Ground Beef Meal Prep Hack

I usually buy the large packages of 3 to 4 pounds of ground beef. I used to divide it into 1 pound sections and freeze it in gallon size Ziploc bags, pressing it flat so that it was quick to thaw. Finally I figured out the best way to freeze ground beef for our family.
I cook the entire package of ground beef in a deep, large skillet. I drain off the grease and after it cools I scoop out 2 cups at a time and put it into quart size Ziploc freezer bags. You could use whatever type of container you want. 

Then I freeze the bags and my ground beef is cooked and ready for my next meal of spaghetti, tacos, or a casserole. You can even cook some diced onion with it so that it already has it in it, as many recipes call for onion. Even though tacos don’t, it doesn’t hurt.
It doesn’t take that much longer to cook a large amount of ground beef. I cook once, clean up once. I just wish I had figured this out much sooner!

Maxxed Out

Marshall’s, Home Goods, and TJMaxx. These are the most beloved stores of so many women these days, especially if you collect Rae Dunn, Terramoto, and other popular home items.
Today my daughters and I did a little ‘hunting’ for Halloween items because as any collector knows, you have to grab things early because by Halloween everything in the stores will be Christmas items.

While we didn’t hit the jackpot, we didn’t come home completely disappointed. Take a look at what we rounded up on todays hunt!

I have avoided buying these metal Rae Dunn cups, preferring the standard mugs, but I really wanted these colors and they are just so cute! Plus, we could just picture ourselves around the fire pit with wine or apple cider. This may be my new favorite type of Rae Dunn. No regrets!

I love these Rae Dunn signs and was so happy to come across this find! I won’t put this out just yet, but come October first, it will be displayed on my entertainment center.

This little wine style cup is so cute and attracted the attention of my granddaughter, so how could we say no? It’s by a company called Clementine she just loves it!

Another Clementine mug of dogs in fall sweaters! Adorable! Plus some Ghirardelli as a little snack to go along with whatever beverage you choose.

This Halloween wine glass could also double as a small battery operated tea light holder. The glass is colorful and the design is so detailed! No brand name is on the glass but available at Marshall’s and TJMaxx.

These spatulas are just adorable and join my ever growing collection of fun and cute rubber spatulas. There were under $4.00 which adds to the joy!

Not Halloween but a super cute Rae Dunn mug! I saw this on a vlog and hoped to find it. Got lucky today!

Lastly, this find just made my day! I had seen this mug on a vlog as well and have been looking for it for a few months. I love the light green inside and handle and the gold word and bee image are just gorgeous. I have another mug with green inside and handle and it is my favorite. I have a feeling this new Bumble bee mug will be just as loved.

That concludes today’s haul! I hope you enjoyed seeing my new goodies!

Patriotic Coffee Station & Tiered Tray

My patriotic coffee bar remains up long after the Fourth of July. I actually set it up before Memorial Day and I’ll leave it up all summer. I love everything about it!
The Lazy Susan is Mikasa, purchased from Costco. The majority of mugs are Rae Dunn, purchased from Marshalls or TJ Maxx.The large white canister is actually a Rae Dunn XOXO canister from Valentine’s Day which I turned around to the blank side and added the red white and blue ribbon. The blue truck is also Rae Dunn.
The wooden block and bicycle are from Hobby Lobby.The star bowls are Terramoto. The star is part of a salt salt pepper set I bought from Amazon.

The wooden and black metal two tiered tray, assorted wooden pieces and ‘ land that I love’ sign on my buffet are from Hobby Lobby, the wooden garland is from Home Goods. The U S A sign is Rae Dunn, Beanie Babies are vintage. The bowls are Terramoto.

The garland on the entertainment center is from HomeGoods and the Let Freedom Ring sign is Rae Dunn.

In another month I’ll be switching everything out for fall decor. I’m not ready! Are you ready for autumn?

Teppie’s Macaroni & Cheese

My daughter-in-law Stephanie is a Southern gal and has a vast array of wonderful southern style dishes. This is her mac & cheese, which is cooking in the slow cooker as I write this!

Teppie’s Macaroni & Cheese

1 pound of elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

2 cans of cheddar cheese soup

8 ounces of sour cream

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 stick of unsalted butter

4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Cook macaroni, drain and set aside

In slow cooker put 2 cans of cheddar cheese soup, 8 oz sour cream and 1 teaspoon of ground mustard.

In a non stick pan melt the stick of butter and gradually add in the shredded cheese, stirring as it melts.

Pour the macaroni into the slow cooker and stir it into the soup mixture, then gradually add the melted cheese and stir until mixed well.

Cook on low 2-4 hours.

*Crockpot liners are wonderful, especially when cooking something like mac & cheese!

