Happy Friday! ~ Randomosity ~

I’m hoping you’re having a wonderful Spring!  It’s one of my favorite seasons!  And it’s Friday!  So I’m sharing some random thoughts and goodies today.

One reason I adore Spring is because of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball!  :)  I listen on the radio while I’m cooking supper and doing the dishes.  Mike Shannon is the best!  I ♥ this Vintage Style STL Cardinal Iphone case!  and I just found these STL Cardinals Salt and Pepper Shakers!  lol  I need these.  I wonder if my Morkie would like this Doggie Serving Dish?!  It’s too cute!  ok, ok, I’ll stop!  I know you can’t stand the cuteness.

Check out these FREE Kindle books for KIDS!  (for a limited time only)

Terry Treetop and the Lost Egg

Tongue Twisters for Kids

Lily Lemon Blossom Welcome to Lily’s Room

The Ugly Ducking

Here’s some FREE Kindle Cookbooks. (for a limited time only)

Easy Appetizer Recipes

Our Quirky Potluck Recipes

40 Top Paleo Recipes

Savvy Autumn Entertaining

Just Desserts   (oh, boy – I may need to stay away from this one!;))

If you missed my free Spring printable, you can get it here.

Happy Spring, y’all!

spring flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get this beautiful Spring Owl Garden Flag here.

 

Free Printable ~ SPRING

Click on the picture to download the free Spring printable.  

Spring art

Helpful Household Hints ~ Used Aluminum Foil

I recently came across a draft of a post that I started back a few years ago.  It was about a little book I have called Betty-Anne’s Helpful Household Hints.

I’ve misplaced the book but still want to share some handy tipsfor around the house, so I’ll be starting a series of posts with helpful tips for the kitchen, home, and even outside in the lawn and garden.  I hope you enjoy!

***

HH tinfoil

 

Get the Lodge Cast Iron Set or go for the preseasoned 3 piece skillet set.

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks for your kindness.

The Best Guacamole ~ Simple and Easy

My daughter loves guacamole!  So she learned to make it herself.  Boy, am I glad she did!

Simple and quick with a bright fresh flavor, it is so much better than store-bought!

guacamole

The Best Guacamole

3 medium avocados
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 small clove garlic, mashed (or garlic powder to taste)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
½ tsp salt, or to personal taste
Place the pulp from the avocados in a medium bowl and slightly
mash with a fork leaving some large chunks.  (We use a potato masher.) Add lime juice, onion, garlic, salt, and cilantro if using. Mix thoroughly.

Serve in this totally adorable guacamole bowl.

COOK’S NOTE: Placing the avocado pit into the guacamole before covering securely will help keep it from turning brown.

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks for your kindness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Household Hints ~ Salt

I recently came across a draft of a post that I started back a few years ago.  It was about a little book I have called Betty-Anne’s Helpful Household Hints.

I’ve misplaced the book but still want to share some handy tips for around the house, so I’ll be starting a series of posts with helpful tips for the kitchen, home, and even outside in the lawn and garden.  I hope you enjoy!

***

Household Hints

 

Spunky Chunky No Bean Chili

My family loves chili!  There’s not many meals any easier than throwing chili in the crock pot to simmer throughout the day.  When I walk through the door in the afternoon, I know supper is almost ready.

Making chili is more of a process than an actual recipe.  There’s so many ways to do it.  You have your choices of meat, even chicken if your heart desires!

In this recipe, I use ground beef, but I’ve seen where some people use carne asada.  I’ve seen that in the beef section of our grocery store and it looks really good!  I just may try that next time.

Start out by browning the ground beef, onion, and peppers.  I jsut happened to have a frozen mix of peppers that I used this time.

CHILI2

After the meat is a browned and drained, put it together with every thing else in the slow cooker and relax the rest of the day.  Or in my case, head back to work for a few more hours.  :)

chili

Spunky Chunky No Bean Chili 

3 lbs. ground beef (if you use 80/20, drain it after cooking)
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped

In a saute skillet, brown beef, onions, and peppers.  Drain if needed.

While the meat is cooking, add to a large crock pot or slow cooker:

1 32 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, or 2 small cans
1 can of Rotel tomatoes or tomatoes with green chiles
2 cups beef stock
¼ cup ground cumin, or to taste
¼ cup chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sweetener, optional (add this to balance the acid in the tomatoes)

After the meat is drained, add to the tomato/spice mixture in a crock pot.
Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low.  Should make 12 servings at around 8 carbs each.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

*I also made some almond flour biscuits and fried them up like fritters.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks for your kindness.

Homemade Black Pepper Mayonaisse

Making deviled eggs calls for mayo!  When you don’t have any, what do you do?  You can make your own.
mayo

Homemade Black Pepper Mayonaisse

1 extra large egg
3 tablespoon Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 t Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cup extra light olive oil

In a food processor (like this), add the egg, lemon juice,
salt, pepper and mustard. Pulse until well combined.

