I don't know what it is about instagram, but I love it. I have only been (really) using it for a few months and know lots of people are not on instagram so I thought I would share some of my favorite pics. I post lots of pictures of the kids and our lives outside of Home Ec @ Home, so Mom you should love this!
Pretty excited about this, I just figured out how to add a caption that shows up when you hover the mouse over each picture. So hover to see what I have to say:) If you want to follow me on instagram, you can here.
Let me know if you are on instagram. I would love to see your posts!
My kids will eat anything. It amazes me sometimes. You should see them at a Chinese buffet, plates piled high with crayfish, mussels, crab legs, prawns, and sometimes even frog legs. They will just about try anything. It is probably because we have always given them the same foods we eat and we eat a large variety of foods.
You would think mealtime is always a breeze with kids who eat anything, but it's not. Crunchy tacos meant food crumbling beneath their little hands, meat and toppings falling all over the place and of course meltdowns and the inevitable waterworks. Being a lover of crunchy tacos and easy dinners I figured out a way to enjoy tacos without the all the drama.
By stuffing and baking the tacos before serving, everything stays neat and tidy inside the taco shells. The cheese melts and helps hold the meat/onion/tomato mixture in the shells.
You end up with a pan of ready-to-go kid friendly crunchy tacos. These would also be great for a buffet with a topping bar. This has become one of our favorite busy night meals. So easy and kid friendly!
I have used stand and stuff and regular taco shells for these baked tacos and the stand and stuff are the easiest to use. Serve with your favorite toppings. Pictured lettuce, sour cream, kumato tomatoes (so yummy!), and homemade guacamole. I should note that I don't like heavily taco seasoned meat so I serve mine flavored simply with onion, cumin, salt and pepper. If you like taco seasoning in your meat, feel free to add.
Easy Baked Beef Tacos
1 box (10) self-standing taco shells
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
½ tsp. ground cumin
Fresh ground salt & pepper
1 tomato, diced
Shredded colby/jack cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. If you like, grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with cooking spray to prevent any runaway ingredients from sticking to the pan. You can also skip this step. Taco shells will not stick to the pan.
3. Place taco shells in baking pan.
4. Brown beef and onion in skillet. Add cumin, salt, and pepper.
5. Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes.
6. Fill taco shells generously with meat mixture.
7. Top with shredded cheese then bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and tacos are hot.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings like guacamole, salsa, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream.
Makes 10 large tacos
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WonderfulYourWay #CollectiveBias #ad The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
Ever have a simple recipe that was so good you could serve it for special occasions? This is one of those recipes. I love the flavor of this traditional penne casserole with the added twist of fresh spinach baked right in. The spinach adds a dimension and freshness that compliments the pasta, cheese and sauce and is truly delicious.
To make my favorite Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole I headed to Kroger to get the ingredients. I selected Barilla® Classic Blue Box Penne because it is an authentic Italian brand that I trust as a quality ingredient to make our special "Wonderful Your Way" "date night in" meal spectacular.
This may make me sound like some kind of crazy grocery store groupee, but I really, really love my local Kroger store. Even though it is a chain, it feels like a small town store. Everyone (and I mean this literally) is so friendly. We have lived in our small town for about a year and I feel like I know most of the employees at Kroger. My favorite cashier is the sweetest lady, Barbara, who dotes on my children every time we see her. The other day my five year old told me he wants to work at Kroger when he is older so he can see me all the time. Guess that means I spend a little too much time at the store. (LOL)
Making time for date nights is important in a relationship, but let's face it, sometimes it is easier said than done. With so much going on in our busy lives (like caring for four children including a newborn), making plans and hiring a sitter can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.
With a few simple tips, you can still have a date night "in", saving yourself a lot of stress and money in the process.
A simple, romantic date night table setting using things I already had. I coordinated some red patterned paper place mats with a black tablecloth for a festive Valentine's Day look. I served Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole with a basic lettuce, tomato, and basil salad. You can pair with a favorite wine or sparkling juice (pictured: sparkling cherry juice) and an easy homemade or store bought dessert.
For dessert, I made this easy slow cooker chocolate cake a few days before and froze a few slices to keep them fresh. I then cubed the cake and layered it with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries in some fancy dessert glasses. So simple and yet sophisticated.
6 Easy Tips for a Fabulous Date Night In:
As you can see this recipe makes a lot of food. Awesome if you have a big family like we do. If you don't you can halve it. (Instructions at the bottom of the recipe.) Leftovers are great too! One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make it earlier in the day or even the day before and refrigerate to bake later. If you want to get a little fancy, garnish with some fresh basil leaves after baking.
Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole
16 oz. Barilla Classic Blue Box Penne
2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 (24 oz) jars Barilla pasta sauce
5 oz. package fresh Spinach
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce in a greased 9 X 13 X 3 pan or a really big casserole dish. (A 9 X 13 X 2 will work, but it will be up to the top of the pan.)
