chicken cubes 2

BEHOLD! I no longer hate cutting up chicken breasts.

chicken-cubes-2It may just be me, it may not, but can I just tell you how much I’ve always despised cutting up boneless skinless chicken breasts? It was a daunting task that was required for many of my standard recipes. I’d start cutting and the thing would flop and move and just be basically uncooperative. How did people end up with these perfectly cubed chicken breast pieces? I mean, look at Chik-fil-a nuggets, they are basically uniform size and shape. You can actually tell it was a cube! Mine? NOT ONCE. Of course this may be due to operator error more than anything. But if you struggle with this like I did, give this new tip a try.

This tip may be old-hat to some of you, I may be getting in on this way late in the ball game, but I wanted to share with you just in case you don’t know about it. {I’m also going to wait until after I post this to Google this tip, so I can feel better about myself for just a little while anyway!}

On to the fabulous tip – Cube the chicken while semi-frozen! This pack of chicken was frozen solid. I pulled it out of the drawer in the fridge, ran our (very) hot water over the top for about 3 minutes and then turned it over and ran it over the bottom for about 3 minutes. Opened the package, and pulled the chicken breasts apart, they were still frozen pretty solidly in the middle. I mean, ice crystals were in the center. Then I used my big knife and started cutting. I was FLOORED! It worked so well and the chicken looked so professionally cubed I proceeded to act as if I were Ina Garten in a chef’s kitchen. If only I had a collared shirt so I could flip it up, I’d be set!

Next time your recipe calls for cubed chicken I hope this tip helps ease some of your anxiety.

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

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Summer Time Please!

In our little corner of the world things have been spinning and whirling and humming along. I’m sorry I haven’t taken the time to stop and fill y’all in, but things are, as I’m sure they are in your world, busy-busy. Softball is in full swing and my baby girl is loving that. Baby boy decided not to play baseball this season. I miss watching him play but don’t miss running back and forth trying to watch them both and bussing them from one park to another. Alas, I’d really love to watch him play. 

He decided he wanted to be a “cowboy” full time this season. Early this morning I watched for several minutes as he tried to move the animals around and as he figured out how to get the donkeys’ water buckets over to their new pasture. I must says watching his mind work is fascinating! The four-wheeler is temporarily out of commission and thus he had to find a different way to transport said buckets about 300 yards across a pasture. Finally he managed to get the ropes tied just right to his bicycle and now he sits here with me sipping some sweet tea and breathing heavily after the long haul. Nothing makes him happier than fixing something or figuring out how to fix something. God made him a marvelous creature. 

And no, I don’t normally let him have sweet tea, but he worked hard and hey, this is Alabama.

Other than farming things have been fairly normal. Homeschooling, graphic designing, cooking… The kids finally talked me into letting them take their first swim of the season. 

 

I have to say they really got some air on that one. I thought it would be too cold but they assured me it would not be.

We’ve also started our garden as part of science this week. We have peas, cucumbers, watermelon, and maybe some bell peppers, if they come up. We’re especially excited about one type of watermelon we have coming up. We’re calling them Nana’s watermelons. 

 

Prettiest little green leaves

 
For years I’ve had the seeds and tried growing them in the outside garden with no luck. So this year I decided to try to start them inside and make a science lesson out of it as well. You know, the whole two birds one stone deal. I really didn’t have much faith that they’d come up but lookie there! Hopefully soon we’ll be smacking on some of the sweetest orange watermelon ever!

Summer is coming and I’m so ready! How about you?

Big Mama’s Apple Dumplings

This tastes like you spent a lot of time preparing it but it’s pretty easy and you get a whole lot of BANG for your buck! One of my favorites ever!

Big Mama’s Apple Dumplings

1 can crescent rolls

1 lg. Granny Smith apple, sliced into 8 slices

1 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter

Roll each slice of apple in one roll & place in baking dish. Boil sugar, orange juice, and butter about 5 minutes. Pour over rolls. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes.

Every Sunday is Easter

Little boy was sick on Easter and missed the celebration. Poor fella. But thankfully we finally got to at least get our annual family picture this past Sunday. Shockingly enough no one was freaking out about the bees constantly buzzing behind us.

easter 2015

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Morning Bible Study & Reading

A snippet from my Bible study and reading this morning. I like to share those “aha” moments that happen while I read or study. Hopefully it can help you today as it has helped me.

