Monday, August 22, 2011

King Ranch Casserole

Here is a favorite at our house.  I made it a few weeks ago and it is on the menu again this week (although not to be made but to be defrosted - gotta love pre-frozen meals)! Once cooked later this week - I'll add a picture.

King Ranch Casserole


1 traditional rotisserie chicken cut/picked into pieces.(this is SO much easier than cooking the chicken)
1 small/medium onion chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of rotel (I use mild b/c I am a weenie or if I don’t have rotel, I have also used diced tomatoes).
1 can chicken broth
2 cups (whole bag) grated cheese (I use whatever I have on hand – cheddar, monterrey jack, etc).
1 dozen corn tortillas
*1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
*1 can of corn (drained)

*This recipe was originally from my mom and I add the black beans and corn or sometimes don’t add them and just serve Southwestern Corn (has black beans in it) as a side dish depending upon who is coming to dinner and if they are picky.

I usually make the whole recipe, but have a foil pan w/ lid 9x9 that I fix and freeze and then make the other 9x9 to cook that night. Otherwise, use a 9x13 casserole dish. It is really easy to freeze and use later though.

1. In a LARGE saucepan/pot, sauté chopped onion in a bit of EVOO.

2. Once onion is tender, add all the soups, rotel and chicken broth. Turn up the heat a bit.

3. Once warmed and mixed well, add the beans, corn, chicken and cheese.

4. Cook, stirring occasionally as it thickens and all the cheese melts. I usually let it simmer for a good 20-30 minutes on the stove.

5. While it cooks, I cut up my corn tortillas – I just usually halve or quarter them.

6. Layer tortillas, sauce, tortillas and sauce. It is fairly soupy so no worries about that – the tortillas will soak that up as it cooks.

7. Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes – until bubbling and looks “done” on top

8. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tubbing It

Wyatt loves any tub or basket he can climb into.  He is especially fond of his train tub (seen below) and my yellow laundry basket.  He likes to climb in and just hang out.  So silly!
He looks like such a toddler to me in this picture, instead of a baby. Even his little short stubby legs look long :(

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Pie

As my friends and family know, I am not a big sweets eater.  My favorite food is actually pickles!  BUT, when I am pregnant, I love me some chocolate.  So I have to make a chocolate pie pretty often and it is a great dessert to take to a small dinner with family. 

The other day I made Spinach Quiche for dinner and JB happily reminded me that frozen pie crusts (Mrs. Smiths are just as good as my homemade) come in pairs so I should have an extra one for chocolate pie, RIGHT!?!?  Also the ingredients are so simple that I always have them on hand.

I ended up making two to take to the in-laws for family dinner.  Here's the recipe - if you have ever made custard, it is a similar routine and if you haven't, then master this chocolate pie and then you can more easily make custard!

Chocolate Pie
As you'll see in the comments my mom reminded me to give credit to whose recipe it is (although I had no clue until she told me).  It came from my Great-Grandma Pauly who was an amazing woman and fabulous baker.  There are a few other recipes of hers I will have to include one day when I make them - especially her Pecan Sandie Cookies.  What is so ironic is that I never remember her making this [ie but I do remember helping her make and eat her homemade pickles - she knew just what her great - granddaughter liked I guess so that is what I always got "pickle time".


1 Frozen Pie Crust (I like Mrs. Smith's deep dish)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks (beaten)
2 rounded tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 rounded tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

1.  Bake pie crust according to directions on box/container.  Make sure the crust has time to cool sufficiently before you start your chocolate filling.

2. In a small saucepan (I think I use a 3 quart one b/c I sometimes double the recipe), pour about 1 1/2 of the 2 cups of milk and the 1 cup of sugar together.  Heat on low until warm to the touch. Wisking occasionally to mix everything together.

3.  Beside you on the stovetop, have your vanilla and a teaspoon waiting.  I also cut the tablespoon of butter off the stick butter but just leave it in the fridge b/c it is near my stovetop.

4.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of corn starch and cocoa powder - I usually mix them with a folk.  Create a small well in the middle and pour the remaining 1/2 cup or so of milk.  Make a well mixed paste.

5.  In a small bowl beat the eggs yolks.

6.  Once the milk/sugar mixture is warm, add the other two bowls (cocoa paste & eggs) and turn up the heat a bit (about 3/4 of the way to High on my stovetop but everyone's is different). 

