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Funeral Potatoes (served at the funeral of a long lost Colorado girl)

13 Jun

These so-called “funeral potatoes” have been in my family for many years and they have become a staple at all our family gatherings since before I can remember…To be honest, I’m not even really sure where the name comes from but I do know that this dish has been served at a good chunk of the funerals I’ve been to over my lifetime…

The recipe is a simple one. But, truth be told, you can find a very similar one on the back of an Ore-Ida bag. Pretend I didn’t mention the previous point because I like to think this is some sort of top secret family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Wherever it came from, I know one thing- this recipe brings me home, and that’s all that really matters to me.

Obviously, these potatoes have been on my mind. When I thought about what to post today, two things kept coming up. Funeral potatoes and being homesick for Colorado. Well, perfect- the two naturally come together…

I made these infamous funeral potatoes a couple weeks back at a party we had. As I was mixing and stirring up all of the ingredients, I couldn’t help but think about CO. It’s been almost five years now since I have lived there, and I’m starting to feel like that part of me is getting lost (hence the title: funeral of a long lost Colorado girl). Don’t get me wrong, my life here in Boston is fun and it’s an experience everyone should have. But, I’m in dire need of laid back-ness. I miss home. I miss home so much  it hurts.

So, I’ve made it my mission, starting today, to remember my Colorado roots more often and start incorporating my “Colorado self” into my everyday life. I cannot forget that Colorado girl. I cannot forget the landscape that taught me about spirituality and God. I cannot forget the people who shaped me into who I am today. I cannot forget the unforgettable experiences I have had from growing up in CO.

I DO NOT want to have a funeral for the Colorado girl in me. I want her to live and live loudly (and proudly). So, I’ll start by making funeral potatoes, tonight. :)

Here’s the infamous, VERY TOP SECRET, cannot be found anywhere recipe:

2 lbs frozen hash browns (I use the diced kind)
1 stick of butter
1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced onion

1 cup corn flakes (crushed)
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:

1. Defrost potatoes, melt half of the butter, and mix together all ingredients (except corn flakes- those are for the topping).

2. Melt second half of butter and mix with corn flakes. Place on top of the casserole.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in a 9×13 baking dish

PS.- Try crumbling 1/2c bacon on the top. :)

Oh, and I just had to add this…

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5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water in the AM

9 Apr
 Number 1
It balances pH–Lemon is an acidic food, but once metabolized, it becomes alkaline.  I work very hard at keeping my body alkaline.  Why?
Number 2
It keeps skin clear and glowing!   I have noticed this.  Hydration from drinking lemon water is great for moisturizing our skin from the inside out.  Lemon also contains lots of Vitamin C, which helps with wrinkles and blemishes.
Number 3
It kick starts the digestive system–a big glass of lemon water is a great way to start the day.  It encourages the liver to produce bile which in turn aids in digestion.  It increases urination which helps purify it.  It also helps with heartburn and constipation.
Number 4
It helps with weight loss–I have read that keeping the body in an alkaline state helps people lose weight faster.  Lemons are high in fiber pectin, which helps keep one full, longer.  They also have a diuretic effect, which helps with water weight gain.
Number 5
It helps control the coffee habit–I will drink coffee sometimes, but only if I have had my entire glass of lemon water.  Many days I feel like the lemon water wakes me up more than coffee does…
…which brings me to bonus Number 6:
It helps kick the pop (soda for you East Coast people) habit--I have found that adding lemon to sparkling water and adding a whole lot of ice satisfies any soda craving I might have.

Home Sweet Home

18 Mar

Well, the time has come where my husband and I have decided to pull the trigger and purchase our first home together. The rates are low, the market is getting back on track and it just seems like the right thing to do. Right? Well, little did we know, this would be the most stressful process of our lives.

We started looking back in January when we finally decided that we were sick and tired of paying outrageous $$ for rent and getting nothing in return. And so, the house hunt began. We were completely clueless with the entire process. “What do we do? Who do we call?” I barely even understood what a mortgage was… But, at the end of the day, everything somehow magically came together. BUT, don’t be fooled! From the point where you start and end will be the craziest, most emotional time of your life.

