<![CDATA[HomeEc@Home - The Home Economist]]>Sat, 13 Feb 2016 09:47:43 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Frito Chili Pie]]>Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:13:10 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/frito-chili-pieI am updating this recipe while my kids are enjoying their third snow day this week.   Hard to believe we moved South and are now on (I think) our eighth snow day since we moved here over Christmas break.  I am actually starting to loose track.  The roads are fine  where we live and we are close to town so an adventure this afternoon (like a 4-H meeting I read about in the paper) is not out of the question. There isn't much snow on the ground, although we had a lot, 6-7 inches a couple of weeks ago.  

Today we have less than an inch of snow on the patio in the shade and no snow in the yard.  The little bit we got last night has already melted in the sun this morning.  In my short experience in our new southern home it seems if snow falls, there is no school.  I guess they just don't have the resources to deal with snow and slick roads that we were used to in IL.  

​Well at least the boys are enjoying a few days of board games, play time, too much TV (The best way to spend snow days, when there is no snow on the ground to play with, right?), and they were all able to attend Ash Wednesday mass yesterday.   Today's play has included playing Leopard and building Leopard dens all over the house after watching a nature show on PBS.  Hopefully they will have school tomorrow.  They are so excited about their Valentine's Day  parties.  

On with the Frito Chili Pie because that is why you really came here today, not to hear about my snow day saga.  My first memory of Frito Chili Pie is from middle school, traveling to an away basketball game and being amazed at how good it was.  I had never had anything like it and thought it was the best concession food I had ever tasted.  

​We have been enjoying Frito Chili Pie for years.  In fact it is my favorite way to eat chili.  I prefer not to serve it in the tiny bags of fritos as some people do because I like Frito Chili Pie a LOT and I want a big bowl of it not a tiny bag.  It would also be way too messy for my kids and this is one of their favorite meals so we happily serve up big bowls of Frito Chili Pie in our house.  


This recipe has evolved somewhat since I first posted it about 5 years ago.  We have discovered we like adding more tomatoes and using less meat.  I use about 1 1/2  pounds of ground venison, but you could  use as little as one pound of meat if you wanted and it would still be amazing.  

1 1/2  pounds Ground beef or venison (I usually use venison)
2 to 3 cloves Garlic, Minced (optional)
1 can (12 To 15 oz) Tomato Sauce
1 can (10 oz) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chilies), I used mild.
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder or more to taste
1 can (14-15.5 ounce) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 can (14-15.5 ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1/4 cup Masa (corn Flour) Or Regular Corn Meal
1/2 cup Warm Water
Fritos style corn chips
Grated Cheese (Sharp cheddar or a Cheddar or Colby blend works well)
Diced Sweet Onion and Sour Cream if you like for serving

Preparation Instructions

Brown ground beef or venison with garlic in a pot over medium-high heat.  Add tomato sauce, Rotel, diced tomatoes, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add drained and rinsed beans. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Mix masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes.

First layer chips, then chili, then cheese in individual bowls to serve.  Top with diced onion and sour cream if you like.  Serve immediately.  Delicious! 
If you are interested in food photography or improving your own food photography skills, you might enjoy the difference in my old post photo circa 2011 compared with my new post photos.  
Most of what I have learned about improving my food photography, I learned from reading Tasty Food Photography (affiliate link) which was written by a hugely successful food blogger, Lindsay Olstrom.  
Tasty Food Photography eBook

​This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food bloggers, The Pioneer Woman.  
<![CDATA[How I am Rediscovering  Jesus this Lent]]>Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:07:35 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/how-i-am-rediscovering-jesus-this-lentOh how time flies.  I can't believe Fat Tuesday is already here and Ash Wednesday is well, the next day.  I am really looking forward to Lent this year.  In the past, I gave something up for lent except I always gave myself a pass when pregnant.  I love being pregnant and maybe I was selfish, but let's face it, your body goes through a LOT when you are pregnant and the last thing you want to do is deny yourself a bowl of ice cream at 2:00 am  when you can't sleep because your stomach is growling and your legs are cramping.  As far as I know, I am not expecting, but I am doing something different this year.  
I went to church with my Dad over the  Christmas Holidays and they were giving away copies of Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly.  I picked one up thinking I would enjoy it since I love Matthew Kelly and as I started to read it, I realized it was a Lenten study.  I put it aside and saved it for Lent and I am really excited to challenge myself and grow spiritually in my walk with God.  I have a Gratitude Journal that I haven't even written in and I thought I would spend some time each day both rediscovering Jesus and recognizing all for which I am thankful .  

