Friday, December 24, 2010

Red Velvet Cookies (for Santa!)

Merry Christmas Eve! This month has just flown by. We've had stuff going on pretty much every day and night recently, so I apologize for the lack of posts. The kids and I just made these super-easy cookies for Santa. I love that they are red and white like Santa's wardrobe. :)

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup white chocolate chips (0ptional)

Frosting Ingredients:

1 package cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
2 teaspoons milk (I added a little more than this.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cake mix, oil, and eggs. Stir in the white chips. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tops are crackly. Let cool completely.

Frosting Directions:
In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix well. Pour in the sugar and mix until combined. Frost the cooled cookies. Store cookies in the refrigerator.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Teriyaki Drumsticks & Easy Veggie Fried Rice

I made this meal tonight and our six-year-old daughter claims that it was the best dinner she has ever had! We even went out for ice cream afterwards and she said that the dinner was better than her ice cream. Ha!

Teriyaki Chicken Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 drumsticks
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 cup water

In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Place the drumsticks in the hot oil and brown for a few minutes.

While the chicken is browning, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour the sauce over the drumsticks and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Spoon the sauce over the chicken when serving.
Easy Veggie Fried Rice Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups Minute Rice
1/2 bag frozen mixed veggies
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 eggs
6 tablespoons olive oil (divided in half)

In a wok or saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Scramble the eggs until done, but not too dry. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, bring the water, veggies, and soy sauce to a boil. Add the rice and cook until tender and liquid has been absorbed.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and transfer the cooked rice to the wok. Add the eggs. Stir fry the mixture for about five minutes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this on Sunday and it was gobbled up so fast! This was actually my first baked cheesecake. I couldn't believe how easy it was. If you need a fast and friendly Thanksgiving dessert recipe for tomorrow, try this one. I found it here and tweaked it to fit the ingredients that I had on hand.

Have a terrific Thanksgiving holiday!!
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of the batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Taco Pasta

It's been a while since I have posted an actual meal, hasn't it? It's not that I haven't been cooking's more that I haven't been experimenting too much. I guess I was in a slump, but this is COOKING week, and I am in the mood to try stuff out!

I found this recipe here. She posts a ton of gluten-free recipes, so her blog may interest some of you a lot. This particular recipe caught my eye because it was so simple, yet sounded perfect to make since all of the ingredients were already in my kitchen. The best part was that it took only minutes to prepare. I love meals like that!

We are having this for lunch today, so I can't say if it was a hit or not, but I'm sure it will be!

Pics to come. :)

1 pound ground meat
1 package mini shell pasta noodles
1 can chopped green chilies
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 package taco seasoning
cheddar cheese (grated)

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil the noodles al dente and drain. Brown and drain your ground meat. To the ground meat, add the taco seasoning, chilies, and tomato sauce. Mix well. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with shredded cheddar. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fruit and Yogurt Muffins

I got out of bed a few minutes early to bake these muffins this morning. We are out of groceries, and I mean OUT. Tomorrow is grocery day...thank goodness! Thankfully, I had one egg, one container of yogurt, and 1/2 bag of frozen blueberries. This worked out perfectly for a super-delicious breakfast! They only took about five minutes to mix up and then 25 minutes to bake, so by the time the kids were dressed, we had a hot breakfast. These muffins were seriously so moist, and may just be our new favorite!

These could be adapted with any flavor yogurt and any fresh or frozen fruit. I think I'll try strawberry yogurt with frozen strawberries next time.

My husband took a picture of them, but we haven't downloaded it yet, so I'll post it soon.

I found this recipe here. She's always posting great recipes!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 8-ounce container yogurt, any flavor (I used strawberries and cream.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (I used blueberries.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, egg, vanilla, butter and fruit. Stir mixtures together just until combined (batter will be very thick). The batter was so thick that I had a hard time stirring it, so I poured in a tiny bit of milk to thin it out. Scoop into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

We're taking things down to a very simple level with the cooking that is going on in our kitchen. I've been having some minor pregnancy complications, which put me on modified bedrest for the last two weeks. Ugh! We had an ultrasound two weeks ago, and baby girl looks perfect, so no worries. My pregnancies are just never "typical," which is hard to accept when you're as busy as I am. I am out of bed now, and just taking it easy, which is why our dinners are simple enough for my hubby to whip up for us if he needs!

