Thursday, December 13, 2012
Nutella Swirl Banana Muffins
makes approx. 18-24 muffins
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
salt (leave out if you used salted butter)
2 cups flour 3-4 very ripe bananas, enough to make a generous cup
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together. Add vanilla. Add flour, sift if possible with baking soda and salt. Add mashed bananas and nuts.
2. In a small bowl, mix approximately 2-3 tablespoons of Nutella with 2-3 tablespoons of batter. Set aside.
3. Pour remaining batter into greased muffin tin. Drop a small spoonful of Nutella mix on the top of each muffin and swirl in slowly with a toothpick.
4. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean in the center. Let cool slightly and remove from pan.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef Roast Printable Recipe
makes about 8 sandwiches
Ingredients: 1 (4-5 lb) beef roast, any variety
1 jar of pepperoncini rings
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Directions: 1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until roast falls apart with a fork. Serve on toasted hoagie rolls with provolone or swiss cheese and a side of au jus.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I. Love. Fall. Period. Double Period. It is my absolute favorite season. Second being spring, third summer, and winter...well aside from one good snow and Christmas, winter is for the birds in my opinion. I hate the cold. I hate feeling cold, and I hate cold that has "no purpose." You know, that bitter nasty cold that goes straight to your bones. But right now it is fall, the most glorious time of the year. Full of casseroles and slow cookers, apple cinnamon candles and old college sweatshirts. I like to make foods that are in season, because obviously they are cheaper to buy. And you can't get much cheaper than pears you gathered from a relative and apples that have been in your fridge for about a week. Speaking of apples...soooooo good for you, and once I get on a kick, I eat them every day. Not on a kick of any kind right now. Right now I'm still in pregnancy mode, where I eat whatever I want whenever I want. Mental note: I gotta quit that. So I mixed up a good old batch of my favorite apple crisp, but subsituted in some pears. Yummy and very fall-esque.
makes 8 servings
For the Fruit Base:
3 cups Granny Smith apples (about 3 large), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 cups pears (about 3 large), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Topping:
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 8x8 baking dish, or use an ungreased stoneware baking dish.
2. Prepare the fruit base: In a mixing bowl, combine apples, pears and lemon juice; toss to coat. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apples and pears, tossing to coat. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spreading into an even layer.
3. Prepare the topping: combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Mix butter and vanilla together and pour over oat mixture. Stir to combine. Crumble mixture evenly over the apples and pears.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.
Friday, November 30, 2012
1. Cook multiple chicken breasts until fully cooked. I tend to buy a ton of chicken breasts when they go on sale, and cook them in the crock pot. That way they are ready to shred when I get home from work, and I have homemade chicken broth that I can use as well!
2. While the chicken is still very warm, place the breasts in your Kitchen-aid mixer and put on the paddle attachment. Lock the mixer in place (otherwise it can get a little rocky) and turn on low. It won't look like it is doing much at first, but give it a minute. It will shred your chicken perfectly. This shredded chicken can be frozen in cup-increments for easy additions to casseroles, soups, quesadillas, chicken salad, etc.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I was feeling a little under the weather a few weeks ago. As in, standing outside wearing next to nothing, and getting pounded by cold wind, rain, and hail. Seriously where does a phrase like "under the weather" even come from?? It started out as a runny nose, you know the typical fall Missouri allergy greeting, and then slowly turned into stuffy nose, constant sneezing, coughing, and no voice. By the middle of the week I'd had it! Not to mention the fact that I can't take any meds, and I'm sleep deprived as it is. I wanted soup for dinner, but I really wasn't feeling chicken noodle soup. I wanted something hearty...annnndddd we had some spare potatoes lying around.
I've been wanting to make homemade bread bowls for a long time, and my friend Ang told me she had a recipe at home for easy refrigerated dough bread bowls (she's my source anytime I need a new recipe!) I'm not really sure where she got this one so I can't credit it, but it was super easy, and the perfect addition to any soup! It really took it over the top...
So I put on my sweatpants, laid the baby down to play on his mat, and enjoyed this warm intro to fall.
