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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Quick & Easy Breakfast Sandwich

   We love to cook from scratch at our house but let's be honest, there are days when scratch cooking just isn't possible. Perhaps Mom is sick; perhaps you have to be out the door in 5 minutes...whatever the reason, this breakfast sandwich is quick and easy to throw together and tastes so good and is filling.  It also costs a fraction of what you would pay at a certain fast food restaurant.

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Quick & Easy Breakfast Sandwich

 1 english muffin
1 egg
1 pc. of cheddar cheese
1 pc. of Canadian bacon
  
   First, lightly toast your English muffin in your toaster.  As it cooks, crack the egg into a microwave safe bowl.  

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Our beaten egg in a ceramic bowl before we cook it in the microwave.

     Cook for 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the egg is fully cooked.  You do not need to do anything to the bowl or add oil or anything.  It will cook just fine this way.  It usually only takes one minute to cook fully.

     As it is cooking, put your Canadian Bacon into a heated skillet with a small bit of oil.  Lightly fry the Canadian bacon on each side and then place it on the muffin.  Top with the cooked egg and a piece of cheddar cheese.  Top with the other half of the muffin and enjoy.

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If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #countrifiedhicks — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Blue-Ribbon Winning Baked Beans Recipe


     This is a baked bean recipe I created years ago and have entered and won several competitions with it.  It is the perfect mix of tangy and sweet and provides enough "juice" that you can "sop" up the goodies with a piece of homemade bread or some Cast Iron Skillet cornbread.

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      These Baked Beans go so good together with my Pulled Pork, my country style Ribs, or even with my Dr. Pepper Shredded Chicken.  Serve these with one of those meats, along with some Homemade Creamy Mac & Cheese and my Creamy Cold Corn Salad and you will have a really nice meal for you and your family!


Blue-Ribbon Winning Baked Beans


60 oz. pork and beans
3/4 c. barbecue sauce, I used homemade 
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
6 slices thick cut bacon
2 T. honey
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
     Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  
     In a large cast iron skillet, cook the bacon on medium to high heat.  Remove the bacon and allow to cool. 
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     Drain some of the fat out then add in the onions and allow them to soften and cook.  Add in the garlic and pepper and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir well.
   Pour the onion mixture into a large bowl and add in the pork and beans.
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 Stir and then add in the rest of the ingredients.  Stir.  

 Pour it into a 9"x13" cake pan.

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    Cover with foil and bake for one hour.  Once the hour has passed, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove, serve, and enjoy!
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If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #countrifiedhicks — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Creamy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese recipe


     Ronny absolutely LOVES macaroni and cheese.  It is one of his favorite foods of all time.  He can easily have a "blue box" full all by himself for a meal.  Only problem is if I fix him some mac & cheese then Ron and Bub smells it and wants some too.  Let's face it, it is not the cheapest thing in the world, especially when there isn't a lot in each box and it uses powdered cheese and so many preservatives and stuff.  I wanted to come up with a recipe that my family (including Ronny) would enjoy that was better for them and didn't cost a lot.  Well, I did it and here it is.

     My recipe yields some real creamy mac & cheese that my menfolk could not resist.  They kept coming back for more.  I ended up doubling the recipe you see below and made a HUGE pot full and the boys ate on it over the next couple of days.  It heats up wonderfully without losing the texture or creaminess so the next time your family is craving some good old fashioned mac & cheese I hope you will pull out this recipe and make it for them.

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Creamy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

 2 1/2 c. milk, divided
1/4 c. flour
8 oz. elbow macaroni
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. softened cream cheese
4 T. butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. chili powder flakes


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    Cook the macaroni al dente according to the package directions.  Once cooked, strain the macaroni into a colander and set it aside.
   
      Using the same pot you cooked your macaroni in, melt the butter.  Once completely melted, add in the flour and make a paste with it.  Stirring often, add in 1 1/2 cups of your milk.  Whisk it until it is nice and smooth and then cook it for about 5 minutes.  

      After the time has passed, stir in the cheese and cream cheese.

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     Stir until the cheese is completely melted.  If the cheese sauce is too thick, add in additional milk until it is the consistency desired.  Now, season with all the spices.  Stir.

     Rinse the macaroni so it does not stick together and then fold it into the cheese sauce.  Stir gently and serve.  

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If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #countrifiedhicks — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How to Make a Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper Mix & Recipe

    My family likes Hamburger Helper but I sure don't like the ingredients list on the side of the box.  We have been trying to make things from scratch as much as possible and I'm trying to stay away from box meals and unnatural products and ingredients.   The solution was for me to come up with my own variety and mix so on nights that we don't have a lot of time (or energy) we can still just grab a mix (mine and homemade) and throw it in the pot with a few other ingredients and have a quick and delicious meal that I can still feel good about!

    
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     This mix uses whole wheat macaroni, spices and other natural, whole ingredients; tastes better than the "box" meal and is ready in about 20 minutes!

Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper Mix

 1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat variety)
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. slat
1 tsp. sugar

     Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Stir well.  Place the mix into a mason jar or baggie and store until ready to use.

     The mix can store safely for 6-12 months in the pantry. 



Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper

1 pound cooked hamburger meat
1 pkg. of homemade cheeseburger macaroni hamburger helper mix
2 c. milk
1 c. water
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

    Put all ingredients (except the cheese) into a large skillet or pot, whichever you prefer.  Cover and turn the heat onto medium high.  Stir occasionally.  Once the pasta is completely cooked, remove the lid and stir in the cheese.  Stir until the cheese is fully incorporated and melted.  Turn off the stove and serve.  

      It is great as it is but you can also add in some diced bell peppers or some diced fresh tomatoes.   


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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Letting Go!



    Today is the day that I let go.  I am letting it all go.  What may you ask am I letting go?  I'm letting go of the old me.  Let's be honest, the old me is dead.  Multiple Sclerosis killed her and there is no going back.  Melody who once existed is gone.  No matter how hard I try to revive her and bring her back...it's all in vain.  It's all in vain and I am finally letting her go.  I guess you could say I killed her.  
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Me a few years back dressed up for Halloween!
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Happier times.  Ron, me and the boys went fishing and I caught one!


    For those of you who are new to my blog, my health is pretty bad.  Not only do I have MS, but I also have heart problems.  Right now I am trying to get enough money together to have an Aortic Valve replacement.  My share of the surgery is $1900 and I have to pay it before they will schedule my surgery.  I also have gout, gastroparesis, diverticulitis, and am an insulin-dependent diabetic.  I have a LOT of things stacked against me.  


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Me in one of my hospital stays

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Just me in the hospital again.


    (By the way, if you have even $5 to spare to help me have my surgery, here is my Gofundme link.  If you cannot give, please say a prayer for me and my family.  https://www.gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-countrifiedhicks)

     Anyway, I am happily married to Ron, who is a disabled veteran (USMC).  I have a 20 year old son named Brandon, but everyone calls him "Bubba" or "Bub".  We also have a 14 year old autistic son who I am the main caregiver for.  Ronny functions on about a 5-6 year old level.  

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Me and Ron kissing.  


    Anyway, my whole goal in life....my dream since I was a little girl was to be a wife and momma.  My greatest joy was being a housewife.  I loved "keeping house".  When Ron and I first got married, I woke up early every morning to cook Ron a nice homemade breakfast.  While he was at work, I baked fresh bread.  I made everything from scratch.  I washed our clothes in a washtub with a scrub board, using the detergent I had made earlier.  I kept our home super tidy and cared for the kids and played with them and loved them.  When Ron came home from work, I would have a nice meal set for him at the table.  When he needed a cup of coffee, I jumped up to get it for him.  This might sound crazy to a lot of people but I LOVED it.  It brought me such joy to care for my family.  It might sound very old fashioned to some but I am an old fashioned person and life was wonderful. 

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     All that began to change as my MS got worse and worse.  My heart began to fail and I had NO energy.  If you don't have MS or a heart disease, there is no way I can explain how exhausted I can get from just a short walk (from the bed to my desk).  I am at the point now that I cannot even take care of my everyday needs on my own.  

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One of my bad days.  Sick with fever and in a lot of pain. 

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What I spend much of the day doing...sleeping.


     Ron has to help me to and from the bathroom.  He has to help me sit down on the toilet and when I am done, he helps me up.  My legs just won't work for me anymore.  My limbs are so very weak that I am super limited on what I can and can't do.  I went a month without being able to shower.  I took daily sponge-baths but it is just not the same.  My leg hairs and underarm hairs were getting so long and I hated it.  I began to get depressed so Ron has begun coming to my desk and shaving my legs for me (and my underarms) so I can feel better about myself.  Two nights ago, Ron sat up my shower chair and helped me into the shower and he helped me take a shower.  My arms are so weak that taking a shower on my own is nearly impossible.  I don't have the energy or strength to wash on my own.   He gave me a shower and washed and conditioned my hair for me.  I was so sick of the dry shampoo that I nearly cried while having my shower.  It felt so good. 

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After my shower....with clean hair.  Yay!

     The shower felt wonderful but at the same time it depressed me.  How did I get from being the woman who takes care of everyone to the person who can't even bathe herself?  To be honest, I am totally disgusted with myself!  I am scared of the future.  What my future will look like....
Do I even have a future anymore.  I don't want to be a further burden on my family....

    I have been grieving so long over my diagnosis and my life.  I guess you can only grieve for so long.  I have been grieving for what I once was and the thing I am now.  In loss, we have to finally acknowledge the one is gone and try to move on.  That is what I am doing today.  I am finally ready to let her go.  I cannot continue to live with this deep hate for myself; with this deep depression.    I have to let go.  
    I wish I could let it all go but some things are here to stay like the chronic, debilitating pain that I have to live with every single day.  I can learn to cope with this kind of pain.  The physical pain is so much easier to deal with then the emotional turmoil I have been living with.  

