slow cooker meals

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been trying to find more and more crockpot recipes this year. My intention was to try a new recipe each week but . . . that isn’t exactly happening. So my plan is to continue to research and try new crock pot recipes and to post when I do.   This recipe can easily be meatless and organic.
 
 Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese (serves 6)
 
 
2 cups of dry elbow macaroni
4 cups of liquid (I used evaporated milk, chicken broth, Campbells recipe starter and Campbells cream of celery–I use a combination of what I have available at the moment)
2 cups of cheese (I used colby and monteray blend)
Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir
 
 
Spray crockpot
Pour ingredients into crockpot
Cook on low for 4 hours.
 
 
My crockpot has 4, 6, 8, 10 hour options. I cooked the mac and cheese on the 8 hour setting for 4 hours and then unplugged the crockpot.   I used the round crockpot but if I doubled the recipe I would use the bigger oval crockpot.
 
 
I sprinkled some bacon bits on top and it was tasty.
 
 
Next time I might add some celery, carrots, carmelized onions, ham, bacon, red pepper or some combination.  The liquid can be any combination of evaporated milk, broth, 1 egg, cream soup, or sour cream.
 
 
Enjoy.
 
Be Blessed.  I’m linking up with Ultimate Recipe Swapcountdown2012 and Thrive@home.

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Psalm 51

In Mass today Father Ron’s homily was centered around the first sentence of the first reading from the prophet Joel “Even now says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart”.

The Psalm response was “create in me a clean heart oh God” as I enter Lent I want to let these two simple ideas to take hold of my heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
– Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, open and receptive, so that I may embrace the many ways you choose to visit my life.

Create in me a clean heart, cleared of the refuse of old battles with others and deadly opposition with myself.

Create in me a clean heart, purified through the daily disruptions and the life encounters that take me beyond my grasping control and ego-centeredness.

Create in me a clean heart, freed from the clutter of cultural enticements, so that I can enjoy the beauty of life’s simple things and relish the gifts I so easily take for granted.

Create in me a clean heart, bathed from harsh thoughts, shame, and perfectionist tendencies, warmly welcoming with others with the embrace of nonjudgment.

Create in me a clean heart, brushed free of frantic busyness, so that I will have time to dwell with you in the listening space of solitude and silence.

Create in me a clean heart, rinsed of the residue of false messages about my identity, enabling my inner goodness and light to shine through all I am and do.

Create in me a clean heart, cleansed of anxiety and lack of trust, restoring in me an enduring faith in your abiding presence and unconditional love.

Create in me a clean heart, scrubbed of racism and prejudice, drawing me toward all as my sisters and brothers.

Create in me a clean heart, washed with your mercy and strengthened by your love, helping me to move beyond whatever keeps me from union with you.

Create a clean heart in me, God. Dust off the unmindful activity that constantly collects there. De-clutter my heart from harsh judgments and negativity. Wash away my resistance to working through difficult relationships. Rinse off my unloving so the beauty of my generous and kind heart can shine forth. Remove whatever keeps me from following in your compassionate footsteps. Amen.

From Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp

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What Mommy Books Don’t Tell You

When I was pregnant I felt like I had arrived. I was an older Mom when I started my family and I know that I knew more about a lot of things compared to “those younger Moms” that were now my peer group. It was true that I had an entire life filled with lots of accomplishments and successes but motherhood levels the playing field. I can humble myself now some 10 years later but not so starting out.

I read all of the books about having babies and taking care of babies. I watched all the shows that were on TV at the time about popping those babies out. It all seemed so easy. I was the Mom who could tell you (according to the book) on what day my babies eyelashes were developing and how many times I felt movement that day. I think about it now and realize how I must have driven friends and family crazy. I really thought that I was an expert on babies and by the amount of reading and time spent with kids up until having my own. I was determined to be a good mom and convinced myself that if I studied everything from nursing to child development I would achieve supermom status. I was prepared.  I thought.
What I was not prepared for was having 4 kids in under 6 years. I found that the books did not prepare me for the everyday demands of taking care of my babies. The books really didn’t help me with my self-imposed idea of what I needed to do to be super mom. The books didn’t tell me that my kids don’t need a supermom they just need a mom who is present and loves them no matter what.
The books didn’t tell me about friends. Friendship is hard no matter where you are in life but when you have young kids it is no longer about you and another person, it is a package deal. Finding a mom who has the same values, goals, ideas can seem impossible.
The books didn’t tell me that my friends would be determined by:
  1. Whether you are a “boy” mom or a “girl” mom–my first was a boy but I would meet Moms who had girls and would say “oh, I have a girl” and for that reason we could not be friends.
  2. I had a child who was a biter–that is isolating.
  3. I have a child with special issues–when you have a kid who is different in any way you immediately find out who your friends are NOT.
  4. Having a bigger family– people either embrace it or reject it.
  5. My parenting style and the choices we have made for our family.
  6. What activities my kids are involved in.
  7. Where they go to school.
  8. Our choice to homeschool.
  9. Where we are on our faith journey.
  10. Where I see myself going not where I’ve been.

Finding and keeping friends when you have smaller kids can be tough but not impossible because everyone needs a friend–your potential friend is looking for you! I have found great lasting friendships from my churches Mom’s group, from our homeschool coop and from our school. I am very blessed by a small group of women. That is all I need to feel supported.

Thank you God for giving me the gift of motherhood. I pray that I might be open to serving you through the challenges and demands of this incredible vocation. Thank you God for my friends that have loved me, friends that needed to leave me and friends that stay with me even on the hard days.

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