Start by bringing the potatoes, ham, and water to a boil, then cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. I like to cook them on the lesser side of that time because they will continue to cook in the soup.
Pop open your can of store bought pizza crust. Scare the bejeezus out of yourself. I do it everytime..never fails.
Cut the dough in half, leaving it in tact. Stand the dough up cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Then smush it down (yeah we get technical around here)...
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I was watching the news last week and they were reporting that the price of chicken wings has increased 25%. Say whaaaa? And why just the wings? Why not the breast, or the thighs? Then it dawned on me...football season. This is my theory on whey they also reported that the price of tortilla chips has gone up 20%. The die hard men and women that love football LOVE their football! And most totally dig buffalo wings. I tend to be more of a fan of the breaded and baked spicy wings myself, but every once in awhile I'll get down with some messy, greasy, finger lickin' good wings. And don't forget the beer on the side...and the ranch, can't forget the ranch. Although some people like blue cheese dressing (I'm not a hater, I just don't enjoy something that smells like stinky feet...but I totally love me some feta, go figure.)
So when I told my husband I was going to transform our typical party potato casserole recipe into a buffalo chicken casserole, he was skeptical to say the least. I believe his exact words were, "well I mean it sounds ok, but I guess I'm just not as excited about it as you are..." Can you tell we support each other 100%? But I soldered on. I knew that if he gave it a chance he would like it..at least that was the vision I had in mind. At that point the recipe could still be a total bust. But I wasn't going down without a fight. So with Thursday night football playing, and a beer in hand, he uttered those magical words I'd been waiting to hear..."Wow this is a lot better than I thought it was going to be...It's good!" He always knows exactly what to say I tell ya! So I hope when you try this recipe it exceeds your expectations, no matter how low they are.
Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole
makes 12-16 servings
1 (2 lb) pkg frozen hashbrowns, shredded or cubed
16 oz (2 cups) sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg ranch dip mix
1/2 cup onion (half a medium onion) finely chopped
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Franks Red Hot
1-1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes
1/4 cup melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, soup, ranch mix, onion, and pepper. Stir in frozen hashbrowns, and cheese until mixed together. Spread into the baking dish.
3. Melt 1/2 cup butter and stir in the hot sauce. Toss the chicken pieces in the hot sauce mixture until well coated. Spread out over the potato layer. Cover with foil and bake @ 375° for 45-50 min or until hot and bubbly.
4. Melt 1/4 cup butter and stir with crushed cornflakes. Sprinkle topping over chicken layer and return casserole to oven. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
Friday, October 5, 2012
I’m sorry, I can’t help but brag a little bit. My grandma’s banana bread recipe is the shiz. Seriously. I know your grandma’s recipe may be your favorite, but please humor me and try this. I was working on creating some nutella swirled banana muffins (recipe to follow later) and needed a good base. So I went back to the old standby. Grandma’s recipe can’t be messed with. To be honest I almost liked it better in muffin form. It was quick, and easy, and on the go. Perfect for a busy mama. I can’t wait to introduce these to baby boy. I hope he likes bananas!
Ahhhhhh batter. Why is it so hard for me to stay away from it?!? It’s like it calls out to me! Eaaaattttt meeeeee!
Yeah I went a little overboard on the cooking spray…but you didn’t notice at all right?
Try your hardest not to eat it straight out of the oven. But if you can’t resist…slather some butter on it (you can see all the glorious butter in those nooks and crannies) and call it a day. A really really good day.
makes approx. 18-24 muffins Ingredients: 1 stick of butter, softened 1 cup of sugar 2 eggs ½ tsp vanilla 1 tsp baking soda salt (leave out if you used salted butter) 2 cups flour 3-4 very ripe bananas, enough to make a generous cup 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions: 1. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together. Add vanilla. Add flour, sift if possible with baking soda and salt. Add mashed bananas and nuts. 2. Pour into greased muffin tin. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean in the center. Let cool slightly and remove from pan.
Linked to: Naptime Creations
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
When I go to Subway, I totally dig their sandwiches. But when I was pregnant, I would also indulge in some of their oatmeal raisin cookies. I’m a sucka for a big, soft, chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. It’s not necessarily my favorite cookie…come to think of it I don’t really have a favorite cookie at all. I love all cookies. Weakness.
I really could have eaten this batter with a spoon. Straight outta the fridge I tell ya!
I definitely snuck a few bites since during pregnancy I avoided raw cookie dough in an effort to protect the unborn. I said no to raw cookie dough, but said yes to french fries, fast food, and desserts. And I wonder why I gained 50 lbs. Ugh.
I had a feeling just by tasting the dough that these cookies would be tha bomb. And I was right. For sure. So right that I had to send them with my husband to work because I couldn’t be alone with them and a gallon of milk.
Hey the doctor did tell me oatmeal increases milk production…this counts right?
Deli Style Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes 2-3 dozen cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture or slowly add to stand mixer.
3. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. I use a large ice cream scoop so my cookies come out extra big. Press down on each cookie to flatten slightly.
4. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light and golden. If making smaller cookies bake 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool for 2 minutes before removing from the pan.
*You can freeze any extra dough for later use. You can roll in a log and freeze so that you can cut slices later for a quick cookie. These are great to keep for a last minute dish to take to a friend.
*Package all the dry ingredients, minus the raisins in a jar and tie the recipe to it as a great jar gift!
*Take the cookies out of the oven on the lower end of the time suggestion. They will continue cooking on the sheet while they cool, so even if they look too raw, chances are they will be perfect when they cool. And if not, just pop those suckers back in the oven! They are supposed to be chewy.
Friday, September 28, 2012
I’ve had a few friends ask me what my must-have items have been for baby boy. While everyone is different, and I’m sure you’ve all seen most of these, here are the few things that I’m not sure that I could live without!
Wubbanub – I lub these nubs! Seriously though, I love that the paci doesn’t just fly out of his mouth all the time. And at night when he is swaddled it is a definite plus that it rests comfortably on his chest, all sprawled out, and doesn’t fall off until he moves around. We were originally wanting to go the no-pacifier route but he loves it, and for us it’s better than his thumb.
Motorola Video Monitor – I love my sleep. And since I don’t get a lot of it, it’s really nice to just be able to roll over and check on him when I want to. I can make sure he’s breathing, yup I still check constantly. And if he starts to get restless, I can look at him to see what’s wrong before I make the long walk down the hallway. Yes I know it’s only about 10 feet down the hall, but man that’s a long walk when you are in a zombie-like state at 2 am.
Bumbo Seat – Baby boy loves his seat! Since he has more head control, I love to put him in it to watch me cook dinner, or fold laundry, or whatever else I need to do when I can’t hold him. Yes, they recalled them and want you to get online and order the safety belt, which I will order soon. But honestly, as long as you are watching your child, they are pretty darn safe. And it’s best not to put them on top of the counter, which was the biggest issue people were facing. Geez people. Ok off my soapbox.
Boppy Pillow – This has been great for baby boy to take a few cat naps in. It keeps him feeling secure like he’s still in my arms, so he doesn’t startle as much. Great for breast feeding too!
Halo Sleep Sack – My friend Lori aka Mama Need Sushi got me this after the swaddle-me velcro swaddlers kind of stopped working for us. These are amazing! I love the fact that I can get baby boy ready for bed and can feed him with his arms free, then wrap him up right before he falls asleep. At 3 months now it is the first time we are running into the problem of him being too strong for it, and he can wiggle out quicker than I can get it fastened. May be time to stop swaddling this little ninja!
City Mini GT – LOVE this stroller. It is lightweight, and folds up with one hand! Great investment. Only thing that bothers me is the front wheel tends to lock on its own, but I’ve seen that other people that have the same problem have just called the company and they’ve sent them a new wheel, no questions asked. I plan on calling soon. Just like I planned on calling a month ago!
Graco White Noise Machine – I really like having this. It has a built-in night light and plays many versions of white noise, heartbeats, and music. You can also plug your iPod into it which is a definite bonus!
Playtex Ventaire Bottles – These were recommended to me by a coworker, and it’s the one and only bottle we have ever needed. We started baby boy on a bottle around bedtime at 4 weeks knowing I would have to return to work. He took this type like a champ. And since they vent out of the bottom, I have NEVER seen an air bubble. Like, not one. Ever. Nada. He actually seems to have less gas problems with the bottle than with my breast.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
It took me a long time, nearly losing a few fingers, and crying many many tears before I found out the quickest and easiest way (in my opinion) to chop an onion. I was watching Rachael Ray one day and she explained it while she was cooking. It was a total aha moment for me and was when I really started cooking and finding new recipes to try. That was the same Christmas that I asked for a good chef’s knife and cutting board. I am much faster at it now and can almost do it without shedding a tear. Almost.
Choose your onion. You want one that doesn’t have any soft spots. However, if you don’t have much choice, you can always cut that off. And most of the time when you peel off the outer layer the soft spot will come off with it.
Cut off each end of the onion close to the roots. Some methods have you cutting through the roots lengthwise but I like doing it this way a little better.
Now you have more of a base so that you can chop your onion without it slipping all over the place.
Cut the onion in half.
Peel off the outer layer from each half of the onion. Sometimes you have to peel a couple of layers off if the onion is a bit old.
Once you have the peeled you should have two beautiful halves, ready to chop!
Slice the onion parallel with the rings and keep it all together as much as possible. This will make the chopping process much easier later.
Once you are finished, turn the onion 90° and chop perpendicular (oh yeah there’s my geometry teacher vocab coming out!) to your original cuts.
You may find that as you get closer to the edge while making these last cuts, that you feel like your onion is getting a little wobbly and you are on the verge of losing a finger or two. Never fear!
When you get to the point where your onion feels like it is about to bust apart, lay it down, and finish your cuts, which will make the last few chops much more enjoyable, and you’ll save your fingertips. Trust me.
Once you get done, you have perfectly chopped onions for soups, stews, sauces, etc. If you want to dice the onions smaller, just make your original slices closer together.
There you have it…The more I have chopped, the faster I have gotten. Now chopping onions is no big whoop and I can get back to the cooking! Good luck!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Then…I would wake up and hit the snooze at least 3 times. Sometimes I would even purposefully set my alarm for 30 min before I actually needed to get up just so I could hit the snooze. Weird I know…
Now…I wake up at 4 a.m. for breakfast and I am never the one that gets to eat.
Then…I showered once a day. Most days.
Now…You don’t even want to know.
Then…Babies breath was only something I associated with cheesy wedding bouquets.
Now…Babies breath smells like milk.
Then…Dinner consisted of a well planned meal, the best ingredients, taking pictures, and a glass of wine.
Now…Dinner is whatever I can quickly get my hands on. And I still get the glass of wine every once in a blue moon.
Then…I got to eat when the food was hot and ready.
Now…I understand the mommy diet. Which is working on eating your plate of food for an hour or more, then quitting eating because it’s cold and just not really that tasty anymore. Not that it was really that tasty to begin with!
Then…the only thing I pumped was gas
Now…I pump three times a day and get 5 minutes to eat lunch. You gotta do what you gotta do!
Then…I wished I could lose 5 pounds.
Now…I wish I could go back to wishing I could lose 5 pounds. And I would tell that girl she’s stupid and she better love her body!
Then…Slobbery kisses were a total deal breaker.
Now…Slobbery kisses make my day.
Then…My husband, family, and God were the center of my universe.
Now…Everything has changed, but for the better. I didn’t think my heart had any more room, until I held this perfect little guy in my arms.
They say that your life completely changes when you have a baby. It truly does, in the most wonderfully complicated way. Every minute of my day is consumed by this tiny little person, and I love almost every minute of it. It’s the hardest, most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
So you may see less posts from me, well heck, let’s be honest you haven’t seen many posts from me at all for months now. But I do still love to cook, and take pictures of food (and just recently learned the wonderful world of manual mode on my camera! woop woop!) and this blog is a way for me to keep track of all my recipes. A few of you even print them out every once in awhile …I hope that I can add a few new things to the blog, especially making my own baby food. But we’ll see. For now I’m just going to snuggle this handsome baby boy and try and enjoy every minute of it. And if cooking and blogging just happen to get done in the process, well great! And if they don’t…I’m sure you’ll understand.