Best EVER Black Bean Chilli

This is a GREAT Sabbath evening meal as it’s a slow cooker meal and can be served over rice (also quick).

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. dried black beans

1 7 oz. can roasted diced green chillies

1 1/2 cup diced white or red onion

3-4 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 heaping tsp McKays Chicken Seasoning or other chicken bullion

1 1/2 tsp dried cilantro

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup Morning Star Farms griller bits (or whatever you like as far as meat substitute. Real meat must be separately sauteed first and then added.)

Directions:

rinse and soak beans overnight

In the morning, rinse beans again, put them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them JUST to a boil. This helps the skins pop and speeds the cooking process. While these are coming to a boil, put all the other ingredients, except the griller bits, in a Boston Baked bean pot for the oven or a slow cooker. Put the boiling beans and all their liquid on top of the other ingredients. Bake at 350 for one hour and then 250 for at least 4 hours, adding water as needed. It’s fine to leave them on to cook for WAY longer than that. I stir the griller bits in as soon as I turn off the heat and let them cook in the hot beans for a few minutes.

I serve this as a haystack base but it’s awesome alone or with a bit of cornbread or over rice. It’s just YUMMY comfort food.

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Mason Jars

Last year, my sainted mother-in-law came and canned TONS of jars of applesauce for us. As the jars were emptied, I just put them away in the garage waiting for the next year when I would inevitably beg her to come and out and repeat the process. I have now been educated by Pinterest and I will never let another mason jar, or baby food jar, go to waste sitting in the cold garage.

You can premake salads in them.

As long as the spinach is on the top and the dressing is on the bottom and are not touching, it keeps for up to 4 days. This is a great way to pre-make stuff when you know you aren’t going to have time to do it later. It can really save you from spending money at a restaurant when you don’t have to. This is also a great way to pre-portion (if you are on that post-holiday diet.)

You can also portion out dry mixes. I recently discovered how to make my own gluten steaks and although they are wonderful, they are filled with unusual ingredients (at least to my kitchen) and in making them, I fill the whole sink with measuring spoons and cups and the whole counter with spices and bags of different kinds of flour and whatnot. Besides not always wanting to do all that measuring and finding of spices, I’m not always sure I even have everything I need. The reality is, people have been making money off me for years because they mix something up in some factory and package it and tell me how much water and an egg to mix into it. I’m not going to stand for that anymore. I’m making my own dry mixes when I have the energy and whipping up a homemade meal faster than I ever did before. After today (and any day when I feel like doing dry mixes), all I have to know is whether there are any mixes left and if we have soy sauce. NICE!

There are many other uses of mason jars. You can make them into pretty candle holders or use them to organize craft supplies. There are a bunch of cool examples on Pinterest. These are the things that were the most useful to me. Happy organizing.

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Rice Crispy Treat Pops

This is a great treat for kiddos to help with and eat. They are smaller then regular out-of-the-package treats so there is some portion control there. Not that they are any healthier but… who’s counting calories at 3 years old?

You will need all the stuff for making rice crispy treats (marshmallows, rice crispies, butter) as well as sprinkles, cookie cutters, wooden dowels, and chocolate of whatever variety you want, and some kind of something to stick the dowels into so they stand up. I made a couple of varieties of treats here so maybe some parchment paper also.

Make the rice crispy treat mixture according to the box of cereal (3 tbsp butter, 4 cups mini mellos and 6 cups of cereal). Then place it on a VERY well greased cookie sheet and smash it down REALLY hard.

Then you cut out shapes with the cookie cutters and placed them on another cookie sheet with the parchment paper. (I originally tried to put the shapes on the dowels and cover them with chocolate but they just wouldn’t go together enough to stay. I think next time I might use more of the marshmellow mixture and less cereal and see if that helps them stick together better for that.)

Melt the chocolate in the microwave 15 seconds at a time. Stir and stir and stir and stir like crazy and remember that it doesn’t take much heat for chocolate to melt. Just time. To much heat will make it seize up so just nuke it a little and then stir a bunch.

I’m not sure how much texture I want to sacrifice for the whole treat-on-a-stick thing. Therefore, for grown ups, these ones get drizzled with nice chocolate and they get some sprinkles but NO STICKS because they just fall off. After drizzling the chocolate, I turned around and found Abby (all on her own) tightly making balls of treats and putting them on the sticks. She’s a cooking genius. Anyway, the pops are totally her thing.

