What to do with leftover ham?

Ahhh…the hustle and bustle of the holidays may’ve subsided for now, but the busyness in your fridge probably hasn’t. I, for one, hate dealing with leftovers. I like the idea of using up everything we have and not wasting a thing, but I don’t exactly like eating leftovers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things I will eat leftovers of, like chili, stew, turkey dinner, and ham dinner, but you can only eat so many meals of high-carbs without becoming slow and lethargic, so something has to be done with those holiday leftovers.

This post will be dedicated to a few of my favorite ideas for using up that holiday ham this year.

Obviously, (as evidenced by my blog counter,) everyone thinks of ham and beans. This is a great idea, especially using the hambone up as well.

Next, I like to cut up (dice) some of the ham and use it in my macaroni and cheese.

Another option would be ham sandwiches, another popular choice. Especially with homemade rolls or homemade bread, yum!

When that gets too familiar, try grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, possibly paired with some tomato soup. A great way to make these is to grill the ham in a skillet, butter one side of each slice of bread, keep your skillet or griddle on medium heat, and place the bread buttered-side down in the hot skillet. Squeeze some mustard on one side of the bread, and add one slice of cheese to each piece of bread. (Velveeta works nicely, too). Then put your warm ham slices on top of half of the bread slices, and make sandwiches. Grill till lightly brown on both sides of sandwiches. Cut in half and serve.
The mustard really adds something to a grilled ham sandwich.

Another option, as with any leftover meat, is to make it into a casserole or other one-pot meal:http://food.yahoo.com/recipes/taste-of-home/114765/hurry-up-ham-n-noodles

This one looks pretty good, how about ham ‘n noodles?

Another one I would try, cheese ‘n ham scallop:
http://southernfood.about.com/od/hamcasserolerecipes/r/bl50610l.htm

An oft-overlooked idea is a nice ham ‘n cheese quiche-we would make this one, sans onions, b/c we don’t like ’em:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ham-N-Cheese-Quiche/Detail.aspx
Ham or bacon quiche is often the only kind of quiche you can get a man to eat. The meatiness of it all helps him think of it as “manly food”, so if you’ve ever considered a quiche, but weren’t sure how hubby would react, try one like this, and either serve it as is-name and all, or just rename it to “Ham ‘n Cheese Egg Pie”, and the stigma is gone.

How ’bout a simple chicken cordon bleu? It takes more effort to say the name than make the dish, I promise!
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-Cordon-Bleu-I/Detail.aspx

Don’t forget easy things like ham omelets, or just a simple slice of ham with eggs and toast, either!

Along the breakfast lines, there’s also things like a Ham Breakfast Braid:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ham-Breakfast-Braid/Detail.aspx

Throw some ham in your broccoli cheese soup to make it heartier, too!

There’s also baked beans, which benefit nicely from some ham instead of bacon, and don’t forget breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches (like at McDonalds). Ham also makes a nice pizza topping, as you’ll see in my previous post about homemade pizza!

Still got leftover ham? How about dicing it into tiny pieces and toss it in your potato salad, macaroni salad, pea salad, etc.?

And here’s just one more recipe I plan to try this year, which uses up leftover mashed potatoes, too:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easter-Leftovers-Casserole/Detail.aspx

Even with all these fabulous ideas, you are bound to get sick of ham after a couple of days, so be sure to freeze some of the ham in small baggies. Dice some small and put in a baggie, rough chop some larger and put in a baggie (like for casseroles and one pot dishes), Slice some and put 2-4 slices in each baggie (for sandwiches or breakfasts), use a biscuit cutter and make ham rounds and put in baggies (like for McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches at home), and be sure to keep that ham bone for ham and beans! Also, use a sharpie to label the ham baggies, so you know what you are thawing!

Enjoy those leftovers till you can’t be creative anymore, and then just toss them in the freezer for a nice quick meal at a later date. May your leftovers be as yummy as that very first holiday meal this year!

Thou Shalt Not Raise a False Report…

First, let me say this. This is a rant, I’m not writing to seek others’ opinions, nor am I writing to “argue” with anyone. Secondly, if your children are in the room reading over your shoulder, you may want to excuse them at this point. Third, if you do not believe in God, then this does not pertain to you…of course you are welcome to read on, but please understand that this is not directed at you, and I have no intention of trying to preach to you, so please do not become offended if you choose to read on. And fourth, if you are a Christian and you “go with the flow” in today’s society, you are likely to be offended, but really, the Word of God shouldn’t offend you as a Christian, so I’d think carefully before becoming irate.

Okay, warnings over, let’s get down to business. Y’all know me, I don’t “preach” on this blog, I really don’t, but I am so disgusted right now that I had to share my thoughts somewhere, and where else but my own blog, right?

