Sunday, November 27, 2011

JoAnn's Black Friday!

I LOVE the Black Friday sales at JoAnn's. 


Really only because of the flannel. This year it was $1.49/yard so I got TONS of fabric for baby blankets to make. I made 2 for me and the rest will be for gifts.  Here are the ones I already finished for me the new baby.

Can I get a vote on the above blanket? Dave thinks the polka dots (which are black) make the top one a little girly. Is it girly or boyish?? Now I'm worried about it.

This blanket I LOVE! And because I bought the last of the bolt of the monkeys, she gave me 75% off the sale price! I paid .50 for 1 1/2 yards of those little soccer monkeys! haha!!

More to come as I finish them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Lo Mein

adapted from Ming Tsai

I'm not gonna lie - finding the ingredients for this was NOT fun. Smelling the individual ingredients before it was cooked was not a good idea. BUT, Once I tasted the final product to check for seasoning it was BAM in my mouth!!!! It is SOOOOO good!!!! It was so worth it and I WILL be making this again!

Here are the ingredients:

2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1/2 C oyster sauce (found mine at walmart)
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 C sliced scallions
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chile sauce

mix all that together in a bowl and add 1 pound boneless skinless chicken - thighs are traditional and hold up well in high heat cooking. let it marinate for 1-2 hours.

In a hot wok, add some canola oil and cook the chicken.  When the chicken is cooked, add:
1 C chicken stock
6 cloves sliced garlic
3/4 head cabbage, sliced thin (don't worry, it will cook down)

after the cabbage is cooked, add 8-10 ounces of blanched lo mein noodles. (you can use linguini, but I went and found real lo mein noodles).
toss until the noodles are warm and taste for salt and pepper seasoning. Mine didn't need anything extra.

This was awesome.
Even Dave said so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Menu

As the feasting season is upon us my son asked me this morning what we were going to eat for Thanksgiving. aaahhhh!!!!! I haven't thought about it ONCE. My birthday is Saturday and I'm prepping for a pie crust class I'm teaching at church next week (read: making lots of pies).

Well, let's talk about the feast.

Since we will not be traveling and it will just be our family, I don't need to make a 10 course dinner for 2 adults and 3 kids, right?? So let's discuss the necessities.

Turkey. duh. I'm a HUGE fan of a brined turkey since it infuses the flavors into the meat and keeps it moist while cooking. My eyes are peeled for .39/lb sales!

Pies. double duh. I'm thinking I'll make an apple crisp to go alongside my pumpkin pie. I LOVE pumpkin pie. As well as apple crisp. That should tide us over for a little while.

Sweet potato casserole. I love this. Dave loves this. my kids don't love this. but I DON'T CARE!! Yes, I just yelled at you over the internet. Dave and I can finish this on our own, that's how delicious it is.

Salad. I'm thinking along the lines of a broccoli bacon salad. Something like this.

Rolls. Homemade? heat and serve? I've got to mull that one over.

another veggie side of some kind. What are your favorites??

cranberry sauce!

gotta get shopping.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crock-Pot Creamy italian chicken

  I made this dish a couple weeks ago and our whole family LOVED it. It's a little like a stroganoff, but with chicken instead of steak or ground beef. plus, it's a good way to use up the extra egg noodles I have laying around!

Throw into a crockpot:

2 chicken breasts (they can be frozen)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 3/4 C milk
1/2 C cream
1 dry packet italian dressing
1 Tbsp chicken bullion
1 tbsp corn starch

cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4, then shred the chicken. If you just take a fork and stir it around the crockpot, it falls apart really easy! Cook a 12 oz. bag of egg noodles and dump in a huge bowl. Dump the chicken mixture on top of the noodles and stir it all around. YUM. YUM. YUM.

I really couldn't believe how yummy this was. Serve with some rolls and a salad and you're golden!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Red Lobster Biscuits

I got this recipe on the Red Lobster website when we were first married and it is a family favorite!! It really does come out the exact same as the ones they serve!! LOVE THEM...and SO EASY!!!

Red Lobster Biscuits

2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1/4 c. margarine or butter-- melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix bisquick, milk, and cheese---beat vigorouskly for 30 sec
Bake @ 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on ungreased sheet
Brush butter/garlic powder mixture over warm biscuits

Serve & Enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza!

  I was making homemade pizza for dinner yesterday but the dough I pulled from the freezer didn't thaw in time for dinner, so I was stuck with all my toppings prepped and no idea what to do with all of it!!

