30 Day Give : Day 7

Today’s give was a yummy one! I cooked cinnamon rolls (a first for me) and took them to our staff meeting. They were a HUGE hit and well appreciated.

Then, in the afternoon, I ran back up to the office and started THREE crock pots of taco soup for a group of co-workers that were having meetings late into the evenings. I also brought them chopped veggies with homemade dip.

I finished their meal up with a delicious Lime Cake that I learned to make a few months ago. It was the perfect finish to the somewhat spicy meal.



I love cooking for other people. It’s such a fun way to give!

If you’ve missed the first few days of the 30 Day Giving Challenge, you can catch up here.

Day 6: Giving By Serving
Day 5: Packing Candy Bags for OCC
Day 4: Giving Your Time
Day 3: Appreciating Teachers
Day 2: A Day at the Library
Day 1: Giving School Spirit Wear

We are really having a blast with 30 Day Giving Challenge here at the House of Hills. Are you participating?!

 Linked to Keeping the Kingdom First.



OAMM Holiday eCookbook Sale

I am SO excited to tell you about this AWESOME sale that Tricia over at Once A Month Mom is having today! You’re going to want to jump on this one and the earlier the better!!

Once a Month Mom Holiday 2010 eCookbook

Tricia’s very first eBook, Once a Month Mom Holiday 2010 eCookbook, that she wrote for the holidays last year is going on sale starting at 9:30 AM THIS MORNING. As copies are sold, the price will increase, so click on over now.

Starting at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time Zone:

  • 100 copies will be available for  $1.00
  • 200 copies will be available for  $2.00 (Code: OAMMTWO)
  • 300 copies will be available for  $3.00 (Code: 300OAMM)
  • 400 copies will be available for  $4.00
  • 500 copies will be available for  $5.00
  • 600 copies will be available for  $6.00
  • 700 copies will be available for  $7.00

Coupon codes will be available on an ongoing basis over at Once A Month Mom’s Facebook Fan Page. I’ll try to keep up and keep this post updated as well.

This eCookbook is actually the first eBook I ever purchased, and I LOVE it. There are awesome recipes, but the BEST part of the eBook are the planning pages. Shopping lists and instructions for preparing and freezing key components to your holiday meals. Then, on the big day, you just thaw, heat and enjoy! Whoop!

So jump on over and check out Once a Month Mom Holiday 2010 eCookbook. You’ll want to snag your copy now.

Disclosure: Links are affiliate links, but opinions are as always my own.

Chocolate Chili


This is on of My Sweetie’s favorite recipes. He found it several years ago here, and I adapted it. I like to make it when the weather gets cooler. It certainly is that today… cooler and wetter as we’re experiencing some much needed rain.

This chili recipe is special because of these two intriguing ingredients…

cinnamon and cocoa powder.

They’re magically delicious!

Chocolate Chili
2 T. olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. ground cumin
2 1/2 pounds ground meat (I use beef. The original called for turkey.)
½ cup chili powder
3-4 bay leaves
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. salt
½ t. ground cinnamon
1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
I used 1 box Pomi strained tomatoes
1 19-ounce can small white beans, rinsed, drained
1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 19-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained

Heat oil in heavy large pot–your absolute biggest one–over medium heat.
Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute.
Increase heat to medium-high.
Add meat; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon.
(At this point you need to drain if you’re using beef.)
Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add both boxes of Pomi tomatoes. Mix in stock.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer.
Discard bay leaves.

You could top with sour cream or serve with corn chips or just garnish the way you like.

I have frozen this, and it works well.

What is your favorite chili recipe?


Menu Plan Monday : 09 19 11

We don’t have any major activities this week (at least during the week). When I told the Princess, her jaw dropped. This hasn’t happened in quite some time. There are no rehearsals. No practices. We’re really not sure what we’re going to do with ourselves. Guess I can cook dinner this week! We have a TON of meat in the freezer thanks to a Plum District on Omaha Steaks and the chicken from Zaycon Foods.

Monday: Small Group (We might have a snack before. Princess will have chicken nuggets.)

Tuesday: Steak, potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday: 5 Layer Chicken Enchiladas, sliced veggies


Thursday: Pork Chops, Rice, Green Beans

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Cast party

Sunday: Chicken and Rice casserole from the freezer, salad

Linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

40 POUNDS OF CHICKEN!!! {and, a giveaway}

That’s right. 40 pounds of chicken. People, that is A LOT of chicken. And, I got it for free. Why? ‘Cause Zaycon Foods wanted me to tell you all about them. I am SO HAPPY to tell you all about them.Why?


Seriously! The BEST! And people, I’ve had A LOT of chicken in my day.

What makes their chicken so great? The fact that two days before it was on my counter it was walking around on the farm enjoying the good life. When I received it, it was fresh and hadn’t been frozen. It was DELICIOUS chicken.

Do you want to see what 40 pounds of chicken looks like?

Yep, that’s a big box of chicken. Now, take a look at the size of the breasts…

Seriously amazing right!

