Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I don Like En La Das!

Last night I made one of my favorite dishes.  Sorta.  I've had an EASY and YUMMY enchilada recipe I've been using for years!  It's adapted from a skillet enchiladas recipe, that's not really enchiladas, but yummy all the same.  Okay, so I just did the sauce idea from the skillet enchiladas.  What the heck, I'll include both recipes.

Back to what I was going to post in the first place.

I decided to make my life easier last nice, and make a healthier version of enchiladas than usual.  I usually do the flash fry of the corn tortillas thing to make sure the tortillas roll instead of tear, which of course makes the dish yummy, but greasy.  Instead of rolling, I stacked.  So, essentially, I made Enchilada Lasagna.  Or as I'm going to call it Enchilada Casserole!  I served up a nice chilled (since he doesn't like hot food) plate for Jake, which included rice, his favorite thing to eat other than cookies or fruit snacks.  So, I ask him to take a bite.  He says OK and picks up a piece with a fork, and put it to his mouth, made a FUNNY FACE and said "I don Like En La Das!".  Oh well.  Maybe Next time.

Here's my take on Enchilada Casserole that Jake did not like.

Enchilada Casserole
1 small package corn tortillas (white or yellow, whichever you either have or like) I think there were about 20 in the package.  Used all but 2 of them.
2 cans MILD (for the boy which didn't matter anyway) Enchilada sauce
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Shredded cheese - I used Fiesta blend
Green onions, chopped - Optional (can use white, but I like the green onions better)
Cilantro - Optional (neither one of my guys like it, but I LOVE IT so, I put it on part of it.

In a large bowl, mix the 2 cans of enchilada sauce and 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not add water or milk).  Place a thin layer of sauce in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.  Layer tortillas, then cover in sauce and part of the cheese.  Repeat layering until all tortillas are gone, then top with sauce and cheese and onions and cilantro.

You can also add a layer (or two) of ground beef or shredded chicken or even pulled pork if you want!

Bake at 400 until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly!  Serve with Rice and Beans or a small salad with sour cream  YUMMY!
Yummy Cheesy Layers instead of individual wrapped Enchiladas
Tasted the same! Easier to make!  

The Skillet Enchiladas are so easy too!

1 lb ground beef
1 small finely chopped onion
2 cans MILD Enchilada sauce
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups crushed tortilla chips (thick makes it really taste like enchiladas)
Shredded cheese - I used Fiesta blend
Green onions, chopped - Optional 
Cilantro - Optional 

In a large skillet, saute onions in a little olive oil.  Add Beef and cook.  In a large bowl, mix the 2 cans of enchilada sauce and 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not add water or milk). Add sauce to skillet, mix well and heat through.  Turn off heat, and gently add chips and mix.  top with Cheese, cover and let the cheese melt.  THAT'S IT!  YUMMY!  

I can't remember where I got this one, I think it was in a ground beef cook booklet I bought as an impulse at the grocery story when I was first married so I could learn to cook for two instead of "college food".

Happy Eating!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pinterest WIN!!!

Okay, so Dean and I have been trying to plan our meals better to make grocery shopping easier, and its a way for him to help me for our busy schedules.  So, this week, I wanted to try something different.  When I usually want something different, it's usually pork.  We eat a lot of ground beef (tacos, spaghetti), steak, and OMG a ton of Chicken, as well as pizza (cause the boy likes Pizza!).  So, Pork is different for us.

When I do buy pork, it's usually either pork chops (duh!) or a pork loin/roast and I do the crock pot thing.  I wanted to do something REALLY different this time, so I found a pinterest idea for a pork loin wrapped in bacon and roasted for 40 min or so.  YUM!

Pinterest Link Here

Looks Good, YES!  Very simple, marinate (or buy already marinated) pork loin, wrap in bacon, and roast at 375 until internal temp reaches 165.  Hey, I CAN DO THAT!

So, I bought a pork loin, followed instructions, and this is what it looked like before roasting

And, I did make a minor mistake.  I put the pork roast on top of the bacon, instead of just the ends and wrapping the top with the longest pieces.  And, we bought cheap bacon, so it was mostly FAT.  I also could not find my wire rack for my pan, so all the fat rendered from the bacon needed to be poured out half way through the cooking.  It also took longer than 40 minutes.  It took about an hour, but I think it was because it was a bigger roast.