4. Top with a third of the cooked pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach, 1 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 T. Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce.
5. Repeat layers of pasta, ricotta mixture, spinach and mozzarella cheese.
6. Sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan cheese.
7. Then top with remaining pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. (Serves 12)
You can easily halve this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 9 baking pan. If you cut the recipe in half, still use one egg as a binding agent in the ricotta mixture, but halve all other ingredients.
Need some more recipe inspiration? Head to Barilla for more "Wonderful Your Way" recipe ideas. .
This is kind of a flashback post...redoing the photos, so you may have seen these brownies on the blog before. This is the first recipe I ever made with coconut oil back when using coconut oil was new to me and I wasn't quite sure when to use it. I now use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil in most recipes and find that it substitutes easily without compromising flavor or texture.
These brownies are my favorite. I love the hint of coconut flavor. It is subtle, yet noticeable. They are so easy to prepare and way better than a brownie mix. Delicious on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. These would make a lovely treat for Valentine's Day!
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
3. In a medium bowl combine melted coconut oil and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved. (I melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 25 seconds.)
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Add eggs and stir until well combined.
6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
7. Fold in chips.
8. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
9. DO NOT OVER-BAKE — You do not want your brownies to come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
10. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
This recipe is slightly adapted from coconutoilcooking.com.
I often double this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 13 pan. I haven't tried it yet, but you could try using coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar.
Hi there. It has been a while, hasn't it. We made it through not one, but two surgeries for my husband over the past couple of weeks. I know it is a tough recovery. I had sinus surgery in 2003 and I missed two weeks of work, but he really had a tough recovery. After a week and a half of misery, he had to have a second procedure and is now on the mend and feeling better.
So what does this have to do with soup, you ask? A lot actually. All he wanted to eat after the surgeries was soft foods like mashed potatoes and soup. After you have nasal surgery, you can only breathe through your mouth until the bandages are removed. Which means that breathing when you eat is a challenge, hence the desire for soup.
So we had a lot of soup. Good thing it's winter and we like soup so much. This creamy cauliflower soup is one I'm glad to add to my repertoire. It's creamy, hearty, delicious and I love serving my family a meal that's chock full of vegetables and wonderful flavor.
So confession time...See those little black flecks in the cauliflower soup, those are burnt onions. I decided to go ahead and photograph anyway because a.) the soup is fantastic even with burnt onions and b.) we do "real" here. I make food for my family and do photo shoots in our home (no studio here and I shoot for less than 10 minutes, maybe a dozen shots if I'm lucky) and if our soup has burnt onions we eat it anyway. Our house is busy with four kids so sometimes I burn things. It's all part of the beautiful, messy life we lead and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So if you try your hand at making some creamy cauliflower soup, I'm sure you won't burn the onions like I did. But if you do enjoy it, burnt onions and all.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
10 T. butter, divided
Splash cooking Sherry, (optional)
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped or 24 oz. bag cauliflower florets
5 Cups chicken broth or stock
1 T. dried parsley
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. Creole seasoning, (optional)
6 T. flour
1 Cup milk
½ Cup whipping cream
1. Melt 4 T. butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic until tender.
2. If you like, add a splash of cooking Sherry to deglaze the pan. Add cauliflower, chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, and Creole seasoning. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
3. While soup is simmering, melt 6 T. butter in a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in 6 T. flour, then milk and whipping cream and cook and stir to make a thick white sauce.
4. Use a potato masher to mash up the soup, breaking the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Then stir in the white sauce and continue to cook and stir until thickened.
Everything cookies have been my favorite cookies for as long as I can remember having a favorite cookie. They are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and have so many wonderful flavors of toasted nuts, oatmeal, coconut, raisins, and chocolate.
On another note, it's nice to be back at it again. I like the routine of being back to normal after a long Christmas break. When we came home from break, they were still installing a new kitchen, laundry room, and kitchen nook/butler's pantry floor (which is awesome!), but we are just now getting the house put back together. Plus our 5 year old and myself have been really sick with the flu over the past two weeks and my husband had sinus surgery this week. We are all so so glad to be getting back to "normal".
Here is glimpse into our kitchen nook where we have been eating off of the card table while sorting through everything that was piled into the dining room while the floors were done. Tonight was our first night eating in the dining room again and it was nice to be back to our usual dinner routine. The floors do look beautiful though and it forced us to go through more stuff and organize (two boxes of donations and two boxes of trash from today's work). This little kitchen nook is usually an art/homework room for the boys and they are glad to get it back. I also do most of my food photography in this little kitchen nook...So glad to get back to normal!
