Beef Stroganoff

I love beef stroganoff, especially if there aren’t huge chunks of mushrooms involved.  But if you are a lover, then by all means, throw ’em in.  I’ve tried several recipes and this one is my fav.  I love the flavor the cream cheese adds.

Beef Stroganoff
1 lb stew meat
1/2 C onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C beef broth
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (or homemade counterpart)
1 C sour cream
2 oz of cream cheese (sometimes I add 4oz)
8 oz egg shell pasta, cooked

Add stew meat, cream of mushroom, beef broth, onion and garlic to crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  A half hour before serving, add cream cheese and sour cream to the crookpot.  Stir to combine.  Serve over noodles.


Sausage Tortellini Soup

Oh this soup!  It’s wonderful.  The creaminess from the cream cheese, the sausage, the pasta…it’s delicious.  And as long as the spinach is chopped up small so you don’t scoop up a long slimy leaf (ew, gross), then a nice touch of folic acid is added and who doesn’t want more of that? IMG_1515

Sausage Tortellini Soup
1 – 19 oz bag of frozen tortellini
2 – 14 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
4 C chicken broth
1-2 C chopped fresh spinach
1 lb sausage
1 – 8 oz pkg of cream cheese
2 t italian seasoning
Simmer all on stovetop for 30 minutes.


Sweet Potato Casserole

There are four things I want on my plate on Thanksgiving: turkey, gravy, dressing balls and this sweet potato casserole.  It’s not Thanksgiving, but you are allowed to have sweet potato casserole at other times of the year, right?  Right.  The topping is the best: sweet and crunchy.

Sweet Potato Casserole
5# sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 C half and half
1/2 C maple syrup
1 t vanilla
3/4 t salt
1/2 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C walnuts or pecans
1/4 C butter, softened
Boil potatoes, drain.  Add half and half, syrup, vanilla and salt.  Beat with a beater until thoroughly combined.  Pour in a 9×13 pan.  Topping: mix all ingredients and sprinkle on top.  Bake on 375 for 40 minutes.


Chicken Nuggets, a new kind of way

I love chicken nuggets and I love making them the traditional way by dicing chicken, breading it and frying it.  However, my lovely children sometimes have a hard time eating it because the chicken is hard to chew.  Well all I can say is problem. solved.  These nuggets are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  What’s the secret?  Mashed potatoes.  Yep, that’s right.  Add diced chicken and mashed potatoes to a food processor and pulse until completely combined.  Scoop into balls and roll in bread crumbs and bake.   I got the recipe off this blog.  She has a video with instructions if you want to watch it.  They are delicious.


And they are even more delicious on a lion plate.IMG_1486

Chicken Nuggets
3 chicken breasts (around 1# total), diced
1/2 C mashed potatoes (I actually didn’t measure, but just dumped some in)
seasonings  – I did salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder and onion powder.
1/2 – 2/3 C bread crumbs
1/4 C flour
1/4 C parmesan cheese
salt, pepper
Pulse chicken, potatoes and seasoning until combined.  Use a small scoop or spoon and scoop out some chicken and dip it in bread crumbs on all sides.  Your chicken will be wet and mushy, that’s okay.  Spray a wire rack with oil and lay it on a cookie sheet or stone.  Place chicken nuggets on wire rack.  After all the chicken is breaded and on the rack, spray tops of chicken with oil.  Bake on 375 for 15 min and then turn the oven on broil and broil 5 minutes to get the tops extra crispy.  Dip in ketchup!

Here are my twins eatin’ it up
IMG_1477 If only they shoved their faces with food every meal.IMG_1480 IMG_1483 IMG_1484

Fall at the Keunes

After a very fun and full summer, alas, it’s over.  I have seriously had a blast with the twins all summer.  We went to beaches, lakes, pools, splash parks and wore ourselves out.  And we ended with a bang by going to St. Louis for a week and Memphis for two weeks.  It’s sad to think summer is over.  That is until I remember that fall is my most favorite time of year.  The kids helped me decorate and loved it.  It’s nice now that they are older and we can enjoy stuff like this together.  Here are just a couple of pictures of our apartment.

Nathaniel was so proud to carry the big pumpkin and set it on the table.

Nathaniel was so proud to carry the big pumpkin and set it on the table.

Empty candy dishes.  (ahem, Mom, ahem)

Empty candy dishes. (ahem, Mom, ahem)


Well, that’s not everything, but it gives you a glimpse into our home.

As I was downloading these pictures, I came across some pictures I took this summer and never posted.  Here are a few of my favorites:

This was in July when mom and dad came to visit.  Yeah..not the best picture.  Thanks twins.

This was in July when mom and dad came to visit. Yeah..not the best picture. Thanks twins.

4th of July festival

4th of July festival


Part of the group from our former church visiting us here in Boston.

Part of the group from our former church visiting us here in Boston.

Noel with her most favorite doggie, Sammy, who oddly enough looks just like car-doggie

Noel with her most favorite doggie, Sammy, who oddly enough looks just like car-doggie

One of my favorites

One of my favorites

Noel does not leave her side.

Noel does not leave her side.

Yep, hands on 'em.

Like, ever.


My Pumpkin Pie Yankee Candle is burning…welcome fall.

Strawberry Cream Pie

Oooo…want a lightly sweet, cold, semi-chocolately, no-bake dessert perfect for summer?  Well, then you’ve got to try this Strawberry Cream Pie.  It’s easy to whip up, doesn’t require turning on your oven (who wants to do that when it’s 90 degrees out and you don’t have central AC so your kitchen is essentially like an oven??)  and tastes great.  I’ve made it twice in the past couple of months.