Monday--Chicken & Biscuits using this filling and canned biscuits, steamed broccoli, S'mores pie for dessert. I really want to try Kate's entire pot pie, but I don't want to make the crust from scratch right now. I can't wait to try it soon, though!

Tuesday--Sandwich night since Jer is at the station

Wednesday--Spaghetti noodles, meatless marinara sauce, frozen garlic bread, carrot sticks with ranch

Thursday--Bacon mac and cheese, salad, orange slices

Friday--Waffles, fruit salad, orange juice

Saturday--Take-out or pizza delivery

Sunday--Sandwiches again since Jer is back to the station

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had our neighborhood trick-or-treat last night, so today we're all coming down from a candy high. :) I hope you had a fun time with your little "treats"...we certainly did. I didn't get to go trick-or-treating (Daddy took all three), but I enjoyed having friends over for a potluck dinner and then passing out candy to the kiddos.

The past week was a busy one! We had the kids' school carnival and their class parties. I had signed up to bring cookies for my daughter's first grade class, with big intentions of baking something fun. Well, pregnancy complications have me off of my feet, so I had to come up with something else. Thankfully, one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of these cute little goodies and I immediately knew that I could easily sit at the table and prepare them. I seriously made them in less than ten minutes! So simple and cute!!

1 package fudge stripe cookies (My friend used Keebler mint cookies instead.)
1 package Hershey kisses (unwrapped)
1 tube gel icing (I used green, but any color would work.)


Turn the fudge stripe cookies upside down so that you see the chocolate coating part of the cookie. Use the icing to make a circle around the hole in the cookie. Place a Hershey kiss on top of the icing. Allow a few minutes to set.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Day Late on My Meal Plan...

I'm just going to get right on it since I'm a day late. Our days go by so quickly that sometimes I lose track of which day is that a sign of old age?? I'm having to keep things pretty simple, as I'm not supposed to be on my feet a ton. With three previous preterm babies, my OB doesn't take any chances.

Monday--Pork Chops with Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Apples, steamed broccoli

Tuesday--Bacon, eggs, and biscuits We have spent all day at our four-year-old's field trip, so we're tired!

Wednesday--Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday--Cheese quesadillas, pinto beans, avocado slices

Friday--Pizza night

Saturday--Mummy dogs, corn on the cob, fruit salad

Sunday--Dinner at my parents' house...yay!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pork Chops with Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Apples

I recently had my hair cut by a new girl named Michelle. While she was cutting, we were discussing food. She told me about this recipe that she had recently made. I'm normally not a fan of pork, but this sounded too good not to try. Boy, am I glad I tried it...the apples alone are to die for! We never discussed measurements, so I don't have an actual "recipe" today. I eyed everything and it turned out great!

Pictures to come!

4 boneless pork chops (salt and pepper each side well)
3 apples (peeled and thinly sliced) I used Red Delicious apples.
1/2 stick butter
brown sugar

In a large sautee pan, spread the sliced apples in a thin layer. Sprinkle with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with the butter cut into pieces. Cover the pan and cook over low-medium until a syrup begins to form.

When the syrup forms, move the apples over enough to give each pork chop a place to rest. Replace the lid and allow to cook for about seven minutes. Flip the pork chops/stir the apples and leave the lid off. Cook the chops for another 15 minutes or until done. I served this with a side of steamed broccoli. Simple and delish!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake

I know that I've been swamping you guys with lots of baked good and not so many meals. I apologize. I have actually cooked quite a few new meals, but just haven't felt like posting them. Hopefully I'll get around to posting them this week.

With Halloween just six days away, I decided to "treat" you guys with another fantastic pumpkin and cream cheese recipe (this is for you, Amanda!). I was in the mood to bake earlier today, and I mixed this up in about ten minutes. So quick, so easy, and so delicious!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
1 cup oil
1/2 cup pecans (chopped) *I didn't have any today. :(

1 package cream cheese
1 stick butter (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk (more if needed)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Blend in the nuts if you have them. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish or mini loaf pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until done. Let cool completely. Frost. Refrigerate to store.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meal Plan

I'm a day late, but I just didn't have much energy yesterday to even think up my weekly meal plan. I hope this Tuesday finds you all well!

Monday--My brother made us goulash, so I didn't have to cook!