While running the food processor, begin pouring the olive oil in very slowly, in a thin stream.  Continue until all the oil has been added.

By the time you have emptied about half of the oil into the egg mixture
it will begin to thicken and look like mayo. When all the oil has been
added you are done. Store it in a lidded container in the fridge.

Now sit back and enjoy your feeling of accomplishment! :)

Benefits of Cooking with Cast Iron

Cast iron vessels have been used for cooking for hundreds of years.

In the early 19th century, meals were cooked in cast iron pots suspended over the fire in the fireplace.  In the 1960s cast iron became less popular as teflon-coated non-stick cookware was introduced.

I have to admit I have both types, but am leaning toward going to cast iron cooking full time.  I just got my Paula Deen cookware for my birthday, so it may be a gradual thing.

There are benefits in cooking with cast iron.   For one, it is very durable and can last a lifetime.  It can even be passed down to the next generation.   Cast iron retains heat and evenly redistributes the heat.  It’s even oven safe.  I have my favorite 10″ skillet for baking buttermilk cornbread and the cornbread just slides out of the well-seasoned skillet.

Cooking in cast iron actually adds iron to your food while avoiding the chemicals that non-stick cookware adds.  If it’s well seasoned, your food won’t stick.  The more you cook with it, the better it gets!  I even use it on my ceramic top stove.  I just try to be extra careful.

Cast iron is relatively inexpensive.  Most sets run around $100 and single skillets can run under $15.  This is for something that lasts for a lifetime!

Also, it doesn’t scratch so there’s no need to use the rubber coated cooking utensils, unless you just want to.  Sad to say, my large non-stick skillet is not looking too good, just after several months use.

It does get hot, so be sure and use a pot holder or handle mitt.

To clean and season cast iron, some people do not use soap.  If my pan was real messy, I have used soapy water and immediately dried and oiled the pan to prevent rust.  I have also cleaned with salt sprinkled in the pan and a scrubbie.  This works for pans that don’t have a lot of leftover residue.

Sometimes when camping I’ve used scrunched up  tin foil and some hot water.  So there’s several cleaning methods.  Just be sure to rub with a light coat of oil before storing.  I love my Dutch Oven for baking biscuits when we’re camping.  I’ve also fixed up a Beef Stew over the fire.

Lodge is my favorite cast iron brand.  There’s lots more cleaning and seasoning information found here on their site.

So enjoy cooking in your cast iron and think about all the healthy benefits that comes with it.  Pass some down to your children and grandchildren.  Tell them the history behind it.  Maybe generation after generation will benefit from your lovingly cared for cast iron.

Be sure and share any stories that you have of cast iron that’s been in your family, or how many pieces of cast iron you have.  I’d love to hear them!

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from some of the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks for your kindness.

Zuppa Toscana ~ Low Carb

That frosty chill in the air means it’s soup weather!  

This is a delicious make-at-home version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.

This rich creamy soup is easy to make so don’t let the unusual ingredients scare you off!   I found the kale at the grocery store and the turnips I got fresh from the farmer’s veggie stand.
zuppa

Zuppa Toscana ~ Made with Turnips

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage – crumbled
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 32 oz chicken broth
4 small to medium turnips, scrubbed clean, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves – peeled, crushed
1 med. onion – peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped or torn kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or dutch oven,  over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain and return to pot.  In the same pan, cook the  bacon til done.  Drain, reserving about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.

Add chopped onions and garlic; sautee  in bacon drippings until tender. Add the chicken broth and turnip slices to the pot.  Simmer over medium heat until turnips are tender, maybe 15 minutes.  It didn’t take too long, but my turnips were fresh smallish turnips from the veggie truck.

Add the kale pieces and cream to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes.

Serve with your favorite toasted bread or bread sticks.  (I used some homemade coconut flour “cornbread” muffins.  I’ll be sharing that recipe in the near future.)

For 6 servings:  Calories 388, Carbs 9, Fat 18

kale

COOK’S NOTE: Some people subsitute cauliflower for the potatoes to make it low carb.  I subbed turnips and they were very similar in texture and appearance to potatoes.  The cream helps reduce the tart taste that turnips sometimes have.  Everyone loved it and really couldn’t tell the difference.

Shared with Inspire Me Tuesday.

The Winner!

slippers

Congratulations to Angela Davis the winner of the sparkly warm slippers!

Drama Thespian Conf 2014

Please contact me with your shipping information.   See my About Me for the email address OR you can message me the info on Facebook.

Thanks to you all for entering!

A Giveaway! (closed)

The contest is closed.  Thanks to all who entered!  You make it very hard to pick just one winner.  I wish I could send a pair of these warm house slippers out to all of you!  

The winner will be announced Tuesday morning. 

It’s been cold around here lately!  Frigid, as a matter of fact!  But my feet have been toasty warm while wearing  my sparkly fur-lined Betsey Johnson house slippers.   So warm that I had the bright idea to give one lucky reader a pair!

slippers

I know it’s not an iPad or some big money prize – lol!  But hopefully I can make some reader’s day a little brighter and their toes a little cozier.