It did take me a couple hours to break down this massive box of chicken. It was worth every minute. I threw about half of it into my three crock pots with some Italian dressing.

After it was done, I was able to chop it up and mix up double batches of three different casseroles for the freezer.

A batch of buffalo chicken dip for the next day.

And still have an entire container of chopped chicken that I eventually baggied into 2 cup portions and put in the freezer.

I also froze several breasts (cut in half) for our enjoyment later on.

40 pounds of chicken goes a long way and will be feeding our family (and others) for quite awhile. The next time I have an opportunity to get some, I will for sure be PURCHASING it!

That’s right! Zaycon Foods is launching distribution in GA (and MANY OTHER STATES) this fall, and we can purchase it! You and me both! Amazingly fresh chicken breasts for $1.69 a pound. Whoop!

I got an email from Zaycon Foods yesterday saying that they would be in Georgia sometime between September 28 and October 5. They will be visiting several of the metro-area cities and even further south : Norcross, Canton, Columbus, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Warner Robbins. If you are in or near any of these cities, you need to jump online and sign up now!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Zaycon Foods and register. You MUST do this so that they can notify you when they will be in the area. (I would love if you would use the reference “houseofhills” so I can get a credit. You can then get a link to email your friends so you can get credits. It’s a win win.)
  2. They will email you when they will be in your area and tell you of the deal they’ll be offering.
  3. You order and pay online.
  4. You drive to appointed place at the appointed time and they fill your trunk with quality meat.
  5. You go home and start breaking it down thinking of all the yumminess your family will enjoy for weeks to come.

If you are not in Georgia, I encourage you to go online and register anyway. Then, when they are coming to a city near you, you will be notified.

Zaycon Foods is so excited about their launch (I am too. Can you tell?) that they are doing a giveaway right here on the House of Hills! Can I get a whoop whoop!?

They are giving away a $65 credit to your Zaycon Foods account. Yep, that’s almost the entire cost of a 40 pound box of chicken. And, if you win and they don’t currently service your area, they will send you a check for $30 for you to go buy some chicken at the store. Isn’t that nice?

Do you want to win $65 worth of free chicken? I know you do. Here’s how:

  • Pop on over to Zaycon Foods and check them out. Come back and tell me one new thing you discovered about them. (I’d love you to sign up while you’re over there.)

For extra entries:

Winner will be drawn on September 18th at noon!

UPDATE: Congratulations Penny W! You won. Please check your email.

Disclosure: Zaycon Foods supplied me with 40 pounds of chicken to try and the credit for the giveaway. All opinions are my own. Links to Zaycon Foods are affiliate links.

Menu Plan Monday : 07 24 11

I know. It’s been forever since I’ve shared a plan.

The truth – I haven’t really been having one this summer.

You’re shocked. I know.

Here’s the thing. It’s been kinda flexible around here. For one, the Princess hasn’t been home for dinner much. She’s been at camp, then at Callaway Gardens, and then at Grandma’s. Then, there is the going to the pool. That impedes on dinner plans. For sure.

However, this week… I’ve got a plan.

Monday: Small Group – We’ll grab a snack and then eat yummies with the group.

Tuesday: No Princess. Meatloaf and salad.

Wednesday: No Princess. Perhaps My Sweetie will ask me out on a date.

Thursday: Monterrey Chicken Quesadillas

Friday: Burson Kids Day : Takeout Pizza using a Groupon!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Sticky Chicken, steamed broccoli, rice

We’ll see if I stick to the plan.

What are you planning this week?


Linked to Menu Plan Monday.


Slow Cooker BBQ

I’ve been wanting you share this one with you for awhile. I just keep forgetting!! The pictures are even from my old house. Ya, I don’t miss those counters. I LOVE my new counters…

I digress… You want the recipe.

Gather your ingredients:

Chop up your pork loin into cubes and place in your slow cooker.

Dump everything else in on top.

Let cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Stir every once in awhile.

Once it’s done, use two forks to shred all the meat and then add your favorite BBQ sauce until its the consistency and taste you want.

To freeze, let cool and then use the purple cup method to fill quart freezer bags. Add additional sauce to the bag as desired.

This is so yummy! A girlfriend brought it to a small group several years ago, and it has become a House of Hills staple. I grab pork loins when they are on sale, make some and freeze it.

Slow Cooker BBQ

  • 1 pork tenderloin package (2 loins) – cut into 3″ pieces
  • 1 packet dry onion soup
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce to taste

Combine the first 5 ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low all day (8-10 hours) or high for 5-6 hours. Then, shred pork with 2 forks and add BBQ sauce to taste.

We typically serve it on buns. However, I’ve put it on a baked potato, and it was divine. I’ve thought of making nachos with it too.


