World Frog Day

Everyone is all excited about today being the International Day of Happiness. When I woke up this morning I’d already been bombarded by posts on every social media platform about being happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for happiness. Happiness is a good thing and we should all strive to make others happy and be happy ourselves. But aren’t we forgetting something? Today is also (and more importantly) World Frog Day!

World Frog Day

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Goals and Challenges

The idea of having New Year’s resolutions has always evaded me. Perhaps it’s because, in my wild youth, I actually tried making them and failed miserably. But I think, more than my failure at keeping resolutions in the past, it’s that the very premise of resolutions made at the beginning of the year seems destined to create failure. Instead, I’ve decided to come up with a list of goals and challenges.

Goals and Challenges

“But,” you say, “Goals and challenges are the same things as resolutions!”

Nay, nay! Resolutions are like Damocles’ sword dangling over your head. If you don’t keep them you feel that you’ve let yourself (and possibly all of humanity if you have really grandiose resolutions) down. Goals and challenges are things that you can achieve or not achieve without the humiliation of failed resolutions.

Here’s what I mean: I resolve to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year and only lose 19 pounds (or gain 3). I’ve failed. But if I set a goal of 20 pounds, and challenge myself to come as close to it as I can and lose 19 pounds I’m a total rock star!

So this year I’ve set a few goals and I’m challenging myself to meeting as many of them as possible in the way closest to the goal as possible. See? Goals and challenges, people! No failure. I can meet my goals by percentages.

My goals for the year, in no particular order, are:

Spend time reading the Bible and praying each day. It’s so easy to let ourselves forget that we need God more than we need anything else. As a result of my busy life I often let time with God get pushed down on the “To Do” list.

Goals and challenges

Learn to sew: napkins, easy curtains, and a very simple top for myself.

Goals and challenges

Make one meatless meal per week. This may not seem like much of a challenge but I feel about me the way Ron Swanson feels about meat –

Help build the ducks’ cabin – This will necessitate me sitting outside asking endless questions and telling Mr. C and Pete how to do things that I don’t know how to do while they’re actually doing things. It will also require that I demand a far bigger and more complex cabin than the ducks need and probably installing a small lake in the side yard.

Goals and challenges

Restore the front flower beds

Goals and challenges

Some of my Goals and Challenges will have to wait until summer…

Make and can cherry salsa. I have cherry salsa in the past and everyone loved it. This is an important part of my goals and challenges for the year. I want to can enough to have plenty for the family and some jars I can give as gifts.

Can enough tomato sauce for one year. Ideally I will be able to can enough for the kids as well. Last season was the Attack of the Killer Tomato Sauce!

Organize the junk room (yes, I have one) so looks less like an episode of “Hoarders” and can be a second bedroom for the grand kids’ visits. They’re getting too big to sleep in the same room and it’s the perfect reason to get rid of all the stuff we don’t need or use.

Goals and challenges

Bake once a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s some kind of bread or cakes, pies, or cookies. I need to start baking regularly again. Due to my health I’ve slacked off but, if I plan and don’t give myself excuses, I know I can do it!

Goals and challenges Yes, I baked this. If you believe that I have an investment opportunity for you!

Finally; Grow this blog. I’m so grateful for those of you who read The Comfortable Coop regularly. And I’d love to reach even more people. My dream is to have a blog that really helps people in many of the areas with which all homemakers sometimes struggle. And this is a goals and challenges area you can help me. Please tell me what you like and don’t like about The Comfortable Coop. Be honest! This blog is for you and your suggestions are invaluable to me. I thank you in advance!

So there you have my simple Goals and Challenges! I’ll check off things if as they are completed.

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Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Lately I’ve been too fatigued to even think of getting something started early in the day in my slow cooker. And I don’t want to have to watch three or four pots while standing over the stove either. But if I do a little pre-cooking I can put everything together and have my meat, potatoes, and vegetables all in one. That’s why I love Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake!

 

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

I suppose I could make this dish even easier…

by not cooking the onions. But I love the sweetness caramelized onions bring to it so I don’t mind making them. I just cook them in a little butter until they’re a deep caramel color. And I boil the potatoes for a few minutes so they’re nice and tender when the chops are done.

Then I season both sides of the pork chops with pepper right in a large casserole dish. I don’t use salt as the soup is salty enough.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Next I put the potatoes around the chops and spread the onions and some green beans over the chops.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

In a large bowl I mix 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder until they’re well combined.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

I spread the soup mixture over the pork and vegetables.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Then I cover the dish with foil and put it in the oven. It takes 45 – 60 minutes to bake depending on the thickness of the pork chops.

Now I just put my feet up!

I pull the dish out of the oven when the chops are 145 degrees (for medium rare) and let it rest for a few minutes.

We love the creamy soup enveloping the pork and vegetables. It doesn’t overpower the individual flavors. Instead it pulls them all together.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake is terrific because we have a really tasty meal and I spend a lot less time in the kitchen!

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Ingredients

  • 3 large potatoes, parked and cut in bite size chunks
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 - 6 pork chops, bone-in
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Season both sides of pork chops with pepper to taste.
  4. Place in large oven-safe casserole dish.
  5. Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Add sliced onions and cook until onions are well caramelized (about 15 minutes).
  7. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Spread onions and garlic over chops.
  9. In a large bowl, mix garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and cream of mushroom soup.
  10. Pour over pork.
  11. Cover with foil and bake for 45 – 60 minutes.
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Do You Have Polycythemia Vera?

While it’s never pleasant to think you may have a serious disease it’s important that you find out early on. Some diseases are so subtle and asymptomatic you need tests to discover them. Polycythemia vera is considered a rare disease with about 2 in every 100,000 people having the disease. It usually develops slowly, and you might have it for years without knowing. Often the condition is found during a blood test done for another reason. Do you have Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia Vera

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Beef Stew

Our weird winter weather continued last week with temperatures above normal. Then came the power outage and by Saturday morning the lows were ridiculously low. I’d refused to come out from beneath the blankets while we had no electricity and, therefore, no heat but once the power returned I was really craving a good homemade meal. And, since it was seasonally cold (freezing) it was the perfect night for beef stew!

Beef stew is the perfect cold weather meal!
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