Thursday, February 20, 2014

Easy Queso Formula

Now, I know what your thinking: Queso, isn't it easy already?  Yeah, well it is, but sometimes it can be boring!  Using this formula, you can have exciting queso or your regular queso, but it's going to be so easy!

My queso is just four ingredients and could really be made with just two, but I like to fancy it up some!  :)  This recipe is great for watching the big game, but I have had this at almost every birthday party/get together at our house for the last several years.  Anytime we serve it, it is a favorite!

Pot of molten, tastiness!
Now, I like easy, peasy, open a can and let the slow cooker do the work!  And, I totally mean it!  :)  I dump the tomatoes, cheese (no cutting needed), meat and heat and crank the slow cooking bad boy to high and in less than an hour: cheesy goodness!
See, no cutting here!
This is my formula:

1. Tomatoes: I like the fire roasted, but you can use whatever you like
2. Cheese block: I like to use the light, but really, who am I kidding!  ;)
3. Meat:  I like no bean chili, but if you have frozen/cooked ground meat just throw it in!
4. Heat: I like diced green chilies or fresh/pickled jalapenos, but you can add anything you want here. Just be sure to drain the heat (meaning no extra juice!)

You always need 1 and 2, but 3 and/or 4 are totally optional!  Now, I know some people totally want measurements, so you need 1 big can or 2 little cans of tomatoes including juice, 1 block of cheese, 1 big can or 2 little cans meat, and one hand full of heat without juice...  If you want more or less meat, add more or less...  If you want more heat, then add more heat or leave it out all together...

I like to use this formula and play around with it!  For example, there are tons of different tomato varieties: crushed, diced, though I don't recommend whole, with so many flavors, fire roasted, garlic, San Marzano, the sky is the limit!

With the block cheese, I am not talking about 'real' cheese, I am talking about the stuff that comes in a box on the shelf...  You can get light, full fat or even white cheese in my store...  Live a little, try the different varieties!

Your head can swirl with the different meat combos, but this is totally limited by your imagination!  Yes, you can totally open a can, like I did, but if you have fresh/frozen meat, pulled pork, sausage, ham, deli meat you get the picture, throw it in!

For the heat, you can use diced green chilies, jalapenos, pepperoncini, red pepper flakes, again you name it and throw it in!  If you are using a spice like red pepper flakes, start out small like a couple of teaspoons at first.  You can adjust it when everything is warm.  Now, if you can't stand the heat, don't add that part of the formula!  It's your queso, make it great!  :)

Now, if I am doing super, easy queso with tomatoes and cheese, I use the best can of tomatoes, I can get...  The recipe looks like this: block light cheese and organic, fire-roasted tomatoes.  I only use the 'pricier' tomatoes on the two ingredient queso.

If you want an Italian, pizza tasting queso, use the following: San Marzano tomatoes, white cheese block, thick cut, diced pepperoni and/or salami with some diced pepperoncinis and/or crushed, red pepper flakes...

I am kind of lazy when it comes to queso, I like to crank the slow cooker up to High for at least the first hour, then down to Low/Warm when everything has reached it's perfect point.  Then you have warm queso for kickoff, halftime and the celebrations for the end of the game or if you're not a football fan, then you will have warm queso for your whole shower, party or get together...   If you don't have a slow cooker, then you will have to chop the cheese and dump everything in a microwavable bowl and go to town in the microwave...

Anywho, this is a star at our family celebrations and I bet it can be at yours, too!  Let me know your queso formula and variations!

Take care!

Linking up to:
Bloom Designs Linky Party
The Grant Life: Life of the Party

Monogrammed, No Sew Toiletry Bags

Ok, so this is so a cheat, but I did it anyway!!  We like to take the boys camping and on weekend trips all the time, but hate doing all the packing that goes along with even short trips.  We pack like college students, throwing toiletries into (gasp!) plastic, zipper bags and almost always forget someone's toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens/glasses, you know, really important stuff...  Then when we get back, we have like a million bags, that are perfectly good and I could totally wash them and reuse them, but I am too darn tired after our trip and end up throwing them out!

