Just a super quick update today...things are wicked crazy around here. I'm trying to get everything set up to the yard sale, clean for our house guest, AND cook up some enchiladas and sweet potato cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and we JUST got home from running errands. Coffee please!

I got my first batch of recipes today. I'm so excited!! Look!

I also got this totally adorable handmade Thank You card from Amy. I love it!

I wanted to also let you guys know that I've been contacted for another giveaway! Start thinking about how you would spend 40 bucks on yourself if given the chance =)



Break Time

Sometimes the insanity of motherhood, wifedom, (yes I made that up) and life in general warrants a time out. I have a hard time forcing myself to take a time out most days, and I am POSITIVE I'm not the only one out there like this.

I have found, (on the recommendation from a good friend,) the most amazing way to take a Mommy Time Out at the end of the night.

It's called Mad Housewife Wine

Lets discuss the reasons I am mildly obsessed with this stuff.
  1. First of all, check out the name. Is it not perfectly adorable?
  2. That fun vintage style label. It had me at hello.
  3. The budget friendly price. At about 6 bucks a pop, you don't have to feel guilty treating yourself which is something I'm always struggling with.
  4. The Taste! This stuff is so yummy; it's white zinfandel is slightly sweet with hints of watermelon and strawberry. Even people who aren't big wine fans should defiantly give it a shot.
  5. It's easy to find. I got mine at Kroger but their site lists tons of places local to most people. You should also add either their blog or Facebook Page because they do events all over the U.S. There was a bottle signing at the Kroger near my house a month or so back.
  6. The kitchy cork with its cute stamp. Here's one of mine: 

So. Get thee to the nearest retailer and stock up for the weekend. Maybe you can make up some of my Mint Chocolate Cake Balls and find some time for yourself once everyone has gone to bed.

*Note. No, I was not asked to do this by Mad Housewife Wines. No, this is not a paid endorsement. I just love this stuff so damn much, that I contacted them for permission to blog about it and share it with you guys.*


Spicy Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Even though my desserts are more popular, I'm going to keep posting dinner recipes. Neener Neener
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6oz of hot style tomato or vegetable juice (I use spicy V8)
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons canned chopped jalapeno chile peppers
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1. In a large skillet, cook beef with the onions and garlic until browned. Drain.

2. Combine all remaining ingredients in slow cooker, add beef and mix.

3. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or high setting for 3-4 hours.


Keep On Keepin' On

I have an extremely sad and clingy teething baby, a potty training 3 year old, a yard sale this weekend, 2 days with a 3rd child this week, 2 cleaning jobs, regular mommy & wife duties and I'm STILL getting my swap recipes in the mail tomorrow. How 'bout you?

Carrots And Green Bean Au Gratin

3 cups green beans, cooked
2 cups carrots, sliced & cooked
5 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons soft breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cheese, grated

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in pan, add onion and saute. Add flour and stir until smooth.
2. Add milk, salt, pepper and cheese, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Pour over beaten eggs and mix.
3. Arrange carrots and green beans in alternate layers in a greased casserole dish. Melt remaining butter and mix in breadcrumbs then sprinkle on top of casserole.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.


Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars

This recipe called for Toffee bits, and in the midst of a grocery shopping trip with both boys, I grabbed Heath Bars by accident. Not the same thing since Heath Bars have chocolate. Ooops? Not really. It came out sooooo good. So good in fact, when my husband dropped the glass pan and broke it sneaking some out of the fridge, we totally rescued them from the carnage. Yep. That good.

1 pouch sugar cookie mix (Betty Crocker, of course)
1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toffee bits, finely crushed

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.

2. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over crust in pan.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set in center. Immediately sprinkle top with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.
Recipe love here

Linking to :

The Girl Creative


Link Party

Happy Monday, Rockstars.
Here is the link party I promised! It's open until Friday and there is no button you need to put on your blog to link up. (If you really want to use one, grab the groupie button on the left sidebar.) You can link up to your main blog or a specific post if you like.
Try to visit as many other blogs on the list as you can and follow them if you like. No pressure! I just want to give all my friends a chance to see each others blogs.

I know some great beauty, crafty, mommy, fashion and foodie bloggers and I want to see all of you on this list!

