Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Best Gift

Ava and I went to dinner over the weekend and she was writing on the kids menu they gave her. Her answer to question #2 just melted my heart. She is one of the sweetest little girls. Love this girl to pieces. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday

When Ava was little she used to do her "pretend cry" when she was being silly.  And oh boy did she go over the top with it.  It was the cutest thing ever.  And every time I see these pictures it just makes me smile.  She would grab a tissue, do her fake boo hoo hoo cry in her little hands, and then wipe her eyes for the finishing effect!  lol  I seriously just love this kid!  :)




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Comfort Food Recipe

I don't know about you but I am over winter! Yes, totally and completely over it!  Even though we live in Illinois, we haven't seen this much snow and this much cold in quite a long time!  We've gotten kind of spoiled really.  And though it sounds like a great idea to move south, this year they haven't been so lucky either! Ava has been out of school it seems like a day or two each week since going back after Christmas break.  Eh, but what can you do?  Scroll through post after post on Pinterest you say! I say that sounds like a marvelous idea!

This week I even found a recipe on Pinterest that not only sounded good, but one that I might actually even make that included minimal effort.  It is a version of Tater Tot Casserole.  This is a recipe I would definitely consider a "comfort food".  It was a hit though in our house and I consider that a success.  After making it there are a few slight changes I would make but overall a great recipe. Several step by step picture below. Please excuse the not so wonderful picture quality.  I had a light bulb out in the kitchen and without getting out a step ladder to change it, well it just wasn't happening, besides I was in the zone cooking, ok!  Don't worry though, the bulb has been changed now because secretly it was driving me crazy!   

Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. Ground Chuck 
  • Onion, diced (or minced onion)
  • Shredded Cheese 
  • 16 oz, Sour Cream
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken (small can)
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom (small can)
  • 1 bag Tater Tots 
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef and onions in a skillet. (I also added Lawry's, garlic powder and pepper to my ground beef for added flavor)

In a large bowl, add sour cream, cream of mushroom, and cream of chicken.

Drain browned hamburger, add it to the bowl with the sour cream, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken.

Stir it all together.  It mixes up incredibly easy. I think you could even add maybe a little more ground beef if you wanted too.  

In a 9x13 pan spread mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.  I did spray my pan lightly with a cooking spray since I wasn't sure if any of it would stick or not.  

I added a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the mixture.  You don't have to, but I did. And if cheddar cheese isn't your thing, add another flavor of shredded cheese.  

Add your tater tots on top of that! I didn't arrange mine all pretty and lined up in even little rows.  Why? Because honestly this isn't a cooking show or even a cooking blog and really I just want to get it in the oven! :)  It is all going to taste the same anyway, right?!?!
Ready to put it in the oven...sounds good.  Bake for 45 minutes (oven times may vary)

After 45 minutes take it out.  Add some cheese to the top of the tater tots.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes at the same 350 degrees. 

Timer goes off, and this is what should come out of the oven!  Yum!

Serve it up to the family who will be singing your praises and if they really like it, they may even go back for seconds...and if they really really like it, maybe they will offer to even do the dishes afterwards.  Feel free to serve it with your favorite vegetable too. 

Next time I make it, I would use a reduced sodium cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup.  I never added salt to this at all and for me personally I don't think it needed any added salt at all.  You could also add in some vegetables like peas if you wanted, but I know my family wouldn't eat this with them added in. I think it would also be good with some green pepper diced in it. Could also substitute ground turkey which I will try next time as well and a lower fat cheese if you like.  I wasn't sure how I would like the cream of chicken and cream of mushroom mixed together, but it was actually really good.  Surprise! Surprise! So anyway try it, you and your family just might like it too.  Thank you Pinterest for making dinner a success!  Oh and the leftovers were quite good the next day too! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stuck Inside...

Since Friday, we've had, snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, and then with that rain it has turned to ice.  Aside from picking up Girl Scout cookies and a pizza and salad for dinner, we've been sticking close to home. Especially since the rain turned to ice and with below freezing temps it doesn't look like it will be melting any time soon today.  Though I will go chip away at my car later since I do have to work tomorrow and I don't want to have to do that at 7 a.m.  

With all this snow and bitterly cold temps this year, Ava and I have spent a lot of time playing Skip-Bo.  This past week I even introduced her to the game Racko.  


She is a little card shark.  I love watching her mind at work when she is planning and thinking of how she is going to block me (Skip-Bo) or how she is going to line up her cards to win a game of Racko.  She is a natural and the competitor in me will not just let her win.  When she wins (and oh she does), it is a legitimate win. 

With being stuck home this weekend Ava also has started planning out her song she wants to audition with for the Spring Talent Show at her school.  This is the first year she is old enough to take part in it, and I have heard about the talent show for months.  The information for it came out in the school newsletter on Friday. 


So this was her on Friday writing out the lyrics and practicing the song.  She spent a long time doing this.  I am not sure if she will go through with the whole audition, since she knows she will have to perform by herself, on a stage, in front of a crowd, so all I can do is encourage her and support her either way.  She loves to sing though and loves music, so I am hoping she finds the courage to at least audition.

So that's been our weekend so far.  Today is Super Bowl Sunday!  We are cheering on the Broncos.  Would love to be cheering on the Bears, but eh, what can you do, at least the Packers aren't in it.  lol  The Seahawks have some players I really like but, definitely not a fan of Pete Carroll and I'd love to see Peyton Manning win anyway!  It's going to be a tough game though for the Broncos, but hoping they can pull out the WIN.