Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Blog.

I'm sure you guys have noticed that I have a post about dear sweet Dukie's Christmas but not one for Landon. Well, if you happened to be reading my blog at about 1 AM on Friday night, you would've seen a Landon post.

I get really paranoid when I don't sleep. So at 3 AM that night as I was stretched out on the ottoman (I try many ways to get some sleep...) I started freaking out about posting so many pictures of Landon.

I tore myself away from whatever Nick at Nite show happened to be on and deleted the entry. Got back on the ottoman and thought "Wow, I should probably delete my Dukie entry too or everyone's gonna think that I love the dog more than my child." But I just couldn't get up again.

I guess the story of Duke and the Christmas tennis ball will remain on the blog and maybe one night I'll get brave enough to post a bunch of Landon pictures.

Meal Plan Monday.


I skipped last week's mealplan because of the holidays. We were so busy! Luckily my parents sent us some with a ton of ham and turkey for sandwiches.

Things are finally getting back to normal around here though. Although I can't wait for the whole New Year's ordeal to be over. I'm also sick this week (and probably will be for weeks thanks to my not-so-great immune system) so I can't promise I'll stick to this plan exactly.

Monday: Football Snacks: Sticky Chinese Chicken Wings, Pizza Bread (both here), and Guacamole.

Tuesday: Black Eyed Peas and Ham.

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, and Asparagus.

Thursday: Garlic Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, and Carrots.

Friday: Leftovers.

Saturday: Rootbeer Pulled Pork.

Sunday: Out.

For more MPM, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Honey Chicken.

I wasn't excited to try this recipe. It was one of those recipes that got thrown on my mealplan when I couldn't think of anything else. I put off making it until I had absolutely nothing else left in the house, and I only used two chicken breasts because I knew we were going to hate it.

But I was wrong. What else is new, right? It had such a weird (but good) flavor. Spencer was very upset with me that I had only made two pieces. Mainly because that meant he had to fill up on veggies, but still. He liked the chicken.

I cut it up into bite-size pieces and baked it for about 17 minutes. After it was done, I put the sauce on the stove and thickened it up a little.


The corn casserole that's in the back of the picture is my Aunt Pat's recipe. I decided not to post a picture of it by itself because, well, it just wasn't pretty. It's so good though.

Aunt Pat's Corn Casserole

2 cans Mexicorn
1 small package Mahatma saffron rice
1 stick margarine (or I guess you could use butter...)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Prepare rice according to package instructions. Add margarine and soup. Stir until combined. Add corn and cheese. Combine all in baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 355.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Duke's Second Christmas.


Look at how excited Duke is!

Now let me tell you the story of why Duke is so excited.

Duke is only allowed tennis balls twice a year, on Christmas and his birthday. You see, Duke can't control himself around tennis balls. It's like he forgets that he mother was a shih-tzu because those pitbull jaws take over and that tennis ball is lucky to stay whole for three minutes. Now I will spend the next week fishing tennis ball pieces out of Landon's mouth no matter how many times I vacuum.


And that is all that remains of that poor red tennis ball.

Cauliflower Gratin.

A few days before Christmas I was informed by Spencer that his mother wanted me to bring something to her Christmas Eve dinner. I briefly considered mashing up an avocado, throwing in a jar of salsa, and calling it guacamole but I decided I better behave myself.

I turned to Ina.

I love Ina. I love everything about her. I love that she only owns one style of shirt and only in dark colors. I love that she has the strangest assortment of friends. I love that in Ina's kitchen everything is "fabulous". I love that her husband has curly hair.

I didn't, however, love her cauliflower gratin.


I'll go ahead and apologize for the photo. I felt slightly stupid standing over my mother-in-law's stove trying to get a picture of some cauliflower. I did it quickly and without anyone noticing... I think.

Onto my issue with the fabulous cauliflower gratin.

I spent $15 on cheese. Yes, $15 on a little gruyere and a little parmesan. All I tasted was cauliflower.

Maybe that could be blamed on me forgetting the nutmeg. Maybe the nutmeg is what makes them go "hmm".. oh wait, that's Rachael Ray, right? Nevermind.

But geez. I'm glad that I had some gruyere left to snack on because I was super disappointed that I couldn't taste it more in the dish.


Can I tell you how glad I am that Christmas is over? I was so stressed out by the time the big day rolled around that I felt like curling up in the corner instead of going anywhere. Okay... got that out...