I remembered in a novel (I know, right?) that there was a pizza crust recipe that didn't need yeast or need to be rolled out. I found the book and proceeded to create:

Crazy Crust Pizza!
(this fits in a home cook's baking sheet. 11x18? PLEASE do not try a pizza stone because you will want to rip your hair out.)

3 Cups flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp oregano
6 eggs (I know - sorry)
2 cups milk

whisk all that together until most of the lumps are gone. Spray your baking sheet LIBERALLY with Pam and sprinkle some cornmeal over that. Dump your gloppy "dough" on top of that and spread it out until it's even.

THEN add your toppings - no sauce or cheese yet, be patient - I used:
1 lb. browned sausage
1 small package pepperoni
1 HUGE red bell pepper
1 tomato
2 carmalized red onions

Put into a 425 oven for 25-30 minutes. It should be a little brown on top.
Then pull it out, add 1- 14 oz. jar of pizza sauce (got mine at walmart for $1), and as much mozzerella cheese as you desire. Back into the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Let it sit for 10-ish minutes for 2 reasons. #1 - you will scorch off your taste buds if you want to eat it right away. #2 - it will set a little and be easier to slice and serve.

This was SO good. I am going to keep this in my arsenal when I don't feel like making regular pizza dough!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mexican Green Rice

  Tonight I was making soft tacos for dinner and wanted a beans and rice side dish like you might find at your local mexican establishment. I remember several years ago that my mom had made green rice and Dave ate some of the leftovers and RAVED about how delicious it was. So I decided I would be super-wife and make some green rice to go with our tacos and refried beans.

adapted from: Bobby Flay
(my changes are in red and italicized)


  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth or water (2 cups is better, and use chicken broth!)
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers, stems, seeds and skin removed (see below on how to roast. I would cut this to one, since ours was REALLY spicy)
  • 1 roasted jalapeno pepper, stem, seeds and skin removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely diced
  • garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
  • juice of 1 lime


Combine the broth and chiles in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Pour the chile mixture into a blender, add 1/4 cup cilantro and process to a smooth puree. Season with salt and keep warm.
Wipe the pan clean, add the oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add the warm broth mixture, stir, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a bowl, and stir in remaining cilantro, and squeeze the lime juice all over, it will really make it pop. Make sure you taste for salt and add more if your palate likes more. I probably added a total of 1/2 tsp. salt.

How to roast peppers.
If you have a gas stove, then it's easy peasy. Turn on a burner and set your clean peppers right on the flame. Turn every once and a while, you want the skin to be black. If you DON'T have a gas stove (me), then turn on your broiler to high and place your peppers right on the rack in the oven. Turn them so all sides get nice and black. Once they are looking rather burned, place all peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap. They will then steam themselves (since they are hot), and 15-ish minutes later the black skins will peel right off and you will have nicely roasted peppers!!

Reviews: YUM! Our rice really was pretty spicy - and we enjoy spicy food - so I really think that 1 poblano would do it. You need to keep the jalapeno since it's a different flavor of pepper and as long as you take all the seeds out, they aren't too bad. The flavor was REALLY nice and we put the rice inside the tacos as well as using it as a side dish. This is a keeper for my mexican food loving husband!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chicken and Ham Tetrazzini

In my hunt for all things creamy, starchy, and have no tomato sauce in sight - I stumbled across this beauty. It's from my Complete Cooking Light cookbook from forever ago (one of my FAV's). You can buy one HERE for $10?! That's a deal!! Everything I've tried in this cookbook is a keeper!

Anyway, there are quite a few ingredients but don't let that scare you away!! This is SO yummy.

cook 7 oz. spaghetti in boiling water until done. drain and set aside.

melt 2 tbsp. margerine in a large skillet and add:
1 C sliced mushrooms (I took this out because I hate them)
1 C chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
2 garlic cloves.

saute until soft. Then add:

1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper

stir for 30 seconds. Add:

1 1/4 C low fat milk.

Stir until thick, about 2-3 minutes.

stir in 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese,
1/4 C chicken stock,
1 can cream of mushroom soup and
1/3 C parmesan cheese. remove from heat.

