Sisters and Friends – Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

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I know that I have mentioned my sister several times.  She is not just a sister.  She is one of my best friends, my neighbor, our school nurse, and a wonderful aunt to my littles.  She is great at everything that she attempts.  And, yes, that includes cooking.

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I actually called her the other day to see if she wanted to just hang up her nursing shoes and open up a cafe with me.  But, then I thought of my littles and how sad they would be if she was not at the school every day, and I said, “Never mind.”  Sometimes it is hard to be selfless.  :)

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We had Thanksgiving with my sister this year.  She and Todd always put together an amazing feast.  When we tried  Paula Deen’s Green Bean Casserole that Darla had prepared, we declared that it was the best that we had ever had.  Seriously.  I know that there are a ton of green bean casserole recipes out there.  This one, in my opinion, surpasses them all.  Simply delicious.  I had to get a picture of it right then and there because I told my sister that this recipe was too good not to share.

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As a matter-a-fact, I kind of see my sister the exact same way.  Share her I must….because, she truly is so good that it would be a shame not to share her joy, talents, and natural abilities with others, especially when those others come in the form of sweet children, like my own precious littles.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

This is Paula Deen's Green Bean Casserole, and it is truly delicious.

Ingredients

Green Been Casserole

1/3 stick butter

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups sliced green beans

3 cups chicken broth

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings

Pinch House Seasoning

1 cup grated Cheddar

House Seasoning

1 cup salt

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet.
  3. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter.
  4. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain.
  5. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture, and stir well.
  6. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.
  9. House Seasoning:
  10. Mix together salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
  11. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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Indulgence – Recipe: Cranberry Bruschetta

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Happy 1st day of December!

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I have been busily preparing everything for Advent and Christmas, trying my best to get everything done so that I can just rest, relax, and enjoy the season with my family.  But, at the same time, I have already been trying to just sit back and breathe in the days a little more.  Because of the memories and moments that we try to create, I believe that my littles will always cherish the holidays, but I also know that they will experience it through different eyes as they get older.  So, for now, I am just enjoying every second of experiencing it all through their eyes, enjoying the innocence and beauty of it all as we answer questions like, “What if Santa won’t fit down the chimney this year?”

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My littles became even more attached over the Thanksgiving break, with all of them experiencing some separation anxiety.  As a mom, I am always conflicted between just enjoying these moments of having my babies really, truly need me and wanting them to be independent.  Honestly, though, loving the extra cuddles, hugs, and playtime inevitably wins out.  There is time for independence later.  Right?  I love that they want to play games with us, sit beside us during movie night, and ask to be tucked in extra tight each night.  It is the moments that I cherish, and if we are keeping them young and innocent just a little bit longer by allowing them to cling to us just a little bit longer, I am okay with that.

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Another thing that I am okay with is all of the food that I allow my littles to consume during December.  There is a time and a season for all things, and I believe that there is really no better time to indulge in old, new, simple, or complex food than the holidays.

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This Cranberry Bruschetta provided a little bit of something for everyone.  Since I added jalapenos, we had sweet, tart, and spicy all combined into one delicious appetizer.  I also made some without the jalapenos and some with just bread.  It is the holidays, after all, so there is no better time to indulge…even if the indulgence comes in the form of allowing my littles to stay just that….little….for just a bit longer.

Cranberry Bruschetta

Cranberry Bruschetta

Ingredients

Cranberry Sauce

12 ounce bag of cranberries

3/4 cups orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Brushetta Toppings

2 loaves of baguettes, sliced into 1 inch slices

Olive oil

1 container of cream cheese

1 can of diced jalapenos or 1 fresh jalapeno, diced

Instructions

    Preparing the Cranberry Sauce
  1. Add the cranberries and orange juice to a sauce pan, and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the sugar, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Preparing the Bruschetta
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Brush olive oil onto each piece of bread.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  10. Spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese onto each piece of bread.
  11. Top with about 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce.
  12. Sprinkle with canned or fresh jalapenos, optional.
  13. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and serve warm.
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Enjoy your December!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Edgeware.

Ethan’s Progress Report

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Ethan has had a great week.  We all have.  I always think that we are at our best when we are all together.  That is how it is supposed to be.  So, in spite of coughs, some runny noses, and congestion, everyone is great. 

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So great, that we all somehow ended up in the master bedroom last night, sleeping until 9 am this morning.  I was awake listening to the peaceful sound of sleeping littles (and a dear husband), and I was just in total, complete love with my life.

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We had a wonderful thanksgiving.  My sister hosted, and we all took dessert, bread, and appetizers.  We had a great time.  And, the food was absolutely delicious.  I will definitely be sharing recipes in the coming weeks because some of the desserts and side dishes would be perfect for Christmas, too.

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We ended Thanksgiving by watching the Aggies play Texas.  Even though we lost, I was proud.  Proud to be a momma raising littles to know that we do not always win, but, sometimes, that is when you learn the greatest life lessons.  Losing may not seem fair and definitely is not fun, but it is a necessary part of life.  And, the best part of all?  We were all marooned out, and it made for some perfect photo opportunities.  Or…maybe even better than that was the fact that Ethan tried his best to entertain us during the most tense parts of the game.  And, he did a fantastic job of providing the much-needed comic relief.  That’s my boy!

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Ethan has his endoscopy on Monday morning at 8 am.  If all goes well, we will be home by noon.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  It is a quick, easy procedure, but we are a little anxious since he will have to have anesthesia for it.  I will feel much better when I see his smiling face and bright eyes.  His smile and eyes will certainly bring about world peace one day…yes, they truly are that powerful.  At least they are in the eyes of this proud momma.