Have fun!



Orange Cookies

YUM! These cookies are puffed and have a cake like consistency. I adapted them a bit from the original recipe and they were so tasty!


2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Triple-Sec liquor
3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


1.Cream white sugar and shortening; add eggs and stir. Add sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla; stir and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add little by little to the creamed mixture and stir well. Add 3/4 cup orange juice concentrate, Triple- Sec, and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Drop onto greased cookie sheets by teaspoonfuls.

2.Bake at 375 degrees  for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on racks.
3.To Make Frosting: Mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 4 Tablespoons of the thawed orange juice concentrate, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 Tablespoons of melted butter, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar or enough to make frosting of spreading consistency. Frost cookies when completely cooled.
Adapted from Recipe by Beth Sigworth


You're all RockStars

Being that the blogging world can get kind of clique-y and judge-y, Ive decided to start hosting some link parties. I have followers that blog on all different  subjects and I think you all rock and I want you to share your stuff with eachother.
Tomorrow I will set up the party. It's going to be a no rules kind of thing, you can link up to your blog itself or to a specific post on something you love. I'm just asking you all to take a couple seconds and link up.


P.S. If you've never done one before, fear not. It's super easy!


Corn Chowder with a Kick Versions 1 and 2

The Veggie Version

The Chicken Version (with some broth removed for the photo)

Aww cute, his & hers CrockPot's

Ok, so. This is a recipe I threw together thinking it would be a huge fail but Bill loved his and mine was awesome. So, you see? I DO actually cook for myself sometimes.

The Chicken Version
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 medium round red potatoes, diced
2 cans (14-15 oz) cream-style corn
1 14 oz can chicken broth (more if you like it more like soup and less like chowder)
1 11oz can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers (aka mexicorn) drained
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1 sweet red pepper, diced
(the following can be added in amounts to your taste preference)
1 Tbl chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
Tortilla Chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, cover and cook on low 6-8 hrs or on high for 3-4.
2. Top each serving with broken chips and shredded cheese.

The Veggie Version

3 medium round red potatoes, diced
2 cans (14-15 oz) cream-style corn
14 oz vegetable broth (more if you like it more like soup and less like chowder)
1 carrot, diced or shredded
1 11oz can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers (aka mexicorn) drained
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1 sweet red pepper, diced
(the following can be added in amounts to your taste preference)
1 Tbl chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
Tortilla Chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, cover and cook on low 6-8 hrs or on high for 3-4.
2. Top each serving with broken chips and shredded cheese.


Side Note.... Mommy Things.

Our 1st night out alone in over 8 months! Dinner, drinks and games. We decided that for the most part, it's expensive and overrated; My husband the vet hates being in public and I just don't connect with my old self anymore.  

Apparently my 8 and a half month old cried a lot and refused to eat while we were gone. He's a mama's boy, I decided. Night's like this, I'm glad we are co-sleeping. It's good to have him close while I still can! In fact, 4 nights out of 7, I sneak into my 3 and a half year old's bed and pass out for an hour or 2 in the middle of the night after I feed the baby.

This stage doesn't last forever and you cant get it back.

There's my 2 cents.

PB Chocolate Pudding In Edible Bowls

I made this a couple of months ago for a friend's birthday and thought I'd toss it on the blog for fun. This recipe is from Jill O'Connor who has an awesome book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids.
I heard about this one from Bakerella. (I need one of her shirts! My birthday is in October. I'm just sayin')
This is peanut butter and chocolate pudding in an edible chocolate bowl topped with vanilla whipped cream. Yes, it's as good as it sounds.
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (heaped) semisweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream for topping (Recipe Follows)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Candy Melts or Chocolate Bark
Chocolate jimmies or Sprinkles
Water balloons

1. Into a medium saucepan, sift together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half, until the mixture is combined and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.

2. Cook the pudding over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the pudding starts to thicken and large bubbles form and plop, like slowly bubbling hot lava, on the surface of the pudding. Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Check the consistency of the pudding by running your finger across the back of the stirring spoon; if it leaves a trail that does not immediately fill in, it is thick enough.

