Game Day Noshing: Easy Snacks for the Big Game

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Big football games aren’t usually a huge deal in our house, and the Super Bowl is no exception, but we do enjoy watching games, especially when one of our favorite teams is playing. Around here, we watch the Atlanta Falcons, of course, being the local team, but we’re also interested in the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. My mom loves the Eagles, and growing up in Pennsylvania, that was the team we always watched. Then, when my family moved to Washington State, we instantly became Seahawks fans. So, having a ‘mixed football’ upbringing, I’m relatively impartial. That doesn’t stop my own family from enjoying great food with everyone else on Super Bowl Sunday!

Even if you’re not hosting a party on game day, it’s still fun to whip up tasty snacks to enjoy in front of the TV. My kids think it’s a picnic to eat in the living room while watching TV, and I think I could sneak in a few things they don’t really like because they’re not even paying attention.

Here are a few ideas for your game day snacks.

Bacon Cheeseburger Puffs

(from Plain Chicken)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups baking mix (like Bisquick)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces bacon pieces
  • 6-7 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown ground beef, and drain. In a bowl, combine baking mix, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir in cooked ground beef . Add buttermilk, and toss with a fork just until moistened. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls, and drop on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

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Spicy Cheeseburger Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can (10 ounces) Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

Mix all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, stirring after 3 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips. CAUTION: This will be a HUGE hit. You will love it so much, you’ll want to eat it all, so I recommend making a double batch, especially if you have guests.

VARIATIONS: I like a little more spice in this dip, so I’ll season the ground beef with my homemade taco seasoning, or, I’ll use hot sausage. Super yummy!

IN THE SLOW COOKER:  Throw all ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 2 hours. Everything should be melted in an hour on High, if you and your guests are impatient. I’ve had this happen.

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Slow Cooker Festive Cocktail Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • about 4 dozen frozen meatballs (2 0r 3 small bags)

Toss meatballs in slow cooker.

Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and add to slow cooker, stirring to cover all meatballs.

Cover, and cook on low for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

These meatballs are also always a huge hit at functions. I took them to a potluck once, and they were the first to disappear. Love them!

What are you having on game day?

Enjoy the game! And, as always, drink responsibly. 🙂

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The Day the South Stood Still

I get it. Southerners are generally the laughing-stock of the nation, for more than a few reasons. Every winter we go through the same thing anytime there’s even a hint of snow in the forecast. Most of the time those forecasts never come to fruition, but it seems like every 3 or 4 years, we get slammed. And when we get slammed, boy do we get slammed. Snow Jam 2014 is no exception.

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I’m not going to go into the politics of this mess, or who may or may not be to blame, but I will say this: We all knew it was coming. We all saw the weather reports. I have to admit, I never expected to see it get as bad as it did, and I’m very thankful that my family and friends were all safe, even if they didn’t make it home. I’m so glad I was able to get my children and get home before things got really bad. It took my husband almost 4 hours to drive what would normally be a 20-minute commute. A neighbor abandoned his car and walked 11 miles because it was quicker than driving. Another neighbor ended up spending the night in a hotel lobby because she couldn’t get home, and there were no more rooms. There was even a baby born on the interstate because they couldn’t get to the hospital. A BABY. On a gridlocked interstate. You know it’s a crisis when there’s a baby born in the middle of the chaos.

...the moose out front should have told you.

…the moose out front should have told you.

If you’re from any part of the country other than the South, you don’t understand, plain and simple. Two inches of snow is nothing to those areas that have snow every year, and have the equipment to deal with it. I’m from Pennsylvania, where I remember going to school in 3 feet of snow. No, I didn’t have to walk very far, but those school buses had chains on the tires and drivers who knew how to deal with that weather. Now living in the Atlanta suburbs, I get tired of seeing and hearing people saying “I’m from the North, I know how to drive in this *insert expletive*”. You don’t. You don’t know how to drive in this mess, unless you learned to drive on frozen Lake Michigan or some other sheet of ice. The problem with snow here is that it turns into ice. Fast. So shut your pieholes. And we don’t like your haughty attitude, either, thankyouverymuch. Southerners are polite and all, but there is a breaking point.

This is what we needed on Wednesday.

This is what we needed on Wednesday.

I will say, that in the aftermath of people being stranded on roads for 12+ hours and children being stuck at school overnight, I’m proud to be an Atlantan. There were so many Good Samaritans who out of the kindness of their hearts went out in freezing weather to try and help those in need. They passed out blankets, food, hot chocolate, water, coffee, diapers, and many opened their homes to complete strangers for the night.

These guys rule.

These guys rule.

Two days after the storm, things are still a mess. People are still rounding up their abandoned cars, while the people in charge are pointing fingers everywhere else. Roads are still icy, people are still recovering from various ordeals resulting from the storms, schools were cancelled for another day. Let’s hope we all learned something from this fiasco, and if, God forbid, the zombie apocalypse really does come to Atlanta, we’ll be better prepared.

