Monday, November 24, 2008

Cornbread stuffing casserole

Since we've been sick around here, I'm looking for quick and easy recipes. Well starring into my cupboards I seen I had a box of stuffing mix, cornbread, Meijer brand stuffing mix. On the side was a recipe for "mexican cornbread casserole" It looked pretty good, but I'm not much for spicy and I don't have nacho cheese soup on hand, so I changed it to fit what I did have. This is what I came up with and it turned out pretty good. I can see how this would work with leftover turkey or chicken really easy too.l

1 lb, cooked ground beef (or sausage or both)
1 can (10 oz-ish) cream of mush soup
1 c. sour cream
8 - 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. water
1 6oz box of stuffing mix.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish
Place browned ground beef in bottom.
In bowl mix soup, sour cream, water and about 1 c. of cheese.
Sprinkle all but 1/2 c of stuffing mix evenly over ground beef.
Pour soup mixture over stuffing.
Sprinkle remaining stuffing over soup.
Top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 mins. Till all is hot and bubbly.

You can very easily mix it up with different cheese, different stuffing flavor and even different soups. If you make your own stuffing I don't see why it wouldn't work with that either. Even use leftover and don't use as much water. Everything is already cooked, so it's only warming it up and melting the cheese.

The original recipe used nacho cheese soup and added a can of green chilies.

Friday, November 21, 2008

ear infections

With all the colds going around here, we've not been doing so great. It's been a week and we are all still fighting this nasty cold. The symptoms keep changing a little, so I assume that means were getting better?? I Hope.

Well early this morning my oldest daugter woke me up in pain. Her ear hurt, and she was really crying, so I know it really hurt. Well we've had alot of chest congestion and runny nose, so I can't say I'm to surprised. I gave her some tylenol and she crawled in bed with me. She was asleep within 15 minutes, the tylenol kicked in. It made me think about ear infections though. What is really the cause, and some of the myths I've heard, are they true?

For example, antibiotics don't really do anything for an ear infection, the wait and see method with some pain meds is the only real help. Is pressure on the eardrum from a sinus infection called an ear infection? What really helps them. I've seen some q-tip type things, a natural approach to healing for them, is that necessary? Well I got up and did some research.

The article does a really good job, I think, explaining it.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/otitis_media.html

Most ear infections (middle ear infections) only last 2-4 days, BUT a 10 day antibiotic is given. So no it's not really necessary. Fluid on in the ear drum, causes the pain.

Now there are some exceptions or course and they have to suggest that you always go to the doctor to be sure. I think we'll take the wait and see approach.

Here's an excerpt from the article
"The eustachian tube also allows for drainage of mucus from the middle ear into the throat.
Sometimes, the eustachian tube may malfunction. For example, when someone has a cold or an allergy affecting the nasal passages, the eustachian tube may become blocked by congestion in its lining or by mucus within the tube. This blockage will allow fluid to build up within the normally air-filled middle ear. Bacteria or viruses that have entered the middle ear through the eustachian tube can also get trapped in this way. These germs can breed in the trapped fluid, eventually leading to an ear infection."

So what do you do? With 4 kids to drag with me, I tend to wait it out. If they have a fever too I will take them in if it's still there after 24-48 hrs. I am happy to say, my children hardly ever go to the doctor, they just don't need to. We are blessed with being healthy. Our youngest is almost 10 months old, and has yet to have an ear infection. We usually only need to go for our normal visits. I am very thankful for that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My baby girl is walking!

I wanted to share this short video. My baby girl is walking at 9 months old! It is silent, since it was taken on my digital camera. I still can't figure out how to get my video camera to load onto any sites.

I have 2 sick kids here today, so I don't have much time. Hope they get better soon, I'm tired LOL.

Enjoy!
video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free credit reports!

I've mentioned before that I get a almost daily email from "Everyday Cheapskate". It really has good information, here is some I received today. This is something many ppl wonder about, so I thought I would share. BE sure to check out her site, there is even more great info on it, and you to can subscribe to her free newsletter!