So, this is how it turned out...
The bacon all unwrapped from the top. 
 It's not tight and pretty like the one on Pinterest.

HOWEVER, even though it did not look picture perfect, it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS and oh so tender!!!  Wow!  Even Dean said it was restaurant quality!  :)  Jake didn't eat much of it, but that's ok.  He ate all his rice and peas and a few bites of pork.

And, since this pork roast is big, and we are only three people, I was able to make a "Round 2" recipe I found on Food Network for a Open Faced Roasted Pork Sandwich!

Open Faced Roasted Pork Sandwich
with Cole Slaw
I didn't follow this one, but I was inspired by it.

I took some sour dough bread slices, lightly veggie oiled them and grilled the on my grill pan.  Then, I chopped up a potato (kinda small) and onion and boiled them with a lot of salt and a little pepper.  Then, chopped the pork roast (bacon and all) and mixed it all together, then topped the bread, then topped with cheese and threw them in the broiler until the cheese melted.  No mustard, mayo or dressing, just the salty sweet pork and potatoes!

Again, Dean complimented me by saying this was BETTER than anything we could get at a restaurant, it tastes like it's from Panera!  I had to agree, it was AWESOME and very hearty.  SCORE!!!  Even Jake liked it this time!  Well, he thought he was eating potatoes, but he din't like the cole slaw.

Cannot WAIT to try more Pinterest Food Ideas!  I pin so many I forget to look sometimes.  And, most of the time, those ideas just don't work out.  But this one was a HUGE success!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The official name of the Truck is...

So, after much discussion of what to name this manly truck we now have, we have come up with a perfect name!  I actually suggested this name when we were first looking at trucks.  Then, our nephew, Andy, suggested the name again on Facebook!

And the name of the truck is...

Our truck may not Transform into an AWESOME ROBOT with GREAT FIREPOWER, but the name fits.  Check this out, this is from Wikipedia, so you never know what's completely true, but this is another reason the name fits so well.  
According to the original creator of the Transformers names, Bob Budiansky, Ironhide was named after the television series Ironside. 
If you don't know, Ironside was a 60s and 70s TV show about a police detective in a wheelchair.  NBC is doing a remake this fall staring Blair Underwood.  We shall give it a try!


We are SO going to get one of these!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Potty Training - wow, really?

Okay, so I did post about our potty training adventures a couple of weeks ago.  I'm happy to report that Jake has done so WELL since then!

I did send him to school in BBU (big boy undies) the week of the 5th, and everyday he would come home with his change of shorts and a diaper.  Then, I went to my retreat (8/9 to 8/11) and I'm not sure what happened, or why, but he stayed DRY all weekend!  I sent him to school this week, and well, DRY EVERYDAY!!!  He always asks to go and, as he did this morning, if I'm not there he will go ahead and do it all himself, even put the training seat on and sit to go (if you know what I mean)!   He's even staying dry at school and not needing his change of clothes!

What's funny about all this, I've prepared myself to have to clean up the messes, but I have not had to use them except that one time, for Jake that is.  Wednesday 8/14 the power went out and it started REALLY raining so we had Buddy in.  Well, BUDDY Decides that he has to go all over the red chair in the living room!  WHAT???  We get the boy potty trained and the DOG goes on the floor??  A dog who NEVER does that???  And, with the POWER OUT!!!  Power did come back after about an hour and a half, thank goodness.

So, we shall see how this weekend goes!  Going out to buy more BBU for him!  So proud of our little man, he's growing up so fast!
These were a "potty" toy! 
They toys really helped him to want to go.
M&Ms however did not, he knew he would get them, but he didn't care.
The toys are what did it for Jake!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Scrapbook Retreat

So, when I tell people I'm going to a scrapbook retreat, I often get the response, "What is that?"  Well, lemme tell ya...

