Monday, January 21, 2019

Healthy Hearty Breakfast

The best part are the add your own toppings. Brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, and fresh fruit are delicious on hot oatmeal. 

Here is an easy and delicious recipe for Baked Oatmeal that is a winner at our house.  The best part is you make it the night before, refrigerate and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning and it makes the house smell amazing as it is baking. Refrigerate individual servings in containers to warm up easily for the next couple of mornings for quick an healthy start to the day before work, school, the gym or running errands.

1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 3 cups quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup raisins, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan.

*This recipe serves 8 but if you are having a larger crowd, double the recipe and use an 11 x 14 baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray of your choice. If doubling recipe, use 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar.....

Beat together oil and sugar.  Mix in eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, and oatmeal.  Beat well, then stir in raisins.  Pour into lightly greased pie pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. (I sometimes use a store bought cinnamon/sugar blend from the spice aisle..)  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and bake in oven until firm....about 35 minutes.  Serve hot.  Serve it up with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries!  Yum!

For a healthier alternative, applesauce in place of the oil works great too!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Don't Get Caught Snowed in with an Empty Pantry

My Grandma lived through the Depression. When the Depression ended and my Grandparents got married, Grandma remembered the hard times and it taught her the importance of always keeping a good supply of foods and canned goods in the pantry for emergencies.  She passed this on to my Mom who passed it on to me.  It gives me a secure feeling to know we have the ability to feed the family if Mother Nature blasts us with a blinding blizzard.  

Watch for sales and stock up on canned goods, pasta, sauces, peanut butter (my husbands personal favorite staple), and of course water.  Soups and applesauce are great items to keep on hand. My Mom always had macaroni and cheese mix and canned tuna in the pantry to make the classic, simple "tuna casserole".  Tomato soups are another items that's great to keep on hand.  Warm tomato soup topped with saltines or grilled cheese cubed as croutons make the perfect comfort winter meal.  

What do you keep in your food pantry for emergencies?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

I've been searching for a new crock pot recipe to make when my family of 9 gathers together in our home up north.  Chili is always a favorite but this recipe is a new twist made with chicken instead of ground beef or turkey.  I think it is sure to please everyone, particularly when offering a make your own station with toppings choices.  

Here's what you need to get started for 8 servings. 

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (15 oz.) cans navy beans or great northern beans
1 (15 oz.) can (white) corn (I used yellow corn because it's what I had). Either tastes great.
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth

Rinse and place the chicken in the slow cooker.  Top with the beans and corn. In a medium bowl, combine the taco seasoning, condensed soup and chicken broth.  Pour the mixture into the crock pot.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  
Before you serve, shred the chicken with two forks.  Stir in the sour cream.  

Offer shredded Monterey jack cheese, sour cream and sliced Jalapeno peppers as toppers. 

Supper is served!  It's as simple as that🍜

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What Story Does Your Home Tell?

While enjoying a quiet moment recently sipping my morning coffee, I looked around and began to reflect on the memories of years past.  From the couch I'm sitting, I remember our children coming out of their rooms and down the hall on Christmas morning in their pajamas with glee and excitement to open their gifts and begin the day.  

Our piano was a gift I surprised my husband with over 20 years ago when he had told me one day he always wanted to learn to play the piano.  So I bought him a piano and found him a piano teacher.  My mom played piano beautifully and I loved growing up with music in our home. Every day around dinner time, she would sit and play her music with passion.  It was her few moments out of busy days running a household of 5 children and a husband who worked 6 days a week.  Our son is a musician and he began his love of music at age 10.  Our sons children and now our daughter's toddler son have always been drawn to the piano in our home when visiting.  They like to sit at the bench and enjoying the sounds they can create with the keys. It makes me smile to think of the music that has come from our piano.

We have my mother in law's armchair in our living room.  She passed away 3 years ago but this chair was where she spent each day enjoying her favorite television shows and watching the neighborhood activities out her large patio door.  Each time I sit in her chair, I feel her presence. 

My mother in law was an avid reader and for years she worked in the local library.  She kept her favorite old paperbacks in a basket and always told me when she passed, this basket of books would be mine.  I treasure them in our home.  

Our dining room table has had more meals served on it than I could ever begin to count.  When we bought it many years ago, we were a family of 4.  Now we are blessed with a family of 9, but we have been known to squeeze in 14 at this table built for 6.  No one minds it's a tight fit because we are all together sharing stories while enjoying a meal I have prepared.  We aren't remembering we were crowded but just the laughter, or at times, tears or problem solving.

What story does your home tell?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year - New Plan

By now we have welcomed in 2019, and made our new years resolutions.  I recently heard roughly 80% of us will keep our resolutions until February, though our intentions are strong.  But sometimes life gets in the way making it difficult to stick to our plans.  It's my hope and wish to make this year my getting our home organized year.  Because there are so many things to do on my list, it seemed overwhelming. So I broke it down into monthly categories and suddenly it seems like a plan I can work with.

