Thursday, September 29

Wednesday, September 28

Day #271 and Adjusting

Adjusting to a new house, a new school schedule, another volleyball season...to say the least it has been crazy around here.  I haven't really had time to cook anything new.  I have been relying on old standby recipes.  I did find a recipe that was super simple and the family loved it!




Friday, August 19

Day #231 and The "List"

School starts Monday for my oldest and Tuesday for the others.  I am starting to wonder if I will have my list done before then.  It started with 27 items and I have manage to cross off 13 in three days.  The heat is back on here and I have been battling a migraine for three days.  Coincidence?  I finally find motivation and now I am struggling just to keep up with laundry and cooking is totally out of the question.  Hubby did manage to build the boys beds out of 24 2"x4"'s.  They look really cool!  Hopefully he will finish my daughter's this weekend!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 9

Day #221 and Cornbread

I love cornbread!  It is a winter staple at our house.  After this very long spell of 100 degree heat, I was craving winter food (wishful thinking?).  We didn't have my trusted boxed cornbread in the pantry, but we did have corn meal!  It turns out this recipe is way better than Jiffy!

NEW RECIPE #? Mexican Cornbread 
(A.F.R. 4.5)
Have a great day!

Thursday, August 4

Day #216 and Recall

When I first heard about the salmonella outbreak linked to ground turkey, I freaked out!  I decided that I would just brown all my ground turkey from now on and make sure it was cooked through.  Then today when Cargill announced their recall, I had a sigh of relief.  My ground turkey is not in the recall. YEAH!  So tonight we are having ground turkey!

Oldie But Goodie Recipe #2  Enchilada Casserole:
(C.S.)
(A.F.R. 5.0)


2 lbs. Ground Meat, hamburger or turkey
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
1 Can Chicken Gumbo Soup
2 C. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Bag Tortilla Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown meat in skillet, drain.  Heat enchilada sauce and soup in sauce pan until comes to a boil, remove from heat.  In a 9"x13" pan, layer half the bag of chips, meat, sauce, and cheese.  Repeat.  Bake until bubbly!  

Serve with chips, re-fried beans, and Spanish rice.

Tuesday, August 2

Day #214 and Frying Out Here

Yes it is August and I find myself praying for snow.  Today is forcasted to be the hottest day "ever" in Wichita, 111.  The movie Fools Rush In comes to mind where they are on the boat frying in the desert heat!  But we don't live in the desert, or so I thought! 

Hubby and I were trying to figure out a meal plan and all we could think of were meals you typically have in the winter.  Chili, soup, goulash, and pumpkin pie.   Certainly not food to cool you off or save on utility bills!  We are back to eating salad, pasta, and sandwiches!

Thursday, July 21

Day #202 and a"Real" Meal

Last night I made dinner and dessert.  It's a first since we moved into this house. I've been too busy organizing and cleaning to think about a meal plan.  Oh and did I mention it's been HOT?  Steak is one of my favs, but due to budget we hardly ever have steak.  While at Sam's, I noticed that if you bought the rib eye roast instead of steaks you saved almost $1 a pound.  Bonus!

At Border's I bought a new cookbook, Sandra Lee's 20 Minute Meals, only $4.99!  I cannot stand to watch the woman on TV, but she does have some pretty good recipes.  One of which was tiramisu.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE tiramisu!  And what do you know I had all the ingredients!  Such a simple recipe!

NEW RECIPE #?  Tiramisu
(S.L. 20 Minute Meals #2)
(A.F.R. 4.0)

1 tsp. Instant Espresso Powder
1/3 C. Water, warm
1/3 C. Orange Liquor
1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 pkg. Lady Fingers
1 3/4 C. Milk
1 tsp. Orange Extract
Cocoa Powder, dusting

Mix espresso powder and water until dissolved.   Add liquor and dip lady fingers in mixture.  Line an 8"x8" pan with lady fingers.  Whisk together pudding mix, milk, and orange extract for 2 minutes, pour over lady fingers.  Let sit for 5 minutes, dust with cocoa powder.

My variation:
I did not use liquor.

Oh and be sure to check out my Recipe Box page.  I will keep updating it this week til all the recipes are listed!  Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 20

Day #201 and Another Hot One

It's hot.  If you live somewhere other than the middle of the United States, may I come visit?  I would prefer Alaska, if possible.  This has been the most miserable summer I can recall.  Although I hear 1980 was, and I quote, A HOT SOB.  I was only 3 years old at the time and probably a little more tolerable of the heat.  It's really even too hot to go swimming. 

So what is one to do when the heat is on? Oh no, that awful song just popped into my head.  Great!  I'm not really cooking much these days or really anything else for that matter.  I did find a cool desk on Craigslist for way cheap so now I have a place to sew, one of the things I have missed since our move. I still have pictures and curtain rods to hang, and a few other little things around the house.  Yesterday we took the kids to Border's book store to use their gift cards and free book coupons before they start liquidating everything.  I've never really been a Border's fan.  They never have the book I am looking for or anyone around to help you.  But we got $91 worth of books for $15 and that was worth the trip.   

Over the weekend, Hubby and I help our friends buy trees for their new house.  Nine trees to be exact.  While at the nursery, I saw these super cute fairy gardens. Since everything was 50% off, I decided to purchase a few plants and start my own mini garden.  I bought a bonsai tree, a dwarf shrub, and two succulents.  I haven't decided what to do just yet.  I have a planter with a mostly-dead fern that I think I will use.  I need mini furniture for the garden.  I think I will keep my eye out for doll furniture at the thrift stores instead of buying the pricey mini furniture from the nursery. 

So stay cool my friends and have a good day!

Monday, July 18

Day #199 and Strawberries

Strawberries are my favorite fruit.  As a kid, I had a Strawberry Shortcake collection.  My favorite was a doll that smelled like strawberries!  While we were at Aldi over the weekend I picked up two packages of strawberries and some vanilla wafers. For tonight's dessert, another recipe from the Family Circle magazine...

NEW RECIPE #? Creamy Strawberry Pie
(Family Circle August 2011)
(AFR:)

Crust:
6 oz. Nilla Wafer Cookies
2 Tbsp. Sugar
5 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted and melted

Filling:
2/3 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Cran-Raspberry Juice
8 C. Strawberries, hulled and thinly slices
1/4 C. Cornstarch

Whipped Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine wafer cookies and sugar in food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Transfer to pie plate and add melted butter, combine.  Press into bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 14 minutes.
Combine sugar, juice, 2 C. strawberries, and cornstarch in a sauce pan.  Gently mash berries and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until clear and thickened, let cool slightly.  Stir in remaining strawberries.  Pour into pie crust and chill for 4 hours.   

Have a good week!