What’s In My Bag

I carry my life in my purse and I think a lot of other women do, too. While it’s convenient to have all your important things with you, I do like to keep things small or lightweight because my purse gets heavy very quickly. I also often switch from my luggage size handbag to a crossbody style for travel or shopping because it’s nice to have your hands free and travel light sometimes.

My basics are the same as most people with wallet, sunglasses and keys being the essentials. My keys aren’t in the photos here as I keep mine hung on a mail/key rack by the front door when I’m home.

My wallet holds my id, debit card and a couple of other cards like a credit card and my Outback gold card, but really not too much else. I seldom carry cash.

I always carry tissue, more as back up tp in case there isn’t any in the public restroom stall!

I have my inhaler, which I only need when I don’t have it with me, a comb, emery board, and mints. Hand sanitizer and a mask are signs of life in 2021. As is the folded piece of paper which are medical test orders. Such is life.

A few items I carry are for emergencies and I used to keep them attached to my keychain but it just got to be too much. Still, I want them with me, so they remain in my purse. These items are a small o-light flashlight, a small Swiss army knife, a seatbelt cutter/window breaker, a multi tool, a brass whistle, and a small pair of nail clippers.

A small notepad and pen and my glasses are the last of the basics that I carry.

I know a lot of people carry a tiny bit of first aid supplies in their bags or a make up bag with odds and ends. I have a makeup bag with assorted items ‘just in case’. My ‘med bag’ as I call it contains bandages, wet wipes, and pocket sized spray Neosporin in case of cuts, Tylenol, Benadryl, and Rolaids in case someone doesn’t feel well, panty liners, flossers, q-tips, safety pins, a metal spork, small toothpaste and travel toothbrush, lipstick, Listerine pocket spray, and some face powder, which seems to cover any other need. Last but not least, I carry the St. Christopher medal my father carried in his wallet, which was a gift from my Catholic mother.

I am always trying to think of other things I should have with me. Any suggestions?
What do you have in your bag?

Simple Korean Beef

I love Asian food and Asian style food I can make at home. I cook simply and enjoy fast, simple recipes, so this is a winner for me! Not only that, it’s inexpensive to make. You can add veggies to your hearts desire or prepare it as written. Either way, it’s yummy!

Simple Korean Beef

1 pound of lean ground beef

2 cloves of minced garlic

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce (I prefer reduced sodium)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon pepper

vegetables optional

scallions and sesame seeds for topping

2 cups cooked white rice

Brown ground beef and garlic in a skillet until done, then drain grease. In a bowl stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and pepper. Pour into skillet and simmer on low five minutes. Spoon meat mixture over rice and top with sesame seeds and diced scallions.

Easy Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is super easy and fool proof! I made it recently for a Mother’s Day Brunch at my daughter’s house. It takes minutes to prepare and everyone loved it.

You can make this basic recipe or add any of your personal favorites. It’s economical and a great make ahead for Christmas morning or even breakfast for dinner.

Easy Breakfast Casserole

  • 9 hash brown patties. You could also use any hash browns or even use taters tots! You can precook the hash browns or put them in the casserole frozen! A huge time saver!!
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese, I used colby jack
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked diced bacon, sausage, or ham
  • 9 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk

Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray. Arrange the hash brown patties in a single layer.

Sprinkle with cheese and meat. You can also add diced onion, green or red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, whatever you like!

Whisk eggs with milk and pour over entire casserole. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or bake right away.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a knife blade stuck in the middle of the casserole. If the knife comes out clean the casserole is ready!

Afternoon Coffee & …

Coffee is my favorite drink and I have several cups a day. I don’t think I’m making it right because it certainly doesn’t perk me up but it does taste good.

Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon I become extremely tired. Ready for a nap tired. Naturally I navigate to the coffee maker for a mug of my favorite beverage.

I also get a little hungry around that time of day and like a little something to snack on. I really enjoy baked goods. A LOT. Chocolate croissants, cupcakes, muffins, scones, apple pastries or strudel. Recently I learned of a new-to-me treat just made for coffee, called a stroopwafel. Evidently they have been around forever and so I am one of the last people on planet Earth to learn of these, but they were worth the wait!

Crispy cookies filled with caramel and coated in chocolate. You set it on top of your hot cup of coffee and it warms the cookie, making it a bit soft and gooey. A great addition to your coffee routine!

My Mother’s Recipe Box

My mother’s recipe box is one of my keepsakes that is constant and comforting. It is metal, green, old, a bit worn, but full of delicious and comforting food ideas, holiday goodies, and most importantly, my mother’s handwriting. Every time I see one of her hand written recipes, or really anything with her handwriting, I feel close to her even though she has been gone many years.