Tuesday--Maple Glazed Meatballs over rice with steamed broccoli (Our friend made us these when I was so sick earlier this summer. I'm just taking them straight from the freezer to the crockpot. They're great freezer-friendly meals!)

Wednesday--Ranch mac & cheese (recipe coming!) with steamed peas

Thursday--Hot dog & marshmallow roast with our friends 3DudesandaDiva after she takes our family Christmas card pics

Friday--Leftover spaghetti sauce from this recipe over pasta (It makes a ton!), with a salad

Saturday--Grilled chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes, green beans

Sunday--Sausage & potatoes and ?? side

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

October means pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin waffles, and pumpkin bars. I'll admit that I probably overuse pumpkin during the fall, but my kids love the taste; it's healthy, and great in so many recipes!

This was actually my first time to make pumpkin bars, but they are a new favorite! I got this recipe here. She has so many great recipes to try, and she agrees that these pumpkin bars are fabulous!

I do have pictures, but haven't downloaded them quite yet. They should be up later this evening.

Bar Ingredients:
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional, but definitely needed, in my opinion!)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs well, add in the sugar and butter and mix well. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix. Add the flour and spices and mix well. Spread in a 9 x 13-inch greased pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until done. Allow to completely cool.

For the frosting: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until just mixed. Stir in pecans. When the bars are cool, frost. Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

It's time to plan our meals for the week. Tomorrow is grocery day for us, so I have to put lots of ingredients on my list! I shop once every two weeks, with quick trips in between for milk, bread, and bananas. Some of the links below are to my recipes, and some are recipes that I plan to try for the first time.

I don't usually plan out our breakfasts and lunches, since we usually eat leftovers for lunch (the kids take sandwiches to school) and I make whatever strikes my fancy for breakfast. The meals below are for our dinners.

Monday--Leftover turkey sausage & spinach lasagna (made by a friend) with toast

Tuesday--Spicy cheese soup (recipe to come)

Wednesday--Chicken stuffed shells (This recipe is for chicken lasagna, but I'm using jumbo shells instead.), Caesar salad, French bread

Thursday--Roasted chicken, steamed veggies, Sweetie Pie's mac & cheese

Friday--Use leftover roasted chicken in this white chicken chili

Saturday--Sandwiches & leftovers night

Sunday--I'm making a big batch of Carie's Marinara Sauce, so we'll eat some of it with a pasta.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Granola Bars

My online friend Carie shared this recipe, and I just had to give it a try. I'm always looking for new breakfast ideas for my kids, and these should be great for that. I do have to say that I don't think they have the typical granola bar texture. They're more of a "healthy cookie" texture, but my kids will love that! I'll just wrap them individually in plastic wrap and voila--quick and healthy breakfast!

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flax seed (I used milled flax seed.)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour (or ¾ cup all-purpose flour & ¼ cup soy flour or sorghum flour)
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I forgot to set it out for the picture.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands or a spatula. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Planning

I love to menu plan. It makes my grocery shopping *so* much easier, and our evenings run much smoother if I have something in mind before going into the kitchen. It also allows me to set out frozen meat if need be, or put dinner in the crockpot before heading out the door. Life with three kids is crazy enough without flying blind at dinnertime!

Having said all that, I am going to start listing my menu plans for the week each Monday. It'll be great to have it written here for my own use, but it might also give you an idea for dinner if you're in a slump.

I'm still planning to return to Meatless Monday posts as soon as I feel good 100% of the time. I just can't commit to coming up with new meatless recipes at this point in my pregnancy, but it shouldn't be too much longer before I can ditch the meds and get back to normal!

Monday--Pinto beans cooked with ham pieces, cornbread, butter cake for dessert (recipe soon!)

Tuesday--Beef stroganoff, green beans

Wednesday--Soft tacos with all the fixins', leftover pinto beans

Thursday--Date night for Jer and I, so the kids will have leftover soft tacos

Friday--Round steak in tomatoes, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

Saturday--Spaghetti, tossed salad, French bread

Sunday--Sunday pot roast

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baked Ziti

I love to have family over for big Sunday lunches. This Sunday I decided to try out this baked ziti recipe from Cassie's Craves. It was wonderful because by using beef rather than sausage, I already had everything I needed for this recipe in my pantry and fridge! It made enough to feed six adults, four children, and several days of lunches for me! I actually prepared it first thing in the morning, and then baked it right before our guests arrived. I served it with a spinach salad and French bread, as well as a lemon cake that I'll share with you another day. Delicious!

