Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ham Cheddar chowder

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hard to believe 2014 is upon us.

With leftover ham from Christmas I thought a nice cozy chowder was in order. The weather this evening is rainy and chilly with snow on the way.

I am definitely a "dump cook"...I dump things in, taste and add accordingly. To enjoy cooking I think if you want to enjoy cooking you have to be that way. Use measurements as a guide, then add or subtract to suit you and your families pallet. Use what you have and be creative. Taste it, and if you like it...go with it. If not, add something to change it until you do :-)

OK, enough chit chat...onto the recipe...

2 cups of water
2 cups of peeled and cubed potatoes (bite size)
1/2 cup of peeled and chopped carrots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
8-oz of shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
2 cups of cooked cubed ham

  1. In a large pot add water, potatoes, carrots, garlic salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are tender, approx 10 minutes. Add the corn and ham and reduce the heat to low.
    Vegetables, Ham and Veggies
  2. In a different, medium sized pot melt butter then whisk in flour, over a medium-low heat. Cook a couple of minutes, then add the milk. Whisk periodically until white sauce (aka bechamel sauce) thickens.
    Bechamel sauce
  3. Stir in cheese until smooth.
  4. Pour cheesy bechamel into the large pot of ham and vegetables. Heat through and taste. Add seasoning if you desire.

Cook's notes
I used a hand grater for the garlic, faster and easier and less mess.
If you don't like carrots, leave them out. You could use peas or your favorite vegetable.
I used leftover corn I had in my frig.
Freeze leftovers and to pull out for a fast meal later. You will probably have to add some milk while reheating.

You could add some crusty bread or a salad for a full meal. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Building a life...

Today my husband and I are celebrating 22 years of marriage. I am VERY proud of how we have persevered through the trials and tribulations of building a life, raising children, building a loving and lasting relationship.

We are so blessed to have had two beautiful children come from our love for one another. Thank God for all our blessings.

Jon, Me, Frank, Morgan
Today was wonderful. Even though Morgan has moved out on her own, she came and spent the day with us. We put steaks on the grill, made roasted cauliflower and broccoli and pudding cream pie for dessert.

I couldn't ask for any better!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's in the blood....

This past weekend was our final weekend of drag racing for the 2013 season.

It's a bitter sweet, exhilarating and exhausting time.  Our fellow racers are like family. And many of them we only see during the summer. The kids have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.  It's really great to watch them fiercely compete then come back to the pits and hang out, laugh, ride 4-wheelers, etc...

I guess I should start with a brief description of drag racing and some of the "lingo" we use. We compete in 1/4 mile bracket racing. Which essentially means the slower car gets a head start equal to the difference between the times the cars dial (the drivers estimate on how long it will take to travel the 1/4 mile distance. Each driver lines up at the starting line. There is a pre-stage and stage bulb on the tree...once both bulbs are on for each driver they are lined up at the exact same point. There will be 3 bulbs come down, then it's go time. If you leave too early it produced a red light and you are disqualified. If you leave too late, you've given your opponent too big of a head-start. Each race is called a "round" and eliminate half of the cars in the class. Rounds continue until the final, where there are only 2 cars left...the winner and the runner up.

We were at the track until VERY late Friday and Saturday. But every lost minute of sleep was well worth it. Hubby races a 1967 Chevy Camaro. This car is his baby...he has owned it longer than I've known him. It started as a primer stock car and has morphed several times through the years. It was white with a black checkerboard down the side for a long time. A couple years ago he put a fiberglass front end on (decreases weight = faster car) and painted the car a custom black cherry. Many people enjoy watching him race because not only does it go fast, he covers the 1/4 mile in 9 seconds going 148 mph, but he usually pulls an amazing high wheelie. There were approximately 140 cars in Hubby's class Friday and he lost in the semi finals...3rd place. I can't believe to tell you how exciting and proud I am.

I am thankful for a friend who takes amazing pictures. MC pix took this series of our first pass...what a ride...what an awesome set of pictures.

Our son races a junior dragster. It's essentially a mini dragster aka half scale. The juniors run under the same rules except they only race 1/8 mile, which our son covers in just over 9 seconds going 75 mph. The kids who race these cars are from age 8 - 17...awesome kids who exhibit amazing sportsmanship. So proud of each of them. Son had a rough night Friday but Saturday was a different story. He won the whole junior event.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pumpkin cake/pie...


Mix 1 box of yellow cake mix, 1 egg and a stick (1/2 cup) of butter/margarine together. Reserve approx. 1 cup and press remaining crust into bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.

Blend together 1 large can of pumpkin puree (29oz), 3 eggs, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice.

 Spread on top of crust.

Combine reserved cake crust mixture with 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine and 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. Crumble over top of pumpkin mixture.

Bake at 325° for 50 to 60 minutes.

Brew a cup of tea or coffee, invite a friend over and enjoy.