We covered them with chocolate and sprinkles also. They are in the fridge hardening now.

Cate also wanted to help. Andy is getting the hang of using the camera. It’s really fun to do this with the kids.

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The Seven Year Itch

Ok, after much debate it has been determined that Andy and I have been married for seven years.

When we first started dating, I did all kinds of fun, creative things for him. I made a gift box with envelopes and presents for each day he was gone on tour. I created things for his apartment to decorate and remind him of me. I made photo albums. When we were engaged I made a tear away calendar that counted down the days until the wedding with a quote or love note from me to him for every day. I used scrap book stickers to fancy it up. I wrote him letters every week.

Now that we have been married and have two children, that kind of thing has really slacked off. I mean, who has the time for all that? Do you know how much energy it takes just to think up that stuff?!

I got on Pinterest finally. I can’t believe I didn’t get on earlier but social media is my biggest downfall and I was afraid. BE NOT AFRAID! Get on. Get inspired. Get off and do!

I have found so many creative ways to rekindle that special something with Andy. Today, I put a print out of the words “I love you because…” in a picture frame and attached a dry erase marker. Every day I can put a new reason up! It’s hanging in our bedroom.

If you have more creative ideas on fun little things to remind him how much I love him, I want to hear them!

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Friday Night at the Adams – Happy Sabbath

Sabbath. Ahhhh… supposedly the day of rest but for mothers of toddlers… well, you have got to be kidding. This is when the real work begins. Sometimes I feel like I work harder on Sabbath than any other day. Friday night we have dinner all together. As usual, this usually includes my kids bathing in whatever they have in front of them. Then into the bath. I struggle to get a toothbrush in their mouths, chase them around the tub with water and soap and finally send them scooting into the living room wrapped in towels. Here they will sit in front of the fire and I will wrestle them while I comb their hair and get it either into curlers or braids. Then jammies (and after all that they better be footies because I’m not getting a shirt over those sponge rollers). Storytime, prayers, water, potty, more water, most likely more prayers, a diaper change, more prayers, stories on the CD player and finally, they are calm and down. This is still followed by us cleaning up the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Then I still have to make something for potluck or lunch tomorrow. Whew!

Tonight as I listen to Abby pray, it amazes me how patient Andy is to listen to them pray over and over and never say, “OK, it’s enough. You are now going to sleep.” He is an amazing man. Abby prays:

“Dear God, I know you are kinda busy but I want to thank you for my new elephant and my new curlers. And God, protect us. Amen”

Be still my heart. Of course, she knows that Daddy will stay there as long as she keeps praying so it gets drawn out. I’m ok with that.

 

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Ending Thumb-sucking

Yeah, right.

I believe this effort to be somewhat futile but I’m going to attempt to break Cate of her thumb sucking. The thing is, it’s unsanitary, it’s dentally detrimental and I don’t want her going to academy with a bad habit to break. I’ve seen kids at the school who still are trying to break this habit and it scared me. Therefore, I’m starting a gentle effort toward self-control with my toddler. We’ll see how it works.

When I catch her with her thumb in her mouth, I will remind her that she can only do that in her bed. Then she will be put in her bed. We’ll see how this all works out. If it becomes an issue where I believe it is a deterrent to building a good relationship with my baby, I will stop. I just don’t know exactly what else to do at this time. Suggestions are welcome.

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Words I Hope My Children NEVER Stop Saying Wrong

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I suppose it’s not a cute to hear a 35 year old ask if we are going to take the stairs or the alligator. However, I hope I never forget how cute it is right now to hear Cate say:

Yammy – Lamby

Ta – Tada (Mommy, watch! … Ta!)

Sweep – Sleep (Mommy, sweep wi-you?)

Tate – Cate (I Tate. You Mommy)

Titty – Kitty (Yeah, I almost die every time…)

Nugoe – Snuggle

Or Abby with her little:

Mommy, is the bathing sister coming? (Baby sitter…)

I love it when they are learning to talk. Of course, with Abby is more what she says as opposed to how she says it now. She’s just getting to be so smart! I love it.

 

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