This is from the back cover:
"...Matthew Kelly, once again, delivers a powerful book that encourages us in our weariness, challenges us in our comfort, and invites us to rediscover the beautiful possibilities God places before us daily." 

So instead of giving up chocolate this year, I'm reconnecting with Jesus.  

There is also a free program called Best Lent Ever that features daily two-minute videos that will take you through Rediscover Jesus chapter by chapter.  

You can also go to lentreflections.com to sign up for Bishop Robert Barron's free daily lent reflections.  (I saw this in the church bulletin this week)

Leave a comment if you have any resources to share for Lent or would just like to share what you are doing for Lent.  

Many blessings.
<![CDATA[Introducing the New Little Golden Books Collection at Gymboree and Enter to Win the One Big Happy Storytime Sweepstakes]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:33:04 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/introducing-the-new-little-golden-books-collection-at-gymboree-and-enter-to-win-the-one-big-happy-storytime-sweepstakesYou may or may not know this, but I have been a huge fan of Gymboree for years.  Ever since I had my first son I have shopped at Gymboree.  Their  clothes are charming and unique and really hold up.  I love their style and quality and will even buy their clothes from thrift stores because I know they will last (and they have to last through three boys in our house).  

So I would like to introduce you to Gymboree's new Little Golden Books baby collection and their One Big Happy Storytime sweepstakes.  

Gymboree celebrates One Big Happy Storytime with the launch of a limited-edition baby collection featuring iconic characters from Little Golden Books. The Poky Little Puppy, The Fuzzy Duckling and The Shy Little Kitten all come to life in cute, cozy, giftable clothing and accessory sets. 

​We love The Poky Little Puppy in our house.  It has been a favorite for as long as I can remember.  If I am reading it to my four year old, you can bet the older boys come and listen too.  These are a few of my favorites from the new Little Golden Books collection.  If I had to pick my very favorite it might be The Fuzzy Duckling onesie.  I love vintage artwork from Little Golden Books and this farm scene is beyond adorable.  

Shop the Little Golden Books Collection at Gymboree!

As part of the Little Golden Books baby collection launch, Gymboree is hosting a One Big Happy Storytime sweepstakes, giving away everything a family needs to make storytime extra special. You can enter for the chance to win over $2,000 in prizes, including Little Golden Books nursery bedding and décor from The Land of Nod, a set of Little Golden Books from Random House, and a $500 gift card from Gymboree.  To enter, visit  gymboree.com/littlegoldenbooks now through February 29; winners will be announced in March. 

Enter to Win the Little Golden Books Sweepstakes at Gymboree!

Disclosure:  Some links in this post are affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting Home Ec @ Home.  
<![CDATA[I'm so Excited to Share this with You!]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 03:25:57 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/im-so-excited-to-share-this-with-youI posted this on facebook a couple of days ago and I thought why not let everyone know on the blog too.  

I am so excited to share this. I just received the following email from Today.com. "Congrats! Your recently published post Coconut Oil Orange Chicken has been featured as one of the top posts. You’ll find it at the top of the challenge page for the next few days.
Share it with your fans and followers – you deserve to be recognized! The more views, votes and comments your posts get, the better!"
So not to sound desperate or anything, but view, vote and comment and I'll love ya forever!

I don't know how long it will be featured, but you can vote for it here.  http://community.today.com/foodclub/challenge/healthy-swaps

Thank you!

<![CDATA[Biscuits and Sausage Gravy]]>Thu, 04 Feb 2016 21:18:16 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/biscuits-and-sausage-gravyI have been making sausage gravy for the past 16 years.  My first year of teaching Family and Consumer Science one of my students shared with me how his Mama made sausage gravy.  I have been hooked ever since.  
In fact, we made sausage gravy in my food lab for years as part of my thickening unit.  Note to Family & Consumer Science teachers: I used a half recipe of sausage gravy for each kitchen in the food lab to cut down on expenses and food waste, although, I don't think much would have been wasted.  I let the students make full recipes of biscuits however, since the ingredients were so inexpensive and they enjoyed the extra biscuits with butter and jelly or honey.  

This is a great recipe for the classroom that teaches students how to thicken the sausage gravy using flour and it's really hard to mess up.  Students gain basic skills and a little confidence in the kitchen.  This would be a great recipe for homeschool life skills too.
I was blessed enough to teach on a block schedule for 9 of my 10 years teaching Family and Consumer Science.  If making homemade biscuits with students in the classroom, you will need the longer class period.  My classes were 1 1/2 hours long and that time is needed for instruction, to prepare the food, sit together and eat, clean the kitchens, and do a lab grade and cleaning inspection at the end of class.  If you teach FCS and do not have the luxury of blocked classes, I would suggest making the biscuit dough one day and having each kitchen package and label their dough to refrigerate overnight.  The following day they would roll out the dough then cut and bake their biscuits while cooking the sausage gravy.  

