Author Archives: admin

Packing Potatoes Keeps You Humble

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Every summer I attempt volunteering with our family. We all have different schedules, especially my teenagers, but we make an attempt and we finally served at Manna Food Bank on two different occasions. Packing potatoes will keep a family humble. The rotten potato smell will surround you when you enter and cause you to become lightheaded at times. Just a few or a dozen rotten potatoes will make the warehouse smell pretty bad.

IMG_4302 (1)Our first week with the teens was sweet potato packing with a few rotten ones in the bunch.

IMG_4301 (1)Gloves are a must when packing ten sweet potatoes.

IMG_4388The following week was red potatoes and there were many more rotten ones in these bins. The smell knocked was almost too much for my weak stomach. Let’s just say it made me appreciate freshly picked vegetables. My kiddos were appreciative we didn’t have to gather our harvest this way. It also made us think about the less fortunate and hoped they would be able to use the good potatoes in some resourceful way.

I sort of wished I was there to help show them how to cook these potatoes in a delicious way. We had a discussion how cooking education was a missing link when giving out free produce. So many times, folks don’t know how to cook vegetables.

Both potato packing times turned out to be a meaningful serving experience and we hope to do it again a couple more times before school starts back in three weeks. Yikes! Are you ready?

We’re getting there. I’m finished my summer professional development and started some online coursework. I’ve applied for graduate school starting August 21. I much to do prepare my classroom.

Have you taken time to serve the less fortunate this summer? I’d love to know what opportunities you’ve found.

Why I Took a Break from Blogging


After many weeks of rest and relaxation I have come to the conclusion that I miss blogging. I needed a long break in case you haven’t noticed. It was a challenging school year and I admit that I needed a month to revitalize myself as a teacher, mom, blogger, parent, wife, cook, soccer driver and more. I had too much on my plate for one person to handle and it came to a resting point.

After a lot of extra sleep, a family beach vacation, college tours with my senior daughter and a mini-vacation to Dollywood, I’m back feeling like myself. I’m already enjoying summer and my family.


I see not only one rainbow, but two and God is good. I feel revitalized and ready for a new adventure. Now what will it be? I’m praying and ready to hear his voice. Usually I set New Year’s goals, but I’m thinking of new school year goals for my family of six. My oldest daughter is entering her senior year and my oldest son is going to be a freshman. My two youngest are in elementary and my husband and I are still plugging along in our middle school and high school teaching jobs.

Life is good. God is good. I’m savoring the season. I am back to blogging! How about you? How is God revitalizing you?

Celebrating the Prom, Mother’s Day and Hitting Submit

I went another year to prom where I teach. I went with my high school sweetheart after 24 years!

I celebrated my Mom who taught me everything I know about cooking. I made my first biscuits when I was 5 or 6; can’t remember which.

I finally hit submit after countless hours and lack of sleep deprivation. I feel like I put my life on hold during this crazy semester and now it’s almost over. I’ve done the hard work and I’ll sit back and wait until November to here. But oh how I am relieved and I’m finally prepping meals again.

It feels….Image result for amazing

So many times I had to quote. I’m grateful to be back blogging and thank you for your patience. Happy Saturday.

Freezer Friendly Homemade Pizza Sauce from REAL tomatoes {New Recipe}

tomatoesWhat do you make when you have a 25# box of tomatoes and 50 teenagers? Pizza Sauce! My four foods classes tried a new recipe and we loved it. Students couldn’t believe the aroma of the fresh diced tomatoes and basil.



They were into the dicing and presentation.

tomatoes3I was quite surprised with the recipe after simmering 90 minutes. It was humorous hearing them read the recipe and and dramatically say, 90 minutes! Seriously, the simmering made all the difference and the whole second floor was begging for the recipe.

The immersion blender turned it into a rich delicious pizza sauce.

pizza sauce 2We made my homemade naan pizza crust the day before and now onto toppings. Since I was focusing on nutrients for this cooking lab, students had a variety of choices. Most preferred the usual teen pizza.

pizza sauce


Although, I had a handful throw some nutrients on their pizza.

pizza sauce3Now on with the recipe we used. Recipe adapted from Kitchen Treaty


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 2 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. If you’re using dried oregano, add that along with the garlic. If you’re using fresh, add it to the sauce at the end of the cooking time.
  3. Increase the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Leave over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Reduce heat to low for a nice simmer.
  5. Simmer uncovered for 90 minutes.
  6. Stir in fresh basil
  7. Allow the sauce to cool to a safe temperature and then, using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender,
  8. Allow it to cool completely if you are planning to freeze.

You can see my freezing tutorial here.

Now have a happy pizza sauce dance because you will have a tremendous amount!


Just Being Real

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I promise to be a better blogger and friend, but this past month has been crazy and busy. School has been overwhelming. Our club has been preparing for a state leadership meeting in Greensboro. My oldest daughter tore her ACL and meniscus and had to have surgery.

Needless to say, I haven’t taken the time and had very little energy to post anything new on my blog. We are going in different directions on Easter so we tried to get a picture the Sunday before. So here we go, we made it to the park in front of this beautiful lake.

Yes, I managed to get the kiddos to wear their matching clothes, but they hated it. They complained, they complained some more and we barely got a picture. Oh we were planning to have a picnic, but we forget the packed cooler at home.

