Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Patch.

I guess we don't grow pumpkins down here. I mean, there would be big, huge, fun pumpkin patches if we did, right? You know.. the ones with the big wooden cutouts that you can stick your face through and all the sudden be a farmer? Or a pumpkin? Or whatever? Our only "patches" are the ones found in front of churches.

We don't even have the haunted hayrides everyone talks about. We used to, I think, because I remember going to one when I was 8 or 9. But I also think I remember driving a few hours to get to it.

I don't get it. Are we anti-fun Halloween activities down here? Nevertheless, we took Landon to a "pumpkin patch" this past weekend at one of the churches. It ws dangerously close to bedtime but he was a trooper.

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Meal Plan Monday.

Lately I've had a real problem with the food I make. I enjoy it when I first make it but the leftovers make me want to throw up. Just looking at them makes me sick. It's so bad that I've forbidden Spencer from eating them when I'm around. So this week when I sat down to make my meal plan, I decided to stick with things that are simple, good, and I know I like. I apologize for any boredom I may cause this week. But I need it.

Monday: Nothing. Spencer's having friends over and I don't feel like cooking.
Tuesday: Chicken Supreme.
Wednesday: Spencer's Mac & Cheese.
Wednesday: Baked Ziti.
Thursday: Going out with Spencer's family.
Friday: Boneless Buffalo Pizza (or BBQ Chicken Pizza.. haven't decided).
Saturday: Ruebens
Sunday: Out!

Head over to Organizing Junkie for more Meal Plan Monday!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Iced Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

I'm not a huge fan of raisins. It's the texture that gets me. (I obviously have serious texture issues, right?) So the first time I saw this recipe (over at Annie's Eats) I skipped right over it. But then I went back through her blog one day looking for ideas and came upon these damn cookies again. And they called out to me. I swear they did.

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And so I made them! They're delicious! I think these are my new go-to fall cookies. I took some over to my parent's house this morning and even my dad (who is another raisin hater) liked them!

I followed the recipe exactly. Even though it nearly killed me to spend $6 on a small jar of ground cloves. They're perfect. Seriously the most perfect cookies ever.

Make them now!


I bought lamb a few weeks ago (because it was on sale) and I've been itching to use it since then. I've had lamb before but only in Greek restaurants so I was a little intimidated by it.

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Lamb, Sweet & Sour Cabbage, and Potato & Turnip Pancakes.

I got the lamb marinade from AllRecipes. I marinated it overnight as the recipe says and just threw in on the stove on medium heat until it looked okay. It was delicious. Spencer and I decided it was one of the best things I've made. I'm tempted to try the marinade on other meats now. It was really that good.

The sides came from Simple Recipes (here and here).

I've recently discovered my love for cabbage (the texture of it always scared me away) so I was really looking forward to the Sweet & Sour Cabbage, but neither of us liked it. We ended up throwing most of it away. I can see why someone would like it, but it just wasn't for us.

The Potato & Turnip Pancakes were fabulous! I ate 7 or 8 of them! I'd never had a turnip so the taste was a little weird at first but I fell in love. I took her suggestion of dipping them in sour cream and.. WOW! Damn. I wish I had some now. This is a must try!

Feta Turkey Burgers

My main reason for trying these was to see if I could sneak ground turkey passed Spencer. I expected him to have a minor freak out as soon as he tasted it but he didn't say a word.

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The recipe came from AllRecipes. The only change I made was using plain black olives because Spencer has a thing against kalamata olives. Weirdo.

I'm generally not a burger person, but I thought these were pretty good. Then again, I'll eat just about anything with feta in it. I only ate half a burger, but by the next day the rest were gone so I'm guessing that means Spencer liked them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wordless Wednesday.

Landon's first ricecake:

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More Wordless Wednesday.

Cheesy Corn, Potato, and Bacon Chowder.

It's finally cold down here! I'm sure it won't last though so I'm taking advantage of it while I can. Today I decided to make a chowder. Yay chowder!

It kinda came about as an accident. See, every Tuesday my best friend Megan comes over and we watch movies, so I make something in my slowcooker every Tuesday. I had wanted to make a corn chowder in it today so I looked at a bunch of recipes on AllRecipes before decided on one, not realizing it wasn't a slow cooker recipe. So in the end I combined two recipes and then added some of my own to it.

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Cheesy Corn, Potato, and Bacon Chowder

1 onion, diced
2 potatos, peeled and diced
2 cans chicken broth
can cream corn, drained
2 cans whole kernel corn, undrained
country style gravy mix
2 cups milk
1 cup Mexican Velveeta
5 strips of bacon, baked and crumbled

Throw onion and potato into slow cooker. Add chicken broth and corn. Mix gravy into milk and add to slow cooker. Add Velveeta and bacon in last 30 minutes or so.