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and I hope you weren't too bored with all the FCS teacher suggestions.  I know I would have loved the advice when I began my teaching career so I thought I would pass along.  
​Sausage Gravy
1 lb. of your favorite sausage (I use Bob Evans original)
3 Tbsp. flour
Salt & pepper to taste
Biscuit Recipe

1.  Crumble and cook sausage in skillet until browned.
2.  If lots of excess grease remains in the skillet, you may need to drain off some grease at this point.  I never have to drain any excess grease when using Bob Evans sausage.  It gives just the right amount, but a less expensive sausage may leave more grease than you want.  Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. flour over the sausage and remaining grease in the skillet.  Stir to let the flour absorb the grease. 
3.  Next, pour milk over the sausage mixture until the sausage is almost covered.  Continue to stir and cook at a medium heat until thickened.
4.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Serve over freshly baked split biscuits

<![CDATA[Buttermilk Biscuits]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 20:21:45 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/buttermilk-biscuits
Is your mouth watering thinking of these delicious buttermilk biscuits just right for slathering butter, honey, jelly or even sausage gravy all over them?  
​If it is, you'll be glad to know these are really easy to make in just a few simple steps.  
First you'll bring your ingredients together to make a soft dough.  Let the butter sit out at room temperature for a while and it will be easy to blend into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender.  If you don't have time to let the butter soften, simply pop it in the microwave for a few seconds.  
Put the dough out on a lightly floured board and knead gently. 
Then roll the dough 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter.  If you can't find your biscuit cutter like me since we just moved, a glass will do.  
Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake until golden about 10 to 14 minutes. Then the best part...enjoy fresh warm homemade biscuits from your own oven!

Buttermilk Biscuits
4 C. sifted flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter softened
1 ½ C. buttermilk*
1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Sift then measure flour.  Add baking powder and salt.
3.  Cut butter into dry mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly.
4.  Add buttermilk and mix enough to make a soft dough.
5.  Gently knead dough on lightly floured board.
6.  Roll dough ½ to ¾ inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter. 
     Place on ungreased baking sheet.
7.  Bake 10 to 14 minutes until golden. 
​Makes 10 to 12 biscuits 
*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, pour about 2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice into your measuring cup then add milk until you have 1 ½ C. liquid.  Let stand a few minutes before using. 

Tasty Food Photography eBook
<![CDATA[​To the Mom Who Took a Mini-Vacation at Burger King Playland]]>Mon, 18 Jan 2016 05:30:02 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/to-the-mom-who-took-a-mini-vacation-at-burger-king-playland
You received a text last night…no school today.  Snow day !!!  At least that’s how your kids saw it.  You saw it more like snow day, right after the weekend!?!  Ok you didn’t have to get the kids up early and get them off to school.  But you think to yourself, what should we do on a cold day right after spending two days at home? 
Hmm…Morning chores, kids make beds and pick up hundreds of lego pieces off their bedroom floor.  You wonder how long the clean floor will last before you are stepping on lego landmines again.  Boys start some crafting projects, craft for a while, then you think...what should we do next? 
Boys are now running up and down the stairs and all around the house enjoying an adventurous game of chase.  As much fun as this is for the kids, you would much rather enjoy some peace and quiet.  Since the weather is keeping them inside, you decide a trip to Burger King playland might be relaxing for you and entertaining for the kids.  New to the area, your older kids have not been to the playland before and you know it will be exciting and new to them.  Also, you know you can bring your laptop and catch up on emails and blog work while the kids are happily playing which is a luxury since (new to the area) you don’t have internet yet. 
So off you go, bundling up to face the cold on your trek to Burger King playland. 
Upon arrival the kids settle in happily in the large enough, but cozy play room.  Decked out with a Wii console, a climbing tube play structure, a tv playing one of the Minions movies and a roomy seating area, you know this is going to be a good day. 
You order some food and the helpful employees bring it too you when it is ready.  You know you are here for the long haul so no pressure to make the kids eat right away.  You let them play and eat when they are hungry.  You know they will eat everything you have ordered and they do, during play breaks while watching the Minions movie. 
You open your lap top while casually eating french fries and begin to work.  It has been three days since you have checked your email.  It takes a while, but you get through it and even get some photo editing done.  You waste some time on facebook, but seriously it has been three days!!! 
You realize at one point that you have spent almost three hours at the Burger King playland and that you are now on a first name basis with a very friendly employee who may be a manager…you aren’t sure since you didn’t get a good look at her name tag.  She actually recognized you from your first visit the week before when you first discovered this magical place where you could actually put two thoughts together and concentrate on something for more than five minutes. 
Of course you can’t help but watch little bits and pieces of the Minions movie.  The minions are adorable and your kids are having so much fun laughing with the movie during their play breaks.  So you don’t get as much work done as you could, but you enjoy your time with your kids and accomplish more than you normally would.  You think to yourself, I can handle this.  Bring on the snow days!
You work hard, so enjoy it Mom, bask in the snow day paradise otherwise known as Burger King playland. 
Gymboree Sale On Now!
<![CDATA[Slow Cooker Potato Soup]]>Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:22:49 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/potato-soup1I have been making slow cooker potato soup for years and my family loves it.  Of course, my boys love anything with bacon, but this soup is yummy (even without the bacon).  It is buttery, brothy, warming and delicious.  
My favorite thing about this soup of course is that I make it in the slow cooker.  I love being prepared and having most of my kitchen work done before the boys come home from school.  It just makes my evening so much easier.
6 potatoes, cubed
1-2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1/2 lb. or more bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
salt to taste*
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cups half and half
chopped chives (optional)

