Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Many of us have grown up eating Macaroni and Cheese out of a box. The image of a cardboard box with two plastic bags inside of the ingredients they call mac and cheese. Around our home we try to stay away from these processed foods, we actually take the time and make our own homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. Believe it or not even the grandchildren love our macaroni and cheese casserole. It is so good this is one of our main side dishes at the holidays.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of uncooked macaroni
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs or panko
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of grated monterey jack cheese
  • 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsps. of salt

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 tsps. of salt to the boiling water. After water came to a boil add the uncooked macaroni and cook till the pasta is al dente.
  • Drain pasta and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and add heavy cream and milk. Mix these ingredients well.
  • In a separate sauce pan melt butter and add the cheeses and stir continuously. Once cheese is melted and mixed into the butter add the eggs, milk and cream. Whisk constantly and add pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Take a 9×13 casserole dish coat interior with cooking spray.

Topping:

  • Melt a ¼ cup of butter and add bread-crumbs or panko in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook till brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes the cheese should be bubbling after about 20 minutes time.

For a little variation:

  • For a little different taste add some chopped onion or ham pieces or fry off some bacon and crumble the bacon and mix into the cheese. Anyone one of these three will give the baked macaroni and cheese a different flair.
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Posted by Tom in Recipes, 0 comments
Lyme Disease Has Been Found In The National Parks

Lyme Disease Has Been Found In The National Parks

Lyme Disease

More and more cases of Lyme disease is being reported around the United States. The disease is spreading all across the country. Now it has been reported and confirmed the ticks carrying the disease has been reported in the national parks. Lyme Disease in the news.

The disease has been growing for the past several years, Lyme disease is also called Lyme borreliosis and is transmitted to humans by being bit by a tick especially a deer tick. Usually, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can spread.

Read our post on Controlling Fleas and Ticks

There has been reported over 300,000 cases each year of Lyme disease just here in the United States. Lyme disease not only affects humans but it can be debilitating or deadly to animals also. The symptoms of Lyme disease will not show up for several days after the tick bites you and often is not diagnosed properly. The most common sign of infection is in the area of the bite will become red which will occur about a week after the bite. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, feeling tired. If left untreated the symptoms will get worse and include joint pain, severe headaches, heart palpitations and the inability to move one or both sides of the face. It is stated that months or years later repeated episodes of joint pain and swelling may occur.

Treatment for Lyme disease can be done mostly through antibiotics. More and more people are being seen with advanced version of this disease, it is without saying take this disease very seriously.

Now with this disease being found in our National Park Service, according to the study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Park Service (NPS) collected ticks along hiking trails in nine eastern national parks. They found blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also called deer ticks, infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in all nine parks. The study is the first to confirm the presence of these ticks, which researchers already suspected because Lyme disease has been reported in the region.

Prevention

Some of the best ways to prevent tick bites would be to wear long pants and use a pesticide with DEET in the ingredient. If you find ticks on you or your children or pets use a pair of tweezers. Be sure to remove the whole tick. If the tick is full of blood seek treatment in order to get an antibiotic in order to treat the infection the tick bite may cause.

The best prevention is to stay away from tick infested areas. But if you have to go into areas that you feel have ticks, make sure that your body is covered by clothing and treated with some sort of insect repellent. I know that when I am working on my property I will wear protective clothing and if I am handling firewood I will also wear gloves. When you and your family come back to where you are staying make sure that you search each other for any ticks, especially in scalp region. Getting these nasty things off your body as soon as possible is the best prevention that a person can do.

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Posted by Tom in Lifestyle, 0 comments
Southern Red Eye Gravy

Southern Red Eye Gravy

Nothing says country more than Red Eye Gravy.  According to Wikipedia Red-eye gravy is a thin sauce often associated with living in the Southern United States. The gravy is made of drippings left in a pan that has cooked sausage, bacon or country ham. Red-eye gravy is also called bird eye gravy, poor man’s gravy, red ham gravy or muddy gravy.

Today most people associate red-eye gravy with good ole country style ham. This ham is very salty and once the ham is cooked in a pan the grease is removed and black coffee is poured into the pan, this process is called deglaze the pan. The coffee and grease are then poured in the same container and mixed together to make the gravy.