3. Remove from the heat and stir the vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate chips into the hot pudding until thoroughly melted and combined.

4.  Place pudding into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until very cold, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Whipped Cream Directions:
1. Chill a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 15 minutes (to help whip the cream faster). Then combine 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

2. Beat on medium-low using a mixer until the cream starts to thicken. Then increase speed to medium-high and beat until firm peaks form.

Edible Bowl Directions:
1. Blow up the balloons, wash them off and let them dry. (Before you dip the balloons you'll want to spray a tiny bit of cooking spray on them.)

2. Melt candy melts and allow to cool slightly. Spoon a small amount on a wax-paper-covered baking sheet. Dip one balloon at a time in the chocolate, making a bowl shape around the balloon.

3. Place the balloon gently on top of chocolate you've placed on the baking sheet. Set try aside or place in the refrigerator to speed up the drying time.

4. Pop balloons with a pin. Peel any of the balloon that sticks very gently or you will break the chocolate. I did it too fast the first few time and broke some bowls. If this happens, you can just toss the pieces in a bowl, reheat it, and try again!

5. Fill cups with pudding and whipped cream, top with sprinkles and viola! Its a lot of work, but totally worth it.


Fried Chicken Strips

2-2/3 cups crushed saltines (about 80 crackers)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 cup milk
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Oil for frying

1. In a shallow bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another shallow bowl, beat egg and milk. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then cracker mixture.

2. In an electric skillet, on the stovetop (which is how i do it) or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry chicken, a few strips at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

It's almost to hot to cook......ALMOST

Hey Everyone!

I've got the swap groups mapped out! Ill be emailing you all with the names, addresses and guidelines hopefully this evening. We have 33 people in the swap, including a foodie as far away as Australia! I'm excited, are you??


Last Call

Ok, Last call for the recipe swap! Email your addresses to [email protected]. I'm putting your groups together in the morning.

Sneaky Pancakes


This really isn't a "recipe" per se, just a mom tip really. My 3 yr old is a super picky eater. One of the things he DOES love are pancakes. When he is having a week were he just is not eating well, Ill make him sneaky pancakes. All you have to do is make up some pancakes and toss in some purees or baby foods. Ive tried sweet potatoes, applesauce, any of the fruit blends and carrots. He's never noticed a difference and even the baby likes them!


Mint Chocolate Cake Balls

This is one of my 40 bajillion variations on good ole Bakerella's cake ball concept.

1 box Devils Food Cake mix (I of course used Betty Crocker)
1 can chocolate frosting
Water, oil and eggs called for on box
Mint extract
Chocolate bark or candy melts

1. Bake cake according to directions on box and add 1 tablespoon of mint extract, more or less to taste. Cool COMPLETELY. (My best advice is to bake it in the morning and let it cool a few hours before you start working with it.

2. Once cake is completely cooled, crumble in a large bowl. Mix one tsp mint extract into frosting, then add frosting to crumbled cake, a little at a time. You'd be smart to throw on some gloves and do this by hand; It's a bit messy. I usually only add about half the can of frosting so the balls don't end up too moist so just use your best judgement.

3. Once combined, roll into tablespoon sized balls and place on wax lines baking sheet. Place in the freezer for an hour or so. Once they have set, start melting your chocolate.

4. Using a slotted spoon, dip the balls into melted chocolate. Allow extra chocolate to drain off then and place back on wax paper to dry. If the cake balls start to melt while you are dipping, just toss them back in the freezer for 15 minutes or so and go at it again.

5. Store these in the refrigerator. YUM!

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow is the last day to get your name and address in for the swap. If you're feeling lazy, Ill tell you that its looking like you will be swapping in groups of 3 as opposed to 5. So get on it. Lazy.


Easy Calzones

1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed OR one roll refrigerated pizza dough
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4/ cup olive oil
Your favorite pizza toppings
Marinara or Pizza sauce

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a baking sheet or prep a pizza stone. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces and set aside.

2. Combine cream cheese and mozzarella in a medium bowl, stirring with fork until combined. Add green onions, garlic and thyme and stir again.

