Spinach Lasagna Bake

  Welcome to Post 2 for today.  Post 1 was all about Paxton’s First Haircut, a real nail biter for sure! Ok, not really, but still, head back one post to check it out!  :)

I was skeptical of this bake being anything amazing…Boy, was I wrong!  We LOVED it!  To quote Dale: “Yup, it’s a keeper!”   If you know Dale, he is a man of few words when it comes to food, this simple phrase ACTUALLY means:
Oh wow! This is fantastic!  Yum. This is great, and I don’t even LIKE Italian food!  Pass the Lasagna please…..

Spinach Lasagna Bake

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Pork
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Large White Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 cans 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can 6 Oz Tomato Paste
  • 1 package Sliced Mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • ½ teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Red Wine, Chicken Broth Or Apple Juice
  • ½ cups Water
  • 16 ounces, weight Of Your Favorite Noodle, Like Penne, Bow Tie, Rotini Etc.
  • 9 ounces, weight Bag Of Fresh Spinach
  • 4 cups Sour Cream
  • 2 cups Grate Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cups Italian Blend Cheese Or Mozzarella

Sautee sliced mushrooms in butter, set aside. Wash and halve grape tomatoes.
In an extra large family skillet, cook ground beef and pork with garlic and chopped onions. Once the meat is browned and fully cooked, drain well. Add the tomato sauces, paste, sautéed mushrooms and tomato halves to the meat mixture. Next add the liquids; wine/chicken broth/apple juice and water. Simmer.
Cook and drain noodles. Add to meat sauce.

This recipe will fill 2 9×13 baking dishes, so you can freeze the second or share with a friend! Visually divide meat/pasta mixture into fourths, place a layer of meat and pasta in the bottom of each dish, followed by 1 cup of sour cream each. Divide spinach into fourths and place 1/4 on top of the sour cream layer, followed by 1 cup of the listed cheeses mixed. Repeat layers again, 1/4 pasta mixture in each, followed by 1 cup sour cream each, remaining spinach divided and the rest of the cheese on top of both.

Bake 350* for 35 minutes.

You will not BELIEVE how amazingly flavorful this dish is.  Like Dale said, it’s a keeper!

  I’ve had several of you ask, do I really cook all these different dishes? Yup. When Dale and I were first married, we cooked together after work and didn’t repeat a recipe for 6 months.  From this, I grew to LOVE new recipes and the hunt to find, try and share them, I have kept it up ever since.  I have 5 binders just full of recipes that I have typed out from old family recipe boxes, or emailed recipes from friends.  This doesn’t count the 300+ recipes in the “To Try” pile currently living inside my desk!! All these new dishes sure make my kids well-rounded eaters, that’s for sure!!! :)   Everything you see has been made in my kitchen and photographed there or on my picnic table.  All the recipes I share here on 4 little Ferguson’s are our “Keepers”, the nasty ones get thrown in the trash and the photos deleted.  OH YES, and let me make sure to say, that if I personally get a recipe from a fellow bloggers site, I am SURE to give credit where credit is due!  :)

Enjoy this yummy supper!

  ~T

This post shared at:

This Chick Cooks

Tastetastic Thursday

Wonka Wednesday

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Tasty Tuesday

Paxton’s 1st Haircut

Why is it, that we mom’s put off that first haircut so long? Is it really THAT big of an occasion in the lives of our children?  Does it really make them seem older to get a trim?  Maybe.  Guess the more kids you have, the less important this sorta thing is, because rather than put if off as long as possible, I just did it.

  Trimming the girls’ bangs didn’t seem like that big of a deal, and Ty had no hair at a year, so I didn’t have to worry about his until all his mess of curls sprung up closer to 2.  Dale had a FIT that I wouldn’t cut it.  It was just too stinkin’ cute!

Ty, age 1

Ty, age 2021

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Ty, age 3

But Paxton was growing a mullet at age 1, and enough was enough! It was time for a hair cut!

Paxton August, 2001, at his 1st birthday party.

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  He was less than trilled by the idea at first….but soon figured out he wasn’t going anywhere till mom got the job done!

