"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding". Prov.3:13 (NKJV)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday 2/21/18~

I won a giveaway and was blessed with this little cutie!

Meet my Instant Pot :)

You and I will have lots of fun together :)



© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How to Preserve Lemons (Part 1)

Preserving Lemons
Did you know you can preserve a bunch of lemons to have on hand all year long? I had never heard about it until a few months ago. I could not wait to get a bag of lemons to test it out for myself. I read that they are good for more than just being used in Moroccan, Middle Eastern, or Indian dishes. There are so many other ways they are useful. To get this started all you need is lemons and salt. A list of things you will need are:

7-8 Meyer Lemons
1/2 cup Kosher or coarse Sea Salt (do NOT use any type of salt with Iodine in it)
Sterilized Quart sized canning jar (In the photo you can see I used 3 jelly jars)

First you will want to thoroughly rinse and scrub your lemons clean (I like using a homemade fruit and vegetable spray on mine). Pat each one dry. With clean hands cut the very ends off all but one of the lemons. Slice each lemon into slices (not too thin) or quarters.

Next you want to put about a Tbsp. or two of the salt at the bottom of your jar (I divided my salt up to about 2 tsp. per jar. Start adding your lemons. Be sure to sprinkle salt in between the slices/layers and pack that jar tight by pushing down on the lemons with a wooden spoon to release the juices. At the top you need to add another Tbsp. or two of salt on top. You should see some lemon juice in your jar. Now take that last lemon and juice it so you can add that juice to your jar. You want enough juice to reach the top of your lemons.

Preseved Lemons
Last you should use a clean towel to wipe around the rim of your jar and put the lid on top. Sit this on the counter for 30 days to ferment. You should pick up your jar and give it a little shake every now and then to be sure it’s all mixed. You do NOT need to refrigerate this until it has sat out for 30 days. I will come back with part 2 to share how my lemons turned out after 30 days and talk about different ways to use them.


© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wordless Wednesday~ 2/7/18

IMG_20180202_194237
My tea collection is really growing. Am I becoming a tea addict? LOL :-)

                     IMG_20180202_194145IMG_20180202_194131


© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Crockpot Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Homemade Crockpot Beef Stew

Ingredients:
1.5-2 lbs. beef stew meat (or beef loin cut into bite sized chunks)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped celery
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. Italian season
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6 oz. can of tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red (cooking) wine (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
4 Tbsp. butter, oil, or bacon drippings
1/4 cup of flour

Directions:
First you can coat the beef chunks in flour and brown on both sides in a skillet with hot oil. I skipped this step and just added my beef chunks to the bottom of my sprayed 6 quart crock pot. Next add in potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic cloves. Sprinkle seasonings all over the top. Pour in tomato paste, broth, and red wine. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Stir in peas the last hour of cooking.

In a skillet melt butter, or get oil hot on medium heat. Stir in flour to make a paste. Take out a cup of the stew juices from the crockpot to add to flour mixture. Stir to make a roux. Add water or broth if too thick. Pour the roux into crockpot with beef stew and let cook on High 30 more minutes to thicken. This serves well with cornbread or crusted bread with butter.

*Note: Some people like serving their beef stew over hot rice so that's an option too.

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© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do you know what today is?


It's my anniversary! So happy to be married to my best friend, my baby daddy, my ride or die, the peanut to my butter, the sugar to my spice and everything nice for 22 years. Love you to the moon and back on to eternity babe!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Deluxe Pizza Stuffed Shells

Deluxe Pizza Stuffed Shells

Deluxe Pizza Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:
12-14 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/2 roll of ground sausage or Italian Sausage (and/or ground beef)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped (optional)
24-32 oz. pasta sauce (can use a large jar of pizza sauce)
4oz. Pepperoni cut into quarters (or just use mini pepperoni)
2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or pizza blend) cheese

Directions:
Cook pasta for amount of time directed on the package (I under cook mine by a minute or two). Drain and sit aside while you prepare the filling. Brown sausage and/or ground beef with peppers, onions, mushroom, and garlic in a skillet. Add in seasoning. Drain off fat. Put back into skillet and add in half of the pepperoni slices, and 1 cup of your pasta or pizza sauce. Let it cook to heat up, give a stir, and turn off heat. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the mixture. Spray a baking dish (for cooking your shells). Pour 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of you baking dish. Spread out into a thin layer.

