Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole

When I host a playdate with the twins & a pot luck at my house I have an easy go to slow cooker dish that always seems to be a hit with the kids and the adults - Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole.

I came across this recipe from a few blogs and combined it all into my own version.  It’s very simple and quick!  Except I never get a picture of it seems!

Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole

               1 pound ground beef, browned
               1 can RoTel (original has a bit of a kick to it and the mild doesn't)
               1 larger bag of frozen Tater Tots 
               1 can Cream of _______ Soup (I have used chicken, mushroom and then some)
               1 small onion, chopped
               2 cups shredded cheese (sometimes I use Mexican blend while others I use cheddar)

1.             Cook beef and onion and then drain
2.             Add Rotel and Cream of Soup
3.             Pour mixture on the bottom of a greased Crock Pot
4.             Top mixture with tater tots
5.             Cook low for 2-3 hours.

6.             30 minutes before serving top with shredded cheese.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

5 minutes in the life of potty training twins

Potty training 3 year old twins - if there was someone who would come do it for me I would be grateful!

One is into going potty like a big boy and the other one really I think could care less.

We have tried candy, treats and a sticker chart plus do a potty dance!

I can give you a glimpse of potty training twin boys in just a 5 minutes window:

Both boys are in underwear and we keep asking them if they need to go potty and if they go potty they get a sticker.  I head into the kitchen for not even 2 minutes and the twin who is decent with going potty colors all over himself with marker - head to toe!!!! So luckily my husband was in the shower so I tossed him in with him.  I come back downstairs after only being gone a minute (if that) and the other twin has stood up of the sofa and looks at me and says he has to pee - I look down and he has already peed all over his legs and the floor!

That's all within in 5 minutes or less and we are now on a 3rd pair of underwear and its not even 9 am yet!  No wait 4th pair because the one who got a shower refuse to put his back on because they were "dirty"!!!

I would love to know what other incentives others have used.  We have tried candy (but they ask for other times also), we are now on a sticker chart, and I am also getting dollar store toys to wrap so they can unwrap if they fill the days worth of stickers or make a "stinky".

The Pulls Ups website has some great resources!  i downloaded all the Potty Dance songs and we pick one each time to do when he does it!  I also downloaded the app that has a timer, etc to help with reminding him to go.  They have some other stuff to that we haven't used to just but plan on it.  They have Potty Chart that you can add their name to , but it has other areas to earn stickers that I don't want to work about just yet.

I downloaded this sticker chart (it doesn't have a name on it)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yummy French Toast from the Towson Farmer's Market

The twins and I went over to the Towson Farmer's Market this past Thursday.  This market is nothing like the big one downtown on Sundays but its perfect for quick pick ups.

While there we tried a smoothie from the new Maui Wowi in Towson since they had a booth set up.  Its smoothies are made with all natural fresh fruit and non-fat Greek Yogurt.   It also has coffee is made with Hawaiian Grown Coffee Beans.  The twins had the Hawaiian Breeze (strawberry, mango and orange) and I had the Lemmon WaveBe sure to check out the website for coupons before you go!

Besides picking up some fresh veggies we also stopped by the booth for The Breadery which makes is items with whole grain breads without chemical additives or preservatives.  I grabbed a loaf of the Cinnamon Swirl bread to make French Toast with.

The French Toast turned out amazingly yummy!  After I sliced the bread I poured the gooey cinnamon mixture from the bottom of the pan and mixed in wight he egg/milk mixture - I also added a splash of vanilla into the mixture.  As it cooked the gooey mixture inside the bread amortized even more and created a crispy and sweet coating on the bread.  There was no need for much syrup on this French Toast when you ate it.

Towson Farmer's Market
Thursday 10:45 am - 3:00 pm

  • Allegheny Avenue
  • Towson, Maryland 21204

Maui Wowi
1220 E Joppa Rd #113
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 828-8800

The Breadery
418 Oella Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Pot Wonder with Andouille Sausage

Pintrest seems to be becoming everyone best friend or addiction.  I once again started a new board called “One Pot Wonders” because my life as a Wife, Mother to 3 yr old twins and a full time teacher (among of titles and roles) doesn’t leave much time to prepare 5 course meals, etc. 

I made a “One Pot Wonder” last week from Dam Delicious and picked another one from there to try – it was a HIT with everyone again. 

Note: We did deviate from the recipe a tad and I will make note of it below

“One Pot Wonder”

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups halved grape tomatoes (I just bought a carton and used that without measuring)
  • 2 cups basil leaves (I didn’t measure this out just added what I thought was enough)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I have pre-minced garlic and I used 2 heaping spoonfuls)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (I used shredded and more than a cup)
  • 2 tbsp of butter (This was my own addition)*
  • Sliced Baby Portabella Mushrooms (This was my own addition)*

  1. In a Dutch Oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, sausage, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, garlic and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and butter.