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Tasty Tuesday: Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas

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I don’t even know how or when I started making this recipe, but I whipped it up one time for my parents back in my single days, and it’s been a hit in my family ever since. My kids even love these enchiladas, and that’s saying a lot right there. The recipe has been adapted a little bit over the years here and there – sometimes rice and/or refried beans will be added – but for the most part it stays pretty basic. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pack soft taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of water (for taco seasoning)
  • 2 cups chredded cheddar cheese (I prefer Sharp)
  • 2-3 small cans or 1 large can Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce (my fave) – amount depends on how saucy you like your enchiladas
– Brown ground beef with onion until cooked through. Mix in taco seasoning and about a cup of water and simmer until water is cooked off. Remove from heat.
– Pour about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of greased baking dish and spread around. I usually use a 9×13 glass dish.
– Place one tortilla on a plate, and spread about a teaspoon of sauce around entire tortilla. Scoop seasoned meat and onion mixture on tortilla, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll, and place seam down in pan.
– Continue with the rest of tortillas until you either run out of meat or space in the pan.- Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, making sure all of them are covered. I also like to make sure the sauce gets down in between the enchiladas – if they’re packed tightly in the pan, I just scooch (technical term) them aside a bit as I pour the sauce. Use your judgement on the amount of sauce; I like mine saucy. If you’re freezing the enchiladas to cook later, STOP HERE. Cover the pan in foil, then wrap in foil again. If you’re using a smaller pan, like an 8×8 foil pan, cover in foil, then slip into a freezer bag. Make sure you mark the package somehow that it’s Enchiladas. No one likes a mystery pack in the freezer! When you’re ready to bake the enchiladas, thaw, remove foil, then continue the steps below.

– Top entire dish with shredded cheese according to your taste. We love cheese in this house, so I usually use a full 2 cups on the top.

– Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or until it’s nice and bubbly and the cheese on top is melted. Tip: If you like crispy, or slightly burnt cheese, leave them in a bit longer. We happily discovered this one time when using an unfamiliar oven timer.

Dig in and enjoy!

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to adapt to your tastes. The measurements aren’t exact; use as much or as little sauce and cheese as you like. Add more vegetables, use chicken or turkey instead of ground beef if you like.

If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

Menu Plan Monday: January 27 – February 2, 2014

MenuPlanMonday

If this week’s menu looks a little familiar, it’s because it’s kind of a mish-mash from things I didn’t make over the last two weeks. Oops! We veered a bit and I didn’t end up making everything that I had planned, but that happens sometimes. I had to plan a leftovers night midweek because the fridge is going to fill up fast, this week. And that is a good thing!

Now, on to this week’s menu!

January  27 – February 2

  • Monday: Cheeseburger Meatloaf / Mashed Potatoes / Asparagus
  • Tuesday: Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas – check back tomorrow for the recipe!
  • Wednesday: leftovers
  • Thursday: Butternut Squash Soup / Grilled Cheese
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza (Pizza/Movie Night!)
  • Saturday: BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, with shredded chicken from the crockpot
  • Sunday: Football Party Food! Meatballs and cheese dip are planned, so far…

What are you cooking up this week?

Linked up with:

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Turtle Talk: I Wasn’t a Turtle Person

sleepyturtle

I have nothing against turtles, really I don’t. I actually kind of like them. Well, sea turtles anyway. Whenever we go to St. Simons Island, we hop over to Jekyll Island and visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. I have a t-shirt. I have a hat. The kids have stuffed sea turtles, and we even have a Turtle tag on the front of our van. We’ve talked about “adopting” a sea turtle at the Center’s hospital to help support it’s treatment. But if you asked me 2 weeks ago if I wanted to have a turtle in my house, you would have gotten a firm “NO”.

Enter my son’s Pre-K teacher. One morning as I was dropping him off, giving hugs and so on, I heard his teacher talking to another mom, and I could tell they were talking about turtles, but wasn’t paying that close attention. Then she looked at me and asked if my boy would want a turtle. A turtle? Sure! We love turtles, so of course he would love a turtle toy, especially a stuffed one. So I nodded, and said, Oh yeah, that would be fun. So she ran out of the door and caught that other mom, telling her to bring it at pick-up time in the afternoon. She comes back and says something I didn’t quite catch, like she’ll bring it and it’s box and stuff in the afternoon. At that point, by brain clicked on, and I said, Oh, wait, you mean a LIVE turtle? She says, yeah, is that a problem? Ummmm….

So, we have a turtle. In the house. And, I have to admit, it’s pretty darn cute. The kids have determined that it’s a girl, so her name is CeCe. She came to us in a little plastic box with about an inch of water, a couple of rocks, and some aquarium gravel. Word spread throughout our extended family, and I was quickly informed by my sister-in-law, the turtle expert (apparently), that we now owned a Red-Eared Slider, that the gravel would have to come out, it needed a bigger home with lights and plants and a “basking” rock. A what? She sent me pictures of her setup, and I immediately thought: I should have kept my big mouth shut.