1.  Combine all ingredients except milk and chives in crock pot.  I actually add half the bacon now and garnish with the remaining fresh crisped bacon at serving time.  
2.  Cover.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.  Stir in half and half during last hour.
3.  Garnish with chives and extra bacon if desired.

*If using homemade broth you may need more salt than you will with store bought broth.    

​Linking up at Share the Wealth, Create with Joy
Tasty Food Photography eBook
<![CDATA[Where I Have Been and a Family Update]]>Wed, 06 Jan 2016 19:48:39 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/where-i-have-been-and-a-family-update
It's hard to believe it has been almost a month since I posted here.  You were probably wondering if I did in fact fall off the face of the earth.  I haven't been able to blog because we moved over Christmas break.  Actually, my husband graduated with his PhD this fall and was hired as an Assistant Professor at a University in another state.  We were excited to move our family to our new college town, but could not do it in time for the boys to start school so I temporarily became a single Mom.  

​I am so glad to be back together as a family.  I learned a lot as a short term single Mom, but am glad I don't have to do it anymore.  And to all of you single Moms and Dads out there...WOW...you are amazing!  

So over break, we packed up all of our belongings and moved (happily further south, hoping for warmer weather) to our new beautiful and super friendly town.
We are temporarily renting an amazing house from the University while we search for the right home for our family.  Even though it's not permanent yet, we are so happy to be together.   
The boys on our Christmas morning in our new house.
We moved in about a day and a half before we celebrated our Christmas morning.  We quickly set up our vintage silver Christmas tree the day before.  
I have to share this because it is my favorite feature in our new home.  It is the coolest island ever.  In fact I would love to recreate it in another home someday.  
I love the rustic weathered look of the wood and the wide shelf underneath.
I love the concrete counter top of the island.  Isn't it beautiful!  I have been wanting to make some videos for a couple of recipes for a long time so if I can get my act together, you might just see this amazing counter top at work.  

<![CDATA[How to Make Magic Reindeer Food for Santa's Reindeer]]>Thu, 10 Dec 2015 19:40:42 GMThttp://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/magic-reindeer-food-for-santas-reindeerExperience the the magic of Christmas with your children by preparing for Santa's Reindeer.  They will love helping to make reindeer food and sprinkling it on the ground outside.  

All you need is some oats or oatmeal and glitter.  If you have access to oats that you would feed to horses you can mix it with glitter otherwise oatmeal works too. Just mix the oats or uncooked oatmeal with glitter and put in a container or small bag.  Then let your little ones sprinkle it outside on Christmas Eve.  Younger children love this.  I found a picture of my oldest sprinkling magic reindeer food seven years ago.  Such great memories.  
I made these as party favors for a Mom's group children's Christmas party several years ago so I attached labels with a little poem and tied a bell to each one.  

The poem reads:  On Christmas Eve, sprinkle the magic reindeer food on the lawn.  The magic glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of the oats will guide Rudolph right to your house.

I was not the creative thinker behind Magic Reindeer Food.  My department made this as a favor to send home with children who attended a Christmas party we threw every year at my old school where I taught Family and Consumer Science.
Linking up at Friendship Friday