But oh so funny, my husband posted our picture on his facebook and it got 100 likes. If only they knew we aren’t picture perfect. NEVER.

I’m a sinner in need of my Savior and I’m so thankful to celebrate Good Friday with you.

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This Sunday I am celebrating, He is Risen! I am forgiven for my past, present and future sin.

I am blessed to be real with you. I have so much on my plate, juggling four children, teaching four foods classes, writing new foods curriculum, writing  three components for my National Boards and trying to be a REAL blogger. I’m not doing the best job as the blogger, but I’m forgiven and I hope to update my blog much sooner as my school year draws to a close.

May your Easter be filled with peace, joy and comfort knowing we have a Risen Savior. He’s REAL and ALIVE and lives in me!!

Biscuits Galore

I broke the biscuit making record this week. Since I have four foods classes at school, I made over 60 biscuits during demonstration the first day. The second day was independent lab day and we had another 60 or so. Needless to say, I’ve seen enough biscuits for the week.

Though I don’t use shortening at my own house, we use the Big Daddy recipe in class. It teaches students how to measure sticky ingredients like shortening.

And we use the best kitchen hack ever to remove it easily with quicker clean up.

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Have you tried my healthy whole wheat biscuits here? It’s a favorite at our house. Just not this week;)




Two Week Recap

IMG_3497 (1)Have I told you how difficult it to manage two blogs, teach 55 students, parent 4 children and cook a decent meal lately? Plus, the list goes on, but it’s a blessing to pause and thank God for the opportunities to reach others. So here’s what we’ve been up to. My daughter lost her first front tooth. We tried to get her to pull it for a week because it was hanging by a root.

IMG_3404I tweaked my black bean and corn salad recipe here by pan roasting my corn first and adding avocado. It was so yummy. I highly recommend it with everything.

IMG_3470My students created a gallon-tine equivalent chart. It surprised me with creativity.

IMG_3478 (2)My daughter and I tried Faith cookies that are soon to be released at Wal-Mart on March 12. They are a yummy treat and a perfect way to share our faith. I dipped mine in coffee and she tried hers straight up.

IMG_3434 (1)Speaking of sharing, my FCCLA students created homemade kleenex covers and we delivered them to our local Hospice House near our school. It’s a blessing to work with caring students who are genuine and share their love with others.

IMG_3409 (1)Last, but not least, my son turned 9 last week. It’s always a whirlwind in the Brown household. I’m finishing my national boards for teaching this semester and teaching 4 classes without a planning period. I’d appreciate any or all prayers. Thank you for continuing to be a loyal follower of this blog and/or Cougar Kitchen as I balance faith, family, work and all of the above.

Have a super blessed week!


Crazy New Semester

CHOC CHIP WAFFLESA new semester at school always brings about changes. This is my excuse for my lack of posts in the past couple of weeks. However, I made freezer waffles this week. Last week I prepped about 25 pounds of chicken for the family. Here’s how my husband and I tag team to make it here.

chicken fajita marinadeRecently, I’ve made two easy pound cakes. One went to church and the other, well it never made it to the freezer.

very vanilla pound cake

My students in the Cougar Kitchen made homemade yogurt two ways: crock pot and Cuisine maker.

crockpot yogurtLast week my FCCLA students made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and we froze them for a morning meeting. They were devoured yesterday.

Pumpkin muffinsSince it’s close to Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about chocolate covered strawberries.

choc strawYes, my teaching job consists of food all day long. I teach four foods classes! And yes, I blog about food. Do I get tired of food? Sometimes and my sweet, wonderful, awesome husband cooks dinner since I’ve prepped on the weekends. Okay, he cooks dinner most of the time.

Blessings. What are you freezing or cooking this week?






A New Year’s Mission Meal: Taco soup and yeast bread

IMG_3288Over break, my FCCLA students (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America) got together to help the needy. Since I planned the menu ahead of time, my Foods 1 students made the bread about two months ago.

We partnered with King Arthur to provide our bread baking supplies. I taught the students how to make beautiful braided loaves here.



I always enjoy doing this with my students every year.braided breadWe cooled the bread completely and bagged it for our January meal.

We had 8 loaves to pull out of the freezer for this meal for forty women and children at our local homeless shelter.

On January 2, I purchased the supplies for chicken taco soup recipe here, omitting the beer ingredient, of course.

I purchased pintos instead of black beans because I could buy them in a larger quantity. Since chicken breasts were on sale for $1.99/lb and I bought a few #10 cans of vegetables and tomatoes, I only spent $25 to feed 40 people. Not shabby at all!


IMG_3275The girls also made goody bags with fruit and granola bars. I got the bars through a grant through Donor’s Choose.

All of these IMG_3289

All of these resources fed 40 homeless women and children on January 2. Many hands and donations helped to make this mission meal happen.

I’m still a “Mom on a Mission” and now I’m a “Teacher on a Mission” to pass on the act of giving to my students.

I hope your New Year is off to a great beginning. May we use our gifts and abilities to glorify God.

Have you shared a freezer meal lately? Tell us about it.


Happy 2017

IMG_3243 (1)My family would like to wish you a blessed 2017. 2016 has been a whirlwind of events, busy times and many great memories. We hope to have many more to share. I love all my readers and I’m blessed to share my mission of cooking and blessing others. Have a wonderful 2017, from my family to yours.