Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quiet Saturday

Now that I'm working I find myself looking forward to the weekend more than I did before.  I am going to use my Saturdays as a baking day for the upcoming week.  Today my wonderful husband surprised me with some goodies.

There is an Amish family that sells some yummy goodies on Saturday in town.  So today my husband picked me up some jam and an Amish cookbook.  What I love about this cookbook is that it is authentic Amish cooking.  The recipes read with words like "moderate oven" and many of them just have an ingredient list.  I'm so thankful I grew up watching my grandmother cook.  She often just threw this and that in a bowl and turned out delicious food. 

So today I spent in the kitchen making 2 batches of banana muffins.  One batch had raisins in it.  I also made blueberry muffins.  The first attempt I used the ingredients just as listed.  They tasted good but were more like a bread muffin.

The above picture is the first batch of blueberry muffins.  I will be posting the recipes later this week.  There was no oil in this batch, just milk.  I think the reason they turned out the way they did was because of how processed our milk is.  I'm sure the Amish milk has a lot of cream in it still.

Now the banana muffins was actually a banana bread recipe.  I just made muffins instead of bread.  Delicious!!

Last night I surprised my husband with this Boston Cream cake.  I will be posting this recipe later this week as well.  It is so good.....and very easy to make! 

This is the second batch of blueberry muffins I made.  Instead of vanilla extract I added lemon extract.  These are my favorite ones.  The doily under the muffin was a lovely gift made by my sweet friend Sandra.  I absolutely love it!  I have a larger one in the kitchen under my candle.  She is so talented with crochet.  So how has your Saturday been? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taco Lasagna

I have the week off so I'm planning on cooking up a storm.  That is one thing I've missed since starting my job was cooking for my family.  We feel like just a bunch of ships passing in the night.  Hardly being able to spend time together.  So today I made Taco Lasagna. 

Taco Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning (Or one envelope of store bought)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1 container cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
1 egg
1 quart crushed tomatoes
2 jars taco sauce (I used Old El Paso Roasted Garlic and Chili Sauce)
1 box lasagna noodles (I use Barilla thin sheets)

Cook the ground meat with the onions until no longer pink.  Add the taco seasoning and stir until well combined.

In a small bowl mix the cottage cheese with the egg.  In a separate bowl mix the crushed tomatoes and taco sauce together. 

In a greased 9x13 pan place a small amount of the tomato mixture in the bottom.  Place a layer of noodles, then cottage cheese, next add meat, then cheese, finally tomato mixture.  Repeat these layers until you have used up all the ingredients.  Finish with a layer of noodles and sauce.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. 

This was SO good.  I really have missed cooking and sharing recipes with all of you.  This could even be done with egg noodles.  We tried it with flour tortillas.  It was good but the tortillas became very doughy.   That wasn't very appetizing to my family.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The County Fair

There is nothing like the smell of fried dough in the air.  It seems they will fry anything today.  There was one stand that had fried Twinkies, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies and even pickles.  But not all fair food is fried.  My husband and I had the BEST smoked chicken, salt potatoes and cornbread we have ever had.  Sadly, we were too busy enjoying it and I forgot to get a picture of it.  Our daughters had a bloomin' onion and a delicious grilled pizza.  We try to support the local families at the fair as opposed to the ones operated by the company that brings in the rides.

We spent Friday evening and almost all day Saturday at the fair.  I heard so many people complaining that the fair was so much smaller than it had been in the past.  But that is just what my husband and I loved about it most.  There was more of a small town feel with it. 

Friday night we watched the tractor pulls.  The only thing missing from this evening was our son Andrew.  He sadly had to work.

Pulling in this was everything from first time youngsters on farm tractors to semi-pro on very fancy tractors.  Just a bunch of good ol' country boys...and women.  Yes there were many women who pulled.

We really had a lot of fun watching this.  One of my husband's friends from high school was pulling in this heat.  Being able to catch up with classmates is another thing I love about a small town fair.  It is being able to see all of the families out having good clean fun is great!

Best of all was sitting in the stands with my family while we laughed and joked with each other.  The girls went off and were able to ride some rides.  Andrew would like to get involved in tractor or truck pulling.  So that would be something! Haha!

It was really amazing at how much power they can fit into these tractors.  I just loved getting out there taking pictures.  Usually I try to capture everything.  But I found myself just enjoying the day and not really taking as many pictures as usual.  I only took a thousand pictures this weekend. {wink wink}Don't worry I won't post that many. 

Saturday we headed back to the grounds for another fun filled day.

First off was the miniature horse pulls.  I was simply amazed at how strong these little horses were.  Watching the two people walk behind them struggling to keep them going.

I would love a pair of these very beautiful minis.  But then again I've always loved all horses.

How beautiful are these horses??  We were also treated with a work horse show. 

These are work horses.  I honestly could have stayed right there watching them all day long.  But alas the end of the fair came just as fast as it began.  The fair always ends with an impressive demolition derby.  This event always draws a crowd.  It almost seems like the whole county comes out. 

This event is said to be the largest in our part of the state.   We sat with a family that drove over an hour just for this.  Wow!  Andrew was so thrilled to be working his first demolition derby with the fire department.

One of our fire department's past chiefs passed away suddenly last week.  So neighboring departments came over to help out.  This truck above is our fire department's truck.

Such a great group of men to train up the next generation on the ins and outs of fire fighting.  We are so blessed.

My boy setting up the hoses.  I know I've said this before but he just loves being in the fire department!!  I cannot believe he has been in almost a year already.  But then again he has been talking about this since he was three!

Ready, set, GO! 

Really amazes me what these guys put themselves through.  They really are a bunch of crazy guys!

Mud, rocks and car parts were just flying through the air.  It was crazy but exciting.  I was a nervous wreck (no pun intended hahaha) each time there was a fire knowing my son was down there helping to put it out. 

I love love love this picture.  It shows each one of the departments represented.  No matter what happens they all pull together to help each other out.  It really is a brotherhood unlike no other.

THIS was one of the most terrifying moments of the whole evening!!  The driver was not hurt at all.  My son is the blue helmet in the middle.  As a former fire fighter I know he is well trained and would not be placed in harms way.  BUT as a mom I was ready to run down there and jump on my son to cover him from the fire.  I'm sure that would have gone over well with him.  After the fire was extinguished the driver jumped back in and started the car back up and away he went.

It was an amazing weekend!  We had so much fun.  I really do cherish these moments with my family.  I know these days will soon be over.