Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tuna Fish Casserole

Tuna fish casserole has always been a favorite dish of mine, mostly because of the tuna.  I am known to eat tuna straight out of the can.  Sometimes I will eat it with crackers and maybe even cheese.  Of course, I also like tuna salad with mayo and mustard and pickles and boiled eggs, eaten as a sandwich.  Now I know that being pregnant I’m not supposed to eat tuna, but I have done my research and have discovered that if I eat just a little on a rare occassion, then all is well.  News that makes me quite happy!

I learned how to make tuna fish casserole from my step-mom.  We had this on a fairly regular basis when I was growing up.  Now that I’m on my own and married, I don’t get this wonderful dish nearly as often because as you might imagine, my husband does not like tuna or casseroles.  However, last night I decided it was time to bring out this old favorite.  I fixed My Honey some shake and bake chicken and me a tuna fish casserole.  We were both happy.

I made up the recipe as I went along from memory.  Mine was a little dry and didn’t have nearly as many green vegetables in it as my step-mom’s, but it was good.  My step-mom always used left-over vegetables, but since I didn’t really have any, I used a can of mixed vegetables.  You can do it either way, or you can do frozen mixed vegetables, which are probably a little healthier, to be honest.  Now that we got that cleared up, though, I will give you the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry elbow noodles
  • 3 cups water
  • 2/3 – 1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of mushroom soup (You can switch this out for you favorite flavor:  cream of celery, chicken, whatever.)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) mixed vegetables (If you leave the juices in, your casserole won’t be quite as dry.)
  • 2 cans (5 oz.) tuna, drained
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced Velveeta cheese (If you prefer to use your favorite shredded cheese or American cheese, that’s fine, too.)

Directions:

  1. Cook the noodles in the water until they are about half done (al dente).
  2. Mix tuna, vegetables, soup, and seasonings in a large bowl.
  3. Add cooked, rinsed noodles to mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish. (I used an 8×11.)
  5. Top with sliced cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees till casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.
  7. Serve!

Possible sides:

  • Cornbread
  • Fresh bread
  • Rolls
  • A vegetable that’s not already in the casserole.
  • Favorite potato side
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Biloxi, Mississippi

My husband and I took our first big vacation since our honeymoon in 2009.  (And to be honest, even our honeymoon was still in AR.)  Anyhow, we took off to Biloxi, Mississippi.  We had a very good time while we were there.  We went to the beach, toured the Jefferson Davis house and the Biloxi Visitor’s Center and museum, took pictures beside the Biloxi Lighthouse, shopped, and just looked at the city.  The picture above is one that I took while we were on the beach on Tueday morning.  It is one of my favorites because of the colors, and as you can see the weather was good, not a cloud in the sky.

Our trip took us about 8 hours to drive.  (Yes, we went a little slow, but that does include stops for lunch and bathroom breaks.)  We drove from the Little Rock area all the way to Biloxi on nearly all highways.  We did have a stint on I-530 and I-20, but the majority of the trip was off freeways.  On the trip down there, we stopped at a little rest stop in Southern AR for lunch.  It was a beautiful day, and the rest stop was clean and well-cared for, quiet, and just a nice stopping place for a picnic lunch.  Then we continued our trip into the extreme NE corner of Louisiana where we hopped onto I-20, crossed the river into Mississippi.  We drove all the way to Jackson before getting onto yet another highway and heading south to Biloxi.  A good ways down that highway, we stopped at a Wal-Mart for an atlas (up until that point, we had only been using directions from Google Maps) and a chance to stretch our legs and use the restroom.  We finished up our trip and reached Biloxi by 6 o’clock that evening.  (We had left our home around 9 o’clock that morning, but had to run a couple of errands on our way out of town, which took about 30-40 minutes.)  After an all-day drive, we were rather tired, so we just ordered pizza and had it delivered to our room while we got settled in our “home” for the next four nights.

