This recipe quickly became a house favorite and I make it every couple of weeks. When I find something that both Rob and the majority of the kids like I get so excited...especially when it is easy and goes far.

I didn't realize how much I had tweaked this recipe until I typed it out but I did make some changes. The original dish didn't call for the chicken but it is a rare meal that I serve that has no meat. I also never seem to remember the zucchini. I double the salsa and I am pretty sure I never saute the spinach. It's barely looking like the same recipe (read that with an eye roll.)

food_Mexica_blackbeans_rice_chicken_casserole


What you'll need:

2 cups cooked rice (I use brown rice cooked in chicken broth)
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 bag fresh spinach, chopped
1 10 oz bag frozen corn (I've also used can corn, drained, since I had it on hand)
1 16 oz jar salsa of choice (I use Newman's Own Black Bean and Corn)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
2 cups grated cheese (I've used cheddar, Colby Jack, and a mix of all the bags in the fridge, etc.)

What you'll do:

Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl.
Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
Spoon mixture into a 9x13 dish.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

blackbean_rice_chicken_casserole_mexican_food

Serve as is or with sour cream and enjoy!

You can find this recipe along with all of my other test kitchen recipes here!


So, last week I shared a picture on facebook of the dinner I had made for us that night.

Y'all that post got busy! People commented and messaged me asking for the recipe. The funny thing is that it is so simple I didn't even follow a recipe. A friend had made it for us the week before and she walked me through how she had made it (she had tweaked the recipe she found) and said to just pinterest search inside out egg roll.

inside_out_egg_roll


This is the recipe I found that seemed the closest to what she had told me. I read through it and wrote the ingredients down and haven't looked at it again since...not even when I cooked it. I say that only to point out how very versatile and easy this recipe is. (I left out the egg & celery and could not find the Chinese Five Spice at all.)

What you'll need:

1 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned and seasoned (I used salt, garlic and ginger)
Soy Sauce, to taste
1 can water chestnuts
8 oz mushrooms, sauteed 

What you'll do:

Steam your cabbage with water almost to the point of being done. (We like ours with a little crunch.)
Toss in the other ingredients and stir fry until everything is heated through and at the desired tenderness.

Eat and enjoy!

asian_food_inside_out_eggroll_recipe_food


Seriously, it couldn't be any easier and even the kids were clamoring for more. Next time I would probably prepare some rice as a side to go along with it. I've also seen a couple of recipes that substituted chicken for the beef.

I'd really like to find that Chinese Five Spice so if you know where I can get some don't be shy, let me know! I really enjoy Asian food and want to experiment with making more of it from scratch.

You can find this recipe, as well as the other test kitchen recipes I've shared on the blog, here on My Test Kitchen Pinterest board.


I love the first day of school. It's so full of promise and opportunity.


For now at least the kids will rise eagerly from their beds and ready themselves without much prodding from me.

I think Claire in particular will have the greatest year. Her class will start with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory but then they will dive head first into their medieval studies...a time in history that she became infatuated with over the summer. They'll read King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and one of my favorites, Robin Hood.

Abigail will be reading all kinds of church history and CS Lewis. She will also be reading another of my favorites, Beowulf. I want to read at least one of the kids books this year and since I've never read Dante's Inferno  I think that will be on my list.

Sam will read Frankenstein (I read it with Sarah her ninth grade year) and Pride and Prejudice. I have admitted this before although I don't talk about it often (not something I find in common with many of my classical friends I guess) but I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen's work. However, I will read it this year with him, and maybe sit in on some of the lectures and discussions. Who knows, maybe my position will change?

Emily will have a big year. It has often be said that the junior year at Trinitas is one of the most difficult years. She will be reading another of my favorites, Canterbury's Tales, and I am looking forward to revisiting it. I may or may not read Romeo and Juliet too.

Sarah is already into her sophomore year of college and finishing up her prereqs for nursing school. I am going to bypass The Nature of Disease and read Something Wicked This Way Comes, one of her favorites.

Abby and Claire will both take part in the Medieval Feast in the spring and I hope to go with Emily to New York for the jr/sr aesthetic trip. And I've heard there are some exciting things in store for Sam and his biology class in particular.

It looks like the school year is shaping up to be busy but lots of fun!


I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen.

I also enjoy having company and feeding people. Sometimes I find that I have made those two things more complicated that they should have been and I am able to enjoy neither one as much as I could have.

Recently we've discovered the joy that is purple grapes paired with white cheddar cheese. It is a culinary delight.

I try to keep both things on hand all of the time because it's a simple but delicious way to be hospitable and welcome people into our home or just for us to enjoy.

fruit_white_cheddar_cheese

Have you seen that acronym?

KISS

Keep It Simple Stupid

I find it so funny but also helpful to remember.

It's easy to fall into a place where good equals complicated.

Hard is be best.

If it's difficult it's worth more.

Sometimes that is true of course. If it is easily gotten sometimes that means it is of little value.

We shouldn't shy away from the hard. Often times the struggle brings about the glory.

But I wonder if sometimes we make it too hard...complicate things unnecessarily?

A child believes and sometimes we complicate that with our unbelief. Surely they don't really understand when really we are the ones who don't understand. Their belief is full and complete but it seems too simple so it must be lacking.

There is therefore no condemnation...but we can't completely let go of the guilt  or the person we were and the life we led so we make the new life hard by remembering and carrying the past into the now.

It's wanting everything to be just right and perfect and sucking  the joy out of life in the process.

It's opening the door to that little bit of doubt...not trusting...not believing...not clinging to Truth.

I wonder if sometimes we complicate things as an excuse. "I would but..."

To avoid the responsibility that comes with accepting and fully living in Truth.

But really life is better when we keep it simple. When we just believe and trust what He is doing and where He is leading us.

Simple, just like grapes and cheese.

fruit_and_cheese


Well, it has certainly been a while, hasn't it? Blogging always seems to slack off during the summer when the kids are home though so I guess I am not really surprised.

We've had a lovely summer and probably one of the most low key breaks we've ever had. It has been filled with just the right amount of fun and busyness without feeling like it has been a desperate headlong flight from June to August with everything in  between a breathless blur.

We took time to indulge in the guilty pleasure of watching America's Got Talent and American Ninja Warrior. The kids started watching it and I found that I was stopping what I was doing to just catch a glimpse and then before I knew it I was just sitting down to watch it with them. One day it led to a few hours of us youtubing 80's music and it was just so much fun.

Although we only made it out to the lake once we made plenty of trips to the beach. There was much paddle board fun and good times with friends. We even went to a baseball game.

The kids and I made a trip to Oklahoma and got to spend some wonderful time with my little sister and her family. The kids hardly ever get to spend time with their Okie cousin and there were trips to their lake, paddle boating and card games and lots of good food.  While we were gone my beloved took down the wretched wall paper in our kitchen and I cannot tell you how happy I am about that! He also repainted much of the inside of the house a brighter, more creamier color than the tan we had before. (This was a major feat for us. We have a difficult time, my beloved and I, when it comes to things like paint color and decorating in general. But I guess after almost eighteen years of living together we've figured out how to mesh our likes.) I hope to share some pictures soon but we are currently still in the process of hanging stuff back up.

The kids have orientation on Friday...a wonderful half day to ease us back into early mornings. Hopefully that means that I will be able to set aside some time on a regular basis again to be here more often. I've got some delicious recipes to share and who knows what else.

I'm looking forward to it.



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