Thursday, August 26, 2010

What She’s Been Up To

Elizabeth has been a very busy girl the last couple of weeks! Here’s what she’s been up to:


House building with the couch cushions…


Which we have now put a stop to! I started thinking about how all of this wear and tear will make our couches age a little too fast!

Who likes mushy cushions? Not me!


Travis’ grandpa had a little stint in the hospital here, so Elizabeth & I spent a lot of time up there the last couple of weeks. All of grandpa’s nurses and therapists were really nice, but the really, really nice one was the one who brought Elizabeth some I-C-E C-R-E-A-M! (That’s how she spelled it out to me, just in case I would say no!)


We’ve also been finishing up some flower beds, so Elizabeth was watching the water…and playing in the mud…


Travis built Elizabeth her own play set with things he found in his shop (slide included!)…


So far, all it has cost us is one box of screws and one splinter! Elizabeth was thrilled when we got back this weekend and she got to play on her “surprise”!


And reading. Lots and lots of reading! We’ve gotten into the (good) habit of spending some time with Elizabeth, both of us, uninterrupted. We say our bedtime prayers, play with stuffed animals, and read a bedtime story. Either Travis and I will read her story and then she takes the book and “reads” it back to us. It’s really super cute and her speaking has come a long way from just a few short months ago!

So that’s what our big girl has been up to!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Minted Lemonade

One of my favorite things to drink this summer has been lemonade. I have never been a big fan of the stuff, but after reading some other blog posts and recipes, I decided to give it another try.

I’m really glad I did! This lemonade is not only refreshing, but the mint adds a little something extra! I did go by a recipe the first time I made this lemonade, but have since adjusted to our liking. I’m posting the recipe that I now use.


You’ll need:

  • 1 cup lemon juice (It took 6 lemons to get me there!)
  • 3 lemon half hulls
  • 1/2 cup mint, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes (I like to use the mini cubes, but anything is fine!)
  • Water
  • Pitcher…At least 2 quart!


Start squeezing lemons, baby! Juice lemons until you get one cup of fresh, yummy juice.

I don’t bother removing the pulp at this step, because there’s mint added in later.

Adding Ingredients

To the pitcher, add the 3 lemon half hulls, the mint, sugar, and ice cubes.


Using a wooden spoon, bruise the mint and lemon hulls and stir everything around.


Have your cup of lemon juice handy…


And pour it in!


Stir the concoction around until the sugar dissolves. The sugar does pretty well dissolve, if yours doesn’t, don’t worry, it will once the rest of the water is added.


Here I added about a quart and a half of water and stirred again. Then taste. If the lemonade is too strong, add some more water.


I ended up adding more water because it was a bit too strong for us. Besides, if it’s too strong, Elizabeth ends up scrunching her face up after every sip!

Travis would like this with even a little more sugar. Me? Not so much, so I compromised with the 3/4 cup. If you’re into a really sweet lemonade, by all means, add more sugar!

I neglected to take a picture of the lemonade in a pretty glass! One thing I do is pour the lemonade through a sieve to keep the pulp and mint out of the glass…it’s prettier that way! (And you don’t have to worry about choking on the mint leaves!)

Before I put my lemonade in the fridge for “good” for the day, I like to sieve all of the liquid into another pitcher and discard the solids. If you do leave the mint in for too long, the lemonade gets really, really minty. Too much mint is not necessarily a good thing!

If you’re looking for a good drink on a scorching hot day – and you know we have plenty of them left! – turn to this simple lemonade recipe!  Simply delicious!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

After being gone for the majority of the last two weeks, Travis is back home! So, back to menu planning, it is! We’ll be working on cleaning out the remainder of the beef in our freezer since we’re making a trip to see my family this weekend.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • T-bone steak, grilled; rice; asparagus
  • Chicken fried steak; gravy; mashed potatoes; peas
  • Roast; leftover mashed potatoes; carrots
  • Rib-eye steak; baked potatoes; salad

I made some really yummy lemonade this weekend, took pictures, and am hoping to the post up soon! We’ve also been working our tails off in our flower beds and have finished the work in there…other than looking for two more “specialty” plants. More on that this week, too!

