Friday, September 30, 2011

Meal in a Pumpkin

A fun and easy Fall meal, is to make dinner in a pumpkin.  

You can stuff it with just about anything.  This is my favorite way to do it.

Deborah's Pumpkin Stuffing Recipe

2 Cups of Rice (I like to make a mixture of brown, white and wild rice)
4 Cups of Water
1 lb. Hamburger
1 Onion diced
1 small Baking Pumpkin
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Mushrooms
1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds (Optional)
1 Cup of Water

Take pumpkin, cut off top, scoop out insides, and set pumpkin aside.  Cook rice and water together until done.  Brown hamburger and then add onion and cook until tender.  Add hamburger mixture to rice along with Cream of Mushroom soup, mushrooms and slivered almonds.  Mix together.  Place rice mixture in pumpkin and put the top of the pumpkin back in place.  Place pumpkin in baking dish and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven until pumpkin is soft.  Make sure to scoop out some of the yummy pumpkin when the rice mixture is being served.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cleaning Tip #2

Fall is officially here!  With the seasons changing and the Holidays around the corner, there are clothes to switch out, toys to go through and ovens to clean before Halloween cookie-baking or Thanksgiving turkey-roasting. Okay, well, my oven sure needed a thorough cleaning!  (If you own a rental, do your renter a favor and make sure the fridge, oven and kitchen cupboards are clean before they move in.) But in addition to any organizing/cleaning projects, the everyday cleaning as we all know never goes away. 

Here are two tips that help me in my cleaning.

#1.  Have LOTS of dishcloths and rags handy.  I LOVE having MANY rags.  And as you can tell, they are well used!

Sept 15 2011 rags

For the dishcloth department, I love having a lot here too!  I go through about two if not more dish cloths a day.  If I wash out a bowl that had raw egg in it, I get out a fresh dishcloth.  If I have to wipe up a lot of spilled milk on the table, I get out a fresh dishcloth.  I am sure you can imagine the many scenarios that would warrant a new dishcloth.  I personally don't use a dishcloth from one day to the next.  I am constantly changing them out.

Spet 15 2011 drawer cloths

#2. Wear something with pockets while cleaning.  It seems there is always some sort of tiny odd or end that is out of place.  Having pockets allows me to stuff that item away till I am done cleaning upstairs before going down, or finish cleaning the van before going inside.  Making multiple trips unnecessarily around the house can waste a few minutes of precious time.  Cleaning one area and then moving on to the next is more efficient. Along the lines of pockets, something I do when I clean out my van is bring two grocery bags with me.  One bag is for garbage, the other for everything else.  This helps me get everything out of the van quickly.  But, when you bring the bag of non-garbage in, make sure you sort through it and put away the items right away!  No need in creating yet another mess!

What are some of your little tips to facilitate easier cleaning?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Conference Traditions

Our family is looking forward to General Conference this coming weekend.  I'm going to share a few of my family's favorite conference traditions.  We love to combine these two ingredients: 

A generous dollop of whipped cream
Strawberry Belgium Waffles

Don't worry.  I'll share an awesome waffle recipe with you.  It's my husband's specialty.  I apologize for not having any pictures of these fabulous waffles.  Apparently we eat them and leave no evidence behind.  The secret is to separate the eggs, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.  I've tried making these waffles without separating the eggs and they are just not as good. 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 egg whites
In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.  
In another medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks slightly.  Stir in milk and oil.  Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture.  Stir just till moistened.  Batter should be lumpy.  In a small mixing bowl beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.  Gently fold beaten egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white.  Do not overmix. Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cups batter onto grids of a pre-heated, lightly greased waffle baker.  Close lid quickly; do not open till done.  Bake according to manufacturer's directions.  When done, use a fork to lift waffle off grid.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve warm. Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 2000.

Top waffles with strawberries that have been hulled and sliced and sprinkled with sugar and  whipped cream or whipped topping.  Yum!  We like to eat these for breakfast before the morning session of conference.  

We also love to make pretzels after the final session of conference.  Auntie Anne's Pretzels are a favorite.  We use a knock-off of the recipe that can be found here. 
We don't always make pretzels.  Sometimes we like to decorate cookies during the last session of conference.  Our kids like to play Conference Bingo.  You can find it at: It's also called Conference Squares.  We set out a bowl of candy (like a mix of candy corn, m&ms and the like) and each time the kids hear that topic spoken about, they get a piece of candy out of the bowl.  The kids also love drawing pictures about the talks.  This helps them remember specific talks and we can discuss conference afterwards. 

Do you have any favorite conference traditions?  We would love to hear about them on our blog!

Enjoy this special Conference weekend with your family!