Recipe: Coca-Cola Cake

A few months ago a co-worker asked if I’d ever made a Coca-Cola cake. I was intrigued. I hadn’t ever even heard of Coca-Cola cake. He suggested that maybe I might like to try making one. (My co-workers are often suggesting I should try different recipes as they usually get the leftovers.) So, when I stumbled across this Coca-Cola cake recipe, I bookmarked it. I had actually looked at the Coke website for a recipe. Their recipes seemed too complicated for me. I’m a Betty Crocker NOT a Martha Stewart.

A few weeks ago, one of the women in my small group suggested that maybe I should make a cake for her birthday which was coming up soon. (Do you notice a theme here. People always suggesting things. Guess they know I love to cook.) I thought, “Hey! I should make that Coca-Cola Cake I found awhile back.” And, that’s just what I did.

It was a HUGE hit, both with the small group folks (Except for my one girlfriend who doesn’t like Coke. Who lives in the ATL and doesn’t like Coke?) and the co-workers.

I thought I’d share the recipe with you.


  • 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 small box (3-4 oz) INSTANT chocolate pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 10 oz Coca-Cola (NOT diet)

Whisk together the cake mix and pudding. Add eggs, oil and Coca-Cola and mix until combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before flipping it onto a cookie sheet or platter.


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla (recipe called for 1 1/2 – I always put more)
  • 1/8 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Beat butter on low speed with mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

You can cut the cake in half and ice as a layered cake. (That’s what I did.) Or, you can just ice the cake.

It was REALLY good! So good that people who ate it at the office when I wasn’t there even emailed and called me to tell me how good it was. I’m thinking they want me to make that one again.

If you want to go a little crazy, the author of the original post even lists several other soda and cake mix combinations that might be yummy.

Do you use Coca-Cola (or any other sodas) in one of your recipes?

Works For Me Wednesday: Freezing Sauce

My Katie taught me many things before she went to be with Jesus. She taught me about love and compassion and faith and friendship. All amazing things. However, right before she passed she taught me an awesome practical thing.

She taught me how to freeze spaghetti sauce.

Now, with as much batch/freezer cooking as I do, you know I’ve frozen spaghetti sauce before. I would pour it into Ziploc baggies using my purple cup method, struggle to get it out to the garage freezer and then hope to find a flat place to put the baggies so they would freeze somewhat uniform.

It NEVER occurred to me to create a flat place for them. Um, DUH!

So, the day that I was over at Katie’s house when she had just finished a batch of spaghetti sauce and asked me to freeze it for her was eye opening! She walked me through how she did it, and I had to pull out my camera/phone to take pictures.

She was brilliant!

Put a cookie sheet in the freezer, lay all the bags on top, and they freeze nice and flat.

Then, once they’re frozen, you can shelve them like books in a plastic container or basket in the freezer.

Total brilliance.

I made a triple batch of Katie’s sauce this weekend for her family’s freezer. Guess how I froze it for them?

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

New eCookbook from Once A Month Mom

My good friend Tricia over at Once a Month Mom has a new eCookbook out called Survive Before 5: Toddler Meals for Your Busy Days. She sent me a copy to look at so I could tell you all about it.

It’s awesome! That is all…

Well, actually, let me tell you more…

The one thing I remember from having a toddler is that you are ALWAYS moving. Either chasing the toddler or getting something for the toddler or doing the laundry the toddler created or playing with the toddler. Meal time would sneak up, and if you weren’t fast, you had a cranky, hungry toddler on your hands. Not fun! Tricia’s eCookbook helps avoid that.

In Survive Before 5: Toddler Meals for Your Busy Days, Tricia gives us some easy and yummy recipes that can be frozen so you can do one big cook a month and have the rest of the days to play! She even gives a sample monthly menu plan for breakfast, lunch, and snacks that incorporates all that you made on your cooking day. Talk about taking the pressure off! I love having a plan. It makes the day go so much better.

The recipes include…


  • blueberry pancakes
  • toddler french toast sticks
  • fruity breakfast burritos


  • homemade spaghetti o’s
  • individual mac & cheese cups
  • corndog muffins
  • homemade cheesy rice
  • apple chicken nuggets
  • individual pizzas


  • frozen fruit cups
  • homemade yogurt
  • peanut butter banana yogurt pops
  • peanut butter granola bars

Some additional features:

  • A choice of preparing for 1 child, 2 children, 4 children or 6 children.
  • Grocery lists for 1 child, 2 children, 4 children or 6 children.
  • Customized labels for each of your prepared items.
  • Recipe cards containing photographs and some step-by-step photos as well.

It’s the additional features that make Tricia the amazing Once A Month Mom. She takes all the hard work and does it for you. You just have to follow directions!

Originally $7.99, Survive Before 5: Toddler Meals for Your Busy Days is on sale through Friday, July 1st for $5.99. Just use the code OAMM599. So don’t waste time going to get it!

I’m off to make some granola bars. No, I don’t have a toddler anymore, but we still snack here at the House of Hills.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of the eCookbook for review, and all links are affiliate links. However, we all know I don’t tell you about stuff I don’t actually like. All opinions are my own.