Mama’s Lasagna

It has been a while since I have made this fantastic lasagna. We found out that our son is allergic to milk about a year ago, so this recipe has been on the back burner for a while. I had the opportunity to bring dinner to a family in our ward last night, so I pulled this recipe out again, and I am glad I did. I made up two pans, one to deliver, and one for my family at home.  We had to prepare another dish for my son to eat, but he didn’t complain. (I am so thankful for that! He is only four, and don’t get me wrong, he acts like a four year old in many, many ways! But when it comes to his milk allergy, and not being able to eat certain foods, he is seriously so mature about it! It blows my mind how responsible he is about checking if food has milk in it before he takes a bite.) For my husband and I and our one year old however, this lasagna was a real treat!

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Talk about comfort food! Don’t you just want to sink your fork into that piping hot lasagna? I love that the weather is finally cooling off again, and we can use the oven for an extended amount of time. ( This Lasagna takes and hour to bake!) It makes the kitchen nice and warm and fills the house with a wonderful aroma.

This recipe is pretty easy to throw together, and it makes enough for left overs which we either promptly devour over the next day or two, or we split up into individual serving sizes and freeze for a rainy day. I have also prepared this lasagna and frozen it before baking, and it works out great that way too, it just takes longer to thaw/cook.

Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Mama’s Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Lasagna noodles(I usually don't use them all)
  • One 8 oz bottle Ragu tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lb Cooked ground beef
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • One 8 oz tub cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella cheese separated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Ferenheight
  2. Combine Ragu with 3/4 cup water. (This will make the sauce runny, but it works out in the end I promise. In this recipe we do not precook the noodles, so the extra water is absorbed by the noodles.)
  3. Cook ground beef, drain excess oil, set aside.
  4. Mix cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg and seasonings in a medium bowl, set aside.
  5. Line the bottom of pan with uncooked lasagna noodles.
  6. Pour about half of the runny tomato sauce mixture over the noodles.
  7. Evenly spread all of the ground beef over the sauce.
  8. Layer all of the cheese mixture on top.
  9. Layer with more noodles, followed by remaining tomato sauce mixture.
  10. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  11. sprinkle all seasonings over the top of the cheese.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 min at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  13. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
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Taco Soup

This Taco Soup is one of my favorites because not only is it a crowd pleaser, it is easy on the budget, and easy to make. It doesn’t get much easier than dumping all  the ingredients in a crock pot and returning a few hours later! This recipe is also super versatile. I like to alternate between using canned chicken and browned ground beef, and I have even made it vegetarian by adding extra beans and omitting the meat all together. I like to switch up what type of beans I use as well including, kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans. No matter how I alter this recipe, it seems to turn out great! It is a very forgiving recipe, so if you have an idea, run with it. I like to double the batch, eat some for dinner, and freeze the rest. Find out How to Freeze Soup here.

Taco Soup
Gather all ingredients, I only had one can of corn and the recipe calls for two, but it turned out fine with only one.
Taco Soup
Open all cans (except the chicken) and dump them in juices and all!
Taco Soup
Add in the taco seasoning.
Taco Soup
Drain the canned chicken before adding it to the crock pot.
Taco Soup
Give the soup a good stir.
Taco Soup
Let cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours on high.
Taco Soup
Serve hot.
Taco Soup
This soup can also be garnished with tortilla chips, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and shredded cheddar cheese.
Taco Soup
Mix it all up, and YUM! This is my favorite way to eat it. Enjoy!

 

Taco Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 4 servings with a significant amount of left overs

Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • Soup:
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatos
  • 2 15 oz cans of corn
  • 2 15 oz cans of beans (Kidney, pinto, or black)
  • 1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast (can use more if desired)
  • Taco seasoning- enough required for 1 lb of meat per instructions on packaging
  • Garnish:
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Gather all ingredients
  2. Open all cans (except the chicken) and dump them in juices and all!
  3. Add in the taco seasoning.
  4. Drain the canned chicken before adding it to the crock pot.
  5. Give the soup a good stir
  6. Let cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours on high.
  7. Garnish with tortilla chips, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and shredded cheddar cheese.
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Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

  • Scroll down for the August visiting teaching handouts.
  • If you are looking for a handout for the September visiting teaching message you can check it out hereimage

The August Visiting Teaching Message  is titled Nurturing Families Together. This message has so many wonderful quotes, and inspired several handouts for your choosing. If you like these ideas, and would like an email notification when the new Visiting Teaching Handouts are available, please Subscribe! If you are viewing this on a Computer you can enter your email into the side bar, or if you are viewing on a cell phone you can access the subscribe option by tapping the pull down menu at the top of the page. Thank you for joining our community!

In this month’s message, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said,

“The home is to be God’s laboratory of love and service,”

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

Click The Home is God’s Laboratory for the Free Printable Download of the above handout.