This could easily be a meatless meal by simply eliminating the ground beef or sausage. I think it would be just as tasty!


1 pound ziti pasta (Is this the same as rigatoni, because that's what I used.)
1 pound ground hot Italian sausage (I used ground beef that I had on hand.)
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Hunt's garlic and herb.)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1 14.75-ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounces ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook ziti in salted water according to package directions; drain. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese directly to the noodles; stir until butter and cheese are melted.

Meanwhile, brown meat in a large, high-sided skillet. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent and meat is cooked through.

Add pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, sugar, and diced tomatoes to the sausage mixture. When sauce is heated through, stir in ricotta cheese. Once the ricotta is incorporated, add the ziti to the sauce mixture.

Pour half of the ziti mixture into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Pour the rest of the ziti on top of the cheese layer, and top with remaining mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes; remove foil and baked for an additional 20 minutes. Turn broiler to high and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese begins to blister

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Best Baked Beans Ever

This is a PW recipe. She made it over the Fourth of July, and I saved the recipe knowing that one day I would make it. I was WAY too sick in July to even consider making it then, but now that I'm back on my feet, I decided to give it a try. I have sneaked into the kitchen four times to *try* bites of it...truly amazing baked beans! These would be a great football food for all you college football fans! We're eating ours with homemade mac & cheese. Can't wait!

8 slices bacon, halved
1 medium onion (diced small)
1/2 medium green pepper (diced) I used a jalapeno instead.
3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans (I used six small cans.)
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Fry bacon in a large, deep sautee pan until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove the bacon from your pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to the drippings in the pan and sautee until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Pour flavored beans into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with the bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monkey Muffins

Good Sunday morning to ya! It's a rainy, beautiful day here in Central Oklahoma--the perfect day to wake up to a warm breakfast. I found this recipe here. She says it's a Pioneer Woman recipe...what more should I say?! These were a hit with me and the kids. I made them in mini muffins, which were the perfect size for young children. So sad my handsome husband is at the station today...he really missed out on a terrific breakfast!

I didn't get a chance to take a picture this morning.

1 can biscuits (I used Grands)
1/2 stick butter
cinnamon and sugar mixture (I just eyed it, so I'm not sure of the measurements)
sweetened condensed milk (Oh yeah!!)

Preheat oven to 375.

Place a small cube of butter in the bottom of the muffin tins.

Cut the biscuits in thirds (for regular biscuits) or fourths (for Grands). Roll the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place two (for mini muffin tins) or three (for regular muffin tins) of the pieces in the muffin tins.

Place another small cube of butter on top of the biscuits.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk, or make up your own icing from powdered sugar and milk. I highly suggest using the condensed milk, though. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Can't Leave Alone Bars

After school snacks--they're a big part of why I love being a stay-at-home mama. When I was growing up, I always anticipated what my mama was going to have ready for us when we walked in the door from school. I was especially pleased if it was some sort of baked good! Our four-year-old started all-day PreK this year, and every day when I pick him up he asks me "what I cooked for him." He has only been in school for three weeks and he already anticipates his after school snack...I love it! He's going to be thrilled to smell this when he walks in the door.

I don't know which of the recipe sites that I visit offered this recipe up, but I do thank you! I have had an ongoing love affair with sweetened condensed milk since I was a tiny girl. My mama has the same love. She actually asked her grandma for a can of it on her eighth birthday, and she received it. Ha! Anything made with this ingredient is a sure-fire hit for me

1 box white or yellow cake mix (I used white.)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup chocolate chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 stick butter (cubed)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, eggs, and oil together. Press two-thirds of the mixture in a 9x13 baking dish. You'll probably need to use your fingers for this part!

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk, chocolate chips, and butter. Microwave uncovered until the chips and butter are melted (about 2 minutes on high). Stir until smooth. Pour over the crust.

