Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna

Oh. My. Yummyness! We had crockpot lasagna tonight for the first time. I cannot even begin to describe the scrumptiousness that came from my crockpot!

I went on a search for a crockpot lasagna and could not really find one that I liked enough to follow the recipe verbatim. Actually, I have a BAD PROBLEM following recipes exactly. Seriously. I should be grounded from cooking. Okay -- so we know that won't happen. HA!

Now, for my own take on crockpot lasagna:


*1-2 tbsp EVOO
*1 to 1.5 lbs ground turkey
*14.5 can diced tomatoes
*6 oz. can tomato paste
*15 oz. can tomato sauce
*3 small to medium garlic cloves - minced
*1/2 medium to large onion - chopped
*salt - about 5 full turns on my salt grinder
*pepper - about 8 turns on my pepper grinder
*8 shakes of Italian seasoning (I'm cheating here, instead of using the individual spices)
*1 block of yummy mozzarella - sliced to about an 1/8 inch thickness. Roughly. I'm so bad about measurements. I'm THAT kind of cook. ;)
*15 oz. container Ricotta cheese
*1/2 container of real shredded Romano cheese (the small container I had was a .41 oz size)
*Grated Parmesan & Romano cheese
*Uncooked Lasagna noodles -- enough for two layers; roughly 5-6
*EVOO spray (Pam will work, too)
*1/4 cup water

1. In a large skillet, add the EVOO and ground turkey. Cook on medium until turkey is cooked through. Be sure to ground the turkey while it's cooking to keep the pieces small. 
2. Added the chopped onion and garlic; stir to combine throughout. Cook until onions are translucent in color; about 5-6 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste; stir to combine throughout meat mixture. Add diced tomatoes; stir to combine. 
4. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. Stir. Heat mixture thoroughly.

Crockpot time! 

5. In a large crockpot (mine is a large round one), add enough meat 'n sauce mixture to coat the bottom of the crockpot.
6. Add enough noodles to cover the bottom. You may have to break some to cover the shape of your crockpot. Don't worry about being perfect. 
7. Add more sauce to cover noodles. 
8. Sprinkle enough of the shredded Romano cheese to cover sauce. Add roughly 5-6 dollops of Ricotta cheese. Roughly spread the Ricotta to cover the majority of layer. 
9. Places enough mozzarella slices to cover Ricotta.
10. Repeat steps 5-9 for last layer. Yes, you're only creating 2 big, fat, layers of yummy-goodness!! Save enough of the meat 'n sauce mixture for the top.
11. Add remainder of the meat 'n sauce mixture to the top. It's okay if you don't have A LOT because ... 
12. Pour water on top. Generously sprinkle the grated parm. on top. Add some more Italian seasoning. 
13. Cover with lid. Cook for 3 hours on high. I read you should cook it on low for 4-6 hours. We ate our crockpot lasagna at 3.5-4 hours.

It was perfect and the taste was DELISH! 
The pic may not look THAT great, but the meal was scrumptious!


P.S. Leave me a comment and let me know how was it. Happy Cooking ... or waiting! :)

A few goals for our Homeschool Year 2012-2013

I have decided to write out a blog post about my goals for our homeschool year 2012-2013. In years past, I have done our school year on a whim. It is time to be intentional!! I am gearing up for a VERY SUCCESSFUL AND REWARDING school year for our three kiddos and myself (and dad, too, when he is available to help out).

This goal list will help me see where we are at three or four months into our school year, at the halfway mark, and then at the end. I am sure I will add to the list as time goes on and with each milestone with the passing school year.

For time and space-sake, I will be generic in listing my goals; but believe me, almost each one has an indent of a few more goals attached to it.

Here are a few of my goals for our school year.
1. Set a firm foundation in math for each child. Check their progression monthly.

2. Bible is an absolute importance. Without the Bible and a relationship with God, everything is meaningless. Time to be proactive in teaching our children about dedication and the reward to having a relationship with Jesus.

3. Writing. All avenues to explore include penmanship, book reports, book reviews (written on websites), letters, etc.

4. Learn more History. Wars. Presidents. Constitution. Oh my! So much to learn about!

5. More Science experiments. The kids LOVE this one!! :)

6. Field trips on purpose. We have not done enough of these. Time to get out there and do more!

These are just a few of the goals for our school year. I hope your school year is off to a great start! I know there are many children heading to the first day of school tomorrow in our city. I pray this year is filled with success for the teachers, students, and parents.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Join

Click to join this group. Click to join that group. 