My cookie tins were well recieved. I was so proud when I got an email from my grandma saying that she finally had to take the tin away from my grandpa so he wouldn't eat everything at once! And let me tell you my grandpa is honest to a fault and would tell me straight up if my cookies sucked.


These are Caramel-Brittle Shortbread Thumbprints. Whew. That's a mouthful. I'll admit to not even trying these. By the time I was finished baking, sprinkling, and drizzling I never wanted to look at these cookies again. Spencer said they tasted like a candy bar so let's all pretend to believe him.

I don't really know where the recipe came from. I clipped it out of some magazine and of course, I forget to write down which magazine it came from. Geez Amanda, get your priorities straight.

Caramel-Brittle Shortbread Thumbprints

22 caramels, unwrapped (I'm really glad it said that because I was gonna throw the caramels in the pot completely wrapped. I was.)
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup crushed peanut brittle
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
2 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 372. Heat and stir caramels and 3 tablespoons whipping cream in a small saucepan over low heat until mixture is melted and smooth. Set caramel mixture aside.

Beat butter in a large bowl for 1 minute. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until combines. Add half the flour and 1/4 cup cream. Beat in the remaining flour until just combines. Stir in 1/3 cup crushed peanut brittle.

Shape the fough in 1 1/4 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Use your thumb to make a large indentation in the center of each cookie.

Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until edges are set. Re-press centers if necessary. Spoon about 1 teaspoon melted caramel into each cookie center. Spinkle cookies with remaining 1/3 cup peanut brittle. Let cool on wire racks.

Heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening in another small saucepan over low heat until chocolate mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate over tops of cookies. Let stand until chocolate is set.


Well those sure are some ugly cookies. But they were good. Recipe came from here. I followed exactly except I didn't roll them in sugar and orange zest because I threw away my orange without getting all the zest off! Urgh! These cookies were seriously amazing though.


My not-puffy Snickerdoodles. They were basically just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar but I guess they pass as snickerdoodles. I used this recipe from AllRecipes and according to one of the reviewers, I need to see if my baking soda has expired.


I love white chocolate and I think anyone who doesn't is a freak. (Yes Megan, that means you!) This bark was really simple and really good. My grandma asked for the recipe and I was kinda embarassed to tell her how simple it was.

White Candy Bark
from Quick Cooking

1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 packages (10 - 12 ounces each) vanilla or white chips
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Line a baking pan with foil and brush with butter. Set aside. Place the chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, for 3 - 4 minutes; stir until smooth. Stir in the walnuts, cranberries, and nutmeg. Spread into prepared pan. Chill until firm. Break into pieces.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Peanut Butter Cups.

I've officially started my holiday baking. Okay, I'm a liar. I didn't bake these. But I've started my holiday... goodies?

I've put everything off until the last minute because, well, for one Spencer would eat everything. And two, I'm one of those people who prefer to get everything done at once. I can't stand to spread a task out over a few days or weeks. Today my boredom got the best of me and this is what resulted:


Recipe came from here.

They were so simple! I was actually pretty shocked. I thought I was going to have a hard time "painting" the chocolate on the wrappers because my pastry brushes are all pretty massive but I got it to work.

Spencer was very excited when he saw these chilling in the fridge but I had to break the news that they weren't for him. You should've seen the look of disappointed. So after dinner (Whattaburger, what?) I let him try one. They were just "okay" so I gave him another and he said, "WOW! This one tastes like a Reese's cup!" Really Spencer? They're the exact same thing!

I've got lots of baking to do tomorrow but who knows when I'll get around to updating. I suck at that.

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna.

This post should probably be called "A Bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce with a Side of Lasagna" but we'll all agree to overlook that.

A few weeks ago the Nest had a bunch of posts about buffalo chicken lasagna and it made me want to try it. The recipe floating around the boards was a Weight Watchers version and since Spencer would never let me get away with that, I went on a search for a recipe. And came up empty.

I did manage to come up with something that's pretty good. Spencer loved it, because seriously, what doesn't he love? We both agreed that we couldn't eat it to often though.


Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 bottle Frank's Hot Sauce (scale down if you need to!)
15 ounces ricotta
1 egg
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup blue cheese
lasagna noodles

Cook garlic in olive oil for one minute. Pour in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add garlic, oregano, and bay leaf. Let simmer 15 - 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in hot sauce. Add shredded chicken.