My mother loved homemaking, and really enjoyed cooking and collecting recipes. While most of the recipes are written by hand there are some pages torn from a newspaper or magazine, some of them attached to index cards with yellowed tape. Some of the recipes were never tried, but looked good to her, so earned an honored spot in her collection.

She used to get ‘women’s magazines’ back then, and would save several issues then decide to downsize. This meant going through the magazine and tearing out the pages she wanted to keep. From there she would copy, cut, or tape the new recipes that still fill the green recipe box to this day. I wouldn’t dare throw any of them away. They are part of mom.

Several of the recipes have multiple cards written for them. I love this because it means each of my children will someday get an actual hand written version of a special recipe. Why she wrote so many of them, I have no idea. But I’m glad she did.

Going through the cards also brings to mind family and friends long gone. Laura’s Potatoes & Green Beans, Jessie’s barbecue. Gone but not forgotten by the food they made so well and mom enjoyed. What a compliment to be asked if someone could have a copy of your recipe!

A few of the cards even have my name on them. I think of the ones she enjoyed and the things I have discovered and added to my own recipe box since she passed. My mother loved cucumbers but I don’t recall her ever making cucumber salad, which is a standard summer salad for our family. She would have loved it and so many of the other foods we now eat and enjoy that just weren’t popular back then or that we just didn’t eat. Oh how she would have loved the popular sheet pan dinner!

I am also reminded of how differently I cook than mom did. Several things are fried in lard. A lot of the recipes have creamed soups, which I generally avoid except for the beloved green bean casserole. And speaking of green bean casserole, I don’t remember mom ever making that even one time and no recipe card is in her box for it. Crazy!

Many of the recipes remain untried, and the family favorites are now copied in my own handwriting in my new recipe card box. Dad’s pizza crust and sauce recipes – amazing especially since he had never tried pizza until he met my mother- mom’s potato salad, Pennsylvania Dutch dressing for Thanksgiving, lasagna, and more. All part of our family history and being added to by me and my children.

Mom’s recipe box is much more than just a box of ideas, it is a box of memories and love.

it’s gotta go!

Everyone does spring cleaning and we tend to do a bit of fall cleaning as well as far as purging. Our house is on the small side, our family is large, and our place is ‘home base’ where things are kept for safe keeping or just kept in general.

We were, to be blunt, bursting at the seams. Things had to go! To be fair, we have very little closet space, so that makes it hard to begin with. No linen closet, small bathrooms with small cabinets, small bedroom closets, etc. We live in a split foyer – small entry with stairs up and stairs down.

Luckily there is a good amount of area under the lower stairs for some storage but it was full. Middle daughters abandoned bedroom became pandemic headquarters along with housing the items she left behind when she moved in with her fiance. The bathroom downstairs is unfinished and so that was being used to store some items as well. There was just too much stuff.

With updating our 30 year old house with new roof this past December, new windows and siding next week, and room by room changes in the past few years, we decided to not do the same spring cleaning we have done in the past where it seems we simply visited with kept items then neatly returned them to their hiding places. This time we decided something had to give and a lot had to go.

First was our daughters old room. She and her fiance came and took all of her remaining belongings! That leaves the pandemic supplies like a lot of bathroom tissue, hand sanitizer, coffee, and the like which we had started keeping in there because the room wasn’t being used for anything else. We actually gathered quite a bit of supplies and have been relocated, dispersed, and will be used up. Hubby already has plans for this room, of course!

Next was the under the stairs area. Boxes of photos, boxes and space bags of baby clothes, boxes of antique glassware, boxes of holiday decor. Photos were fairly recently sorted so they remained in their boxes. Baby clothes sorted, dispersed to their owners who are now grown and soon having babies of their own, glassware condensed to fewer boxes (from 4 to 2) and holiday decor (not including Christmas) purged to half the amount. Not bad!

I love decorating for holidays but I find as I get older my tastes are definitely changing and less is more at this point. The next time I open these holiday boxes I will once again purge more. I just don’t need all of these things and for the most part, I decorate my coffee bar and buffet and that is enough for me.

The last room was the soon to be bathroom. Camping items, small pieces of furniture, some seldom used toys, wrapping paper, etc. A catchall that needed to be empty and no longer used as a huge closet. Items were easily dispersed to new homes and the local thrift store. Thank goodness for the local thrift store we use, it is open 7 days a week which makes it super easy to drop items off when it’s convenient for us to do so.

It makes me happy to be able to share things I have loved but no longer need and to know someone else will be so pleased when they come across these items in a little thrift shop. Getting a good price on some gems and money going to a good cause at the same time.

We literally removed 50% of what we had stored and have two empty rooms to turn into a bathroom and an office for my husband. It makes me feel like the house gave a huge sigh of relief and so did we. More air, more empty space, fewer material items and I love having a simpler and less encumbered home.