Drop teaspoonfuls of the remaining cake mixture over the top of the chocolate. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cool before cutting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blueberry Snack Cake

I am posting this from my phone ,so

I'm going to keep it short. This recipe is from It tastes like a blueberry poundcake. So good!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1teaspoon baking powder
1cup milk
2egg yolks
2egg whites--beaten until soft peaks form
2cups blueberries--don't thaw if frozen

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and add to flour mixture. Blend using a fork until it's crumbly. Set aside 3/4 cup of this mixture to use as a topping.

In another bowl, add the powder, milk, egg yolks. Mix well. Add this to the flour mixture and mix together Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with the blueberries and add the reserved topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mustard and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

My friend Amanda told me about this ham glaze that her family was crazy about, so I decided to let my family try it out. Wow...huge success at dinner last night! It was so simple, too. We will definitely be doing this again! I served it with this hashbrown casserole and some okra & tomatoes. Delicious supper!

1 ham of your choice (I just used 1/2 of a ham from the meat section of my grocery store.)
equal parts yellow mustard and brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the mustard and brown sugar together. Pour it over the ham. Bake for 45 minutes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pear Bread

My mom brought over two huge bags FULL of fresh pears from my aunt's tree. I gave some away, and am going to make a couple of these pies with some of the others. I still had some that needed to be used before going bad, so I found this bread recipe that sounded too good to pass up! It makes two loaves, so this will be great to eat for breakfast for several days!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup pecans (chopped) You could also use walnuts.
3/4 cup soft butter (or 3/4 cup oil)
3 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 cups sugar
2 cups ripe pears (peeled and grated)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture and use it to coat the pecans. Then add it all back together.

In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, pears, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry. Stir it until the batter is evenly moistened.

Pour into two loaf pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until done.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Peach Butter

I'm baaaack! It has been six weeks of constant nausea and vomiting for me. I'm still suffering from hyperemesis (extreme nausea & vomiting during pregnancy), but my OB has me highly medicated on anti-nausea medication, so I can finally function again. I still haven't been able to cook a meal, but I think that I'm going to try it out tomorrow when my husband is home from the station. *Fingers crossed*

We took our children to a peach orchard on Friday morning to pick fresh peaches. We brought home a ton of them, and I was afraid of them going bad, so I got up this morning and got this peach butter in the crock pot. I've never canned anything before, so my mom is going to come over later to show me how it's done. Let's hope it turns out! So far, it's been really easy.

25-30 peaches (not too ripe/not too hard)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Wash your peaches thoroughly. Place them in a large pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Remove them and place them in a large bowl of ice water for two minutes. After this, the peel should slide right off.

Take the seeds out of the peaches, remove any brown spots, and put the "meat" into the food processor or blender. Blend the peaches until you get the desired consistency. Mine is the consistency of not-so-chunky salsa.

Pour the peach puree into a large crockpot. Add the sugar and spices and stir well.

You don't want the lid completely covering the crockpot, so I used two butter knives laid over the crockpot to keep the lid slightly elevated. Cook on low heat for 6-12 hours. The mixture will cook down at least by half.

Pour into canning jars (with new seals). Place them in a canning pot (you can use a large pot if you don't have one) of boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove from water and let cool overnight. These should have a shelf life of 12-18 months.

Use as a spread on bread, bagels, English muffins, etc.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chicken Salad

Long time no post! Summer school has me very busy. I'm thankful that it is only three more weeks! I also haven't been cooking much food because I've been pretty sick. I have been cooking a baby, though! We are thrilled to be expecting baby #4, and our babies like to make their mama sick for the first 20-22 weeks. I'm only in week six, so I have a long road ahead of me. I'll post as often as I can. Thankfully I have some things that I have made but not posted about yet. I'll use those for as long as I can.

This chicken salad recipe was given to me by my friend Kathy Draper. It makes a ton! I actually ate this for lunch every day for a week, and it seems to get better as it ages. Kathy says that it is less fattening because you use Cool Whip, so that's a plus, huh?


2 large cans cooked chicken
grapes (cut in half)
almond slivers
celery (cut in small pieces)
1 container cool whip (dethawed)
salt and pepper to taste
I also used garlic powder, but that was for my own tastes.

