Enchilada Soup

Not sure how long this particular recipe will stick around at my house. It was delicious, but a little more processed than Iwould like. I made it in a hurry, so no pics this time, but I’ve included a pic (so it is pinnable) and link to Paula Dean’s recipe, which was the opriginal inspiration for this soup. The first time I made it, my entire family agreed it was much too spicy, so this is my modified version.

Enchilada Soup

Paula's Enchilada Soup


  • 2.5 lbs hamburger meat
  • 2-3 T taco seasoning (or 2 packets if you’re using store-bought)
  • 1 onion
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce (I think I’ll actually use 2 next time to stretch it out & have more leftovers)
  • 1/2 of a 28 oz can enchilada sauce (I stuck the rest in the fridge. You could just use a 10 or 15 oz can if you had one)
  • 1 can chili beans WITH SAUCE
  • 1 can great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained (I actually just pour some frozen corn in there)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Brown hamburger meat together with onion and taco seasoning; drain. Add all ingredients except cheese into Crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Top each bowl with cheese. Would be great served with warm homemade bread or tortillas. Super easy and tasted great, but I don’t like using all the canned items. Maybe I can make it a little more “homemade” by cooking the beans myself. Maybe 🙂


Orange Rhino Challenge

I just stumbled upon an amazing idea/blog on Pinterest the other day. The Orange Rhino Challenge. This lady decided to go an entire year without yelling at her kids. Sounds crazy. Sounds impossible. Sounds… wonderful. I hate yelling at my kids, and the more I yell, the more stressed and irritable I become and the LESS my kids listen. A year is an awfully daunting goal, so I’m going to pray about exactly what my commitment should be, but I definitely feel convicted about my lack of patience with my kids, and I think this challenge is something that could help.

Another thing I think will help is reducing my stress level. So I’m going to evaluate what causes stress in my life, and then change what I can to reduce stress as much as possible. Some things I already know: lack of sleep, enormous messes in our house, being behind on chores, rushing to get food ready, rushing to get kids ready for school/bedtime. So here’s some changes I’m going to make already. 1) Make my meal plan every month (or pay period) and ACTUALLY DO IT but be more flexible in case Jason or the kids request something different. That means that every day I need to make sure that we have what I need for the next day readily available. So before I start dinner every night, I’m going to check on the next day’s ingredients. 2) I’m going to start freezing some leftovers instead of insisting that we eat them ALL before I make new food. This way, when the best laid plans of mice and moms go astray, I’ll have something I can quickly reheat and still have dinner ready on time. 3) I’m going to stick to my Crock pot meal idea for dance lessons and church nights. That way dinner will be ready when we get home and I can get the little ones to bed on time. 4) I’m going to throw away a bunch of my kids’ toys. They don’t play with them all, and it makes more clutter all over the house that I either yell at my kids to pick up or pick up myself and resent that my house is a disaster area all the time. 5) I will make a to-do list so that I know what I need to do by when each day. 6) No games, TV etc (for me!) unless I am caught up on my to-do list and chores or nursing the baby. In the mean time, I’m going to be doing some research on biblical references to patience, kindness, understanding, and forgiveness. I’m open to suggestions. Any favorites any one would like to share? I plan to do a post on that at some point, but not anytime soon. I will wait until I know what my goal will be at least, and then do an update. If anyone else is doing this challenge or would like to do it with me, leave a comment.

April Meal Plan

If you actually care enough to follow my meal plans (or were desperately hoping for inspiration yourself), I totally flopped last month. We were crazy busy, which makes meal planning even more important, but I just didn’t take the time to do it. I now remember why I take the time. There were so many times Jason would ask what we were eating for dinner to which I replied, “I have no idea. What do you want?” Maybe you can operate just fine like that, but I felt like my whole house was chaos, and I’m eager to get back to a method that’s a little more organized. But I’m also feeling lazy today, so this is not as creative as I might normally be. But I did it 🙂

3- Smoked pork tenderloin, steamed veggies, Texas Roadhouse Yeast Rolls and Cinnamon Honey Butter (The rolls were a little dense, and I didn’t have enough honey so I used agave nectar, but it was amazing!)