3. Roll out dough into 6 inch circles. Spread each with cream cheese and add toppings. Fold dough over filling. Seal edges using a fork and place calzones on baking sheet. Brush tops with some oil. Bake for 10 minutes, brush with remaining oil and bake another 10 minutes or until browned.

4. Serve with marinara for dipping. Gobble and enjoy.


Chicken Manicotti

*For a laugh: Please go ahead and picture me stuffing raw chicken into uncooked manicotti shells. This is true love people, wearing gloves, stuffing dead animal that you aren't even going to eat into tubes of pasta, all to give your husband a happy belly.

1 (16oz) jar of your favorite Alfredo sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 pkg uncooked chicken breast tenders
1 tsp Italian seasoning
14 uncooked manicotti shells
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup basil pesto, chopped (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix pasta sauce, water and garlic powder. In ungreased 13x9 in glass baking dish, spread about one cup of the pasta sauce mixture.

2. Sprinkle chicken with Italian seasoning. Stuff chicken into uncooked pasta shells. Place shells on sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells, covering completely.

3.  Cover with foil. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered until cheese it melted (about another 4 minutes.)  Sprinkle with tomato and serve with pesto.
(adapted via Pillsbury)


The Best Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese ever. It's true.

I love this stuff. You will too. There are several variations on this but this is our favorite.

8oz pkg elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
13oz can evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided (I buy the blocks and shred it myself, I think it melts and tates better.)
Salt and Pepper according to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In slow cooker, combine macaroni, both milks, butter, eggs, salt & pepper and 3 cups of cheddar cheese. Mix well and top with remaining cheddar and Parmesan.
Cover and cook on low 3 hours.


Between the Facebook page and the blog, I have enough interest from you guys to go ahead and coordinate a recipe swap.

First things first. Grab your cutest recipes cards and your best recipes. You will be giving out ONE main dish recipe and ONE dessert recipe to each person on your list. (You can send everyone in your group the same 2 recipes.)

Everyone interested should email me their name and address at [email protected]. Just put "swap" in the subject field if you could. You have until July 21st to get me your addresses so be sure to tell anyone else you think might want to swap with us. The invite is open to everyone and of course, the more the merrier!

After the 21st, I will gather all the names and email you back the list of people in your swap group. The groups will have no more than 5 members. So you will be writing out your 2 recipes, five times each, and mailing a pair to each person on your list. At the end, you'll have 5 new main dish and 5 new dessert recipes!

Now go out, recruit and email me your addresses!


Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

This stuff is so good. How does the vegetarian know? I tasted the sauce ;) This is one super easy dinner that I tend to make on a lazy day. It smells sooooooo good while its cookin'.

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 envelope dried Italian salad dressing mix
2 ounces of water
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (4 ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
Cooked rice or pasta
1. Place the chicken breast halves in the crock pot. Combine the Italian dressing mix and water until smooth; pour over top of chicken.
2. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
3. Combine the cream cheese and soup and heat on stove top until smooth and blended. Stir in mushroom pieces.
4. Pour soup mixture over chicken. Cook 1 hour more or until chicken is cooked through.
5. Serve over hot cooked rice or pasta.


Are You A Groupie?

My BFF Nicci is in the process of building a new look for my blog in between a move and single handedly parenting a precocious 4 year old and a larger than life puppy. Today she hooked me up with a button you guys can grab. If you are one of my dear, darling groupies, please copy the code over there on the left sidebar and post it proudly on your own blog. If you like it, be sure to comment and give her lots of love. She loves that kinda stuff ;)


Honey Dijon Chicken

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup Dijon or spicy brown mustard
3 teaspoons curry powder
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash ground cayenne pepper
4 split chicken breast halves, bone-in, skin removed or left on.
(I usually use boneless skinless. Meat on the bone freaks me out a bit. But aren't I such a nice vegetarian wife to cook all these carnivorous things? )

1. In a bowl, combine the honey, mustard, curry powder, butter, and peppers; blend well. Wash chicken breasts and pat dry. Trim away any excess fat and remove skin, if desired. Arrange the chicken breasts, skin or meaty side up, in a lightly greased baking pan. Coat the chicken with the honey mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate for an hour or two.