This is from my Christian Woman magazine March/April 2015, The Christian Growth Chart by Casandra Martin.

Every day we have the opportunity to humble our hearts and surrender to the work of the Spirit in our lives. We often don’t see the importance of the small choices as we make our way through our days. They seem inconsequential in the moment. One small choice doesn’t seem to hold eternal weight, yet this is where most of our growth takes place – in the every day…
…Christians are not supposed to be just a little bit more loving than the rest of the world or a tad more kind than their neighbors. This is counter-nature, counter-cultural, counter-comfortable evidence of God’s grace. I am not supposed to have just a little bit of joy, but so much joy that others can see it and notice His presence and transformation within me. That is what we see in the New Testament. Generosity that defies explanation, peace that passes understanding, and faithfulness that withstands persecution. The Spirit’s presence in my life is supposed to be so evident and His effect so tangible that the world sits up and takes notice.
The fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist of good behavior. It is a growth chart for how the Holy Spirit is working in transforming our lives into the image of Jesus. The good news is that no matter where you measure up today, God is willing and able to help you grow. Celebrate the growth you see. Surrender where you see the need. Walk in the Spirit. Abide in Him. Let the world see His presence in you.

All my favorite recipes

Crock Pot Lasagna, Mama Approved

A month or so ago we had an Italian themed meal after church and I wanted to try crock pot lasagna. It’s everything I love, it’s easy, cooks without me standing over it, and boom it’s done without much fuss.

I tried to find the recipe of a friend that I KNEW was good, but couldn’t find it. So I was forced to pull one from the internet & just pray it would work. And thankfully IT DID. I was mostly concerned whether the noodles would be cooked right and if I should buy the no-bake kind.

This recipe called for regular noodles and despite my reservations they turned out just right. I also struggled to find a recipe that didn’t require me to make my own pasta sauce. While I think it would be awesome to do, I personally felt the “ain’t nobody got time for that!” phrase circling in my head. One day I will make my own, but that day wasn’t it. I am open to suggestions for a good homemade pasta sauce though – leave it in the comments if you have a good one. 😊

I hope this recipe works well for your family also.

P.S. I doubled this recipe but not all noodles would fit, it was still great!

CROCKPOT LASAGNA – Mama Approved

 
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • Lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Brown ground beef and drain. Spoon 1 C. spaghetti sauce in bottom of 4 quart crock pot. Mix remaining sauce with beef. Place 2 uncooked lasagna noodles on sauce in crock pot. Spread 1/3 meat mixture on top of noodles. Spread 3/4 C. cottage cheese over meat. Sprinkle 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Add another layer of uncooked noodles, 1/3 meat mixture, the remaining cottage cheese and 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of uncooked noodles, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Cook on low for 4 hours. 

If cooked much longer, it gets a bit well done.

Original Recipe Here

All my favorite recipes

Magnificent Casserole

This is a recipe I first came across years ago after I began blogging. My family LOVES this and it’s a great one to take to church. It tends to impress even those who don’t like cottage cheese. Hope you enjoy!

Magnificent Casserole

2 pounds Lean Ground Beef

8 ounces Cream Cheese

1 tablespoon Green Pepper — minced

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Swiss Cheese — grated

8 ounces Egg Noodles — (package)

1 pound Cottage Cheese

1/3 cup Green Onion — chopped

2 cups Tomato Sauce

In a large pan, cook noodles in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain & set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream. Add onion and peppers. Set aside. Brown ground beef & drain any fat. Add tomato sauce to ground beef. Grease 9 x 13 inch cake pan or casserole dish, and arrange the following layers: Noodles, cheese mixture, meat mixture – then repeat. Top with grated Swiss cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

*I recommend beginning to brown ground beef first, then begin to boil water, and start chopping. This saves a good bit of time as long as you feel confident multi-tasking.

Note: If you will be freezing this casserole for later use, you may want to reduce or omit the amount of green pepper and onion which are used, as they have a tendency to get stronger over a long period of time.

Cornbread kitchen 2

Kitchen Furniture Search

Okay friends, I had intended to post this much earlier today, but you know how that goes.

Plans changed.

Now I have the time, let’s see how this goes. I was nervous about this post anyway. I mean, I’m showing you actual pictures of my actual kitchen, and while some of you I know, some of you I don’t. I’ll preface this with, I love love love my house.

BUT.