  • We added the butter to add some creaminess to it.  We were going to had about ¼ cup of heavy cream but ours had gone bad
  • We wanted some more veggies and we love mushrooms
  • Adapted from Dam Delicious

Monday, July 21, 2014

Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole

When you are trying to clean out your house to put it on the market in about month you can't keep buying tons of staples and groceries at the store - you have to clean out the cabinets because who wants to move can goods and a freezer full of items????

I am fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom during the summer with my twin boys since I am a teacher.  With twin toddlers lunch (and dinner too) can be interesting be cause how how choosy they can be about meal.  I hate to say picky because fortunately they do eat just about nay thing and love International cuisine.  They choosy part is the mood they are in and if they are in the mood for what you make.  One day they love something and want multiple servings but the next time you make it they refuse to eat it.

Back on track to what I made.  I was going through the cabinet and looking at what we had because I wash't in the mood for a hot dog, chicken nugget or fish sticks.  I noticed a had a couple cans of cream of mushroom, about 3/4 box of elbow noodles, few cans or tuna fish and BOOM why not Tuna Noodle Casserole which I hadn't had in a while.  I normally like to add brad crumbs on top but we had none.

Easy Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole


  • 1 6 oz can of tuna fish, drained
  • 1 box of elbow noodles (I had just a little under 3/4 box)
  • 1 10.75 oz can of Cream of Mushroom (I used Fat Free)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups of frozen peas 
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I like cheesy so I use heaping cups)
  • Garlic salt (optional)
  • Oil (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil (optional: add oil to the water to prevent sticking). Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. 
  3. In skillet add 1 TBSP butter and sauté chopped onions.  I sprinkle some garlic salt on mine.  If using frozen peas I toss them in once onions are soft so they can thaw quickly
  4. Over medium heat, combine the cream of mushroom soup, peas, canned tuna, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. 
  5. Gently fold pasta into the soup mixture and mix thoroughly. 
  6. Pour pasta and soup mixture into a baking dish. (I spray mine with Pam pray)
  7. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top.
  8. Bake until cheese is warm and bubbly

Note:  You can edit this recipe for what you have on hand.  If I was adding breadcrumbs I would shake them on top of the cheese before placing it in the oven.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Pot Wonder - Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

Life as a mother of 3 yr old twin boys and a full time teacher (plus a full time working husband) is busy!  Yes I know I am "off" during the summer but really I am not because then my job is a stay at home mom.  When it comes to feeding the family we don't have time to spend forever in the kitchen making meals.  Yes sometimes we like to have elaborate and labor intensive meals, but thats not very often.

A slower cooker/crock pot can be your best friend but I also discovered that a One Pot Wonder can be too!  There are many times I have tried a recipe from a magazine or from a website and honestly they can be hit or miss!!!

Besides the grill and my crock pot the Dutch Oven is my friend in the kitchen.  After surfing pint rest I noticed a new popular item people are pinning are some One Pot Wonders.  We love using fresh and seasonal ingredients when possible so the Zucchini Mushroom Pasta recipe I found on the blog Damn Delicious was the one to try. (The blog has other One Pot Wonder recipes to try!)

For the most part I followed the recipe except I slightly made some minor changes which you will see in my notes.  We all agreed we enjoyed this dish!!!


My picture of isn't as spectacular as the one at Damn Delicious

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 2/3 cup peas (I used frozen since I the store I was at didn't have fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I ALWAYS have a large jar of minced in my fridge and I used more than it called for since I am a big garlic person)
  • 2 sprigs thyme (I used 3-4 sprigs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (I used more and its was a bag of shredded)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Grill pan chicken breast seasoned and then cut up (I added this) 

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Add chicken and then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. (The chicken was my addition to the recipe)

My tweaks for next time:
  • My husband suggested using more of a blanked style chicken and more veggies 
  • The zucchini and peas (especially the zucchini) was over cooked and very squishy.  Next time i may wait a few minutes to add it
  • It was a lot of food (my son J did eat to helpings of it)
excuse the messy plate

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rosy Cooler - refreshing drink with strawberries and basil

One thing I love about the summer is the refreshing cocktails with fresh ingredients you can make.  When I dine out I am always looking at the cocktail menu (even if I am not drinking for some inspiration) for the restaurants seasonal offerings.

As I was surfing the Internet and magazines I came across the drink called the Rosy Cooler by Angry Orchard.  It is refreshing and has great flavor.  The first drink I made I followed the recipe exactly (except the simple syrup – I just eye balled it).  The second time I made it I used more of the vanilla vodka and I enjoyed the drink even more.

Rosy Cooler
                2 medium strawberries, quartered
                2 basil leaves, torn
                2 wedges of lime
                1/2 oz. simple syrup
                4 oz. Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
                1 oz. regular or vanilla vodka (optional)

In a pint glass, gently muddle together strawberries, basil, lime and simple syrup. Fill glass with ice and top with cider and vodka.

My picture isn't the best but you get the idea!


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