Thursday, July 14

Day #195 and Pasta

Pasta and I are long time friends.  Simple, easy, and you can add just about anything to it.  While at the eye dr. office I saw the new Family Circle magazine.  It's not one I normally buy, but something to pass the time while we waited.  There are several recipes I wanted to try.  So we made this one night before last:

(FYI:  I did not take the magazine from the dr.'s office.  I bought my own!)


NEW RECIPE # ? Lemony Herb Pasta:
(Family Circle Aug 2011)
(Average Family Rating 4.5)

1 Container Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
5 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 C. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/3 C. Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1 lb. Penne Pasta
1 lb. Asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1" pieces
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl large enough to add cooked pasta.  Cook pasta as directed on package, adding asparagus to pasta during the last few minutes of cooking.  Drain.  Add to ricotta mixture and combine.

Now for my variation:

Instead of Asparagus:  1 Can of Spinach and 1 Can of Artichoke Hearts, both drained well and added to ricotta mixture

Instead of Penne Pasta:  Egg Noodles

Followed recipe, but then put in individual buttered gratin dishes topped with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake until bubbly!

Quick and Easy!

Monday, July 11

Day #192 and Turkey, Who Knew?

I've been cooking with ground turkey for the past few months, adding it to ground beef to make our meals stretch.  One pound packages were on sale at our local grocery store for a dollar a package and I bought twenty packages.  Yes I said 20!  Last night I made meatloaf with it.  YUM!  Ground turkey doesn't have the gritty texture of ground beef.  With the rising grocery costs I think I just might buy ground turkey from now on and skip the beef.  Not all beef, still gotta have my steak! 

So try something new today.  You never know if you might actually like it!


Tuesday, July 5

Day #186 and Summer Sickness

I had so much planned for today...laundry, cleaning hardwood floors, and hanging up more pictures, etc.  BUT I 'm in bed instead.  I feel weak and all around yucky, sure being in the heat all day yesterday didn't help!  I know it will all be there for me to do tomorrow, but I am just not a good sick person.  So maybe I will try to get something done this afternoon? 

I was going to make Sweet Corn Ice Cream this past weekend, but somehow I never found the time.  Maybe tomorrow...  I did manage to make this awesome Pulled Pork yesterday.  Super easy and way yummy!

NEW RECIPE #? Pulled Pork:
(CMW 2011)
(Average Family Rating 4.5)

Pork Blade Roast (10-12 lbs.)
For the Rub:
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Paprika
1/4 C. Minced Onion
2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
Whiskey (I used Crown Royale)

For the Cooking Liquid:
1/2 C. Water
1/4 C. Worchestire Sauce
1/8 C. Liquid Smoke
1/8 C. Soy Sauce

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Place pork roast in deep roasting pan, fat side up. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl for rub.  Add just enough whiskey to wet the mixture.  Rub all over meat.  Combine ingredients for cooking liquid and pour in bottom of roasting pan.  Cover with lid and cook for 8-10 hours.  Remove bones and shred using two forks.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 27

Day #178 and We're a Family Again...

For the first time since we moved, everyone is together again.  It has been an adjustment for all of us, but we are working through it.  Today we are going to clean and organize.  Two words I'm sure my kids do not want to hear.  The main things left are hanging pictures and organizing all my sewing stuff.  Then there is the garage.  It is too hot to even venture out there!  And there is no relief in sight!  I'm just going to have to sweat it out and get it done! 

Still haven't tried pizza on the grill yet.  Maybe this weekend.  Tonight we are having grilled chicken, thinking about terriyaki chicken.  Sorry not feeling inspired to cook.  It is hot and I don't really eat much in the summer.  With the exception of fruit, veggies, yogurt, and ice cream.  Two of the four will be in the recipe I'm taking on tomorrow!  Can you guess what it will be?  Check back tomorrow to find out....

Thursday, June 23

Day #174 and Fort Worth or Bust!

After a broken belt and engine bolt on my van, we are leaving for Fort Worth tomorrow morning.  At 4 in the morning to be exact.  Not really wanting to drive in the heat or traffic, I decided it would be best to leave early.  The kids disagree.  We are going to pick up my oldest from Nana's and drop off my youngest, the dog.  My mom agreed to keep her until we could find a place where we could keep her!  I just can't bear to give her away.  She has been here with us for a few days and has done great.  We have been walking her several times a day since the yard is not fenced.  The kids are thrilled to have her here.  Just a frustrating situation.

Hubby is staying behind this trip to umpire.  And although we will miss him, maybe he can get all his homework done while we are away!  Only two classes until he finishes in Master's in Education!  Then it's on to his doctorate!  By the time he finishes college our oldest will be starting!  Crazy!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 20

Day #171 and Legos

Since we downsized, the three boys are sharing a room.  It's not so bad now because the oldest has been in Texas for the past month with his Nana.  He missed the entire move (his sister is a little bitter).  The little guys are not the neatest people in the world.  Legos cover the floor of their room and their older brother is not going to allow that to continue.  He is a little bit of a neat freak when it comes to his space.  With t-minus 6 days until he comes home, I am cracking down on the land of legos!  Whatever is on the floor at bedtime is going in the trash. 

On another note, I have started restocking my pantry and am ready to start cooking again.  Only one tiny problem, it is too hot here to cook.  The grill has become my new oven.  Tomorrow I'm going to attempt pizza on the grill.  Who knows, it might be a disaster, but I'm willing to give it a shot!  

Try to stay cool wherever you are, with volleyball camp and a baseball game I'm sure it will be long and hot day for us!

Tuesday, June 14

Day #165 and a Beautiful Morning

Sitting out on my front porch enjoying a nice breeze and being thankful for wireless internet.  I love being outside in the summer.  As a kid I couldn't spend much time outside.  The heat and I were not friends.  I remember having heat stroke as we stood in line to see Air Force 1 at the Boeing Company in Wichita.  Not fun.  After having children I had to adapt to the heat and fast.  They loved being outside and I loved them being worn out, making nap time so much easier. 

The only downside to summer heat is I don't dare turn on the oven.  So we have been grilling a lot.  I found this marinade last summer called Mojo.  It is has citrus juice, garlic, and onion.  It is great on chicken and steak, haven't tried it on pork yet but I bet it would be good too!  Tonight we are having pork chops and grilled veggies.  Not a big fan on grilling veggies, but a friend told me to put them in aluminum foil to keep them from falling through the grates.  Hopefully it works! 

Monday, June 13

Day #164 and Dirt

At our new place, can't really call it home, we have an abundance of flower beds.  I started with one out back a few weeks ago.  I wanted to transplant my hydrangeas and move a few other plants from around the property.  The beds were in poor condition.  Four hours and half a trash barrel later, I was able to plant three hydrangeas, two peonys, two hostas, and four creeping jenny's.  It looked great until two nights of heavy rain and two clogged gutters.  All my good dirt was washed away.  Now that the gutters have been cleaned, I will be adding more dirt and a gutter snake to advert water from round 2 of flooding. 

