Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 27, 2014

Ham n Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

HamnCheddar Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast casseroles often seem unappealing to me.  I like eggs and the things that go in them, but sometimes casseroles are just too mushy for me to eat them in the morning.  This recipe was based off  this one: Ham-n-Swiss Breakfast Pie.   It uses uses grits.  It sounds promising but grits are fickle in that you must eat them while they are hot – and immediately. I needed something that could sit for a bit and preferably something I could freezer in individual portions for weekday breakfasts.  I thought about it for a few minutes.

I had ham, cheddar, hash browns.  I made my own casserole – it was excellent, could be eaten straight out of oven, reheated later for those not around at breakfast and was perfect for cutting up into individual portions for freezing.

I tend to eyeball amounts on recipes like this.  I used my 5 x 81/2 Pyrex baking dish so did not need the whole bag of hash browns nor the whole amount of liquid mentioned in above recipe.  In fact, I probably did not use as much liquid as the recipe below mentions but if you use a whole bag of hash browns, you will need this much (and you’ll need a 8 1/2 x 11 baking dish). Also, you can use a can or two of cream of chicken soup instead of the milk and chicken broth if you like.  I liked it better this way – plus this way is gluten free and less fattening.

Ham-n-Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

  • Butter, 2 TBSP, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • Garlic, 1-2 cloves crushed
  • Chicken Broth, 1/2 cup
  • Hash browns, 3/4 bag frozen, refrigerated or freshly shredded
  • Milk, 3/4 cup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Cheddar, Shredded 1 1/4 cups
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Ground Mustard, 1/2 tsp
  • Ham, 1/2 lb diced
  • onion, small, halved and diced

Preheat oven to 375.  Put butter in baking dish and put in oven until melted.

Add pressed garlic, salt and pepper, handful of shredded cheese, 2 beaten eggs.

Add hash browns enough to fill baking dish and stir til coated in mixture and cheese is spread around.

Pour milk/chicken broth over hash browns until about container seems half full.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes.

Add ground mustard and salt and pepper to taste to 6 beaten eggs.

Cook diced ham and onion in skillet just until onions translucent.

When 20 minutes are up, remove

Turn oven up to 400.

add ham/onion mixture to top of hash browns.

Pour eggs and mustard over ham.

Top with remaining cheese.

Bake 35 minutes.

I left mine covered.  But you could take the  cover off the last few minutes of baking if you wanted.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | July 6, 2013

WOW! Grout Cleaner!

My kitchen grout has been dirty since, well a month after we moved into our newly built home.  I have tried every cleaner made and a few concoctions and a steam cleaner…all to NO avail.  In addition to dark brown stains, I had also accumulated some batter or something that no amount of cleaner or butter knives could budge from the grout.  Yuck.

J. Downey posted the following recipe on Facebook re: grout cleaner.  I tried it… IT WORKED. I am not feeling well due to my auto immune flare up so could only do a little scrubbing at a time without feeling dizzy and feeling like I had been body slammed so I will need to do a second pass with some serious scrubbing – or hey, maybe C2 can do it to earn part of his keep allowance.

Grout Cleaner

7 cups water

1/2 cup baking soda

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup vinegar

Put in bottle and spray (or in my case, I just poured it on).  Let sit 2-3 minutes.  Scrub w/ brush.  (Note, if you pour, you will have to get up the wetness with towels).

This also cleaned my floor better than the steam mop or any other cleaner I have ever used.


Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 26, 2011

Cabbage and Pasta??

Presenting another adventure for the Meal Challenged Family: Cabbage and Smoked Sausage w/ Pasta

Inspired by this post on the Food On the Table:

I tweaked it so I’ll post what I did here:

  • Half pkg of whole wheat egg noodles (any type of pasta will do)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (tablespoon) butter
  • 1/4 (cup) olive oil
  • 1 (head) green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 med-small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 (pound) Turkey smoked sausage, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Two shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 (cup) LOTS of grated Parmesan cheese

Put oil and butter in skillet, heat.  Added cabbage, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook on med-low heat, stirring periodically.  When cabbage begins to wilt good, add meat.  It will take about 15 minutes for cabbage to cook down.

In the meantime, boil egg noodles.  Drain.

Once cabbage has fully cooked and meat is browned, add pasta to skillet and a healthy dose of Parmesan, stir to combine w/ cabbage and meat mixture.   Dish up on plates, add more Parmesan to the top of each serving.

Do not have to use an entire pound of sausage.  I did not use a whole pound and we still had plenty of meat.

I served Mr. P’s with a warm whole wheat roll and he asked for a 2nd one which I did not give him.