My house is old, like 1870’s old. It was built after the Civil War, while we were still “occupied by the North”. {I never really thought about that part of the War, but the Union had to stay and make sure everything stayed calm and no one tried to start up another rebellion.} Suffice to say, it’s OLD. It has been added-to and built-on until there are cracks in the seams, and floors so uneven you could have a marble race across the floor. The kitchen floor especially needs a major overhaul. The floor is about two layers of linoleum a top wood planks. I know it is two layers because you can see through a giant hole in a couple of spots to the layer underneath.

But I love it. Holes and all.

We do have intentions to renovate and enlarge the kitchen, but it’s one of those – you can’t fix the floor because you have to level it first and we intend to add on so you can’t fix the floor yet anyway, might as well wait and do it all at once – kind of things. So we live with the holes. And things are basically just like they were when we moved in 5 years ago. Moving in my motto was {and still is, mostly} “put what furniture ‘ya got in the spaces ‘ya need to fill and go with it”. Below you’ll see evidence of this motto. I’ve never been much of a decorator.

My quaint little country kitchen in need of an overhaul

My quaint little country kitchen in need of an overhaul

Here in this picture on the left you see the far right corner of my antique stove {which, yes, really still works – QUICK! Cross your fingers and spit – or whatever un-jinxing superstitions you may have – I need my stove to keep working!} It’s one of those with a big space in between the two sets of eyes, just perfect for a cutting board. It also has not one, not two, but three, yes,THA-REE DRAWERS! Perfect for stashing pots and pans and lids galore! Not to mention adorable push-button eye temp controls! But more about my oven later.

To the right of the stove, you’ll see a small metal cabinet that you may be confused about. Let me ease your confusion. That right there is a table-top water heater. Added when they built the kitchen attached to the house {I assume – it may have been after}. It is old, but more modern-old than really-old. The hubs recently installed a full-sized water heater in the basement a.k.a. the potato cellar. This one is no longer needed nor useful. It was nice to have more counter space, but this baby is moving out. As well as the rusty metal cabinet on the far right. It doesn’t hold near the junk I need it to.

And last but not least on the right side of the photo you’ll see my beautiful authentic barn door. My hubs is not a fan. But I am. It’s not going anywhere. The table-top water heater and the rusty cabinet are going somewhere! And in their place I’m looking for a counter-ish height buffet to paint and place in that spot. I would like one with drawers {since I only have two in the rest of the whole house} AND cabinet doors {for storing pots and pans and plastic dishes}. I found some ideas on PINTEREST of course. Here’s one such blog about a remake of an old buffet that would be great, it has both drawers and cabinet space! There’s no end to the others you can find by simply Googling ‘buffet painted’. But I have yet to find anything similar to buy and paint. I do not want something really old, because I refuse to paint really old antiques. I choose to only paint circa 1970-1989 furniture, which I don’t really consider antique anyway. I’m just funny about it. I must insist on real wood as well. I also think I would like to paint it some funky color since my kitchen is soooo white. But I also think white with a dark wooden top would be beautiful. You’ll have to help me decide when I find that perfect piece! In the mean time, keep your ears out for my future furniture love. Thanks friends!

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.

Good Morning/Good Night Checklist Printable *COLOR VERSION*

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Boys

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Boys

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist - Girls

Printable Good Morning/Good Night Checklist – Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning? Or is it? I remember how hard it was to get the kids ready and out the door in the mornings. Nightmare! After I created these checklists and put them on the kids’ walls in their rooms, life was much easier. A lot of kids LOVE checklists. Most kids crave structure & knowing what’s next. This checklist allows them to visually see what they need to do in the mornings and at night. Preparations the night before really seemed to help my kids be ready to go in the morning. If I ever slipped up and said, “Eh, we’ll do that in the morning” for something on our Good Night list, the next morning was NOT so good! Hope this helps!

{My original post with the checklists were black and white, I thought today I’d give you a color version instead.}

Click to download PDF:
girl_checklist_2015 COLOR
boy_checklist_2015 COLOR

ABOUT CORNBREAD MAMA

Living on a small family farm in the Southeast Cornbread Mama enjoys sharing about her life. Between being the wife of a cowboy, homeschooling mom to boy/girl twins, artist, and Christ-follower praying for a simple life in this crazy world Cornbread Mama finds comfort in writing about her family adventures here on the farm surrounded by 18 cows and calves, 2 donkeys, 3 dogs, and 9 chickens. So pull up a rocker and sit a spell.