Yesterday I cleaned out the raised concrete bed for our garden.  I wanted to put raised cedar beds in the back of the property but with the summer heat on I knew my plants wouldn't survive much longer in their pots.  We have four tomato plants , two cucumbers, two bell pepper, two jalapeno pepper, a cabbage, radishes, onions, and raspberry bushes. 

I will add pictures as soon as I find my camera.  The joys of moving, can't find anything!

Sunday, June 12

Day ? and a New Adventure

About a month ago Hubby and I decided to make a big decision and move.  Our children were going to a school district in which we didn't live in and with rising gas prices, we just couldn't afford to drive back and forth any longer.  Sometimes the hardest sacrifices are the ones you make for your children.  I love my house and we put so much into it, so many memories were made there.  It's just heartbreaking. 

What makes it even harder is we couldn't find a place that would allow us to keep our precious dog.  She is part of our family, it makes me cry every time I think about it.  She is still at our old house and as the move is coming to a close, we still haven't found her a home.  I can't  give her to just anyone.  We chose to give her to a family about 2 years ago.  Six months later we received a call from our vet saying the police had found her roaming the streets.  I went to the vet's office to see her in poor condition with worms and cut on her leg that had become severely infected.  After a large vet bill, we decided to keep her.  I felt so guilty.  We had given her to a good home, or so we thought.  Now I don't trust anyone and she just needs a family to love her the way we do.

I pray everyday that this is the right decision and that we will be okay.  So maybe this week I will get back to blogging and cooking.  I miss cooking! We have been eating out so much with baseball and the move!  No more hamburgers, tacos, or pizza PLEASE!

Saturday, April 23

Day #113 and Company

Operation Organization is almost complete, but has come to a complete stop because my parents are here for Easter weekend.  Today we are going shopping for the kids clothes and shoes.  Not so sure how this day is going to turn out, but looking forward to a distraction.  These next few weeks are going to be chaotic with track, baseball, 8th grade promotion, and field days.  I always look forward to the end of the school year, but this year is a little different. My oldest will be in high school next year and I don't know if I'm ready for all this.  Ready or not, it's coming.  I know I started this blog to make new recipes, but right now all I can think about, or have time for, is my kids.  I hope you understand and will get back to cooking soon.

Monday, April 18

Day #108 and Realizations...

Spring cleaning this week has brought me to realize that I am somewhat of a hoarder.  It has taken six days just to clean two rooms!  I've made three trips to Goodwill and sold several things on Craigslist, but still have more stuff to go through!  Three of the four binders for the kids are done and all the pictures for the family photo albums are now in one place.  My office is destroyed with things that need to be put in their permanent homes.  Now with t-minus three days until my parents arrive for Easter weekend I have the rest of this house to clean, but today I woke up with an awful headache, sneezing, and coughing.  Which brings us to the second realization, allergies. UGH! 

I need to make a menu for Easter Dinner.  Any ideas?

Monday, April 11

Day #101 and MIA

Sorry I've been MIA for the past few days, but I am on a mission to declutter this house.  Currently working on the office/guest room and going through old photos.  I decided to put together binders for each one of the kids.  Four binders instead of six tubs of papers and photos!  I hope to finish my mission and get back in the kitchen by next Monday!  Til then take care and enjoy the weather!


Wednesday, April 6

Day #96 and a Little Burnt

Saturday started out with a plan and ended up with nothing done.  Sunday was much more productive.  After four hours, several bags of trash, and several more bags gone to donation, the little boys room is clean.  The boy's room is now up for inspection morning and night.  So far so good!

Yesterday was my daughter's first track meet.  I had no idea what to expect, but soon learned a few things.
  1. Wear sunscreen. 
  2. Wear hair in ponytail .
  3. Be aware of the order of events.
  4. Bring a stadium chair.
 Yes, my face is fried.  Not only from the intense sun, but also from the 30-40 mph wind gusts! The track meet started at 2pm and my daughter's events, three relay races, didn't even start until 5pm!  So you can imagine how sore my backside is from sitting for 6 1/2 hours!  She did awesome, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place.  So proud of her!

Today is laundry and recovery.  Not sure how therapeutic laundry will be, but I need to get it done.
Have a great day!

Saturday, April 2

Day #92 and Saturdays

Saturdays in the spring mean yard work, laundry, and cleaning.  Today we are going to work on the basement, mainly the boys room.  The two little boys share a room and it is anything but clean.  They need new beds and toy storage, but today's goal is to see the floor.  To bribe them, yes we do bribe, I am making another recipe out of my new cookbook, which just happens to include one of my favorite ingredients, Jello!

NEW RECIPE #25 Kaleidoscope Popcorn:
(The Frugal Foodie Cookbook:  Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook)
(Average Family Rating 3)

1/4 C. Butter, unsalted
3/4 C. Sugar
1 pkg. Jello, fruit-flavored (3 oz.)
3 Tbsp. Corn Syrup, light
3 Tbsp. Water
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
8 C. Popcorn, popped (1/2 kernels)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Lined two rimmed baking sheets with foil and grease with cooking spray.

Melt butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add sugar, jello, corn syrup, and water.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture boils.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add baking soda, stir well to combine. 

In lagre bowl, pour Jello mixture over popcorn and mix well to coat.  Spread coated popcorn on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  The popcorn should be dry and crisp.  Slide foil on cooling racks and cool completely, then break into small clusters. 

UPDATE:  This popcorn is good, but only when warm right out of the oven!  As it cools it's almost too hard to eat!

Friday, April 1

Day #91 and WuSHOCK!

Didn't get around to making cookie dough last night because Hubby and I went to the neighbors' to watch the NIT Championship Game.  It was a sloppy game but the Wichita State Shockers pulled out a victory and the first NIT Championship in school history!  So I'm making cookie dough this morning and cupcakes and pasta salad and salsa and spinach artichoke dip.  Dinner party at 6.

Have a great day and try not to get fooled by anyone!



Thursday, March 31

Day #90 and Cookie Dough

WARNING:
These cookies are dangerously good and addictive! 

I am feeling much better today, went grocery shopping and even stopped at a couple of garage sales.  My best find of the day happened to be at Goodwill, a Longaberger Cookie Jar.  I have the matching teapot and pitcher, also a bargain find at a garage sale last year. 


In perfect condition for $4.99!
So what does one do when you have an empty cookie jar? When I found this recipe, I was in heaven.  I could have cookie dough in the freezer ready to go at a moment's notice. 

NEW RECIPE #25  CCC's on the QT:
(The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook)
(Average Family Rating 5)

2 C. Flour
1 C. Oatmeal
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Sticks Butter, unsalted and softened
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Brown Sugar, packed
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Chocolate Chips

Combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, set aside.  Cream butter and sugars with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Add vanilla, then flour mixture, combine.  Add chocolate chips. 

Form dough into 2 Tbsp. balls and place on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.  Freeze for 30 minutes.  Transfer dough balls to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

To Bake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 8 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 8 minutes.  Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to baking rack.  