Football Food Again! What? We like football!

My husband wanted pigs in a blanket last night. I'm not really sure why. He just randomly decided he wanted pigs in a blanket while he watched the Colts game. I happy obliged.

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I found the recipe at Amber's Delectable Delights. I had a little trouble with them. My OCD dictated that each piece of dough needed to be the same size, but it just didn't work out for me. Once I got over that, they were great! The walnuts and honey gave it a weird baklava taste that Spencer (the husband.. I've decided he's worthy of a name) loved! He grabbed the leftovers out of the fridge as soon as he got home today and demolished them.

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After he decided he wanted pigs in a blanket, he informed me that he'd also like another snack but left it up to me. So I chose Chili con Queso.

This stuff was awesome. I'm a bit of a sausage freak so, of course, I loved this. I even ate it for breakfast this morning since sausage is a breakfast food and all. I know this is gonna become a regular on our football nights but next time I'm gonna add another jalapeno.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chicken and Biscuits.

This is my husband's alltime favorite meal. I think he'd eat it every week if I'd allow it, but I'm so sick of it. I went and got sushi from Fresh Market because I couldn't even stand the smell of it cooking. I mean, it was good the first 56 times I made it. I can't handle it anymore though.

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Chicken and Biscuits

1 whole chicken
1 packet Pioneer biscuit gravy mix
1/4 cup flour
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can 10 or 12-pack refrigerated biscuits

Let chicken simmer in a 5 qt pot for about 2 hours. When it's cooked, take it out of the water and let it cool, but leave about 4 - 5 cups of the broth in the pot. Mix the biscuit gravy mix and then flour with about 1/4 cup of water (or a little more, as long as it doesn't get pasty) and then add that mixture to the broth. Add the cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil. If it's not thick enough to be a gravy, add another small mixture of flour and cold water to thicken it up. When it's thick enough, pull the chicken off the bones and add it in small pieces to the gravy. Put the mixture into a casserole dish. Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces each and place the pieces on top of the chicken and gravy mixture. Bake according to biscuit directions.

My aunt gave me this recipe and she says she usually freezes half of of the chicken and gravy mixture to use for another dinner, but it never seems like enough to me. Or maybe we just like to eat a lot. So if it seems like a lot to you, you can freeze half and use it another day.

Meal Plan Monday

Monday: Football food. Sweet Lil Smokies and Chili con Queso.
Tuesday: Cheesy Potato and Corn Chowder
Wednesday: Balsamic Chicken, Asparagus, and Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf.
Thursday: Leftovers!
Friday: Grilled Lamb, Sweet & Sour Cabbage, and Potato & Turnip Pancakes.
Saturday: Feta Turkey Burgers and chips.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Football Food. Part Two.

We had yet another football party last night. (And LSU won, thanks!) Besides the cleanup and the husband who doesn't like to get off the computer to help me, I don't really mind hosting them. But I'm running out of fun party food to make and I feel obligated to make something. Although I should start making them order a pizza or something. It would definitely cup down on the amount of time I spend doing dishes every night.

I got this first recipe from a lady on my parenting board. I'm very lucky that all the women on my birth board love cooking and we actually spend a lot of time talking about food. So we started a blog where we can share all our favorite recipes.

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(Like my hideously cheesy football plate?! I bought it for the husband as a Christmas gift but I was so excited about it that I gave it to him early.)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Two bonless, skinless chicken breasts. Cooked and shredded.
12 ounce Frank's Hot Sauce
Two 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese
16 ounce Ranch dressing
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup montery jack cheese

In sauce, mix cream cheese, ranch, and celery until smooth. Add chicken and hot sauce. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over top and pop back in oven until melted.

Is was so good. I really didn't expect to like it but I had some last night, I had some for breakfast, and I just had some as a late night snack. I left celery out because the husband and I both hate it. I also never got the cream cheese completely smooth. It looked more like cottage cheese in the end but it still tasted great.

I served it with tortilla chips and pita chips. I figured the pita chips would be good since it's a thick dip but no one ate them! So I now have the unfortunate task of eating two bags of pita chips. Dangit.

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Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

Now this one.. it caused me great agony. I thought I'd be fine cutting 15 jalapenos. I didn't think they could possibly burn my hand. But the little devils did. The husband ended up stuffing them as I layed on the kitchen floor trying not to pass out. My hands were on fire. And they stayed that way most of the night.