4- Jason’s Potato Soup

5- Chili Waffles- Inspired by this with homemade chili and genera-Jiffy cornbread mix

6- Spaghetti

7- Chicken Pot Pie

8- Breakfast for dinner

9- “Beef” & Broccoli with deer meat

10- Chicken Fiesta Burritos

11- Ashley’s Shepherd Pie

12- Buffalo Chicken Wraps

13- leftovers & apple pie cookies

14- Enchilada Soup

15- some kind of smoked/ grilled meat and veggies

16- Black beans in the crockpot

17- Gooey Chicken Burritos

18- Ashley

19- Grilled meat & twice baked potatoes

20- leftovers

21- Octopus Hot Dogs with Homemade Mac & Cheese

22-  Quesadillas

23- Lemon & Garlic “DUMP” Chicken over pasta

24- Mexican Pizza

25- Ashley

26- eat at BB’s

27- Grilled Cheese and/or leftovers

28- BB’s leftovers

29- Stuffed Taco Shells

30- BBQ Chicken Calzone

Wordless Wednesday: Valentine, you blow me away

I really try to cut down on refined sugar for our family, so it seemed hypocritical to send gobs of candy home with other kids for Emma’s Valentine party at school. So here’s what I sent instead 🙂


It was super easy. I bought a 24-pack of miniature bubbles from Dollar General for $3.75 and created a heart shape with the words, “Valentine you blow me away! Love, Emma” inside in a Paint program. (I did have to do the words in another program first because it didn’t let me center them in paint. So I copied and pasted the words already centered, and it worked great. But maybe you’re not as OCD as I am. And that’s good.) Then I selected the heart with words already inside and copied. I pasted as many as I could fit on one page (which it turns out was 6 with the size I made them) and then printed 3 copies on pink cardstock. I was still exhausted from having been sick with the stomach virus (even though I was better by that time- just still tired from being behind on sleep), so rather than taking the time to cut out each heart, I just cut out a square around each hear and hole-punched that. Then I tied them around the bubbles with a little ribbon. It really did not take very long and was not very expensive. Plus, Emma loved having something different to hand out than all the other kids.



The kids were also supposed to bring a Valentine box. I remembered this at 11:30 pm the night before she was supposed to have it at school, so at midnight (when the baby had finished nursing and fallen back asleep), I dragged myself back out of bed and threw this together as well as possible. It’s just an empty Kleenex box that I covered in black construction paper and covered in construction paper hearts. I used cookie cutters to make the letters because I couldn’t find any stencils or stickers. And because I was super-tired so I didn’t look very hard. But by-golly, she had a box. I even saved the pink hearts on the very top for her to glue on with a glue stick in the morning so she could feel like she helped. I forgot to take a picture of it before she left for school, so this is what it looked like 2 days later after the party 🙂

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast

I had plans. Great plans. Cute plans. Plans for heart-shaped food all day long. But as often happens, the best-laid plans of mice and moms….

Anyway, breakfast worked out ok. It just took longer than I thought, but we had heart-shaped breakfast 🙂

We had what I will refer to as heart-shaped eggs. I took a heart cookie cutter and cut out the center of bread,


then cracked my egg into the hole and fried the whole thing together.


Unfortunately, it was hard to see the heart by the time it was done, but that’s ok. I also threw the hearts in the skilled to make heart-shaped “toast”.


All the while, I was cooking my heart-shaped bacon in the oven. I tried it in the skillet first. It was even less heart-shaped that way. 🙂 (Sorry no picture. I was trying to hurry so Hubby could run off to work!) So our Valentine’s Day breakfast was heart-shaped eggs, bacon, and toast. Too fun! The kids loved it.


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Mexican Pizza

2 lb hamburger meat

12 flour fajita size tortillas

beans, cooked or refried

small jar salsa

shredded cheese

1 small or 3/4  medium onion

2-3 green onions

2 tomatoes

taco seasoning (or make your own!)

Brown hamburger meat. I like to add my taco seasoning before it’s cooked and just taste afterward to make sure there’s enough seasoning. Some people like to add it afterward. It doesn’t really matter. Make taco meat 🙂

If you have refried beans already, skip this step. We like black beans. Many people prefer pinto beans. Use your favorite. Put your cooked beans and the onion in a food processor with a little bit of vegetable oil. When it is sufficiently mashed, dump all of it into a hot skillet with already warmed vegetable oil (enough to have a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet, so it depends on the size of your skillet). Add more oil if necessary to get the consistency you like. Simply stir them around in the skillet over medium heat while cooking your taco meat.

Lay out tortillas on greased cookie sheets without overlapping. Cover with refried beans and top with taco meat. (Hubby said I should have added either cheese or another layer of refried beans to act as “glue” for the second tortilla because his kept falling apart. Mine were fine, but I like cheese, so we’ll do that next time.)


Add a second tortilla for the second layer of your pizza.


Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Use that time to chop the tomatoes and green onions and shred your cheese.


After removing from the oven, cover each tortilla with salsa.


Then sprinkle with green onions and tomatoes.


Add a liberal amount of cheese and bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. If you want your Mexican Pizzas crispy, Bake 10 minutes rather than 5 and/or spray with cooking spray before putting them back in the oven.