I love the story Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared about the love that his father had for his mother. I won’t spoil it, I will let you read it, but his father shows an excellent example of love and service. After such a grand sacrifice, his wife must have known without a doubt that he loved her.

Sometimes it’s a culmination of the little things that help show love towards a spouse. My husband is not fond of Country Music, but he knows that I love it. When we are in the car together, he switches the radio to the Country Station. This small gesture goes a long way, and I can feel his love as he puts my desires before his own.

When we love someone, it is natural to want to serve them, and vise versa. I find that serving others helps break down barriers and allows you to love them in a way you didn’t before. I remember camping one year, and there was an individual who offended me. After crying on my bed a little, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me forgive him. Immediately, I remembered a General Conference talk titled Your Mission Will Change Everything by Elder David F. Evans Of the Seventy. He told a story about President Hinkley when he was on his mission and feeling discouraged. President Hinkley’s Father wrote him a letter and said,

“You want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause, and bend your efforts to helping people”

I gained my composure and set out to serve this person. He was in charge of dinner that night, so I offered my help. As I served him my heart was softened. I was able to see him in a different way. I was able to learn how much work he had put into making this event happen. I quickly realized that the words he said that had offended me previously were not a direct attack at me, but rather a result of extreme exhaustion from his lack of sleep and hard work. I was able to forgive him and gained a love toward him instead. When we give Service to someone, we naturally learn to Love them.  When we Love someone, we naturally want to give Service to them. It is a beautiful cycle.

Here is a peak of the handout using the above quote about Love and Service by Elder Russell M. Nelson.

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

Click below for your Free Printable Download of this Handout.

Love and Service Visiting Teaching Handout.

The handout will look something like this when it is all put together.

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

Have your sisters combine the sprite and cranberry juice for a sweet summer refreshment.

Another quote that I loved from this months message was:

A “husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”

This is a quote taken from The Family A Proclamation to the World, so what better way to present it than with a picture of a loving family.

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

I thought it would be perfect to include a First Aid Kit or a “Love and Care” Kit with this Handout. I found a great tutorial on how to make some cute ones here at the Some of This & Some of That Blog.

Aren’t these adorable? I just love these!

For your Free Printable Download of this Handout click the link below.

VT Handout Aug 2016 Love and Care

Okay, Here is one last handout idea using the following quote by Elder Russell M. Nelson:

“Our Heavenly Father wants husbands and wives to be faithful to each other and to esteem and treat their children as an heritage from the Lord.”

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016

Click the link below for your Free Printable Download of this Handout

VT handout Aug 2016 Faithful

You could easily include either of the following candies with this handout.

Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016
Ring Pops
Visiting Teaching Handout August 2016
Hershey’s Kisses

Happy Visiting Teaching! Hope you liked these ideas!

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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

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You have 2 overripe bananas left over just sitting there on your counter. They are too ripe to eat, and you don’t have enough to make banana bread. You don’t want to toss them in the trash. What do you do? You make Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes! These are even great as a last minute dinner.

At first I was skeptical of these no flour pancakes, but when I tried them, I was pleasantly surprised. These three ingredient pancakes are delicious even without any flour or sugar. You can’t even tell they are gluten free! You have to eat it to believe it. Give it a try.

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Serve with some Turkey bacon and fried eggs!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 14 mini 2 inch pancakes.

Serving Size: 4-6 mini 2 inch pancakes

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 over ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Heat Skillet between 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Grease skillet with coconut oil or butter.
  4. Use a mini cookie scoop to drop batter on the skillet.
  5. Flip when golden brown on one side.
  6. Cook both sides till golden brown.
  7. Serve with fresh bananas on top or with homemade maple syrup.
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Healthy Snacks You Can Buy Online

Here are some of the top items I recommend for healthy snacking. Don’t feel like battling the crowds at the grocery store? Want to purchase them now before you loose the motivation? You know when you go to the grocery store you are going to see all the tempting cookies, ice cream and potato chips. Avoid all that distraction by shopping online. Did you know that with Amazon Prime you get free 2 day shipping? In just a few clicks, these healthy snacks could be yours! Click the links below each picture and put them in your Amazon Prime shopping cart. Not a Prime Member? Click here for a free 30 day trial.

Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Almonds
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Breakfast Essentials
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Cashews
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Craisins
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Dole Pineapple
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Mrs. Dash
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
Triscuits
Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!
V8 V-Fusion

Click here to see more healthy snacking ideas, and what I pair these items with.

Top 11 Quick and Healthy Summer Snacks. Yum!

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Creaseless Hair Tie Tutorial

Have you tried using these Crease-less Hair Ties yet? They are awesome, especially in the Las Vegas Summer Heat! Today we had a high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit! Once you try these Crease-less Hair Ties, you will never wear an ordinary hair tie again.  I wear one of these bad boys in my hair or on my wrist pretty much ALL OF THE TIME!