2. Bake the chicken, covered, in a 375° oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and baste the chicken. Continue baking, uncovered, for 30 minutes longer, basting every 10 to 15 minutes.

* I served it with our favorite mashed potatoes; skin on, and whipped with cream cheese and milk. It's a sin in 47 states I think.

Boy Overload & Recipe Exchange

Just a quick note to let you all know I'm going to do my best to keep up with my posts this week. In addition to my 3 year old and 8 month old sons, I am babysitting an 18 month old and a 6 year old. Oh. Em. Gee. Fell free to send coffee, bubble bath and Excedrin.

Also, I don't know about you guys, but I love collecting recipes. I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in a recipe swap via snail mail? We could work out the details and everyone participating could drop a hand written recipe card in the mail to a certain number of people on the list. That way we could all build a collection. Dorky? Yes. I'm OK with that. Are ya interested?


Strawberry, Avocado and Pecan Salad with Dressing

I made this for the first time on the 4th of July. It was really tasty, minus the fact that as I was rushing to get out the door, I noticed the avocado I choose was now wayyyyyy too soft. I didn't have the time to grab another, so that's why you don't see it in the photo. Bummer!
The dressing is wicked sweet, so I almost want to try salted pecans next time to counteract that. All in all it was an awesome summer salad.

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups torn salad greens
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
10 strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside.
2. Place the salad greens in a pretty bowl, and top with sliced avocado and strawberries. Drizzle dressing over everything, then sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving, or serve immediately.


Root Beer Goodness

Unable to stop myself from making new things every other day, this will be another cookie for the menu. Im considering a soda shop line of flavors.
What do you guys think?
These are Root Beer Cookies. I just finished them, and they rock. (If I do say so myself.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons root beer extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half
4 teaspoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons root beer extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 cup butter, buttermilk and eggs, 2 teaspoons root beer extract and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until well blended.

3. Add flour baking soda and salt. Beat on low speed until dough forms.

4. Drop by heaping teaspoonful 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool completely.

5. In a mixing bowl combine frosting ingredients beat at low speed of electric mixer until smooth. Spread frosting on evenly over cookies. Let dry completely before storing in container.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Basil Sirloin With Potatoes

Another one of Bill's favorites in regular dinner rotation. Its even kinda healthy, but don't tell him that.

8oz beef sirloin steak, cubed (3/4 inch)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2  medium green bell pepper, cut into wedges
1 tsp all-purpose flour
8 oz. new red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, cut into 1inch wedges
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1. Combine steak, garlic, basil and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat oil in large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook steak and bell pepper 3-5 minutes or until browned and steak is medium rare, stirring once or twice. Remove from skillet.

2. Whisk flour into remaining oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add all remaining ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring once or twice. Add beef and bell pepper, cook 2 minutes or until hot.


Mini Cheesecakes

This is the first of 2 things I made for the 4th. I'm sure you've seen this recipe before, but just in case you havent, get to the store immediatley and make a batch or 7.

Topped with either Chocolate Ganache, Cherries or Fresh Whipping Cream.

I was in a huge hurry so the chocolate is a bit messy, but you get the idea.

*This makes 12 so if you're smart, and I know you are, you'll double this recipe. They will go fast!

12 Nilla Wafer Cookies
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
3/4 C sugar
2 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Foil cupcake liners
Any of your favorite toppings

1. Preheat oven to 375. Soften cream cheese if needed. With an electric mixer,  at cream cheese and sugar. Add in flour and baking powder and beat to combine. Then add in eggs, one at a time, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat to combine.

2. Fill a muffin pan with cupcake liners and place one vanilla wafer at the bottom of each one. Divide batter between 12 muffin papers, filling each cup up to about 1/4 inch from the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
3. Place them on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. While they cool, they will sink down in the center. Before you top them, chill in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours or preferably over night. Then top and serve.

It's Coming Along

I have to share my newest cookie. Im adding this to the ever growing menu for my hopefully-soon-to-be business.
I havent decided what to call her yet, (Im naming all the goodies something fun) so maybe Ill do a poll later and you guys can vote!

Thats how they look iced.

And naked. Yes, those are marachino cherries.

I'll get my 4th of July recipes up later today!