Combine ricotta and egg in medium bowl.

Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with sauce, just enough so noodles won't stick. Layer in the following order: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella. Repeat twice and finish with an extra layer of noodles and then sauce.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Sprinkle with blue cheese and bake uncovered for about five minutes, or until cheese melts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What My Fridge Says About Me...

Kacie is hosting a really fun little thing over at her blog, Sense to Save. The idea is to post a picture of the outside of your fridge and talk about what it says about you. So here goes!


Crappy picture, much?

Okay... the two bigger pictures are my cousins, Jon and Michael. I was the only kid in my entire extended family until Jon came along so they're like the brothers I never had. They live in the New Orleans area which means I only see them a few times a year. Of course I have to have pictures of them around!

The smaller picture is of Spencer when he was, maybe 14 or 15. He hates the picture because he was overweight and had thick glasses but I love it. He just looks so cute and innocent and it makes me wish I had known him back then.

The tiny sticker in the upper left corner is from a deck of cards. My best friend Megan and I spent many days playing cards after Landon was born since there wasn't much else to do with a newborn and sometime in there we decided we wanted to be the people that put the tax stickers on cards. I'm still not sure why the sticker is there or why it's stayed there as long as it has but I'm not taking it down. It reminds me that no matter what crazy idea I come up with, Megan will always understand me. And vice versa.

The pictures are held up by Starbucks magnets. You know the "Coffee of the Day" sign in every Starbucks? Yeah you do. It's the one that lists the decaf, bold, and mild coffees that they're offering. Okay. Well next to the name of the coffee is a magnet with a picture that represents that coffee. I liked to collect things related to our seasonal coffees. So when it was time to get rid of the seasonal stuff and throw away the magnets, I'd grab them. No reason to waste a perfectly good magnet.

I don't like a lot of clutter on my fridge. This is the most I've ever had on it and that's because I just recently recieved of the pictures of Jon and Michael. I keep meaning to buy a cork board to hang next to the fridge so I can take everything off it. Hopefully I'll remember to do that soon.

Head over to Sense to Save if you wanna join in on the fridge fun!

Wordless Wednesday.


I guess if you're gonna save a cheddar bunny for later you've gotta make sure it's really out of Duke's sight.

And yes, Duke is on the coffee table. I don't lie when I say he's out of control.

Want more Wordless Wednesday?

Monday, December 17, 2007

SheeShee's Christmas Snack Mix.

My mom's made this mix every Christmas for as long as I can remember. I used to get so angry when most of it got packed up as gifts. I don't know where the recipe came from or how long she's had it so I'm just gonna call it SheeShee's Christmas Snack Mix.

My mom is SheeShee obviously. Her name's Sharee but it got changed to SheeShee when my cousin Jon was a baby. We were in Vermont one summer and Jon was 2 1/2 or so and he'd just started talking. He was told not to go near "Sharee's cup" because it had coffee in it and he pointed at it and said "SheeShee bup!" It was the first time he'd ever put two words together and the name SheeShee stuck. That was just over 9 years ago. So I'm 22 years old and still call my mother SheeShee. Yup.

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SheeShee's Christmas Snack Mix
(straight from a SheeShee email)

3 c. Cocoa Puffs
3 c. rice cereal squares (or any of the square cereals)
1 1/2 c. small twisted pretzels
1 c. dry roasted peanuts
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. vanilla

Combine cereals, pretzels and nuts in 9x13 baking pan (metal works better). In medium sauce pan, cook brown sugar, butter and light corn syrup over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream of tartar, baking soda and vanilla. Pour over cereal mix in 9x13 and stir gently to coat. Bake in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15. Spread on foil to cool. Keep in covered container.

Tomato, Chicken, and Rice Soup

I hate tomatoes. They're just so gooey and... yuck. I can eat tomatoes when they're chopped up and mixed with something, but a whole tomato, or even a slice, disgusts me. When I was growing up, my mom would have a plate of sliced tomatoes on the table at almost every meal and my dad and I would just look at her like she was crazy. We weren't touching that!

I love tomato soup though. Before I met Spencer I lived on the Amy's Tomato Bisque in the cans. Oh geez. Those are amazing and well worth the insane $3 a can. Once I got pregnant, I started drinking the Campbells Soup at Hand tomato soup in the mornings when I had to be at Starbucks at 5 am. And now I'm drinking V8. I still hate tomatoes though.

