Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fresh vs Canned

Over the past year I’ve been working to eliminate the amount of items we buy in a can. We’ve all heard about the nasties that can be in aluminum cans that can then get into your food.

My favorite thing I’ve changed is refried beans. Buying beans in bulk is cheaper than reaching for the can and you can control what’s in your food. I’ll share with you how I make my refried beans and then my favorite thing to do with them after.

Here’s what you need:
1 medium onion,peeled and quartered
3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
3 garlic cloves,minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
7 cups Water

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook for 8 hours on low. Remove the beans and mash, adding water from the crock pot a little at a time until the beans are as smooth as you like them.

Now for the fun part. I like to take homemade refried beans and make baked bean and cheese taquitos with them.

Take 1 cup of beans and add the following:

1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder, salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

You can use corn or flour tortillas for your taquitos. I had some bigger wheat flour tortillas I needed to use up so I cut mine in half to use. Spread a thin layer of beans and top with shredded cheese. Roll and put in a baking dish. Spray the top with a little olive oil. Bake in the oven on 425 for 15-20 minutes until the tops are crispy. You can serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, whatever you like!

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I didn’t get to take a picture of the finished yummy since my family dove right into them 🙂

These can be made in batches and frozen for a quick lunch another day.

I’d love it if you would leave a comment on things that you no longer eat from a can but make homemade!

I’m off to celebrate this week with my family. I’ll be back with you next week!!

http://www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

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Happy birthday mom!

It’s been a couple days since I posted because I’ve been working on a special birthday surprise for my mom.

One of moms guilty pleasures use to be a Hostess Snoball. Since Hostess was bought by another company, the recipe is just not the same. So when I asked mom what she wanted for her birthday,she said a good tasting Snoball was all she needed. So that’s been my goal the last few days to find a comparable homemade recipe.

Although I was able to find several recipes, this is the one I choose. Thanks to From Away for the recipe.

It’s definitely not the marshmallow texture on the outside as the original but the taste is spot on.

Here’s a couple of pictures from my baking process. I had fun making these and can’t wait to share them with my mom. Happy birthday mama!!!

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Adoption News:

We found out this past week that we have officially been accepted into the infant adoption program. We submitted our fee and are now eligible to be matched with a birth mom. What an exciting time for our family.

We have been greatly blessed by the prayers, encouragement and financial support from friends, family and complete strangers. If you would like to read more about our story please see my earlier blog posts or check out our fundraising page.

Adopt Together fundraising

For those celebrating next week from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!

A First for Me

My cooking and baking adventures started a little over a year and a half ago when I came home full time with my son. I’m typically a recipe conformist and follow it to a tee. I’ve tried on several occasions to branch out and tweek recipes I find, but they typically end up inedible.

So tonight I took a chance and tried it again…and voila SUCCESS!!!  Here’s what was left of it after my family got a hold of it 🙂

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I happened across a recipe on Facebook today (Original recipe:  https://www.facebook.com/TheNewHot899/photos/a.96216403705.86216.12759833705/10151510794968706/?type=1&fref=nf&pnref=story).  Here is my version I created tonight.

Ingredients:
1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (I had a package in the freezer that contained a breast and 2 tenders)
1 large russet potato (I cut mine very small using this chopper)
Chopped broccoli (I chopped a partial head of broccoli, you could use froze, but thaw and warm before adding)
Olive oil
salt
black pepper
paprika
garlic powder
hot sauce (I used Frank’s and only in the chicken marinade)

Topping:
Colby jack cheese
Crumbled bacon
Diced green onion

I didn’t include any measurements because I just mixed in ingredients to what my families taste are.  Use your judgement and the likes of those who you are cooking for.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray. In a bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Add the potatoes and stir together. Scoop out the potatoes and leave the marinade in the bowl.  Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, add the cubed chicken to the bowl with the left over olive oil mixture, adding hot sauce to taste, and stir to coat. If your chicken is not coated well, add additional olive oil and spices.  Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees. Layer the chopped broccoli and then the raw marinated chicken on top of the potatoes. In another bowl mix together the cheese and bacon and cover the chicken.  Top with green onions and return the casserole to the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the topping is bubbly delicious.

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure this recipe could be further tweeked with different vegetables or maybe even a homemade cream of “something” soup.  Once I started taking the time to read food labels, I haven’t used a can of this stuff in more than a year.  This recipe is fairly simple and can be made with organic ingredients.  Highly recommended, especially for the upcoming holiday season where several family favorite recipes call for this soup.

I’m including a completely random picture of my son.  This made me happy tonight.  There’s nothing cuter than a boy and his dog.  Especially when said boy wants to cuddle with the dog on the dog bed and the dog just wants to go to bed!

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Adoption News:
We got an update today that our fingerprint clearances came back last Friday.  One more step closer to being able to start the matching process to bring home a daughter to add to our little family.  As I’ve mentioned, if you would like to hear about our adoption story or support us during our journey, please click the link.  www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

So Thankful

We are visiting our second home and family this weekend for our next to last home football game of the season. I was surprised when I realized I hadn’t mentioned this before, but my husband and I are proud members of the Fightin Texas Aggies Classes of ’02 and ’04 (Texas A&M University). We are very proud of our alma mater and we spend a great deal of time there especially now that part of our family lives there as well.