Drain the chicken and use a fork to shred it well. Add the cool whip, almonds, celery, and grapes and mix well. I served mine on croissants topped with baby greens. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tortellini Casserole

Hello old friends! I'm so sorry that I've been MIA for over a week. Before becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I was an elementary school teacher. I haven't worked since our oldest was born over six years ago, but I decided that I wanted to dip my toes back in for a little bit. I am teaching first grade in an inner-city school for a six-week summer school session. Man, you working moms have my admiration! The juggling and dodging and running is more than I was planning for! Not that SAHMs don't also have lots to juggle, dodge, and run's just that I was in a SAHM groove, and now I'm out of any kind of groove. Oh well, it's just six weeks, right? So, needless to say, the blog has taken a back burner. I actually have several recipes that I have made and are ready to be blogged about, so be on the lookout for more in the coming days.

I'm ready to post a Meatless Monday dish. I made this ten days ago (before I started working) and am just now able to post about it. The recipe was given to me by my online friend, Shaun. She has given me tons of delicious meatless dishes (she's a vegetarian). This is so's almost like a pot pie made with tortellini. Yummy!

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 medium onion (chopped--I didn't have one.)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Gouda cheese (4 ounces)
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas (thawed)
9 ounces refrigerated tortellini
1/2 cup Ritz crackers (crushed)

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Cook the carrots, onion, and mushrooms in the butter for about five minutes. Stir in the flour and salt. Gradually add the milk; stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture is bubbly, and then remove from heat. Stir in cheese, peas, and tortellini. Spoon into 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with crackers. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grilled Steak with Baby Arugula & Parmesan Salad

Oh my gosh--this meal is incredible! Thanks to my friend Kate, who writes this blog, for giving me the recipe. It might just be my new favorite salad. I literally licked the remainder of the dressing from my bowl. The citrus of the lemons mixed with grated Parmesan, over a big bite of seasoned steak and arugula...yumm! It was quick and perfect for a hot summer day.


1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (divided)
4 (4 oz) flat iron steaks
2 lemons (halved)
1 tablespoon fresh chives (chopped)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (shaved)


Preheat your indoor or outdoor grill.

Rub thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over both sides of the steaks. Put them on the grill for about four minutes per side (longer if you prefer them more well-done). Add the lemon halves to the grill and let them cook for three minutes.

Cut the steaks into thin slices. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chives, oil, lemon juice, mustard and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and whisk together.

Drizzle over arugula and toss. Arrange one steak, one cup of arugula and one lemon half over each plate. Top each salad with cheese.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grilled Bananas

Oh yes, people...grilled bananas. We enjoyed a cookout with our friends the Millers last night, and Bobbie introduced us to these. I'm not normally a huge banana-lover, but these take delicious to another level! Jer and I grilled up some more tonight just because they were that good.

1 banana for each person
brown sugar
splash of rum (optional: I didn't have any when making mine tonight, so we did without and weren't disappointed at all.)
Place each peeled banana on a piece of foil. Cut a slit down the length of the banana. Place several dabs of butter in the slit and then sprinkle it brown sugar. Make sure you get some inside. If using rum, give the banana a good splash. The alcohol cooks out, so don't worry about the children. :) Make a foil pocket around the banana and cook on the grill for about seven minutes. When the butter and sugar are melted, you're ready. We served ours with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cream Cheese & Jalapeno Stuffed Burgers

I love, love, love cheeseburgers! These are on the grill as I'm typing this. I found this idea on yesterday and just had to try them out. I cant wait to eat them for lunch!

1 package hamburger meat
1 package cream cheese
1 jalapeno (chopped finely)

In a small bowl, cream together the cream cheese and chopped jalapeno. You might add a little seasoning if you like your burgers well-seasoned (like we do!)

Make the hamburger patties like you normally do, but press them to 1/4" thick.

Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture on one of the patties. Top it with another patty, and press the sides together to form a seal.

When you grill them, it may take a little longer before they're done because of the filling.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Caprese Salad

Happy Memorial Day, friends! What's everyone doing today? I hope you're enjoying your day off, soaking in the the sun, and remembering those lost.

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, I decided that I needed to post this Caprese salad recipe. It is meatless, so it goes along with our Meatless Memorial Monday...perfect! It's so simple, delicious, healthy, and pretty. It has all kinds of summertime flavors and is perfect to take on picnics.

I just made a portion that would feed as a side dish for two or a main dish for one. You can double or triple the recipe easily.

