Fresh Guacamole

Everyone has their favorite foods, this is one of mine!  I have been known to cook meals based on whether or not they go well with guacamole.  Sad, I know. But true.

HEB, the grocery store near my house, always has fresh guacamole in the produce department.  It is amazing, but expensive.  I can’t support my habit when a 5oz package cost me $4.50. So I have teetered around with lots of ingredients to make some scrumptious stuff!

Here is what you need:

3-4 ripe Avocados

1 Roma tomato, diced

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of ground pepper

1/2 lime, squeezed

 

The hardest part of making guacamole is planning ahead. It is hard to find avocados that are ripe in store. I usually try to buy them about three days before I need them. I buy them green and leave them on the counter.  Never put an unripened avocado in the refrigerator. It will not ripen, it will turn black and gross. Leave it on the counter until the skin becomes dark. When it yields to gentle pressure, you have a PERFECT avocado.

 

20140224-195251.jpgPeel your avocados and take out the seeds. Mash in a bowl.

(I use a potato masher 🙂 )

20140224-195301.jpgToss in your tomato, garlic, salt, pepper and lime juice.

20140224-195335.jpgFold together being careful not to over blend.  Let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to get the flavors to sit.

Enjoy!

You can freeze guacamole! Place it in an airtight baggie. I like to put it in snack bags in individual size portions.  This helps me in 2 ways:  I always have it on hand, and I can prevent eating the entire bowl. (Yes, I have done that!)

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich

This French Dip is seriously so delicious!  It’s the perfect sandwich for the busy mom who needs to get a great easy meal on the table.  All the hubby could say was WOW! I’m totally making this again for the family.

20140317-124858.jpgIngredients:

approx. 3 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast
beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 (10.5-oz.) can condensed French onion soup
6-oz red wine
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls or this fabulous Quick Rise Bread sliced
provolone cheese, optional

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Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.  Pour beef broth, condensed French onion soup, red wine and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid. 8 hours.

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You don’t  have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. Mine took 7 1/2 hours and was falling apart tender.  Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low or very low for 30 minutes.

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Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls.  I also sliced and cooked a bell pepper and onion. Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the beef juice into small bowls and eat everything while it is hot. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.  Serves 4-6.  Enjoy!

 

 

Pirate Birthday Party

It’s March madness in our house, all three of our kiddos have birthdays this month.  We kicked off the month with a pirate birthday party theme for my son Colson and it was a huge hit with the kiddos. Overall, it was fairly easy, frugal and lots of fun!

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Here’s the menu:

Golden Nuggets (I purchased chicken nuggets from chick-fil A)
Scurvy Rolls (Turkey Wrap w/Cranberry Cream Cheese) I bought these at Costco but you can easily make them!
Octopus dip (beer dip) Everyone raved about this! So creamy and delicious, and really does go best with pretzels.
Cannon balls (black olives)
Fish & Chips (Goldfish crackers & plain potato chips)
Watermelon pirate ship with fresh fruit
Watermelon Shark with fresh fruit
Seaweed Salad (pasta salad) This is a great recipe!
Ahoy Ma-Tea (Sweet Tea)
Pirate Punch (Hawaiian Punch)

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The fresh fruit & Watermelon Boat and Shark was a huge hit! My hubby did a fantastic job planning and did a lot of research to put this masterpiece together.  Here are a few sites he used!  How to make a watermelon shark carving and How to make a watermelon ship carving

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 A little Shark humor before the party with these two!

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We served up Ahoy Ma-Tea (Sweet Tea) and Pirate Punch (Hawaiian Punch).  My niece helped with labeling everything with her beautiful pirate handwriting.

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Russell made a Hook Toss out of an old pallet and a walk the plank out of some wood.

20140324-105031.jpg  Lastly, I found this super cute pirate ship piñata I showcased at the cupcake table before we took it outside and got everyone involved in the birthday activity.

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Happy Birthday to our precious, sweet hearted, adventurous little pirate.  There hasn’t been a single day in the last three years that you haven’t brought joy to our life.  And so much love.  I feel blessed to live my life with you and thank God he gave me the privilege of being your mommy!

 

Snowman Salad

This is one of my favorite salads a friend introduced to me to in college.  I’ve changed the name to Snowman Salad because the name “Frog Eye Salad” wasn’t appealing to my kids.  If your not a coconut fan, you can definitely leave it out:)  I have found after many trials, It has a much better texture if you make sure that the pasta, fruit and egg mixture are very cold before you mix the ingredients together.  This recipe makes a lot so I’ll normally put a few batches in freezer.

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1 cup white  sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups pineapple juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (16 ounce) package acini di pepe pasta
2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained (save juice!)
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained (save juice!)
1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
Whipping cream, whipped with sugar

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In large  saucepan over low heat, combine sugar, egg yolks, flour, pineapple juice  and lemon juice (and reserved juice from pineapple and mandarin orange cans).  Stir and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  While sauce  is cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add  pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse  with cold water.

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In large bowl, combine cooked juice mixture with pasta and toss to coat thoroughly.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight (if you can).

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Toss delicious pasta with pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, marshmallows and whipped cream.  This is great for picnics or family gatherings.  Enjoy!

Devil eggs

Just let me say this, these deviled eggs are AWESOME! Easy, tasty, – and almost everyone in my family  loves them.  These are a great way to get put your Easter ‘love’ in the food or any addition to a yummy meal.   Needless to say, these are frugal to make.

20140304-122720.jpgIngredients:

12 large hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons sweet relish
Salt
Pepper
Paprika, for dusting

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Place eggs in a large wide saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and and cool in refrigerator. Remove shells from eggs and slice in half lengthwise. 20140304-121553.jpg

Separate egg yolks and place into a bowl. Place whites on a separate plate. 

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Add mayo, mustard, relish and salt and pepper, to taste, to yolks and mash together with a fork until creamy and smooth.

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Using a small spoon put the yolk mixture back into each egg, enough to fill yolk holes completely.

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Dust tops with paprika. Refrigerate. Serve cold. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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