Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Brunches... what's a schedule?

It's already Mid-July..  How did this happen?  I feel like summer is slipping away...  4 weeks from tomorrow school starts for the kiddo's.  I have kids that are at 5 different levels of schooling.  1 College student, 2 high school, 1 middle school, 2 elementary school guys, and a little guy at home..  It makes having any kind of a scheduled routine somewhat laughable.  Doesn't matter if it's summer break or if school is in..  our schedule has to be pretty flexible..  Sometimes I long for the days.. really not that long ago..  when everyone got up at about the same time, went to bed at the same time....  and especially ATE at the same time!!!  With school sports, jobs, various church activities, and ... well just life,  I really struggle to find family meal time, but it doesn't stop me from trying.. or from basically spending my life in the kitchen to be certain that there is always something for everyone to eat... whether coming or going or even if I can get them to sit awhile.

I love doing "summer morning brunches" ..  I still rarely get everyone here..  The hubby usually misses it, and today my resident swimming teacher/lifeguard missed it..  But other than that I enjoyed one of those rare occasions today when we (well most of us) ate together.  When I make brunch in the summer I usually get a little carried away and make a lot of food... 2 reasons: 1-cooking is my therapy and 2-it leaves me lots of leftovers that are available for eating through-out the rest of the day and for a few days ...sometimes.  Besides that, mornings are also the best time to use the oven during July.  My "West side of the house" kitchen is almost unbearable by early afternoon and the roof-top swamp cooler just doesn't do the trick. I don't anticipate that this is really going to be a "cooking blog", but cooking is one of my passions and reading cooking blogs is what made me decide I wanted to enter the blogging world.. So you can expect I will often speak of food. And share some recipes too.  Here's the photos to tell today's brunch story:

I don't claim to be a photographer... please keep your expectations low..  but my stories are better with pictures. 

I woke up knowing it was a brunch day.... and that EGGS needed to be involved.  At least 50 % of my nearby neighbors raise chickens, and I am fortunate enough to benefit from this on a regular basis..  I have one very generous neighbor that brings me at least a dozen eggs every week..  yesterday she brought me 18!!  I love these fresh eggs and my neighbor for sharing them with me!!!  We also made a weekend visit to the local Norbest Turkey Sales office..  just 15 mins one way from my home.  I LOVE going there and filling my freezer with Turkey products..  2 of my favorites are the ground turkey and the small turkey hams (see photo).  I will probably "Talk Turkey" a lot too.  My husband wants me to blog about turkey. One of the first things I learned about my husband when we met was that at some point in his life he raised turkey's. Before meeting him I had actually never met anyone who raised turkey's (I grew up in "Dairy country" ).  Now I live in "turkey country".  I'll tell many more turkey stories... but, not today...  the point is we like turkey!!  The Turkey Ham is my favorite meat to put in my favorite breakfast casserole recipe.  That had to be on today's menu too.  A few years ago I found this recipe in the "town" cookbook (which by the way I am on my second copy of... because I totally wore out the first)..  gotta love small town cookbooks!!  I've "tweaked" the recipe to our tastes.. making it a favorite part of "brunch". There are many variations of the meat and cheese that can be used and I've tried and like all of them..  My favorite... and what I did today are the turkey ham -cubed and the colby/jack cheese.. and I ALWAYS use at least 2 full cups of cheese :-)


2 lb bag shredded frozen hash browns
1 cube butter- melted
6-7 large eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1-2 cups cheese (colby jack, cheddar, mozzarella or a combination)
2-3 cups (cubed turkey ham, leftover ham, cooked bacon, cooked sausage or a combination)

place potatoes in a 9 x 13 pan.  Melt the butter and pour it over the potatoes.  Bake potatoes in a 425 oven for 20 mins.  While the potatoes bake, mix together the Eggs, milk and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  When potatoes are done reset oven temp to 350.  sprinkle chosen meat over the potatoes then pour the egg mixture over evenly.  Top with additional 1/2 -3/4 cup cheese.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 mins. (it can take up to 45 depending on the oven).  Should be lightly browned on top. Let cool 5-10 mins before serving.

to find the recipes for the muffins banana chocolate chip muffins

and the other pan you see pictured is baked oatmeal

If you haven't tried baked oatmeal you definitely MUST!!!  It can be eaten many different ways.. Today I had mine with fresh peaches and freshly whipped/sweetened cream..   (see photo) DIVINE!!

So that's it "Summer Morning Brunch"...  Recipes included .. Lots of food to feed my hungry bunch.. and hopefully memories of summer days.. when there really wasn't much schedule..  we ate at 10 am in our pj's and had no cares except maybe overeating!!  I accomplished my purposes I think... and managed to use 13 Eggs!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Here I am... A Blogger

This has been a really long time in coming.. So here I go.  I love reading blogs, I spend way too much of my time reading blogs..  But it's my outlet.  I also love writing, sort of, I think?  Okay, maybe I'm still undecided about that "love writing" part.  Anyway, love it or not it's going to happen.  Part of the hesitation in starting is that I'm not sure what I want my angle to be..  Doesn't every blog need an "angle" ?  There are so many "Mommy bloggers" and I certainly fit into that category!  So maybe I'll just share some of what I love and learn from others and a little of what I love and learn on my own.  You may or may not be wondering how I decided on a name for this blog..  So, as a self proclaimed lover of movies and most things Disney and as the mother of a few little "Cars" loving boys all time favorite movie quote comes from the Disney/Pixar Movie "Cars"..  Probably because like it or not... sometimes I feel like Lightning McQueen when he first arrived in Radiator Springs and is trying to get out  "Help me I'm in Hillbilly Hell.....  " If you haven't seen the movie recently (I watch it at least 3 times a week..  thanks to my 2 year old) I highly recommend a re-watch or a watch if you haven't...  There you will find the rest of the quote, and also be reminded that Lightning comes to love his "Hillbilly Hell".. Kinda like me.  Life in a small town in the middle of nowhere was really never what I dreamed of...   However, after 17 years of it...  Most days I feel like I pretty much have everything I every dreamed of and then some..  Thanks to an amazing guy and 7 other "peeps" that I call my own (that's the & Co. part)  Here's a couple pics of what we've been doing recently..  I need to say right up front that I don't have an amazing camera ( ya it's an Iphone 4s.. sometimes an Ipad).  But that's ok "matches the rest of the "blog" "  (also a "Car's" thing).
Like I said... not a great pic, but this is a big part of our summer and we only had one good opportunity this year to grab a photo of the whole gang..  So that's it, my first blog post ever!!  I'm still working on my "angle" Pretty sure it's going to evolve as I get going, but one thing I want to share  with is one of my main sources of inspiration (apart from my Hubby & Kiddo's OF COURSE ) for finally doing this.. my "Cyber Friend" Mel who has an amazing blog that I use EVERY SINGLE DAY... not joking !!
White chipper chocolate chip cookies
 This was last night's family treat, enjoyed after a rousing game of Ticket to Ride.. a new favorite use of a summer afternoon.  So that's it my husband will probably do a happy dance.. or just smile.... because that's more his style.