Anyway... this recipe came from my Aunt Micki. According to her, my grandpa's mom made a version of this for him growing up and then my grandma made it for her kids, and now Aunt Micki makes it for her two boys. I don't remember my mom ever making it though. I was deprived.

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We loved it! I made a huge pot of it and it's all gone. :(

Tomato, Chicken, and Rice Soup

1 whole chicken
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans tomato soup
1 cup uncooked rice
dash of Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Boil chicken until completely cooked. Pull chicken out and skim fat off the broth. (I'm a freak and can't use homemade chicken stock until after I let it cool and make sure I get every bit of fat out of it so I used some that I had in the freezer.) Add the two cans of extra broth. Bring to a boil. Add rice, turn heat down, and let simmer until rice is cooked. Add tomato soup and bring to a boil. Let cook until combined. Pull chicken off the bones and shred it. Add it to the top and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

Desperate Blueberry Muffins.

So I'm a cheeseball. What?

My best friend and I exchanged gifts this past week because we're both impatient Geminis. She got me a ton of amazing stuff but this was my favorite:

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That's me! harhar

I'm a huge Desperate Housewives fan. Huge. We subscribe to Blockbuster Online and I just keep going through the seasons of DH when I can't find anything else to rent. I never get tired of it. So yay for a cookbook!

I had to try it out immediately, of course, and since Spencer was home all weekend I decided to make him a semi-breakfast. Blueberry muffins!

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I thought the muffins were okay. I got spoiled during my stint at Starbucks because their blueberry muffins are huge, super sweet, and have that crumbly goodness on top. So maybe that's why I thought these were just okay. Spencer loved them. He ate twelve of them yesterday. Yes twelve muffins in about 12 hours. I apparently don't feed him enough.

Blueberry Muffins
From The Desperate Housewives Cookbook by Christopher Styler

vegetable oil cooking spray
12 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
grated vest of orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the tops of muffins
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 12-compartment muffin tin with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan over very low heat. When the butter is half melted, pour them mixture into a small mixing bowl and stir until the butter is completely melted. Whisk in the eggs and orange zest thoroughly and set aside.

Stir the flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Add the berries and ross to coat with flour. Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently from the bottom until combines. The batter will look lumpy.

Divide the batter among the muffin tin compartments. Sprinkle the top of each muffin evenly with sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely before serving.

(The recipe says it only makes 12 but I got 22 out of it.)

Carnitas and Mexican Rice.

I think I've talked about my hatred of the crock pot before. I just can't handle smelling something all day! It makes me sick. So I'd packed my crock pot away and decided not to use it unless I'm leaving for the day. But then I found this recipe for Ronaldo's Beef Carnitas. I listened to the reviews and made it in the crockpot and it smelled so good all day!

They were pretty awesome. If I ever make them again, I'll double (maybe triple) the spices and chiles. I used the four pound chuck roast (because WD had it on sale! woo!) that was recommended and it made a ton. We ate it for two nights and then DH had it as a snack for a few days after that. I even caught him putting it on white bread with ketchup.

But that's really not so strange once you consider he puts ketchup on his french toast...

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The rice is a-maz-ing. I'm not even kidding. The first time I tried this recipe, I tasted it as soon as it was done and didn't like it at all. But as I was packing up the leftovers, I decided to give it another taste. And let's just say the rest of the rice didn't quite make it into the tupperware.

Mexican Rice

1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

Bring broth to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add rice, onion, jalapeno, and tomato. Season with bouillon cube, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Best friends.

Our dog, Duke, loves Landon. I get that. I mean, Landon's a lovable guy so I understand why Duke loves Landon so much. But Duke really doesn't need to nap in bed with Landon.

A few weeks ago Duke was stampeding around the apartment while Landon was supposed to be sleeping. I heard a big "thud" and then Landon started giggling. I knew something was up. I did not, however, expect to find this:

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And doesn't Duke look mighty proud of himself? Duke's not a big dog. Maybe about 22 pounds and pretty short, but he's apparently an amazing jumper. I thought it was a fluke. You know, maybe his stampeding gave him enough momentum to fly into the crib. Makes sense, right?