Add 1 1/2 C chopped pre-cooked chicken,
3/4 C diced ham, and
1 4 oz. jar pimentos.

combine cooked spaghetti and ham/chicken mixture, and then pour into 9x13 sprayed with cooking spray. Top with 1/3 C parmesan cheese, 1/2 C cheddar, and a sprinkle of paprika.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes. I served this with wheat rolls and corn. (any veggie side would work)

This is supposed to serve 6, but after my 3 kids ate kid-like servings and Dave and I ate full adult size servings, we still have more than half the pan left. This is SO creamy, I loved it. (keep in mind, this could be pregnancy talking)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fresh Cherry Crisp

  Cherries went on sale for an astonishing 1.88/lb at a local store so I HAD to snatch some up. I've done this recipe once before and really wanted to try it again. It is beyond delicious!!

adapted from:


  • Filling
  • 4 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the topping ingredients(except cream cheese). Pour into 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. drop pinched cream cheese pieces all over the cherry filling and then top with oat/sugar topping. (note: this is a LOT of topping for the amount of fruit but I'm a big fan of topping. if you prefer more fruit and less topping then just use half of it and save it for next time.)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

The cream cheese almost gives it a danish feeling to it, and SO yummy. Top with vanilla ice cream to throw you over the edge. If you are maybe short on cherries, then you could go half and half with peaches or something like that.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best Potato Soup EVER!

  It's a bold statement, I know. But seriously, this is THE best potato soup in. the. world. Do you hear me?!


Oh, you need proof? Well, here's the proof.

I am 12 weeks pregnant. That's right, for the last 6 weeks I've been either holding my head in the toilet retching, laying on the couch trying not to, and trying to decide what I could try to eat that will stay down. And that's WITH Zofran and Phenergen in my system. I've only lost 5 pounds so far (thank heavens), and feel like there is no end in sight!

But tonight? I made this soup and ate 3 servings. It was delicious. and I'm sitting on the couch with no desire to throw up at all. It's a MIRACLE!

Without further ado:

Potato Ham Soup
taken from allrecipes

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

It's supposed to make 8 servings but after 3 of the 5 of us had seconds (or thirds), and the little boys barely ate any, we MAYBE had enough leftovers for 2.

Go make it - you won't regret it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apple Cider Vinegar

This may only be relevant to me since I am pregnant right now but I thought it was a great find.

I have been having really bad heartburn for the last month or so and Tums is doing nothing for me. I just end up eating these little chalky tablets and still have the pain of heartburn. It literally feels like a hot poker going through my chest and back on my left side.

I am part of an online pregnancy/baby website and came across a heartburn tip on the message boards. Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Gross, I know. But I thought, "what do I have to lose?" So I took some.

Oh. My. Gosh.

It burned so bad going down. Then I had these nasty vinegar burps for about 2 minutes. Then...the heartburn was gone! For the rest of the night! It was awesome! Totally worth the burning and burping.

I just wanted to share in case you might be struggling with heartburn too.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chocolate Bread Pudding

I've never had regular bread pudding and, frankly, bread pudding does not sound appealing. I mean, soggy bread? Yum... (really laying on the sarcasm).

However, I worked at Pappasito's (a fantastic Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas) when I was 20. I sampled everything that was on the menu so that I was able to describe it to patrons. They have a dessert there called 'Capriotada'. It is a chocolate bread pudding and they serve it with cinnamon ice cream. It is fantastic!

Since I no longer live anywhere near a Pappasito's, I have not indulged in this treat for quite a while. I had a loaf of stale french bread and thought I would attempt to make a chocolate bread pudding. After some searching on the internet, I found a recipe that had great reviews and I decided to give it a try.

Courtesy Paula Deen from

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Picture of Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe
Total Time: 1 hr 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 20 min
Cook: 1 hr 0 min
Yield: 10 servings
Level: Easy


  • 1 (1-pound) loaf French or Italian bread, cubed
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
  • Whipped cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and place the bread in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur. Using another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until set. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean.

Serve the pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream if desired.

Here is what I did different:
  • I cut out the liqueur
  • I cut the almond extract to 1 tsp
  • I used chocolate chips
Here is what I would do different next time and a couple tips:
  • Still leave out the liqueur
  • Cut the almond extract to 1/2 tsp. I think that even when I cut it in half, it was still a little overpowering. If it's not your favorite flavor, I think it would be just fine if you leave it out completely
  • Use grated chocolate-NOT CHOCOLATE CHIPS! They just sink to the bottom and then you have a layer of melted chocolate stuck to the bottom of the pan. Grated chocolate will incorporate much better.
  • Make sure you let the bread soak for the whole 20 minutes otherwise the top will be crunchy bread and the bottom will be soggy bread pudding.
  • Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream (my preference)
I thought that this was a great recipe. Easy to make and turns out really well. Good for when you have company over for dinner. Although it is not a replica of the dessert from Pappasito's, it is definitely a keeper!

Happy baking!


Monday, April 4, 2011


  I have a major love of fruits and vegetables. Major. I am a part of a produce co-op that my church does every 2 weeks. It's $15 and you get a laundry basket full of produce. The basket is different every time based on who is shopping.

I got my basket today.