MFC Summary:

This meal was ready in less than 30 minutes so this was definitely a Make It Quick.  The recipe  made enough for three to four large servings.  I had a healthy dose of left overs to take for lunch.  Mr. P ate most of his but left a bit of cabbage behind because he was full.  I loved this dish and will definitely make it again (and try to remember to give Mr. P a little less cabbage).

SPS did not eat this meal because he had begged me for Orange Chicken for weeks.  After my homemade version failed to impress him (or me).   I finally picked the frozen version at Trader Joe’s yesterday and so felt compelled to oblige his begging tonight.  He ate it over basmati rice.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 21, 2011

We got off to a good start!

First let me say: Our camera D.I.E.D. As in DEAD. Three pairs of new batteries did not help. We have wanted a new camera but purchasing one this soon was not in our budget…hmmm. MAYBE in a couple of weeks we can rectify this situation. For now I will have to scavenge pictures.

Chef Salad, Lentil Soup & Whole Wheat Crusty Rolls

Chef Salad and Lentil Soup might be an odd combination but it worked.  Substitute any soup  – or skip it altogether.  Mr. P never likes one bowl suppers…he seems to feel he’s getting cheated, like I am not giving him enough food or enough options, so we had salad and soup.

This is the closest to how mine looked that I could find.

Chef Salad:

Baby Greens
Carrot shreds
Tomato wedges
Quartered, Boiled Eggs
Cheddar Cheese Strips
Lean Deli Ham (rolled and sliced)
Onion Slices (only for me, no one else eats them)
Real Bacon Bits
Food Lion Thousand Island Dressing**

 I also threw some avocado on mine because I did not want to waste it and most things are better with avocado, right? (Mr. P and SPS do not agree!)

Soup: Manishewitz Lentil Soup 

These great little soup mixes are MSG free and low sodium which means they are Me friendly*. They cook quickly and taste great.

Whole Wheat Crusty Rolls

What worked about the rolls was that they were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  They went with both the salad and the soup splendidly.  A soft roll would not have done the trick.

MFC Summary:

This meal fell into the “Make it Quick” category.  I knew this was what I was making so I avoided the “what am I going to make for supper” dilemma. I had boiled the eggs before I left for work.  While the soup cooked on the stove, I assembled the salads and put the rolls in the oven.   Supper was ready in less than 30 minutes.

It had been a long time since I had a chef salad so I found it particularly good.  The guys both ate their salads without complaint. The soup was light and good.  Mr. P consumed his fair share.  SPS does not like most soups, particularly homemade ones but even he ate a small portion.   The rolls were perfect and all liked them. It was filling but did not leave us miserably full.

Disclaimers: Yesterday’s list of “won’t eats” was just the beginning…there’s more as you will see. SPS does not eat eggs or onions.  Mr. P is not fond of onions and does not eat them raw at all.

*MSG gives me migraines so we have to avoid it as much as possible. I have to keep my sodium intake below 1000/day.  Yes, more food challenges.

** We usually eat vinaigrette type dressings.  However, where I come from, it is not a chef salad without Thousand Island dressing. I am not a huge fan of Food Lion b/c of their limited selection of  “healthy” foods. They surprised me this time. As I perused the Thousand Island dressings, I found that the Food Lion brand (which did not claim to be low-fat) was actually lower in fat (at 6 grams) than some of the ones who made that claim. You can get “Fat Free” Thousand Island but they all looked gross.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 20, 2011

New Directions and the MCF

One year, one month and four days ago the Lord sent me back to work full-time.  That does not sound right, does it?  God sending a stay-at-home, part-time church staff employee back to a secular, full-time job? But He did.  My man is in school and cannot work as much but we own a home, have children and bills.  We need full-time income.  So God opened WIDE the door to a job that I was not even looking for.  All who know the situation have said “Wow, that was such a God thing”, including my pastor/former boss.

I have tried to balance work, household chores, my duties as wife and mother, church volunteer work, being a friend and meal planning/preparation.  The later has not gone too well. I generally get home at 5:30 or later…beginning meal planning at 5:30 (while my brain is not EVEN in home making gear) is tough.  Since we do not like to eat late, starting a complicated meal at that time is also out of the question.  Often it is 6:00 or later before I can even begin to figure out what the supper plan is.

After a very busy summer of working and intense VBS Directing/planning which greatly thwarted my supper making capabilities, I decided that I needed new supper strategies.

Did I mention that I married Mr. Picky?  I thought I was picky until I met him. NOT.  He does not eat broccoli, mushrooms, apples, crusts, raisins, cinnamon, garlic, alfredo sauce, salmon (or most seafood), does not like much beef or pork but also does not want chicken three or more times a week; he likes spaghetti but not pasta.