Exodus 23:1 says: Thou shalt not raise a false report; put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16

And one of my favorites:
Colossians 3:9-10 says, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

Now, of those of you who are Christians, can we all agree that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God? Can we all agree that if God says it, it must be true? Can we all agree that if God calls something an abomination, we should try our best to avoid that thing or behavior? Is it not pretty obvious through both the Old Testament and the New that God tells us NOT to LIE?

I thought so. Now that we have a solid Biblical belief going here, let’s move to the next step. What is a false report? Strong’s Concordance tells us that false means:
emptiness, vanity, falsehood

a) emptiness, nothingness, vanity

b) emptiness of speech, lying

c) worthlessness (of conduct)

and that report means:
1) report, a hearing

So, in conclusion, a false report is a lying report or a worthless report, empty speech, or a falsehood. So it means lying. Lying is bad, we all know that, right?

Okay, so now we have a Strong understanding (pun intended) of what the Lord means when he says “Thou shalt not raise a false report”. By now, many of you are saying, “Duh, Jessica, we know we aren’t supposed to lie!”, but bear with me for a moment, because this obviousness is here for a reason.

The heart of my message is simple. When is it okay to lie according to the Bible? Is it okay to lie to save our lives? Is it okay to lie to make someone feel better? Is it okay to lie to each other? Is it okay to lie for fun? Is it okay to lie because it’s something we’ve always done? Is it okay to lie because our ancestors did? Is it okay to lie to make ourselves feel better?

In case you need a refresher, the Bible says NO, it’s not okay to lie for any reason. In fact, the Bible is clear once again when it says, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Mat. 5:37

So there is no reason under the sun that it’s okay to lie in God’s eyes. Got it.

Why, then, do MILLIONS of people claiming to be Christians (many of them legitmately trying to follow Him) lie to their children, while at the same time trying to teach them not to lie to them (the parents)? If you are still in the dark, we’re talking about Santa Claus, folks. Do you believe in Santa Claus? That he is a real magical being that goes from house to house each Christmas delivering toys to all good little girls and boys? Do you believe that he lives and works in the North Pole and drives a sleigh around the skies on Christmas eve? Do you really believe that Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping” and “knows when you’re awake”? If you DO believe this, then you either are reading this from a padded room, need to be reading this from a padded room, or are even lying to yourself-now that’s talent. No, seriously. We all know that Santa is not real, he does not have magical reindeer, he does not deliver presents, he is not omnipotent, omnicient, or any other word ending in “ent”, really. So why, knowing what God says about lying, while trying to instill the value of honesty in our children, do well-meaning parents LIE TO THEIR CHILDREN EVERY YEAR?

I can hear the groans now…hey, maybe I’m santa claus…cause I heard that! But seriously, folks, stick with me for a second. I’m sure you are thinking, “but santa isn’t really a lie, it’s innocent fun, my parents did it and I turned out okay, they know it isn’t real, etc.” I once again would like to direct your attention to when it is okay to lie…found in the previous paragraph. Go ahead and scroll back up, I’ll wait. Patience is a virtue, ya know.

I understand your thoughts and concerns. I know you “just want your kids to fit in”, I know you “don’t want to spoil their fun”, and I know that you “see nothing wrong with it”, but I’d like to remind you that the Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
You can have fun, awesome, joyful holiday celebrations without lying to yourself or your children. And it really doesn’t matter if YOU see nothing wrong with it, the Bible tells us that GOD sees something wrong with it-because it is lying, which again, is not okay. It offends God. Do you really want to offend God on the day we celebrate as His son’s birthday? Then why do we continue this ridiculous man-made charade…really, why?

I’m going to now address those who would say, “but we want to teach our kids about the charity work of St. Nicholas, what a great man he was, and that THAT is the spirit of Christmas”. Your intentions are good, I get where you are coming from more than any other Santa-lovin’ household, I do. But here’s the flaw. We already have an amazing example of Love and Charity in our lives if we are Christians. His name is God. Need I remind you that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that you and I might have a chance at eternity in heaven? He is the only perfect man to ever walk this earth. He has a pretty cool story, too. Hey, in Revelation, he even has a white beard. He’s not dead-always a plus, right? He wants you to teach your children about Him. He told those around Him to bring the little children unto Him…and He requested this way before this santa dude ever even lived on this earth. He showed us the TRUE meaning of love and gift-giving, He gives us eternal life in a mansion on a hill. Really, God’s the REAL superhero, here folks. He manages to live each day in our hearts while being everywhere at once, answering trillions of prayers each day, and the guy doesn’t even need sleep. Now that’s something to celebrate. Why is it so hard to say, “We give gifts in the tradition of Christ. God gave us this awesome gift 2000 years ago, and we want to imitate that as best we can, so we give you cool toys, and share what we can with others during the Christmas season.” I mean really, it’s a pretty cool reality, so why do we need this fake superhero to have a “fun Christmas”?

