Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hearth & Garden Beans {Boogie's recipe}

Back in 1976....4 years before I stormed into the world...my mom, dad and sister lived Panama City Beach, Florida on Thomas Drive. Lucky dogs.
There was a restaurant at the time called Hearth & Garden that was also on Thomas Dr. and my mom loved the beans they had on the menu.

She tasted and tried out many recipes trying to find the perfect match to the beans at Hearth & Garden until she figured it out and those beans became a regular addition to the dinner table. These beans are like many basic baked beans recipes but there might be some ingredients that others don't use. You can never have too many baked beans recipes.

These are perfect to bake and take to a BBQ!

You could double and triple this recipe to your heart's content and feed an army.

And why not throw these babies in the slow cooker and cook them on low while you're out and about?

I called my mom {aka Boogie} for the recipe today and she cooks like I do....or rather I cook like she does....measurements are loose and there is a lot of "taste and see" involved. So, for those of you who like exact measurements (which I imagine is most of the cooking world) I will do my best to estimate correctly and for those little bit of this, little bit of that, a splash here, a sprinkle there kind of cooks like myself....go for it! You can not screw up this recipe!

I mean, I'm sure it's possible...I've screwed up many but this is pretty cut and dry.

You can mix and match the beans with whatever you like. My mom used pork and beans and kidney beans. I used Busch's baked beans and kidney beans. I would imagine any beans would work and a lighter bean would be a pretty contrast if you were bringing to a pot luck.

As with the beans, you can mix and match the meats as well. We had a 2.5 lb. package of lean ground beef in the fridge as well as a pound of Owen's breakfast sausage so I just split them both in half and browned them together. One pound of ground beef would work fine. Throwing in Italian sausage would be pretty good too.

What I absolutely love about this recipe is that you will probably have most of these ingredients on hand and if you don't, a substitution wouldn't be hard to figure out. A lifesaver for me: keeping my freezer stocked with diced onions. Just go ahead and dice them up after you buy them, throw them in a freezer bag and you're prepared!

Hearth & Garden Beans

Hearth & Garden Beans 
{adapted from Boogie's special recipe}

1 large can baked beans
1 small can baked beans
1 large can red kidney beans (rinsed and drained well)
1.5 lb. lean ground beef
.5 lb breakfast sausage (Owen's, Jimmy Dean, etc.)
1 onion-diced (I used a Vidalia that I grabbed while we were on vacation)
2 T. ketchup
1 T. (or so) yellow mustard
2 splashes Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
2 heaping T. brown sugar
1 T. BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 Bell pepper, diced (optional, I left out)
2 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

Spray a 9x13 pan with olive oil Pam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown ground beef and sausage, add onions towards the end of browning and cook until onions are translucent.

While meat is browning, in a large bowl, combine all other ingredients and stir until everything is mixed in.

After bean mixture is combined, add the meat and onions to the beans. Stir.

Pour into 9x13 pan and bake for 25 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Like I said, the recipe is forgiving, just check the beans and when they are bubbly and look warmed throughout, they are ready.

Serve alongside salad for a complete meal. Or do what I did tonight and pair with the ever-so-healthy buttermilk biscuits....whatever floats your boat, man.


I never claimed to be a food photographer...

Friday, May 9, 2014

The moments that made me a mom....

Those moments of pure exhaustion when sleeping while sitting up and nursing a baby at the same time was completely natural...

The times I felt my heart basically crumble in my chest when another kid was mean to you...

Feeling the tears well up and the grin spread across my face when you would look at me and smile that gummy smile....

How velvety soft your skin was....

The smell of your freshly bathed head that was probably smelled a million times...

Your contagious giggle when we would sing James Brown songs after the ABC's during bath time...

Every wrinkle on the bottom of your feet that I'm absolutely sure I had memorized by touching them so much...

Your favorite songs that I would memorize to keep you happy...

The lightbulb moment when you learned how to write your name...

Special toys you would tuck close to you during naptime...

The rainboots you wore with every outfit to go ANYwhere...

Those two front teeth that came in weeks apart from each other giving you a cartoonish look...

Hearing the word Mama and crying...

Watching you play a sport you love....

Feeling the swell of pride as you stand up for yourself or others...

How small your chubby hands were in mine....

The way you hid behind my legs until about age 5...

Every single, darn class party ever invented...

The first time you got sick...

Putting you on my feet and lifting you up in the air for what felt like hours at a time...

The first diaper blowout...

