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I have pork loin but I don’t have potatoes. I’m sifting through the fridge and I find squash. Lots of baby squash I forgot I had. If I don’t use them soon, I’ll lose them. Hmm….pork loin and squash? What the heck, let’s give it a try. This is what I did:
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Makes 2 dozen plus a baby dozen (in one of those baby trays). Bakes for 15 minutes.

I say front yard because that’s where I picked the hickory nuts! This was our first winter in Wisconsin and I didn’t outsmart the squirrels this year, but next year I’ll be ready. Hickory nuts covered our front yard, but I didn’t actually get out to pick them until about October. Hmmm. By October, there weren’t many left. The squirrels, chipmunks and mice cleaned out 75% of the yard. #$%^!

I picked all that were left. About 25% of those nuts contained weevils! Eeek! Most of them climbed out onto the baking pan as soon as I brought them in to dry out. Then the cracking and cleaning began. Between the baby, dinner, errands, and life—-the only time I had to sit and crack was late in the evenings when the baby slept, the husband’s feet soaked, lunch sat prepared in the fridge and dinner was well put away. Needless to say, this didn’t happen often.

Then my hands began to give me trouble. So, he cracked and I cleaned. Many times I had to wait on him to crack more as I’d  already finished my lot. So I started in October and FINISHED in March! It only took me 5 months! But I gained two full containers (though small) of FREE HICKORY NUTS! What fun– FREE food I found in our yard! YAY!
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This is how I made them!

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We fed her all winter long but there was no composting going on in -18 degree weather. Our kitchen scraps set frozen in her belly. But the snow has officially melted and the green grass spreads across the yard.

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We’re excited to see how things grow here in Wisconsin. Our two gardens in St. Marys, Georgia produced an amazing array of vegetables but fighting off the bugs from an organic garden proved almost fruitless. The bugs consumed over half of the garden in our back yard. Ugh! I was also too sick from pregnancy to fight. Talk about sea sickness! Ha! I wasn’t even the one in the Navy.

Sooo….here in Wisconsin. Well, let’s see. Everything I’ve looked up says start seeds around St. Patrick’s Day in southern Wisconsin. Well…. I couldn’t get myself together by then and the honey was busy working 12 hour days.

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Growing up, mama used to always put spaghetti in the chili. From rural Kentucky, she grew up eating it this way. I always thought it was because mama grew up poor and the spaghetti made the chili go farther with her six brothers and sisters.

Maybe.

But I’ve found a few other places sell it like this. Including Sky Line Chili. Maybe it wasn’t something my creative cooker of a grandmother created, after all. (This wasn’t the mean grandmother, this was the one who spoke like a sailor.)

This chili I borrowed from Betty Crocker (bless her) and then added a few things she didn’t. If you’d like to see her original recipe, just click here. Otherwise, check out my varied version.
Happy Chili cooking!

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One of my grandma’s recipes I converted to the crock pot!
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I usually make this in the oven, but you know I just had to try it in the crock pot! It worked!

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So, my mama was coming to visit and I like to try to impress her with lots of different dishes that are easy to make. She’s a real “meat and potatoes” kind of girl who likes plain things, so if I make something spicy or complicated, it had better taste good. Because….well, don’t we all aim to please our mothers a bit? Don’t we want them to be proud and take a bite and say, “Well, look at what a little chef you turned out to be?” Yeah, well, I do.

So, I made this:

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Lentil score!

I finally did it. I made lentils soooo good, I could kiss myself! Hooray! Hooray! I should throw a party. Only took me 3 years.

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Cooks quickly and has cheese in it. Any questions?

cheesy crockpot

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