White Trash ’Taters


I have heard them called many things.  Funeral potatoes, cheesy potatoes, picnic potatoes.  I like our name best.  No idea where the recipe came from originally.  I have been coming here to look for recipes and I noticed I hadn’t posted it here.  I posted it on a blog I never really kept up with.

I made these for Christmas in lieu of spending all the time it takes to make my decadent cheesy scalloped potatoes.

White Trash ’Taters Recipe

  • 2 lb. bag of Ore Ida frozen hash browns (cubes)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick oleo/butter
  • 3 tbsp. Onion (optional)
  • 1 bag sour cream & onion potato chips.

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease 9” x 13” pan.

Mix all ingredients except potatoes in large bowl. Put frozen potatoes into pan, break clumps if necessary. Stir in cheese mixture, mix well.

Crush sour cream & onion potato chips and sprinkle over top of pan.

Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 1 hour at 350°, remove foil & bake for 10-15 min. longer.

Substitutions/Variations: I don’t use onions in mine… but I have bought the potatoes “southwest style” with green peppers. Also, if you don’t like cream of chicken… cream of mushroom or celery or potato or just about anything will do. I usually double the sour cream called for above, and use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter or oleo. Also… in place of the chips I have seen corn flakes or Ritz crackers. Once you get it down, you can adapt it any way you like.

Do you make this?  Do you change it up?  I have used shredded gouda in addition to the sharp cheddar and it is awesome.  I usually end up doubling this for some reason.  I want to try BBQ chips on top one of these days.

Ham N’ Bean Soup.


I was really hungry for ham n’ bean soup after the Christmas ham.  Usually I make a Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup with ham leftovers, but this time I wanted something different.  Plus, I made a sweet glaze for this ham which may not have played well with that soup.  I have made ham n’ bean soup before with the dried beans that I had to soak overnight, but I remember my last batch being way too salty.

This one turned out a lot better.  I used canned beans.  While we generally do most of out shopping at Aldi (& via Instacart), there are some things that Aldi doesn’t sell so I made the trip to Giant Eagle to get all the beans.  I think it turned out well.  This is more of a method than a recipe.  Here’s what I posted on Instagram (edited for terrible typing and a clear blatant lack of proofreading/editing);

AiXeLsyD13's Ham n' Bean Soup

Ham n’ Bean Soup | @AiXeLsyD13

Finally made the ham n’ bean soup.

Started with some carrots cut up, half of a Spanish onion minced, and 3 each red & yellow mini sweet bell peppers chopped very fine, sautéed them in a bit of butter, added spices

Next I added a @yuenglingbeer traditional lager, some vegetable broth, and some water & a bit of ham bullion/paste stuff.from a jar.

Then I added some leftover gravy from the Christmas ham which included ham drippings and my glaze that dropped down (beer, yellow mustard, Herlocher’s, honey, brown sugar, garlic, water, & corn starch). Then I cubed up some leftover ham from Christmas, popped it in the mix, then added some canned great northern beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans, red beans, white kidney beans, and canned diced new potatoes.

Finally I added some bisquick mix to make some dumplings after the beans cooked a bit.

I have to say it hit the spot. @bcarroll_13 liked it, and Molly did eat a bit, Ian said he liked it but didn’t eat any. Molly REALLY liked the dumplings.

I bought peas to add, but wasn’t feeling then in this mix so I kept them out.

I may try the “bags of gold” cheese-filled dumplings soup that grandma used to make next.

I forgot to mention that one can of great northern beans I mashed before putting it in because I like a thick soup.  The dumplings were my mom’s idea, which is funny if you know her & that she hates biscuits & dumplings.  I also used a few drops of liquid smoke for the first time ever at the advice of a good friend!  I also sometimes like to cook with Straub American Amber instead of Yuengling Traditional Lager.  I thought about adding garbanzo beans, but I didn’t.  I bet they would have gone well in here too.

Do you make your ham n’ bean soup?  This is something I probably make slightly different every time.  Share your secrets, tips, & tricks in the comments!

What’s it like to be a parent? (a.k.a. The Great Christmas Tree Shenanigans of 2019) 🎄


If you want to know what it’s like to be a parent, let me give you some insight.

Tonight we were putting up the Christmas tree. It is old & the top 3rd didn’t all completely light up last year. I did sort of attempt to fix the problem to no avail. Again this year with a replacement bulb to no avail.

Because the kids were excited, we continued to decorate. About 95% done, I remarked aloud (my mistake?) that we should get a new tree. So, everyone got out of their PJ’s into regular clothes and we ended up going to Home Depot. Excitement was off the charts.

At Home Depot, there were a bunch of great trees for all kinds of price ranges. All four of us finally settled on a tree that we liked. (It’s really cool… pre-lit, and can be all white or different colors!)

Looking for the tree on the shelf, of course they didn’t have one. Neither did any of the other local stores. We bought the floor model for a slight discount but the caveat was that there was no box.