A recent rash of mail from readers complaining that they are unable to get their thrice-yearly free credit report tells me I have not done a good job of teaching you the tricks of the trade.Credit bureaus gather credit information on individuals like you from a plethora of sources. There is nothing that makes this process illegal. Your creditors willingly submit all kinds of personal information about you, including how much you spend with them and how you pay your bills.The content of your credit file constitutes your credit report. Think of it as a rap sheet. It's all the things that others are saying about you and your behavior with credit and money and it is estimated that 70 percent of all credit reports contain factual errors.There are three major credit bureaus that gather information on individuals (
Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), plus another, Innovus, that mostly gathers information on businesses.Until a few years ago, these credit bureaus were allowed to charge a fee for an individual to see his own credit file. Law now requires that these credit bureaus furnish individuals one free report per year. Legislation required that the bureaus set up a method by which consumers could easily access their free reports.The credit bureaus were not too thrilled about this, as the law dried up a good portion of their income stream. It appears that in complying with the law, they came up with ways to keep that income stream flowing, even to the point of tricking consumers into paying for credit reports anyway.The bureaus did comply with making reports accessible by creating AnnualCreditReport.com. Think of it as a doorway through which you must pass if you wish to get your free reports. Once through, consumers are taken to their selected bureau's website. If you do not enter through AnnualCreditReport.com, you will end up paying for your free report.Being transported to any one of the bureau's websites is going to present a bit of a minefield experience. If you are not diligent in turning down all the offers to get something more than your one free credit report, you could find yourself at check-out giving your credit card number. Keep saying "no" to all offers until you get what you came for. You don't want credit monitoring and you don't want your credit score. There is always a charge for your credit score. Only your credit report is free once annually.Don't get nervous when you are required to give personal information including your address and Social Security number in the report-requesting process. They have this information already. Without it, they have no idea which report to deliver out of the hundreds of millions they have on file. They need this to match you to your file. They may also ask a few questions to make sure you are not a thief looking to break into a credit file in order to commit fraud.So how can you get your free credit report once every four months and not just once a year? Remember, there are three big credit bureaus. Don't get all three at the same time. Stagger each request by four months.AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official website to help consumers obtain their free credit report. You can also call (877) 322-8228 or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
Other related articles by Mary Hunt:"Get Your Free Credit Report""How to Build a Great Credit Score"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brr it's cold outside!!

Well we are back home safe and sound. The camper is mostly unpacked, only some cleaning left to do in it. It has been winterized already too. It's been cold up here, so that was a must as soon as we got home. So now we are on to other things here.

As some of you know, we have been putting in Geo-Thermal heating in our house. Mark has work several of his weekends at home to put in the loops and now, this week we will be getting the duct work all done. We can't wait. I will be sure to let you all know the gas cost difference, can't wait for that. In case your wondering, it only uses a little electric to run the pump. It is a closed loop, so it's not running water thought it, just a anti-freeze type solution. I've got lots of picture of the progress. We are very excited to be able to say, we are LIVING GREEN! Well as soon as it's all up and running, we are almost there!!!

Another thing we've been doing is getting ready for this cold weather, BRRR. I think I'll go back down south for a while, it's only 35 out right now up here. We had SNOW yesterday. I know, it's November and it's normal, but man I don't miss it when it's here. As I like to say, "I prefer the warm side of the window". The kids are very excited however, they are already looking forward to building some snowmen.

So here are a few recipe tips for the cold weather.

I like to make my own hot chocolate. It's cheaper and well, it's cheaper lol. But if you've ever used home made mix, it just doesn't seem to dissolve well. I figured out a way last year, after you mix it all together (the recipe I use is below), put it in your food processor, it will pulverize it to a powder, just like in the store. It will dissolve much easier. You can do all kinds of creative things with it too. We like to add peppermint sticks to it, and of course marshmallows. But do you like peanut butter cups?? Well add some peanut butter chips to it, mmmm, or the mint ones they come out with for the holidays. Vanilla if you want vanilla-chocolate, chocolate kisses for super chocolate, the possibilities are endless really.

Or here's a cool thing we did last year, we made "snowman soup" The kids loved it and it was easy. We passed them out to some family. Here's the basic Idea

A cup, (kids love to decorate Styrofoam, or get a glass one from the second hand stores)
In a baggie put one serving of powder, some mini-marshmallows and what ever else you want.
close the bag with a ribbon and place in the cup
Add one candy cane to the cup

Attach a poem and directions, here are some examples I found last year and saved.


Was told you've been real good this year
Always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near
You'll need to warm the spirit
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick
Add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!


When the weather outside is frightful,
Snowman Soup can be delightful.
May it warm your spirit and your soul.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

When you feel a chill or 'burrrrrr',
Use the peppermint stick to stir.
Add hot water and sip it slow.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.


When it's so cold that
you holler and whoop,
It's time to bring out
the Snowman Soup!

Pour the packet in a mug.
Add marshmallows too.
And throw in these kisses
that are special just for you.

Now add some hot water
and use the cane to stir it.
Sip slowly and soon you'll
feel the warm winter spirit!

And lastly my recipe. I got it off of my powder milk bag I think. I've seen it several place and different combinations, play with it to get it just right. There are tons of them online if you do a search as well.


1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup dry milk powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, powdered creamer, milk powder and cocoa powder. Mix well, and store in an airtight container.
To serve, put 2 to 3 tablespoons of powder in a mug, fill with hot water, and enjoy!

Here's one I think I'll try this year. They have really added alot of new ideas to them. Pudding, who-da thought.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hot-Cocoa-Mix-in-a-Jar/Detail.aspx