When you would fall asleep at your highchair during dinner...

Your obsession with rolie polies....

Chubby cheeks that were kissed over and over and over again...

The eyebrows....

Hugs so tight....

Rough nights standing outside your door praying and hoping without hope that you would someday love to sleep through the night...

The eyelashes that swept your cheeks when you were asleep...

Open mouthed toddler kisses....

Potty training madness....

Field trips...

Heart stopping emergencies that I didn't see coming...

Having to make friends with your classmate's parents...

Frog catching.....

Thousands of tea parties with lots of Goldfish and marshmallows...

Your first fish...

Your first dead fish...

Bedtime stories...

Growth spurts...


Loving you beyond your temper tantrum...

The first time you stood in front of the ocean...

Your first movie...

Snack plates...

First days of school....

Last days of school, complete with shaving cream...


Realizing that the stories of mothers lifting cars off of their children is a completely plausible happening...

Painting your toenails for the first time...



The sigh in your sleep...

The way you dig your feet under my legs when you sneak into my bed...

Freckles sprinkled across sunkissed faces...

Knowing when to walk away before I flipped my lid...

When I didn't walk away....

That first flutter of giant butterflies in my belly...

Feeling helpless when you cried after being fed, changed and rocked forever...

Making your first doctor appointment and referring to you as "my son"...

Walks around the block....

Watching you grow up and knowing you are destined for greatness in such a real way...

Your school programs...

Fighting for you with an intensity I have never felt before...

Wanting you to succeed even if that means a college far away from me...

Because I said so....

Crying at Hallmark commercials and finally getting why mom did...

Loving you enough to let you hate me for awhile...

Showers that were spent playing peek-a-boo around the shower curtain while you were in your bouncy chair...

Naps where I just couldn't bring myself to lay you down...

The nightgowns...

The baby lotion....

Pride in your accomplishments....

Tooth fairy visits...

Christmas Eve...


The telltale sign of a mother--- the feeling I'm just not getting it right...

I couldn't possibly put into words all of the moments that I feel created this mother creature I have become.
My life was not just changed by these three kiddos...my life was transformed.
The gut feelings, the tears that come from nowhere, the feeling of failure, the uncontrollable love and emotion, the mama bear instinct, the need to be completely away from them and then the intense need to be in every room they are in...I'm a mom.

To my three little birds...thank you for giving me the gift of being your mom.
Always remember how much I love you.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

That Mom....

Well, yesterday turned out to be the day that I was That Mom. 

Oh, you know her.

She doesn't come to the school assemblies.
Her kids don't have the supplies they need to make a picture frame out of recycled material.
The one who lost her car rider line name tag for one of the kids....after a mere two weeks of school.
The flighty one who laughs too loud and says things without an edit button at inopportune times.

That would be me, folks. 

Every nine weeks, our elementary school has what is known as a Wildcatter Extravaganza. It is only for the 3-6th graders because I guess the little kids aren't worthy of the praise and awards they would really be stoked about unlike those too cool 6th graders who could give a rat's bum. The awards presented are basically Honor Roll awards, Perfect Attendance....you know the drill. 
Well, let me just say that through the first two years of this whole Extravaganza...I assumed it was an in school celebration/brouhaha....like a pep rally for grades. And I also assumed that means that parents did not attend.

Well, that is where I was wrong.

Parents come.

And I wasn't one of them. 

Luckily, my kids understood and didn't really mind.
Of course, this could just be their way of letting me off the hook and then sending me their therapy bills later on down the road.
But what really gets my goat is that I'm wondering what the other parents think. What is wrong with me?! Who cares what they think??

This is my daughter's last year in elementary school.

Last. Year. 

Then she moves on to the God forsaken place known as Junior High.  You know when you read that a shiver went through your body. And if junior high was a piece of cake to you may be the first to pin a rose on your nose. Like literally....pin a rose on your nose.

Junior High is all pimples and mean girls and more classes and different lunches from your friends and riding the bus which is a special kind of hell. 

But back on track......

I was going to attend all of the Wildcatter Extravaganzas this year because after that, there will be no more. 
Of course, there will still be End of the Year awards and such but nothing as fluffy and happy as an EXTRAVAGANZA.

I have not been to one! 

I have missed three of these award assemblies already.

Slacker mom alert. Slacker mom alert.

I always tell myself on Friday, after seeing the super helpful reminder post from the school on their Facebook page, that I will be there Monday. Very important. Do no forget. 