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MUCH BETTER!

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And yes, the curls are STILL there!   :)

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  This first haircut is another “Last First” at the Ferguson house, but you know what, I am ok with it! 

You know what they say, When you know you are “done”…..

You just KNOW!

~T

Head over to Post 2 today for a delicious Spinach Lasagna Bake!

Breakfast for Supper

  This is Post 2 for today, head back a post to see the most recent family session from 4 little Ferguson’s Photography!

  There really is no good word for Breakfast for Supper, is there?  My kids say its called “Blupper”.  Works for me! 

  Whether you choose to eat these for breakfast or supper, both of the recipes I am going to share with you today, were deemed “keepers”! 

This casserole is deee-licious! It’s listed as a brunch casserole, but I can totally imagine it being delicious for a rainy day supper with homemade wheat rolls.

Ham & Swiss Hash Brown Bake

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Ingredients

  • 1 bag (30 Oz) Frozen, Shredded Hash browns
  • 2 cups (about 8 Oz) Cooked Ham Cubes
  • 2 cans (12 Oz Each) Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cans 10 Oz. Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Or Yellow Mustard (I’ll do Dijon next time)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 package (9 Oz) Frozen, Chopped Spinach, Thawed And Squeezed Of Moisture
  • 2 cups Shredded Swiss Cheese, Divided

Preheat oven to 400*. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Combine potatoes, ham, evaporated milk, soup, mustard and pepper in large bowl. Pour half of potato mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with spinach and top with remaining potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

These pancakes were a fun treat, and the wheat flour and wheat germ made me feel a bit better about letting the kids have chocolate!

  Chocolate Chocolate Chip Wheat Germ Pancakes

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Ingredients

  • 1-¾ cup Whole White Wheat Flour
  • ¼ cups Wheat Germ
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ⅛ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Chocolate Chips – Up To Mom How Many :)
  • 1-¾ cup Milk
  • ¼ cups Butter, Melted
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

Combine flour, wheat germ, cocoa, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir wet ingredients into dry, being careful not to over mix.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and repeat.

Dig in!

~T

This post shared with:

Tasty Tuesday

This Chick Cooks

Wonka Wednesday

Full Plate Thursday

Melt In Your Mouth Monday

Holiday Weekend Fun

  Things sure are quiet at our house right now!  After 2 weeks of back to back Florida family staying with us, we are MISSING all of our guests!

Here are the photos from a fun week with Uncle Chad and Auntie Lauren:

  Remember their big news before they came, that not only were they miraculously pregnant, but with identical twins!!!!  (Mono-mono twins that share a sac actually.  This only happens 1% of the time!)  God is so good! 

  Pray for Lauren and Chad as they embark on this HUGE journey to parenthood.  Pray for the twins to remain safely on their own sides, the doctors will watch Lauren closely as the twins grow, so they don’t get mixed up in each other’s umbilical cords. 

  Being pregnant is hard work for BOTH parties apparently.  Afternoon naps were a must while they were here, and I couldn’t resist posting this on Facebook while they slumbered:

Picnik collage-Twins

We had such a fun week just hanging out, no big agenda.

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Lauren’s babies wanted a Banana Split…..

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Woah! This stuff is COLD!

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I’m not so sure I want more of that stuff…..

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Hmmm, maybe just a LITTLE more….

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So, how about I try some of yours, Auntie Lauren?

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I’m feeling a bit sticky, Uncle Chad…..

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Great fashion minds think alike…….

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Thanksgiving 1: Dale’s side

1- 18 leaf table, a teen table and 1 1/2 kids tables in the kitchen

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Time to go home for a quick nap before Thanksgiving 2: My side for supper.

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And the GRAND finale to our Thanksgiving Day:

The 3 oldest kids were invited to have a sleep over at Great Grandpa and Grandma’s house with Nana. 

HOW FUN!  :)

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AND as tradition dictates, we put up our Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving!

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There is nothing like a twinkly Christmas tree-lit living room that makes me want to curl up in a chair with my feet tucked up beside me, with a cup of tea and a GOOD book!