The kids managed to bounce around the store with Christmas Spirit like Will Ferrell in Elf while sort of processing that this was the only tree if we wanted that tree.

Us purchasing the tree from the floor was apparently the most exciting thing we have ever done and we (well, half of us) danced to the checkout with 3 shopping carts in tow… the useless race car one because we can never not get it, and two regular orange carts, one with 2/3 of a tree and one with the remaining 1/3 & stand.

I had wanted to get a rubbermaid tote for it, but the ants in our pants had grown great in their numbers and were humming the chorus to “Ode to Joy.” We checked out and came home with the plan that we could continue the tree decoration process tomorrow.

So of course, once in the house, we promptly assembled & started to decorate the new tree while un-decorating the old tree. Oh the excitement was uncontainable!

Being that garbage collection was pushed back a day due to Thanksgiving, I wanted to put the old tree on the curb.

I told the kids to say goodbye to the old tree and Ian looked like I just told him we were going to skin and eat Butterscotch (our cat) after roasting her over an open flame. Once the crocodile tear rolled down his cheek, it set Molly into big sister sympathy tears mode.

We had talked before about getting a second tree for the dining room because it looks nice in that window from outside.

Guess who is going to try harder to fix that Christmas tree because he is a sucker for recently overjoyed and now crying children?

I’m glad they’re sensitive and sentimental, but wow.

All the #StarWars things.


I know I posted about this before, but a lot has changed since then.

All the Star Wars Things

(-o-)

So, if you were going to try to watch it ALL in chronological order, except the Lego cartoons, would it go like this?

  • Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars (animated microseries)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (3D CGI movie)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (3D CGI series)
  • Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars: Droids (animated series)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Star Wars Rebels
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special
  • Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (made for TV movie)
  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (made for TV movie)
  • Star Wars: Ewoks (animated series)
  • Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • The Mandalorian
  • Star Wars Resistance
  • Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars – Episode VIII: The The Last Jedi
  • Star Wars – Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Forces of Destiny and Galaxy of Adventures are messing with me by jumping all over the place.  Does Blips belong there too?

Shut up about canon.

|-o-| [-o-] |-o-|

Also, would be fun to see in the mix:

  • Fanboys
  • Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy
    • Family Guy: Blue Harvest
    • Family Guy: Something Something Something, Dark Side
    • Family Guy: It’s a Trap!
  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars
  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II
  • Spaceballs
  • Spaceballs: The Animated Series
  • Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

Light it up in the comments.  Maybe someday we’ll continue Star Wars movie nights.  Peep all my Star Wars related posts.

 

Wanna do a Halloween #maze or two?


Well. They’re not all Halloween themed. But they’re all mazes. I messed around with some of them in PicsArt and Instagram.

Try a few. Get the solutions on your social media of choice. Tag me in it. I’m always @AiXeLsyD13 unless someone is being a butthole and takes it first for some reason even though it’s my handle across all platforms.

Share them too. This may be a fun Halloween activity for the kids or for the whole family.

Teal Pumpkins Are Not a Political Issue.


Never read the comments.

I wish I could follow that advice. Wading through the temperamental pool that is social media, one occasionally finds a bright spot in a news story. I thought I found that with an article posted by a local news channel notifying those that aren’t already in the know about the significance of teal pumpkins.  It subtly linked to this cool little video:

Simple enough, right?

It’s a brief article explaining the significance and the history of the Teal Pumpkin Project.  If you go through to the FARE website, you an even get free activities and advice for non-food treats.  We have participated since 2014, and I have written about it before.

View this post on Instagram

#HappyHalloween! #TealPumpkinProject #StaySafe!

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Then, I read the comments.

Some people are garbage.  I mean, I know that is harsh, and I know what we are supposed to be kind to everyone, but that can be a struggle when people out themselves as disgusting human beings.  Did these people not ever watch Mister Rogers?

I think this is why they are teaching kids these days to “Be The I in Kind” or to Be the kind kid.  They’re not going to pick it up at home if these are the mentoring adults.

REALLY.

 

I had a few replies that still stand.

To some nut job making this political:

Just so I can understand, how do any of the following (totally optional) things ruin your holiday, and just exactly how are they associated with liberals?

1. Putting out a symbol to indicate that your house is safe for food allergies.

2. Providing nut and/or gluten free treats, and maybe even non-food treats in addition to whatever you normally provide.

3. Displaying compassion and empathy to others already afflicted with a life-altering medical condition.

4. Teaching others by example how to be kind to others.

I never did get a direct reply there.

To the uniformed, absolutely resisting this new information:

No one is forcing you to buy a teal pumpkin or to pass out allergen safe treats. The article is just to inform you of the meaning so you don’t buy one as a decoration just because it matches your cold frozen emotionless heart.

Just some more advice:

We have been doing this for years. Having food allergies myself, dining out, social gatherings, and many events can be a harrowing experience.

We have 3 separate bowls… traditional things like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, nut-free stuff like Smarties, and a bowl of totally non-food treats like pencils, stickers, little toys, etc.