Here are a couple recipes for making Red Eye Gravy.

Food Network

All Recipes

North Carolina Recipe

Enjoy….

Let us know if you have tried this or not. If you have give us your opinion on if you like Red eye gravy or not. We would love to hear from you.

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Posted by Tom in Recipes, 0 comments
Homemade Sausage Gravy Over Biscuits

Homemade Sausage Gravy Over Biscuits

My favorite food for breakfast on the weekends is grandma’s homemade biscuits and gravy. I know this meal is probably one of the unhealthiest meals that you can eat. Sometimes you just have to go out on a limb and treat your taste buds to something that you crave and for me this is one of my comfort foods.

I have tried so many variations of biscuits and gravy but I still come back to this one that I am going to share with you. Whenever we have family gatherings of all our kids, they cannot wait for me to make up a batch of homemade biscuits and a pot of homemade sausage gravy.

For my family what I like to do is make the sausage gravy the night before. This brings all the flavors together when the gravy sits overnight. The morning of breakfast I will bake the biscuits. Click here for the biscuit recipe.

Ingredients for sausage gravy

  • 16 oz. sausage, if you want a little kick to your gravy add 8 oz. of hot sausage
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cups of flour
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp of ground sage
  • ¼ tsp of onion powder
  • ¼ tsp of ground pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Brown the sausage in a frying pan on medium heat and drain off the grease.
  • Melt the butter after you drain the grease in the same pan with the sausage.
  • Add flour to the sausage and butter and stir together and let cook for two to three minutes.
  • Pour in milk over the sausage in the frying pan and let sit for a few minutes.  Then add the sage, onion, pepper and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn to low heat.
  • Continue to cook on low for another ten minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the sausage gravy to a container and cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning after the biscuits are about done baking bring out the sausage gravy and heat on low. Only add a little cold milk if the gravy is to thick.
  • Enjoy

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Posted by Tom in Recipes, 0 comments
Controlling Ticks and Fleas On Your Pets

Controlling Ticks and Fleas On Your Pets

Tick Control

When having animals one of the things that you need to consider is what to give your dog and cat for flea and tick control. When you take medications for your own health you do your research and try and find out what are the side affects of taking a medication. The same amount of research and care should also be used when determining what to give your pets in order to control fleas and ticks.

Read our article on Deer Ticks Being Found Carrying Lyme Disease

The following article will cover tick repellent methods and means of keeping you, your family and your pets safe from all of the dangerous and deadly diseases that these blood-sucking pests are known to carry.

If you are a pet owner, then you very likely are at least somewhat familiar with a tick and what it is. Ticks have 8 legs, but they aren’t exactly spiders. These creatures attach themselves to mammals and feed on blood. Male ticks are actually known to increase up to five times in size in a single feeding, sometimes drinking blood until they explode. A small amount of anesthetic that the ticks administer keeps them from being detected, and female ticks can lay thousands of fertile eggs on their own with a single blood meal. These eggs can be laid on the exterior in your yard or bushes or they can be laid inside your home.

The first step for keeping ticks off you and your pets should be to thoroughly inspect everyone for any ticks that may already exist. Check through the fur of every pet you have – consider shaving the pets hair if possible as it can often times be hard to detect the ticks with large amounts of hair in the way. The ticks will go for soft spots, so be sure to check the underside of your pet very well.

Most pet shampoos perform decently against fleas, but you need something very strong if you want to kill a tick in a bath. Ticks can live underwater for days at a time, so don’t bother trying to drown it. It is recommended that you take your pet to the vet to have a tick removed, especially if you have noticed any strange behavior from the animal the tick was attached to. The head of the tick can sometimes remain under the skin of your animal if you try to yank the tick out, and squishing a tick can potentially transfer a disease to you or your pet, so be sure to seek out professional help if you do find a tick on your pet.

Removing the ticks that are actually attached to you or your pets right now isn’t enough; you have to keep these ticks off your property (or keep your pets away from tick-infested areas) if you don’t want to be dealing with them on a constant basis. Remember, ticks are known to carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and many other harmful diseases, so they are really nothing to mess around with.

Ticks are most commonly found in forests and other areas that have a number of surfaces (such as a tree) that a tick can wait on for an animal to rub up against. Avoid allowing your dogs or cats to roam free in any areas that you think may contain ticks.

