Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roast Tri-Tip {crock pot recipe}

Hello friends!

With the onset of chilly weather, I have been in the mood for warm and hearty meals. And I ALWAYS love when I can get more than one meal out of something. Roast is perfect for that! My husband recently discovered tri-tip roasts at our neighborhood Trader Joe's (seriously, we live there), and since then I can't get enough of it! It's relatively inexpensive. We get an almost 5 pound roast for about $20...that's a good price, right?

Well, I certainly think it is...plus, I'll be getting at least 3 dinners out of this one roast. Bada bing! That's what I love, right there!

Today, I will share with you the way I initially cook a tri-tip roast. I always cook my roasts in my crock pot...that's what my mother always did and does, so that's what I do. It's pretty much fool proof! And I don't know about you, but when I spend $20 on one package of meat, I want to make sure it's not going to get messed up in the cooking process.

Tri-Tip Roast and Yorkshire Pudding

4 or 5 pound tri-tip roast
1 large onion, quartered
4 large carrots, cut into thick sticks
1/4 C beef stock
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

Place the onions and carrots in the bottom of a standard sized crock pot. Sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. I usually season the vegetables in the same manner as the roast. In this case: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Season the roast on both sides with your seasonings. I never measure the this part...I just kind of eyeball it. Make sure to rub the seasonings into the meat on each side. Place the roast in the crock pot, fat side up, on top of the vegetables and pour the beef stock over it. Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for about 4 hours, then turn it up to high for about 2 1/2-3 hours. I checked my roast after 2 1/2 hours on high and it was done. Then I turned it off and let it sit in the pot for about 1/2 an hour or so.

The vegetables.

The roast.

The end result!

I love serving roast with Yorkshire pudding. Now, if you've never had Yorkshire pudding before, beware, it's not actually pudding at all. It's sort of a dense bread and goes really well with roast...and gravy!

Yorkshire Pudding

4 eggs
2 Cups flour
2 Cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup drippings from the roast (just swipe some from the bottom of the crock pot)

Heat oven to 400*. Grease a 9x13 pan and then add drippings. Beat eggs on low for 30 seconds. Add milk and beat for 30 seconds more. Add the flour and salt and beat until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter over drippings in the pan. Bake 35-40 minutes.

The pudding forms these fun peaks in the middle...the most desirable pieces (in my opinion!). Now, let's plate it up!

And there you have it! A delicious roast served with carrots and onions, Yorkshire Pudding, and a nice green salad. A bit of horseradish sauce is always delightful as well. Oh, and make your favorite gravy to go along with it. HERE is a great recipe for an easy beef gravy using the drippings from your roast. I followed the recipe using flour, and it turned out perfectly! :)

My kids gobbled this meal up! That shows me this recipe is definitely a keeper...in our house at least!

Stay tuned this week for TWO more recipes you can make with this ONE roast!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lego Face t-shirt ~ Idea post~

This is so simple I'm almost embarrassed to dedicate a whole blog post to it. But then I thought, "maybe someone out there is like me and needs a little springboard for their imagination and creative juices to start flowing". So, I give you:

This is more of just an idea post and not really a formal DIY or tutorial.

I chose a dapper little Minifigure to use as my template. First, put a piece of cardboard in between your shirt layers right under where your image will be. We don't want any paint bleeding through and ruining the back side. But if that does happen, I'm sure it would be easy to paint a little something on the back too, to cover it up! :) Then, lightly draw the outline of the face with pencil. I found the middle of my shirt and just drew freehand. When you are satisfied with your sketch, start filling it in with fabric paint. I used Tulip Soft Fabric Paint for this project. I have also used the Folkart brand of fabric paint with much success.

Follow your chosen Minifigure as your guide, or get all crazy and do your own thing!

When your paint job is to your satisfaction ( I gave it two coats), let the shirt dry flat for about 72 hours. Then set it with an iron. I put a hand towel over the image and set my iron to the dry setting and made a few passes over it. The shirt can then be washed (inside out) and dried. If you want the image to last longer and not to fade as quickly, I would recommend letting it air dry.

Now, for some pictures of the cute boy in the cute shirt!

 As you can see, the shirt is H U G E. I'll be taking care of that. A little trim, tuck, and sew. But the face turned out exactly as I wanted! He loves it!

He was on a saluting kick. And then things got a little silly. He did, after all, have his sisters there to show off for. :)

Then we got his new Batman Lego set out. But he still kept his eyes on his siblings.

If you have ever tried taking a four year old boy's pictures, then you know it's nearly an impossible task. Over half of my pictures are blurred. And getting him to look at me is pretty much a losing battle as well. But, it'll help me to remember, when he is old and married, the way he was when he was four. An energetic bundle of Lego loving boy.

And now I'll go cry in my heap of mama emotions.

Juuust kidding. Kind of.

Blessings, dear friends!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Simple DIY Lego Party Ideas

My first born son, Elijah, just turned 4! To celebrate, we had a small family party with some simple decorations. The theme was his current obsession: Lego.

We love to celebrate birthdays! We usually celebrate all week long. My husband has a really hard time hanging on to birthday gifts, so we end up giving them early. Then, we do our special traditions on their actual birthday. We'll go over to my husband's parent's house usually the weekend before or after their actual birthday and do a family celebration with cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course Grandpa and Grandma. My family lives in Montana, so it's a another whole hoopla when gifts and cards come from Nanny and Papa and Auntie Jessie and Uncle Stephen...and a special time when cards come from extended family! Seriously, I feel like singing "Celebrate good times, come on!" for a week when it's birthday time!