Landon's currently sleeping in his pack 'n play until I can figure out a way to keep him from leaping out of his crib and it's worked out fine for the past few days. But just a few minutes ago, while Landon was once again supposed to be napping, I realized I hadn't seen Duke in awhile. I expected to find him pulling dirty diapers out of the trash again, but instead:

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I pulled him out, tried to be angry with him while suppressing my giggles, and went about my business. Five minutes later:

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So Duke is now spending naptime in the kitchen until he learns to control himself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Meal Plan Monday.

I did pretty good with my meal plan last week. I think I stuck to it for the most part. Not if I can only learn to update the blog on the nights I cook.

I had real trouble coming up with a menu this week. My brain is so clouded with thoughts of Christmas that I can't focus on anything else. This morning as I was walking out the door, I finally decided what all to make, and once I got to the store I realized it was all chicken. Oops.

Monday: Tomato, chicken, and rice soup.
Tuesday: Chicken and Biscuits.
Wednesday: Leftovers.
Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna.
Friday: Leftovers/out.
Saturday: Honey chicken, corn casserole, and garlic green beans.

More Meal Plan Monday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Honey Roasted Potatoes.

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I served these with my turkey sloppy joes (in the post below). I wanted something that was kinda like french fries but a little different and these fit the bill. I used this recipe, but I used yukon gold and left out the onion. The sweetness of the honey worked really well and they were an excellent side for the sloppy joes.

Turkey Sloppy Joes.

I think I've had sloppy joes once in my lifetime. And it was, of course, Manwich. I always assumed I hated sloppy joes because the stuff in the can just isn't that great. But my husband's the kinda guy that loves sloppy joes. Sigh.

I looked at a few recipes and came up with what I think is the best thing I've ever made. I warned Spencer that he'll be eating these once a month or so. It was so easy and so good. I want to go make another now that I've been writing about it!

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Turkey Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup onion
1 1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt and pepper

Cook turkey and onion in a little olive oil. Drain. Combine all ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Meet-and-Greet Monday.

I recently stumbled across The Natural Mommy and it's since become my favorite blog. Last night thanks to my inability to sleep, I went through probably 20 pages of her blog.

But every week she hosts Meet-and-Green Monday so I decided to jump on in. I'd like everyone to meet my new nephew, Andre (..and you gotta say it in the Tim Gunn voice):

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Andre is a beagle/rat terrier mix and quite possibly the cutest puppy ever.

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Landon really loves his new cousin!

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And they're already causing trouble together.

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At last! They got it open!

For more, go visit The Natural Mommy. Seriously. Go now. She's amazing.

Meal Plan Monday.

Meal Plan Monday!

Thanksgiving really screwed up my meal planning. I haven't been able to stay on schedule since then. This week I've got everything planned out, all the groceries bought, and I'm ready to cook. So hopefully all goes as planned.

Monday: Sloppy joes and honey roasted potatoes.
Tuesday: Leftovers.
Wednesday: Carnitas and mexican rice.
Thursday: Leftovers.
Friday: Brown sugar meatloaf, smashed potatoes, and buttery sweet carrots.
Saturday: Leftovers.
Sunday: Out.

For more, visit Org Junkie!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Rootbeer Carrots.

Rachael Ray and I have real issues. I was really starting to trust her after we loved her Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza. She and I were doing good. But then, then I had to try the Rootbeer Carrots. I've lost all faith in Rachael once again.

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I realize they're pretty disgusting looking. They were basically black. Black carrots just aren't appetizing. Plus the herbs all kinda clumped together once they were out of the liquid and I'm not a huge fan of thyme. I think Spencer said it best when he announced that they were good the first time around but he'd never eat them again.

Spaghetti and Meatballs.

I'm not a spaghetti kinda girl. I always loved it as a kid but now it just seems so boring. And messy. Unforunately I married a man who says he could eat spaghetti once a week. So I made him some spaghetti for the first time in our year and a half of marriage.

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My Basic Spaghetti Sauce

1 onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 cans of tomatoes (I usually use 2 cans of crushed, but this time I had one crushed and one sauce on hand so I used those.)
1 tablespoons oregano
bay leaf
sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes

Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Let simmer for at least an hour.

My meatballs are pretty basic. I used a pound of ground beef, maybe 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, one egg, garlic powder, and parsley. Mix those up and line 'em up on a baking sheet and throw them in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or so depending on the size.

It was okay. I'm still not a huge spaghetti fan but I ate a coffee mug full of it. Spencer loved it of course and I'm sure he'll be asking for it again very soon.

