Sunday, August 31, 2014

Turkey Taco Nachos

Sometimes I like to make supper really FUN and most of all EASY! This is one of those recipes.We normally have this meal in the form of baked tacos, which I don't think I've posted for you yet, but anyways....this recipe comes pretty close to the baked tacos, so here we go.
Who doesn't love nachos?  We certainly do!  This meal was a request by by honey, so I whipped these up one night for supper.  I got my original Baked Taco Recipe here. Thanks Six Sisters!
Turkey Taco Nachos

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1 can black beans (15oz), drained and rinsed
1 cup of frozen seasoning blend (onion, bell pepper mix found in the frozen section)
1 packet taco seasoning (I used 3 tablespoons of my DIY Taco Seasoning)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chunky salsa (I used Walmart brand)
1 bag of Santitas Lightly Seasoned Tortilla Chips
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pan with medium heat, add oil, onion and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add turkey and taco seasoning.  Cook until meat is browned. Add beans and salsa.  Turn heat down to low and let cook for a couple of minutes so that the flavors can mingle and the mixture can thicken up.
Using a cookie sheet lined with foil, lay your chips out over the pan.  Top each one with a spoon full of the taco mixture.  Top each nacho with shredded cheese.

Bake until all the cheese is melted and then serve!

I served ours with sour cream and Tabasco chipotle sauce, but add whatever you and your family enjoys with tacos or nachos.
These chips are so good!  Have you tried them?  They are good with any Mexican meal or just with a sandwich too! Yummy!
Be sure to line your cookie sheet with foil for easy cleanup, this little trick makes life so much easier!  No more trying to scrub the melted cheese from your pans!
I hope you try these soon!  With football season coming up, this would make a great little meal for football watching too!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Texas Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly

Have you ever had Prickly Pear Jelly?  Would you like to try it?  Well, I'm going to share with you how I made mine.  The picking and cleaning process is a bit tricky, but well worth it!
This jelly makes enough to stock your pantry for the next several months or a great gift giving idea as well.  Friends and family always love homemade jellies, or at least mine do!
See those beautiful red rubies perched on top of the prickly pear cactus?  Those are the "good stuff" you want for your jelly.  While collecting these, be very careful, wear gloves, it is a cactus and cactus bite!
Look how many we found!  This is only a few.  This time of year in Texas you will see this everywhere! Such a beautiful site!

Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin (I use surejell)
3 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

We picked one 5 gallon bucket of fruit.  1 quart of prickly pear cactus fruit should make about 2 1/2 cups of juice. WEAR GLOVES! Pluck the fruit from the cactus using tongs.  Using a clean 5 gallon bucket, fill half way with clean water and then place some of your fruit in.   Stir and tumble using a long stick of wood. CAREFUL, they have tiny thorns!  Pour water out and repeat several times until your fruit looks to be thorn free.  Just to be sure you can use your tongs and a brush to scrub each piece of fruit under running water to remove all traces of thorns.

Boil fruit until tender and soft. Mash and strain using a fine jelly sieve.  Do not add water.  Set aside to allow juice to settle.  For clear jelly, do not use the portion containing sediment.

In a sauce pan, measure out 2 1/2 cups of cactus juice, add 1 package of pectin.  Bring mixture to a fast boil, stirring constantly.  Add lemon or lime juice and sugar.  Bring to a hard boil (one that can't be stirred down) and let boil for 3 more minutes.  The timing is important to get the mixture to jell properly.  Remove from heat, skim and pour into hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch space per jar.  Wipe jar rims and seal lids.  Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath to seal the lids.  Makes 6 1/2 pints of jelly.
Just look at the color variations here.  The sunlight shining through them is such a pretty site!  You could almost use them as decor in your kitchen! LOL!  Have you made this jelly before?  Let me know how yours turned out. I'd love to know!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junki