I will continue with what is hopefully something a bit more exciting from our trip on later post.  Sorry for having been away so long, but it has been busy preparing for our trip, having a yard sale, taking the actual trip, and getting back home.  Hopefully I will be back on here more often than I have been.  😀

The rest stop we at lunch at on the way to Biloxi. It is just outside of McGehee, AR on Hwy. 65S.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

As I’ve hopped around on the internet the past couple of days, I’ve run across several cute little poems and such that honors mamas.  Today is Mother’s Day, and I just want to wish all of you mamas out there a wonderful day today.  You work hard to raise your children and love them even during those times that they make it hard.  I found this little story on a forum that look at some, and I wanted to post it on here for all the mamas.  Happy Mother’s Day to each of you and God bless you for the hard job you take on each and every day.

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A baby asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

“Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.”

God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”

Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?”

God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?”

God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“Who will protect me?”

God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it’s life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

“You will simply call her, ‘Mom.'”

– Unknown

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Banana Raisin Bread

It’s the time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables at the store are in abundance.  I have been buying quite a bit of fresh fruits and vegetables myself, recently.  Apples, pears, strawberries, potatos, tomatos, corn on the cob, lettuce, and bananas.  Last week, I bought a bunch of bananas and ate all but two of them.  Those last two, of course, did what bananas do well:  turn brown, mostly.  I didn’t want to eat over-ripe bananas, and I needed to cook something for church.  So what can you do with two over-ripe bananas?  Banana Nut Bread!  It seemed the perfect solution, except I didn’t have any nuts.  Enter the raisin!  And ta-da; you have Banana Raisin Bread!

I don’t remember making this bread since I was a little bitty girl making it with my Aunt Peggy and my sister Dawn.  This meant I had to bring out my handy-dandy Better Homes and Gardens Quick Breads Cook Book.  (I love my 36-year old cook book.  :D)  And there it was on page 23, a recipe for Banana Nut Bread.  All I had to do was substitute the chopped walnuts for raisins, and I had exactly what I needed.

Before you get scared, let me assure you that Banana Nut/Raisin Bread does NOT need to rise.  It is not a yeast bread.  It uses baking powder and soda as levening agents, so it’s quick and easy to make.  Also, this recipe calls for ripe bananas, but this bread does taste better – yes, better – if you use bananas that have begun to turn brown, in other words, over-ripe.  Not rotten, just over-ripe.  That way you don’t have to waste your bananas.  And a hint for your banana peels:  put them on the soil around your rose bushes.  They like banana peels.

And now, for the recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I substituted raisins in for this.)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl cream shortening and sugar together well.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. Thoroughly stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with banana, blending well after each addition.  (On this I did 1/3 of the flour mixture, one mashed banana, 1/3 of the flour mixture, one mashed banana, and the final third of flour mixture.)
  4. Fold in nuts (or raisins).
  5. Turn into greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan
  6. Bake at 350-degrees till done, 45-50 minutes.
  7. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan.  Cool thoroughly.
  8. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

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My Teeth

For a good part of this week, I have not felt very well, and no, it has not been due to being with child.  It has actually been due to something even smaller than my baby at only 12 weeks of development; it was due to an inocent little popcorn hull.  Seriously.  It was stuck in between a couple of my top molars.  In fact, it had been there quite awhile.  I hadn’t been able to remove it when it first got stuck, so I left it work its own way out.  Monday afternoon it finally did, and its exit has left the top right side of my mouth in pain since then.  (Apparently my teeth and the popcorn hull had become good buddies.)

Anyhow, starting Monday afternoon, all through Tuesday and Wednesday, my mouth has hurt.  It was to the point that by yesterday (Wed.) afternoon, most of the right side of my face was hurting.  It had spread, causing a headache and even my bottom teeth were beginning to ache.  I had almost gone to the dentist yesterday, but at the last moment, I decided not to for fear that they would just start yanking teeth out of my head and cost my husband and I our vacation money.  Not to mention, I thought I was probably just being whimpy, and we CAN’T have that.

