Thursday, October 14, 2010

Burrito Casserole

This was dinner for the second Bible study meeting that I had.  Served it with some white queso dip & chips and the ever-popular sopapilla cheesecake.  I really enjoyed this one a lot and think the girls did too!

 the leftovers after dinner

my portion the next day :)

Burrito Casserole
from Tast of the South magazine
 8-10 servings

1 (10.25 oz.) can beef gravy
1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 (1.25 oz.) envelope taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
2 (16 oz.) cans refried beans
10 to 12 flour tortillas
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 (8 oz.) package shredded cheddar cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a small bowl, combine beef gravy & enchilada sauce; set aside
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat on stovetop, brown ground chuck & drain grease.  Add taco seasoning & water.  Continue to cook until liquid has been absorbed (5-10 minutes).  Add refried beans to meat mixture & stir well; set aside.
  • Line a greased 9x13 in. casserole dish with one-third of tortillas.  Spread half of meat mixture over tortillas, and top with half of sour cream.  Repeat layers, ending with the final third of tortillas.  Pour gravy mixture over casserole and top w/grated of cheese.
  • Bake for 30-45 min. or until casserole is hot & bubbly.  Remove from oven & let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.  
  • To serve, cut into squares & top with your favorite burrito toppings!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What it feels like to be sick...

I got an email today from a fellow food blogger who also deals with a chronic illness and she mentioned something that I haven't heard of before--the "spoon theory"--as a way to explain how it feels to people in your life.  I googled it and ran across this video which brought me to tears.

Watch it first, then we'll talk about it ;)

Okay--I'm not looking for sympathy here.  I don't have Lupus or cancer or anything life-threatening and I've adapted to having CFS & Fibro over the past 3 years so I function pretty well.  I can get ready in the morning easily at this point, (though I won't lie, when I first got sick I had to rest after taking a shower...)  My problems won't kill me.  I can keep going, just at a slower pace.

But I have to think about my "spoons" regularly.  Even mental focus while I'm sitting takes something out of me and after a meeting I'm tired with a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.  For the past two weekends I have done too much around the house so that by Sunday I am too sore & exhausted to do anything.  I have to plan my days carefully and take time to rest between things--or know that if I don't I will need a day of doing nothing to deal with the repercussions.  I feel guilty that I sleep in till 9 now that I quit my job and am doing part time work with CRU, but if I don't get that sleep the day starts off with pain.  And regularly sleeping a few hours later and being balanced is a lot better than before when I was getting up early and overdoing it through the week and then hibernating all weekend!  Things are SO much better now that I have more time to rest and am doing what I am passionate about, but I still have bad days and even weeks.  On good days I question myself--"Is this all in my head?"  "Am I just not pushing myself enough?" "Am I just lazy?"  On bad days I thank God for a tangible sign that I'm not just crazy--swollen lymph nodes & a fever.  This is just life now.  It is still a good life and I've learned a lot--specifically about resting in the Lord and trusting Him to provide--but its a different life than I had imagined for myself.

Thanks for caring enough to read this!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Conspiracy theory...

Do you remember the little problem i have with magazines??  I've been good about cutting back and not renewing the gazillion that I subscribed to in my crazy subscription spree because I have absolutely not been able to get through them fast enough...I think i have enough unread magazines to last me years!  Also I've been working on getting rid of the junk that is overflowing my house, and one of those things is the magazines that I for some reason have kept for lots of years.  I've gone through some of them to find recipes that I want to keep, and in doing so have discovered a disturbing trend...

 notice any similarities??

  anything yet?

 is it just me or are the magazine cover designers lazy??

 these are the issues that mad me notice first...
and i think these two issues from February of 2004 & 2005 are the worst--they even have some of the same cover titles!

Now I will give it to them, these issues are from around 2003-2006 and since then they have drastically changed the cover design to make it less cluttered and more modern, and with that they seemed to have come up w/some new design ideas ;)  But I kinda felt jipped--instead of subscribing for all those years I could have just read the same issue each year and probably had the same information!  (and sorry to kinda be picking on Woman's Day--those were the issues that I had available, but I have noticed this in other magazines as well).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My favorite Carrot Cake

Several years ago when I was in college I went to visit my dear friend and Bible study leader, Abigail.  She knew about my love for magazines and offered to by me any one that I wanted.  I saw the Spring 2005 issue of Taste of the South Magazine and that was it!  I fell in love with the magazine immediately and of all the issues (and I have every one...) this particular one has been my favorite! A section on strawberry recipes, one on great southern cakes, casseroles, and deviled eggs.  My favorite hash brown casserole recipe was adapted from this magazine, as is a burrito casserole that I love (and will be posting soon) and of course this fabulous cake!
I made this cake back in August for my dad's birthday to serve to him at one of the CRU beginning of the semester meetings.  Carrot cake is his favorite and this one is super special with the coconut and pineapple and nuts and all the fabulous stuff in it!  Some people prefer their carrot cake to be more plain but this is my favorite--tons of extras in the icing and cake--you'll love it!