As promised, I drew the winner today for the fabulous apron frm CarolynsKitchen.com.
And the winner is.....

Lacey at Our Life: Narrated by Lacey. Congrats mama!  Email me your address and I will forward it on and get your apron mailed to you.

Everyone else. Better luck next time!


Hoo Am I?


Anything to avoid folding my 4th load of laundry this afternoon =) I decided to participate in this weeks "Hoo Are You" sponsored by NightOwlCrafting

1. What is your favorite restaurant?
I'm easy. I love cheap Mexican food so that would have to be El Vaquero

2. What kind of music do you like?
I like loud music. All types of hardcore. My old school, tattooed husband likes to tell people that his wife listens to heavier music than most men he knows.

3. What do you watch on TV?
I don't watch much TV. The only show I am a faithful fan of is Sons Of Anarchy. Ive seen every episode except one, the day after I had my 2nd son. I tried in vain to watch it from my hospital bed post c section but I was beat.

4. Do you enjoy reading and if so what kind of books do you read?
I love books. I'm a closet nerd. OK, maybe not that closeted. I'll read anything other than romance or sci-fi I guess.

5. What is your favorite color?
It changes day to day. I suck at commitment. Which is weird for a married person with tattoos to say I suppose =)

Spicy Penne with Sausage

We love spicy food here in The Melton Household. You can of course, short cut this with pre-made sauce. But that's just no fun at all.

16 ounces mild Italian sausage (or go hot like we do)
1 medium onion, chopped
16 ounces penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small eggplant, chopped
1 (16oz) can of Italian-style tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
I usually also toss in:
a little red pepper
a little garlic
a little onion powder

1. Cook sausage and onion in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until browned and drain. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat; add mushrooms, bell pepper and eggplant. Cook about 5 minutes. Stir in undrained tomatoes and all spices. Simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sausage mixture and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.
3. Add pasta, mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Don't forget bread!


Giveaway Stuff

Hey everyone,

Please be sure you leave separate comments for each of your entries. I want you all to get the entries you've earned. Also, I guess I neglected to say that the Facebook and Twitter posting entry is for one entry EACH, per day. (So if you do both, that's 2 extra entries a day.)
Sorry for the confusion everyone but I gotta to keep it fair. Be mad if you want =)


Giveaway Page

Chocolate Mousse Cups

I went to Michael's this week and stood in the cake goody aisle for about 30 minutes and ooh'd & ahh'd until the boys melted down on me.
I did pick up some new candy molds though and ran home to I make these. Aren't they adorbs? I for real need someone to hire me to cater desserts or something because I cant seem to stop.
I used Wilton molds 2115-2102 and 2115-1035 and made them up with White Chocolate melts.

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee (I used decaf espresso from a local Starbucks)
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate.

2. Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

3. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

4. When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

5. Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

I also wanted to share this. It's the latest cookie going on the menu for my upcoming lil business. A friend saw a photo of something she liked and I did my best to recreate it.


Cream Cheese Filled Red Velvet Cookies topped with White Chocolate.


Black Bean Cakes

I used to get black bean cakes at a little Cuban restaurant I went to with my mom in North Carolina. (Mom grew up in Key West and has a thing for good Cuban food.)
I finally decided to make some and tried them out for the first time this week. They were fabulous! Perfect vegetarian meal. Bill and his other carnivore friends fell in love too.


1-1/2 cups prepared salsa
1 jalapeño pepper
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8.5-oz. pkg. corn muffin mix
2-1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. chili powder


1. In colander, drain 1/2 cup of the salsa. Seed and finely chop half of the jalapeño; thinly slice remaining half. In large bowl mash beans with vegetable masher or fork. Stir in muffin mix, drained salsa, 2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder, and chopped jalapeño.

2. In 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add four 1/2-cup mounds bean mixture to skillet. Flatten mounds with spatula to 3-1/2-inch-round cakes. Cook 3 minutes each side until browned. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil and bean mixture.

3. In bowl combine sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Top cakes with remaining salsa, sliced jalapeño, and seasoned sour cream. Makes 4 (2-cake) servings.

Don't forget to entry the apron giveaway HERE
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