7.  Now comes the waiting and wisking....continually wisking as the mixture heats up.  Sometimes if I become impatient, I turn the heat up a little higher, but you have to be careful not to burn the bottom of it.  It will become "frothy" on top and seem like it is never going to do anything, but eventually (and you might have to turn up the heat on your stove as well, just do it gradually) it will start to bubble and thicken.

8.  NOW, FAST!  Turn off the heat on the burner but keep quickly wisking so it doesn't burn and add the butter and teaspoon (I use a bit more) of vanilla and mix.  It will start to look like pudding.

9.  Once you are sure the butter is melted, pour into your cooked and cooled pie crust
 and leave on the stove to sit until room temp or at least not hot.  Once cooled enough, put saran wrap over the pie - I press it gently onto the chocolate (it won't stick).  Now into the fridge.  It probably takes a couple hours for it to get to good cool, eating temp and where it is "set". 

10.  For a real treat, try making some homemade whip cream to top it (with a hand mixer, beat powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream).  Cool Whip also works great.  Enjoy!


A happy boy who got to lick the spatula!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nursery Progress & Teething

This weekend we made A LOT of progress cleaning out the nursery - see the 30 Week pregger post a few days ago versus today after just a few hours this weekend!  Thanks to JB's bro, Taylor, who came over to help JB move the desk and filing cabinet out to our garage. 


Unfortunately, Wyat has been teething the last week or so.  Poor kid spikes a fever, drools like crazy and doesn't want to eat.  He had 4 molars pop up in a couple weeks that we barely even noticed were coming in, but his 3rd and 4th bottom front teeth are giving the poor guy heck.

So, what do you do when you feel like crud, you're feverish and your mouth hurts....snuggle with Dad on the couch and look at animal pictures on the iPad.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Super Wyatt

Wyatt's new obsession...having his favorite blankie (Thanks Aunt Christal) tied around his shoulders like a cape.  I don't think he has any clue what a cape even is, but JB mentioned that he does watch Super Wy sometimes on PBS and maybe he saw it on there. 

He loves it and demands I tie it back on when it falls off.  I took the pics with my phone, so they aren't the best.

Excuse the lack of pants...unless we are leaving the house, we consider them optional.  Shirts are many times optional as well :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

30 Weeks Preggers

How far along: 30 Weeks.....70 days until my due date.  That sounds so soon!

How big is baby: According to she is about 3 lbs and about 16 inches long.  And I believe it. A few weeks ago I was SO uncomfortable and I just think my body wasn't adapting to her growth spurt but overnight it has felt like she has moved out from under my ribs a bit and that is nice.  Being able to take a deep breath is such a treat.

Total weight gain: 20 lbs - If you look back at 28 weeks, you will see that I gained 5 LBS IN 2 WEEKS.  HAHA.  The nurse had me weigh twice b/c she thought the scale was doing something weird.  From now until I delivery, I should average about a pound a week, so that is 30 lbs total gain - YOWZER.  I only gained 25 with Wyatt. 

Last Dr's Appt: Today - I go every two weeks now.  Wyatt went with me as it was easier than asking for someone to watch him and he was super good - plus the appts are fast....weight, blood pressure, heartbeat on the doppler, and measuring the belly and then we are done.  I also figure I better be able to handle one kid for an hour at the dr's office as I am about to have 2 to learn how to take places.

Maternity clothes: Yep, mostly. My running shorts and tees are still my standard uniform and I broke down and bought a couple more maternity they make your butt look wide and flat (I like to think it is the clothing's fault not really what my rear now looks like).

How am I feeling: A TON better than the last couple weeks.  As I said before, I can breath now, have some more energy and now that the remodel is basically over (other than waiting on a few custom items to be installed) I have a much lower stress level.

Mood Swings and Food Cravings: I am in great spirits now that my house is fully mine again and just need to get my rear in gear to get a nursery together.  Food cravings....did you not see that I gained 5lbs in 2 weeks ??  I am eating everything.

Milestones: Keeping my sanity (somewhat) thru the remodel.

What I'm looking forward to: I have a cleaning crew coming to my house tomorrow to get rid of all the remodel dust/gunk and just give the house a good once-over.  This is the first time anyone but myself has cleaned the house and I am super excited about it. JB and I have discussed it and if I am pleased with their work, I might get them to come back a few times in November/December just to take the responsibility of the housework off my plate while I learn to balance Wy and Baby Girl.