6 cherry tomatoes
several fresh basil leaves (10 or 12 leaves)
4 or 5 slices of fresh mozzarella
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Dice the tomatoes and mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Chop the basil up. Toss these three things together in a salad bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the oil and vinegar. Drizzle over the tomato, basil, and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


My husband came home from the station yesterday talking about these. Another firefighter had made them the night before and he wanted me to try them. Those firefighters have good taste! These were delicious and really simple to throw together. They taste like cookie cake to me, and for those of you who know me in real life, you know how I love some cookie cake! It's one of those recipes that you have everything for almost all the time.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans. The firefighter used walnuts.)
1/3 cup butter (melted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, powder, soda, salt, and chopped nuts. Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl, mix the brown sugar and melted butter together well. Add the beaten egg and vanilla and stir well. Add in the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, mixing everything well.

Spread in a small baking dish (8x8) and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lemon Marinade

I found the recipe for this summery chicken marinade on Jaimie's blog. She's always cooking up something good up there in Boston! I'm going to be trying out her Cheesy Muffins soon.

Yesterday I took the kids to the grocery store for a few things. I guess I'm on a lemon kick because I purchased three whole lemons, one lemonade mix, and one bottle of Simply Lemonade. It's summertime, folks!

Our chicken is marinading in this now. Later, my fantastic husband is going to work his magic on the grill and we have supper. Easy as that! I think I'll have a glass of lemonade to go with it.


1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Chicken breasts


Mix everything together with a whisk. Pour it into a ziploc bag and add your chicken. Allow to marinate for 2-8 hours. Grill.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Work, Work, Work

Work, work, work...there has been a lot of it going on in our little yard this week. We're making big changes and loving it! We had our storm shelter installed yesterday. These are pretty important to have here in Oklahoma! You should have seen the amount of dirt that they dug up in order to put that thing in! I'm planning to plant some ivy and other plants around the sides. It needs see all that red clay we deal with? Not pretty! Any suggestions for shelter landscaping???
My zinnias are just beautiful already. They haven't bloomed yet, but they look gorgeous anyway. I think I'll be planting some of them around the shelter.
We planted two trees in our backyard this week. One is a plum tree--can't wait for that to start fruiting. The other is this one...can anyone guess what type of tree it is?? We're hoping it produces lots of shade for us to enjoy.
Aaaaah, dirt. I have been working with a lot of dirt this week. We pulled out last year's garden and stole the soil. We're going to build a compost container in its spot. I'm using the soil in this year's garden, so the wheelbarrow and I have become good friends.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Poppyseed Chicken

I hope you're all having a great Sunday! We definitely are!! We spent the morning hiking at a nature center. It was a beautiful day for it. I normally cook Sunday lunch, but since we were gone, I am doing a Sunday dinner. This poppyseed chicken is always a hit whenever I serve it. My sister-in-law, Shannon, gave me this recipe before we were married. It is a great one to take for friends in need.

This is not my picture. I stole it offline and will add my own later. I just wanted some color in the post!


1 package chicken breasts (boiled and cubed)
1 can cream of chicken
6 ounces sour cream
1/2 can chicken broth
1 stick butter (melted)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crumbled)
2 teaspoons poppyseeds

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and broth until combined.

Place the cubed chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the sauce over the top of it.

Mix the melted butter, crackers, and poppyseeds in a bowl. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the chicken and sauce. Bake for 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blossoms, Stakes, & Coffee Grounds

It's time for my garden update. I wish you all could see how much everything is growing! The picture above is one of our four pumpkin plants that are growing in our front bed. We planted pumpkins last year and had four return this season. I think those big, green leaves are so pretty!
These are some of the petunias that my kids bought me for Mother's Day. The other green plants that are growing in there with them are zinnia sprouts that I am growing from seeds. I cannot wait to watch them bloom! I anticipate that it will happen in the next couple of weeks, so I'll be sure to get pictures of them.
We staked our tomatoes and noticed that we have our first tomato blooms. That pretty yellow flower will *hopefully* be a juicy red tomato very soon.

Did you know that you can get used coffee grounds from Starbucks to use in the soil of your garden? This kind of thing is right up my alley! We try to be as "green" as possible in our home, so using something "old" to give life to my plants is awesome. Check out this web post to find out more information on this subject.