There’s one other thing that bugs me about this whole santa thing, and it’s the reason for this post. See, I came across a woman today who has a 20 yr old son, an 8th grader, and another smaller child in her care. She is irate at her 8th grader’s teacher for assigning the teens a journal entry on “How you found out santa isn’t real”. This woman is irate because she, like many other families in the United States, teaches her children that “if you don’t believe, you won’t receive” in reference to santa and his gifts each year. She claims her 20 yr old “still believes” as does the 8th grader, who came home all upset because she believes the whole santa thing. This mother is ANGRY at a teacher for telling her 13 yr old that there is no santa. Did the teacher lie? Was he to expect that a 13 yr old didn’t know that this was all a falsehood perpetuated by tradition? I think not. The parent lied to her kids, who in turn believe that they need to lie to her, saying, “Of course, Mom, I believe in Santa!” even at the ripe old age of 20. She encourages this behavior. I realize that most family’s belief in santa is much more short-lived and a lot less extreme, but this story really gets to the root of the issue. Why does God hate lying so much? Because it leads to pain, sorrow, and MORE LYING. No doubt that not only will these children of hers continue to lie to her each Christmas in order to receive gifts, but they will pass on the tradition of lying to their children, and then someday my grandchildren will be forced to make the choice to either “go with the flow” of American society or to follow their God in His commandments. What a lovely tradition we pass on to our children, don’t you think?

As an additon, I should add that if you choose not to lie to your children as is commanded in the Bible, you should also have the respect for others to teach your children that other kid’s mommies and daddies tell them about santa as if he were real, and that it is not their place to set them straight. You really don’t want to be the parent of the kid who “ruins santa” for the whole class, so teach your children some tact when dealing with this sensitive subject, please. It can be done, really. Just tell them to change the subject or say nothing. Don’t teach them to lie, b/c that would defeat the purpose, just teach them that it’s not okay to go around telling their friends that their parents are lying to them, it’s something that their mommy or daddy needs to tell them, and it’s not our place.

Also, I am not a part of the whole “santa claus will send you to h*ll” group, and I find those type of people to be equally if not more offensive than those who choose to lie to their children. Santa won’t send you there, but unrepentant lying, well, that could.

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 3:17 am  Comments (8)  

Simple Homemade Granola Recipe

Tonight I realized I hadn’t prepared anything for church tomorrow, and didn’t have much time to make anything, either. Every Sunday, I make something homemade and yummy for that awkward time between services. We are a small church, newly started, and because of that, they hadn’t instituted any kind of “coffee hour” or “snack time” between Sunday School and Church, so I volunteered to get it started. I usually make doughnuts or coffee cake, cinnamon rolls or streudel, but this time I got all busy with Christmas stuff that I plum forgot. Thankfully, I have a great recipe from the old http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com, that I’ve affectionately named “Maggie’s Homemade Granola”. I like this granola recipe because it’s easy, fast, tasty, and cheap. Well, that and it doesn’t have all kinds of nuts and honey and other typical ingredients in granola, so it’s more allergen-friendly than most granolas. Without further ado, here’s Maggie’s granola recipe:

1/2 c. margarine (1 stick)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. dried fruit (optional, but I use Craisins-dried cranberries)
1/2 c. nuts or seeds (optional, I usually skip)

In a large 4 qt. saucepan, melt the margarine, sugar, and water together. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Take off of heat and add the oatmeal, cinnamon, and salt. Stir up the granola making sure that every piece of oatmeal is coated in brown sugary goodness. Put the granola on a large sided cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. It should be a nice golden brown. Allow to cool on cookie sheet. Once cooled, you can break the granola apart with spoon or your (clean) fingers, and place in a clean coffee can or jar. If adding optional nuts and/or fruit, you can mix those in just before placing granola in its container.

This is a GREAT snack, but also a pretty decent cereal. As someone who doesn’t really care for oatmeal and wouldn’t touch grapenuts if I were paid to, I really do promise this is a good cereal. If you have any trouble passing it off on the kiddos as a real cereal in the morning, you can always add chocolate chips, but this is just sweet enough that most kids will gobble it up, especially if you’ve put a sweet dried fruit in it for color.

