Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Monday

Monday: Steak, stuffing and steamed veggies
Thursday: Happy Halloween! Hearty Beef Chili
Saturday: Date Night
Sunday: Roasted Italian Drumsticks, stuffing and veggies

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spicy French Dip Sliders

French dips are a STAPLE in or house! They are SO easy and yummy! They are perfect for a cold winter day!
2 lb roast
1 tsp ground red pepper (GROUND... not crushed)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 cup beef broth
1 packet au jus mix + 1/2 tsp ground red pepper + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
French rolls
spicy brown mustard
put the roast, seasoning and broth in the crockpot, set onto low, and walk away for about 8-10 hours. Shred the roast and place back into the broth until you're ready to eat. Prepare the au jus according to the package directions, adding the red pepper and garlic powder.
Assemble sandwiches and add the spicy brown mustard.
Dip into au jus and ENJOY!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Monday

Whoops! I missed last week! To be quite honest... I don't even remember what we had!? I did make meatloaf, and pork tacos... but I'm going to be better this week!
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken with white rice and veggies
Wednesday: White Chicken Chili
Thursday: Dinner with family
Friday: Hawaiian Haystacks
Saturday: Date Night

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Chili Thai Pork Pizza

We cook a lot of meat in our house. Beef, elk, chicken, pork... you name it. My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy! However, this usually leaves us with quite a bit of leftovers! I am always looking for new ways to use the extra mea, and this recipe was definitely a winner! It could easily be swapped for chicken, but I used THIS pork recipe, and it turned out SO good! I cant wait to make it again!
1 pizza crust ( I use 1/2 of THIS recipe)
2 cups leftover pulled pork
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Chili Sauce *see recipe below
Garnishes: Chopped peanuts, and cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400.
Prepare your pizza crust and roll out onto a baking stone (or pizza pan).
Par-bake your crust for about 15 minutes, until the crust is set, but not all the way done.
Remove the crust from the oven and spread the chili sauce over the top. Add pork and cheese and return to the oven.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
when the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts. Just trust me on this one. My husband was weary about both of those, but he loved them!
Chili Sauce:
Recipe from here
1 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Butter Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

 I am always looking for prep-ahead meals! You know, the ones that you can do most of the prep work ahead of time, and then right before you eat, you have minimal work and mess! I put all the ingredients into the crockpot in the morning, and then when we got home from church, all I had to do was throw the biscuits on top and bake it! So easy and it was the perfect meal for a cold autumn day!
You could also leave out the chicken and switch for cream of celery soup to make this a vegetarian dish!
Butter Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie
3 cans of cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup chopped carrots
3 medium potatoes, diced
 (added at the end)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups shredded chicken
2 cups biscuit mix (like bisquick)
 plus what you need to prepare the mix ie. water/milk/eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
In the crock pot, mix together your cream of chicken soup, milk, seasonings, lima beans, carrots, and potatoes. (leave the peas and chicken out) Cook on high for about 4 hours, or low for about 6, or until the potatoes are tender.
Right before you are ready to bake, stir in the shredded chicken and peas. The reason I do this at the end, is the chicken will start to disintegrate into the sauce if its in for too long, so adding it at the end helps it stay together.
Mix together your biscuit dough, and set aside.
Transfer the mixture to a 9x13  and spoon biscuit dough on top.
With a basting brush, spread half of the melted butter on top.
Bake at 450 for about 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
(check your biscuit instructions, mine said 450, but if yours says a lower temp, stick with what it tells you!)
When the pot pie is done, brush the remaining butter on top.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Monday

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli and brown rice
Wednesday: Mexican Lasagna and Spanish rice
Saturday: Date Night
Sunday: Grilled Chicken and baked sweet potatoes

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New Business Cards!

I was SO excited to get my new business cards for my photography business! I get very excited about things like this! ;)
This time around, I ordered from Signazon and I am SO happy with how they turned out!
The quality is amazing and I am loving the rounded edges! They give the cards just enough difference from your ordinary cards.
 If you're in the market for new business cards, head on over and check them out! They have lots of products to offer, and these cards start at just $19!
Can't beat that!
 And if you haven't likes Stefanie Stratton Photography on Facebook yet, go on! Do it!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Foto Friday

Wow! It's been a few weeks since I've done one of these!
Truth is, Blake started preschool, and I still have not gotten into a rhythm!
But don't fret, it's not just my blog that has suffered. You should take a look at my kitchen sink! Yikes. And don't get me started on the laundry room!