The toughest part for us: Low inventory. There just weren’t any homes available for us to buy!  Homes for sale are becoming scarce in neighborhoods throughout the Boston area and it is creating a “seller’s market” (not necessarily a “buyers market”) . Real estate for sale signs, once common during the recession are now few and far between. I read somewhere that the inventory of single family homes on the market has reached a five year low. So, it was a really tough road for us and there were a lot of let downs along the way. What do I mean by “let downs?” Well, we would put an offer in on a home only to find that there were already five other offers in with two or three of them being over the asking price.  It became a battle with other buyers and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

Luckily, as the process went on, and time passed, we got better at knowing exactly what we  wanted and what we could afford/offer. So, although we paid over asking price, we were competitive. But, we had to be. At the end of the day, that’s what will get you the home you want (in this market). But, we also wanted to make sure we weren’t getting ourselves in a mess. While the shortage of homes on the market is a very competitive place for buyers, we did not want to overpay. Doing so can create problems if the home does not appraise at the sale price because lenders won’t fund loans in excess of the appraised value of the property. We haven’t had our appraisal yet, so we can’t quite cross that off the list. We’re hoping it appraises for what we paid- and I think it will.

I want to also mention that the home buying process is a numbers game. Once we made it through getting our offer accepted, the real fun started. We had an inspection. Ugh. I hated every second of it. Luckily, we got by without too much bad news and they ended up giving $$ back at closing for the things that needed to be done. Its’s all one big negotiation. I’m lucky because I have a husband who has a brilliant mind and he can crunch numbers faster & better than anyone. He really has done such a wonderful job through all of this. Jeff- If you’re reading this- thank you for being so diligent through all of this. Your excel spreadsheets and extensive research have really paid off!!! I love you.

So, here we are. We bought a home and I’m so so glad the tough part is over. We close on June 3rd, and that’s right around the corner. The only question now…will it be worth it? I don’t know the answer to that, but I sure hope so.

Here’s a picture of our new home!

Long time, no blog…

7 Jan

Ugh. I have been feeling so indifferent about this blog lately. I haven’t posted a single thing since  mid-December. It’s been haunting me. I bring it up everyday and shut it down like the plague. Do I have writers/idea block? What is it that is keeping me away? Now that the holidays are over, there aren’t any more fun gift picks to share, Christmas cookies to try or holiday decorations to display. So, what’s a blogger to do? Well, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done I suppose. Blog about life and all that comes along with it…

So, first things first…

You’ll notice I added a “Confessions” tab. Yes, this tab sounds like it could get me in trouble- but I promise you’ll enjoy (and possibly even laugh) at what’s on my mind.

The new year is here and I thought a little ditty on “new years resolutions” would be a nice addition to my new confessions tab. So here it is, and I think several of you may have had this resolution at some point or another (and NO, it’s not loose weight)…

It’s “let things go.”

Not physically – GOD, that would be nice wouldn’t it?  But, NOT an option.

What I mean here is, don’t sweat the small stuff. In 2012 I made myself the victim when there was no need. Why do we kill ourselves worrying over stupid things? Why do we hold grudges? Why do we get our feelings hurt when everyone else is laughing? Why do we give two thoughts to things that don’t even matter? WHY WHY WHY? Well. I’ll tell you why. It’s because we cant  just “let it go.” If I can live by this motto this year, I think I’ll be significantly happier with my life.

I wish I was more like my husband. Or maybe it’s a guy thing- but, he is so good at this concept of letting things go. He always makes the most sense and hardly ever holds things in or gives nonsense a second thought…oh, Jeff. You’re perfect. (eh hem)

So, here’s to 2013 and learning to LET IT GO!!

OH ya, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ain’t No Sunshine When They’re Gone…

1 Nov

My family leaves today and I’m so sad. We had such a good time together. It’s funny how the storm came in just as they were about to leave. I think God knew that I needed them here for a few more days. I thoroughly enjoyed having them even though they felt like they were overstaying their welcome. That is never the case…They were here for an extra three days thanks to hurricane Sandy.

First post on my favorite holiday…Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

Image

This Halloween has been a special one because my family is here. We spent the entire day on Saturday exploring Salem- just having fun! I love Halloween and all it’s cheesy-ness. There is just something fun and exhilarating about being scared, too. Salem was a blast and I’m so thankful that my family was around to get in the spirit with me. Makes me really miss home and the ability to let loose and be a little goofy. I often forget about how much fun it is to just let go, relax and not care about what anyone else thinks about it…If you’re reading this, do something fun tonight for Halloween. Go trick-or-treating, watch a scary movie, carve a pumpkin or scare some kids!! Just be silly while you’re doing it- I promise it will be fun. :)

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