And then Monday rolls around.

Monday with all of it's hot coffee, therapeutic laundry folding, quiet house......

And I forget!!!

My brain is literally mush for some reason.

Do you want to know how I remembered.

Facebook. Stupid Facebook. Because the parents who actually make it a point to remember these things get to post pictures of their children winning these wonderful awards. And then I gasped and about dropped my coffee and then......I cried. Because I felt like an awful mother. And then my best friend sent me pictures of my sweet daughter receiving her awards because she is so stinking smart.....I felt like a failure.

So, I come to terms with the fact that I have messed up big time, again. And I move on with my day.

I sit down at the computer to pull up a recipe for dinner and guess what I find?

The paper from Griff's Science teacher showing examples of all of the fun materials we can send to class for them to make a picture frame using all recycled or reclaimed materials!
Guess what the deadline was for those materials.
Yep. Monday. 
I quickly checked his schedule on the fridge to see when his science class was.
Hours ago. That's when. 

I went into panic mode. Which always involves cleaning for some reason. So I clean my bedroom. I clean out my dresser, ridding it of pajamas and crap that has been sitting in there for way too long. I cleaned off the dust magnet known as the top of the dresser where I collected all of the buttons I could find and squirreled them away in a glass jar....JUST in case his class decided to do the actual project on Tuesday and she was just giving that deadline because parents can be slackers. But never me. :/ 

After cleaning the entire room and dusting everything in sight, I then went on to bake cookies so the kids would have nice, warm, chocolate chip cookies when they got home from school. You know, because if your mom is going to be super crappy....it would be great if she could at least make you cookies. 

I drove on to the car rider line...with my one sad name tag in the window because I lost Griffin's early on....we've gone over this.....I'm over the shame.

When Griffin gets in, I ask him how his day was. Rhys luckily stayed after school for art practice with my best friend who happens to teach there...and she even took her to get a milkshake and fries afterwards...therefore helping me without knowing it. 
I ask Griffin if they did their picture frame project today.....I'm hoping and praying he says No.
Once again, I am wrong. 
They totally did it. 
I tell him I'm so sorry, that it totally slipped my mind this weekend to get his stuff together for the project. He assures me it's okay and acts like it's no big deal. I tell him, trying to save grace, that I found a bunch of buttons because I was hoping that you wouldn't be doing the project until the next day. He tells me again that it's fine. That I can just save it for next year or even for the next kid...which leads to a whole conversation about him wanting a little brother he can pick on....not happening.
When we get home I basically trip over him trying to Vanna White the cookies I made for their after school snack.
Once again, he's unfazed.
I always make cookies.
But he's happy.
As he always is after school.
Although,  I totally asked if other kids forgot their supplies too....and he answered with "Yeah, a LOT of us."...and I silently sighed and felt like not such a horrible mother....because I'm not the ONLY ONE!
Not all of us are perfect 100% of the time. And if you are....you are a big, fat, stinking liar. 
Sorry, that was harsh. 
But for real! 

I guess maybe it wasn't such a big deal I forgot the supplies. How many times have I sent extra supplies? So, why does it bother me that Griff needed to use the "extras"?
Or maybe Rhys isn't permanently scarred because I blanked and didn't come to the assembly.
I'm a dang good mama.

I make sure my kids grow up in a happy home.
We laugh.
We eat good food.
We make fun of ourselves and each other.
We adore our dogs like they are little people.
We love music.
We love each other fiercely.

So, just to let you know.....I'm with you.

Sometimes, we really screw up.

And sometimes, we just are normal and forget things. 

Or maybe we buy our children's approval with homemade chocolate chip cookies....you know...whatever your vice is. Own it. 

You are loved, man.

Sometimes, it's nice to hear that you're normal. 

Will your kids remember family game nights, snuggling on the couch watching movies together, impromptu date nights, popcorn and apples for dinner....yes! Of course, they will.

Will they remember the one time you mess up out of the hundreds of amazing things you are purposeful and do with them throughout  their childhood? No.

Breathe, Mama.

This too shall pass. 

And I leave you with this....we are all That Mom eventually. Heck, depending on the town you're in...maybe you're always That Mom. 
The most important thing is that you are the mom God intended you to be for the kids He gave you. You might be a little nutty....like me.
You may be super Type A personality but living in a laid back city...not me.
You just might be the mom who makes it to everything because you actually write things down and remember them.....and if you are that mom I would really appreciate a post it note my way, my friend.

