Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homemade Hamburger Helper

 As we work to cut processed foods and anything with MSG out of our diets for the sake of my migraines, I'm trying to turn some of our favorites into something we will enjoy! :)

Here is one of my homemade spices, it cuts down on sodium, it will soon be included as a recipe.

 The finished product, was delicious!

I paired it with a salad, it was a great meal.

Want to make your own hamburger helper?  Here's what you'll need:

Homemade Hamburger Taco Helper:
1# gr beef/turkey
1 pkg taco seasoning
2 C uncooked pasta
8 oz cheese (I used half velveeta & half shredded, you can use cream cheese too!)
2 C frozen corn
1 C onion.

Cook pasta in a separate pan, do not drain.  Brown meat w/onion, sop up any grease or drain off.  Using a slotted spoon scoop noodles from pasta water into beef mixture, you want some of the liquid to come with it.  Add 1/2 - 1 C of water from the pasta to the beef mixture, add taco seasoning, cheese & corn, bring to a boil and cook until cheese is melted and it is thick and creamy.  Enjoy!

You could even make a double of this dish & freeze it if so desired!

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to utilize your grill in the Summer months

In the winter, we keep our house set at 65, most of the time it's below 30 outside and it can be cool in the house, so using the oven, a lot of baking and months of meals are made to keep the house warm.  In the summer, without central air, our house can get pretty warm.  So I utilize the tool we have outside for everything to avoid the oven.

I love fresh in the summer, Squash was on sale, my husband isn't a fan, but me?  Huge fan.  I had made bacon on the grill in our pan the day before.  Once it was done I poured the majority of the bacon grease off and left about a tablespoon on, put the tray in the refrigerator, spread it all over & tossed these on top with some diced onion and garlic salt.

Again, I have a propane grill, nothing fancy, I leave both sides on, both on low of course.

They turned out delicious!

This night was mini meatloafs- from out month of meals, done in disposable mini bread pans, green beans in a bit of that leftover bacon grease and potatoes wrapped in bacon, which is a recipe from my dad.  Delish!  All again done on the grill. 

Another tool that comes in handy on the grill?  My cast iron!  I bake on the grill using this, rosemary salted rolls with chicken. 

Cory and I don't always agree on vegetables, however, these packets, allow me to be creative and give us both what we like.

The carrots were carrot sticks I had left over from lunches, and this allows you to use up whatever might be left in the fridge. 

Potatoes for my potato man, lightly drizzled with olive oil and my dump mix.

What is a dump mix you might ask?  If it doesn't make a complete tablespoon it goes into my "jar" of misc spices... and becomes my dump mix.

What do you make on your grill?  Or do you have an outdoor tool that you utilize during these hot months?

Friday, July 20, 2012

I refuse.

To use my oven when in Michigan, ya know, that place that's supposed to be Alaska 1/2 the year?  Is over 100 degrees outside.  100.  I'm just not built for this, and I'm sure it will come back sturdily to bite me in the bottom this winter.

So what do we do when I refuse to stand in front of a hot oven and over a hot stove?

We utilize tin-foil, aluminum and the gift of gas.  Ehm, propane.

As you can see, I tried something new! Cory is such a meat and potatoes man I was shocked when he asked about grilling pineapple.  I thought he lost his marbles, but it was soooooo good.  It carmelized.  It was heavenly.

The chicken breasts had a little sweet rub that I made of brown sugar, salt, paprika, and rosemary I grilled 10 min on each side and then covered them with Sweet Baby Rays honey barbeque.

Our fantastic potatoes which is a recipe of Cory's:

4 Large Potatoes Cubed up
1 Onion- cut up
2 Cups broccoli- frozen- not thawed or fresh
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1t each Salt, Pepper & garlic salt
3/4 Shredded Cheese (we've used everything from parmesan to colby)

Mix everything but cheese & place on grill for 40 min (we turn 1/2 way through).  When done, open the packet & sprinkle the cheese over top.  Serve.