So, as I lay on the couch, basically feeling like a sick person, yesterday afternoon, two thoughts occured to me:  1) I should just take some Tylenol, which I am allowed by my OB-GYN, and (more importantly) 2) I should say a little prayer about it.  I have this weird thing:  I don’t like to pray for myself, especially my little aches, pains, colds, and such.  Well, my prayer was said in my head and went vaguely like “Please, Lord, help my teeth.”  It was more of a thought and less of a prayer, to be honest.  However, the Tylenol kicked in after a few minutes, I quickly began to feel better (perkier, more alert, and certainly in less pain), I slept well throughout the night, and this morning, my mouth feels significantly better.  Either that’s the longest lasting dose of regular Tylenol I’ve ever had in my life, or God did what He loves to do for His children.  I’m inclined to believe the latter.

I have said a real prayer this morning thanking my Heavenly Father for taking care of me, removing my pain, and basically healing whatever was wrong, despite my not leaning on Him in the first place and barely doing so in the second place.  He loves me and takes care of me, even though I quite obviously don’t deserve it.

God is so very good!  Praise Him!

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Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes…

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything on here.  I’ve been a bit busy and haven’t been doing a lot of cooking recently, that last bit being thanks to being pregnant, I’m sure.  Not much sounds appetizing many days.  Many apologies for my virtual silence.

Well, last night my husband wanted frozen chicken strips, boxed macaroni and cheese, and potato tots.  I didn’t, but I had a box of beef flavored rice and some left-over browned hamburger meat that I decided to cook for myself.  I got the stove all fired up.  I had rice in one pot, noodles in another, and the fryer going on a third burner.  I also had decided to cook some boxed scallopped potatos for me.  I didn’t feel like messing with homemade; I figured, since I’m the only one who would be eating them, what would it matter.  I had that going in the oven.

As you can imagine everything started to come together at about the same time.  I was pulling potatoes out of the fryer and dropping strips in, draining noodles and adding water and seasoning to the toasted rice just wham-bam one right behind the other.  In the process of doing that, I picked up the wrong seasoning packet for the rice. Instead of the beef seasoning, I grabbed the cheese for the macaroni and dumped it in.  I thought the color looked a little strange, but just figured it had a bit of a creamer in it.  I got that all mixed up, pulled the chicken out of the fryer, turned that burner off, and began on the macaroni.  I got my noodles, butter, and milk in the pan.  Then I opened the only packet left on the counter.  The mix was brown and had flakey green things in it.  It only took about a second for me to realize what had happened.  I had ruined my rice.  Thankfully I keep several boxes of macaroni on hand (It’s the only macaroni my husband will eat.), so I was able to get the cheese out of one of the others.  His meal was fine.  Mine on the other hand had become an experiment in a diaster.

I went ahead and added some of the ground beef and salt and pepper to the rice with macaroni powdered cheese.  It tasted terrible.  I opened my spice cabinet and went to work.  Onion powder, garlic powder, and Cavendar’s.  More pepper.  I managed to make it edible – for at least that meal.  I was going to add some salsa, but when I opened that container, I saw that it had become an experiment all by itself at some point.  No salsa.

By about this point, my potatos had finished.  They were fine, thankfully.  I fixed my plate, grabbed something to drink, and ate my rather disturbing supper.

I tell this story because I often get caught up in my own cooking talents.  I get to thinking I’ve got this cool skill that not many others have.  I really can get a bit of a big head.  Then comes a day when I mess up, and it’s always with something I’ve done time and time again that couldn’t be easier to accomplish.  I mess up the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I’ve been cooking for years and years.  I mess up a box mix of rice.  I mess up GRAVY!  (Yes, I really do have trouble with gravy, of all things.)  These blunders serve to keep me humble.  They show me that I’m not a good as I’d like to think, and I have to be sure that I don’t present myself as someone who never messes up in the kitchen or in any other way.  I mess up a lot.  I’m not perfect.  And as you can tell from this post, I don’t even always cook from scratch.  I use short-cuts.  I often take the easy way out.  In other words, I’m just as imperfect as everyone else.  And that is something that I think is one of the most important things to be honest about.

P.S.  I threw out the rice after supper.

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