Wednesday, January 6, 2016

{recetas} Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

I've had a couple cans of sweetened condensed milk hanging out in the pantry for quite some time. I never really knew what to do with them, until I realized nobody was bringing dessert for the pot-luck Christmas party I hosted earlier this week.

I've totally gorged on Christmas cookies and treats, and didn't want to make another pie, cake, or cookies. Plus, I don't really know what to use sweetened condensed milk for. So I asked my mom.

Moms really are the best, aren't they? I swear, mine knows everything. And if she doesn't, she makes something up for me and it sure as hell sounds like she knows what she's talking about.

This crock pot recipe is super easy. Like, pour a few things, stir a few times, enjoy. Yep. That easy.

What you need:

  • 12 cups of milk (I used skim)
  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of mint chocolate chips
  • Reddi-whip (or the store brand, doesn't matter)
I did not say that this was a healthy cocoa recipe. It's not even a little bit healthy. Skim milk is low-fat, though. So maybe that kind of cancels out the sweetened condensed milk and the heavy whipping cream?

What you do:
  • Pour everything into the crock pot, except the reddi-whip.
  • Stir it up, turn it on high for an hour, or low for 2 hours.
  • Be sure to stir every so often, so the chocolate chips melt and don't burn to the bottom of the crock pot.
  • Ladle it into mugs when it's hot (or just warm, you decide) and top it with the reddi-whip.
  • Yum, yum, yum. Throw in a candy cane if you want to get fancy, but it is super minty already.

Monday, January 4, 2016

{Recetas} Lasagna Soup

Friends, the soup from last week was DEEEEEE-VINE! I made it for my closest girlfriends, and everyone gobbled it up. So I thought I would share the recipe with y'all. You should make it tonight. I'm serious. It's that good!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 packages mild Italian sausage
  • 1 package baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 32 ounce cartons of chicken stock
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can fire roasted garlic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 package noodles of your choice
  • Cheese, cheese, cheese

What you do:
  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add and brown the Italian sausage. Bring a pot of water to boil for your noodles.
  • Once the Italian sausage is browned, add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Turn the heat to low.
  • While the soup is warming, slice the zucchini and mushrooms. Add both to the pot. Return the heat to medium-high.
  • Add in the garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper. Stir it all together.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer until the mushrooms and zucchini are done.
  • When the pot of water boils, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. I used rotini noodles, but you can use whatever you'd like. I've made this with bow-tie pasta, and with mini lasagna noodles. Anything works!
  • I keep the noodles separate. You can easily throw them in the soup, but I think they get a little too mushy. Especially if you make enough soup to freeze half.
  • Place a scoop of noodles in a bowl, then pour your soup over the top. Finally, load on the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Then, devour the soup like nobody's watching. Because it is that good!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

::Dinner Plans #24::

I am going in a new direction this week: budget friendly. Well, it's more of a pantry clean out. We have a freezer in our basement that is beyond full, a pantry that is bursting at the seems, and a regular freezer that has not an inch of space left. My plan is to use what we currently have for as long as possible - and to see how long I can go without spending copious amounts of cash money.

Sunday - Shepherd's Pie: a repeat from last week, I know, but we didn't get to it.
Monday - Leftover chili: it's been taking up space in my freezer for a few months.
Tuesday - Stir Fry: this has also been taking up space in the freezer for a few months.
Wednesday - Family Dinner
Thursday - Pan-fried Venison Steak and Steamed Veggies
Friday - Spaghetti: I have 2 quarts of frozen marinara sauce in the freezer, too.
Saturday - Tater-Tot Hot Dish: another recently made meal. We typically have the ingredients for this on hand all of the time.

In looking at my current pantry, I think my bill for dinner ingredients will be about $3. Of course, I will need to purchase some fresh fruit for snacks in the upcoming week, but I think this might be the cheapest week (grocery-wise) of my life.

What are your go-to budget friendly meals?

How about your go-to pantry clean out meals?

...I'm always looking for new recipes!

Friday, January 1, 2016


Every year, I enjoy reading blog posts about people's New Year's Resolutions. I think it is so wonderful to have a set of goals. It keeps the year focused and can really motivate. Some people.

Then, there's me.

I don't know why, but New Year's Resolutions are just ... lame for me. I never follow through. Like, ever. I can look back on resolutions past and think, "oh, that was a good one!" But it lasted until March or April and then ... well, it was forgotten.

I'm not writing New Year's Resolutions this year.

This year, I'm writing hopes and dreams.

I hope we get our camper up and running for our first trip scheduled in early July. The Barge (we're still deciding on names for the Airstream, so it may change) was welded back together yesterday and is in storage today. And we have a lot of work to do on her. A lot is an understatement. Either way, I hope she is ready to go by July. My dream is to someday (before Kid is 12) drive the Airstream up to Alaska.

I hope I make more sales on a teaching website of which I am a member. I would love to supplement our bank account with a little more cash. Our funds for camper renovations are pretty tight, so money from the website would be put toward The Barge (I swear, it's not just a random name; there's a story behind it).

I hope I can find balance for the rest of the school year. I have struggled this year with keeping things up and organized at home and at school. Unfortunately, school has come first. Which is great for my kindergarten students, but not so great for my family. We are always behind on laundry, we eat out more than I would like (which is why ::Dinner Plans:: have returned).

I hope I can bring more traffic to this little blog of mine. I'm still a little shy about the blog. I just shared it with my mom and sister rather recently. My best girlfriends don't know about it. For some reason it is easier to share with people I don't know in real life. I hope to build the blog and my confidence as a writer.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2016?