These got great reviews from my friends. I had apparently forgotten that I hate the texture of peppers and all was okay until I took that first crunchy bite. I think it would've been good though, if it hadn't been a pepper. The dog seemed to agree with me as I found only a jalapeno shell in the middle of the hallway this morning. I don't even know how he got one but I'm glad he didn't eat the pepper. I can only imagine the cleanup...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Go LSU!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chicken Taco Soup.

I'm in love with my slow cooker. Seriously. If a hurricane randomly popped up over my apartment, I'd grab the kid then the crockpot and we'd hide together in the closet. That's just how I work. The downfall with the crockpot, though, is that after smelling the food all day I'm so sick of it that I never want to eat it. But it's just so darn cute and convienient.

I made this Chicken Taco Soup (in my crockpot, of course!) yesterday. I smelled it all day long. I couldn't get away from it no matter where I went. I didn't want to eat it. I never wanted to eat anything taco-related ever again. But I was hungry. And holy geez was it good. The husband mixed it a ton of sour cream and cheddar cheese and turned it into a dip. I almost died. It was amazing. So amazing that I had leftovers first thing this morning.

I'll make this again (many times I'm sure) but I think I'm gonna use the husband's idea and serve it with tortilla chips. It'll be a long time before I think about making it though. The idea of it makes me kind of nauseous after smelling it for 8 hours but it really was delicious.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ribollita con Verdue

I have a love/hate relationship with Rachael Ray. I buy her magazine every month, I watch her talkshow every morning at 9 am, I'll even watch 30 Minute Meals occassionally. But I hate her recipes. I don't want to put poblano peppers in my chocolate chips cookies, thanks. Okay, well maybe she hasn't done that (yet) but I can't handle all the spicy, pickled, and otherwise weird things that she makes. And yet, I continue to make her food.

I saw her making Ribollita con Verdue one afternoon as I was running out the door and was immediately in love with the idea of throwing half a loaf of stale bread into a soup as a thickener. Plus kale! And beans! Seriously.. it sounded like heaven. But it was a Rachael recipe so I should've known better.

I'll admit it was pretty tasty. Even the husband liked it. But my bread didn't all melt into the soup. So I had quite a few pieces of soggy bread floating around even after I took a wooden spoon and tried to squish all of them. But like I said, it was good. And I've actually been eating the leftovers for breakfast the past few days.

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Ribollita con Verdue
(from the lovable, hugable Rachael Ray)

4 pieces of pancetta
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
zucchini, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup wine (I used balsamic vinegar)
15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
6 cups of beef broth
4 cups of stale french bread
2 cans of small white beans (or cannelini)
4 cups of kale, chopped

Saute pancetta in olive oil for about 4 minutes. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Let soften. Deglaze with wine. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer. Add bread and beans. Pile kale into pot and simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, raw onions, and parmesan on top.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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The Husband, very unhappy with me.

More Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Football Food!

Every Monday, the husband has his best friend over for Monday Night Football. Normally I go shopping to avoid all the yelling, but last night I decided to make some recipes I'd been dying to try.

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Sticky Chinese Chicken Wings

I found this recipe at and knew the husband would love them. And he did! We only had seven wings left over after they were done and the husband took those seven to work for lunch!

I ended up using just over four pounds of wings just because that's how my grocery store had them packaged. I also doubled the marinade and put it on the stove after I took the wings out. It didn't thicken up like I wanted it to so I added some cornstarch and it turned out perfectly.

They were sticky and delicious and it was the biggest compliment ever to see two grown men sitting on the couch with sauce all over their faces.

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Green Bean Fries

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Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Both of these came from Amber's Delectable Delights (here and here).

We had zero leftovers from these two so that must say something! I, of course, loved the green bean fries and ended up eating most of those, but both the boys tried them and liked them. The pizza bread was the first thing gone. I made a batch of marinara sauce for dipping and they gobbled it up.

These are all keepers and everyone should try them! I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Talk About Tuesday

Talk About Tuesday.

My Monster is a certified big boy now. We finally said "bye bye" to the bucket seat this weekend!

We'd put off switching him over for so long because we rarely ever put him in the car. If I need to go somewhere, I got after he's in bed when he husband's home. But apparently we'd waited entirely too long because grandpa (who still hasn't decided what he wants to be called) went out and bought one.

So yay for finally being able to see out the windows! I'm sure car rides are much more exciting now.

For more Talk About Tuesday, head on over to The Lazy Organizer.

Meal Plan Monday

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My first Meal Plan Monday! woo!

Monday: Football Snacks! Pizza Bread, Chinese Chicken Wings, and Fried Green Beans.
Tuesday: Ribollita con Verdue
Wednesday: Breaded Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes
Thursday: Chicken Taco Soup
Friday: Leftovers!
Saturday: Chicken and Biscuits
Sunday: Out with the husband.