Well, I am done with this process, so I knew that my boys needed their own toiletry bags....  But, I didn't have the time to sew and embroider them, like I saw them in my mind.  This is when the Military surplus store by my house came into focus...  I pass by this surplus store all the time and thought they must have some heavy duty, overnight bags, I mean people in the military have to pack quickly and efficiently, right?

So there I was, I just dropped off Larry, Moe and Curly at school and ran my usual morning errands (coffee and window shopping at Tarjay, hopped over to the grocery store, got gas) and was outside the Military store waiting for it to open, which it did 10 minutes late according to their clock...  Yes, I was looking in the window because I was trying to see if anyone was in there...   Guess that's to be expected, right?  :)  I wiz past the ammo, dried food rations, knives and rather colorful stickers/patches and found the travel gear I was looking for.  I picked up four travel bags and one bigger bag.  They are thick, canvas and I think they can hold up to my boys for years to come.

When I was checking out, I asked the gentleman if the bags could be embroidered and he just looked at me like I asked him if the hip holster comes in pink or if it would make my butt look big?  Anywho, I think the fabric is really thick, so I would probably need a new, heavy duty needle, which is a no can do, since I don't want to buy something I may not need again.  But, I do have some iron on fabric paper which is FREE, baby!!

If you can print, cut and iron, you can totally do this!  I will include a tute, but this is so easy! TaDa!!!


Toiletry Bags
Iron on Printer Paper - I used the one for light fabrics because the dark fabric one is supposed to have a white outline/background, which I didn't want
Rolled up Pillow case
Parchment Paper - optional

Step 1 :Feminine Font for Momma!
Step 1:Masculine looking Font for the boys

Step 3: Cut out as much of the iron on paper as possible without separating the letters and let it cool!


  1. Pick the font you want for the monogram and print out on regular paper.  Cut it out and determine placement and size.
  2. Print out for real on Iron on paper according to package directions (probably flipped.)
  3. Cut out paper really close to monogram, but do not separate the letters.
  4. Roll up your pillowcase and place it in the bag.  This helps give the bag some structure to hold up to the ironing. 
  5. Put the bag on it's side and iron monogram on according to package directions.
  6. My monograms had some spots which didn't adhere, so I got some parchment paper and put it over the monogram and in circles, used my iron to melt those extra pieces away.
  7. Sit back and admire your work!
I like that they totally look vintage-y with the light colored Iron on paper, but you are welcome to use the dark paper, just know that it will have a white outline/background.  These are extra roomy and for less than seven bucks a piece are a total save with my time, which I have none extra!  

I made these for my boys, but this could be a totally good groom's men gift, male teacher gift, male graduation gift, you get the idea!

What do you like to make for a cheat?

Take care, 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Easy Learning Toy for Preschoolers!

Ok, I don't know why it took me this long to make this for my middle son...  I mean, I had ALL of the items, I just didn't do it until Tuesday...  Why, Tuesday you ask?  Well, because we had a snow/ice day and in Texas, that means snow/ice were predicted and schools cancelled, but both were a no-show for us.  Yay!!  Three kids with cabin fever and too cold/wet to go outside!  :)

So, momma made this for my middle one:

It took 5 minutes!!  This is so awesome and makes learning fun!  I have him tell me the letter, trace it with his pointer finger, tell me the picture and a couple of other words that start with the letter and the sound it makes!  Plus, this baby is totally portable!  Now carpool can have some fun learning time, too!

I had all of the items needed for this one and it's self explanatory, but I will include a tute below.  If you don't have any alphabet cards, I have seen them in the dollar section/store or you can print your own online...  I could also see this being done with math cards, science, spelling, you name it!

Alphabet Cards
Hole Punch
Round Ring Binder Clips


  1. Punch a hole in the top of the card.  I did mine on the top left, but you can put it anywhere.
  2. Put the cards in order.
  3. Open the binder clip and place the cards on the clip.
  4. Admire your ingenuity and 'play' with your preschooler!
What kind of learning tools do you like to make for your kiddos?

Take care, 
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