It was delicious, but you’ll have to trust me. With the 3 year old throwing a fit, taking a picture of the finished project slipped from my mind 🙂

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Snickerdoodle Valentine Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes Wednesday night (inspired by this recipe I found on Pinterest and these instructions for the hearts) for our youth group at church. A-may-zing. You guys have got to try these.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

3 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T ground cinnamon
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk

Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 c powdered sugar, sifted

3 T brown sugar

2 t vanilla extract

1 t ground cinnamon

milk to thin to desired consistency, 1 t at a time

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

2 T sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add vanilla.  Alternate adding 1/3 flour mixture and 1/3 milk until all is combined. Fill 28 cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Note: do not do like I did and try to make bigger cupcakes if you’re going to make the heart cut outs. Bake 18-20 minutes at 350F.  Remove promptly and allow muffin tins to cool on wire racks until you can comfortably handle them. Then remove the cupcakes to the wire racks and allow to cool completely.

Next, to make the heart cutouts, remove the tops of the cupcakes so that the cupcake is level with the wrapper.




Transfer the tops to a cutting board and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping. Press a heart shaped cookie cutter into the center of the top.




Top the bottom half of the cupcake with icing.




You can choose to put the heart or the cut out on top of your cupcake.




I did mine in a hurry after overfilling my cupcakes, so a lot of the cut outs didn’t make it. Most of mine ended up with the heart on top, which was fine with my youth group.


Wordless Wednesday: Emma Rides Her Bicycle

So, Emma got a bicycle and a helmet for Christmas, but the helmet was way too small. After Mimi (my mom) traded it for the next size up, we were ready to go.


Cheesy smile posing on her bike.


Joshua also got to ride his ATV outside. He usually rides it around the living room, so this was lots of fun.


Mister wanted in on some fun.


And we captured it on video!

Saw-It-Pinned-It-Did-It Saturday: Bath Toy Storage

My kids love bath toys. They just can’t get enough of them. And they want to play with them ALL. EVERYTIME. But I don’t want bath toys taking up all the room in my bathtub.

And those silly turtles don’t stay up.

Munchkin Bath Super Scooper Turtle

Hubby even tried using epoxy to glue it to the shower wall. Still fell off. So we stored the toys in the turtle and just laid the turtle in the tub when no one was in it and stuck it in the sink when we needed to shower sans toys. But I was inspired by to buy a tension rod to somehow get them off the floor of the bathtub.

For the Home

I couldn’t find any baskets to store the toys and was losing hope when I came across this post which mentioned using mesh laundry bags to store bath toys. And a light went off! I could put the mesh laundry bags on the tension rod and still hang the toys up. Yay!

If you want to do this too, just find a tension-style curtain rod with rubber ends long enough for the wall behind your tub. Here’s the one I got at Walmart.


I already had these mesh laundry bags from Dollar General that we put our bras and other delicates in before washing. They look kinda like this. You need one zips on the front, not the top.

So I cut a few strands of the mesh on the back of the bag big enough for the curtain rod to fit through. I cut two, each a couple of inches from the sides and about an inch and a half from the top.


Then just slide the curtain rod through


and extend it to fit on your wall.


And here’s the finished product in our bathtub a little closer up. Yay!



Edited 2/19/13: Do not use that curtain rod. It rusted horribly! I went back and bought an actual shower curtain rod that is working much better. I highly recommend doing that instead!


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Baked Chili Pie

So, what happened was…

I had this whole month planned out for our dinners every night. I was prepared and organized. And maybe a little over-confident? 🙂 Most of my recipes for the crock pot say to cook on low 6-8 hours. So on Wednesday I didn’t even look at the recipe for my BBQ Pulled Pork until after the meat was thawed and it was time to start cooking.

Uh oh. This recipe says to cook on low 10 hours, and there’s only 7 hours until dinner. Haha.

So I improvised. I saw a recipe like this online one day and thought, “Ooh. That sounds quick & easy.” And then I tried to go back and find it again, but I never could. I don’t know exactly what the original recipe called for, but this was a passable meal-in-a-hurry.

2 boxes of cornbread mix, with oil, eggs, etc added*

2 cans chili

2 c shredded cheese (I like Colby Jack, but Cheddar would work too)

*I found this recipe for a similar-to-Jiffy mix, and I love it. Remember, you need 2 batches though. I’ll be nice and do the math for you 😉

2/3 Cup Flour                                                                       1 1/3 c flour
1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal                                               1 c cornmeal
3 Tablespoons Sugar                                                         6 T sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder                                         2 T baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt                                                               1/2 t salt

Add: 1 egg, 2/3 c milk, 2 T vegetable oil                  2 eggs, 1 1/3 c milk, 4 T vegetable oil

Pour prepared cornbread mix in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.


Top with both cans of chili.


Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.


And bake according to the cornbread directions plus 5 minutes. (If you used the above recipe for your cornbread, cook a total of 20-25 minutes at 400F.)


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