This meal left us with plenty of left overs!  We loved it!  The pineapple was still good cooled again, with a bit of carmelly-ness to the outside.  The grammar police just cringed.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm back...

I bet you've all been wondering what happened to our happy little blog and tips on cooking!

We haven't been doing much of that lately.  We have a joke in our household, I eat a can of hominy if Cory is gone.  Sometimes, I have been known to eat toast, left overs, even mac & cheese, but I usually don't cook.  Which is why our month of meals go so far.

A while ago I mentioned that we were in the effort of trying to conceive.  The last year has been very trying on our marriage, and we decided we needed to take a step back and some time off.  I used to laugh when I heard couples express this, even the whole "you are trying too hard".  What a joke, right?  Wrong, this has been the hardest thing we have tried to accomplish, individually and together, but we learned a lot together, shed some tears together.. and grown.

So the "baby" word was not allowed in our house, for a month.   Our month is drawing to a close in a couple of days... we've spent the weekends.. on the Harley, out with friends (which was a treat, because I didn't drink for.. 10 months- it effects your fertility), and with family.. in the pool and on the beach.  We've take a lot of time for just us.  At the same time, I had surgery, had some follow up doctor appointments and found out my brain is swollen.  I've had a lot of follow up on that, some new meds and a lot of abnormal headaches.  Cory has been doing a lot of cooking, even if it's just bacon & eggs for dinner.  He's been amazing.

I started seeing a behaviorist to help cope with the pain, the stress of all the listed above, and she suggested to get a family animal, that will give me something to focus on other than my pain, give Cory and I something more in common, and help be a bond.

So I haven't posted, but I'm back in the kitchen.. I've been doing some baking, some cooking, experimenting with new recipes, and I've taken a lot of pictures and notes, oh!  Meet.. Bella, the newest member of the Radel Family:

She's the little one, she's playing with our existing dog Spud, who goes on the road with Daddy.  Bella will stay home and keep me company!

So what do you have to look forward to:

Coming up next... Grilled pineapple, chicken and potato packets with broccoli.
(we grill so much in the summer, we have already gone through 2 tanks of propane.)
Later: How we use the grill as an oven.
Even later: Homemade hamburger helper
More homemade recipes to come: Homemade rice-a-roni
Taco Seasoning
Quick Biscuits

This month should be interesting.. :) hop along for the ride!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jalepeno Poppers

 My family, with the exception of my father & I love hot stuff.  My husband, mom, and brother are huge fans.  Which is great, unless you are the cook in the family.  :)

We put them together & finished them on the grill at my parents.  So yet again.. I just have a picture of the begining.  From what I heard they were amazing.  We had left over ham & pickles from the subs and the cheese made way too much so we made ham & pickle wraps, that were divine too!

Jalepeno Poppers
8 oz softened cream cheese
10 large jalepenos - for as much cheese as this made though- I'd say 20, unless you want to do the ham & pickle thing too :)
1 C cheddar cheese
salt & pepper
1 T garlic miniced
2 T water
2 T minced dried onions
10 slices of bacon (if you do 20 poppers you'll need 20 pieces of bacon)

Mix everything together- but jalapenos.  Let sit for 1/2 hour while cutting & cleaning peppers out.
Slice the sides, leaving the tops on.  Using a freezer bag or a frosting piper or even a small spoon fill the peppers.  Wrap the bacon around the peppers- if you aren't going to cook them right away, we soaked toothpicks in water for a few minutes and put it through the peppers to hold the bacon.

They go on a grill or in the oven for 15 to 20 min.  Once the bacon is done, we did them to a crisp.

Monday, June 18, 2012


 I've always had some creativeness in my cooking.  I'm not a fan of "plain" anything, unless it comes to something like a BLT.   Then I'll do plain.  This weekend we went to my mom's for a poolside lunch and I was in charge of making lunch.

One of my favorite breads ever is french bread, it's that chewy crust and the soft center.  It's everything bread should be.