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  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of laughter, love, turkey and gravy, pumpkin pie until you have to unbutton your pants, and thanksgiving to our God and Father who makes all things possible!

Happy Monday!

~T

Fall Family Work Day

   I hope you all had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love most!  Praying for safe travels for all of you as you head back home….. I for one, plan on being lazy by the fire in elastic waist pants all day, just vegging out with our Florida guests and playing games with the kids. :)

  We were so blessed to have a warm Fall day recently, sun shining, a bit brisk, but a lovely day to be outside for sure!  We all pitched in to help daddy tidy up the back part of the property, and while we were at it, set up a few spots for future photo shoots.

  I am finding that the more I take photos for others, the less I am taking of my own family.  It’s like that itchy Trigger Finger is being quieted, as I snap shots of others.  The editing part is also a bit daunting and more photos means more work.  However, it was really fun to get to take some of my kiddos and Dale today as we worked together.

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Old red sheet metal we found makes a perfect backdrop!!!!

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Wish this was on OUR side of the property line….OR that it wasn’t surrounded by thorns!!!

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Thanks for letting me share!

Have a great one!
~T

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Author unknown.

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Being Thankful In the Midst of Difficulty

  2011 will no doubt go down as the toughest in the history of our lives as a married couple.  Never have we been stretched so much, never have we spent more time in the refiners fire being molded, chiseled and changed. 

 I am reminded of the letter shared with me by my mentor in a particularly difficult moment, to be read as if written by my Heavenly Father to me:

My dear one, my refining fire was never intended to hurt you, only to help you. Refiners%20Fire

When the firing is complete I won’t leave you in the heat one second more than is necessary, but will RUN to you and deliver you into my loving arms. Watch what I did with the heat of the days past, compared to today’s cool weather. I’m showing you something.

Can I not remove you from the heat of the fire in a split instant… into the Oasis of my love?

oasis

I am pleased pleased pleased with you, my child. Don’t doubt for a minute my immense love for you. I’m covering and caring for your children on earth with the same love that I’m caring for your children here. You will never on this earth know what measures of my love I am bestowing on you and your family in these days. I’m only giving you a glimpse here and there. Don’t fear in these days, my dear one. You’re not passing through the fire alone. You may not feel my hand or see my loving face, but I’m here… right beside you… silently, quietly, patiently, holding your hand.

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I love you,

Daddy

The rest of the post found Here.

Surviving a year as we have, has refocused our eyes back to Christ, not the American Dream.  The way we see things, the way we experience things, the way we set our goals for our families future…….

All different now.

Good.

For that I am truly thankful.

our house

I am thankful that we have been able to make our house payment each and every month, for an entire year of irregular pay, only by the grace of God. 

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I am thankful that every time I have written checks far larger than the amount in my account to pay the bills, the Lord has provided the funds just in time, promising to provide Manna for today. I am not to gather extra, just trust that it will come again tomorrow, just in time. (Exodus 16)

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I am thankful for my mailbox angels who have left amazing blessings in all forms, and the way the Lord used them and their timing to show us HIS faithfulness to meet all our needs.

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I am thankful for this year of famine, our “reset button”, even though it has been hard, because I am different inside, I can feel it.  Never has the Lord been more real to me.

Jeremiah 17:8 “He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

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I am thankful for these precious little lives!  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for allowing me the job of raising these children, and allowing them here on Earth with me.

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I am thankful for my husband and the tenderness he shows me daily, as the Lord uses this difficult year to soften him, and make him the man He has called him to be.

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I am thankful for our home, the fire that warms it, the laughter, tears and squeals of joy that bounce across our walls.

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I am thankful for family supper around the dinner table, and the comfort it brings me to sit as a family and discuss the day together. 

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I am thankful that my Abba Father loves me and calls me by name. (Isaiah 43:1-2)

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That He loves me too much to keep me the way I am. 

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That He tenderly wipes my tears and draws me into His lap when I am too weary to stand.

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I am thankful that trials by fire bring beauty from ashes…… (Isaiah 61:1-3)

I am thankful for this blog and the creative outlet it is for me.