Imagine three days of nothing but doing something you really love!  What a retreat is is I get to spend three days, half of a Friday, all day Saturday, and half a Sunday with my friends and usually my mother, scrapbooking.  Yes, you know... SCRAPBOOKING!  I get to sort pictures, put them on colorful papers, use my cricut, and get as many pages finished as I can in the 48+ hours I have away from home.  All usually sleep deprived from staying up too late the night before scrapbooking, or enjoying such yummy goodness as a Margarita or a nice glass of wine or rum and coke.  I have several friends who love scrapbooking as much as I do, and so when we get together, it's a fun filled weekend of CRAZY, sweet, sad, and drama filled stories!  This past weekend was just that. FUN!

Packing!  We packed up the night before.  When you go to a retreat, you don't want to leave anything behind!  So, needless to say, we have a TON of stuff to bring!  I believe I had 6 varying sizes of cases and bags all full of my stuff, and ONE small suitcase.  My mother was the same.  Awesomness!!!  This conveniently fits PERFECTLY in my totally awesome BB (my Jeep) so we are all cool with the load we need to bring.

Friday, my mother and I headed out around 9 am, first stop:  HOBBY LOBBY!  They were having an Awesome sale, 50% off on all their brand of scrapbook products, paper, embellishments, etc.  We got our fill there and then some, then we headed off towards Tomball.  along the way, we pulled over at a Specs for some adult beverage supplies.  Let me just say the guys at the Specs off Cutten Road and 1960 were really great!  Not only did they help us find everything, they packed it up and brought it to the already full Jeep!  NICE!  Then, off to Sams for snacks to share.  We got just enough stuff, crackers, cheeses, fruit, chips and salsa!  And, after stopping at Dairy Queen for lunch on the road, we were headed to Tomball.

Willowcreek Retreats!
We have been here before, and as an avid Retreat goer, we know what's great about this place.  6ft tables EACH, an nice comfy bed to sleep in, a separate kitchen/dining area, our own fridge to use, plenty of plugs for electronics and chargers, AND, to top it all of, the owner has an extensive Cricut Cartridge library!  This is totally awesome for trying out carts to see if you really want them.  I think I want the Winnie the Pooh Font cartridge after this weekend, it's a cute font I didn't think I would ever use!  We got all set up and ready to go and cropped the night away!  Mother went to bed around Midnight, I went to bed just after 1:00 am.  Sweetness!
The retreat center. Only one of these doors opens.  They use it for bad weather storage

Look at ALL THIS SPACE to scrapbook!

The host's house.  They have a lovely pool outside!

Laura's Chair BROKE!  The bolt that held the back on the chair just snapped!  
It was her own chair, bummer!  Her hubby fixed it when she got home.

My scrappy space!  Look at all my stuff!

Saturday, well this is a full day, spent mostly in my PJs, chatting, sharing ideas, eating good food and fun snacks, scrapbooking and sorting and scrapbooking again!  I don't know why, but I so love it!  Drinks after dinner, and well, a little too much means pictures are put in the albums upside down, but it was all good fun!  I only made it until 12:30 am that night, but still had a great time!

Me in my space

Eating grapes!

a work in progress

Mother went to bed first.  Her desk was wrapped.  :)

Sunday morning came too soon, as the room has a black out curtain so you have NO concept of time in the morning.  Slept until 8:00!  That NEVER happens at home!  Anyway, I get mother up around 8:30 and for some reason she thinks its Saturday, and is wondering why everybody is packing!  Funny Lady!
more work in progress

Mother finding her wrapped desk!

After all is said and done, I completed 62 scrapbook pages for Jake's 5th baby album!  Since I'm up to November, I'll be starting Christmas and his birthday next, so almost finished with Jake's First Year!  Oh, and I won a ticket game prize!  A digital art set!  YEY!

Here's to the next one, in January 2014 at Deep Woods Retreat in Smithville!

no make up picture.  it's a tradition

late lunch at sonic!

I just want to say a few nice words about my friend, Jaime Windfont!  She has been a Creative Memories consultant for a while, and I met her by chance thru the CMC locator on the main site back in 2005 I believe.  I picked her because she was listed as a "Unit Leader" which meant she had some downline consultants and probably had a good customer base and when I contacted her via email, she did hold crops.  Now that CM is going under, we are all sad this chapter in our lives is finished.  All good things must come to an end, but we do have hope that the new company coming out of this mess will be great.

