May 30 Garden Update

Look at those zucchini!

I was worried about these squash for awhile but they've perked up the past few days with some sunshine.

Lima beans are getting buds and flowers.


Strawberries...we put some netting over them (it's kinda hard to see) but we actually picked three strawberries yesterday! Guess the netting helps with the birds.




Calico Beans

This recipe is from my stepmom. It's sort of like one that I already had but for some reason my husband likes this one better. I must admit, these are very yummy. Great for bbqs because it can be served hot or cold. And it's so simple to make:

Calico Beans

1 can pork and beans, drained (I don't drain these)
1 can red beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can lima beans, drained
1 can green beans, drained
3/4 c brown sugar (I sometimes use a little less)
1/2 c white vinegar (I use a little less of this as well, if I use less sugar)
1/2 Tb dry mustard
garlic poweder
1 c chopped onion
honey bake ham, diced OR cooked bacon, about 8 slices, crumbled OR real bacon bits

Combine ingredients and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve hot or cold.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

These turned out pretty well for a nice, fairly healthy breakfast. I used more applesauce than oil so they tasted kind of fruity, which wouldn't have been bad if I had put dried fruit in it. But I only had a few chocolate chips so that's what I used and I wasn't fond of the apple taste and the chocolate. Next time I'll remember and I think they'd be even better.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

4 c dry oats (old fashioned or quick cooking)
1 1/2 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c to 1 c canola oil (I used 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 c applesauce)
4 eggs
1 1/2 c raisins or other add-ins

Dump all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Sitr, by hand, just until completely moistened and combined. Press into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish and bake at 350 fr 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into individual bars.

Some notes:
~ This has been made before with 3/4 cup of oil so you could cut back a little if you wish.
~ These bars freeze wonderfully. I usually wrap the cooled and cut bars individually and then freeze. They can be thawed in about 2 hours, or if you're in a hurry, cook in the microwave on defrost for about 20 to 30 seconds, depending on the size of your bars.

My bars ready for the freezer.


Menu 5/28 to 6/3

Friday - Eat Out (Mr. Goodcents)
Saturday - Pizza, fruit
Sunday - BBQ Honey Mustard Pork Chops, calico beans, fruit
Monday - Grandpa babysitting...probably sandwiches or leftovers
Tuesday - Enchiladas, corn on the cob, fruit
Wednesday - Salmon Cakes, wild rice
Thursday - Leftovers (clean out fridge because we're camping the next day) or Ham and Cheese Paninis


Lowfat Banana Bread

This is my go-to banana bread recipe but today I added in some sauteed spinach since I've been trying to sneak in veggies for my son. The batter did look a little grean but luckily once it was baked it looked normal. I only added about 2 tablespoons so it wasn't much but I guess it's better than nothing. I wasn't sure how spinach would work so I didn't want to overdo it.

This makes two loaves so I'll freeze one. It freezes wonderfully and lasts a couple months in the freezer.

Lowfat Banana Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar (I cut back on this just a tad)
1/2 c butter or stick margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c mashed very ripe bananas, about 3 medium
1/2 c buttermilk (I just used skim)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts, if desired

Move oven rack to lowest position so tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat over to 350. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 OR one loaf pan, 9 x 5 x 3 inches, with shortening. (I just spray with cooking spray)
Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Stir in bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between pans.
Bake 8 inch loaves about 1 hour, 9 inch loaf about 1 hour 15 minutes. (I baked both of mine together for 1 hour 10 minutes and they came out perfect...slightly crunchy outside and moist inside.) Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack.
Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or in refrigerator up to 10 days.


Blog Hop

I'm following a blog hop from Take It From Me. Here's how to do it if you want to join in:

If you want to be a part of Welcome Wednesday, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Follow the Welcome Wednesday Host (Take It From Me) as well as the 2 Spotlighted Blogs of the Week. (These will make up the top three slots on the Linky)
2. Link up your blog name and URL with our Linky. (You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on all the blog hops)
3. Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and Follow them. Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5. Be sure to Follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

This is one of those recipes I found in a cookbook when we were first married and it became one of my husband's favorite meals, as well as a good go-to meal when I needed something quick and easy. You basically throw it all together and put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Simple!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

9 oz uncooked spaghetti
1 c frozen chopped onion
1 Tb bottled minced garlic
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 Tb low sodium worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 c chopped, cooked chicken

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, seasoning, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese, cooked spaghetti, and chicken. Spoon into a 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Yields: 6 servings, 1 1/3 cups each.