This is the butler's pantry across from the kitchen nook. I really did have this counter cleaned off this week which lasted for about half a day. You pass through here to get from the kitchen to the dining room so it's kind of a hallway too. I love the extra storage from the butler's pantry.
More on getting back to "normal"...I know that in our house full of boys that our normal may be a little chaotic to some. Sure it's full of adventure, dirt-SO MUCH DIRT, laughter, and LOTS of NOISE, but I'll take our glorious chaos because I know that someday when the house is quiet I'll miss the joy that came with the chaos.
Speaking of Joy...These M & M Everything cookies will bring some Joy. They are perfect for gift giving, although you better make a double batch if you have a sweet tooth.
I used red and green M & M's for Christmas. Wouldn't these be pretty with red M & M's for Valentine's Day or spring M & M's for Easter? One more note...you might be tempted to skip toasting the nuts, but don't, it takes the flavor to a whole new level.
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk
1-2 cups chocolate chips*
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup M & M's chocolate candies
1. Toast nuts on a small un-greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
2. Turn oven temperature up to 375 degrees.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, raisins, nuts, coconut, and M & M's candies.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
*I use less chocolate chips when adding M & M's, but if you are a chocolate lover, go all out.
Makes about 3 dozen.
My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect cookies every time. I got this Nordic Ware cookie scoop in my Christmas stocking one year.
Mashed potato soup has been a favorite in our house for years. I started making this several years ago when I had some leftover mashed potatoes to use. We love it so much that now I puposely make extra mashed potatoes just so that I can make mashed potato soup.
You don't need a whole pound of bacon for this recipe, but I always cook a whole pound because my boys LOVE bacon, like really LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE bacon. This is a great use of leftover mashed potatoes. It is quick to make from start to finish and it is thick and hearty. Great for warming up on cold winter nights.
So next time you have some leftover mashed potatoes, make this delicious mashed potato soup and enjoy every creamy, bacony bite.
Linking up at Share the Wealth
Disclosure: I received complimentary products for review, but all opinions are honest and are my own. #ad
Welcome to my review of prAna clothing. I have seen prAna online through blog reviews, but had never tried the clothes before this review. I was excited to try out some new things, but a little apprehensive about how I would look in them since I am on the tall side at 5'10" and I have a 2 month old and am carrying a little extra weight around the middle.
I was very careful when ordering and took my measurements since I have never worn prAna clothes before and my post baby body isn't back to normal yet. I even read reviews online to get a feel for the sizing.
I chose the Kara jean which is their most popular style in denim size 6 and the Stacia sweater in harbor blue size M. They are both made of organic cotton which I don't think I have ever worn before and have to admit is super soft. The sweater is fair trade certified which makes me feel good as a consumer knowing that the workers who made it are working under fair working conditions.
You are probably wondering how I really feel about my new prAna clothes after wearing them. First let's talk about the Kara jeans. They can be worn cuffed or uncuffed. Since I am so tall, I wear them uncuffed. In the summer, I may wear them cuffed as capri pants. You can see them cuffed at prAna.com. They are cute either way and if you are tall like me, you can still wear them. As far as fit goes, my Kara jeans fit really well except that they are in my opinion too low at the waist. I don't like having to worry about my backside showing when I sit down or bend over. I remedy this by wearing long tops with these jeans. Most of my tops are longer anyway, but I wouln't wear a short top with the Kara jeans.
As far as comfort goes, the Kara jeans are sooooooooo comfortable! The first day I wore them, I commented to my husband that night that I felt like I had worn yoga pants or sweats all day. You get the look of jeans with the comfort of sweats. They are so soft and flexible you could proably do yoga in them if you wanted.
The Kara jeans are pricier as far as jeans go, but a good pair of jeans is a wardrobe staple. I have probably worn them at least 10 times since I received them for review. They are my new go-to jeans that I wear all the time.
Now let's talk about the Stacia sweater. Based on my measurements and the fact that I just had a baby, I ordered a medium. This sweater is not fitted at the waist and is a little larger than I realized it would be. If I would have known, I would have ordered a small. So my sweater is bigger on me than I would like, but I still wear it because it is super comfy and I love the color. It is a beautiful blue green color. One thing I love about this sweater is that the sleeves are long enough for my arms. I almost always have to order tall size tops and can't just walk into a store and buy one. This is not a tall size sweater and the sleeves are long enough for me. There is one flaw in my sweater and that is that it is not perfectly symetrical across the front. The left side is slightly longer than the right and I find myself tugging on the right side to make it longer. Good news is I don't think anyone else notices.
Overall, I recommend the Stacia sweater as a fashionable and comfortable piece of clothing, however, if I had purchased the sweater I would have sent it back for a smaller size that was symetrical across the front.
I have had a good experience reviewing my new prAna clothing. I have worn both the sweater and jeans multiple times in the short time I have owned them and know that if I had purchased them myself I would get my money's worth. My new prAna clothes are fashionable and functional which is important to this busy mother of four.