Last week brought some exciting new changes to my photography business! I am now officially under the name Stefanie Stratton Photography! Complete with a new facebook page, new business cards, new packaging, and a new blog in the works! Anyways, I thought I'd share my kids newest photos to celebrate! :)

Seriously... the cutest.
aannd... a few more, just for kicks! ;)
 Hubby got an elk! Not a monster, but I was pretty proud!
 This little lady got her ears pierced!
 Getting a family photo is a joke now-days.
The birthday boy at his party. He was too cool for it all. ;)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Homemade Baby Food 101

I have a confession.
I love the baby food isle.
In fact, I love it maybe just a little too much.
But there is just something about all those perfect little rows of pureed veggies that makes my heart pitter-patter.
Odd... maybe. But I don't think I'm alone! At least I hope I'm not?
Now, before I delve too deeply into this topic, I need to clarify. I bought baby food for my first born, I fed it to him without guilt, it didn't break the bank, and he is a healthy, thriving three year old. I have absolutely NOTHING against prepackaged baby food. You can find amazing quality and the convenience cant be beat! However, the tipping point for me, was when I sat down and actually realized how much I was paying for those suckers! At walmart, I paid around $1.40 for two 3.5 oz packs of food. For about the same price, I could buy 4 whole sweet potatoes and make more than 10x the amount as was in the little packs.
So I dove, head first, into the baby food making pool.
And you know what, it isn't hard and it isn't time consuming. I actually thoroughly enjoy the process!
I staretd out by purchasing a mini food processor for $10 at walmart. Now, I have a blender, and I use that too, but this is very nice and convenient for small batches.
I then bought:
4 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
1 bag frozen peas
2 pears
1 bag frozen green beans
1 bag carrots
When I got home, I laid everything out on the counter and got to work.
I'll start with the peas since that's what my photos are of....
I threw half the bag in a steamer basket and steamed them over a few inches of water for about 30 min. Until they were VERY VERY soft. Then, I threw them into the food prosessor and pulsed it until they were smooth, adding a little water along the way to help move things along. 
I always keep my baby food a tad on the thick side (you'll see why a little later)
 Once they reached the consistency I was looking for, I poured them into ice cube trays and placed them in the freezer overnight. Then in the morning I popped them out and threw them into a plastic bag.
Sweet potatoes: I wrapped all 4 individually in foil and baked them about 1 hour at 400 until they were soft, then I removed the skins and followed the same procedure as the peas.
Butternut squash: I cut the squash in half, removed the seeds and roasted it for about 40 min at 400. Then... same procedure as the peas.
Pears: I didn't cook these at all because they were already very soft. I just pureed them and poured them into the ice cube trays to freeze.
Green Beans: Okay, no advice here. I steamed them for an hour, and they just turned out gritty and nasty. So I chucked 'em.
Carrots: Peel and steam. blend and freeze. (see the pattern?)
These are the foods I'm starting out with for Quinn. Nothing fancy. I do plan on getting a little more adventurous. Some ideas I have rolling around are:
blueberry banana oatmeal
sweet potatoes and pears
beets and apples
peas and carrots (a classic)
broccoli and cauliflower
and on and on...
Here's how I use the baby food once it's frozen...
To reheat:
I remove about 2-3 blocks of baby food from the freezer, and place them in a microwave safe container, then nuke them, stirring often, for about 1 minute. TEST THE FOOD WITH YOUR FINGER!!! DO NOT just stick a spoon in and feed your baby! Microwaves can cause hot spots and even if one spot feels fine, or even cool, there can be burning hot places that can really hurt your little one! So please please please stir it well, and test it!! Ok, so USUALLY the baby food will still be a little cold after I stir it, so I add a bit of hot water. That's the reason I leave it a little thicker when I make the purees, so that the warm water can gently warm the baby food, while thinning it out at the same time. Usually after I thaw the baby food, I add a little rice cereal or baby oatmeal.

Oh, and one more thing... apples. Please don't take the time to do this yourself! Buy the no sugar added applesauce at Walmart! it's the SAME THING! You can even get organic at Trader Joes or somewhere  like that. Same goes for pumpkin... the canned 100% pumpkin (not the pie filling) is just pumpkin thats been baked, and pureed. Exactly how you would do it. :)

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