Tuesday, March 29

Day #88 and Spring Cold

Yes that's right folks, I have a cold.  Runny nose, sneezing, and a headache.  Did I mention I'm a tiny bit crabby?  Though you might get a different answer if you ask Hubby or the kiddies.   Why is it when I have a MILLION things to do, I get a cold?  Me and my tissues spent most of the day on the couch watching Army Wives on Netflix.  I watched the latest episode last night online, so sad. 

And to add to my misery, my wireless mouse battery is dead.

Should have just stayed in bed.

But I wanted to share another recipe from my new cookbook:

NEW RECIPE # 24  Homemade Instant Oatmeal:
(The Frugal Foodie Cookbook:  Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook)
(Average Family Rating)

2 1/2 C. Instant Oats
5 tsp. Brown Sugar
1 C. Raisins or Any Dried Fruit
3 Tbsp. Dry Milk Powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and portion into 5 Ziploc bags. 

To serve
3/4 C. Water, hot

Mix 1 serving with water and let stand for 3-4 minutes.   

Monday, March 28

Day #87 and a New Cookbook

 One day last week Mom and I along with my daughter went shopping.  The only reason my daughter went with us was so she could get a book at Barnes and Noble.  She is an avid reader and loves her Nook she got for Christmas.  While she was off searching through the teen section, I wondered through the cookbook section.  There isn't much to choose from, two rows, but I did manage to find this little cookbook.


The Frugal Foodie Cookbook:  Waste-Not Recipes For The Wise Cook
by Lara Stark with Lynette Shirk

It has so many interesting recipes!  I will be trying out several this week. The first of which is a simple Bisquick recipe.  My kids love pancakes and biscuits, but I dread making them from scratch and I always forget to buy Bisquick at the store!  Here's a simple solution! 


NEW RECIPE #23  3-IN-1 Eye-Opener Mix
(The Frugal Foodie Cookbook:  Waste-Not Recipes For The Wise Cook)
(Average Family Rating: Biscuits and Pancakes, 5)

8 C. Flour
1/3 C. Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Sticks Butter, unsalted and cold

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into small chunks and add to dry mixture.  Toss butter to coat, then cut butter into mixture with a pastry cutter, I just used my hands, until the mixture is sandy in consistancy.  Store in freezer bags for up to three months.

Biscuits
2 C. Eye-Opener Mix
1 C. Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and grease muffin tin.
Combine milk and mix with a wooden spoon until combined, then beat briskly with wooden spoon for 30 seconds.  Using two spoons, drop 1/4 C. dough into each muffin tin.  Bake for 12 minutes.

Pancakes
2 C. Eye-Opener Mix
1 1/2 C. Milk

I would hope you all know how to make pancakes??

Tips:
1.  I packaged the mix in 2 1/2 C. food saver bags.  
2.  Cut the butter into small pieces then put in the freezer while you mix the dry ingredient. 
3.  I also use the cultured buttermilk powder. It keeps longer and you can mix only what you need at a time.
4.  Cool biscuits for 5 minutes, then remove from muffin tin before they get soggy!



Monday, March 21

Thursday, March 17

Day #76 and My Lucky Day!

I'm a winner!  I've never won anything in blogland before until today!

 And the winner is Allisha from Cooking My Way,2011. Congrats.

Now you are probably wondering where and what did I win....
First I want to thank Pine Tree Home for offering this fabulous giveaway.  I love this blog!  Great ideas, helpful hints, and so inspiring.  I won a design board for a room of my choice from Second Street East, another really cool blog.   I can't wait to see what Michelle comes up with for our family room!

So I didn't get around to baking my cookies from yesterday.  I put them in the refrigerator to chill and simply forgot about them.  I am trying to get my house all snazzy for my Mom who is coming to stay for spring break.  Plus I had two sick boys at home.  Needless to say I didn't get much done.  The oven is preheating now and I hope to have these cookies done within the hour since I can bake four cookie sheets at a time!  Woo hoo! 

 I haven't said much about my AWESOME new range since it has arrived, but I must admit I am still in love.  It's both easier and harder to keep the stove top clean than I expected.  I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to use my Le Creuset tea kettle on the stove top until I read the manual.  It is enamel on steel, a little bummed.  I had searched for a new tea kettle for almost a month and finally just bought an electric one.  I'm also confused why GE put two lights in the smaller upper oven and only one in the bigger lower oven.  Sure a man designed it who has never baked anything!  One other thing, if you have a bad back or knees I would not recommend this range.  The bottom oven is a lot lower that I remembered when looking in the store.  Good thing I am low to the ground in the first place!

      Spring break officially start tomorrow here and we will be on the road to pick up my Mom at my sister's.  Can't wait to see my little nieces and the cutest nephew! 

Wednesday, March 16

Day #75 and My Favorite Cookies


My favorite cookbook is the very first one I ever owned, 32 Fabulous Cookies by Marie Bianco.   I bought it at my first grade book fair.
    

It's even stamped on the inside cover by the librarian!  I was an angel when I was little!



 I've made countless recipes out of this lovely book, but my favorite would have to be recipe 21 Genemary's Chocolate Crack-ups.  This page is covered in residue of sticky fingers and memories of baking these delicious cookies with my Granny.

So today, stuck at home again with TWO sick boys, I decided to make these cookies once again.  Although it's not a new recipe, it's one I wanted to share with all of you! ENJOY!


RECIPE #21 Genemary's Chocolate Crack-ups
(32 Fabulous Cookies, Marie Bianco)
(Average Family Rating 5)

1/2 C. Butter
6 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 2/3 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 C. Walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Powdered Sugar

Melt butter and stir in cocoa; blend well, then cool.  Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla, beat until smooth.

In separate bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add to cocoa mixture and add walnuts, mix until combined.   Chill for at least 3 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Shape one tsp. of dough into a ball, repeat with remaining dough.  Roll balls in powdered sugar, then place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, March 15

Day #74 and the Winner is....

Drum roll please....

FRUGAL MOM OF TWO

Real shocker huh?  Oh well, it was worth a shot.  Don't know if I will do anymore giveaways, just have to think about it.  

I did get a full night's sleep last night, but I don't feel refreshed like I had hoped.  My youngest son isn't feeling well today, congested and can barely keep his little eyes open.  Hello Allergy Season.  I was going to go grocery shopping today...the best laid plans never seem to work out.   

Monday, March 14

Day #73 and I'm Awake

LAST CHANCE to enter the GIVEAWAY ends today at Noon CST.