For more Meal Plan Monday, head over to Org Junkie!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pulled Pork Sandwich

I bought a couple 4 pound pork loins last time they were BOGOF at Winn Dixie and they've been hanging out in my freezer since then. Yesterday I finally decided to make pulled pork in the crockpot and much to my disappointment, I couldn't get the entire pork loin to fit in it. And it was still frozen solid even though I had taken it out of the freezer the night before. So I threw it in the oven just until I could cut it and half of it is back in the freezer (wasn't sure if I could do that or not, but I sure did it). But half that pork loin made us 8 sandwiches this weekend! And they were amazing. Definitely the best pulled pork I've ever had.

In an effort to get the husband to eat his veggies, I made a sorta-Caesar salad to go with the sandwiches. Unfortunately I didn't realize I was out of the good parmesan so we ended up using that cheap stuff that you put on spaghetti. Ehh. It was still good though. I made the croutons and we've decided that we will never buy boxed croutons again.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Originally from AllRecipes.

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 ounce) Root Beer
1 (18 ounce) BBQ sauce

Place pork in slow cooker and pour root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 7 hours, or until pork easily pulls apart. Drain well. Stir in BBQ sauce.

Garlic Croutons

6 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
half pound of french bread, sliced about 3/4 inch thick

Preheat oven to 350.

Meat butter in saucepan. Add garlic and let cook about a minute. Toss bread in the butter. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, or until crispy.

Both recipes are definitely keepers, and they're both super simple!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New dishes!

I love my dishes, I really do. They were the first dishes the husband and I picked out together and he even let me get brown ones. But when my grandma offered me a brand new set of Pfalzgraff dishes, I couldn't say no.

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I've got 16 place settings! And a butter dish! And a water pitcher! And 142 (exaggerated slightly..) other pieces that I don't know what to do with! I feel so grown up.

But like I said, I don't know what to do with them. Right now they're hanging out in the cabinet that I hate. I don't know why I hate it but I do. I use every other cabinet in my kitchen but that one.. it just makes me feel icky. Maybe it's the fact that it's so close to the ground. Or maybe it's because we accidentally left a bag of potatoes there for a few months and I still worry that there's potato juices lurking around. But the dishes shall live there until I can come up with something better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have this weird thing about pineapple. If I find a recipe that includes it, especially if it is titled Sweet and Sour anything, I have to make it. The weird part is though, I don't like pineapple.

I have no idea where I found this recipe. It was on one of the many blogs I read but I went through the ones I thought it was and can't find it anywhere. So if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be forever grateful.

The husband loved this and when I nicely told him I didn't plan on ever making it again, he got huffy and didn't speak to me for a good 15 minutes. I enjoyed the peace and quiet but I also like to make him happy, so I'm sure I'll end up making this again someday.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 lb of chicken cooked and shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 can crushed pineapple with juice

Saute onion, bell pepper, carrots, and garlic in a little olive oil.. Add the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and ginger. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil. Make a slurry with cornstarch and water; add to pot. Add the shredded chicken and pineapple.

I obviously served it on rice. Mainly because I wasn't sure what else to do with it. I attempted to get the husband to eat his veggies by steaming some broccoli (Steamfresh all the way!) but he wouldn't touch it.

Wordless Wednesday

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More Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I finally got around to baking tonight. I've been so busy the past few weeks that I'm lucky if I'm able to get dinner on the table by the time the husband comes home. But tonight I found myself with nothing to do. Amazing! Unfortunately the pantry is looking pretty bare these days and groceries don't happen until Thursday. So I got out my trusty America's Favorite Brand Name Old-Fashioned Favorites (sounds lame, I know, but it has great recipes!) and searched for something sweet that didn't call for anything too complicated. And I discovered these bad boys:

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup cold butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, stir together flour and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. With pastry blender, cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; press onto bottom and about 1 inch up sides of ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove from oven. With back of spoon, lightly press crust into corner and against sides of pan.

In small bowl, lightly beat eggs, corn syrup, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture over warm crust. Continue baking 25 minutes or until pecan filling is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

It was a HUGE hit with my husband. Lately he hasn't been eating much since he works in the heat all day so I've thrown away most of every dessert I've made, but he had two bars of this as soon as it came out of the oven!

I was out of vanilla so I just ommitted it and I don't even miss it. The husband wouldn't have known had I not told him. I did end up baking it for almost 40 minutes but I think that's my oven's fault. It enjoys complicating my life.

These are a definite thumbs up and they are going into my keeper file! Enjoy!