3 times a week for about 6 weeks (yes, we have an awesome church)!  It was wonderful to not have to worry about what we were going to eat for dinner and it was also fun to try new things and see what people make.  One of the meals we got was this dish that seemed so simple and yet was so good.  And, it had green beans in it and I have been trying to think of ways to use our green beans from our garden.  So I decided to try to make it myself (I don't know why I just never asked for the recipe but it sounded fun to try on my own:)).  And this is a great meal because you can make it ahead and it has your whole meal in a bowl, and a good Dutch meal to boot- meat, potatoes and vegies. :)  Now I made my mashed potatoes to go on top, mostly because I had some potatoes to use up, but you can very easily just make instant mashed potatoes and use those to make it even simpler!

Meat & Potato Casserole
Ingredients: Ground Beef, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Frozen Peas, Green Beans, Potatoes, Butter, Milk

Peel and dice the potatoes

Place into boiling water and cook until tender

In the meantime, brown one pound of ground beef

Drain the meat. 
My sister taught me this trick- place foil under your strainer for easy cleanup

Return meat to pan and add one can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

Stir until all combined

Add some salt...

and pepper

When your potatoes are done drain and place in a mixer bowl to make mashed potatoes

Throw in some butter...

and mix

Add some milk.  A key to getting really smooth and creamy mashed potatoes is heat up your milk before adding it to the potatoes.

Add some salt...

And whip those potatoes till they are nice and smooth

Micah is not picky about what is on his spatula, cookie dough or mashed potatoes, he loves licking that spatula :)

To an oven-safe glass bowl layer first the meat mixture...

Then come the vegetables.  I didn't have enough green beans plus I prefer peas to green beans, so I put peas on one half and green beans on the other.  Now I did not cook the vegies and they were a little crunchy, so next time I will be throwing them in some boiling water for about 5 minutes before putting in the casserole

And then comes the mashed potatoes. 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through (if you make it ahead of time it will take a little longer)

Micah all ready for dinner. 
Don't worry he did not eat his toys, he was just in a silly mood. :)

Now that looks like a good Dutch meal :)

Meat and Potato Casserole
1 pound ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt & pepper to taste
Green Beans and/or Frozen Peas
Potatoes, pealed & diced
Milk, warmed up

Boil the potatoes until tender.  Make mashed potatoes- drain the potatoes, then add butter, warm milk and salt and whip until smooth.  Brown the ground beef, drain.  Add soup and salt and pepper to taste, stir until all combined.  Cook the vegies in boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain.  In an oven-safe glass bowl layer meat mixture, vegies, then potatoes.  Cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated all the way through. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 40


Jonathan (orange shirt)- 21.2 pounds
David (blue shirt)- 19.8 pounds
This is going to be short and sweet because this mamma needs a nap.  Why you ask, well you may notice from the pictures that these boys don't look at the top of their game.  That would be because they are both sick. :(  Jonathan has had a fever since Friday morning and David got one yesterday morning.  David was up twice last night.  It's amazing how used to full nights of sleep you get and how much it effects you when you don't get that full night of sleep.  We ended up at the doctor yesterday and they determined that both boys have a virus which means there's nothing you can do for them except give them lost of love.  So that has been what has been going on around here.  It's so hard to watch your small child feel miserable and not be able to do anything about it.  One thing I want to make sure to note is that David got his other top center tooth.  So he now has three on top and two on the bottom!  Oh, and these boys are EVERYWHERE!  Crawling is thus far my least favorite development.  It's like they can now move and they have this whole house to discover.  And they are so quick.  We are trying to get Micah to remember that he can't leave anything small on the floor because they will find it and fast.  I no longer feel okay quick running upstairs to put in my contacts and brush my teeth, I barely feel like I can go to the bathroom for fear that they will get something they shouldn't have.  Here's our week in pictures:
This is what I did Thursday- 8 pies for a school fundraiser (well, 6 were for the fundraiser and 2 were for us:))
This is what I did Friday- Monster cookies and cake pops for cookie time on Sunday

And just fyi, on the right is what a monster cookie will look like if you forget the baking soda :)

It's been really hot over here so we spent a few nights hanging out in our little pool.
My sister-in-law Melissa gave me the great idea of just putting a laundry basket in the pool (she saw it done in a bathtub).  It works great!