And then I also went to Sprouts (a grocery store/local farmers distributer/kind of) to pick up some additional items.

Here's what my laundry basket looked like (the bag holds green beans):

How do I make dinner based on a basket of produce I didn't get to pick out?

I let the food inspire me.

Here's what dinners I see based on this table of food:

Chicken pot pie - green beans, corn, broccoli.
Italian sausage soup - zuchinni, kale
Grilled chicken salad - bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes
Kabobs - squash, tomatoes, zuchinni, peppers
Fajitas - peppers, jalapenos
broiled tilapia w/ veggies - asparagus, salad, broccoli, corn
sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and a side of sweet potato fries and corn on the cob!

and for the fruit??
blueberry muffins/pancakes
strawberries with yogurt and granola
grilled pineapple
apples and oranges to munch on
strawberry shortcake

Here's to eating clean!

And to yummy food!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baby Blanket Tutorial

This is really for Amy (Hi Amy!!) who requested a tutorial for a self binding baby blanket I made. Here is my second one and I am glad to do my FIRST tutorial since the directions I followed were very hard to follow. I ended up ripping every single seam I did and started from scratch.

It was totally fun, just in case you were wondering.

I didn't use photoshop to edit any pictures, so excuse the lighting or whatever.

What you need:
2 coordinating fabrics that you love.  They both need to be squares. Whatever size you do, make the smaller one 10 inches smaller. Mine were 44 inches square and 34 inches square.
You can go 50 inches square and 40 inches square.
29.5 and 39.5.

The point is you need two squares of fabric. Differing by 10 inches.

Next you will fold them in half and pin the halfway mark. On all 4 sides, on both pieces of fabric. (Don't skip this step, or you will be swearing later on.)

The pin is best put on the wrong side of the fabric. You can do it the other way, but this is easier. And I am all about easier.

Then, matching the RIGHT sides of your two squares of fabric, match up the pins at the middle.

And starting at the middle, pin them together working your way out to the edge.

Go back to the middle and pin all the way to the OTHER edge.

 This is what your one side will look like. Notice all the extra fabric?? Don't worry about it for now.

You will now match up the OTHER 3 sides the same way you did the first side.

 This is what the corners will look like. You'll have triangle thingy's. You need those for the pretty mitered corners.

All pinned up with weird corners. This is what you should look like now.

Start sewing IN THE MIDDLE out to the edge. Then go back to the middle and sew out to the OTHER edge. You will have one side done. Repeat for the 3 remaining sides.

Did I mention to NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!

Stop about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the smaller square.

Make sure to leave one side open in the middle so you have room to flip your blanket!

 Here's the "hard" part. The corners. I swear it took me 3 weeks to figure these stupid corners out. Then I realized the corners weren't stupid - I was.

Using the larger square of fabric, fold it in half at a corner so you make a triangle at the edge with the larger square fabric on the outside.

**The pictures are better than words at this point**

Then fold the little corner in so that you have a fold from the stopping point where you sewed to the flat edge where you folded the blanket in half. The KEY is to make a 90 degree angle on the folded part. Check out the pics.

Unfold it.

That line is where you sew.

 Got it?! Now repeat with the remaining 3 corners.


Use the hole you left to flip the blanket right side out, and use your fingers to push the corners out so they look pretty.

Then iron that baby.

Pin your opening and get ready to do the finishing touches.

Top stitch or you can do a different kind of stitch to make it interesting.

Go all the way around so it doesn't shift around when it's washed.

Iron one final time and you are DONE.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Apple Fritters

It's official.

I'm in love with someone else. Don't tell my husband. Oh, and it's a girl.

Have you met the pioneer woman??

Her apple fritters are...


I'm not even going to pretend that I messed with her recipe. So here it is. In it's entirety.


  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2-¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • ¾ cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples, Peeled And Diced
  • Powdered Sugar (optional, For Dusting)
  • GLAZE (optional)
  • 1-½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Vanilla
  • ¼ cups Milk

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined (do not overmix.) Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter. You want the apples to shine though!
Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium to medium-low heat. When it gets hot, drop a little drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, turn down the heat.
Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. Sometimes they’ll flip over by themselves; sometimes you have to flip them. Just watch them and make sure they don’t get too brown, but cook them long enough to make sure the batter’s cooked through, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes total.
Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dust very generously with powdered sugar, or dip fritters in a light doughnut glaze (mix all glaze ingredients together, then dunk warm fritters).
Serve warm!

Verdict - hide them from your kids. Or else make a double batch. Trust me.
Dave's Rave's - Yeah. There's worth it!!! And, can I eat the whole batch?? Please?