November 29, 2010

So Good Roast Beef

I have never been too keen on any of the roast beef meals I have cooked over the years.

They were good, but not something I would look forward to having too often.

This past Thanksgiving, we decided to have one for the big meal, and I was determined to make it tasty.

We have just finished the last of it for dinner tonight, and I cannot wait to cook another one.

It was sooo good!

Not dry, not tough, and the seasonings were perfect.

I used a bottom round cut and it had a layer of fat on the top - which I left on.

I made a rub of oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, thyme, and marjoram.

I massaged it into all sides of the meat after the meat had been sitting at room temp for about an hour.

Then I roasted it in a dry pan for 15 minutes in a 500 degree oven.

The oven was then dropped to 300 degrees and it was cooked until the internal temp was 150 degrees for medium doneness.

It was good during the meal, but it was great as leftovers.

The seasonings had blended through the whole meat by then, and we shaved it this time instead of slicing it.

The only thing different I would do next time - cook it to an internal temp of 145 degrees - the meat continues to cook for a bit once it has been removed from the oven.

November 26, 2010

Have to Watch the Hot Chocolate Too

There is nothing better on a cold winter day than to come inside to a cup of hot chocolate that warms the bones right up.

But did you know that the majority of hot chocolate mixes on the market have that dreaded partially hydrogenated fat in it?

Who would have thought they would add that to even a powdered mix.

Well, I found an alternative to that - I make my own mixture.

It is very simple, and I think it is even a better value than the packet kinds.

I know it is certainly better for you - the powdered milk I use is fat free.

I use three packets of the 1 quart dry powered milk.

To that I add a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.

Mix it very well and keep it in an airtight container.

Put 3-4 heaping teaspoons in a mug and add boiling water.

A tad of milk to cool it down and a spoonful of marshmallow floated on top makes it just perfect.

A delicious treat just right for this time of year!

November 25, 2010

Natural is Best

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom's of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.

As most of you know, I prefer to use and consume products that are as close to natural as one can get.

I once read in a medical magazine that your food should look as close to what it is when it comes out of the ground - for the plant products, that is.

The less processed it is, the more it retains the healthful benefits of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Even though it is harder to find and more expensive for the meat and dairy products, consuming organic and all-natural is the best. 

 I know I saw a huge difference in the all-natural turkey I cooked last week.  There was less shrinkage of the meat and a lot less water in the roasting pan.  It had no additional water and chemicals pumped into it during the processing stage.

It makes sense to put the all-natural foods inside us, but seldom do we give thought to our outsides - the beauty and cleaning products for our skin, teeth, and hair.

These are much harder to find, and many people have gone back to the old fashioned way of making these products so they know exactly what is in them.

There is one company though, Tom's Of Maine that makes their toothpastes, deodorants, soaps, and mouthwashes of all-natural products.

And they are quite reasonably priced too - even a frugal shopper like me can appreciate that.

Check out their That's Wicked Fresh contest page to see their newest toothpaste and mouthwash products and share a Wicked Fresh moment of your own.

Follow them on Facebook and @TomsofMaine on Twitter to keep up to date with them.

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 24, 2010

Protect That Skin

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sometimes it seems to be a loosing battle when it comes to diaper rash and babies.

I remember when my niece was born, her poor skin was so sensitive, it would break out if the wrong brand of diapers were used.

My sister tried them all until she found some that weren't as bad, but they were not the affordable ones either.

She would fly through them as she changed them so often to keep her baby as comfortable as she could.

She also tried many different products on the market that help make the rash feel better - but those were not helpful either.

There were not a lot of choices back then, and the products worked to help heal the rash, not prevent it.

For today's baby's there is a product called Boudreaux's Butt Paste

It protects the tender sensitive skin from many irritants -  including the material the diapers are made of.

It forms a protective layer that acts as a barrier against moisture as well as soothes irritated skin.

It is made of all natural ingredients which is great for sensitive skin.

It comes in many different sizes, and been featured on Oprah, The Tonight Show, and in People Magazine.

Visit their website to receive a free sample.

Too bad this pediatrician recommended product wasn't available years go, but glad to know it is today for the grandbabies!

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 20, 2010

Stretching the Soup Even More

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how we like to stretch a can of soup.

I told my daughter about it, and she thought the idea was great - not just for saving money, but because it tasted so good too.

She came up with another idea which we tried this afternoon for lunch.

She adds a bit more rice and some left over meat to the soup so that all the broth gets absorbed by the rice.

She uses a mexican flavored soup for this as well as tortilla wraps and some cheese.

She spreads the warmed soup mixture on the warmed tortillas and sprinkles it with the cheese.

She rolls them up - and voila - instant burritos, or fajitas, or what ever you want to call them.

We used the leftover chicken soup that we had on hand, added the cheese and wrapped it up - it was delicious.

I am so anxious to try the mexican version - it bet it is the best.

My girl is so clever!

November 16, 2010

Time for Hot Drinks

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nestle Dolce Gusto. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ice tea is thought of as a summer drink by most people, but we enjoy it year round in our household.

Instead of having the sun brew it for us, we just set a jug of water with the tea bags in it by one of the heater units and it gets brewed that way.

I must admit though, we don't go through those jugs as quickly now as we did in the summer months.

Quite often, after being outside in the cold temperatures, it is nice to come into the house to have a hot beverage to warm the chilly bones.

Besides hot tea in the winter, hot chocolate is my second favorite drink.  Sometimes it seems to take forever for the water in the kettle to boil, and when one is cold, it seems to take twice as long.