When I am busy mopping the kitchen floor, or building blanket forts with my son, my hair goes up into a quick “Mom Bun” to keep me from over heating. When I give the kids a bath, up it goes again so my long hair doesn’t get soaked. When I’m done I pull it out and my hair is as good as it was before. There are no ridiculous creases to deal with! I also put my hair up in a Crease-less Hair Tie every night before bed, and even after being in my hair for several hours, there is no crease! These things save you so much time straightening or curling out left over creases. You can purchase them online, or at the store, but in my researching, they are usually way over priced at $1+ per Hair Tie! They are super cute, but expensive, so I thought, “I bet I could make them for way less.” I decided to try it, and was excited to be able to make my own Hair Ties averaging at $0.25 a piece. Here is a simple tutorial on how to make them on your own too.

First lets start with the supplies you will need to make these Crease-less Hair Ties.

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You will need a ruler, fabric shears, fold over elastic, and matches.  You can purchase the fold over elastic here. That’s right! You only need four supplies! No sewing or gluing!

 

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Cut the elastic to 9 1/2 inches long.
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Fold the elastic in half, matching up the open ends.
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Fold the elastic over your index finger, almost in half again.
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Wrap the elastic around your finger forming a “P” shape.
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Pull the end of the elastic through the loop and pull lightly.
Pull the knot gently, working it toward the open end until the knot is secure.

To View a Time Lapse Video click here.

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Use a match to seal the ends.
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And then you have a beautiful finished product.

I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial! If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below! Enjoy your new Hair Ties!

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Friday French Toast with the Family

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This morning the boys requested French Toast for breakfast. My little helper and I got everything gathered and went to work. I am a firm believer in letting children help out in the kitchen. As long as you teach proper safety and cleanliness it can be a great learning experience for both you and your child. My son learns new skills each time we work together in the kitchen. Each age brings new abilities in the food prep process. Today Big M helped me with cracking the eggs. He does a much better job now than he did a year ago. Back then, eggs were cracked in some less fortunate places. Cooking with a helper definitely requires patience, but has created so many great memories for both of us.

This french toast is delicious. Here is how to make it. First mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg in a shallow bowl.

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Place your whole wheat bread in the egg mixture.
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Coat it real good.
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Flip it to make sure both sides are covered evenly. Little helpers may need some assistance with this part. We probably wash our hands 10 times throughout the whole process.
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Once coated, place the bread on your skillet and top each piece with coconut oil (healthiest option), butter (tastiest option) or margarine (cheapest option).
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Then sprinkle on some cinnamon.
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Carefully flip the french toast so it can cook on both sides.
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It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. They won’t learn if you don’t let them try. I am really proud of how good Big M is at this.
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Now it is time to flip them onto the plate.
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The perfectionist in me wants so badly to rearrange the french toast in a beautiful pattern on the plate. But what kind of message would that send to my son? That it wasn’t good enough! I would never say that to him! So I shouldn’t say it with my actions either. Actions speak louder than words, especially to children.
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Besides, look how proud he is! Look at his beautiful accomplishment and creation. Little kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.
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I have to refocus my perfectionism sometimes because my life isn’t just about me anymore, it is about my family. Instead of perfecting things, I try to perfect myself. I can do this by being patient, loving my son unconditionally, and instilling confidence in him. This can be very hard at times, but I keep trying, and I like to think I am becoming a better person because of it.

 

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Today, I just want to soak up the fact that he is interested in spending time with me. They grow up too fast!
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Besides, I can make it look pretty on my own plate.
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Baby B wishing she could try some of this delicious french toast.
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Patience beautiful girl. One day you will eat solid food.

One day I will have all the time in the world to make my food perfect and beautiful. Today is not that day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The smiles on my children’s faces are far more beautiful than any food will ever be, and I know I will look back on this time and wish I could relive it. So right now, I’m just going to soak it all in. Life is good!

What funny cooking experiences have you had with your kids? You know the ones where you are forced to laugh so you wouldn’t cry? We have these canisters on the counter that I keep all our baking staples in, flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon etc. One afternoon, I came into the kitchen to find a  chair pulled up to the counter, and Big M was no where to be found. I always get suspicious when there is a chair by the counter. I took a look at the canisters and all of them were empty, except for the large flour one. Yep, you guessed it! He dumped all the contents of all the canisters into the flour! When I asked him about it he said,  “I Mixa Mixa it real fast!” No Shame for that little guy! He kills me! Tell us about your funny cooking stories!

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French Toast

French Toast

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 -8 pieces of sturdy bread (I like whole wheat, or sour dough)
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs, milk, nutmeg and vanilla.
  3. Butter/ grease griddle.
  4. Dip bread one at a time in egg mixture and place on griddle.
  5. Top each bread slice with about ½ tsp butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Flip when bottom of bread is golden brown.
  7. Allow both sides to become golden brown.
  8. Top with butter, syrup, fruit, strawberry compote, whip cream etc.
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