We help spread awareness, the toys go as well as the candy, and hopefully we teach a bit of kindness and empathy.

I don’t even have the energy to get into the “it’s been a tradition for hundreds of years” comment.  I think candy and trick or treating weren’t a thing until about the 1920’s in the United States… so that’s ONE hundred years ago at best.  The push for chocolate was after WWII’s rationing… So, kick it back to 70 or so years.  Earlier Celtic/Samhain traditions probably didn’t involve candy, but what do I know?

So please, this year, show a little compassion, empathy, and kindness.  Pass the word along to your friends, family, and neighbors.  You don’t have to preach about it, but you can lead by example.  Also, learn to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction for yourself, your friends, and your community.  You may help save someone’s life!  That is, if it doesn’t inconvenience you in any way or support the grand liberal agenda.

 

 

 

Wanna do a #maze or two?


I have been posting them to Instagram, just not here much.  I have a few I have drawn but haven’t shared.  I may share them here.  Is anyone interested in them?  Should I save them for a publisher or Etsy shop? I need to get with CI3 and make some mugs!

View this post on Instagram

So, who's gonna solve my #GuitarCase #Maze?

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Yeah, that one is on my guitar case. It would be killer if someone could complete that one… just not on the actual case. Ha ha.

Thanksgiving is my favorite. Maybe after Halloween.

View this post on Instagram

Give it a go. #maze #mazes #solvethismaze

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

I am so proud of my little artist!

View this post on Instagram

Cleaned up my #maze from earlier.

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

View this post on Instagram

Another #maze if you dig.

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsa51dkBfyb/Who%20doesn't%20need%20a%20good%20inspirational/motivational%20quote/meme%20not%20and%20then?https://www.instagram.com/p/BsbyuFphJmL/

You know you wanna print one and try it, or use an app on your phone/tablet to draw right on it. Then you wanna tag me in social media with the solution or leave it here in the comments.

🔥 Gimme Your Mountain Pie Recipes! 🔥 🌳🌲🏕️🌳


So, do you like mountain pies? I sure do.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

Typical mountain pie preparation, assembly, & cooking at church camp.

This is a horrible blurry photo of a mountain pie, but look at those crimped edges!We used to make them every time we went camping when I was a kid, and we camped quite often. Nothing beats cooking a mountain pie over the hot coals of an aging campfire. We generally make pizza ones, and we have made Reuben ones, and you have your standard pie-filling from a can/powdered sugar on top ones… but other than that I haven’t gotten too crazy. One time I did make a baked bean one. I mean, why not? Also, once we put leftover nine-can vegetable soup in an electric sandwich maker that we got on clearance from Kmart for $5. So, that is sort of similar to making a mountain pie. I mean, it would have made a good one.

It's a bit crispy, but I assure you it was delicious.

Look at those crimped edges!

You gotta use a cast iron pie iron though, not those goofy aluminum ones. I have melted many an aluminum pie iron. I make those coals blacksmith hot. Also, you need one that seals the edges. The ones that don’t make a seal are just sandwich-heater-uppers and that’s bogus. I know they also make round ones where you can cook an egg and make an Egg McMuffin-ish type of sandwich.

My wife & I counsel for church camp every summer, and my camp always makes mountain pies… a tradition my family brought to our camp group when I was younger. Usually my friend Laurel & I end up being the cooks, over a fire in a pavilion fireplace that rivals the fury of Mount Doom of Mordor.

Some of the campers have made cool ones with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I need to try that. (Side note: have you ever had a campfire banana? Do it!) An old preacher friend of ours enjoys one filled with butter & powdered sugar. I bet it’s like a donut.

#MountainPieMadness

Moutain Pielander? THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! #MountainPieMadness

So, what are your go-to mountain pie recipes?  I hear some people also call them hobo pies, pudgy pies, campfire pies, jaffle pies, and other crazy stuff.  They have to rank up there right behind hot dogs and s’mores as the #1 campfire food.  I have thought a cheesesteak one would be delicious, maybe an Italian Sub on, maybe a burger melt/’Frisco burger kind of thing, maybe one with baked beans and a sliced hot dog would be the ultimate campfire mashup?  You could go with a classic grilled cheese.

Share your tried-and-true recipes and your zany ideas in the comments!

Some of our favorite #ElfOnTheShelf setups this year…


The kids were really into Jovie-Belle, their Elf on the Shelf, this year.  These are a few of my favorites. Post your favorites in the comments! (I have a bunch on Pinterest too… some appropriate, some not at all.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t get crazy creative every night, but the kids really made a big deal about finding her every morning. Maybe next year we’ll get a second elf and have some more fun.

Posting #25XmasSongs – Part 2 🎅


Did you see part 1?  I quickly realized I like a vast odd selection of Christmas music.  There are so many I dig that didn’t make the cut, and I’m sure ones I forgot.  Throw me your favorites in the comments!