 I make a mayo the night before, mayo, onion, worcestershire sauce, minced garlic.  It's all by feeling, but... it's apx 1/2 C mayo, 2 TB onion, 1 T garlic, and 6 dashes of worcestershire.

I pull the breading for the most part out of the french loaf, otherwise- my mouth doesn't open that big.  I always cut it up in to chunks to use later in the year for stuffing :)

I slather both sides of the sub with the special mayo, put the cheese, roast beef, salami, ham, and fresh pickles.  I wrap them & let them set at least 2 hours so everything melds together.

I wish after I wrapped them, I had not wrapped them & taken a picture of the finished product.  Whoops.  Then we were so famished that I didn't take a picture once they were unwrapped.  Ha.    You blog & learn right?  Next time.  These are my go-to on the go sandwiches, for picnics, the pool, or even feeding a crowd, they are so easy and seem so gourmet!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Working on life

Cory and I both have been working on losing weight.  I've also over the years consulted with nutritionists on diets and what can and will impact my migraines.  I had surgery on my neck on Wednesday to help with my migraines.

I've had plenty of time to scour the internet for plenty of ideas, one of the biggest things is removing preservatives from my diet, like things in pre-made soups, dinners, etc. So I've been writing down recipes and filling my recipe box.  I'm also working on another month of meals, once I get a chance to sit down and look at the meat flyers for the local stores this week.

I've done things like cut frozen pizza out of our diet, but, we still have it, I make 4 pizza's ahead and freeze them.  All we have to do is pop them in the freezer.  Working on our garden gives me a chance to control the amount of preservatives & ingredients in things like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, etc.  Which I love making home made now.

I found a recipe I'm very excited about for Olive Garden's alfredo.  I'll let you know if it turns out the same.  We are still enjoying life, we went out on our first bike ride this last weekend together to bring a fallen rider home.  You may have heard about the accident, 12 of a local biker group were mowed over by a guy in WI.. please keep the family & all of our riders on the road in your thoughts & prayers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

 I decided to try saving even more money.. I watched for random items to go on sale.  Deciding to try my own soap.  Some mixes you find online suggest using different bars of soap.  I can honestly say, it doesn't matter.  I like Castile soap because it has a coconut smell, and is all natural.

I grated everything.  I got the castile soap on sale, so, I did many bars that day.  So I only had to clean the grater once.

I created 4 bags.  After making this recipe I found a site that shows how to make super washing soda from baking soda.  I'll try that soon & post the results.  This is an idea I took from Pinterest.  The original can be found here.

I take all the boxes, mix them together with 1 bag of my castile soap, I put them in a 3 gallon bucket & bagged them for use in the laundry room.  I've yet to get a container.  We stopped using softner, I've replaced it with vinegar, which, helps the smell of our top loading washer and use softner just for homemade dryer sheets.  But of course, that's another post :)

Using 2 T of this mix in your wash replaces the cups of the store made kind you buy.  I can honestly say I don't miss tide, but I definitely love the money that's in our pocket!

Homemade Laundry Soap:

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz)

1 4 lb box Baking Soda (1.81 kg)
1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz)
3 bars of Castile soap- grated

Mix all ingredients, use 2 T for a large load in cold, warm or hot water.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mother's Day

For mother's day, I figured we as a family could do something for my mom my brother Kyle & I haven't been able to do for years.  Pictures, as a family.  We got them taken at our wedding, but, very few was I smiling in.  I kinda fell down the stairs that morning, sprained my ankle and had a migraine.  Fun right?

All of our pictures were taken by my best friend who is getting into photography.. you can find her site here.
 Kristee & Parker
 Mimi (me) & Parker
 My brother Kyle & nephew Isaac
 Kyle, Isaac, Debra
 My amazing parents Michelle & Al, a beautiful 29 years of marriage
 All of us
In love
 Kiss me goodnight.
2 years of love

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Hard to believe it's been a year since we said "I do".