Here's to moms of all kinds.....may our children be happy, our homes in a little bit of disarray and laughter forever in our hearts....you are enough.

It's funny...because it's true. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Where are the flying cars we were promised?

It is now officially 2014.

Way back in 80's....I was promised by a certain cartoon that we would have flying cars and most definitely be living in outer space by now.
And what year did Michael J. Fox ride his super fly hover board? 2015? I'm thinking we're out of luck.

So, I know that everyone usually has wonderful resolutions they're working like heck to make a reality....get in better shape, more sleep, less carbs (pshhh...), traveling more, yelling less, yada, yada, yada...

I have a few myself. But we won't call them resolutions because that just makes me feel pressured and that will basically put it in writing that I will NOT get any of it accomplished.  

We'll just call them, Things I Would Like to Get Done When Possible...But No Pressure.

1. Take more pictures. But not with my phone.
Yes, it is extremely handy. And yes, my Galaxy took pretty darn good pictures until I updated and now they're just mediocre. Update = not as good as before...only in tech world. But I have a wonderful Canon that takes beautiful pictures. I just need to sit down and research (Google and YouTube will be my friends) ways to take better pictures. Pictures I will be proud to order actual prints of....which leads us to....

2. Order more pictures and put in albums.
I'm not talking scrapbooking. I'm talking about plain old photo albums. While at my grandfather's, I make sure to make at least one night there a night of album admiring. Looking through all of the old pictures I know by  memory but still loving every second. I want my kids to be able to do the same thing.

3. Yoga.
This time, I mean it. Honest.
A class? No thank you. I'll keep my awkward moments to myself.

4. Quit slacking on the style.
As I type this, I am wearing an oversize sweatshirt and skinny jeans....only because they make the oversize sweatshirt look not as huge as it is and because they are so soft they feel like leggings.
Stay at Home Mom Syndrome (SAHMS) is a sad but debilitating disease....you want to get out of your leggings/yoga pants/sweats/boyfriend jeans that feel like pj's and t shirt...you really do...but it's just so hard!
I've already attempted to wear lipstick a little more than my standard Burt's Bees lip balm...but then I can't wear lipstick without mascara...and you can't wear mascara without a little bit of blush...and I'm all gussied up with nowhere to go. Lipstick is a gateway, people.
But, I digress...I should attempt to dress up a little more and wear my scant amount of makeup more often. Not for anyone else, but for myself.

5. Hit the sack before midnight.
I am a major night owl. I don't mind the mornings. Mornings mean coffee and who doesn't like that?! But I can't seem to fall asleep before midnight. Which could quite possibly be the meaning behind my sad, puffy eyes.
I tell myself I'll read just one more chapter of my book and then an hour later I'm still reading! I need the sleep. I need to not look like a basset hound.

6. Enjoy my friends more.
I rarely get together with friends. We all have kids, and husbands and schedules packed with sports and jobs and church and life.....
But I would love to make it a point to get together with some friends once a month. Whether here at my crazy casa or out for dinner.
A potluck meal with friends sounds dreamy.

7. Read more to my youngest.
When you're the baby of the family there are lots and lots of perks. You are allowed to get away with a lot more than your siblings because you're just so darn cute or maybe even because your parents have gone through it twice already and decided that this is the battle they don't want to pick anymore.
But you also have some downfalls....sometimes the simple things like-- your mom reading to you before bed take a back burner to the rest of the daily grind. With three kiddos and the large age gap, it's really easy for me to be distracted or busy at bedtime. I'm embarrassed to admit that I read as much as I could at bedtime with our two oldest but with G we have things going on later in the afternoon and through the evening and he hasn't had near as much one on one reading time with me as they did. It's been more so since he hit about 5 and his activities started mixing in on the weeknights as well. But I want to make it a point to not just have him read his homework stories to me but for me to let him sit back and enjoy the luxury of having someone read to him...a lot more.

8. Write more.
It's good for the soul. I don't care of it's the blog, my journal, or one of the thousands of stories I have running through my brain.

There is so much that I would love to accomplish or start to do more regularly.
What do you have one your list for this year??

PS: Snapped a few pics of Tyler last week at his first soccer scrimmage for the high school! He looks way too old in these. My heart....broken.