Meeting Ms Jaime was a chance meeting that I'm so very glad happened!  She is not only the Best CMC I've ever had (including myself since I was one for a few years in Denver), she is a great friend!  Thank you Jaime for having these retreats to help us all get away once and a while to be with friends and crop til we drop!

I'm also reminded of my Dear Friend, Eriika Amis.  She passed away on 10/10/10, and I miss her so.  We started Scrapbooking together in 1998, after knowing her for about a year.  When I became a CMC she was my best customer!  Never missed a crop or event!  We had so much fun together in those all day crops, I wish we could enjoy retreats together now.  I know she would have LOVED them!  Just know, dear Eriika, I always think of you and that CRAZY Jungle page you did, and let's not forget the 3D fold out Pinata layout!  Also, we made a pact long ago - never title a page "Cute as a button" or "Pickin' Punkies".  I'm still honoring that pact, even though my boy is well, you know...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The EPIC Story of how we got a TRUCK!

July 31st

It all started when Vinny's transmission seemed to be slipping.  We would be driving and all of a sudden it seemed to slip into neutral then slip back into gear.  Strange and sick feeling as we are driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour.  So, we take good ole Vinny to our mechanic and they deliver bad news. Yes, the transmission needs to be replaced, and will cost $3500 to do so!  Decision time.  Looking back to the last year, we spent a pretty penny getting Vinny fixed for one reason or another.
  • The ramp door stopped working a while back, to the point where we had to remove the cable that opened the door automatically.  The design is so old, they no longer make the parts for it.  
  • The muffler was completely rusted out and needed to be replaced, and again, so old it was not available and we had to go to a fabrication shop to get a new one.  
  • The ceiling cover is coming down, and the floor carpet is coming up.  
  • The driver's side seat back adjustment lever broke, but the sliding part still works.  
  • The A/C seemed to not work as well as it did before, but that was fixed even though we didn't want it to be.
  • EVERY SINGLE time we took it to the ranch we would need a tire replacement.
  • When we did manage to rent another Van to go to the ranch (let's not mention that the thing had a bum tire and needed replacing, as you read here) it was a newer van and still had similar issues to the one we have now.
  • The fly wheel was loose and is apparently cracked so it now sounds like a law mower going down the road.
So, in our desire to replace Vinny, we found two awesome truck conversions.  One is here in Houston and available to purchase with very few modifications.  Another is not ready and only manufactured in Indiana, but there's a dealer in Dallas.   That would take about 3 to 5 months to do, and since we don't have that much time to go without a car/truck, we decided to go with the one that's here in Houston.

August 2nd

Now, we get the ball rolling with the dealer, and can possibly drive the truck off the lot Wednesday 8/7, but then we find out we need to have a doctor approval before we can get started with the purchase.  Ok, we know our doctor pretty well, so we called and find out it may take 7 to 10 days to get the approval (oh and it cost $20 to WAIT 2 weeks!!!).  Why does this process have to be so hard?  Seriously, 7 to 10 days to have the doctor find time (we are talking 5 minutes here) to sign a piece of paper?  What is this world coming to?  And, to top all this off, there were TWO forms and I didn't know that, so I had to go back the following Monday and HOPE they get signed in time!

August 5th

Okay, all forms are at the doctor.  Apparently another van was sold from this dealer that had the same issues with the doctor's notes, so they are willing to work with us.  We have an appointment on Thursday to go sign papers and get some things installed on Dean's Wheelchair.  We are also waiting on some running boards to come in.  If all goes well, we may be driving home our new truck on Monday, Aug 12th!

August 7th

Well, it's Wednesday, and, even though we moved our meeting with the truck dealer to Thursday since my mother is coming in for the Scrapbook Retreat this weekend, THE DOCUMENTS WILL BE READY TODAY!!!  How awesome is that?!?!?  So, this is one moving part that has stopped.  The next obstacle is getting Dean's Chair to ADA to get some work on it for the locking system.  Since the chair has to be put on its side for the welding, he obviously cannot be in the chair, so my Mother and I are going to take the chair to ADA tomorrow.  Once its finished, we will take the chair and get Dean in it then bring him back to finish the paperwork!  Then, a few modifications go in.  We are getting running boards installed, an extra door switch, and moving the console over 2 inches to give Dean more room.  We may be looking at driving the truck home on MONDAY!  Here's hoping!