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

DIY Soft Summertime Feet

This post is a bit off from our regular topics, but it was so AWESOME I had to share it!  Who doesn't like to have their feet looking and feeling soft and pretty for the summertime sandal wearing?  I know I do!  Nobody wants to see your crusty ugly heels ladies!  Let me show you how to fix that!
Since we are on a mission to save money and pay down our bills, I decided to save myself about $40 and try a home pedicure.  It really worked nicely!  I got the idea here.
For Soft Summertime Feet, you will need:
2 cups hydrogen peroxide
2 cups HOT water (the hotter the better because the peroxide cools it off fast)
Foot file and buffer
Nail trimmers
O'Keefe's Healthy Feet (or your favorite foot lotion)
Wash basin
Towel
Add hot water and peroxide to your wash basin and soak your feet for a good 30 minutes.  Make sure your heels and other problem ares are totally immersed in the water solution.  After 30 minutes, dry feet well.
Immediately after drying, use your foot file to remove the dead skin on your feet.  If you're like me you have a few other places besides your heels that need attention.
Next, smooth out the rough spots with a buffer.  My buffer is two sided.  I used the coarser side first then the smooth side to finish.  Wipe off the dust with your towel.
Apply O'Keefee's foot cream generously to both feet concentrating on your problem areas and then ENJOY!
It's awesome how this simple treatment works so well and best of all, it didn't cost me $40!!
Lastly, if you decide to polish your nails, make sure to use alcohol or polish remover on your nails to remove all traces of the O'Keefe's so your polish will stay on.  Now you're ready for those sandals again!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Building a Picket Fence Stand

Did you see our last post about the rain barrel to gather condensate? Well, this is the stand we built for it to live on.  Keep reading for how we made it...and when I say WE, I'm actually referring to my honey...I'm just the gopher and photographer! LOL!
We used all left over materials that we had on hand, so this little stand was FREE!  YAY!
We used 2 x 4s, 4 x 4s and more of our old fence pickets to build this stand.  You'll also need some wood screws, a clamp, and a drill with a bit to fit the screws you use.  The screws we used were 2 1/2" long to hold the 4 x 4s to the frame and 2" long screws to hold the pickets to the frame.
You can build your stand to fit your needs, but our finished stand measures 22" deep and 33" wide.  Build your 2 x 4 frame first, then add the 4 x 4 legs.
Use the clamp to hold the 4 x 4 to the 2 x 4 frame.  Drill pilot holes for your screws so the wood doesn't split on you.
Add your screws to hold the 4 x 4s to the 2 x 4 frame.  We used 2 screws on each side to hold it securely.
Now using the fence pickets we wanted to "pretty" it up a bit.  Cut your pickets to fit your frame.  Cover the sides first all the way around.  **NOTE: You can also see here that we added a brace in the middle to support the 55 gallons of water that will be sitting on this stand.
We used little wood shims for a bit of space in between the pickets. Place the picket like you want it using your spacers, screw down, then move on to the next picket until you get to the end.
My honey had to cut down one picket to make it fit in.  Can you tell which one it is?  Now, if you were using your stand for something other than a stand for a giant barrel of water to sit on, you may want to plan this out a bit better and not have to cut down your pickets, but for us, this was perfect!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Using a Rain Barrel to Collect Condensate from Your Air Conditioner!