It is very common to have ticks and fleas in your back yard or where ever your animals go and play. By spraying trees and plants and the lawn with a good flea and tick barrier will bring some relief for the fight against these pesky pest. I have heard of some all natural garlic based mosquito barrier treatment products on the market, but I cannot swear that these do work or not. Being in the pest control industry I am still feel that using chemicals like bifen and talstar still works the best for the control of fleas and ticks.

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Posted by Tom in Lifestyle, 0 comments
Fresh Picked Strawberry Jam Recipe

Fresh Picked Strawberry Jam Recipe

Homemade Strawberry Jam

I remember growing up in Wisconsin how we use to go and fight the black bears for fresh off the bush strawberries. We would pick bucket’s fully loaded of delicious strawberries and bring them home for my mother and grandmother to make fresh strawberry jam. Homemade Strawberry jam spread over my grandmothers buttermilk biscuits is, nothing can be any better. Let’s take a look at how simple it is to make strawberry jam.

Ingredients.

  • A pound or so of fresh strawberries, they need to be hulled and chopped
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. of lemon juic

Directions

  • Put all three ingredients into a sauce pan.
  • Stir over medium to low heat
  • Slowly bring up the heat to a rolling boil, stirring frequently
  • Keep stirring and smashing the berries. Let boil until the jam is thick bubbles cover the surface of the jam.
  • Pour jam into clean sterilized jars and let settle and cool to room temperature.
  • Seal the jars after they have cooled and store in refrigerator.

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Posted by Tom in Recipes, 0 comments
Grandma’s Homemade Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Grandma’s Homemade Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Good old-fashioned southern homemade buttermilk biscuits just like grandma use to make. I just love waking up on Sunday morning to smell the biscuit coming out of the oven. The thought of homemade sausage gravy poured over southern style fluffy buttermilk biscuits, what more could you ask for. The biscuits are about 1 -2 inches tall and light and fluffy just like grandma used to make.

Grandma’s Southern Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

Ingredients:ups of flour

1 Tbsp. of baking powder

1 Tsp of baking soda

½ Tsp of salt

½ cup of shortening

1 ¾ cups of cold buttermilk

4 Tbsp. of melted butter

Directions:

  • Have the oven preheated to 425 degrees. While this is happening mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Using your fingers, mix in shortening into the flour mixture and work together till it resembles crumbs. Work the mixture pretty quickly.
  • Pour the buttermilk into the mixture and continue to mix with your hands until the dough ingredients all come together, you will know it when the dough becomes sticky.
  • Spread some flour onto the counter top. Take the dough from the bowl and lay it on the floured surface and sprinkle more flour onto the dough. Fold the dough over and over about 7 times. The top of the dough will be smooth with flour and the middle with still be sticky. But if the outside is still sticky sprinkle some more flour on the sticky areas.
  • Take your hands and make the dough about 1 inch thick while still on the floured surface.
  • Cut out your biscuits with a 2 inch cutter. Make sure there is flour on the cutter also. Push the cutter through the dough and come straight up.
  • Now place each biscuit on a baking sheet, make sure they do not touch each other.
  • Take your scrap dough and rework it so it is in a 1 inch thick form and cut more biscuits from this and place them on the baking sheet also. Don’t waste any leftover dough.
  • Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the biscuits are tall and golden brown on the top.
  • Take out of the oven and brush the top with melted butter. Yum Yum

 

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Posted by Tom in Recipes, 0 comments
Dear Ole Mom’s Apple Crisp

Dear Ole Mom’s Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is one of those desserts that people love year-round. For our family we love this desert especially in the cool fall days. Nothing taste better than hot delicious apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over the dish. This old fashion apple crisp recipe is a hand down from my mother’s mother and it is so amazing you will love it.

Ingredients

For the apple filling you will need:

4 large granny smith apples that are peeled and sliced thin

3 Tbsp. of butter, softened

2 Tbsp. of flour

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 Tbsp. of milk

3/4 tsp of vanilla extract

2/3 cup of brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Just a dash of salt

For the crumb topping:

½ cup of flour

½ cup of oats

2/3 cup of brown sugar

½ tsp of baking powder

½ tsp of cinnamon

1/3 cup of unsalted butter cubed.