Cory made me a wonderful dinner the night before our anniversary, it was a recreation of our wedding dinner, roast and all the fixings, even homemade bread.

We've learned a lot about each other in the last year.  Most people say the first year is the hardest.  We've crossed some obstacles this year, between sickness, migraines, and our struggle with fertility... I think we both spent some time going back to the day we married to remember what we said in our vows.

I wrote our wedding ceremony, everything right down to the commas and periods came from me.  I meant every word, I know he did as well.  We've found strength and sorrow together.  We've fervently hoped to be parents, we've faced cancer in a family, debt, nothing ever going right, and held on.   I would say these vows all over again.. because today, they have even more meaning.

I, Kelly, choose you, Cory.. as my best friend, my love for life.
Today I give myself to you in marriage.
I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you,
and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when our love is simple, and when it is an effort.
I promise to be faithful to you, I promise to love you, commit to you and support you.
From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home. As I have given you my hand to hold, I give you my life to keep.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


 Well.  I started some of our flower planting.  Here's the beginning. I have to clean up the leaves that were in the ditch.  This is on the left side of our yard.  Small start, but everything will expand!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Figuring out Spring Moves

One of the things I have not been able to fix quickly around our house that I don't like, is.. well.. the house, and the yard.  We go back and forth between colors, landscaping.  Cory is good with mowing the lawn.  Not me.  As you can see in the first picture... the color of the house, is not special to the neighborhood. 

 I think we'vd decided the spot where the a/c unit is, we are putting a slider we already own in & laying a cement patio there, it's right off the front of our kitchen.

 We have so many trees it's ridiculous. 
 As you can see, no one has loved the landscape in a long time!
 I have some grasses and things to liven up the side of the garage, until we can figure out what to paint the house.

I'm putting my own mark slowly, the chairs are two of my favorites, I bought them on clearance from target and placed cute pillows on them.  I love sitting in them, we never use that door.

I purchased some flowers for this corner.  The lily's drive me nuts.  No one loves lilies that much, do they?  The multiply like rabbits!  Or maybe rabbits multiply like them?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dry Cream Soup

In an effort to "DIY" our house and save money on stuff we spend a ton on, like.  Cream soups, a dollar a can, and.. a lot of recipes we use take several cans.  

So I found a recipe online that gave a base of powdered milk.

 4 cups of powdered milk, 3 cups of corn starch, 3/4 cups onions.

1 cup bullion
 4 t each of basil, thyme and ground pepper.  Much like the original creator I didn't have Thyme so I originally planned on using parsley.
 I then remembered I had Thyme that was dried in the fridge.  So I  chopped it up.
To use in a recipe of a substitute of one can of condensed cream soup, mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Cook until thick.  I do a lot of these recipes in the crock-pot, I've just been tossing in the ingredients, for cream of mushroom, I used canned mushrooms and used the juice in place of some of the water.  Boiled down a bit of broccoli and used that water and chopped broccoli. 

It's much less fattening.  Enjoy!

Dry Cream Soup

4 cups non-fat dried milk
3 cups cornstarch
1 cup bouillon of your choice
3/4 C freeze dried minced onions
4 teaspoons each dried basil, dried thyme & pepper
One can of condensed cream soup= mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Cook until thick

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

So begins the sewing

 Well, It's been busy around here.  Cory and I hit our one year mark of marriage, started our garden.  Oh yes, that's why I'm here.  To show you our garden!  Well.. the start of it.  I had the jiffy sets, so I started seeds that needed a jump.

 It was almost too easy.  Pour in 1 3/4 cups of water.

 It took maybe 30 seconds to go from lake of stuff to: Pods.

I shook out the seeds on the counter.  These are some of the Roma Tomato seeds

 The ones below are the peas.

Looking at the dirt as I was beginning my first ever garden..  I wondered how I was going to tell which leaf from which leaf?  So, I made a drawing.  Very thought out wasn't it?


My seeds are started. We will pick up the supplies for our raised garden beds.