We live in Texas and in the summer it doesn't rain much.  As a state we have severe water shortages every where.  The air conditioner also runs a lot because it HOT in Texas!  The a/c causes lots of condensation that just runs out onto the ground.  From what I've read, condensate water from the a/c is 99% pure clear water, no chemicals, just a bit of dust!  Why not catch it and use it?  We did just that!  Here's how we did it.
This is our final product and it works perfectly!  Why didn't we think of this a long time ago?  We dont know, but I'm glad my honey decided he wanted to try and catch the dripping water.
Our unit is in the attic, so the drip line runs across the attic floor to the outside edge of the house.  At first it just dripped down at the base of the foundation.  My honey added some PVC pipe and a few elbows to make it drain out onto the grass.
When he decided to catch the water he used a cat litter container and just cut a hole in the lid for the PVC to fit into.  That was all fine and good until the darn thing was full in about a 36 hour time period.  That's lots of water!  Then he decided he'd make a rain barrel to catch it.  GREAT idea honey!
We started out with a brand new bright and shiny metal trash can.  $19.97 at Walmart.  Keep reading and you'll see why we decided not to use the metal can.  But in the mean while I'm going to tell you what we did so we could get the water out of the container to use it.
You will need a barrel and a water spigot with a few other items to make your very own water catcher!
You'll need a hole saw to make a hole for the spigot to fit into.  LOL! Are you wondering why my honey has a blue finger nail?  He tried on my newest nail polish for me so I'd know what it looked like on.  He's the best!
A few rubber pieces to use as a gasket to help seal the hole cut in the barrel.  We used an old bicycle inter tube that was left over from the DIY Kids Bike Makeover my honey did back a few months ago.
First, grab your spigot.  We used a washing machine cold water spigot for our barrel.  Make a mark on the rubber piece so you can cut a hole to fit the spigot through.  You'll need two of these, one for the outside and one for the inside of the barrel.
To cut the hole, use a box cutter.  Cut an X in the circle and slip the spigot through the X.
The white fitting you see in this picture came with the spigot.  Adjust it to the proper space needed and then add one piece of your rubber to the spigot.
We bought this faucet rosette washer and nut in the 1/2" size (the size of our spigot) to add to the inside of the barrel for the final seal of the spigot to the barrel.
You'll insert your spigot from the outside of the barrel like you see above.  Not shown in the picture, but we did add Teflon tape to the spigot threads in the final barrel.
On the inside add another rubber piece and then the washer and nut piece and tighten down securely.
Next, water test.  Add water to just above the hole you cut in the barrel.
This is what happened to our pretty metal can!  It leaked badly!  The spigot leaked too!  Back to the drawing board!
We ran into town and grabbed a big plastic barrel.  It cost us $22.
These barrels are actually all one piece, no lid to take off so you can get to the inside.  Using a reciprocating saw, cut the "lid" off.  As you can see, this barrel was nasty!  After it was open, it got a good scrubbing with soap and water.
And then just follow the previous steps I showed you up above.  Remember to add the Teflon tape to the spigot for a better seal.
We used a piece of screening to filter out any unwanted yuck into our water barrel.
Next, my honey used the hole saw again and made some drain holes in the lid just in case it rained, the barrel would catch the water. Double duty!
The lid is actually turned upside down.  It makes a perfectly snug fit to hold the screen in place.
To raise the barrel off the ground, my honey built a stand using left over 2x4s, 4x4s and some more of our fence pickets.  That's another post though!  The stand was necessary so we could get a water can under the spigot to use the water we'd gathered.
We placed the stand in an opening of our shrubs near the existing PVC drain, added a couple of 45 degree elbows to redirect it and TahDah!  Lots of water being captured!

It took right at a full week to gather a barrel full of water.  That's approximately 55 gallons of water that would have otherwise jut gone onto the ground.  Now we use it to water all the little plants and the garden!  Thank you Baby! You're the bestest!

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

My Mama always made homemade spaghetti sauce, but I always used the ready made jar version and doctored it up. Why? Because I thought it took too long to make homemade.  I never tried it until one night for supper I wanted to make spaghetti but I didn't have any sauce, so off to Pinterest I went!  I found a yummy recipe here.  I changed my recipe up a bit because I used what I had on hand.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large cans (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ cup fresh basil (1/2 tsp dry basil if you don't have fresh)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 bay leaves
Directions
  1. Brown ground beef and onions in a large pan.
  2. Drain ground beef and add all ingredients and simmer using a medium to low heat for 15-20 minutes, longer if you like.
  3. Serve over whole wheat spaghetti and enjoy!
Since I've tried the homemade sauce I've not purchased another jar of the store bought stuff!  Homemade is just so much better and it took me all these years to discover it! Just goes to show ya, Mama IS always right! :)

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Home Sweet Home
We Call It Junkin

Pin It!