Just a dash of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Mix in a large bowl all the ingredients for the crumb topping with a fork. Mix till the ingredients looks like small crumbs then put in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl melt the butter and flour until well mixed. Then add the lemon juice, milk, and vanilla and mix very well and then add the brown sugar and cinnamon and salt. In large bowl pour this mixture over the apples and mix together so all the apples are coated. Take the apple mixture and put in a 8×8 baking dish and spread to an even layer. Now take the crumb topping from the refrigerator and spread over the apples.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit to settle for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve warm with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Posted by Tom in Homestead, Recipes, 0 comments

Dont Live To Please Others

Posted by Tom in Lifestyle, 0 comments
Is Sugar Killing Us?

Is Sugar Killing Us?

Sugar a dangerous drug.

On my way to the office this morning I was listening to a DJ on my favorite radio station talking about kicking sugar out of her diet. She was explaining how terrible sweeteners and high fructose is for a person’s body. I could not believe what I was hearing because the symptoms of too much sugar is some of the issues my wife and I struggle with in our lives.

With this peaked interest I decided to do some digging and see why sugar is bad for you. I found that sugar is made up of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen which makes sugar a carbohydrate and the doctor has been telling me to be on a low carb diet. This makes sense to me because every-time I go on a carb free diet I do have more energy and less brain fog. I also found that sugar is one of the worst things to put in our body.

Refined sugar, granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup goes through a refining process which makes them of no nutritional value for your body. These two substances actually steal your energy and can cause major health issues. The harmful effects of having sugar in your diet goes way beyond that there is no nutritional value. The plain truth is that sugar and high fructose is the single worst ingredient you can have in your diet.

Let’s take a look at what having sugar in your diet can cause.
  • Increases the likelihood of chronic fatigue.
  • Increases mood swings, irritability and anxiety.
  • Foods containing sugar can cause a big spike in blood glucose levels, when this happens your energy level spikes which cause restlessness and insomnia.
  • Raises the level of neurotransmitters called serotonin.
  • Contributes to heart problems.
  • Can create the urge to binge.
  • Makes the pancreas work harder to produce insulin. Diabetes results when the overworked pancreas can no longer eliminate sugar from the blood stream.
  • Compromises the immune system because it lowers the efficiency of white blood cells for a minimum of five hours.
  • Could lead to a fatty liver which will lead to liver disease.
  • Increase cholesterol.
  • Cause cataracts.
  • Increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
  • Cause headaches, including migraines.
  • Contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Decrease emotional stability.
  • Feeds candida which is also known as a yeast infection.
  • Can be very addictive like a drug.
  • Sugar and excess fructose causes the body to be leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that communicates with your body and tells you when you have had enough food. When the body is leptin resistant and the leptin does not work making a person over eat and cause obesity. There are no symptoms or warning signs that tell you your body is leptin resistant.
  • Excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health.
  • Added sugar will release a hormone called cortisol. This hormone interferes with your awake and sleep cycle. Get rid of the added sugar and you will find yourself more awake during the day and sleep better at night.

If this list does not scare you to stop eating sugar than I do not know what will. When I did my research for this article I decided it was time to take control of what I put in my mouth and make a lifestyle change to remove this addiction from our lives..

What can we substitute sugar with?

  • Honey, honey has been proven to improve blood lipids, and lower blood glucose levels.
  • Stevia, is a naturally occurring sweetener from the Sunflower family.  It is approximately 300 times sweeter than table sugar, and allegedly has a lower effect on blood glucose levels.  
  • There are other sugar alternatives out on the market, I would recommend that you do your research on each one and make your own decision. I personally like honey since it is all natural and it can help improve issues in the body.

What is next for my family?

My wife and I are going to start a  detox program. I cannot stand being on a diet and from what I read quitting sugar is not a diet. From what it looks like we take in more than a cup full of this white crystal stuff  into our body every day. Forbes reports that American consume 130 pounds of sugar every year or at least 3 pounds per week. This does not sit well with me, There are so many bad side effects from eating sugar I know for me and my house we are going to make a lifestyle change and stop consuming this dangerous drug.

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Posted by Tom in Lifestyle, 0 comments