Did I mention that Mr. Picky and I begat Super Picky Son?  He does not eat mixed foods (like casseroles, soups, stews), cooked carrots, seafood, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, cooked broccoli, lumps in his spaghetti sauce, seafood of any kind or spicy foods.  He will go hungry rather than eat something he does not like.

So meal planning and preparation are a huge challenge in my house.  It is not for the faint of heart!

I am attempting to do better at using my crock pot and rice cooker.  I am attempting to have a meal plan before I leave for work.  Some days I make two breakfasts (and coffee for me), two or three lunches and supper all before leaving for school carpool at 7:15am.  It’s tiring but those evenings are such a relief to me.

I decided that I needed a log of what works and what does not.  I need it all in one place.  For now, this blog is the place.

Stay tuned for the adventures of The MCF (Meal Challenged Family) starring Mr. P (Mr. Picky), SPS (Super Picky Son) and Me!

Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 16, 2010

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

John Maxwell lays out some practical advice for communicating.  He addresses a problem that many poor communicators have.  If you struggle to get results from your communications, then you need to understand the message in this book. Connect with people.

If you want to be heard, if you want to relay a message, if you want to make impact with your communications, you must learn to connect with your audience. Maxwell describes five principles for connecting and in the end gives five practices for connecting.

I whole-heartedly agree with Maxwell’s concepts, and plan to refer to this book again so I remember his points.

The book languished on too long for me.  I struggled to focus past the first few chapters.  I found myself skimming them looking for fresh content.  I had felt guilty (and honestly postponed this review for the entire summer) until I read some other reviews and found that I was not alone.

The content is good, but if you read the book, do not get bogged down in the content.  In the words of my son: “Find the main sentence” for each section, highlight it and move on.  This might be the worst and shortest book review I have ever done.  Interesting contrast to the book.

Thank you to BookSneeze by Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me a free copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest review.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | September 14, 2010

Review for “OutLive Your Life”

Max Lucado has a gift for turning Bible scenes into modern-day scenes that people can relate to.  He can also put things in no-nonsense terms that are hard to turn away from.  He is funny and serious with a good dose of ideology.

“OutLive Your Life” is somewhat challenge, somewhat devotional,  somewhat self-improvement/spiritual improvement book.  He gives examples of things that nearly anyone can do and tells how such small things impact desperate people who need our help. The chapters are short enough to read one each day and there is a prayer at the end of each.

Lucado challenges us to get out of our self-absorbed worlds and out into the needy world around us.  He tells about enough worthwhile causes/activities that most anyone can find a few they can do.  You need not be rich nor a foreign missionary or even talented to make a lasting difference in this world….and the next (Heaven).  “Are you more dinghy than cruise ship?…More blue jeans than blue blood?  Congratulations.  God changes the world with folks like you.”

Be willing.  Common is okay. Climb out of your shell.  See and feel the pain of the world. Don’t forget the Gospel of Christ. Our differences don’t matter. Revive hospitality.  These are just a few of the messages of this book

I was convicted by some points and inspired by several.  It was well worth the read and has spurred me to make a plan of action about some things which the Lord is tugging at my heart.  I definitely recommend this book for all.

Thank you to Max Lucado and BookSneeze for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | April 12, 2010

April Showers

I have been silent W-A-Y long.  I had to take a blog break.  When things are so busy that I am falling behind in necessary things, something unnecessary must go…i.e. blogging (amongst other things).

I have missed my blog peeps.  But though I am back, I intend to pace myself.  I’m going to try to post when I definitely feel the urge.  I will only read when I definitely have the time.

As part of my endeavor to be more full of praise, joy, positive words and the like, I am pursing an attitude of gratitude for 30 days.  I am grateful but not as much as would be pleasing to the Lord.

As instructed in one of the devotions I am reading, I have started two lists of blessings: “Gifts from God” and “Gifts from Others”.  I am to add to the list as things come to mind.  So far, I have added the obvious big hitters: salvation, Christian home, husband, family, food, etc…

My devotions on the topic turned up an interesting thought today. The reading today suggested that we may overlook many things for which we should be thankful.

Ephesians 5:20a: “always giving thanks to God the Father for EVERYTHING”

There are many ways to apply EVERYTHING.  One example,: it could mean being thankful for those things which we do not like.  The intended application of my reading was this:

What if you only had tomorrow, those things which you had expressed thanks for today?

Hmm, sobering thought.