Taco Ring.

I'm a sucker for anything taco related. Taco soup, taco dip, even plain 'ol tacos. I love them all. I found this Taco Ring recipe awhile ago and finally got around to making it.

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Mine obviously looks nothing like hers. Nothing. I apparently didn't put enough filling in them and then I didn't space them out enough so it was more like a taco... well, like a big mound of crescent roll dough with taco filling inside.

It was good though. It was pretty amazing straight out of the oven but once it sat in the fridge, it got soggy. I ended up throwing about half of it away. I might make this again if I have a get together where I know all of it will get eaten. But next time I will make sure it's a ring, not a mound.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Meal Plan Monday.

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Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs.
Tuesday: Leftovers!
Wednesday: Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza.
Thursday: Lambchops, mashed potatoes, and rootbeer carrots.
Friday: Out!
Saturday: Out!
Sunday: Out!

For more, visit Org Junkie!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Eggnog Pumpkin Pie.

This is the first year I'll be assisting in the Christmas cooking/baking and I'm super nervous about it. So I've decided to start testing out all the recipes that seem interesting to me. First up: Eggnog Pumpkin Pie.

I pulled this recipe out of some magazine, maybe Taste of Home? It's amazing. I really wasn't expecting to taste the eggnog but it's definitely competing with the pumpkin! Now that I know it doesn't taste like poo, I'll be making it for our Christmas Eve dinner with Spencer's mom.

Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack Pumpkin
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked pastry shell (I used the refrigerated Pillsbury kind)

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggnog, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour into pastry shell.

Bake at 375 for 60 - 65 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sesame Chicken.

Spencer was out of town earlier this week and on the first night he was gone, I decided I wanted Chinese. Only because of my anxiety I can't go into a restaurant alone, even if it's just to pick something up. So I decided to make sesame chicken!

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I used this recipe.

I hated it. I blame the fact that you can't find good quality teriyaki sauce anywhere in Mobile though. The smell by itself made me sick so I ended up throwing it all in a trashbag before the sauce had even thickened up, which is why the picture looks like that.

It's probably better that I didn't like it. If I ever find the perfect sesame chicken recipe, I'll making it twice a week and Spencer might just leave me over that.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I decided I wasn't going to cook much this week with Thanksgiving come up and all, so I figured a big pot of chili would last us a few days. When I told Spencer that I was making chili he said he wanted it on top of pasta but I can't stomach that so we settled on nachos. He'd never had chili on top of chips until my mom stayed with us after Landon was born but now he loves it.

I combined a couple different recipes to make this and I think they're all on AllRecipes if anyone wants to check them out.

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2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
big can of tomato sauce
can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
16 ounce jar of salsa
packet of chili seasoning mix
can of dark red kidney beans
can of light red kidney beans
chili powder (I added about a teaspoon because it wasn't tasting chili enough for me, but you could just add more chili seasoning mix if you have it.)

Cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is brown and onion is soft. Drain. Add pepper, salt, garlic powder, tomato sauce, Rotel, salsa, chili seasoning, and beans. (And chili powder if you need it.) Let simmer for atleast an hour before serving.

Zucchini Gumdrop Muffins.

I'm gonna go ahead and admit this: Andrea from Never Bashful with Butter is probably my favorite person ever, even though I don't actually know her. Her blog is always filled with amazing pictures, hilarious stories, and recipes that would please anyone. I've tried several of her recipes and we always love them. So when she posted this Zucchini Bread I knew I had to try it.

It was by far the strangest thing I've ever made. It even pulled Spencer and his buddy away from football long enough for them to make "Eww!" sounds over my shoulder. But they were amazing! Spencer ate 6 as soon as they came out of the oven and his buddy ate 2 or 3. I managed to hide a couple so that Megan can try them tomorrow but all the others are gone. I'm saving this recipe for when Landon gets older and refuses to eat his veggies! :)

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My picture's not nearly as pretty as Andrea's. All my gumdrops went to the bottom of my muffins. Boo. But they're still very tasty!

White Chocolate Lime Cookies.

I bought a bottle of sweetened lime juice a long time ago for a drink and the rest of the bottle has been sitting in the fridge since then. So I decided to try to recreate the amazing White Chocolate Key Lime Cookies from Starbucks. Yum!