Some would say that's a good thing...to be awake.  Just not at 3am!  Why is it I can't sleep?  This is the second night in three days I have been awake before 5am.  Friday night was the worst, I fell asleep before 8pm...BIG MISTAKE!  I was woke up by Hubby coming to bed at 11:30pm.  I tried to go back to sleep, not happening.  So by 1am I just got up, watched a few episodes of Army Wives Season 1 on Netflix, and finally fell back asleep on the couch around 6:30am.   Second mistake was sleeping on the couch!  Between loud children and the whiny dog I was awake again at 8:30am.  This morning I woke up at 2am.  Again I tried to go back to sleep to no avail.  I've been searching the web, reading mindless gossip, and watching the clock...what has my life come to?  (SIGH) 

This is what I have come up with regards to life and sleep.  Each  stage of your life has a different sleep cycle.  When you are a kid you need a lot of sleep because your body is growing.  When you become a teenager the goal is to see how little sleep you can get and still function.  When you become a parent, sleep is no longer an option.  First they don't sleep through the night, then someone has a bad dream and wants to sleep with you, or you're cleaning vomit because someone didn't quite make it to the bathroom.  One would think it gets better as your children get older, but for some reason it doesn't.  Then the worry sets in.  They are out with friends, on a date, or driving home from work.  I never really understood why my Mom made us (older sister, younger brother) call when we got to where we were going until I became a parent.  I guess the saying is true, "Guess I'll sleep when I'm dead!"

Sunday, March 13

Day #72 and Another Project

My daughter has a social studies project,  an encyclopedia of The Dominican Republic.  For her presentation this week she wanted to make a local bread.  Today is our trial run for Pan de Agua, water bread.  We found a recipe at Aunt Clara's Kitchen.   According to Aunt Clara this is bread is served at breakfast. The hardest part of this recipe for us was calculating how many teaspoons are in one packet of yeast.  I buy yeast at Sam's, not in individual packets.  I also used a Sil-pat instead of oil on my baking sheet.   I have never understood the greasing of cookie sheets or baking sheets.  The grease always seems to burn in between the cookies or whatever you are baking.  I don't know about you, but I do not enjoy scrubbing my baking sheets or really anything for that matter.

Only ONE day left in the GIVEAWAY!  Be sure to enter by clicking on the picture in the sidebar!

NEW RECIPE #22  Pan de Agua:
(Aunt Clara's Kitchen)
(Average Family Rating)

3 C. Flour
2 1/2 (.25 ounce) Packages Active Dry Yeast OR  5 5/8 tsp.
1 tsp. Salt
1 C. Warm Water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix in flour, salt. Add the yeast and mix in with a spatula until it is well blended. Flour a clean surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (same texture as children modeling clay).

Wrap in a plastic film and let rise in a warm place until it doubles. Put the dough on a floured surface and punch down to get rid of the excess bubbles. Divide the dough in 8 portions. Work them into rolls, then slash them lengthwise with a knife. Allow to double again before baking. Pre-heat the oven to 425° F.

Oil a baking sheet. Bake bread for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, March 12

Day #71 and Backyard Gardening

Having a garden is therapy for me.  Something about it is just relaxing.   I love being able to walk into the backyard and pick the freshest ingredients.  Last year we downsized the garden and added a rain barrel.  I've tried starting seed indoors, but failed miserably!  So I thought I might try it one last time.  I planted scallions, radishes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, lemon-lime basil, and jalapeno peppers.  So far, so good.  The only thing that hasn't sprouted is the bell peppers.  Now hopefully I will remember to water them! 

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!  Only two days left!  Just click on the picture in the sidebar!

Thursday, March 10

Day #69 and Do Overs

I made the Granola again and it turned out fabulous!  I love it!  Think I will add more coconut and maybe pecans next time, which will be today as I am almost out!  The Dijon Chicken was liked by all but my daughter.  Go figure!  We have reached the defiant stage of being a teen...Lord HELP me! 



GRANOLA

As I walked out of my bedroom this morning, my middle son was sitting on the floor pouting.  All because he thought it was Friday and we forgot to make the Lemon Bars for his class.  His face lit up and mood instantly changed when he realized today is Thursday!  So "we" will be making Lemon Bars tonight! 

NEW RECIPE #21  Lemon Bars:
(Taste of Home, 2008)
(CLASS RATING, Thumbs UP!)

Crust:
2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine flour and sugar in bowl.  Cut butter in with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Press lightly into an ungreased 9"x13" baking pan.   Bake for 20 minutes.

Filling:
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Eggs
2/3 C. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 Drops Yellow Food Coloring, optional
1 Tbsp. Grated Lemon Peel
Powdered Sugar

Beat milk and eggs until fluffy.  Beat in lemon juice, flour, baking powder, salt, and food coloring until blended.  Fold in lemon peel.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, March 9

Day #68 and Seeing Double


Double yolk!
This was the first double yolk I have ever seen.  Pretty cool.  It made an awesome omelet!  Although I learned it's not best to make an omelet on the griddle, oops. 

The cookies I made yesterday, Chewy Chocolate-Chunk Cherry Cookiesdid make be feel better.  The kids loved them too.  My middle son brought home a "recipe" book from the library.  He is so cute.  He wants to make Lemon Bars for his class.  I did find a few recipes to try also.

NEW RECIPE #20 Chicken Dijon with Noodles:
(Taste of Home, 2008)
(Average Family Rating 4.0)

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
4 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 C.  Apple Juice or Milk
1 Tbsp. Parsley
Cooked Wide Egg Noodles

Melt butter in a saute pan.  Add chicken and cook until golden brown.  Remove from skillet, add soup, apple juice, dijon mustard, and parsley.  Heat until bubbly.  Add chicken back to saute pan.  Cover for 15 minutes.  Serve over cooked noodles.

Tips:
1.  I used Cream of Chicken soup instead of Cream of Mushroom.
2.  Be sure to dry raw chicken before adding to pan to help sear.

Tuesday, March 8

Day #67 and Time Flies

This year has been full of realizations for me.  One being my son is going to be a freshman in high school in the fall.  Last night was freshman orientation.  Hubby took him, as I was not feeling well, and he came home with a packet full of stuff.  I want him to realize how important these next few years will be in his life.  The decisions he makes will determine the path his life will take.  There are so many more classes he could take and several more he needs to graduate than I ever had.  Next year we will be doing this all over again with my daughter.  I will probably have the same worries, concerns, and doubts with her.  I just want my son to know whatever happens in the next four years, Hubby and I will love and support him.  So to make me feel better, I made cookies...

This recipe makes so many!


NEW RECIPE #19  Chewy Chocolate-Chunk Cherry Cookies
(Martha Stewart Living Feb. 2011)
(Average Family Rating)

3 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 C. Light-Brown Sugar, packed
1 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chunks
1 1/2 C. Dried Cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well.  Beat in vanilla, then flour mixture.  Add chocolate and cherries, mix well.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Roll into balls (about 3 tsp.), place on a lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.  Bake until edges are golden, 12-14 minutes.  Cool on baking rack.  Can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Tips:
1.  This dough is super sticky, hence the refrigeration.
2.  I used a Sil-Pat lined baking sheet.
3.  I also used a cookie scoop instead of rolling the dough into ball.
4.  Place the uncooked dough in the refrigerator while you bake the other cookies.

Monday, March 7

Day #66 and a Giveaway!!!

For my very first giveaway I thought it should be something I use in the kitchen...

GIVEAWAY #1:


Natural Home Bamboo Spoon
RE Nylon Spatula
all you Magazine March 25 issue


Now for the Rules:
1.  You must be a follower of this blog.
2.  Leave a comment telling me about your favorite tool in the kitchen.
3.  You may only leave ONE comment.
4.  Winner will be chosen by Random.com
5.  You may enter until March 14, 2011 at 12:00pm. CST.
6.  Winner will be announce March 15, 2011.


NEW RECIPE #18 Easy Pasta Salad:
(CMW 2011)
(Average Family Rating 4.3)

1 lb. Rotini Pasta
1 bottle Kraft Light House Italian Dressing
1/2 C. Good Olive Oil
2 Carrots, small dice
1 Cucumber, small dice
1/2 C. Red Onion, small dice
Salt

Bring 6 qts. water to a boil, add salt to water.  Cook pasta and drain.  While still warm add pasta to a bowl with Italian Dressing, mix well.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Add olive oil, mix well.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Add vegetables when ready to serve. 

Sunday, March 6

Day #65 and a Busy Bee

Chaos.  That is what it has been like around here for the past several days.  I spent five days catching up laundry, cooking, cleaning, shuffling kids here and there, going to music competition, and celebrating my sweet baby girl's 13th birthday.  This is the first time I have sat down and not fallen asleep!  This week won't be much different with track practice starting Monday and freshman orientation for my oldest.  I can't believe he is going to be in high school!  Where has the time gone?

Anyway, I promised a giveaway at the beginning of the month.  Ooops!  It might have helped if I would have realized it was the first of the month six days ago!  So check back tomorrow for the giveaway along with an awesome new recipe I tried out this weekend!

Monday, February 28

Day #59 and a Bomb Went Off...

A bomb, tornado, something...in my basement!  I leave for five days and the basement is trashed.  And not just one room!  The computer area, the bar, the laundry room, and as usual, the boys room!  The latter I totally expected because they don't clean, ever.  I don't venture down to the basement often, usually just to do laundry.  The kids watch TV down there, play on the computer, etc.  But today I had to do laundry.  Uh let's just say the door to laundry room opened just enough for me to squeeze in.  Nice.  They had attempted to do laundry while I was away with clean clothes on top of the washer/dryer and hanging everywhere, I was furious!  So today and probably tomorrow I will be in the laundry room, ugh.

I threw out the granola I made yesterday.  Some of the fruit was burnt and it just tasted funny.  I will attempt to make it again this afternoon.  I bought some bread at Target,  Apple Fritter.  The boys loved it!  Today I am going to attempt to make my own.  Hopefully it turns out better than the granola!

White Bread:
(HMSJ)

1/4 C. Butter, melted
2 C. Water
1 Egg
2 tsp. Salt
4 1/2 tsp. Yeast
6 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar

Place all the wet ingredients in mixer.  Sift all dry ingredients.  Add dry to wet and kneed for 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl and rise for an hour.  Divide dough in half.  Shape loaves and let rise additional hour.  Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Baking in the oven.

New Recipe #17 Apple Fritter Bread:
(CMW, 2011)
(Average Family Rating 4.3)

White Bread Recipe
1 Can of Apple Pie Filling
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 C. Butter, melted
Raw Sugar

Make bread recipe as follows.  After the first rise, roll out into 8"x 20" rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Mix pie filling and cinnamon together.  Dice any large pieces of apple into smaller pieces.  Spread the mixture onto the dough and roll.  Place the loaves in the loaf pans to rise for another hour.  Coat loaves with butter and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar.  Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. until golden brown. 


Let cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes.

A few tips:
1. When rolling dough after adding pie filling mixture fold sides in so the mixture doesn't ooze out!
2. Try not to let rise too much because it keeps rising in the oven.

Sunday, February 27

Day #58 and Granola

It is another dreary day here...dense fog, drizzle, but surprisingly not too cold.  While flipping through my cookbooks yesterday I found a granola recipe.  I have made granola before, but not with fruit.  My sister gave me this awesome recipe for Peanut Butter Granola.  It is so good, but I wanted something more traditional.  This is the first time I am using the convection oven and my kitchen smells incredible!  I did make a few changes to this recipe.  For some reason when it comes to baking recipes I can't seem to leave it alone, I always want to change it!

New Recipe #16 Homemade Granola:
(The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
(Average Family Rating)

4 C. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
2 C. Sweetened Coconut, shredded
2 C. Sliced Almonds
3/4 C. Vegetable Oil
1/2 C. Honey
1 1/2 C. Dried Apricots, small diced
1 C. Dried Figs, small diced
1 C. Dried Cherries
1 C. Dried Cranberries
1 C. Cashews, unsalted and roasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Toss first five ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk honey and oil together in a small bowl.  Pour over dry ingredients and toss until well coated.  Pour on to (2) half sheet pans and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. Add dried fruit and cashews.  Store in airtight container.

My Changes:
1.  I divided the oats into:
               2 C. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
               1 C. Quick Oats
               1 C. Wheat Germ

2.  I didn't add cranberries, figs, or cashews.  Not a big fan...

3.  I used Orange Honey that I picked up while visiting my Mom.

4.  I made a few mistakes in making this...I added the fruit before baking the oat mixture and didn't add enough oil.  Guess I should have two cups of coffee before cooking anything!

FYI:  The convection oven cooks super fast!  Can't leave the kitchen when using it!

Saturday, February 26

Day #57 and Lazy Days

We never get "lazy days", but today is one of those days!  No games, no events, no where to be, YEAH!  One would think I would take this opportunity to get stuff done around the house, uh no.  We haven't done anything.  I made pancakes and mac n' cheese, but that is the extent of it.  I was going to make those cookies I posted about yesterday, but we are out of dried milk and I really don't want to go to the grocery store on a Saturday.  I flipped through most of my cookbooks looking for inspiration for dinner tonight, nothing.   Pizza it is.  Now all I need is a good movie and a blanket!

Oh, I did change the background picture in anticipation of spring! I am so looking forward to warmer temps, gardening, and flip flops!

Friday, February 25

Day #56 and the little things...


By the little things I meant these adorable mini wine glasses.  They are a part of Pier 1's new tasting party line.  I love these because it seems like my wine always gets warm before I get to drink it all!  Mainly because I am too busy chatting or forget about it sitting on the counter as I cook dinner.  The wine I purchased while at Sprouts with my Mom, hoping to try it out this weekend. 

I didn't get to make cookies yesterday, too busy cleaning the kitchen.  I hung up the utensil bars I purchased at Ikea.  I love them!  I will take pictures as soon as my batteries recharge for the camera.  I did manage to bake a cake, a box mix.  It was Duncan Hines, Orange Supreme.  I bought it about two months ago, right before the crappy range decided to quit.  I found it while I was cleaning out the pantry yesterday.  This was the first time I used the bottom oven.  I set the temperature and wondered if I should try the convection or not, I didn't.   After 22 minutes I noticed the top was golden brown, it was done!   So glad I didn't leave the kitchen while it was baking!  It was an interesting flavor, not really what I thought it would taste like.  My family liked it I guess they ate it, I didn't get a rating since it wasn't really a recipe.  So maybe after I clean the rest of my house, start laundry, and figure out what to make for dinner I will get to make cookies!

I found this recipe from Sugar Plum!  She is an awesome baker and I can't wait to make these!  Just click on the link below for the recipe!

(Average Family Rating)

Thursday, February 24

Day #55 and Back to the Grind...

I made it home in record time yesterday and NO I did not speed...okay maybe a little. I was so happy to see my kiddies!  One almost tackled me in the school hallway, another got in the van and didn't realize it was me, when he did he hugged me so tight and wouldn't let go!  It was nice to know they missed me too. 

Of course Hubby didn't take anything out of the freezer for dinner.  So after picking up the kids, we went to the grocery store.  I made pork chops and fried potatoes.  It was nice to use my new range.  Hubby had to teach a class last night which meant I not only had the privilege of cooking, but cleaning up too.  I did put the leftovers away and clean the stovetop, but saved the dishes for this morning. 

Five o'clock this morning came too soon!  I did not want to get up or even leave the house, but duty calls.  I will be cleaning the refrigerator out today since tomorrow is trash day and cleaning the rest of my kitchen.  It's funny how everyone has their own idea of clean.  I don't think Hubby wiped the countertops even once while I was away.   I am also going to try out the oven today, making cookies!  Tomorrow I hope to get back into a routine and make a new recipe.  It seems like forever since I could bake!

Wednesday, February 23

Day #54 and I-35...

I have a date today with I-35.  I am going home.  My mom is doing much better and I am ready to see my kiddies and Hubby.  I even miss my doggie...(tear).  Yesterday Mom and I ventured out to this awesome farmer's market called Sprouts.  They have a huge produce section and a bulk items section.  I bought wheat germ, slivered almonds, and orange honey all to make granola.  I also bought Hubby some new wine to try,  Broke Ass.  Love the name!  We had lunch at McKinney's Cafe and Bakery.  It was so yummy!  I had a coconut macaroon to die for!  We walked around Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, but didn't see anything I couldn't live without or find cheaper elsewhere.  It was 3:30pm. before we made it back home and I was tired!  Driving on the highway here is stressful.  Too many stupid people and semi-trucks who think they own the road. I am ready to go back to small town USA!  I am also ready to cook on my new range!  So jealous Hubby has got to use it more than me! 

Tuesday, February 22

Day #53 and Ikea...

My mom is doing much better so yesterday we ventured out on our own to Ikea.  Needless to say, we got lost.  I am not good with directions and really don't have any sense of direction.  Two hours later we found it!  My mom had never been to Ikea.  It's quite overwhelming.  We were there for another two hours and I was exhausted by the time we left.  Mom bought dishtowels, chip clips, hangers, and four chairs for me.  I bought four more chairs, two shelves, and two utensil bars.  So I can mark another thing off my kitchen remodel list!  Getting back to Mom's was much easier since I bought a map at Quik-Trip, only taking us a little over an hour to get home. 

I will be going home tomorrow.  Not really looking forward to the drive, but my mom is doing better and I miss my kiddies and Hubby.  I did manage to get part of the "Must Haves" list published, be sure to check it out!

Friday, February 18

Day #49 1/2....IT'S HERE!


And it works!  AMEN!



The first thing I made, pancakes on the griddle!  Yummy!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this thing!  Only missing one thing, the oven meat probe.  GE will be sending me one Monday!


Day #49 and Crazy Week..

This week has been nothing but non-stop.  First, my Mom was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.  She was released on Wednesday and is doing much better.  I will be going to stay with her so my Dad can go back to work.  Next was the whole range issue.  It left Indiana on Tuesday, arrived in town Wednesday, and is scheduled to be delivered TODAY! AMEN!  Then I had two sick kids, Hubby had parent-teacher conferences, and I'm trying to get as much laundry/cleaning done before I leave in the morning.  Needless to say I haven't had time to do anything I really wanted to do such as shopping, blog, or even cook.  I did manage to make Drip Beef for Hubby's pot luck dinner, beef stew, and a Strawberry Jello Poke Cake.

The Recipe Box page is still a work in progress.  The HTML is giving me fits and doesn't want to work the way I want it to.  Also I am working on a "Must Haves in Your Kitchen" page.  I hope to have some time while taking care of Mom to get these things up and running. 

Sorry for the randomness of this post, but I have a million things on my mind, kids and Hubby demanding something, anything, everything since they are out of school today and Monday.  Will they ever go a full week again?

Monday, February 14

Day #45 and Let's talk Cheesecake...

My son who turned 14 yesterday asked for a cheesecake for his birthday cake.  I have only made cheesecake once before and that was right after Christmas for my Dad.   It is not an easy thing to make!  It takes planning, which I am not good at when it comes to cooking.  I make what I want, when I want it.  So off to Sam's we went to buy a 3lb. block of cream cheese.  Saturday night I left it out on the counter to come to room temperature along with 7 eggs! 

Sunday morning, I made the cheesecake in the crappy oven.  To say I was worried was an understatement.  It was fluffier than the first and almost overflowed the springform pan.  It took almost 30 minutes longer than the recipe call for to bake.  So when I took Hubby to buy a new battery, I picked up ice cream for a back up plan.  After the birthday boy dinner out at Golden Corral, we came home to the cheesecake.  How anyone was still hungry afterwards I will never understand...boys a.k.a. bottomless pits.  I only had a bite of Hubby's and it was yummy! 

Only three weeks until "birthday season" comes to a close here!  And she doesn't want a cake, just scamboli.  :)

I'll post the cheesecake recipe tomorrow along with the new Recipe Box page!

Saturday, February 12

Day #43 and Snobby...

My Hubby wasn't pleased about my "awesome" deals.  His thoughts were we already have these things.  Yes, but I wanted better things...I have to admit I am a snob when it comes to items for my kitchen.  I have learned over the years that pots, pans, utensils, etc. are an investment.  My first Le Creuset dutch oven was a gift from Hubby, the only gift I received for Christmas that year.  The second and third were on clearance at Williams-Sonoma and I couldn't leave the store without them.  I have tried to explain to Hubby in "man" terms about how important it is to have the right tools in the kitchen.  All he sees is dollar signs.  MEN! 

Although he didn't fight me much last night while at World Market for another awesome deal!  I can mark another item off the kitchen remodel list!  I found a dining room table!  YEAH!  On clearance, of course!  Hubby's going to pick it up today and I am going to list our current table on craigslist! 

I thought I would get a chance to cook today, but that will have to wait until tonight.  Haircut for middle son, shopping with daughter for Valentine's Dance outfit, and grocery shopping.  Yes I have been trying to grocery shop for two days now, but just can't force myself to do it.  But now I have no choice, we are out of milk and cereal. 

Friday, February 11

Day #42 and Awesome Deals!

Yesterday I had to get out of this house so I went shopping.  Target, Hobby Lobby, and TJ Maxx.  I found the deal of the day at TJ Maxx, a Simplehuman Butterfly Step Trash can ,$79!  I have wanted one for awhile, but couldn't force myself to pay retail, $179!

Today I went on the hunt for new cookware.  I have three Le Creuset pots that I use all the time, but I wanted a really nice saute pan and new sauce pans.  That's it.  Not a complete set.  Do you know how hard it is to find nice cookware that isn't sold in a set, that I can afford?  Jackpot!  Dillard's in Towne West!  I bought an All-Clad 3qt. Saute Pan AND a 1.5 qt. sauce pan, both with lids for $76!  That is not even retail for the sauce pan alone!  I was looking online for a 3qt. sauce pan to match online, uh...$160...not paying that...so I will just keep my eye out for another awesome deal!

Have you found any awesome deals lately?

Thursday, February 10

Day #41 and Positive thoughts...

I still have a headache, but everyone went to school today, I have a working range, a ton of laundry to catch up, and grocery shopping!  Hubby even took the kids to school today without me even asking him!   No doubt he probably hasn't bought my V-day present yet and is sucking up in advance just it case what he does buy me is a flop. The second Valentine's day we were together, Hubby gave me the best present, our son.  He will be 14 on Sunday.  The past two years Hubby has given me two Spa gift cards,(yes I know I should have used them prior to now, but I haven't had time).  Sweet and all, but I would like something that requires some thought behind it.  Something practical and useful, not a new vacuum either, which we desperately need!  I know exactly what I am going to get him...

Going to work on the new "Recipe Box" page today.  Hopefully it will be up and running by early next week.  I like the idea of pages, so less cluttered on the home page and easier for you to find recipes.  Pictures are coming soon also to CMW.  I have thought about adding ads to my blog, but I didn't start this blog to make a buck.  So I am struggling with that decision.  What do you think?  Also coming in March will be a giveaway!  It will be a monthly thing, announced on the 1st of every month and the winner will be announced on the 7th of month, but you must be a follower to enter.  

Sorry for the lack of recipes this week, but stay tuned...I'm sure I will be cooking up a storm this weekend! 

Wednesday, February 9

Day #40 and Snow Days...

Update:  Thank you to Mr. Bill who fixed my crappy stove to cook another day!  Words cannot express my gratitude!  Also my new range has been located in Indiana as of this morning.  I still won't see it for another 7-10 business days, but now at least I can cook something...not today though, have an awful migraine!  Probably brought on by the morons at the shipping company!

Wednesdays have become snow days here in the land of Oz.  Yesterday the kids were released from school at 12:30pm.  By that time, we already had 4" of snow.  When Hubby got home he decided to shovel the driveway(s), couldn't just stop with one...think he was sucking up to the neighbors in exchange for some adult beverages!

I had already decided by 8pm. last night if school wasn't cancelled, I wasn't going to take them and I went to bed.  Only to wake up at 4am...we now have over 12" of snow, according to the ruler on the deck.  No school.  This is the third Wednesday in a row the kids haven't had school, ugh!  I love my kids dearly, but they are just as tired of me as I am of them.  Spa day here I come...

I have lost my desire to cook, at least in an electric skillet or crockpot.  Today I am going to make Steak Chili...in the crockpot.  I just checked the shipping company website, still no change.  Hubby is going to take over today and get to the bottom of this!  I paid quite a bit of money for this range, more than I care to admit, but I did it because we needed it.  Not because I had money lying around and thought maybe this would be a nice upgrade.  IF that were the case, I would have paid more and ordered it from the local store, but the difference was enough to order online.  With a three week estimated  delivery time, I thought it was the best option.  Four weeks later and no range, no idea where it is.

Tuesday, February 8

Day #39 and I need a vacation...

I say that a lot to my family, but I mean it today.  I'm done.  Done with snow, winter, fighting kids, worthless online appliance companies....  I need a break, just a few days to escape.  Even the dog is driving me nuts!  There is so much I could be doing in this house, but I have no desire to clean, paint, or sew anything.  I need to get out of here, ASAP!  A spa day would be awesome!  I have two gift cards, hmmm... I will call first thing in the morning!

Why is it when you know you can't do something, you want to do it even more?  I want to bake something, anything!  I want to be able to make cookies, a cake, even rice crispy treats!  But I can't.  My cookie sheets, bread pans, and cassarole dishes are all feeling neglected.   Pathetic huh?  One day soon my kitchen will be filled with the smell of fresh bread and I will feel normal again.

Monday, February 7

Day #38 and Way Beyond Frustrated....

Going on Day #6 that my new range has been sitting in a warehouse in Indiana.   Starting to get angry.  I will never ever ever order another appliance online again.   It wouldn't be such an issue if I had a working range!  Hubby tried to fix the connection again yesterday and now the thing won't even come on!  I wanted to cry. 

CORRECTION:  Just got off the phone with the shipping company, they don't have my range.  The company I ordered it from still has not delivered it to them.  According to the company, the range didn't ship until last Friday and the shipping company has not unloaded all the trucks from the weekend. The salesman told me it shipped last Tuesday.  UGH! Tired of getting the run around!

Hubby then tried to cheer me up by asking what the first thing I would make when the new range arrived.  My first thought was a cake.  Since the kids were little I have always made dessert of some kind if not every day then every other day.  Now they expect it.  Even our friends kids ask, "Why do they have dessert every night and we don't?"  Ooops, sorry...it's just something I love to make (and eat).  My favorite cake ever is a Strawberry Jello Poke Cake.  I have been in love with Jello and strawberries for as long as I can remember. 
My mom made this cake for my birthday almost every year! 

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake Recipe:
(from the back of my Mom's cookbook)
(Average Family Rating)

1 White Box Cake Mix
1 Small Box of Strawberry Jello
4 Eggs
1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
2 C. Water (1 C. for Cake, 1 C. for Jello)
1 Container of Cool Whip

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make cake according to pkg. directions, bake in a 9"x13" for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool on rack for 15 minutes.   Poke holes in cake using a fork.
Dissolve the Jello in 1 C. of boiling water. Pour Jello slowly over the surface of the cake, it will soak into the cake.  Chill for 4 hours in refrigerator.
Spread whipped topping on top of cake before serving. Refrigerate leftover cake.