I know that we do not have to literally thank God every day for every single detail of our life.  But how many things do we take for granted?…toothpaste, green grass, the ability to smell, safe and secure housing, family, clothes…

My goal for today is to thank God for as many things as possible.  Everything I use, see, experience for one day…I want to be thankful to my caring Father in Heaven for showering me with blessings and for one day, shower Him with thanks.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | February 25, 2010

Face of Betrayal

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ISBN: 978-1595548177
Paperback: 320 pages

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to BookSneeze for providing me a free copy to review.

The Christmas break disappearance of  17-year-old Senate page, Katie Converse brings three friends together to solve the mystery of her disappearance: FBI agent Nicole Hedge, federal prosecutor Allison Pierce, and TV reporter Allison Shaw.

The case soon draws national attention as the prime suspect is the U.S. Senator who sponsored Katie.  The three women are all but consumed by their efforts in solving this case, all while trying to deal with their own personal lives.

I was unsure of what to expect with this book and while I had heard bits of favorable reviews on television, I like to draw my own conclusions, so I began reading with a critical eye.

My critical eye was quickly changed into intrigue.  The topics touched upon the book are too numerous to name, but all give a moments look at problems and triumphs in our society.  It was like having a back stage pass to the media, the judicial system and the FBI.  The book maintained my interest and the suspense kept me turning the pages.  (The suspense was not frightening.)

As for spiritual references, there is a touch of Christianity in the book, presented in a non-threatening fashion for non-believers.  There is also a look at agnosticism and new age beliefs.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read books that are informative,   suspenseful, fiction but true to life.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | January 22, 2010

Robin’s Readings

Give me a good book and I will abandon any activity that is not essential to life, including sleep.

I read every book in my junior high library with the exception of cheap romance novels.  By late February of my 8th grade year, the librarian had to get permission to send me to the high school  library (next door) because there was nothing worth reading left in our library.

My man recently asked me WHY I like to read.

Why?? I had a hard time answering that question.  For one thing, it just seems natural to want to read.  For another, there were so many answers to that question that I had a hard time choosing just a few. Why wouldn’t I want to read?

So, here’s a bit of what I have read lately and have finished (there are others in progress)

C2 was TEE TOTALLY fascinated that someone had gotten a glimpse of heaven.

FINALLY read “One Night With the King” (I cheated and watched the movie years ago)…I bought the movie for $5 at FCS recently but would not let myself watch it until I had read the book.  Now I have read the book and have not carved out time to watch the movie….

But actually, I read this first:

because someone loaned it to me.  This is an awesome book…don’t be put off by the fact that it has not been made into a movie.  This is a love story, a drama, an action story, a political story, a Bible story, oh I cannot begin to tell it all to you.  This had me on the edge of my seat and unable to wait to turn the page.  It did start off a wee bit slow, but the pace, plot and intrigue pick up and leave tread marks.

I WANT to read:

But I am #27 on the county library wait list for this book…did you get that?  27!!  I  think the library should  purchase another copy or two of this book….

A friend owns a copy but she loaned it to someone-and she doesn’t remember who that is – who has not returned it.  Alas…for now I have to wait for 26 other people to have 3 weeks to read it plus add transit time from one library to the next.  Ughh.

For now, I have another book to read for review from BookSneeze -i.e. Thomas Nelson publishers.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | January 21, 2010

Cold, Blue & Downcast

The coldness, blueness and darkness (but the possibility and slight hint of light) of this picture seem perfect for my topic today.

Winter Blues.

Days are shorter.  Temperature drops. Lack of sunshine on our skin. Tired. Lack of energy.  PJs and the couch. Dark and sad thoughts creep in.

Any of that sound familiar?

For me, it starts as a longing to stay in bed five more minutes.  Then I just want to stay home in the evening.  Next I want to stay home during the day.  Eventually my man will start to comment on my lack of “talking”.  I get very quiet.

To my credit, I DO go places and do things.  I M-A-K-E myself . I know I have to in order to get over being “blue”.  Sometimes I have to force myself to get off my rump and go somewhere.  I am always glad that I do, because getting out of the house helps.

I can hide this most of the time when I am not home b/c as long as I am around other people, it keeps me stimulated enough to ward it off.  I start not wanting to talk to anyone, but I quickly get over that.

At home though, hmm. The lack of external stimulation really sets in.  I do not want to call anyone, email anyone…and in the midst of my busy, tired, recovering from surgery holiday season, I did not want to blog either – after all, that’s another form of communication.

I have begun to feel the blue fog lift a bit.  This is good, maybe this spell of winter blues is about over for me.

Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?

3 Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.

4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 43:2a-5

Posted by: alwaysrkp | January 20, 2010

I found myself

I got lost in blog land.

No really, I had surgery in December and against advice from the doctor, went back to work in 2 days rather than 7 or 10.  (It was Christmas at a CHURCH…one cannot take 7 or 1o days off, for gracious sakes!)  Naturally, going back to work that quickly made recovery a bit slower.

Then there was more work

And church stuff…choir, banquets, etc.

And Christmas at home…

And more work….

By the second weekend in January, I was finally able to move normally and lift more than a few pounds. That meant I had things to do which had been waiting for a month while I was recovering.

So, basically, I have just been too tired to think, much less write.

Oh yeah, I have been reading.  A. L.O.T.

And well, there is one more thing…but I will save that for next time.

It is good to be back.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | December 23, 2009

Review: Saving Cicadas by Nicole Seitz

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59554-503-9
Paperback: 314 pages

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing a free copy to review.

Priscilla Macy is a single mother to a seventeen-year-old special needs daughter, Rainey and a eight year old daughter, Janie.  Priscilla discovers she is pregnant yet again.  They set out on a road trip with Grandma Mona and Poppy to find the father who left them.

The trip brings them to Priscilla’s childhood home in South Carolina.  Here, Priscilla must face the ghosts of her past and make a life altering decision: what to do with her unborn baby.

Each member of the family plays an important role in the life of the unwed mother, but it is Janie who has the most influence.  She must face shocking truths that even adults do not want to discuss.  Only she can help Priscilla reconcile the past and preserve the future of the Macy family.

At first I was disappointed because Janie is overly wise for her years.  At the same time, she is rightly childish at times.  Her character seemed unbalanced and unrealistic.

As the story unraveled, my interest was piqued more with each family secret revealed. The plot went a total different direction that what I suspected.  There was nothing predictable about it which means it was not boring.

The author intertwines family secrets, fantasy and practical daily events throughout the book. She very carefully spun a story that was not easily unraveled by predictability or standards. She tackled tough issues including family dysfunction, unwed mothers, abortion and adoption. She also presents love, forgiveness and reconciliation. You have to hang on to the very end to be completely satisfied.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | December 11, 2009

30 Day Challenge Update…He is out doing me

I know I am going to have to repeat this challenge…

Because there is SO much to accomplish

in 30 days

I can not get it all done.

Actually, my man has been blowing me away with his words of encouragement to me!

(I wonder if he’s peeking at this blog…)

Whatever his goal, I think it worked.

I’m wooed!

(and that’s putting it mildly)

He is out doing me…

I cannot complain, except that now I have a lot to live up to.

Posted by: alwaysrkp | December 9, 2009

30 Day Challenge Update & Wifey Wednesday

Needless to say, I am bee-hind on my posts.

Last week my plate was quite full as I was preparing for a minor operation which I had this week.

Said operation has provided my man many opportunities to take care of me, be kind to me, put up with me, etc.  Thankfully, he is willing to do all those things.

I am also a few days bee-hind on the actual things I am thanking my man for – one cannot quite wrap their mind around an idea when coming out from anesthesia and being pumped full of pain meds!

I have been thanking him none-the-less and will catch up with the exact things I am supposed to be encouraging him about shortly.

In response to Sheila’s Wifey Wednesday call

Low point in my marriage…not so much…but low point before marriage…yes!

Honestly, my man and I had the most of our problems before our marriage. We had more problems than most married people could even think of.  Why?  Because we were in and coming out of a season of sin in our lives.

I nearly gave up on the relationship many times…and wanted to many times more.  But I loved this man.  Even when I tried to give up, I couldn’t because I loved him so much.

One day, I had a moment when I knew I needed to stay committed…no matter what.  I knew God was calling me to stick it out through the good, the bad, the ugly or the indifferent.  I committed to the relationship that day.

Did it get easier? No, not right away.  But in time, yes.

Coming back to a right relationship with Christ was the first and foremost thing we had to do.

I had to learn to keep my mouth shut more often.

I had to learn to forgive.

I had to learn to not hold things over his head.

I had to learn that my past plays a huge part in my relationships and that I need to work on that.

I had to learn to pray for God to change ME more than him.

I learned to pray in the midst of our times of conflict. (THIS revolutionized our relationship!!)

I learned to submit.

We do still have moments of struggle.  They are not long, bitter or as intense as they once were.  We get beyond our conflicts much more quickly now.

We have however, been in a long season of struggle financially.  It has taken a toll on us and we have allowed a lot of negativity into our thoughts and words.  The Lord began working on me about this a few months ago.  He recently moved me to begin a 30 day challenge to Encourage My Man.  I highly encourage all wives who are not great encouragers to take the challenge and see how it revolutionizes your marriage.

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