2nd picture is a fun mystery.....is he doing butt squeezes? Is he now performing The  Riverdance (thanks to my childhood friend on Facebook for that one)? Is he waiting to head the ball? Nutcracker practice? Just a few guesses.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Easy Weekend Eats

The past few weeks have been a blur of school, homework, football games, soccer practices, soccer games, breakfasts, lunches and plenty of dinners.
Isn't this what every parent feels like when school is in session?
Dinner is really important to me. Even though our kids are getting older and sometimes our teenager would rather be in the living room playing Xbox while shoveling food in his mouth, it's important to me that we all eat as a family as much as possible.
It might not be perfect (far from it), it might not be candlelight and an episode of The Voice might just be blaring in the background. BUT, we are together. At the table. Enjoying food. Having discussions. And being a family.
This is the glue.
Weekends can get a little willy nilly on the family dinner front.
After cooking every day of the week the weekends are pretty loose. Sometimes we even have apples and popcorn for dinner! Pick your jaws up, Supermoms. It's okay to be an appetizer mom every once in awhile.

Have any of you ever seen the movie Mermaids with Cher and Winona Ryder? It is one of my favorites and Cher's character made ONLY appetizers for every meal. I kind of loved it.

This weekend I decided to break out the Frigo Cheeseheads String Cheese that Saputo so graciously sent me a while back. We are a cheese loving family.
Who's not?!
Well, I guess lactose intolerant people.
I apologize for my unabashed love for cheese.
I've always loved string cheese too.

Little known (embarrassing) fact: my mom used to limit my intake of string cheese because I obviously have an addictive personality and might have become a tad bit attached to the stringy goodness.

My kiddos love string cheese and especially Frigo Cheeseheads. Especially my picky eater. He loves things he can reach in the fridge and grab on his own because he eats a lot. But he doesn't eat a lot of different things. String cheese would be one of the foods he grabs and munches pretty frequently. The fit perfectly in lunch boxes and we love a good fruit and cheese lunch around these parts. Toss in slices of apples (sprinkled with lemon juice--a brown apple is a big turn off to kids) and a few string cheese along some Goldfish and a juice box. Perfect lunch. And they'll actually eat it all! I also like to take string cheese with us to T's football games. The perfectly portable snack.

It was rainy here all weekend. Which means the store is not somewhere I wanted to go. I wanted to be on my couch, watching movies and basking in the glow of doing nothing.
I have children...so all of THAT would be impossible. But, I was able to finagle myself out of going to the grocery store by digging in the fridge and pantry and finding enough goodies to throw together for dinner.

Here is what I dug up:




 A jar o' marinara
Garlic Powder
Turkey Pepperoni
Frigo Cheeseheads string cheese
Can o' biscuits

Would I have rather have had pizza crust?? Heck to the yes. But the recipe I use for homemade pizza crust takes a few hours to rise and we didn't have time for that.
Or I was too lazy to do it when we did have time.

But the biscuits worked in a pinch. I try to keep one can in the fridge for situations like this. They are pretty handy. You can make donuts, mini pizzas, dumplings...you name it. I prefer my dough from scratch but this definitely works.

Next I scrounged up a recipe. Well, I searched my Pinterest boards. And I found a recipe for Pizza Balls.
I have boys so the mere mention of the word 'balls' tends to cause laughter but that's okay. These balls are worth it.
Hee hee

You can find the recipe over at A Kitchen Muse.

Next, I cut a handful of string cheese in half...realized that was way too big and chopped them into fourths and fifths. This isn't rocket science. Just chop the cheese into pieces.

Then flatten your biscuits with your hand where they resemble an itty bitty pizza crust.
You could definitely just use pieces of pizza dough here as well.

Top the biscuit with pepperoni and cheese and whatever else you like on your pizza. You can't fit a ton in the little babies but you can try!

The fold everything in and create a little pizza ball. Spray your baking pan. Line them up in a row.

Next I sprinkled oregano, basil and garlic powder over the top.


 Then I popped them in a 350 oven for about 20-25 minutes....and this happened.


 Golden, toasty, melt-y yummy pizza goodness.
I served ours with a side of warm marinara in a little dipping bowl.

The kids loved it.

R was the first to try and her face tells you the rest.




 Perfect late afternoon snack/early dinner to kick off the weekend.
G told me he would love these in his lunchbox. We could make that happen too. A thermos filled with pizza balls. Perfect.

Grab some Frigo Cheeseheads String Cheese and see what you can come up with!! And come back and let me know! I'm always looking for fun recipes to share with the family.



 Head over to Frigo's Facebook page to keep up with deals, events, SWEEPSTAKES and recipe ideas.


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