We managed to keep CeCe alive for a week, then we decided that we should probably do something about her living situation. Luckily, the pet store actually has people that know about these things, and even have an “Aquatic Turtle Kit”, complete with everything turtle-dumb people need. Put it on plastic, please.

The setup

The setup

After some rearranging and managing to keep the kids calm and their hands out of the turtle aquarium, CeCe was in her new home. She seems to love it. She stretches out on that basking rock and stays there all day, nice and toasty under the heat lamp. She swims around and plays in the stream from the filter, hangs out on the rocks we took from her old home (note: not the gravel). I’ve become a turtle person. I’ve sent pictures of the turtle to my parents and other extended family. The family turtle expert approves.

Isn't she cute?

Isn’t she cute?

Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

lemonuses

Lemon: There is a lot of power in this fresh little fruit. Which also means there is a lot of power in pure Lemon Essential Oil. Did you know that it takes approx 3000 lemon rinds to produce 1 kilogram (about 35 ounces) of essential oil? That’s a lot of lemons!

Lemon is one of the most-used essential oils. It can be used cosmetically, in the home for cleaning, aromatically to help with illness, and so many other uses! Want some ideas?

Brighten your face blend:

Acne Blend:

Mix in small glass container and “push” several cotton rounds to absorb all the liquid. Apply to face day and night.  Adapt and use other EOs until you find the right combination, like adding Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, and/or Clove.

Lemon ~ Most Common Uses:

Dietary ~ Add 2 drops in your water daily

  • Fights Inflammation
  • Fights Cold Symptoms
  • Promotes a healthy Circulatory System (see below)
  • Easing the pressure of Varicose Veins

Digestive:

  • Calms Heartburn
  • Relaxes the Digestive Tract Muscles
  • Eases Constipation & Diarrhea (balances PH levels)
  • Tones the Liver

Respiratory (Topically, Aroma, & Internal):

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Throat Infections

Also, according to Jen Valent, MD:

  • Lemon is used for Improving Circulation issues
  • Tones the Heart
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Helps Remove Toxins from Blood

Protocols you might not be as familiar with:

  • Use Lemon for Gingivitis and Mouth Ulcers
  • Remove Corns and Warts (Use a Qtip directly on area of concern)
  • Apply to Cold Sores (again with Qtip directly on the sore)

Cost Per Drop ~ this a very inexpensive and powerful tool to have in your home.

Household Uses:

  • Remove Gum / Sap
  • Polish your Silver
  • Mix in spray bottle to rid your plants of Aphids
  • Laundry Booster
  • Soak & Clean your Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (dilute with water)
  • Soak your Dish cloths overnight

Have a runny nose? Swipe a drop of lemon down each side of your nose to help slow it down.

These are just a sampling of the uses of lemon oil. It’s definitely a must-have in your wellness arsenal!

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Sources:

Oilsandplants.com
Essential Oils Desk Reference
Modern Essentials
Mayo Clinic

Tasty Tuesday: Oreo Stuffed Brownies

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I was bloghopping one day a while ago when I stumbled upon this sinfully delicious-looking recipe over at Moms of all Trades: Oreo Stuffed Brownies. Brownies? Oreos? Marshmallow Creme? I’m all over it. And boy-oh-boy, I did not regret this one little bit. Do you want to try it?

Here’s what you need:

  • Brownie Mix – any brand/variety will do
  • Oreo cookies, or other chocolate and cream-type cookie – I used the store brand because I didn’t have a coupon for regular Oreos (I’m thrifty that way). They taste just as good as the real thing for this project. Next time I’m going to try the Mint Oreos for that extra little kick
  • Marshmallow Creme – usually found in the baking aisle, or maybe even close to the peanut butter
  • Standard muffin pan

Step 1: Spray muffin tins with Pam, making sure to cover completely

Step 2: Mix brownies according to package directions. Add 1/2 cup marshmallow creme, mix well.

Step 3: Open up your cookies. Try not to eat them all…

Step 4: One cookie at a time, dip into brownie batter, making sure cookie is completely covered.

Step 5: Place in muffin tin. I also scooped a little extra batter on top of the dipped cookie, just to make sure there was enough.

Step 6: Bake according to package directions. Mine got a little charred around the edges, but I didn’t mind. I like the crispy brownies.

Step 7: Let cool, them pop them out of the muffin tins. From the outside you can’t even tell there’s a supersweet surprise inside…

Once they’ve cooled just a little bit, take a bite, and enjoy!

You’re welcome. 🙂
Since I originally made these, I’ve also tried Fudge-Covered Mint Oreos, Girl Scout Thin Mints, and Peppermint Patties. All of these were great, except the Peppermint Patties; the peppermint creme actually left the middle of the brownie hollow! Very strange. I still want to try Peanut Butter Cups, so I’ll post an update.
Enjoy!