Stuff each shell carefully with the 2 Tbsp. of the meat mixture. Be sure to place the stuffed shells in a single layer on top of the pasta sauce in the baking dish. Cover the top of shells with remaining pasta (or pizza sauce), shredded cheese, and pepperoni slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly/melted. Let stand a few minutes before serving. I like to sprinkle grated Parmesan on top of ours. Serve with garlic bread/toast and a salad. YUM YUM!!!

Pizza Stuffed Shells
Note: You can also omit or add any type of topping you like on your pizza with this (like other meats or veggies you like). You're only limited to your imagination :-)

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© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Batch {Bulk} Cooking Pinto Beans, ect…

Hello lovely readers. In the Fall I shared with y’all the benefits of cooking dry beans and showed different ways to use them in your cooking. There are two other types of beans I like to do that with as well. Today I will share my pinto bean and Great Northern bean cooking session with you. Just as I did with the other beans I washed, sorted, soaked overnight, and cooked the beans in an electric pressure cooker. I did this method for both types of beans (at separate times). They can also be cooked LOW and slow in a crockpot, but for this to be quick I used my electric pressure cooker.


I ended up cooking 4 lbs. of beans that day (both bags were 2 lbs. each) because I wanted to go ahead and use them up. I did not want to overcrowd my pressure cooker so I only cooked 1 lb. at a time. I like that I can get several cans worth of cooked beans this way. It saves money in the long run. Once the beans were done I separated them into 2 cup portions with 1/2 cup of the bean juice (can be rinsed off when thawed and ready to use). I pour the portions into quart sized labeled “Ziploc” bags. I ended up with the equivalent of 6 cans of Great Northern beans and 5 cans of the pinto beans. I flatten them to get out as much air as possible to freeze flat on a baking sheet.

Now what can I use these bags of beans for? You can cook up these beans with your favorite seasons to eat by the bowl, but my hubby and son don’t like eating them that way. I on the other hand love a bowl with homemade cornbread, and chow chow the way we had it growing up. YUM! Just because my guys don’t like eating them that way doesn’t mean those beans aren’t useful in my cooking. Instead I make use of them in other ways that they will enjoy. I use these to make some of the following.


Meal ideas to use cooked pinto beans with/in:

* Bean and Ham Soup
* Tacos
* Nachos (ex: loaded)
* Quesadillas
* Bean and Cheese burritos
* Beef and Bean burritos
* Burrito Bowls
* Refried Beans
* Enchiladas
* 7 layer dip (Mexican)
* Hummus (spicy or Chipotle flavored)


Meal ideas to use cooked Great Northern beans with/in:

* White Chicken Chili
* Ham and Bean Soup
* Minestrone (to replace the Kidney beans)
* Stew
* Hummus (Spicy, Garlic, or Pesto flavored)
* Mix it with other beans to make a Mixed Bean Soup

These are just some examples of the many things you can do. If any other things come to mind, I may come back to add to this list later. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know in the comments below. I will be back with you soon to share another bulk cooking session.


© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ham, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Green Beans, Ham, Potatoes

Crockpot Ham, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Ingredients:
Up to 2 lbs. of Ham cubed (I used my very meaty ham bone left over from cooking a whole ham)
6 yellow potatoes, washed/scrubbed and quartered (can use small red potatoes or peeled Russets)
1.5 lbs. fresh green beans (or a 16 oz. bag of frozen cut green beans)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (you can just use seasoned salt)
1/4 tsp. garlic salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. garlic pepper (optional)
2 cups of broth (I used 1 cup of my ham stock/juices and 1 cup water)

Directions:
Place ham bone (if using) in bottom of crockpot. Place potatoes in all around to fall down the sides around ham bone. Add onion, garlic, and seasonings. Pour in broth or water. Cook in 6 quart crock pot on LOW for 6-7 hours. Enjoy!