Have a great week…it’s already gotten up to 103 today, so stay cool!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Steak Sandwiches

I know the title leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but for these, I’m using round steak. I saw this recipe in The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook and she calls these “Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich”. Since I’m not married to that guy, calling them that seems kind of weird.

Anyway, Travis and I really enjoy these sandwiches and they are very easy to make!


The original ingredients from the cookbook:

  • Round steak, cut into strips 1” wide
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Pepper (The recipe actually calls for Lemon Pepper, but I forget to buy it, and I don’t use it for anything else. So, for me, plain ‘ole pepper works!)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tobasco Sauce
  • Rolls; I like to use submarine rolls

Optional ingredients I used the last time I made these:

  • Mushrooms
  • Red Wine


I had a Shiraz in my cabinet, so that’s what I used, but any good red wine will do.


It would be irresponsible of me not to taste it before I poured it all over my steak!


Season the steak with the seasoned salt and pepper.


Turn to coat.


Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a skillet.


Add the onions and mushrooms (I’ll use more mushrooms next time…this is all I had in the fridge).


Break them up and toss to get them all coated in the butter.


Keep cooking…they’re getting some nice color on them!


Perfect! Remove from the pan to a bowl and keep them close for later.


Melt some more butter in the bottom of the skillet. You’ll want your skillet screamin’ hot for this.


Place enough of the steak in the skillet for a single layer.


After a minute flip and brown the other side. This won’t take long, so don’t leave! Repeat until all of the steak is cooked. I can usually fit mine into two batches.


Once all of the steak is cooked, put it all back in the pan…steak, onions, and mushrooms!


Pour in some Worcestershire Sauce. I like this stuff, so I tend to use quite a bit…maybe even up to 1/4 cup…Travis says I use the stuff like it’s water, so use less if you desire.


A couple of drops of Tabasco.  I don’t use much, I like the subtle heat. I’m not a big fan of crying from heat while I eat.


Then pour in some wine. I’ve made these sandwiches half a dozen times already and this was the first time I’ve used wine. Honestly, I could take it or leave it…maybe I should have used more? but I didn’t notice a real boost by the addition.


Stir, being sure to scrape all of the good stuff off of the bottom of the skillet.


Let this mixture simmer for 5 minutes or so. The sauce needs to reduce some.


While the meat is simmering away, cut your rolls into half and butter.


Then toast them on a skillet until they’re nice and, well, toasty!


Place the roll down on the plate first…


And then pile on the good stuff! This is so good served with almost anything! I actually tend not to make a starch since we have the rolls, but any vegetable goes!

Oh, I was just thinking that some bell pepper would be good in this, too, for a change. Just throw those in with the onions. I also keep forgetting to buy some cheese for this, but cheese would be good melted on this sandwich, too!

For us, this typically makes four sandwiches. Perfect for two meals for us. I hope you give them a try, they are really, really good!

Menu Plan Monday

Travis will be away working for the first part of the week, so Elizabeth and I will be winging it as far as meals are concerned. I did make a roast this morning, so there are leftovers of that. I’m also craving chicken salad, so I see sandwiches in our future. Tonight, I think we’ll be eating some good ‘ole peanut butter and jelly! We haven’t had PB&J sandwiches in a couple of weeks and we have some crunchy Cheetos that are begging to be eaten!

For the end of the week, when Travis is back at home, I think we’ll have steak, fried okra, and sweet potato spears. I have a whole chicken I need to use, so I’m thinking of roasting it this weekend.

A pretty lax week in the realm of menu planning, but that’ll have to do for this week!

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Since I have neglected to post this week, I’ll put up a few pictures of Elizabeth to make it up to you!


Helping Momma cook!



Reaching for the pecans…again!



Climbing on the monkey bars…no help!



Swing! This about gave me a heart attack the first time I saw her do this!!


Wing, again, pwease, Momma!


Curled up on the floor like a cocoon! She was still sleepy this morning!

We hope you all had a good week…we did! Have a great weekend and I’ll work on some post for next week-promise!