August 8th

Thursday - today is the day!  I have to go and sign the paperwork, pay for the truck, and take Dean's Wheelchair to the shop to get some parts put on and fit it for the truck.  So, I take the busted ole stinky minivan to the shop since I have to take the chair.

I'm signing the paperwork, about half way through, and notice my name is misspelled!  I forgot my name is spelled on my insurance card as "DANYNA".  DANG IT!  Its misspelled on ALL the paperwork, including the bill of sale and the deed application, which is not good.  I wait for our dealer to go to talk to someone, and it turns out we can just sign what we have and they will mail us the new copies so we can send them back.  Whew!  The fitting and signing paperwork took all morning, but we were able to get everything we needed.

There were a few things we still needed, move the console over, add another switch to the door, and install the running boards.  Those came in Thursday afternoon (a day late) but the brackets were not coming in until Friday!  So, we had to wait for all that to be put in.  They told us it would not be ready until Monday.


Billy and Will working on the switches in the door
Billy is standing on the "Pan" where Dean's chair sits.
Will is a master of making things work for Wheelchair users!

August 9th to 11th

I have a scrapbook retreat!  I'll write more about this later!  I do however hear from Dean that the truck was ready to go Friday evening!  YEY!
My mother and me eating at the retreat! :)

August 12th

The day has come!  We are ready to go pick up the truck!  We drive the minivan again to the dealer, and go sign the updated paperwork, and then go to do final fitting.  A few more tweaks were needed, but we got it all settled and drove the truck home at 1:00 pm!  YEY!

The EPIC story of how we got a TRUCK is finally OVER!  Now that we have it, we get to finally get around town and NOT worry about breaking down.  And, we are really looking forward to the first trip down to the ranch!!!

Door open in our driveway

Happy Dean in his TRUCK!!!

We went out to celebrate at Hasta La Pasta in Atascocita last night.  YUMMY!

So, now we need a name for the new truck, any thoughts?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

So, last weekend we went out and bought the Big Boy Undies!  Tighty Whities!  joy! Don't knock them yet, they are all white and easy to clean/bleach, so we thought they would be the best option.  They had a nice little 6 pack, all white with baseballs, footballs, soccer balls around the band.  SO CUTE!

He did really well the first day!  Since we were going every hour, the morning went on with no accident!  We started thinking "wow, this is EASY!"  Then, at nap time, we did put a diaper on him, and he napped well (sorta) and then after that, we had 2 accidents in a row.  :(  Okay, maybe not so easy.

The next day didn't go as well as the first, an early accident before lunch, and 2 more after.  Oh well, maybe next weekend will be better.  He continued to use diapers at day care as we felt he wasn't quite ready.

Now, for our second weekend, we are so proud of our little man! He's trying pretty hard and he's doing ok, but we still have not had a "Mommy, I gotta go Tee Tee" yet.  We just take him every hour on the hour, and had NO accidents at all on Saturday, and only 1 on Sunday, but that was just because he busted his lip rough housing with me.  Hit his lip directly on my tooth!  Poor baby!

He did so good we are going to try to see if he can go to school in Big Boy Undies today!  We sure hope he does ask when he needs to go!  However, this morning, he said he had to go, we ran to the potty and he refused to go.  And, a few minutes later, he's playing with his toys, and I here "I DID IT!"  I said "what did you do?"  He said plain as day "I go Tee Tee!" :)  Well, there ya go!  We changed and decided to go to school in big boy undies anyway, and told them to try every hour.  Here's hopin!

Yey!  Potty training is fun! :)

OH, and this weekend, he found a "baby toy", a small rattle toy that Nonnie got him when he was an infant.  He picked it up, gave it a shake, and said "This is a baby toy!"  This morning, he picked it up again and said it again, and I asked if he wanted to take it to school and give it to a baby.  He said YES, so we did!  He gave it to the lady at the front desk and she promised to give it to the baby room!  SUCH a sweet little boy!
Jake with his "Baby toy" ready to give it to the baby room at day care!

Have a great day!