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone special? Save 15% with promo code BLOGF16FAST until Monday December 19th. Promo code is not valid for “On Sale” items. Shop prAna.com.
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Maybe it's the weather...it is literally freezing here in Southern Kentucky and has been below freezing all week or maybe it's because I am nursing and always feel famished, either way I have been craving hearty and filling meals like this savory slightly sweet Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole.
A friend of ours gave us a huge butternut squash last week so I have been coming up with creative ways to use it and this butternut squash and sausage casserole has been our favorite so far.
This is about a quarter section of our butternut squash. It was amazingly huge! I peeled, sliced and then cubed about 2 pounds squash for this dish.
I love the combination of butternut squash, sausage, sweet onion, garlic, and spinach. This casserole is hearty, fresh and delicious. Our whole family loved it including our boys.
I used frozen chopped spinach because I had it on hand, but you could easily use a few handfuls of fresh spinach instead. We loved the fresh mozzarella topping which melted beautifully and gave a rich yet balanced flavor, but you could use shredded swiss or another favorite cheese.
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
1 lb. mild ground sausage
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained or several handfuls fresh spinach
1/4 cup cooking sherry
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cocktail size balls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Microwave peeled and cubed butternut squash for 3 to 4 minutes to partially tenderize.
3. Cook sausage, onion, garlic, and thyme over medium high heat until sausage is browned.
4. Add cooking sherry to skillet and scrape up any browned bits (which add more flavor). (Sausage mixture should still be in skillet.)
5. Stir in spinach and butternut squash.
6. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Top with fresh mozzarella balls.
8. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until squash is fork tender and cheese has melted. Use an ovenproof skillet like a 12" iron skillet. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, simply transfer to a large greased casserole dish or a 9 X 13 inch pan before baking.
Old Fashioned Cream Pie is one of the first recipes I posted on Home Ec @ Home a little over six years ago. It is one of the most popular recipes on the site so when I made it at Thanksgiving this year, I decided it was high time to update this post with new photos.
I found this recipe several years ago in a Harvest Holiday Cookbook my Mom gave me from The Sidney Daily News in Sidney, OH. It was submitted by Mary Morrison. There is a restaurant in Sidney called The Spot to Eat which serves an amazing Old Fashion Cream Pie. I don't know if it is the same recipe or not, but it sure is good. When President Bush came through Sidney during his campaign, he made sure to stop at The Spot.
This is one of my favorite recipes for cream pie because it is both delicious and pretty simple. You make the pie filling on the stove and then pour it into an unbaked pie shell and bake in the oven. If you want to make a pretty trim like the leaf trim in these pictures, cut any extra dough with small cookie cutters and layer around the edges .
Old Fashioned Cream Pie would make a lovely addition to your Christmas dessert menu!
Look at that creamy rich delicious pie filling with just a touch of nutmeg sprinkled on top.
I usually make this recipe with my Aunt Carol's Never Fail Pie Crust. This recipe makes two pies so it is great for a crowd. It is really sweet and is especially good with some whipped cream. You can easily halve the recipe to make a single pie if two pies would be too much for your group.
Aunt Carol's Never Fail Pie Crust
I now use real butter instead of shortening in this pie crust recipe because butter is a healthier fat. All Butter Never Fail Pie Crust I haven't tried it with lard yet, but plan on it, since lard should give a nice flaky crust. Let me know if you try it.
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1. Cut shortening, flour, and salt to coarse crumbs.
2. Combine egg, vinegar, and water. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at one time.
3. Blend with a spoon just until all the flour is moistened.
4. Roll 1/2 of the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Fold flattened dough in half and then in half again so that it can be easily lifted into the pie pan. Lift the dough into the pan and unfold so that it covers the pie pan.
5. Press the dough into the pan and trim and shape the edges.
Repeat with the extra ball of dough or freeze for future use. You will need two pie crusts for Old Fashioned Cream Pie (unless you halve the recipe).
Old Fashioned Cream Pie
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 unbaked pie crusts (recipe above)
Nutmeg (I grate whole nutmeg directly onto the pie)
1. In a large pot, warm cream and 1/2 & 1/2.
2. Add butter and let melt.
3. Premix sugar and cornstarch. Add to warm mixture.
4. Cook until thick, stirring constantly (This will take a few minutes. It will thicken, but will be thinner than pudding-it will still be pourable).
5. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour filling into pie crusts and sprinkle with nutmeg.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Makes 2 pies.
Cool to room temperature then refrigerate. This is perfect with whipped cream.
If you are an aspiring food photographer, you should check out Tasty food Photography (affiliate link below). Reading this ebook helped transform the way I photograph food. Below is the original photo I used in this post six years ago. As you can see, this book really helped me with my food photography skills.
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Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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