So we are giving ourselves 12 months to accomplish our to do list.
 It's my hope to write about and feature these accomplishments in my blog. I have been blogging since 2012 and have never missed my two blogs a week commitment.  This year, I hope you will stay with me as I might not always have my usual two blogs a week but rather share a weekly blog occasionally. It's my hope to carve out time for myself to catch up on reading the latest books I hope to find after browsing my favorite book shops or getting back into a workout class I would enjoy.  It's nice to begin the new year with a fresh slate of possibilities.  Also important not to be down on ourselves if our plan doesn't go quite as planned.  That's the biggest problem I hope to work on and will make an effort to let small things go and focus on the overall picture in a positive fashion.  

Here's How My List Looks -

January - purge - toss - donate
February - New plan for furniture and window treatments for bedrooms
March - Paint interior house
April - Purchasing and installing window treatments living room
May - Carpets professionally cleaned 
June - Deck repair and staining
July - Cleaning the garage
August - Clean and organize toy & storage room
September - Begin my holiday shopping ( I have a large family)
October - Work on my secret yet to be announced project I've wanted to do for 2 years 
November - Wrap up what I haven't finished and begin to plan holiday and upcoming birthday events.  November is a very busy birthday month as well as December.  The more I can plan ahead, the better. 
December - Decorate the tree, house, Dad's house, wrap, bake & ENJOY! 

Have you made a list you hope to accomplish in the new year? 
Thanks as always for reading Lakehouselyn and I wish you time to smell the roses in the months ahead.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thoughts with a Side of Positivity

~Welcome the New Year~

2019 is knocking and many of us find ourselves reflecting over what was and what's to come. That's what we do after Christmas is over and we begin to look ahead.  Each year around November, my list making begins.  Lists of gift ideas for our family and friends, lists of meals to be made, lists of scheduling when to put up the tree and trim, decorate the inside and outside of the house, when is the family together for our holiday card picture.  Each year I vow to simplify.  This year I may have succeeded.  As I write this, it's the day after Christmas.  I'm going over the past 48 hours in my head and instead of feeling overwhelmed, I am counting blessings.  Blessings for the family I have. We have a genuine love for one another and support each other every day.  My father is a blessing.  As our immediate family of 38 gathered in the home I grew up in, my heart swelled watching my Dad sit back and take in Christmas Eve as Santa arrived for our youngest family members.  He later told me he's a lucky man.  We're the lucky ones Dad.  Because we are witness to you still enjoying the family you and Mom started many years ago celebrating the holiday together. 
Christmas morning family brunch has been in our home for the last 28 years since my father in law passed away.  This year our son and daughter in law Balancing Lisa graciously offered to host.  Their home was welcoming and beautiful. We were greeted by our grandchildren running to greet us in their Christmas pajamas, the house smelling of delicious foods, and the sounds of our favorite classic Christmas music playing.  I might never forget the comfortable feeling as we sat together and enjoyed being together in the glow of the tree, sharing prayer and being thankful for being graced with these moments.  
 I realize so many people have had unfortunate circumstance and the holiday season is met with grief or despair.  We have had years of loss and grief as well.  Losing our Moms,  my sister in law losing her husband and raising a young child on her own, our young niece or friends to illness made it seem the holidays would never be the same.  Truthfully, they aren't the same.  But over time, we gathered strength to go forward and realized we can take the precious memories from Christmas past and inject them into Christmas present and future.  I no longer take for granted the things I did when I was younger and I feel grateful for what I do have.
 Todays world brings social media that brings a connection among all of us.  It also brings a new pressure to try to have the beautiful life that many on social media try to project to others. No matter who you are, it's important to remember life is never perfect 24/7 but it's about realizing the positive moments.  I do realize my positive moments and feel grateful.  And I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and appreciate you taking the time to read my blog💗 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours

Traditions are important this time of year.  I bake the same Christmas coffee cake for our family Christmas morning breakfast that my mother in law baked for years, and I will pass the recipe on down to my daughters and granddaughter.  The girls in our family have enjoyed our annual going to dinner and to our local theater to see our favorite holiday movie, "White Christmas" every year.  (The organist playing holiday music for a sing a long before the movie begins is not to be missed!).  We attend family mass together, hot chocolates before bed, await Santa's arrival and distribution of gifts for the youngest of the family. On Christmas day morning, we sit down to brunch, say grace and count our blessings together before we indulge in our holiday morning meal.   

 Even in the absence of our loved ones we have lost over the years, we have each other to lean on and it helps us through.  Do you have traditions you look forward to each year?

Merry Christmas  and Happy Holidays!  I appreciate you taking the time to share my passion of hosting family and friends by reading my blog.  Take time to connect with friends and neighbors.