I am thankful for you, my friends.

Enjoy tomorrow with your families, and be thankful!

Hugs, T

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Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

 

Artisan Bread Bowls

Welcome to Post 2 for today, head back one post to see Mini Makeover: Part II. 

These bread bowls are SO cool!  And yummy too.  They could house your favorite Beef Stew or Broccoli Cheese soup.  They come together easily, even if you hate yeast like I do!!!!!

Artisan Bread Bowls

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Ingredients

  • 3-¾ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ cups Nonfat Dry Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 1-½ cup Lukewarm Water (more As Needed To Make A Smooth, Soft Dough)

Let yeast dissolve in warm water until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients—by hand, mixer or bread machine— and knead till you’ve created a smooth dough.
Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes; it should become puffy. Divide the dough into 5-6 pieces, depending on how large you want your bread bowl to be. Roll each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly greased or parchment covered baking sheet.

Cover the bread bowls with greased plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to 24 hours); this step will give the bread bowls extra flavor, and a delightfully crisp-chewy texture. Two or more hours before serving, remove the bread bowls from the refrigerator. Uncover, and let them sit for about one hour while you preheat the oven to 425°F.
Just before baking, slash the top surface of the bowls several times with a sharp razor/knife to allow them to expand. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes, until the bowls are deep brown, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
 Before serving cut off “lid” and carefully hollow out bread bowl, reserving pieces to be used as toasted seasoned croutons for your soup, or tuck away for a later use like fresh bread crumbs.

Delicious!!!!

We filled these bread bowls with a recipe called “Broccoli Cheese Soup (Just like Panera Bread).”  It was NOT just like Panera Bread, and it was NOT our favorite soup.  Next time I will fill it with THIS soup, our favorite Broccoli and Cauliflower soup from Drea, its WAAAY better!  Sorry I don’t have a photo of it yet, I will come back and add one soon after we make it……just trust me, its creamy and GOOD!

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Soup

  • 2 packages Frozen Broccoli/Cauliflower Mix
    (12-24 Ounce Packages Each, depending on how chunky you want your soup)
  • Generous amounts of garlic powder, and fresh pepper.  Salt, to Taste
  • 12 ounces, weight Velveeta, Cubed
  • 2 cans Cream Of Chicken Soup (10.75 Ounce Cans)
  • 1-½ cup Boiling Water
  • 1 quart Half-and-half

Steam veggies according to directions on the package. Add seasonings to taste – garlic salt and pepper are our favorites.

While your veggies cook, heat cheese until melted in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once cheese is melted, add soups, boiling water and half-and-half. Carefully stir in steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Heat through – but make sure that you do not boil it! YUM!

Enjoy!

~T

This post shared with:

Tasty Tuesday

Melt In Your Mouth Monday

On the Menu Monday

This Chick Cooks

Wonka Wednesday

Full Plate Thursday

New Room Part II

  I have an update to the Mini Makeover I shared yesterday.  I had that scheduled loooooong before Papa and Drea called to say they were coming, long before they announced they brought paint clothes and long before they offered to paint the girls room for their Christmas present.  It was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down with joy after 8 long years of hating that wallpaper. 

  Here are the photos from the Mini-Makeover Part II:

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Poor poor Harley, all this painting and wallpaper scraping is HARD work!

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Look what we un-earthed as we scraped:

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Parts of the words:  Dale & Tonya 4 Ever

Here is the original photo I took 10 years ago, as a 20-year-old Engaged young woman, helping to prepare our future home for post honeymoon just a month away. Scan_Pic0002

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 AWWWW!  I am such a sap, finding these words seriously made me tear up!

Here is the bedroom now!  Check yesterdays post if you have forgotten what the old looked like.

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Cheerful and fun, just right for my 2 favorite little girls!

Next project, applying hot pink circle stickers to the orange walls:

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 Thanks to Papa & Drea for a PERFECT Christmas gift!  We will think of you and smile every time we are in there! Love you!

~T

Be sure to head to post 2 today for some yummy Artisan Bread Bowls, perfect for serving your favorite soup in!