They were a hit. The lime juice wasn't very strong but you could definitely taste it. Even my best friend, who doesn't like white chocolate, ate a few of these!

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White Chocolate Lime Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups white chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and lime juice in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9 - 11 minutes at 350.

Dorito Chicken Bites.

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I've been seeing dorito chicken on a ton of blogs recently, so of course I had to try it. I love doritos. Spencer loves doritos. It was bound to be a hit.

I cut mine into tiny bites before I rolled them in Doritos just because I think it's cuter that way. They were good. The Doritos got soggy and didn't really taste like Doritos anymore. I won't make this again, but there weren't any leftovers so they had to be okay.

Dorito Chicken Bites

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces
1 egg
splash of water
crushed doritos (I don't know how much I used... maybe 1/2 cup)

Whisk egg and water together. Dip each chicken piece in the egg and then roll in Doritos. Place in a prepared casserole dish. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 400.

Cubed Steak with Gravy.

I bought some cubed steak on sale a few weeks ago and wasn't really sure what to do with it. I found this recipe for "Country Style Steak" but I don't like the name of it. To me anything with "country" in it's name should have a thick, rich gravy on top of it. And this, while it was good, just didn't make my "country" list.

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My picture sucks. It just wasn't a good day for me. But I served it over mashed potatoes. I make my mashed potatoes the same way everytime. Three pounds of red potatoes, skins on, boiled just about forever. Or maybe 30 minutes. Then I melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan and add a cup of milk. I mash the potatoes and add the butter mixture a little at a time until it's a good consistency. I also throw in whatever cheeses I happen to have on hand and this time it was mozzarella.

The carrots... oh, the carrots. I went through 22 years of my life hating carrots. My mom knew not to make them, but when I'd stay with my Aunt Micki she'd bribe me with snow cones to get me to eat them. But once I started making potroasts for Spencer, I fell in love with the carrots I'd cook with them. I decided that I only like carrots if they're cooked so long that they're pretty much falling apart, and as long as they have some kind of sauce.

A few weeks ago we went to Fresh Market when they had their holiday tasting and they had these amazing orange glazed carrots. So I'm now trying to recreate them. This recipe was good. They were a little too sweet though. The ones from TFM had parsley on them but I stubbornly decided I didn't want green specks on my carrots.

Orange Glazed Carrots

1 pound of carrots, cut thinly
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon butter
tiny pinch of salt

Boil carrots until tender. Drain and return to pan. Pour orange juice over carrots and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, butter, and salt.

Meal Plan Monday.

There won't be much cooking in our house this week. I'm assuming that we'll have tons of leftovers from Thanksgiving to get us through part of the weekend.

Monday: Chili (probably on nachos).
Tuesday: Leftovers.
Wednesday: Taco Ring.
Friday: Leftovers.
Saturday: Leftovers.
Sunday: Tamale Pie.

More MPM!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Deep Fried Cranberry Fritters.

My best friend, Megan and I watch a lot of Food Network. Either next to each other on my couch or each of us at our own houses sending "Omg! Did you see what Rachael/Giada/Sandra just did?!" texts. This past Saturday we were doing it the texting way while Paula's Party was on and we both got super excited when Paula mentioned deep frying some cranberry sauce. So we had to try it. Had to.

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It was a big disaster, as you can see from the picture. The cranberry sauce was refusing to stay in the batter, even after being fried. They're pretty good. We both had one and decided that was plenty for us. Spencer came home and ate 4 of them! It was a fun recipe to try but I doubt I ever make it again.

Paula Deen's Deep Fried Cranberry Fritters

1 (13-ounce) can jelly style cranberry sauce, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
Oil, for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water

Lay the cranberry sauce rounds out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and freeze for 4 hours or until solid.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large Dutch oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl stir together 1 cup of the flour, with the sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour in the water and stir together until smooth. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.

Dip the frozen cranberry sauce rounds in the batter and gently place in the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Serve and enjoy immediately.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Once again Spencer has put a stop to my cooking. No more until we finish all the leftovers in the fridge. So what's a girl to do? Attempt to eat everything before husband comes home, of course!

After finishing all the taco salad last night and feeding the chicken and rice to the dog, I realized it was too big of a task to undertake. But I decided that baking was safe. I mean, you need dessert with leftovers too! So brownies were made.

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Half with walnuts, half without.

