TS 6

EASY Taco Soup

I know it is getting a liiiiiiitle bit out of “soup season”, but this one also has some good summer flavor in it. Plus also, it is SUPER easy. As in open and dump cans easy. My mom passed this recipe along last year, and we have been very happy to have it because you can keep the ingredients on hand and throw it together at the last minute. We likey.

Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can corn

1 15 oz. can kidney beans

1 15 oz. can pinto beans

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas)

1 30 oz. can tomato sauce (29 oz. is what I can find usually)

1 pkg. taco seasoning

1 lb. ground beef, cooked

shredded cheese & tortilla chips (or broiled tortillas) to top

Step 1: Brown your ground beef if it isn’t already browned. I usually buy in bulk, cook it all at once, and put it into baggies by the pound and freeze it to make life easier later.

Step 2: Open your cans and dump everything into a large pot (including the juice from the cans). Add the taco seasoning and beef. Stir well.

Step 3: Cover and cook on stove for about 1 hour. (Now that I am typing this up, I realize that we usually just bring it to a boil, and then simmer uncovered until we are ready to eat it – which could be 10 or 15 minutes. Your pick.)

Step 4 (if desired – or you can just use tortilla chips): Turn your oven to broil and move one of your oven racks to the top spot. Take about 6 or so soft tortillas and cut them into pieces. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and put your tortilla pieces on the sheet. Stick the sheet into the oven and broil until the pieces are slightly browned. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM SO THEY DON’T BURN. Take them out of the oven and flip them over, and brown the other side. We LOVE these little tortilla pieces – they add a good texture to the soup.

There you have it – easy peasy.

Thanks Mom for the recipe, and thanks Chelsea for the tortilla pieces tip! :)

M 4

Make Your Own Back Massager

I was talking to one of my friends about back pain that I have chronically had for years. My lower back gets tweaked really badly, to the point that I can’t twist or turn or jump without pain. And sometimes – not often lately, thankfully – it is just not being able to move without pain period.

She then passed on a wonderful tip that a friend who is a chiropractor had passed on to her. I tried it one day when I was feeling a lot of lower back pain and it WORKED!

 

Here is what you need:

Two tennis balls (or, in our case we had racquetballs on hand)

A sock

 

That’s it.

Take your lovely tennis (or other) balls.

Place them into your sock. Tie a knot to keep the balls in place (I tied ours to give the balls a little room to shift around). It is a good use for an old soccer sock.

Lay your lovely sock ball massager on the ground and lay down with your back on top of it. Arrange the balls on either side of your spine, and start slowly pushing yourself to move the sock up and down your spine. It hurts a lot, at least for me, but is good, productive pain. After doing that until I didn’t have any pain spots left, I could stand up and turn and twist without pain. Hooray!

My 7-year old also has issues with knots in his back, and was VERY happy to use this.

Thank you, Cynthia! That is a back-saver. :)

C 9

Carmelitas – Yum. Yum. Yum.

These are really, really, really, truly good. Caramel and chocolate are two of my favorite things, and together they are AWESOME. And with an oatmeal cookie-like top and bottom – who can beat that? I mean, really.

I found this one from Lulu the Baker. You actually should read this post from her too – it’s pretty funny. She is a bit obsessed with them, which – when you have tried them – is totally understandable. :)

Ingredients: (this is for an 8×8 recipe – for a 9×13 recipe, just double it)

32 caramel squares, unwrapped (many hands makes light work – bribe your roommates, spouse or children to help)

1/2 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. butter, melted

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 c. flour

1 c. rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

6 oz. (1/2 bag) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine caramels and cream and melt over low heat. You’ll want to keep an eye on this and stir until the caramels melt and it is completely smooth. This takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R, so start on Step 2 while you are doing this.

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and baking soda. Pat half of this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan (whatever it takes to cover the bottom with no gaps). Bake for 10 min. Snack on some of the remaining oatmeal cookie dough while you have nothing else to do (yuuuuuummmmmmm – egg free is the way to be).

Step 3: Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Pour your caramel mixture over the chocolate chips (after the mixture is all melted and smooth).

Step 4: Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel and return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.


These are good enough that even the edge pieces, which are not usually my favorite, are SOOO good because of the cooked caramel.

Enjoy!! :)

PPP 2

Pasta Tuna Salad – “Pasta Puna Pasta”

This is a big favorite in our family that I found from my friend Michelle @ Made By Michelle. It is perfect for the warmer weather that we have been having here, and is great for summer. Our kids love it enough that they have renamed it to “Pasta Puna Pasta”, and they do a little happy dance when they find out we are having it for dinner.

And yes, that is dill that you see there. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

 

Ingredients

1-1/2 c. pasta (shell, farfalle, whatever)

1 pkg. frozen peas, thawed (10 oz.)

1-1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/4 c. onion, finely diced

2/3 c. mayo

2 T. lemon juice

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dill weed

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 can tuna (or we will use 2 cans for dinner)

 

Cook pasta; drain well and set aside to cool (or run cold water over it to cool it down faster). Combine pasta, peas, carrots, onion and tuna in a large bowl and mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together (mayo, lemon juice, sugar, dill weed, salt, pepper) and mix well. Pour mayo mixture over pasta mixture and toss lightly to combine.

That is it! It is very easy, and INCREDIBLY yummy. I will probably consider doubling the recipe the next time we make it because we go through it so quickly and wish there was more.

Thanks Michelle! And don’t forget to check out her blog – she is very talented, and makes a lot of cool stuff to sell. You can see her ad on the sidebar as well to get an idea of what she can do, or just go check her site out.

DSC_0092

Happy Summer!!

The kids are all out of school!! Which means only one thing – IT’S TIME FOR SUMMER! Ready or not. :)

Here is wishing all of you a HAPPY SUMMER! What kinds of fun things do you have planned? What are some of your favorite summer things to do?

One of ours, apparently, is to wear goggles around the house.  Or our brother’s goggles, when he isn’t looking. Whatever the case may be. :)

 

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