Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jewell's 13th Birthday Party...Sloppy Joes

Well, it's time to wrap up Jewell's 13th birthday celebration with one last post. Today I want to give you the recipe for the sloppy joes we had that night. I also wanted to share a few candid pictures from the party. 

For years, I used a can of tomato paste and an envelope packet of sloppy joe seasoning mix to make sloppy joes. One night, I had promised to make sloppy joes before realizing I had no seasoning pack. I had already thawed my meat and had it browning, so I jumped online to find a quick recipe for homemade sloppy joes. Well - I found several. After trying about three or four, this is the one I have settled on. It is sooooo good!

Homemade Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1 small can tomato paste
1 can water
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 chopped onion, optional

I love onion in mine. I finely chop it (so my kids don't know it's there!) and toss it in with the beef. It will soften and become translucent while the beef browns. If your family doesn't like onion, leave it out. I omitted it for the party, but be warned, you'll miss it. 

Begin by browning your ground beef. Once meat is browned, drain off any grease and add spices. Allow this to cook for a couple of minutes until you begin to smell the spices. This is allowing the spices to really bloom and develop flavor. 

Next, add tomato paste and cook it for a couple of minutes. This intensifies the tomato flavor, as well as adding to the beefy taste.

Next, add water and mix well. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.

Finally, add the vinegar. This just finishes it off by adding a little tang to the sweet flavors.

I usually toast our buns in the oven and add a slice of cheese at the last moment.
I love mine with Sweet 'Tater Tots.

For the party, I multiplied my recipe by seven, and once it was mixed, I dumped it in the crock pot and set it on low. About four hours later, it was ready to go!

We seem to ALWAYS have hot dogs at our outdoor parties, so this was a nice change! I had just enough leftover to freeze for one meal later on.

Now - on to the party!

WARNING - my photography is amateur at best. Night photography is not my forte, so please overlook the bad pictures. I just wanted you to get a feel for the fun the kids had!

Gerald led us in prayer before eating.

Preparing for a hayride...

Returning from a hayride...

On the hayride!

Driving the hayride! (OK - you get the picture...)

Several of Jewell's besties have brothers Brack's age. He loved having his friends there, too.

The weather was perfect! Chilly, but nice. The fire pits were burning and helped to keep everyone comfortable.

Strike a pose...

I attempted a photo "booth".

The skeleton came from Costco last year and was intended to be used for anatomy. Unfortunately, he lost his head during the party. Now I think I'll use him as we study the French Revolution!

I had bought this frame to use in a project for Jewell's room. Eventually, it will be painted white, but for the party, it was perfect in black. 

I had a couple of tubs filled with fun props from Dollar Tree.

Jewell also posed for pictures with her friends.

She loved having all her buds there to celebrate!

She's already looking like a teenager!

She had friends from swim team, church, ACA, homeschool co-op and Taekwondo there.

I think they all enjoyed it. There's something about playing outside after dark that kids just love!

I think this is my favorite shot of the night. After most everyone had left, we started to clean up. Brack, Gregory and Lydia decided to "help" me clean up the chocolate fountain by drinking what was left! Trust me. This didn't happen while everyone was there.  That I know of...

Well - my girl turned 13. And we've all survived! We are so very proud of her. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside! Happy Birthday Jewell!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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