These are freakin' rich. I cut myself a rather large piece because I am a fat kid after all, but after one bite I handed the brownie to Spencer. I can't handle all that chocolate. Spencer loved them though. I doubt they make it past tomorrow night.

Amazingly Sinful Brownies

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Combine the two bowls. Spread batter into a prepared pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

For glaze, combine all ingredients. Pour over warm brownies and allow to harden.

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How I make extra cash.

Being a SAHM for 9 months now has put a slight strain on our wallet so I've been finding other ways to make a little money online. I've had really good luck with a few different websites so I figured I'd post about them.

Netwinner - This is my alltime favorite. I keep a window open all day and just click "Quick Pick" and then "Win" every minute or so. I've gotten $150 in giftcards so far for doing pretty much nothing. They've got 5 different websites to spin the wheel on (if anyone needs the links, let me know) and they just added a bingo type game that's pretty addicting.

Deal Barbie Pays - This one requires a little work. It's mainly filling out surveys and signing up for free things but it does take some time. When I first joined I had amazing luck but lately I just haven't had any offers approve. Maybe someone out there will have better luck than me. I've made $254.12 so far! Woo.

Fairy Tale Treasures - This one is very similar to DBP but I've had better luck on it lately. Along with the offers and freebies, they also have their own daily survey that pays $.75 and they also have paid to click links. My favorite part of the site is their daily trivia. It's always Disney related and for each correct answer you get a "Magic Pumpkin", and 12 pumpkins equal a dollar!

Send Earnings - This is a really good site if you have enough patience to do a survey a day. You get $1 per survey but sometimes you have to try a few of them before you qualify for one. I've only reached payout once because I get so bored with surveys.

Indox Dollars - Same as Send Earnings. I think they're even owned by the same people.

I hope someone gets some use out of this. If anything, sign up for Netwinner. It's free money for just spinning a wheel! It might take a month to get to $25 but that's $25 more than you had to start. :)

Meal Plan Monday.

Last week was a strange week so I didn't stick to my meal plan at all. This week is looking like another weird one, so I'm only scheduling a couple meals. I've got atleast one carry over from last week so hopefully I'll really get it done.

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Monday: Chinese leftovers.
Tuesday: Farmhouse Chicken casserole.
Wednesday: Leftovers.
Thursday: Dorito Chicken, Zucchini Fritters, and Corn Casserole.
Friday: Dinner out.
Saturday: Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Orange Glazed Carrots.
Sunday: Dinner out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Taco Salad.

It's official. I suck at making anything too simple. Taco salad should be the easiest thing in the world, right? Not for me. I stressed out over how hideous it was and then made Spencer close his eyes to taste it because I didn't want him to be disgusted by it. It was actually good though. Weird, but good. About an hour ago I finished the leftovers while sitting on my ass watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8". Food + bad reality TV = amazingness.

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I saw this recipe on someone's blog a long time ago and stuck it in my recipe box on AllRecipes. The owner of the blog I saw it on raved about it and the reviews on AllRecipes were really good. Everyone failed to mention how disgusting it would look.

I listened to the reviewers and used Catalina instead of French dressing, and I added it over everything instead of cooking it with the meat. I also used Doritos and added those canned black olives that taste like metal because Spencer loves them.

I don't think I'll make this again but it really was good. I'm just not big on those one dish meals.

Apple Spice Cake.

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This cake was amazing. And my first real cakecake! Go me! It didn't last more than 24 hours in this apartment and Spencer's very proud that he ate half of it by himself.

I got the recipe from All You! magazine (Yeah.. I buy it.. what?). This is the first time that anything in that magazine has looked remotely appitizing so I, of course, had to run out and buy everything to make it right then.

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Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large apple, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk together flour through salt. In another bowl, mix apples and sugar.

Stir dry ingredients into apple mixture. Mix in eggs and oil. Divide batter between pans; bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Reduce speed and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Place a cake layer on a platter, spread top with 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer. Frost top and sides and decorate with walnuts.

Okay, so as soon as I had started mixing the dry ingredients, I remembered I was out of cinnamon. I ended up throwing some ground cloves in instead and no one could tell it was missing anything. I also used canola oil because that's what I had on hand. And I recommend grating your apples after all the dry ingredients are together because mine turned brown before I got everything in the bowl. Ick.

It was really good though. Seriously. Spencer's already told me that I'm making it to take to his mom's on Thanksgiving.