Jonathan showing off his 4 teeth
Dinner is sometimes a messy affair  
For both :) 

Jonathan not feeling well- just conked out right on the floor, poor little guy
Micah continues to love taking pictures:
He's getting quite creative.  Here's his foot on his "scooter" (really the holder for his plastic bowling pins that he slides around on).
His Teddy & Blankey 

Hoping next week I'll be reporting we are all feeling great!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fun Food Friday- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies- Gluten Free

A few things before I get to my Fun Food Friday.  First, I meant to put this cute little story in my Wednesday's blog and forgot.  Micah loves seeing the moon, he calls it the ball in the sky (he hasn't seen it in the dark in a very long time since it stays light so late here so he doesn't understand that it produces light, he just thinks it's a ball hanging in the sky :)).  And he must not have ever noticed it before when it wasn't close to a full moon because Sunday night we were walking home from church and he noticed the moon and exclaimed "Ball in the sky broken!"  We looked and the moon was closer to a new moon, not a full moon so he thought it was broke and was very concerned. :)  Oh the mind of a 2 year old. 
Secondly, I have to tell you if you are looking for a stain remover, I highly recommend Scrubbing Bubbles Kitchen cleaner.  I was buying some a couple months ago (to actually use in the kitchen) and the lady in line behind me told me how much she loved that stuff and how she uses it to get stains out of her clothes.  I didn't think about it again but then Sunday night I fed the boys, then dressed them for church and was quickly getting my things together and when I went to get David he had spit up his sweet potatoes on his nice new church shirt. :(  Of course I didn't have time to change him so I quick wiped it up and away we went to church.  I threw it in the wash when we got home but when I got it out you could still see the spots.  It was then that I remembered what the lady in line behind me said and decided I might as well try the Scrubbing Bubbles.  So I sprayed it on, left it a few minutes, scrubbed it a little, threw it back in the wash and sure enough, it came out with no spots!  And then yesterday Micah got a bloody nose and got blood on his white Micah shirt he's wearing on the picture on the top of this blog.  I thought, oh great, this shirt is done for, but I again sprayed Scrubbing Bubbles Kitchen cleaner on it, threw it in the wash and sure enough, not a trace of blood!  Just had to share that with you in case you are looking for a good stain remover. :)
Okay, on to Fun Food Friday!  Our church, like any good Dutch church :), has cookies and coffee after church every Sunday morning.  My friend Deb and I are in charge of the cookies for this month and decided it would be fun to make all the cookies (most of the time people get the cookies from the local grocery store bakery).  Another friend from church has Celiac Disease which means that she can't have anything with gluten.  So she rarely gets to have cookies after church so I decided to make something she could have.  I love Peanut Butter Blossom cookies but I remember them taking forever to make when I was younger so we only ever made them at Christmas.   But a number of years ago my aunt gave me this recipe for them that was so simple and makes it easy to make them gluten free because it uses Bisquick instead of flour and they have gluten free Bisquick.  So you can make them either way, with gluten free Bisquick or regular and they both taste great!  There are a few things to remember when making something gluten free.  First you want to make sure all of your ingredients are gluten free.  All the brands I used in this recipe were gluten free, so you can always just get the same brands :) or just look on the labels or look it up on-line.  Second, you want to make sure that your kitchen and mixer are sterilized.  If your mixer is like mine, it ends up with flour all over it so you want to make sure you really clean it so none of that flour drops into the cookie dough.  And then when serving the cookies make sure you don't put them next to the other cookies :).  So if you know someone who is allergic to gluten and you want to give them a special treat, this recipe is for you!  Or if you love these cookies and want a super easy way to make them, keep this one close by!

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies- Gluten Free
Ingredients: Bisquick (Gluten Free), Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Hersey's Kisses, Sugar 
To a mixer bowl add 3/4 cup peanut butter (Jif peanut butter is gluten free)...
*If making gluten free you will want to use a new jar of peanut butter in case you have ever put a knife back in the jar after touching bread

and 1 can sweetened condensed milk (Carnation is gluten free)

Mix together until nice and smooth

add 2 cups of Bisquick...

and 1 teaspoon of vanilla

and mix until all combined

The gluten free Bisquick made the dough a little dry so I added 2 Tablespoons of milk and that did the trick.

To make the cookies use a 1 inch cookie scoop to get some dough...

roll into a ball...

and coat with sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes for regular ones and about 14 minutes for the gluten free ones.  They will be a nice golden brown

While the cookies are baking unwrap the chocolate kisses.  If you are not making these cookies gluten free and you have access to Chocolate Stars, I highly recommend using those because then you don't have to unwrap them.  Unfortunately they are made in a factory that processes wheat so you can't use them if you're making these gluten free.

As soon as you take the cookies out of the oven press the kisses into the middle of the cookie.

And there you go, delicious peanut butter blossoms that someone allergic to gluten is able to have!
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies*
3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups Bisquick*
1 teaspoon vanilla
sugar to coat cookies
Hersey Kisses/Chocolate Stars
Cream together peanut butter and sweetened condense milk.  Add Bisquick and vanilla and mix until all combined*.  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Roll ball in sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees from 8-10 minutes* until lightly browned.  Immediately after taking out of the oven press kisses into the cookies.
*To make gluten free use Gluten Free Bisquick (and make sure all other ingredients are gluten free) and add 2 Tablespoons of milk after adding Bisquick and vanilla.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.