    I have also lived with anxiety.  Anxious to whether Ron will continue to love me as I become more and more dependent on him.  In truth, I know he will.  He loves me with all his heart and tells me all the time he doesn't care if I lay in bed 24 hours a day as long as I am still here with him.  I know he means it but the mind can be cruel.  I also worry that the boys will regret the last few years where their mom spent so much time in bed.  Will their only memory be of a mom who could do nothing?  

      I had anger.  Angry for this.  Angry for it all.  But again, I have to let it die with the old me.  The old Melody will die today and she can take all the anger, the guilt, all the anxiety, and all the grief with her.  I am letting her go...but letting go is hard.  

    I have to let go of the shame.  I have to let go of what was.  I have to let go of the old dreams and learn to embrace the new ones.  I have to change my perception of this new me...this new life.  I have to find a new way to become a new wife, a new mom with the abilities and disabilities that I have.  I will let go of the anger and bitterness.  I have to ACCEPT my life as it is now and again, the only way to do that is to let the old life go.  

    C.S. Lewis once said "Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars.  You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."   

     I have been comparing my old life as my "happy life" and this life I am living now as my "sorrowful life" but that is no way to live.  I am changing my attitude.  My old life might have been my happy life but there is no reason that the life I am living now can't be rewritten to be my "amazing life".  

       The only way to do it is to let go.  Let all that negative stuff behind and focus on the positive things.  Taking care of my family through love and just being there for them.  Taking care of myself and allowing myself to heal itself as much as it can through rest.  I have to take care of my emotional well being by not trying to be perfect.  Be happy that I am still alive and am surrounded by loved ones.  I'm going to let it go and life will go on and it will be beautiful.  

     I know I will have bad days.  There will be times when my spirits will sag.  But I live in hope from now on.  I have a purpose in life still.  It is to be the best mom and best wife I can be.  Things are not as they were but they can still be beautiful but in other ways. I will focus on the beauty of now!

      Again, if you have even $5 to spare to help me have my surgery, here is my Gofundme link.  If you cannot give, please say a prayer for me and my family.  https://www.gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-countrifiedhicks

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich



  A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is probably the most well-known, most loved and the easiest sandwich to make.  What could be better than that?  I'll tell you what...a FRIED peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Oh, my gosh. I did not know what I had been missing all these years.  Now that I have made one (and devoured it), I will never eat a PB & J any other way.  It truly is mind-blowing.  

     I know you may be thinking, "how different can it be?"  Oh, wow.  It is SO much better.  I guarantee you that you will taste your first bite and your eyes will go wide and your taste buds will ignite.  The crisp and crunchy bread is delightful but the real winner of the sandwich is the hot, MELTED, gooey peanut butter.  Words cannot explain well enough how much better it is but please, for your own sake, TRY IT!

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   It is super easy to make a Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich.  All you need are:

2 slices of bread
peanut butter
jelly
1 T. butter

    Get out your peanut butter and favorite jelly and your bread.

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    Spread peanut butter out over one piece of bread and jelly over the other.  

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    Put your sandwich together and set aside.  

     Add your butter to a hot skillet and allow the butter to melt over medium heat.  Don't burn your butter.  

    Place your sandwich into your pan and allow it to fry until the bottom is golden brown.  Gently turn over the sandwich and allow to get to golden brown also.  Remove and place it on a plate.

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   Cut in half and enjoy!  

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Are you connected with Countrified Hicks on Social Media?



    Community is super important to me.  I live on a farm, out in the country.  The nearest town has less than 2,000 people in it. 


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This is the little "lane" that is at the beginning of our property and leads up to our home. 

       I only have 1 friend in town. All my other friends are online and 99% of them, I have never met in real life but I love them all dearly.  Because I am isolated and enjoy the friendships that I have, I want everyone to know the various ways I communicate with "my people".  

     I have several social media accounts so I hope you will "pop" by each one and follow me on them and be sure to say "hi" while you are there. 

     You can find me on my Facebook page "Countrified Hicks 2".  That is the place you will find me on a daily basis and have the largest batch of community.  We are very social and the people on my FB page are all one big family. 

     I am also on Twitter and just celebrated my 7 year anniversary with Twitter.  I don't post as often as I should be love reading and sharing other peoples "tweets". 

    On Instagram is the place that I share the majority of our farm life pictures.  I also share pictures of our day-to-day lives.   Lots of family pictures, animals and garden updates.  

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    I love Pinterest.  I have a LOT of boards and love the community style boards where a lot of people can all add pins.  If you have a community or shared board, please send me an invite so I can start pinning there too.  I pin pictures of all my recipes and anything I find visual and interesting.  

    I am super excited about my Youtube account.  My family and I create videos of all kinds.  I try to do video how-to's on recipes, DIY stuff, animal antics, etc.   Be sure to follow me on Youtube and subscribe to my channel so you never miss a single video.  

     I hope you will be sure to connect to me on my social media.  I look forward to connecting to each and every one of you!


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