With the weather getting colder here are some of my favorite crockpot recipes that warm your tummy and soul while leaving your kitchen smelling good. These recipes require very little prep and can cook in your crock pot while you are at work or at class.
Rotel Sausage Dip
2 8oz cream cheese
2 jimmy dean sausage packages
2 rotel tomato cans
Fry up sausage
Drain sausage grease
Combine ingredients in crockpot
Put crockpot on low
White Chicken Chili
4 – 5 cans white beans (drained)
6 cups chicken broth
1 tsp chicken stock base (cubes)
1 – 2 onions chopped
6 -8 cloves garlic or ½ tsp from jar
7 oz deiced green chilis
2 – 3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups cooked chicken (shredded)
1 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded monetary jack cheese
Sauté onions and garlic
Add broth and sour cream and make sure it is fully combined
Add all ingredients together in crockpot
Put crockpot on low for at least 1 hour
Add shredded cheese right before serving
Gooey Ranch Chicken
1 packet dry ranch dressing
4 large chicken breasts
1 stick of butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz regular cream cheese
Add chicken, butter, and ranch to crockpot
Put crockpot on high for 4 – 6 hours
Shred chicken with forks
Mix everything together
Keep on low
Serve as sandwiches or on mashed potatoes
Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1 ¼ cups milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 box instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk
1 12oz bag milk chocolate chips
Line crockpot with parchment paper
Spray inside of paper with cooking oil
In large mixing bowl combine came mix, 1 and ¼ cups of milk, oil, and 3 eggs
Pour batter into lined crock pot
In medium mixing bowl combine pudding mix, 2 cups cold milk and beat until pudding thickens
Pour pudding over the top of cake batter and DO NOT STIR
Sprinkle bag of chocolate chips over the top and DO NOT STIR
Place lid on top and cook on low for 2 and ½ hours or until cake is set
In honor of my brother Jacob’s 17th birthday next Friday I would like to show how much I appreciate my brother and how amazingly lucky I am to have a sibling. I will do this in sharing funny stories, memories and loving admirations of how perfect my little brother is!
Jacob has seen every single episode, movie, and edition of every type of Scooby Doo that has ever been created.
When Jacob was little, he would write little tiny books on pieces of printer paper and they were adorable and none of them made any sense, but he wrote approximately 75 books as a little child.
Tractor Tire Tube
When Jacob and I were 12 and 8, our father didn’t want us to have a trampoline because they are too dangerous. So, my dad gave us 3 old tractor tire tubes to put in the grass and jump on. Turns out those are dangerous too, because Jacob and I jumped at the same time and his head went right into my front tooth. I had to see a special dentist, because they thought the tooth was dead. Turns out that roots regenerate, oh how lucky I am!
At my house we have a little all-terrain vehicle that we drive through the fields and I’ll never forget the funny things that we did and places we drove when we weren’t supposed to on that golf cart.
My brother is super crafty! He has a little wood shop that he creates homemade gifts for all our family members every year for Christmas and birthdays! He has crafted me paperweights, ornaments, floorboards, quirky keepsakes, benches and lately CLOCKS. These clocks actually work.
He used to have a fascination for small engines and would essentially just waste gas by driving around lawnmowers and go-carts practically in circles. The lawnmowers didn’t even have a deck for blades, so they were literally pointless machines that he would drive around for hours and hours. Sometimes, we would race in these lawnmowers which was even more pathetic, because we are both traveling at about five miles per hour trying to beat one another!
Jacob is obsessed with stick-shift vehicles. He has always had a soft spot for my Grandpa Bob’s truck and my Uncle Duke’s red Jeep. For his 16th birthday last year, he was surprised with Grandpa Bob’s truck for his birthday. He now gets to drive his favorite black truck every single day!
Jacob can play the mandolin like nobody’s business. When he was just starting out, he had only a few songs in his repertoire. Mountain Dew by Grandpa Jones was his most famous song to play for the neighbors and family members. He could put on quite a show singing and playing as loud as can be!
Hide and Seek
We used to play hide and seek A LOT. Whenever we had our cousins Lindsey and Ryan over for Easter you could bet good money that after lunch, he would ask us to go outside and play hide and seek. His most famous spot was in one of the tractors in the shed. He wasn’t too hard to find.
He loves tractors. Specifically, he prefers his Allis-Chalmers tractors, the orange ones. I think his love for Allis-Chalmers comes from our Great-Grandpa Lester. Grandpa Lester had quite the collection of Allis-Chalmers and they both love them immensely. The collection spans from toy and collectible editions to working tractors out in the shed.
Nowadays Jacob doesn’t smile as big as he used to. Maybe he is just more sophisticated than when we were little kids, but you know when he thinks something is funny! The side of his lips go up in a little smirk. It’s adorable if I do say so myself.
His cows mean the world to him and he treats them all with immense compassion. My favorite is when after we get done haying, we pick up all the chaff in the yard and put it on a wagon for the cows to munch on at their leisure. Whenever we do this, he makes sure to bring some fresh hay over to the heifers in the other pasture so that they aren’t left out.
If you know my brother, you know that he can pick up almost any instrument and play a song by ear within 10 minutes. I am very jealous of this talent, because I can only play by music and he has this natural gift that anyone would be jealous of.
We have too many inside jokes to count. Most of them have to do with something stupid one of us said at the dinner table when mom and dad didn’t hear us say it. And then, we both end up laughing hysterically with our mouths full of food and we almost choke!
