Friday, December 28, 2012

Biblical Archaeology - Ancient Finds

This kind of discovery is so fascinating to me! I would love a full documentary to show how and what they discovered. Wouldn't it be amazing to be on an archaeology team like this?

2,750 year-old Temple Found near Jerusalem

Read the rest of the story here.

Fascinating, isn't it? Who lived here and what happened in this place? So many interesting questions to think about. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

For a cold evening...Creamy Potato Soup with Broccoli and Ham!

OK, so when winter rolls around, I turn to my big soup pot. Out of it comes some yummy stuff. It has taken me years and years to figure out how to make a good soup. I have watched some of my friends create the best things and learned from them. Now I like what I make and so does my family. This is a big step up from ten years ago when my "chicken soup" was more like "watered-down chicken with soggy veggies." Can you identify with that?!

So, in light of that, and since I figured out how to finally get my potato soup to taste like I want it to, I wanted to share it here so you could enjoy it this winter if you are a potato soup kind of gal. :D

Start here:

It doesn't matter what kind you use as you will blend them up and they all taste like potatoes to me.

I used ten pounds for my soup tonight. Your amount may vary, but I cook for seven mouths and I mean to have leftovers so I go big. You can freeze this too if you are a smaller family - just don't add the broccoli or the ham until you reheat it.

10 pounds of potatoes, chopped, rinsed, and set aside.

Three large onions, chopped, mixed with a full bulb of chopped garlic - saute all in two tablespoons of olive oil (or vegetable oil of your choice - I don't recommend coconut oil in this one as you don't want that flavor in the soup.) Saute until brown and really full of flavor. This is the KEY to this soup so don't skimp on the sauteing time.

Once they are done, toss in the chopped potatoes and cover with chicken broth of your choice (homemade or from a can or cube - your choice here.) Let this simmer until all the potatoes are soft. 

While simmering, chop up a full head of broccoli or at least six cups of it. I saute this in another pan until it is bright green - you don't want to overcook it as it will continue to cook in the soup. I take a package of ham sandwich meat and chop it up. If I had leftover ham, I would use that, but I need easy for most days of the week and a package of sliced ham is not hard to come by!

Once the potatoes are done, you will want to blend it by whatever means you have. I happen to have one of those hand-held blenders that I can place into a cooking pan, turn on, and it blends for me. I have used a blender too - whatever you have to make it smooth. While blending, add three cups of milk. Whole milk is, of course, the best, but we used 2% tonight and it was fantastic. I bet half and half would be like heaven. I am not going there...

So once this is done, you stir in the broccoli and ham, serve into a bowl, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and enjoy!

Let me know if you make this! We love this recipe and think it is perfect at the end of a busy day. It doesn't take too long to do and is wonderful with homemade biscuits, toast, or a whole wheat bagel. :)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

Per the requests of a few of you, I thought I would share my "recipe" for Enchilada Casserole. I don't often cook by a specific recipe so I will put it together as best I can for you. Do you cook that way or are you a strict recipe follower? I watched my mother cook growing up and she was a toss this in and toss that in kind of cook and that is how I do it too. (Unless it is baking in which case I pay a little more attention to a recipe! :)

Start with this:

OK, so I cheat a little bit! This is the only cheating I do in this recipe. :D I have made enchilada sauce from scratch, but we really like this sauce and I cannot make it like Las Palmas so I run with it. You can use their red enchilada sauce, but we have come to like the green better.

Take two large onions, one full bulb of garlic (at minimum - for real), and chop them up. Then, saute the living daylights out of them in a tablespoon of oil. I mean get them good and yummy and soft; set aside.

I use leftover chicken from a meal we have already eaten for this OR three chicken breasts, cooked and cubed; set aside.

One 29 ounce can of black beans; rinsed and set aside. 

18 corn tortillas. 

Three cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese. You can use cheddar, but MJ is the best in this recipe.

Two cans of black olives, sliced. (Optional, but man these are good in this recipe!)

Put it all together:

I use an 11" x 15" glass Pyrex baking pan for this. You can use a 9" x 13", but it will be a bit more packed in there. Either way, it works.

Pour enough of the sauce in the bottom of the pan to lightly cover the bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with six tortillas flat. On top of this, layer the onions and garlic and then spread it around so that it covers the tortillas. Over the onions, layer the cubed chicken; spread around. Layer another six tortillas flat over this and pour an equal amount of sauce over the top of these and spread around with a spoon. Make sure you do not use all the sauce as you will need to top it off. Then, sprinkled the beans, sliced olives, and cheese in layers and then top off with the last six tortillas. Cover this with the rest of the sauce and spread it around so that the tops of the tortillas are well-covered. Cover the whole pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for a good 30 minutes until cooked through. You can top with sour cream, more cheese, salsa, or nothing. It is delicious just as it is!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Literary Archaeology!

I love all things archaeology, but it is a beautiful rare thing to find something in the literary world. Look what they discovered?

Hans Christian Anderson's First Fairy Tale

Danish experts believe they have found the first fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875).

Titled "Tællelyset" (The Tallow Candle), the ink-written manuscript was found by local historian Esben Brage at the bottom of an archive box. Brage made the discovery in October in the historical archive on the island of Funen, where the Danish author was born.

Two months later, historians confirmed that the six-page manuscript was indeed written by Andersen. They dated the document to the mid-1820s, when the writer was in his late teens.

"I am in no doubt that it has been written by Andersen," Ejnar Stig Askgaard of the Odense City Museum told the Danish daily Politiken. (The rest of the story is found here.)

The newspaper has translated and published a version of the story in English.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On the 1st and 2nd Days of Christmas, the Crew Blog gave to Thee...

On the first day of Christmas, the Crew Blog gave to Thee...

An Isabel Writing Bundle just for your little she! :)

On the second day of Christmas, the Crew Blog gave to Thee...

Apolgia's best in a bundle of books for your homeschooling!

And you will have to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog each day and subscribe to see the rest of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Nature - December Glory

I have not been on a nature walk in a long time. I wonder why I wait so long when I finally get going. It is wonderful to be outside with my children enjoying the beauty of the land around us. Even in the suburbs you can find open spaces to run and enjoy.

It is much nicer full size - and in real life. :)

Here is my number two and her dog. 

Oldest and youngest running through the paths - that never gets old, does it?

It was just a gorgeous bright sunny day.

We have had a  monstrous amount of rain in the last two weeks so we found all sort of 
different types of mushrooms.

This was so huge and so neat. I don't know the names of any of them or how poisonous or edible any of them are. We didn't touch them - just admired their intricate beauty.

And we took some wonderful pictures of my wonderful children. 

And our crazy dog, Rocky. 

It was a lovely time.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Coming Along Beside - Encouragement and Help for Your Homeschool

I know we don't always get the encouragement we need to keep on keeping on our homeschool journeys. I know that sometimes it can feel overwhelming or we need a little perspective change. I know we also wonder--just how do we get this done? What are some practical ways to homeschool? Enter...

Just look at some of the things you will find!

Yes, I really do love this magazine, but more importantly, it really does help people right where they are. Come and find something that meets your needs! There is a lot to choose from and great deal of encouragement to be had!