Growing a garden is truly one of life's simple pleasures. The children and I are excited to see the growth every day, and they are more than eager to help any way they can. We're already brainstorming on how we can make a bigger version next year!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

I hosted a playdate today, so I made this yummy cake for us to munch on. Oh wow--it is so yummy! The chocolate chips make it extra moist. Prepare yourself for some serious indulging with this one. I need to thank Mommy's Kitchen again for this recipe. She has some good stuff on her blog!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (I used salted butter, so I left out the salt.)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon set aside.

Using a electric mixer, beat together the remaining 1 cup sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla.

Fold in the flour mixture in two parts until just combined. Pour half the batter into a small cake pan (8x8 or oval shaped) and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture and half of the chocolate chips. Spoon the remaining batter as evenly as possible over the filling. Spread gently and evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon mixture and chocolate chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perfect Pancakes

I found them! I have been searching for the "perfect" pancake recipe my entire adulthood. I absolutely love the pancakes at Cracker Barrel (they are actually the only ones I truly even like), and I think that these are as close as I've found. The secret? Cake flour. I was browsing Mommy's Kitchen when I came across this recipe. After our grocery shopping trip this morning, we came home and made these. What a yummy lunch! If you love pancakes, you have to try these!

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk or buttermilk (I just used milk, but I'm sure buttermilk would be amazing!)
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons butter (melted)

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined. Melt butter in the microwave and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. I grease my skillet with a little oil and about a tablespoon of butter. Serve with butter and syrup.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Au Gratin Potatoes

It's a late post for Meatless Monday today. We have had a full day of running and playing, so this is the first chance that I've had to actually sit down at the computer. There are pictures, but they'll have to wait. I'm a tired mama. *Yawn*

We are at the end of our groceries (tomorrow is grocery day!), so I had to use what we had laying around to prepare my dinner tonight. I had several potatoes and part of a block of Colby-Jack cheese, so I decided to make these potatoes to go along with the rest of our meal. I wish that I would have made double what I did because they were gone so fast! I'll know better next time.

6-8 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
olive oil
garlic powder
Tony Chachere's
dry minced onion flakes
Colby-Jack cheese (shredded)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, toss your potatoes with a generous amount of olive oil. You want each slice covered with the oil.

Spread the potatoes in the bottom of a large baking dish. Use PLENTY of seasonings on the potatoes. Shake the onion flakes all over the potatoes, as well. There really is no need to measure anything. Just add the seasonings to taste.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brown Sugar & Oats Muffins

I found these muffins on Kaitlin's recipe blog. She often has really delicious-looking things that she cooks up in her kitchen! I made them this morning for breakfast and there is only one left. They were just slightly sweet and the oats gave them a nutty flavor. They are truly a perfect way to start the day. Oatmeal is one of our favorite things, and I'm always trying to find new recipes to use it in. If you have any, let me know!


1 cup oatmeal
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 400.

Line a dozen muffin cups with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until moistened. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sprinklers, Strawberries and Spring Storms

It's time for my garden update. I've been linking up each Thursday over at The Inadvertant Farmer's blog. There are several bloggers who write about their gardening endeavors, so go check them out! I've found lots of great gardening tips while reading through them.

Here are our strawberry plants. We haven't seen any fruit yet, but I don't think it will be long! Aren't the containers so cute? I found both of them in someone's trash. *hangs head in shame* Yes, I guess I'm a dumpster diver, but I could not pass these up! They are made of cement and have a rustic look that I just adore. Don't judge!
Our sprouts are really growing! We now have several from each of the seeds we planted. It won't be long before we're eating fresh cantaloupe and slicing up cucumbers for a snack. That will be so awesome!
The kids bought a soaker hose and a shower-type head, along with a flat of flowers for me for Mother's Day. They are so enthusiastic about growing things, and I love that gardening instills a love for that in them! Great life lessons growing along with our plants. Josie and Rhett love using the shower head sprinkler to help water the garden.
I don't know if you all saw the tornadoes that the Oklahoma City area dealt with earlier this week, but along with the high winds came some ginormous (is that a real word?) hail. I stole this picture from my friend Mandi. We weren't able to take pictures of any of it, because we were driving through it at the time. What a night! My poor little tomato plants didn't appreciate that hail one bit! I think that everything survived, but the weather was definitely rough on them. By the way, we called the day after those tornadoes to have a storm shelter installed on our property! That will be in next week. Now if we can make it through tonight's storms....