Our Caleb loves to be helpful to others, whether it’s helping mommy make cookies in the kitchen or helping his Gigi feed the dog.

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When we adopted Caleb two and a half years ago, I never realized how truly our lives would be changed. He has such a personality and a kind little heart. A couple weeks ago in his gymnastics class there was a little girl in his class that was very upset and he went to her and gave her a hug and sat with her to comfort and help her feel better. It was such a precious moment.

I think when we get into the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things. But it’s so important especially as a parent to a little one to make sure that we are taking time out to be grateful and thankful. Kids are such sponges that they take in everything they see so it’s important for us to be the best examples they see. Whether that be giving at church or helping/supporting a charity or giving your time and talents to those in need. The lessons they learn early on will carry with them all the rest of their lives.

Every year we work with our church and another church to support an Angel tree. This is a way that we can help out local school children and their families in our community who are in need. This year our family has chosen a little boy the same age as Caleb and I’m looking forward to sharing this with him when we go to purchase clothes and toys for this little boy. I want to instill in him a giving heart and how we can take our many blessings that we have and to bless others.

I’d love to hear from you about any traditions that you and your family have that you do each year.

www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Little Mans Favorite Snack

I never really had a taste for applesauce, but my son loves it.  I didn’t realize how much of a difference in taste in the store bought brand vs. homemade applesauce.  The difference now has me enjoying applesauce when my son does.  Here’s how I make ours.

Ingredients:
3 lb Apples (I use a variety of red, green, gala and fuji; all organic)
1/2 cup Apple juice
1 T lemon juice (I used fresh squeezed, but you could substitute from the bottle)
1-3 tsp cinnamon
1-2 T honey (optional)
1/4 t nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

First core each of the apples, then I take the extra step to peel the apples.  Taking the peel off makes it easier to puree and then put in my sons pouch, which I will show you later.  I usually cut each apple into 6-8 pieces and put in a pot on the stove.  Add the apple and lemon juices.  Add in the amount of cinnamon you like.  Normally I use 1 teaspoon for 3 pounds of apples, but this time I was just shaking some out of my glass container and it was more like 1 tablespoon, but the taste was wonderful.  Stir the ingredients, cover and cook on medium to medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on your stove)

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Once the apples are soft and moist, you can add in the honey and nutmeg if you choose.  I find the variety of apples gives more than enough sweetness and don’t add the honey.  For this batch, since I accidentally put in too much cinnamon, I did not add the nutmeg.

After the mixture has cooled slightly pour into a container and use an immersion blender to puree the mix.  This recipe usually gives me enough for the three containers pictured.  I put the large one in the fridge and freeze the little ones for future use.

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About the little animal pouches.  We love our squooshi reusable food pouch containers.  We use them for applesauce, smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, anything with a squishy consistency.  We’ve used these more so since our son is bigger, but could also be used with little ones eating pureed food on the go.  These are safe to wash by hand or pop in the top rack of the dishwasher.

Adoption News:

We were so excited to see that after several donations we’ve received, we are just $102 away from our first goal of $1500 to help cover the cost of our homestudy we recently completed.  Would you consider helping us reach this first goal?  If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help and are so greatly appreciated.   http://www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Freezer meals revisited (I)

Last week I wrote about a group of my mom friends getting together to swap freezer meals.  Tonight we had our first meal from the swap…Chicken Parmesan.  I’ve never made Chicken Parmesan for my family because I always thought it was too difficult.  After seeing the results tonight, I’ll be adding this to my recipe planner.

I added a side of whole wheat spaghetti that I mixed it with the marinara sauce that wasn’t used on the chicken.  Our veggie for tonight was Parmesan and garlic broccoli that I steamed in the microwave.

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Speaking of a recipe planner.  I use a service called Plan to Eat (affiliate link) to store my recipes.  It has a calendar planner (including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) that I love and takes what I plan and puts it in a shopping list for me.  I’ve been using Plan to Eat for almost a year and I love the functionality of the program.  The normal yearly subscription fee is $31, but they are having a 50% off Black Friday sale from November 28th to December 1st.  If you know someone looking for this type of service, what a great time for an inexpensive Christmas gift.

Adoption News

We found out today that our adoption home study has been approved and we are now ready to start the matching process.  We look forward to the day we can meet our future birthmother and then our daughter. The adoption process has been and will continue to be emotional and resource intensive.  We cannot continue to go through this process without encouragement, prayer and financial support from our friends and family.  We would like to invite you to journey with us through this process.

Will you partner with us and support our family in bringing our daughter home to our family?
If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help! Our goal is to raise $25,000. And, 100% of your financial support will go toward our adoption costs, thanks to Adopt Together.  Donations made through this site are tax-deductible.