Why do we join so many things? To feel wanted? Needed? 

Do we need all these groups? Do we want all this attention?

A part of me says that it is nice to join groups to stay connected to human life outside of our own daily humdrums. 

Five Minute Friday
Another part of me says that we join all of these groups could be a discouragement to be something for everyone that I just may not be able to live up to. 

The nice thing? It is just as easy to unjoin as it is to join

I love to encourage others. Life is a challenge and we ALL need a cheerleader from time to time. 

Joining a desired group, study, friends -- it is not such a bad thing.

To be honest -- it helps spread my wings. 

It helps me be creative -- something I often feel that I am not. 


What do you want to join? What do you want to be part of? 

Go for it. 


This post comes to you as part of a Five Minute Friday, a "writing flash mob" that I decided to JOIN from  my friend over here at her blog where I seen this idea. I love it! I love to write and love to just get my thoughts onto paper ... or the screen. It is my hope that my blog posts may touch the heart of the reader (that would you) and/or something that I may be going through in life may resonate within the reader (that would be you, again) and that we may encourage one another.

You can seen more bloggers joining this "writing flash mob" over here

From the website: 
The simple rules of participation:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

My Goal To Please HIM: Faith & Firm Foundation

Today's Bible Study: Faith and a Firm Foundation
First, I read from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and 5:7-15; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-23; and Ephesians 5:15-17.

Today's Bible study has so many bits and pieces. It primarily is speaking to those who are saved and walking in Christ; while at the same rate, speaking to every person on Earth.

Live By Faith, Not By Sight

From 2 Corinthians 5:7-15 we learn that in this life "We live by faith, not by sight" 2 Cor. 5:7; that the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that aren't seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Because of what God did, coming to Earth in bodily form as Jesus Christ, the ministry He stood for, the persecution, judgement, and sins He took upon Himself to the Cross, dying and raising from the dead 3 days later, THAT should be enough to put a fire under our hiney to serve and love Him. Unfortunately, for so many it's not. To be honest, I stumble and fail often. Since I gave my life back over to Jesus, I have never stopped loving Him; however, I have not always served Him. My flesh takes over and I act out on emotions and feelings, rather than living by the Holy Spirit in me.

It should be Jesus' LOVE that that compels us (2 Cor. 5:14) to live not like we have been accustomed to, but live differently, to love differently, to serve differently, to be a wife differently, to be a mother differently (and if you're a guy reading this -- to be a husband and a father differently) and to treat others differently. Jesus' LOVE and Him dying for all should cause us to live FOR HIM (2 Cor. 5:15).

My Goal to Please Him

Out of a reverent (respectful) fear and love I want to make it my goal to please Him. Just as Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 -- "For we must ALL appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Notice that we will have to give account for the good AND the bad. There is no "but, but, but -- he made me" ... "but, but, but -- I was under a lot of stress and that's why I acted that way" ... "but, he made it so hard not to act that way". It doesn't matter. There will be no excuse. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I want it to be my goal to please HIM, in every aspect of my life. Trust me, it's not easy and I will most assuredly fail. For that, I am utterly grateful that His grace is sufficient; that His mercy is ever present when I wasn't given a spankin' for what I deserve. Forgiveness goes a long way -- as far as the east is from the west. His love is everlasting -- nothing compares to it.

Firm Foundation

One other thing that I want to point out from my Bible Study from this morning is the firm foundation which our faith should rest upon and those layers that we add to the foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,
13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Jesus is the ONLY foundation that can be built and that will last. It does not matter what foundation you are trying to build, if it is not Jesus as the foundation, it will crumble. Period. If what is added to the firm foundation (that is built by Jesus) is not of excellent quality -- the gold, silver, and costly stones (1 Cor. 3:12) -- it will not be a sound structure when tested by fire. What we, as believers and follower of Jesus Christ, give to others will determine the reward. When verse 15 says that "if it is burned up, he will suffer loss" it means that your reward in Heaven will be less than what it could have been. I do not know about you, but I want the greatest reward that is possible for me to have. I want to merely escape through the fire, I want to come out of the fire refined and stronger than ever -- with much gusto! ;)
Hebrews 12:1-3

1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

So, whatever you do during the day and in the night, think about the quality of your words, your thoughts, and your actions. Remember to run the race with great faith, striving to finish the race, and to get that heavenly reward. I am running right there with you!!

May you give glory and honor to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith!