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.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Parmesan Chicken Bites.

So if you haven't noticed, Spencer put a stop to my obsessive grocery shopping this week. He told me that I had to cook what we already had. Grr.

These chicken bites are one of our favorite meals. They're so easy, so tasty, and just so gosh darn cute.

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Recipe is at the amazing Simply Recipes.

Since I couldn't grocery shop, I had to use the cheap parmesan. You know, the stuff that isn't really parmesan? That you put on top of spaghetti or whatver? Yeah.. but they were still good. Better with the good stuff of course.

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My goto side dish is usually rice. Just because I always have rice on hand. Well guess what! I didn't this week. So I made this Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf with jasmine rice. Whatever, it worked out fine. I used 5 cloves of garlic because, well, I really like garlic. It was awesome. I had leftovers for breakfast and we all know about my hatred of leftovers!


Okay, can anyone explain why my husband has been stocking up on peanut butter M&Ms? I mean, we live in Alabama so I guess he could be saving them for the next hurricane? Or maybe not.. but I opened the cabinet the other day to find three huge bags. Three bags! I didn't even know he liked peanut butter M&Ms!

I'd been wanting to make chocolate chip cookies but we have no chocolate chips and I'm too lazy to lug the kid to the store, so I put on my thinking cap (yeah..) and decided to crush up the M&Ms and throw them into cookies! Yay me!

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I used this recipe but substituted 2 cups of crushed M&Ms for the chips. And I figured the walnuts would just be weird so I left those out.

They were good on the first day. A little crunchy on the second. And rock hard on the third. It didn't stop me from eating them though.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Hotdogs.

We love hotdogs around here. I'm not really sure why. I always hated them until I got pregnant and now I just can't get enough.

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Recipe is here.

They were good. I mean, bacon and hotdogs? C'mon, it's gotta be good. They were a bit of a pain in the ass to make since they're just hotdogs and all so I only made one for Spencer and told him to eat the rest of them like normal hotdogs. Oh, and I also made them on the stove because I can't operate the grill to save my life.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Meal Plan Monday.

It's that time again!

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Monday: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Hot Dogs
Tuesday: PotRoast
Wednesday: Leftovers (if we have none, Rotel dip and chips!)
Thursday: Parmesan Chicken Bites.
Friday: Going out.
Saturday: Dorito Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes, and Zucchini Fritters.
Sunday: Taco Salad.

For more, head to Organizing Junkie!

Brownie Cookies.

I was in a baking mood the other night but we have NOTHING in the house. I managed to scrounge up enough chocolate to make these.

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Recipe came from AllRecipes. Mine obviously aren't mounds. I thought cookies would be better. I guess I expect more of a cookie consistency but they were just like brownies! It was pretty amazing.

Landon's First Greek Fest.

Spencer's been going to Greek Fest with his family since he was a little boy and last year was my first time going with them. I was pregnant and cold and angry with the world so I didn't enjoy it much. This year was a lot of fun though. The weather was better. I'm 50 pounds lighter. And I've got the best baby in the world!

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Playing while we waited for grandma and Aunt Tess to show up.

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Eating with Daddy.

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Mmm! French fries!

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I love calamari but didn't expect it to look like this. I couldn't bring myself to try it but Spencer said it was really good. Except he said it felt like the tentacles (is that what they're called?) were rolling around in his mouth.

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Lucky for me some of the calamari was what I'm used to.

We bought a pound of goat cheese on the way out and ate most of it before the night was over. It was so much better than goat cheese you find in stores.

I'm looking forward to next year's Greek Fest. I think Landon will have a lot more fun next year, even though he really enjoyed all the food this time around.

Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

Okay, everyone knows about my relationship with Rachael Ray. I never like her stuff but I can't stop making it! This recipe came with great reviews from a lady on my parenting board so I gave it a go.

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It came from I didn't use grill seasoning to cook the chicken because, well, I don't have any. Just salt and pepper for me. I also doubled the sauce because it didn't seem like enough.

It was really good. I left the house right after I pulled it out of the oven and by the time I got home, 3/4 of the pizza was gone! Spencer requested that this be made once a month and he has a new found love for Rachael.

Baked Ziti.

I've always heard amazing things about Baked Ziti but I'd never tried it so this week I finally got around to trying it. It was awesome. Spencer and I both agreed that it's better than my lasagna and we love my lasagna. The bread was a Cheesy Garlic Sourdough that we got from Fresh Market ($2.39! You can beat that for good bread!).

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I used this recipe from AllRecipes. The only change is made was using my own sauce. I just use two 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes with a little oregano, garlic powder, and a bay leaf. I also left out the onion because it just wasn't an onion kind of day.

Chicken Supreme.

I got this recipe from a lady on my parenting board. She said it's a family favorite in her house and anything that includes boxed stuffing is okay in my book. It's not very pretty but it was good! Spencer and I managed to eat the whole thing in one night.

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4 chicken breasts - cut in half - so there is 8 pieces of chicken
Lay them in a 9x13 cake pan
Lay swiss cheese over all of the chicken
Take 8oz sour cream mixed with 1 can of mushroom soup
Spread that mixture over the swiss. Then take 1 box of unprepared chicken stuffing mixture and pour it over everything.
Put it in the oven at 350 for about an 45-1 hour until chicken is done.


I fell way off my meal plan this week. See, what happened was I woke up on Wednesday and decided I needed a reuben at 7 in the morning. So I had one. Spencer came home a couple hours later and once he noticed I had made myself one, he also wanted one. Then two. And yes, then three. So we were minus one dinner this past week. Oh well, they were good.

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Rye and Pumpernickel Marble Bread
Thousand Island
Corned Beef
Swiss Cheese

Assemble and cook like you'd cook a grilled cheese! Yay!

Spencer's Mac & Cheese.

This is a favorite around here. I always complain about it when Spencer requests it but once it's made, I just want to stick my face in it. Seriously. It's so comforty and nice.

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Spencer's Mac & Cheese

8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
6 ounce package of canadian bacon, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
crushed Ritz crackers (enough to cover)

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Reduce heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Stir in canadian bacon and mushrooms. Add drained macaroni to mixture.

Tranfer to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with crackers and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes, or until bubbly.