my mini portion in a custard cup--have to taste test right??

the finished cake

Carrot Cake
from Taste of the South magazine

2        cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2  tsp. baking soda
1 1/4  tsp. baking powder
1/4     tsp. salt
2        cups sugar
1 1/4   tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4   cups vegetable oil
4         large eggs, at room temp.
1         tsp. vanilla
2         cups finely shredded carrots
1/2      cup chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.)can crushed pineapple, well-drained
3/4      cup flaked sweetened coconut
1         recipe Decadent Carrot-Cake Icing
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease & flour three 8-in round cake pans or two 9-in round cake pans (i used a 9x13 this time); set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon; stir well.  Add vegetable oil and eggs; blend well with an electric mixer at medium speed.  Stir in vanilla, shredded carrots, pecans, pineapple, and coconut.
  • Ladle batter into prepared pans, dividing equally.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cake layers cool for 10 minutes in plans.  Invert onto cooling racks and let cool completely.
  • Frost cake layers with Decadent Carrot-Cake Icing. (Since this cake is very moist, it is recommended to place layers in the freezer for at least one hour before frosting.)
I sliced this cake in half so I could frost it in between layers as well, but that was SUPER hard due to all the mix-ins.  Next time I do this in a 9x13 pan I will just bake it in 2 pans if I want the extra icing...

Decadent Carrot-Cake Icing
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1/2 cups raisins (i usually omit)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed.  Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.  Stir in coconut, raisins, and pecans.
**I have always gotten at least 1-2 cups of extra icing, so you could probably get by on 2/3 of a recipe for this, or  make another half recipe of the cake into cupcakes :)**

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TWD: double apple bundt cake

 For this week's TWD challenge, Lynne of Honey Muffin chose the Double Apple Bundt Cake from pp. 184-184 of BFMHTY. 

With shredded apples and apple butter in the mix, this really is a perfect (and perfectly moist!) cake to celebrate actual fall weather!

I left out the nuts & raisins this time b/c some of the girls in the Bible study aren't huge fans, plus it means that I actually have a chance that hubs will try it!

I also didn't make the glaze...a lemon glaze w/this doesn't sound appetizing to me, but I'm contemplating adding a caramel glaze before Bible study tonight.

 Dorie says that the grated apples melt into the batter and it is so true!  You don't get the texture from them, just a pure fresh apple flavor as well as the lovely spices and moistness from the apple butter.  Fabulous!

Thanks so much to Lynne for this pick, and be sure to check out her blog for the recipe and the TWD leave your link post to see who baked along this week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

My life now...

I was talking to hubs last night and he said "you never post about fun stuff on your blog any more--only food" and I guess that's a bit true these days...though I think most of my followers over here are here for food, those of you who I know in "real life" and who are interested in what is going on in my life after some major changes have been left with no info except for the fact that I am doing a LOT of cooking for big groups of college students!  There is definitely more to life now so I'll start to fill you in on that in between the food posts...

My last day at the office was Wednesday, July 28--I left before 5 in a torrent of tears, hugs, & goodbyes.  Crazy girl that I am, I decided that I would take myself off all of my medication around that time and see what just plain rest & water aerobics would do for my health conditions.  Well, going off of the Prozac the day before I left my job of 10 wasn't pretty!  I cried and cried and snotted and cried some more!  It was intense!

The week before I left my coworkers honored me with a goodbye pot-luck lunch and some precious gifts
 a very blurry picture of some of the food
 they got me a cupcake Christmas ornament!
 a cookbook from Patti's--a Kentucky restaurant famous for amazing food & pies and they all signed the inside of the cookbook so I can think fo the whenever I cook from it :)
sobbing my little eyes out over my goodbye card.

I got another cookbook from one of the nurses "Great Recipes for Good Health" since that is one of the big focuses in life now.  Also a check and lots of hugs from the doctors and some money from my co-workers, and a 3-tier cakestand from another of my dear co-workers.  It was so special!  I'm disappointed with myself for not getting a picture with everyone before I left though :(  But I"m glad that I at least have our 1970s wood paneling and orange benches from the basement immortalized on the blog ;)  

The first two weeks after I quit I did very little.  I still took a lot of calls from the office on how to do certain things, and then these precious little ones entered our lives:



Butch even got to have a few visits with the babies & she loves them!

It was a great time and my sister-in-law & I really got to bond.  I was able to stay with her some in the hospital and help with feedings and cuddling and all that great aunt stuff :)  The boys were so tiny though!  It was scary one point when feeding one of them I was sure that I had killed him!  He just didn't seem to be moving and I was terrified!  Thankfully no one has died in the hands of Aunt Sarah (yet) and the tiny boys weighed at just under 10 pounds on their two month checkup!  They've done amazingly well for being born on July 31 when their due date was Sept. 8.  I love them!

Well, that is what happened in the two weeks after leaving my job...I'll update again soon on my major role now!