NESCAFE has a new machine on the market that can prepare hot beverages in less than a minute.

This sleek, modern machine makes many kinds of hot or cold beverages by using a special capsule system that produces coffeehouse quality beverages.

What a great accessory  this would be to use year round.  No more waiting for that kettle to boil - hot chocolate or hot tea would be ready when we need it most - probably even before we have the time to take off all those winter layers.

Visit to check out the Nescafe Dolce Gusto for yourself.

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 12, 2010

Good Teachers Make a Difference

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of 2tor. All opinions are 100% mine.

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the quality of the teaching in the United States public schools over the past twenty years.

The are more students dropping out of high school than ever before, and the ones who really want to learn aren't given the incentives do to so.

Comparing the school system in the US to many other countries, our children are not getting what they need to be able to compete and keep up with their peers abroad.

Good teachers are in great demand, and in today's world, earning a teaching degree or advancing a current degree can be done online.

The USC Rossier School of Education offers an accelerated teaching program online with tuition reimbursement and scholarships to help with the funding.

This innovative program offers field-based experiences in your local area combined with interactive learning online.

The convenience and flexibility of taking classes online fits into just about any lifestyle and schedule.

Full time workers, mothers, fathers, and current teachers can all benefit from taking classes online at a private university that has been ranked #9 in the United States by US News and World Report.

If you are looking to make a difference with the next generation then checking the online program information through the University of Southern California may be just what you need.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Cooking a Turkey

The supermarket had turkeys on sale this week for .49 cents a pound for the frozen ones.

They were the good ones too - the all natural kind with no preservatives or additives.

If our freezer hadn't given out earlier this week, I would have bought an extra one for after the holidays.

I ended up cooking the one I did buy last night for dinner, and it was delicious.

It came with a pop-up in its breast to let us know when it was done, but I never like to rely on those little plastic pieces.

I made sure it was cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the breast meat and in the thigh meat.

The turkey weighed 21 pounds, and it took almost five hours to cook in a 350 degree oven.

What surprised me the most was the amount of fluid in the roasting pan.

In the past I have had to keep taking out the water as it cooked or it would drip all over the oven and make a mess.

I kept a careful eye on it, but I didn't have to remove any.

Must be that the all natural ones aren't filled with water that comes out during the cooking.

I have posted below the USDA recommended cooking times for a turkey.

Unstuffed Turkey
4 to 8 pounds.............1-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours
8 to 12 pounds................2-3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds...............3 to 3-3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds...............3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds...............4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds...............4-1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds................3 to 3-1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds...............3-1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds...............4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds...............4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds...............4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours


November 8, 2010

A Different Kind of GPS

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SPOT. All opinions are 100% mine.

We have been spending a lot of time in the woods this past week since hunting season opened last weekend.

In a previous post I mentioned how we liked to stay off the trails as the deer just don't take to much to them as we humans do.

For the past couple of years, we have been using a handheld GPS tracking device that works just like a compass.

It is better than a compass though because we can track our progress as points on this device, and all we have to do is follow the path on the GPS screen to get us back to our starting point.

We seldom go off the beaten trail without this device with us, because where we go, there is no reception for our cell phones.

This has often made me a bit nervous - what would happen if we ran into trouble, or one of us got hurt.

We are not youngsters anymore, and even though my husband reassures me that we are the toughest things in the woods when he has his weapons, I still worry about it.

I remember the big bear in the backyard last autumn, and I know we are in his territory.  My husband's black powder rifle only has one shot, and I hope is aim is good.

Now, if we had something like the SPOT Satellite GPS messenger, we would be able to contact help with just a push of the button.

This device uses satellite technology that even works in the areas that cell phones don't.  To me, it sounds like a necessary piece of equipment for hunters as well as hikers and adventurers.

GPS devices have come a long way since our little handheld one!

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 7, 2010

Stretching That Soup

Just thought I would share a tip that we have been using for the past couple of months.

The days have been getting colder, and sometimes a can of soup for lunch tastes so good.

We try to get the soups that pay attention to the fat and salt content, and those ones are usually a bit more expensive than the regular cans.

Our supermarket has been having the kind we like best on sale for the past week, so we stocked up a few extra cans.

A dollar for a can of soup isn't too bad, and when we split it between two of us, it becomes a great value.

But, we found that we can stretch that one can just a bit more.

I always have a large bowl of cooked rice in the refrigerator - we love to add it to many of our meals.

Well, by adding it to the soup, it expands that one can for another serving - making three bowls instead of two.

But beware when you add the rice.

Adding it just before you eat it is best.

If you have any extra soup that you already added the rice to, and you store it until the next meal, then the rice will swell up big and there will be no liquid left in the soup.

This is really good too, but I think of it as more of a side dish now rather than soup.

Hey, it works too, though!

November 1, 2010

Long Walking

The walks are quite long these days.

And they are not done on the nice road or pavement.

We are back to walking in the woods.

We do not walk on trails either, because hunting season has begun in our area - and the deer do not stay on trails.

We walk slowly at times - trying to be really quiet on those crunchy leaves all over the forest floor.

There is no such thing as level ground in the woods.

There are rocks and roots and slippery pine needles also - all there to trip you up if you are not paying attention.

Bending low under some branches and stretching up to others as supports gives one an all-over work out in addition to the walking.

I still only count the steps each day - so all this extra is a great bonus!