With all of that being said, I am a super minimalist when it comes to the party. We don't do party favors or much decor. Really, we just make the day special for the birthday child. They get to choose the food and dessert...it's a celebration of them as a person, and the precious blessing they are to all around them.

I am in NO WAY saying that big, fun birthday celebrations with lots of decorations and games and favors aren't celebrating the child as a person as well. It's just not my style. I try to be a 'keep it simple' person. Also, my organization skills are seriously lacking!

Alrighty! Now on to some easy, and I mean EASY, DIY Lego decorations and ideas! First off are these super cute Lego Minifig balloons. They turned out so much cuter than I even thought they would! I blew up a bunch of yellow balloons and drew Lego Minifig faces on them with a black Sharpie marker. Bada bing, bada boom.
What was really fun with these is, as I was blowing them up and drawing, all of the kids came in and they started blowing up balloons and drawing Minifigure faces on them too. And then they played and played and played with them until they popped! Ha!

I used the same idea for these yellow cups. I just chose a Minifig face that I liked (and was pretty simple to replicate) and drew it on with black Sharpie. Simple, cute, and Lego!

Now on to the cake. The piece de resistance. Elijah asked for a 'chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate in the middle cuz I yike chocolate!" Boy after my own heart!

I used the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake and frosting recipe (to follow) and made my own chocolate Lego Minifigs for decorations.

We found this awesome ice cube mold at the Lego store on our last trip there, and the first thing I thought of when I saw it was: Lego chocolates!!!

Because this tray is silicone, the chocolates just pop right out with no hassle at all! These trays can be found at the Lego store or at Lego.com.

So much chocolatey goodness!!! Elijah was pleased!

Happy birthday to you, my sweet 4 year old boy! You bring so much love and laughter into our home! I am so thankful God chose for me to be your mommy!

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil ( I used butter )
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 
10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Books We Love

  I started a series last year called "Books to Look For" and only ended up writing one post in that series. Books and reading are very near and dear to our hearts, and so I am purposing now to keep up in sharing with you all books that we really love! So, I am restarting my book series and entitling it "Books We Love". I will share many different types of books ranging from books for little ones all the way up through to books my husband and I enjoy reading.

First up is A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith

My husband brought this book home from the thrift store one day. As I sat looking through it, reading the sweet little poems throughout it, I knew this would be a favorite in our family. It's a book we sometimes forget about, but when we rediscover it on our bookshelf, it's like an old friend has come to pay us a visit. A Child's Garden of Verses is full of sweet, silly, brave, and sleepy poems and is a fantastic way to build a love for poetry in your little ones. A few of our favorite selections are: Bed In Summer, Whole Duty of Children, and Marching Song. This book is a treasure.

Goody O'Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink
Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

A sweet, rhyming story of Goody O'Grumpity and the creation of her marvelous Spice Cake. *Beware* This book makes you really hungry...you can almost smell the spices in the air! The illustrations are beautiful and the reading has a lovely, lilting quality. The best part: a recipe for Goody O'Grumpity's Spice Cake is included at the back of the book! We made it one time and it is so good!!!

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." George R. R. Martin


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Dutch Baby {recipe}

Hello and happy October to you all!

This fall we have been loving our OATMEAL PUMPKIN PANCAKE recipe for breakfast. Emma is able to make it all on her own this year, which totally works for me! It's great having another cook in the house, and she sure loves to cook!

Just when we were wanting a new recipe to add to our fall repertoire, my mom emailed me this sweet gem from the site SAVORY LOTUS. This Pumpkin Dutch Baby recipe has quickly become a favorite!

This recipe is grain free. It uses almond flour in place of regular wheat flour. But, I have made it both ways, and it turns out great either way. I like it better with the almond flour...I find the nuttiness and slight crunch very enjoyable, while my kids (namely Emma) likes the taste of the flour dutch baby better. The consistency doesn't change much at all...it's a lovely, custard-like texture whether you use flour or almond flour.

Pumpkin Dutch Baby

5 eggs
3/4 C milk
3/4 C pureed pumpkin
3/4 C almond flour (or 3/4 C regular flour)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (we like cinnamon so we always add extra)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt (any salt will do, but Celtic sea salt is so very good for you!)
3 T butter

Melt about 3 T butter with about 1/4 C pure maple syrup. Pour over each serving. Or top with whipped cream, pumpkin butter, warmed fruit, or some chocolate chips. Yum!

Preheat oven to 450* and place an oven proof skillet into it. Combine milk and eggs, in a large bowl and whisk vigorously. Add pumpkin, almond flour, salt, spices, and vanilla. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Remove skillet from oven. Drop in butter and return to oven for a minute or two until completely melted. Remove skillet from oven and pour the pumpkin batter into the skillet. Do not stir. The butter will pool on top of the batter. Yum! Place back in the oven. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until turning golden brown and slightly crispy at edges.

When you take it out of the oven, the middle and sides will have puffed up quite a bit. As the Dutch Baby cools, it deflates back into itself. My kids LOVE watching as I take this out of the oven. The puffy, risen middle never gets old to them!

Top with your favorite topping and serve up with some yogurt or fruit and coffee! These go really, REALLY well with coffee!! Enjoy!