What I do differently:
--use one can of mild rotel instead of stewed tomatoes
--use fresh onion
--use a little more pasta
--add about a cup or so of spaghetti sauce just for a little more moisture, it seems kind of dry
--this time I added about a cup or cup and a half of pureed broccoli because I'm trying to sneak in veggies for my son. We decided to give up battling him to eat one bite at mealtime and just hide them. You couldn't even tell in this recipe and he even cleaned his plate!
--I also split this into two 8x8 dishes so I could freeze one because a 9x13 is just too much for us. But just reheating it should be fine and the pasta shouldn't be too mushy or runny I don't think.


More Berry Picking

We went again this morning to pick raspberries and strawberries again. The raspberries weren't quite ready so there weren't as many as there will be in a few days but I ended up with enough to freeze and use in a few muffin recipes, or whatever else I can come up with.

Ended up with 4 1/2 cups of raspberries and 12 cups of chopped strawberries. What should I do with these?!


Lady's Cheesy Mac

I got this recipe from my Gram, who I think got it from the food network, from Paula Deen. It's very yummy though and we decided to have it for our main meal tonight instead of using it for a side dish. Even the kids enjoyed it.

(See below for full recipe)

Cook macaroni until done. Place in large bowl and while hot, add cheese.

In seperate bowl, comine remaining ingredients and add to macaroni mixture.

Pour into casserole dish and bake. I made two 8x8 dishes so I could freeze one.

Lady's Cheesy Mac
4 c cooked elbow macaroni, drained
2 c grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
4 Tb butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
Preheat oven to 350. Once macaroni is cooked, place in large bowl and while hot, add cheese. In seperate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and add to macaroni mixture. Pour into casserole dish and bake 35 to 40 mintues.

May 23 Garden Update


2 zucchini have started on this plant and there are somthing like at least 10 more ready to go. It's crazy how this plant is growing!



Lima Beans


Strawberries...not so hot





Menu Week of 5/21 to 5/27

Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Son's birthday party: pizza, salad, fruit kabobs
Sunday - Homemade Mac n Cheese, rolls, corn
Monday - Chicken Spaghetti, green beans, fruit
Tuesday - Hungry Jack Casserole, bacon potatoes, biscuits
Wednesday - BLTs, calico beans, fruit
Thursday - Homemade Fish Sticks, french fries, broccoli

I'll try to remember to take pictures and post some recipes this week. The past couple weeks have been crazy but I'm hoping to start posting more recipes more often and this week I'm only taking one meal from the freezer so I'll actually be cooking. Calico beans is one you'll want to try!


Strawberry Freezer Jam

My friend called me up this morning and invited us to go pick strawberries so we tagged along and came home with about 6 1/2 lbs of berries. So I tried making freezer jam for the first time. I haven't really tried this but I did lick the spoon and it tasted just like my Gram's jam that I remember from my childhood. So glad it turned out. I'll have to wait 24 hours to check the consistency but even if it's runny it'll be perfect for ice cream!

Freezer Jam

2 pints (approx) strawberries, washed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
4 c sugar
1 box Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for Homemade Jams and Jellies
3/4 c water
washed and rinsed containers to hold 5 cups of jam

Measure exactly 2 cups of chopped berries in a bowl. Stir in sugar.

It wasn't in this recipe but I smashed mine up with a potato masher and if I do this again might put them in the blender for a smaller size and more liquid consistency.

In small saucepan combine pectin and water. Turn burner on high to bring to boil stirring constantly. Continue stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir pectin into fruit. Keep stirring until sugar almost completely dissolves. Pour into containers leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing. Cover containers and let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate for 3 weeks or store in freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.

I got 10 of the smaller jars of jam. Plenty for our family but we're heading back to the farm on Tuesday to pick raspberries and maybe more strawberries so who knows what I'll come up with next!


May 16 Garden Update

Raspberries are still doing well. Just wish there were more than five or six ready at a time.

Zucchini. These things are going crazy!


Lima Beans




Mr. Owl. Our kids' swingset gets covered with bird poo. A friend said that they got a fake owl and they haven't had bird problems so we thought we'd try it for the garden to see if it would keep them away from the strawberries. But from the poo on the owl's head I'd say it's not working! Next step, as offered from Jamie at An Oregon Cottage, we'll get some black netting to cover the strawberries with.



The corn is getting taller, finally. We've had a ton of rain this past week but I think it's doing the garden some good.
To learn more about GrowCookEat and gardening visit http://www.goodlifeeats.com/.