Jacob helps my dad milk cows on our dairy farm every day. He wakes up at 5 am every morning to milk the cows, takes a shower, goes to school until 3:30 and then milks the cows as soon as he gets home from school again. Jacob is a dedicated farmer, just like my dad and he is an extremely hard worker.
Jacob is an amazing singer and he has continued to be in our school productions every year, even after I graduated and I’m so proud of all the work that he puts in every single day to be able to put on an amazing show, because anyone who has been in a play or musical knows that it isn’t easy work.
Even if you are someone that doesn’t like to plan, there are still some plans put in place. What to eat, weekend plans, big picture plans, you get where I am going. Speaking from experience, rarely do my plans ever work out. It is frustrating in the moment, but sooner or later, I realize that things happen for a reason. There are more existential plans that don’t always work, like going to college, meeting lots of friends that supply you with plenty of stories, graduate, and work as a job you love. Find someone special, fall in love, get engaged, get married, start a family, and grow old together. The end may be the same, but the journey will have turns and detours.
The greatest lessons aren’t in the destination, but in the journey. To be honest, I have learned the most about myself when things don’t work out how I planned and far I am happy with where I am even with the detours. It is how you deal with hardships that defines who you are, not the end goal you present for yourself.
A GMO stands for: genetically modified organism. Genetic modification is a process by which the genetic material or DNA in an organism is altered through the use of biotechnology. An organism can be genetically modified, or gene edited with genes of a different species or with a gene from that same species to express a desired trait. This is done to produce new and improved organisms that results in a beneficial product for consumers.
Why do we produce GMOs?
Genes with a desired function do not just occur in the natural world unless they are highly selected for. Genetic modification is more efficient and quicker than conventional breeding. Conventional breeding on average takes about 10 years to create a new variety, although some plant species take even longer to produce a new variety.
Genetic modification makes crop production easier by producing herbicide resistant varieties. This allows farmers to use less harmful or harsh chemicals that have been used in the past. GM herbicide resistant crops also lead to better soil conservation and environmental protection.
Genetic modification is also used to improve human nutrition and help solve food scarcity and malnutrition issues in the world. One example of improved human nutrition is orange rice. Another great example of why genetic modification is used is for efficient production of a health chemical, such as insulin.
Conventional Breeding vs GM Breeding
There are several GM crops worldwide. In the U.S. the main GM crops are soybean, corn, cotton, canola, and rice. The top producers of GM crops are the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, India, and Canada with the U.S. being the leading producer. There have been field trial research studies on GMOs since 1987 in the United States. Meaning, there has been over 30 years of research on GMOs and their safety for human consumption. The USDA and FDA have approved their use.
There is more scrutiny and testing applied to GM crops than to conventional crops. Meaning, there is potential that conventionally bred varieties are more harmful or less effective for the environment.
GM crops increase the efficiency and timing of breeding by producing a new, improved variety as compared to conventional breeding. This helps solve the issue of worldwide food scarcity and malnutrition. In addition, it helps solve the issue of increasing yield of crops to grow more food on the decreasing amount of farm land.
Fawzy Georges & Heather Ray (2017) Genome editing of crops: A renewed opportunity for food security, GM Crops & Food, 8:1, 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/21645698.2016.1270489
Goldstein, Daniel A. “Tempest in a Tea Pot: How Did the Public Conversation on Genetically Modified Crops Drift so far from the Facts?” Journal of Medical Toxicology 10.2 (2014): 194–201. PMC. Web. 17 Oct. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4057531/
Minimalism is exactly how it sounds. If you are practicing minimalism, you simply are living with less. You might be asking yourself if you are a minimalist right now. When you look into your closet, what do you see? Are there things you haven’t touched in years but keep “just in case”? Or maybe you have just a couple things that you use daily in there. There are different levels of minimalism. Some decide to own little to nothing, other decide to own a little more. It is purely up to your own discretion.
The next question asked is, “why?”. Why on earth would someone want to throw away their things and live with minimal belongings? Well, less is more. It is been found to reduce stress, people often tend to spend less time cleaning and spend more time with family. The list is endless. I encourage you to research this if you find an interest in becoming a minimalist.
Becoming a minimalist is a challenge I have recently taken on. I found myself hanging on to things I never use and I decided I need to let things go. I started with going through my junk drawers and then donating clothing that I haven’t worn in over a year. I later progressed into selling electronics I hardly used and giving away furniture I really did not have much use for. After all this, I started to focus on me. Less social media, exercised more, and did other things to better myself rather than focusing on material things. I posted a thirty-day challenge below. I encourage you to give it a try!
Growing up in a small town of 68 people, you really come to understand the significance of shopping local. From grabbing a gallon of milk that was pasteurized and processed down the gravel road instead of from Walmart can truly make a world of a difference. I have come to the realization that to an extent, price does not matter – I will choose to support my local community.
Knowing the people behind the product is a huge influencer when I purchase something. Often, I think of it as I am supporting to put food on their children’s plate and clothes on their back. An example of this is buying sweet corn from a farmer across town; you know the people and want to help them prosper their business.
Another factor is the customer service behind the product. A lot of times when you walk in the door they know you and/or your parents which makes a unique experience. A friendly smile and conversation often lead to a lasting relationship.
Finally, I am more apt to shop locally because I care about my local economy. When you buy local, it creates more jobs for other community members and aids in sustainability.
I hope these influential factors resonate within you and that you begin a new lifestyle of shopping local.