Strawberry Cream Pie
1 1/2 to 2 Cups of crushed, cream-filled chocolate cookies (Oreos or similar)
1/4 C butter, melted
1 pie crust (either homemade or store bought)

8 oz cream cheese
1 C heavy cream
1/3 C sugar (heaping)
1 t vanilla
10-15 strawberries, quartered
2/3 C chocolate chips
For the crust: you could use just a normal pie crust.  You can see in the picture above that I did that the first time I made this.  And it was good.  But, if you want to make this dessert amazing, you’ll crush some oreos either by hand or with a food processor and mix it with a 1/4 C of melted butter.  Press this into a greased pie plate.
For the filling: Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form.  In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar.  Add vanilla and mix.  Fold in heavy cream.  Pour on top of pie crust.  Place strawberries on top.
Chocolate glaze: melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small saucepan on low heat or in your micro on half power for 45 seconds at a time.  Drizzle over strawberries with your spoon or fill a frosting bag (used for cake decorating) and drizzle it on top.  Refrigerate for several hours.


Peanut Butter trick

If you buy natural peanut butter, you are familiar with the unpleasant task of mixing the oil and the peanut butter without making a huge mess, loosing half your oil down the side of the jar and getting a cramp in your hand from stirring and stirring.  Well, boy do I have a nice little trick for you.  I found this advice on a blog several weeks ago and have been doing this since.

Are you ready?  Turn the jar upside down.


Yep, that’s it.  Turning the jar upside down allows the oil to mix back in with the peanut butter or, depending on how long you leave it upside down, allows the oil to separate to the top, which is actually the bottom of the jar.  When you are ready to open and use the peanut butter, flip it right side up, give it a few quick stirs and you are all set.  No oil running down the jar.  No hand cramp from continuous stirring.  Pure genius people.

Side note: I’ll eat just about any natural peanut butter, even the really grainy kind.  Well, can I tell you my new favorite that I’ll even pay more money for?  Trader Joe’s.  It is so smooth and creamy, almost like Peter Pan or Jif but without the trans fat.

And there you go.

French Toast

When I think of Thursday, I think of french toast.  Why? Because we eat french toast every Thursday…and only on Thursdays.  Why? Because I’m spontaneous like that.  Seriously though, it started about five years ago when my diet drastically changed.  I use to eat cereal every morning and when I wanted to start incorporating more real foods into my diet, I deemed Thursdays as french toast day, well, morning really.  There are a couple other mornings where we eat the same thing every week and it makes menu planning easier.

I mean, just look at that beautifully, lightly fried french toast.


So…I love french toast.  Here are my favorite ways I like to eat it.

Basic French Toast
1 egg
dash of cinnamon
dash of vanilla
1 T coconut oil (you can use butter, but don’t. :) coconut oil makes it taste so much better)
1 slice of bread
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, cinnamon and vanilla.  Melt coconut oil in saucepan and get it nice and hot.  Dip bread in egg and coat both sides.  Fry a few minutes on each side.  Drizzle with maple syrup.

Coconut granola French Toast
Use the Basic French Toast recipe and add a little granola and sweetened coconut flakes to the egg mixture.  Dip your bread and fry as normal.

Sweet Potato/Pumpkin French toast
Use the Basic French toast recipe and add 1-2 T or so of cooked sweet potato or canned pumpkin.  If you use pumpkin, swap out the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice.  This is a great way to get extra veggies into your kids.  I keep cooked sweet potatoes in my fridge to mix into all kinds of stuff for the twins, like spaghetti sauce.  They can’t tell.

PB and Chocolate Chip Stuffed French Toast
Using 2 slices of bread, spread one side with peanut butter.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and place 2nd slice of bread on top of the chocolate chips.  Smash together so the chips don’t fall out.  Use Basic French Toast recipe and dip each outside piece of bread in egg mixture and fry.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
I love this one.  Using two slices of bread, spread strawberry jam on one slice and cream cheese on the other slice.  Put them together like a sandwich.  Use the Basic French Toast recipe and dip the sandwich in the egg mixture and fry.

So for the love, go make some french toast this Thursday.

Best Organizing Tip EVER!!

Oh seriously, guys.  When I read this I about screamed and immediately raced to my bedroom to do this.  Now, if you have ample closet space then this is not going to be exciting to you.  But to those of us whose closet space is oh-so-precious, you are going to love this.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I took off our winter microfiber sheets to put them away for the summer.  Well, these suckers are thick and when you fold them, they take up a lot of space.  I shoved them on the top shelf of my linen closet, but was so sad that they took up so much room.  I mean, seriously, who wants to devote almost an entire shelf to a set of sheets???  Just a week or so later, I was reading through several blogs and came across one that gave storage tips for extra bed sheets.  And do you know what she said???? STORE THEM UNDER THE MATTRESS!!!!!  This is genius people.  Store them in between the mattress and box spring.

And there you go.  You’re welcome.

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs

Jenny and I wanted to have a little Easter egg hunt for the kids this year.  We filled most of the eggs with animal crackers and a few with chocolate.  We “hid” the eggs in my front yard.  Here are some pics of Luke, Nathaniel and Noel hunting for eggs.

We’re ready!IMG_0762 IMG_0765 IMG_0769 IMG_0771 IMG_0774 IMG_0776 I’ve never scene someone rip an egg open so fast and toss back whatever is inside.IMG_0778 IMG_0780 IMG_0783 IMG_0790 IMG_0796 IMG_0799 IMG_0801 IMG_0805 IMG_0808 IMG_0814 IMG_0817 IMG_0822 IMG_0827

There is one more egg Son.  Look up.IMG_0830

Found it!IMG_0834


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