Here’s the details on the slippers:

“Shimmer in every step. Spice up your around-the-house attire with these sparkly, sequin-splashed scuff slippers featuring faux shearling trim. From Betsey Johnson.
  • Upper: sequins; trim: faux shearling: 100% polyester
  • Hand wash
  • Imported
  • Sequin with faux shearling trim
  • Small: 5/6; Medium: 6/7; Large: 7/8; X-Large: 8/9″

There’s 2 ways to win.

TO ENTER

To enter, just leave your size (or the size of your gift recipient!) in the Comments section of this post.

Also, another entry is earned by becoming a follower on Facebook.  Once you’re a fan on FB, come back to this post to leave another comment letting me know you’re a fan on FB.

THE RULES

Two entries per person, please. It may take a little while for your comment to show up.

The contest will be closed Monday night and the winner  will be selected at random and announced by Tuesday morning.  Or, that’s the plan!  :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Vintage Recipe: Sausage Casserole

Sometimes you run across a draft post that you forgot to publish.  This is one of those times.  From 2009…

This recipe is courtesy of my very good friend, Laura, and is a great mid-week dinner casserole.

Years ago, supper get-togethers were a big thing for us.  On Tuesday nights or possibly Thursday nights, Laura and I would make supper together and after eating, we’d play Trivial Pursuit.   Those were the days before kids and rushed evenings of homework and laundry, laundry, laundry!

When we tried to choose our menu for the evening, Sausage Casserole was always among our choices.  Sausage Casserole or Pizza Potatoes.  Decisions, decisions.

If we had a little extra money, we’d go big-time and have homemade Enchiladas with a side of Mexican Rice and Rotel Cheese dip, which we would pour over everything!

I don’t get to eat like that very often.  I try to make healthier meals nowdays.

Those were the days before internet…or even cell phones!  It was just us friends sitting around, having a good meal and a good time together playing board games and visiting.  Sometimes I long for those quiet, easy in some ways – harder in other, days.

So, I go to my old recipe box and pull out one of these vintage recipes and the first taste takes me back.

This version is made with Dreamfields Penne Rigate pasta.  It was delicious!  Add a salad and crusty bread if you like and you have a meal.

saus cass

 

Sausage Casserole

1 lb mild sausage
1 bag egg noodles, cooked and drained (I used Dreamfields pasta instead)
12 oz cream of mushroom soup (homemade recipe – see below)
2 cups mozzerella cheese

.
Cook sausage and drain.  Mix noodles with soup.  Pour in 2 qt casserole.  Top with mozzerella cheese.  Bake for 40 minutes at 375º.

Serves 6-8.

COOK’S NOTE:  Now that I’m trying to avoid wheat, I’m thinking this might be good with layered zucchini sliced real thin instead of the pasta.  Maybe with a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Yeah, why not!  add a little more cheese!  :)

On Linda Sue’s site, there’s a great recipe for Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup. 

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from some of the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks for your kindness.

National Buffet Day and my birthday present!

I just saw where January 2nd is National Buffet Day.

It’s also my birthday!

How fitting that I was going to post about my birthday gift,  this 3 crock slow cooker that my hubby got me.

I want to use this Sunday at our church’s monthly dinner.  What can I put in the crocks? I’ve seen them with 3 different flavors of wings…then one lady brought meat, gravy and green beans or rice.

What do you suggest? I need something tasty and fairly easy and something that won’t hold up the food line. I don’t want someone standing there trying to assemble something like tacos or burritos and holding up the line.  I would have a lot of people upset with me. We’re a hungry bunch when we get out of church.

I know you’ll have some great suggestions!  Looking forward to them.

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

hny

 

to you and yours!  May this year bring you good health, peace, and happiness!

Almond Flour Biscuits ~ Low Carb • Grain Free

Looking for a sturdy wheat free biscuit to hold up some yummy sugar free pumpkin butter or maybe some sausage gravy?   Not exactly like grandma made, but close to it for sure.  And so tasty, you’ll almost feel guilty.

bisc4

Almond Flour Biscuits ~ Low Carb • Wheat Free • Grain Free

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of almond flour
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
2 tablespoons cold salted butter
egg whites from 3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Mix almond flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium size bowl. Add cold butter and using a pastry cutter, mix until crumbly.

bisc1

Next, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork until they are slightly frothy, about 30 seconds. Blend the eggs in with the almond flour mixture until combined.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the bits of butter to harden.

Divide the biscuit mixture into 4-6 portions and spoon on to a parchment lined baking sheet or into a well-greased muffin top pan. Bake right away for 10 -12 minutes.  Remove when golden brown.  Makes 4-6 biscuits.

biscuits2

Serve with butter and preserves or top the biscuits with your favorite sausage gravy.

bisc3

Nutritional information for 6 servings:

For each biscuit = Calories 147,  Carbs 5, Fat 13,  Protein 6

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks and Happy Holidays!