Note: We LOVE garlic in our house. You can cut back on the amount of garlic in this by swapping out the garlic seasonings with regular salt and pepper, or leave the garlic cloves out of the dish.

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© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bulk Cooking with a Whole Ham

Hello lovely readers. I’ve been busy since the Christmas season but now I’m back to share more batch/bulk cooking sessions with you. Happy New Year and I hope your Christmas was a blessed one. This week I’m sharing different ways to use a whole ham. Ham is cheapest to buy during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. This is a good time to buy one for your holiday meal plus an extra to freeze for cooking later. You may even find a deep discount after the holidays if they are trying to get rid of them. I purchase around a 10.5 lb. spiral ham during Christmas.  It was a bargain since I only paid $10 for it. I do all I can to get the most out of a ham. Let me share how I get several different meals out of one ham.

Bulk Cooking Ham

I started off by cooking the ham for my holiday meal. We prefer the spiral hams because they are already pre-sliced, but any type of ham you cook will work for what I’m about to share. After we eat our meal I go to work on separating the meat. I NEVER put my ham in the refrigerator on the bone to eat off of in the coming days. I don’t find I can stretch my meat that way. Remember I’m trying to get the MOST I can out of this ham.

I gather my pan of cooled down ham, gallon and quart sized Ziploc bags, a sharpie (for labeling my bags), a quart size Mason jar, a big hand held strainer (with a long handle), wide mouth funnel, and a pair of disposable gloves. I find it’s best to label the Ziploc bags first while my hands are still clean. I can pretty much look at how much meat I have left to know what bags to label. Next I sit down at the table, put on the gloves, and start separating the slices of meat still left. I put that in a gallon Ziploc bag so that we can have slices to warm up to eat or make sandwiches with. There is usually a hunk of ham that didn’t get pre-sliced. I pull that meat from the bone and cut into cubes. I can get 2 quart sized bags filled with 2 cups of cubed ham in each to use in some of the ideas I listed below. The only thing I have left is a little meat still left around the bone. I put that in a gallon sized bag to freeze and use later for making a soup or something like a crockpot meal of green beans, potatoes, and ham. After a few hours of cooking the rest of the meat easily comes off the bone. I pull it off and put back into the crockpot while the meal finishes cooking. I just throw away the bones from there.

As for the juices left in the bottom of my pan (when I was separating the meat from the bone to put into Ziploc bags), I place a wide mouth funnel over my Mason jar, fit my strainer on it, then pour in the broth/juices. I usually only have this much left. I let it sit in the refrigerator over night so that the fat rises to the top. I can easily scrap it off this way. I use this to make some of the things I have listed below.


Ham Cubes

Meal ideas to serve cooked, sliced, or cubed ham in:

* Make Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
* Casseroles (breakfast or dinner)
* Scrambled eggs with Ham
* Quesidillas
* Omelets
* Quiche
* Frittatas
* Strata
* Hash
* Cobb Salad
* Pasta Salad
* Make Mac-N-Cheese with Ham
* Make Stromboli
* Make Hawaiian Pizza
* Make Bisquick type ham and cheese balls
* Make sandwiches (even ham salad like chicken salad sandwiches) or Ham and cheese slidders
* Make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

Use ham broth in:
* When cooking a bag of dry beans (I replace one cup of my water with this)
* Soup (I replace a few cups of water with this)
* Stew
* Chowder

These are just some examples of the many things you can do. If any other things come to mind, I may come back to add to this list later. What can you think of that I haven’t added to the list? Please fee free to let me know in the comments below. I will be back with you soon with another bulk cooking session.

© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2018. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!



© My Life 0utside The Box 2016-2017. All Rights Reserved. All photos, text, personal videos, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the blog author.
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