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Homemade Blackberry Jam and Lazy Chocolate Pie

Sometimes I feel like I’m an oxymoron. In one day I may make something totally from scratch and time consuming and also make instant mashed potatoes, lol. I’m just weird like that. I love convenience, but recognize that homemade is better. I think it is because of this that somedays I’m so tired from making something very labor intensive and time consuming that I settle for whatever is the quickest and easiest option for dinner that night. Today was just such a day.

I spent my day today making homemade blackberry jam, canning it, making 2 loaves of wheat bread for a customer,  and making homemade mixes for gifts (which included decorating the bags by hand using scrapbooking supplies). By the time my poor husband came through the door, I realized I made nothing for dessert. Sure, I had cheated and used the crockpot and canned veggies for dinner, so that was ready, but I had to scramble to make instant potatoes and a dessert. Checking the pantry and freezer, I realized I could make a lazy chocolate pie in about 15 minutes, so I went for it.

Lazy Chocolate Pie

1 Pre-formed pie crust or graham cracker crust

2 pkgs. Devils Food pudding mix (or chocolate)

2 2/3 milk

1 carton Cool Whip or other whipped cream

Some Chocolate chips for decorating

Blind-bake crust as per directions, combine pudding mix and milk, beating with whisk for 2 minutes. Pour pudding into cooled crust. Put whip cream on top of pudding, and sprinkle chocolate chips for decoration. Done. Now wasn’t that easy?

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Here’s a pic of my blackberry jam:
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And finally, a pic of some of my homemade mixes/food items:
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Now it’s time for me to go to bed and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow, lol.

Easy Homemade Biscotti Recipe

Okay,  I admit it, I’m a coffee nut, but I hate biscotti. Well, until today that is!

I needed to make some to go in Christmas baskets along with some homemade creamers and other goodies, and my first attempt went really well.  I took one recipe and made it into two kinds. One was Double Chocolate, and the other was Cranberry Almond. I have to say, both are good, but the cranberry is the BEST!

Here’s a pic of the dough, both kinds:

Double Chocolate
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Cranberry Almond
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And the finished products:
Double Chocolate
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Cranberry Almond
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Here’s the recipe, with changes below:

Italian Biscotti

  • 12 ounces butter
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 ounces chopped almonds
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 165 degrees C ).
    2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time; beat until fluffy. Stir in the anise and vanilla extracts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Add them to the egg mixture along with the chopped almonds. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, Knead by hand.
    3. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets, 2 to a sheet, the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, loaves should be firm. Cut the loaves into diagonal slices 1/2 inch wide, place the slices onto the cookie sheets and return to the oven. Toast on one side, then turn them over to do the other side. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.

    First, I didn’t use anise, I used 2 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp. almond extract. I don’t like anise, and vanilla and almond extracts work nicely together.

    I split the dough into 2 sections right after the kneading part, one section I used 1/2 pkg. Craisins and 1 of those tiny $1 pkgs. of slivered almonds. The other one I put 4 Tsp. of Cocoa Powder and 1/4 bag of milk chocolate chips. I mixed the ingredients in by hand, pretty much kneading them until they looked pretty, then split each kind into 2 loaves, and proceeded with the recipe as written. Well, I baked them for 5 minutes each side, but other than that followed as written. It was sooooo easy, I really suggest you try it!

    Christmas, Christmas…everywhere!

    Have you ever had one of those years where you try really, really hard to be in a festive mood and you just aren’t there, yet? Have you ever had what seems like 45 Christmas parties to attend before you even are ready to “get in the mood” to be Christmassy? That’s where I’m at this year. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, both the Christian aspect of it and the commercial side. I love giving and receiving, I love the smell of hot cocoa and peppermint, musty old Christmas decorations, and of course the food…holiday baking is one of my favorite things to do all year long! All that aside, some years it’s just a little harder to find yourself humming those old Christmas carols, isn’t it? I’m consistantly amazed by how one year I can be planning Christmas in August and bopping along to Jingle Bells in July, and another year it can be halfway through December and I’m already dreading the remainder of the holiday parties I need to attend.  I’m sure this mood is simply coming from the fact that our weekends are just not our own at this time of year, and the economic crisis has hit here just as it has many other households…but then again, I KNOW that as a Christian household, we don’t believe that you need money to be happy-in fact quite the opposite, money usually gets in the way of finding true joy and contentment in life, so it’s not really that…hmmm. Well, I’ll keep thinking, but in the meantime…I guess I’ll go pick out my outfit for yet another holiday party, and prepare my cheery holiday smile…as I’ll be getting up at 6 am in order to drive halfway across the state for the next Christmas party. One can only hope for a yummy meal and connecting with old friends to put that pop in our step this year, because for some reason popping in the latest Christmas Hits CD just ain’t doin’ it around here, lol.

    Published in: on December 6, 2008 at 8:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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