Preparations and decisions being made: Same as the last time....Still no name and below is my picture confessional of what the nursery looks like right now.  I was hesitant to even disclose the state of it (I promise it is not reflective of what any other room in the house looks like and is SO unlike me but it has become the dump room for items that have no "home"). 

I should note that the cleaning crew will not be allowed to see this room and also some items will be going back into the two newly remodeled bathrooms once they are cleaned tomorrow....but that only accounts for some of the stuff :(

I think being open and honest will bring me a little bit more motivation (and probably give my poor Mom a heartattack).  Sorry Mom - don't drive up here the minute you see this - I promise we will get it cleaned out and you can help make it pretty with me soon!  To remind everyone who was not around, I am a very organized person but need a swift kick in the butt to make decisions on decor and actually get things hung on the walls - last time my mom provided that for Wyatt's room.  What would I do without Nana the Amazing?!!?

Monday, August 8, 2011

If you are good at the grocery store....

.....your Mommy will sometimes run thru Einsten Bros and get you mini chocolate chip cookies for you to eat when you get home.

And they are......




Friday, August 5, 2011


Okay, so I am a little bit behind the curve on this....I know a lot of my friends have already signed up for but I got on it yesterday and now I am OBSESSED. 

I was thinking about how useful it was going to be in getting all my random ideas to one place about finishing up the decor in my house, but my friend, Courtney, was telling me she uses it for saving recipes she wants to try to one place, so now I am going to use it for that too.

It is amazing and fun - get your own account and click on the link at the top of my index column to be my friend/follower!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wyatt's First Mega Bloks Tower

We bought Wyatt some mega bloks a while back, but then started the remodel and they were never opened.  I brought them out for him today to play with, while I continue organizing and moving us into the new office space (nothing like whipping out a new toy when you need to get something done).  Also a shout out to Mega Bloks for a great product!!

I sat down with him for the first few minutes to show him how to push them down on one another.  As you can see, he got lazy (or perhaps he was trying to be artistic) at the end having them loose and leaning. 

Because I am the Mommy, I was pretty impressed with how organized and structural it is.  We are thinking Wyatt is going to be an engineer with how he is always trying to figure out how things work and is never satisfied if things are situated just right.

Note, the flash didn't go off but I couldn't get another pic b/c Wy now "understands" the camera.  He will say CHEESE for a second but then runs to you b/c he wants to see the picture you took.

Suzy Homemaker

I am by no means the most organized or put-together person. But I am a huge advocate for efficiency.  I would strive to find ways to be efficient in my old career in the business world and now in my job of running my household and raising babies, I strive to have that same constant movement toward efficiency.

I have learned some "tricks" to making my week go smoother and at the same time being able to take care of my family with greater ease and more joy.  So, I am starting a new "label line" of posts that will be classified as Suzy Homemaker (I wanted a more creative tag like mom-ficiency but I'll just continue to work on that). 

I hope someone can use these tips to help them simplify their life and have a more efficient household, whatever that dynamic might be...babies, hubby or just you and your pet fish.  I also hope my readers will send me tips to help me be more efficient and I can pass them on!

I am always looking for anything that saves me time, hassle and money, while better caring for my family and household!  I especially need more tips now that Baby Girl will be arriving in just 2 1/2 months!

My first Suzy Homemaker post was earlier this week with Shot of Vinegar, look for many more to come!!

Oh, and no worries--there will be no How-To's on extreme couponing....I am not THAT efficient. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Shot of Vinegar

Do you have nasty residue on the inside of your dishwasher?  Do you have nasty residue on your glasses? 


I have a stainless steel dishwasher and the inside really shows that nasty white residue. I tried changing detergents and using different rinse agents but nothing was helping.  I had read you can pour a bunch of vinegar in the bottom and run an empty load and that helps, but then my sister, Tracy, told me she puts a shot glass full of vinegar in her utensil basket when she runs her dishwasher and that takes out the residue in the dishwasher and on your dishes. 

So I tried it.  It doesn't get rid of all the residue in the dishwasher immediately (because mine was pretty nasty), but after about 5 times of doing it - NO RESIDUE!  And my glasses look clearer than ever!

I always have vinegar on hand, if you don't, start keeping it around.  It has many uses - I'll blog about more later!

I used White Distilled Vinegar.
 It doesn't smell up your dishes (something I wondered when I first did it)!  I wish I would have taken before and after pics.